There are a lot of names, both people and locations, in this writing, and I realize it might get confusing. Sorry about that.
“I don’t understand why we’re having this meeting again.”
“We told you, Seth. We want to discuss—“
“There is no secret mercenary base in the middle of our desert!” Seth, the leader of Torreo Territory, insisted. “I told you that the last time we met.”
Looks were exchanged between the other leaders.
“Yes, you did tell us that,” Taellyn’s leader Rowena said diplomatically. “However, it is difficult to believe you now that we have eye witness testimony.
“What ‘eye witness’?” Seth asked with narrowed eyes. “That’s impossible.”
“Why is it so impossible?” the leader of the militia in Bhorpal Territory asked suspiciously.
Seth looked at him with even eyes. “Because there is no base there.”
Flynn, the leader of the national government, sighed. “This is getting us nowhere. We can argue the likelihood of this assertion all we want, but without proof, we can’t come to an end to this argument.”
“We have proof,” Taellyn’s militia leader stated. “We have the word of two people, one of whom is well respected.”
“She’s a Cleric,” Rowena said. “And her father is one of the leaders in the Academy. Tell us, Seth, why would she lie?”
“I don’t know,” Seth said with a firm shake of his head. “But maybe you should let me talk to her so I can find out.”
“No,” Flynn said. “It will be simple enough to prove. As she is a Cleric, she can Stormwalk back to the location she claims to have seen the base. She can show us what she’s found.”
“You can’t do that!” Seth shouted, standing to his feet.
“Actually,” Verica spoke up, “we already have.”
“What?” Seth spun to address the leader of his territory’s northern neighbor Jaffna. “You’ve done what?”
“We’ve asked the Cleric in question to take us out to the desert, my militia leader and myself.”
Seth turned back toward Flynn. “How could you let him move against us this way?”
“Honestly, Seth, I don’t understand why you’re acting like this was a personal affront to you or your territory,” Flynn said with narrowed eyes. “If Morano has been hiding out in a secret location in the desert, how are you involved?”
Seth sputtered. “I—I’m not. But to conduct a search in my territory without so much as informing me… That is not in the spirit of the friendship agreement between our territories.”
“I authorized the ‘search,’” Flynn said. “That is well within my rights as national leader, according to the agreement.”
“Well then,” Seth dropped back down into his chair. “What did you find?”
“We didn’t get close, because we were afraid of detection,” Verica reported. “But there is definitely something out there. Not far from the mountain range that divides the desert and the southern shore. There was a wall.”
“A wall,” Seth scoffed. “That’s all? You can’t be sure what it is then. Maybe it’s just a wall left over from a town that used to be there before the Pithean War. Or even before the Tech War. You don’t know it’s Morano.”
“I suppose we don’t,” Verica said. “Not yet.”
“But we will find a way to verify what is beyond the wall,” Rowena said. “And if it is Morano…”
“We’ll need to decide what to do about it,” Flynn concluded for her.