The news from the thrall was promising, but Peter Jorsan grew dangerously quiet and still. “What did you say?” He leaned forward slightly in his seat, listening to the small speaker sitting on his desk.
“I said her name is Caelynn Creed.” The thrall’s voice was reluctant and flat, which was typical for a thrall. They couldn’t refuse their orders but they still tried to resist. “She is the right age. Her father is the lochfa who brought me here. She was brought here at the same time.”
Jorsan’s jaw clenched. He was quiet a moment as he considered the information. “Continue with your current orders until I tell you otherwise.” He hit a button on the command unit, severing the link with the imprisoned thrall.
He looked across his desk to where Collin Foley was standing. He could tell from Collin’s expression that he recognized the name and would have questions. Peter Jorsan didn’t intend to give him opportunity to ask. “Have Marken pull up everything he can find on Caelynn Creed and her lochfa father. You leave for Laconia tonight.” Collin bowed his head in acquiescence and left the office.
Jorsan took a deep breath and reminded himself that finding Alanu was what mattered. She was necessary for their people to return to their rightful place as rulers over Tarros. She was the Alfath link to Tarros and the magic, and with her power he would be unstoppable.
But he couldn’t escape that for seven years his daughter had been right under his nose and he’d failed to recognize her. It should have been obvious. In all his years of teaching, she was one of the best students he’d ever encountered. She was intelligent, inquisitive, and thorough in her work. She even looked like her mother. He silently berated himself for his blindness.
Of course, he reasoned, part of his failure to recognize her may stem from the fact that he couldn’t stand her.
He knew he had no legitimate reason to dislike her, but her presence always made him uncomfortable. Maybe he was subconsciously aware of the power that lurked within her – a power that could undo him if she saw fit. Maybe it was because of the lochfa’s influence in her upbringing or the spell he had used to claim her the night of her birth. Regardless the reason, Peter Jorsan had spent far too much time in the past seven years actively avoiding Caelynn Creed.
In the first years of her studies it was easy to assign her to classes conducted by other faculty members. As she progressed in her studies and the courses became more focused and specialized, it was harder to avoid her. He was tempted to delete her application for the museum volunteer program, but others knew she’d already applied. He couldn’t find a legitimate reason to reject the application, so instead ensured that her work at the museum would be in a different department.
He had toyed briefly with the idea of using her as a blood source for one of the rituals, but instead fell back to the old Earth adage about “Hell hath no fury…” It was an easy thing to implant the suggestion in Em Weathers’ mind that Caelynn was trying to steal her boyfriend. It was just as easy to grab and enthrall Merrick Ashbury and have him utter Caelynn’s name in his sleep. Jorsan was still amazed at how spectacularly Em had failed in her mission.
He sighed, resigned to what he must do. Regardless of his dislike for Caelynn Creed, Foley would soon be collecting her and bringing her back to her Court. And when they arrived he would be waiting to welcome her as his daughter and his queen.