199 The Proposal*
Kit hadn't thought anything of it when he walked into the kitchen and sat down beside Olly. Iah, Sharli, Falla and Layn all stood around the table, but Olly had situated himself at the far end of the room, drawing his runes in the corner. Now that Kit had found himself beside his fellow Charm Craftsman however, he realised that Olly had likely not felt very comfortable at the table.
Between Falla and Sharli's blatant disregard of each other, and Layn's resolve to stand behind his boss and Iah's attempts to soften the atmosphere, Kit much preferred sitting next to Olly, no matter his quirks.
"Kit," Falla spoke as she spotted him beside Olly, "I heard what happened, I trust you're okay?"
Kit nodded, "Fine, a good meal and sleeping for nearly a whole day and I feel somewhat normal again. Still a little tired but I'll be fine by tonight".
Falla nodded, "I'm sorry that there wasn't anyone protecting you".
Kit shook his head, "It's not something that we should expect from you, Miss Falla. We know you're busy trying to secure the Evanine".
Olly's drawing paused slightly at the word to do with his Charms, but he quickly went back to drawing as soon as Sharli opened her mouth.
"Kit, do not make excuses for her. when she signed that agreement she agreed to protect us in Rassa's absence, she's not held up her end of the deal," Sharli declared.
"Sharli, I really don't think-"
Iah's attempt to placate Sharli was hurriedly silenced by Sharli's warning glare.
Falla sighed, "As I mentioned to you before, Sharli, the contract dictated that I had six months to live up to my end of the bargain. That contract was also made when Ishta Alamone wasn't looming over us like a death god ready to slit our throats and steal our profits. It has only been a little more than a month since we all witnessed and signed that Contract, seeing as we were all present, I believe it is prudent that we all have a say in how we proceed-"
"The Ruin is under threat, I would think the next course of action is obvious," said Sharli.
"I don't have the resources to hire mercenaries that can be bought off anyway, or train a private army which will take more time that you don't seem so intent on giving me," Falla replied.
"Well, you're the businesswoman, we're all supposed to be in training still, so-"
"This is not a problem of business," Kit cut in, "And Rassa would have wanted us to work together, as a family, not against one another. If we keep fighting like this then nothing will be done, and the family we have made together will fall apart. Isn't that right, Sharli?"
Sharli hesitated, then sat back, silent. Falla sighed.
"Thank you, Kit. You make a good point, the problem we are facing now is not one of business, it is one of security. We don't have the resources to protect the Ruin, at least not as it is. Even is we sell the charms in the vault we won't have the money to continue on as we are and gain the security we need," Falla stated, "So, the only solution that I could see was to move".
"To where?" asked Iah.
"My headquarters in Port Cresh is a little small, but I think we can fit everyone," stated Falla, "Ishta wouldn't dare attack another business openly, and with all of us together we'll be better able to defend ourselves".
"And is this plan long-term?" asked Sharli, "What about the vault? Is anyone staying behind to protect that or are we risking somebody seeing us move it?"
"Well we can move it in stages," said Falla, "As for whether or not it is long-term, I believe it will need to be the case at least until I can secure the Evanine supply line. Without that we don't have a steady source of income, and can't even dream of what we can use to defend ourselves".
"The Mine," Olly said softly as he paused.
Kit turned to look at him as the others discussed the relocation before them.
"The Evanine Mine?" asked Kit.
Olly didn't acknowledge Kit as he spoke again, "The Inktress is after us. Not them".
Kit frowned a moment, then seemed to connect the dots of what Olly was implying. He turned back towards the table.
"We don't all need to move," Kit said.
His proclamation surprised those at the table, then his eyes fell on Falla, "He is only after Olly and I because we can make the Charms. I'd bet he's not even aware that you have the Mine. He's not after our entire business, he'd probably rather destroy it so he can build his own on top of it. But he still needs to method. With Rassa gone...only Olly and I know it".
Falla thought for a moment, then nodded, "That does sound as if it will fit into what we know, but even if we only move you and Olly to the headquarters, the Ruin will still be under threat".
"I'm not talking about moving Olly and me to the headquarters, I'm talking about treating us as if we don't exist as well," Kit stated, "He knows nothing about the mines. You might not be able to get anything out of there without being noticed at the moment, but surely you can get the both of us in?"
Falla frowned, "The Inktress will still-"
"She won't be a problem," Olly stated, "She is being punished for failing to capture us".
"If we move now, and the rest of you continue to act as if nothing has changed, it will be at least a month before Ishta realises we're even gone, and by then we'll be out of reach," Kit finished for him.
Falla, Layn, Sharli and Iah all looked between each other before they turned back to Olly.
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"You're sure that she's out of the picture? Because if you're not and she senses you-"
"I'm sure," Olly replied, "I don't speak if I'm not. Lies are wasteful".
They turned to Kit who shrugged, "You'll be able to work better should the ones who are under direct threat be out of the picture, right?"
A slow smile dawned on Falla's face as she turned to look at Sharli, "Yes, if I can keep my cards hidden I trust I can find a path out of our current predicament".