Who killed Bolin?
Lainath didn’t kill Bolin. Enturi said so, and I trust him. I’ve seen his powers at work.
Jet didn’t kill Bolin. Bolin was new to his organization, but Jet was visibly angry at Bolin’s death. He had plans for the dwarf. Besides, Jet wouldn’t bother to frame me if he had done it. If he wanted me dead, he would simply kill me. Or have several other enforcers do it. But he didn’t want me dead. He trusted me and Enturi with his most sensitive operations. Someone else framed me because they wanted Jet to believe that I had killed Bolin.
The humans didn’t kill Bolin. Even if they somehow tumbled to the fact that he was involved in killing Jeamo, he was a dwarf, not an elf. He would have been entitled to a trial before a magistrate, unless they had to shut him up about their divination project. Maybe murdering elves to fuel arcane rituals is no longer allowed and they didn’t want to get caught doing it. But why would they frame me? I was just a hired blade in an organization which hired a lot of blades. They had no reason to know of me, no reason to associate me with Jet, no reason to associate me with Bolin. They wouldn’t need to divert suspicion as to who killed Bolin. On the contrary, when humans kill in Elftown, they want everyone to know they performed the execution and why it was done.
And why would they care what Bolin might say anyway? No one of importance would listen. And they already had their information. Jeamo had to have given them the scrolls first, otherwise they wouldn’t have had the information to take out Jet. Their raid was planned out with sword-edge precision. If Jeamo hadn’t made a second copy of what he had discovered for his personal use, no one would have ever known what he was up to, and his secrets would have died with him.
For that matter, if the humans had received complete information from Jeamo, why would they kill Jet first? Wouldn’t they have discovered Rien’s escape plot, which would have made him their highest priority for termination? If the humans had any idea what we were doing tonight, they would have acted without hesitation, swiftly and fatally.
But they didn’t. They targeted Jet instead. Why?
None of it makes any sense.
The sound of yelling breaks through my thoughts. It’s Rien’s men, cheering again. The strike team is back. Several are wounded, including Muilon. But their faces are radiant with victory. The crowd parts to let them through. They approach the dais where we stand and the crowd falls silent again.
“We have prevailed,” Muilon announces in his clear voice. “We have killed the humans on the sea wall, and wedged the entrances on either end and in the intermediate tower. As far as we could tell, our attack went unnoticed beyond the sea wall. We lost two, and three are wounded, including myself, but still capable of combat. Now, we go to secure the route to the bridge.” He and his archers and swordsmen move to the left, followed by Raichon and Lynae, into the alcove where Jet’s henchmen open the trapdoor down to the tunnel. Raichon’s pack is still wriggling. Lynae’s blade is red with human blood.
I stare after Raichon and Lynae, wondering which of the two are more ruthless. Raichon paid for and used the bodies of murdered innocents - including children – so that he could more safely and quietly build the escape tunnel. Lynae used her allure to seduce Jet and hide herself within his organization, to seduce the human Captain so he would pledge his ships to aid our escape and set fire to the human harbor, and she attempted to use her charms on me and Enturi as well. Both have proved that they will do whatever it takes to ensure the success of their ambitious escape plan.
Whatever it takes.
I glance at Enturi, then back at Raichon and Lynae, disappearing down the staircase into the room leading to the escape tunnel. And I begin to understand the truth.
“Enturi?” I whisper again.
“What is it?” He looks around nervously. “Arq, this isn’t the time.”
“Where did you meet the other ward bosses?”
“In their lairs.”
“And they invited Rien into their secret hideouts? Jet would never have done that.”
“The other elves wouldn’t either. We surprised them with a large group of enforcers and demanded to speak with each ward boss. Eventually, they came out and we convinced them to join us.”
“Enturi,” I lower my voice even further. “How do you think Rien knew where their hideouts were?”