Success is the child of audacity. — Benjamin Disraeli


Sabar drummed impatient fingers on the desk in his quarters as he studied his data tablet. The smooth, crystalline surface of the worktop was cool and slick beneath his touch, quite different from the warm, organic feel of Cadogan’s wooden desk in their office in Dinas Coedwyg, or the one in the study at Bennaeth Bod. Despite centuries spent in the familiar confines of Tok’ra tunnels beneath the surface of this or that bleak planet or moon, Sabar found his workspace here at Caer Ynys somewhat cold and sterile in comparison to its counterparts on his host’s world. {I suppose Selmak would point to this as another example of letting my host have too much influence on me,} he mused, sharing the thought with Cadogan. {As if she has any place to talk, given how she let whatever issues Saroosh had with Berwyn color our own interactions. Not that she’ll ever confess to that, I’m sure.}

That drew a mental chuckle from his host, who’d heard this particular complaint countless times before. Admit it, my friend. You’re getting soft in your old age.

Sabar’s momentary irritation with the High Councilor — who, after all, wasn’t even present — gave way to humor. {My old age, is it? Adjusting for species differences, I’m younger than you are.}

Fair point, Cadogan rejoined, in the same teasing tone. So perhaps you’re just being kind to an old man.

{An ‘old man’ with nearly a third of his life still ahead of him, if I have any say in matters,} the symbiote reminded him with familiar affection. {You’re stuck with me for a while yet, boyo. Lucky for you I’d rather spend time on your planet than here.}

They’d both rather be on Tir Awyr right now, Sabar reflected, if the truth be told. While there had been plenty to accomplish on this visit, right now he was waiting for just one thing. What could be keeping Nasara? When she’d been here last, she’d promised Sefys she would return in one month’s time. Normally punctual, she was three days overdue. He resumed tapping on the desk. The finger-drumming was a human habit, too; one he was pretty sure he’d picked up since involving himself with the Pridani, though he couldn’t quite recall whether it had come from Berwyn or from Cadogan.

We both got it from Berwyn, commented his host. At least, I think we did. Sometimes it can be hard to sort out my own memories of him when he was your host from his memories that you’ve shared with me.

{No, you’re right. Berwyn always did that, now that I think about it. If I remember correctly, you didn’t really start until you’d been working with us for a few years.}

Stretching, Sabar slid the chair backward and propped their feet on the desk, balancing the data pad on their lap. Aware that Cadogan was often annoyed with the crystal-grown chair that had originally occupied these quarters, some time ago Sabar had force-grown a replacement in a configuration his host found more pleasing. He found it more comfortable too — this one allowed for putting feet up. Of course, that was definitely a habit he’d picked up from Cadogan. Well, he’d learned early on in his time with Berwyn how strong the personalities of Pridanic hosts could be. And after nearly a century and a half with first one, then a second, he knew he wouldn’t have it any other way. Selmak, Garshaw, Delek… they could all just get over it.

The sound of someone clearing a throat reached them. Turning, Sabar saw Kaldin standing in the entryway. {“Yes, Kaldin? Did you need me?”}

Sabar’s oldest and dearest living friend stepped into the chamber, inclining his host’s greying head in greeting. He then nodded toward the booted feet propped on the desk, chuckling. {“Joron says to tell you that you remind him of his father when you do that.”} Taking a seat on the edge of the bed, Kaldin glanced at the data tablet resting in the other’s lap. {“Garlen’s design for a ring transport diverter?”}

Sabar nodded. {“A rather elegant device, I must say. I don’t know where he comes up with half the ideas he has, but each time he gets a new one, I’m reminded how glad I am to have him among our number.”}

The comment drew a grin from Kaldin. {“He’s a bright one, all right. When he fitted your tel’tak with shields and a cloak, I thought for certain that he’d lost his mind. But then when he upgraded the control system so you could have either one at the throw of a switch, I realized he was just operating on a level way beyond anything I’ll ever understand.”} Garlen, the Tok’bel’s resident technical expert, had somehow managed to rig the shield generator on the craft to output both shields and a workable cloak, although not simultaneously. It had been painstaking work, involving tearing down the generator nearly to its most basic components, and then reassembling it in a configuration never before seen by the other Tok’bel. No stranger to technical matters himself, even Sabar admitted that he had no clue how Garlen had gotten it to function this way, let alone where he’d gotten the idea. But function it did, leaving him more than mildly grateful for Garlen’s genius.

Sabar matched Kaldin’s grin. {“Well, his work has saved both you and me more than once.”} Setting the tablet aside, he shifted in the chair to face Kaldin, resting his feet on the floor this time. {“So, what’s on your mind?”}

{“I was thinking about something you said in our meeting this morning, regarding the captured ships.”} The Tok’bel had acquired a small complement of Goa’uld ships, perhaps a dozen or so, from various sources over the years, occasionally finding them disabled on the surface of one of the Five Worlds or abandoned adrift in space. The latter finds were more useful; despite the fact that such craft likely dated to the coup conducted against Bel by his own offspring eight centuries ago and the mysterious disappearance of Bel’s fleet around the same time, the craft in question had floated essentially frozen and preserved in the vacuum of space, generally far from the orbit of any of Bel’s worlds though in orbits of their own about the parent stars.

With one exception, all were ger’tak, the small crescent-shaped two-man fighting ships commonly carried aboard ha’tak and used for warfare both in space and in atmosphere. The exception was a slightly damaged al’kesh found derelict, drifting in high orbit around Mym, a rocky, airless world in the same system as Arverenem. Garlen and a team of assistants had been able to repair its control systems and discovered both its power plant and hyperdrive engines still functional. The hull bore some pitting from micrometeorite impacts — so did the hulls of the derelict ger’tak — but the ship was usable. It had proven useful in ferrying the abandoned ger’tak to a central location, as the ger’tak lacked hyperdrive engines of their own. One at a time, in a painstakingly slow process, the Tok’bel had retrieved the ger’tak, using grapples to load each into the al’kesh which then carried the smaller craft to the safety of a subterranean hangar at Caer Ynys in the hopes that they might one day be used in the fight to free Bel’s subject humans. Now that things were moving forward more quickly, Sabar had given more thought to the ships of late. This morning, he’d floated the idea of beginning to train some of the human rebels to pilot them.

{“And what were you thinking?”} Sabar asked his friend.

Kaldin studied the ceiling of the chamber for a moment. {“I can see your point about training pilots, except for one problem. How are we going to transport ger’tak to anyplace useful?”}

{“We capture a ha’tak, that’s how.”} Sabar chuckled at Kaldin’s nonplussed look. {“I mean it. Oh, I know it sounds ambitious, but can you name me any portion of our endeavor that isn’t?”}

{“I won’t argue that, but how do you propose we go about this? Bel has two ha’tak at the moment, and I don’t know how you think we can get control of either of them. Even if we had someone at command level in Bel’s fleet — which we do not — what you’re talking about isn’t child’s play.”}

{“No, you’re right about that much,”} Sabar conceded. {“However, remember the report from Galla. Bel’s ordered a third ha’tak constructed, beginning in another month. We have operatives in the shipyards, both Tok’bel and human, and we may well be able to use that to our advantage.”}

Kaldin said nothing for a moment, simply staring at his friend. Finally, he found his voice. {“You mean to steal a newly-built ship right out from under his nose?”}

{“Why not?”} Sabar shrugged, grinning.

{“Have you taken leave of your senses, Sabar?”}

The Tok’bel leader chuckled again. {“Not at all. Kaldin, think about it. Right now, Bel’s worried about Moccas, and I’m guessing that’s why he’s ordered the new ship constructed. So what if we were to manage to steal it for our own use, but make it look as if this were the work of Moccas instead? We gain a capital ship, and Moccas gets the blame. Obviously, this is predicated on Moccas himself not having more than a couple of ha’tak of his own, but I expect when we get reports back from the operatives we’ve sent undercover in his organization, that’s what we will likely discover. If so, then we could wind up with the two of them fighting each other, weakening both, while we’ve gained a significant resource… and possibly the upper hand.”}

Kaldin blinked at him. {“There are moments when I wonder if Selmak wasn’t right about you all along.”} He drew a deep breath and exhaled noisily. {“And then I remind myself that were it not for audacity, the Tok’ra would never have existed at all.”} Another pause. {“But what I can’t for the life of me figure out is how you received such a large share of it, compared to most of us. Even me, and I used to think I was quite the daring one.”}

Sabar chuckled again, reaching out to pat his friend’s knee. {“If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be out here with me in the first place, Kaldin. You were the first one I asked, remember?”}

{“I was very nearly the first to tell you then that you were crazy, too, if you recall.”}

{“But you didn’t. Are you going to tell me now?”} Sabar quirked a smile.

{“No.”} A shake of the head, accompanied by a grin. {“Oh, don’t get me wrong; this may well be insanity. But so is sitting around waiting for something to happen rather than making it happen. If I must choose one, I know which kind of insanity I prefer.”}

A new voice interrupted their conversation. Sefys stood at the entry to Sabar’s quarters. {“Nasara has arrived, Sabar. I’ve shown her to guest quarters, as she intends to stay the night. She wishes to speak with you as soon as you find it convenient.”}

Well, that’s a relief, commented Cadogan. He’d shared his symbiote’s concern over Nasara and her host Maia. At least we can stop worrying that something went wrong on their mission.

When they arrived at the guest quarters assigned to their visitor, they found her deep in concentration over a data tablet of her own. Nasara sat tailor-fashion on the bed, a mane of auburn hair falling forward, hiding half her host’s face as she studied the tablet in her lap. Cadogan had always thought privately that Maia looked as though she might easily have been herself a native of Tir Awyr. Except for the color of her eyes, she reminded him greatly of his sister Ninnocha as a young woman. According to Sabar, Maia hailed from Halandir, a world halfway across the galaxy where Berwyn had spent thirty years of his life between being freed from slavery to Bel and becoming Sabar’s host, though she was no relation to Berwyn.

Pausing in the entryway, Sabar called out, {“Nasara? Welcome.”}

The auburn head came up, brown eyes shifting focus. {“Sabar. It is good to see you, and Cadogan.”} She laid the tablet aside and unfolded her host’s body gracefully from her seated posture, rising to greet them as they entered the chamber. {“My apologies for making you wait, but there have been events afoot and I wanted to make sure I gathered all the information that I could.”} The fair-skinned face wore a troubled expression.

{“More unrest within the Council?”}

Nasara caught up her data tablet again, moving toward the small table that occupied one side of the chamber, flanked by two chairs. As they seated themselves, she touched a control on the side of the tablet, bringing up a page of notes. {“To some extent, yes, but there’s more than just that,”} she answered, turning the tablet around and sliding it toward Sabar. {“I was talking with Remir, and he agrees with me. There may well be a schism imminent in the Council. But this is the wrong time for us to get caught up in internal problems, because there is unrest in Ra’s domain, and the Tok’ra are going to want to be in a position to use this to our advantage.”}

Sabar quickly scanned the tablet’s screen. If Remir suspected things were becoming this problematic at the level of the Council, that lent even more credence to Nasara’s own thoughts on the subject. Like Nasara, Remir was another Tok’ra who could have gone either way when Sabar had been putting together the core of the Tok’bel. A capable operative and a trusted friend, Remir sympathized with Sabar’s views, though like Nasara, he didn’t chafe as badly under the Council’s reins as Sabar did. In the end, he’d opted to remain among the mainline Tok’ra for the time being, although maintaining ties to Sabar’s group, which after all included a number of Remir’s other friends. Over the decades since the founding of the Tok’bel, Remir — like Nasara — had shared information with Sabar, keeping him abreast of developments ‘back home’ and occasionally carrying information that Sabar deemed important to share with the Council, despite the Council’s express disapproval of the Tok’bel and their chosen mission.

Sabar had come to depend greatly on Remir and his host Arzo, just as he did on Nasara and Maia. While he could occasionally still wish that both pairs would join fully with the Tok’bel, where their abilities would be a decided asset, having friends one could count on who were still in the good graces of the High Council was an enormous help as well. Especially on those rare occasions when he visited the Tok’ra personally. He hadn’t done that in several years, but it was beginning to look as if a visit might well be in order soon.

The notes on Nasara’s tablet outlined the basic agenda of a Council meeting, apparently jotted down from memory. One item that stood out was mention of a report from Lantash regarding unrest on Fayoum, one of several worlds under Ra’s direct control. {“Nasara, have you come directly from your mission, or have you been to Rak’lar?”}

{“I was able to complete my mission early and return to Rak’lar five days ago. Since then, I found some time to speak with Lantash regarding what he learned while he was in Ra’s territory. Fayoum is not the only world of Ra’s domain where some doubt his godhood, but doubt is strongest there. More is occurring than that, though. While Lantash was gathering information on Fayoum, the Council sent his mate Jolinar to Tamilat.”}

Tamilat was the primary world under control of Montu, the minor vassal of Ra whose court Kaldin had infiltrated nearly two hundred years ago. {“And what did Jolinar learn there?”} asked Sabar.

{“It seems that Montu suspects Heru’ur of plotting against Ra,”} Nasara replied. {“Moreover, he is seeking a way to turn this to his own advantage. Not that this is surprising in itself, of course. It’s no secret that Montu has long had his eye on gaining a greater share of his master’s domain. He’s expressed the thought that he ought to be given control of some of the more distant worlds from the center of Ra’s territory. Abydos, for example.”}

Sabar blinked. {“Abydos? Ra’s had control of Abydos longer than almost any other world in his empire.”}

{“Yes, but as he gained territory, the center shifted as he came to control more worlds inward and spinward. These days, Abydos is much closer to the boundaries of what he rules than it is to the center.”}

Sabar thought about this for a moment. {“Still, though, it’s nowhere near Tamilat. So what’s Montu really thinking, I wonder?”}

Nasara shook her head. {“My guess is that he’d like to gain an advantage along the anti-spinward rim of Ra’s empire, in the direction of Heru’ur’s own domain. There are several planets there that are underutilized, and one or two that have been abandoned.”}

{“Abandoned? If they’ve been abandoned, it’s likely either because their chappa’ai have been rendered useless or unreachable by seismic events, or the supply of naquadah ore has run out. What use would he have for a world without naquadah? And while a world whose chappa’ai has been buried could still be reached by ship, do you really think he’d find it worth the trouble? Unless there were massive resources there, in which case whoever originally held those worlds would have maintained operations themselves via ship, at least until they found a way to unearth the chappa’ai.”}

His companion nodded. {“Oh, I agree. Of course, there are a few worlds where the cause was rebellion, rather than any natural calamity.’}

{“Worlds that have rebelled and had significant enough technology to make it stick…”} Sabar trailed off, thinking. {“There aren’t many of those. And the less technologically-advanced ones are mostly either under Asgard treaty protection or their rebellions happened after the naquadah supply got low enough that it wasn’t really worth expending the energy necessary to maintaining control, like on Halandir. We’re trying to make something similar happen with the Five Worlds here, since most of them don’t have particularly large reserves of ore to begin with.”}

{“I know that.”} Nasara scrolled to the next screen on her tablet. {“For that matter, remember the Tau’ri. They didn’t have naquadah at all, and when they buried their gate, Ra abandoned them. Even if not all Goa’uld did so right away.”}

Sabar’s eyes grew round. {“Surely Montu doesn’t have designs on the Tau’ri world, does he?”}

Nasara snorted. {“I seriously doubt it. Oh, sure, the prestige of reclaiming the cradle of our hosts would be impressive, as would taking back a world that managed to successfully throw off Ra. But really, nobody bothers with it anymore because it has nothing to offer in the way of material resources, and by now there are plenty of worlds from which the Goa’uld can obtain hosts, since they seeded Tau’ri to so many to begin with. Their ancestral world is a backwater, useless, with no chappa’ai readily accessible, and nothing worth taking from it by ship any longer.”}

{“True; even the last groups of Tau’ri slaves were taken by ship several centuries ago, at least if our intelligence is accurate. It was longer than that for the people Bel took.”} Sabar sighed. {“I recall that Egeria had such high hopes for the Tau’ri one day, after the last Goa’uld would be gone from their world. I wonder whether they’ll ever achieve anything like the full potential they’d have had if our ancestors hadn’t interfered and enslaved them?”}

Nasara shrugged. {“Hard to say. Surely their culture has been radically altered by the Goa’ud, perhaps permanently. Then again, some of their descendants on other worlds have managed to do impressive things, once the Goa’uld left them alone. I suppose anything’s possible.”} She consulted her data tablet again. {“But back to Montu and Heru’ur. Jolinar says she wasn’t able to access all the details of what Montu knows or thinks he knows about Heru’ur’s plans. Montu left Tamilat upon Ra’s own summons to attend him, no more than six days after Jolinar arrived there, and she returned to Rak’lar. She’s planning another visit to Tamilat soon, once Montu is likely to have returned. She may find out more then. In the meantime, the Council already have an operative in Heru’ur’s court and are awaiting a report from him.”}

{“What does Lantash say?”}

{“What does Lantash always say? That if there’s going to be another uprising against Ra, it’s a good thing, and that we need to be ready. On that, the Council actually agree with him. It’s only when he talks about directly aiding such a movement that the trouble starts. Garshaw gets her back up, and Selmak steps in and says sympathetic things to both sides to try to defuse the situation… but you and I both know that she’d never condone risking more Tok’ra lives in direct aid to a rebellion. She’s still annoyed that you and your group haven’t come to your senses and run back home to do things the Council’s way.”}

Sabar arched an eyebrow. {“‘Come to our senses’? She actually said that in public?”}

{“Well, they certainly aren’t my words, Sabar,”} Nasara told him acerbically. {“Not that she exactly said it in public. It was a private conversation — directly outside the council chambers and in full view of at least a dozen or more Tok’ra, mind you, but she seemed to be speaking as merely herself, and not in her capacity as a Council member. As if it won’t be taken nearly the same way, regardless.”}

Sabar sensed Cadogan’s inward sigh. He knew his host had little more patience for Council posturing than he himself did. Cadogan had met Selmak and a number of the other Council members before, on Sabar’s infrequent visits to whatever stronghold the mainline Tok’ra currently used. Perhaps because Cadogan could be the soul of diplomacy where Berwyn had rarely bothered, there was far less friction between Saroosh and Cadogan than there had been between Saroosh and Berwyn. This helped to smooth things somewhat, but there was still a rather wide philosophical gap between Sabar and Selmak, and between Tok’bel and the typical Tok’ra. Nasara, Lantash, Remir and to some extent Jolinar were more sympathetic to Sabar’s thinking, but beyond this small loyal circle and a few other friends, the tension remained.

{Pain in the mik’ta,} he commented to his host.

That’s one way of putting it, Cadogan agreed silently.

{“So basically, all we can do for now is to keep an eye on things, then?”} Sabar asked Nasara.

{“Essentially,”} she agreed. {“We may know more in another month, and if we do, you know I’ll be back to update you.”}

She switched off the data tablet. {“In the meantime, I’d like just one evening to relax. Hard to do that in the tunnels at Rak’lar these days, since the Council has tensions wound up so tightly that the air pings.”} She gave him a look whose intent was unmistakable. {“You wouldn’t know any way of helping me to get my mind off it for a while, would you?”}

Sabar chuckled. {Now, if that wasn’t an invitation, then I don’t know what is,} he commented to his host.

No, replied Cadogan. Not that I wouldn’t like to, but not with Maia.

{Oh, come on. This is really that much of an issue for you?}

I’m telling you, she reminds me too much of my sister as a young woman. I just can’t get past that. Maia is a wonderful person, but when I look at her, something in me still keeps seeing Ninnocha.

{That’s the one thing I still have trouble really understanding.} Sabar’s tone was exasperated. {I agree that she does look like Ninnocha. I remember Ninnocha myself, after all. But she isn’t your sister, so why should it matter?}

It just does, said Cadogan stubbornly. I can’t explain it. But I never wanted to sleep with my sister, and this would be just too close to that for my comfort level.

{I guess that’s one area where we’re just different,} remarked Sabar. {Not that I ever wanted to sleep with your sister, and neither did Berwyn; I don’t mean that. But Nasara is my sister… and her suggestion doesn’t bother me at all. Same parentage, obviously; same brood, even.}

Yes, but every Tok’ra who was spawned as one is your sibling. only had a handful. Trust me, it’s different. This would be normal for your species, but I can’t do it.

{Pity,} said Sabar. Aloud, he said to Nasara, {“I do, and I’d love to help, but my stick-in-the-mud host seems disinclined.”} He shrugged apologetically. {“In the interest of maintaining some semblance of domestic tranquility, I’m afraid I’ll have to pass.”}

{“Why, Cadogan, what did I ever do to you?”} Nasara asked, her tone teasing. It wasn’t as if this were a new exchange between them, but Sabar got the impression she brought it up just to wind his host up every now and again. The answer had never once been yes, but he suspected that if they ever had given her the go-ahead, she’d have been surprised. He knew she’d likely take them up on it, too, but not without a moment spent adjusting her thought processes.

By thunder, Sabar, let me take over for a moment, Cadogan said.

{As you wish.} Chuckling, he ceded control to his host.

Cadogan reached across the table and took Nasara’s — or Maia’s — hand. “Nasara, my dear, you know it isn’t you. It isn’t Maia, either. It’s me. There’s simply too much resemblance to my departed sister, as I’ve told you half a dozen times before. I can’t get around that, no matter how well I may like you both. And I do like you both very much, so let’s not complicate matters, shall we?”

Nasara smiled, shaking her head slowly. {“Pity,”} she said, unwittingly echoing Sabar’s remark. {“But I’ll not trouble you further on this. I understand.”}

“That’s what you said the last time. And the time before.”

{“Can I help it if my host has other ideas?”}

Cadogan groaned, imploring the chamber’s crystalline ceiling for patience. “Let me speak with Maia, then.”

Sabar chuckled silently at his host’s discomfiture. Oh, you be quiet, Cadogan told him irritably.

Across the table, Nasara had bowed her host’s head; now that head rose again, the curtain of auburn hair once more falling away from the eyes whose color was very nearly the only thing differentiating Maia from Ninnocha. Well, except for their having been born on different planets — Maia at least forty or fifty years later than his sister, if Cadogan was any judge, notwithstanding the effects of her hosting a symbiote —- and the fact that Ninnocha had been dead for several decades while Maia was very much alive.

“Oh, don’t listen to her, Cadogan,” Maia told him before he could open his mouth to speak. “While I wouldn’t mind at all, and would honestly enjoy it, this is between Nasara and Sabar… and I’m quite certain it’s nothing more than an innocent game. Nasara’s intent has been to have some fun with you, and while her first invitation several years ago was in earnest, her suggestions have been largely in jest since then, because of your initial refusal. Don’t let it make you uncomfortable.” She squeezed his fingers where their hands were still joined. “As for me, the first time you said no and explained why, it was reason enough as far as I’m concerned.”

Cadogan blinked, then chuckled. “So that’s the way it is, then? All right, I’m glad to know that. Don’t think I haven’t been flattered, but seriously…”

Maia laughed. “Oh, trust me. I had brothers, and I think I’d have the same problem if all of this were reversed. Just consider it one thing the Tok’ra find beyond their understanding.”

“Fair enough,” he agreed. “And Nasara, since I know you’re listening, can we just have done with this now? I won’t be Sabar’s host forever, you know. You both can do whatever you like when I’m gone.”

Maia’s eyes took on the faraway look that Cadogan knew meant she was listening to her symbiote. When she focused again on him, she said, “I’m to ask you — and I quote — ‘Where’s the fun in that?’ Of course, she’s joking; she asked me to tell you that as well.”

{She quite likely is,} Sabar agreed. {I’ve known Nasara for a very long time, despite our brood having been partitioned when we were still too young to have come into full comprehension of our own identities. If she really wanted to pursue anything with me beyond a moment’s fun, she’s had more than ample opportunity over the past several hundred years. You really aren’t interfering with anything on our side of the equation.}

Nice of you to tell me that now, Cadogan grumbled in mock annoyance. He’d been had, and he knew it. He’d think twice before taking seriously everything a symbiote said from now on, even when it was Sabar talking. As he formed the thought, he felt Sabar chuckle again. Just you wait, he told the symbiote.I’ll remember this.

Aloud, he said, “Then let’s leave it at that. In the absence of any other activities on the agenda, why don’t we all just enjoy a quiet dinner instead? Or, I suppose if Nasara truly had her mind set on something else, we could probably go and send Dakan to visit in our place.” There was a wicked gleam in his eye as he said it. He knew from the memories he shared with his symbiote that Sabar’s friend Dakan had once expressed an interest in Nasara and her previous host, but Nasara had not returned that interest. Dakan had taken the rejection in less than stellar fashion, causing a handful of awkward encounters before the situation finally resolved itself — in what manner, neither Cadogan nor Sabar was entirely sure, though there’d been no problem since.

Maia, of course, had access to Nasara’s memory of the event, and she chuckled as she bowed her head, returning control to her symbiote. {“No, thank you,”} said Nasara, looking up again. {“I think dinner will be just fine… although I may pay Sefys a visit later,”} she added, her tone teasing once again.

“Much good luck do I wish you in dealing with Segira, then,” returned Cadogan diplomatically, hiding a grin. Segira and her host Elin were mated to Sefys and Duthac, something of which he knew Nasara was well aware, and in which she would never interfere.

{“Well then, perhaps we shall have to be satisfied simply with dinner after all,”} Nasara said with a smile.