“You knew if you left Jeamo and Calmorien alive, sooner or later one of them would slip up and reveal the work that they had done for you,” I say. “So you played a dangerous game within our mission, leading us subtly to serve your own ends, doing what was necessary to protect the liberation movement. Like killing Calmorien before he could reveal any potentially damaging information to me. Like killing Jeamo before the egg stalker poison wore off, so he couldn’t talk if Enturi and Bolin caught up to us in the sewer.”
“Jeamo and Calmorien were sick monsters,” says Lynae, tying a knot in the cloth of her cloak around one of her legs. “They deserved death.”
“Yeah,” I agree. “But they were monsters you created. You are responsible for their atrocities.”
She looks defiant.
“I did what I had to do. There are hundreds of elves marching north, on their way home, free from slavery and subjugation because a few of us made the hard choices necessary to secure their freedom. And Jeamo and Calmorien are dead now, so what does it matter?”
“You tell me,” I say, but Lynae is too busy bandaging her ruined legs to reply.
I grin mirthlessly.
“You must have enjoyed Jet’s little vengeance operation immensely. It almost worked out perfectly for you. There was just one small problem. You couldn’t kill me and Enturi and Bolin together, so you had to let Jet know about the information you recovered. When Enturi told Jet about the scroll, you had to hand it over, or be exposed right there.”
“So what then, smart guy?” she asks contemptuously. She is goading me, I know, hoping to keep me talking so she can salvage the situation. I know it. She knows I know it. But I have to talk this out.
“You had the information you needed, but you had a lot of loose ends to tie up. You figured you could control Jet, so you focused on cleaning up after Jeamo and Calmorien. That’s why you went to his apartment. That’s why you ordered me to take the blood rune to Bolin for destruction. You knew it would explode if placed in the furnace. You were probably hoping that the explosion would be forceful enough to take out Bolin and me, eliminating two people who knew too much.”
She spares me a brief look of smoldering hatred. Looks like I guessed right on that one.
“But we didn’t die in the explosion,” I continue. “Bolin was too smart for that. So again you had to take matters into your own hands. While I was in the escape tunnel killing Raichon’s apprentice . . .” I pause, letting my words sink in. Yeah, I am twisting the dagger in a bit. But this viper deserves it.
“You did that?” she hisses. “Why?”
“While I was in the escape tunnel killing Raichon’s apprentice,” I repeat loudly, overriding her question, “you were at the smelter, murdering Bolin and framing me to take the fall. You returned to Jet with a self-inflicted injury made to look infected, so he would send Triel to summon Bolin to heal you, and so Triel, who hated me anyway, would discover Bolin's murder and the evidence which marked me as his killer.”
I pause again, my anger rising.
“You rotten orcish witch,” I snarl. “Bolin was a good dwarf. Annoying as hell, yeah, but kind and competent and completely without malice. He had done nothing in his time here in Elftown but make things better for the elves that live here. And you killed him for no reason.”
“I killed him to make tonight possible,” she says. “I didn’t like it, but I had to do it.” Her copper eyes flash in the light of the lamp. “Where do you get off criticizing me? You’re the one who is nothing but a filthy violent killer. You admit it. You’ve murdered for no reason. You’ve murdered to advance the mean goals of a crime boss. And you’ve got the gall to call me rotten and orcish? What I did, I did for a good purpose. Can you say the same?”
“I can right now,” I snarl back. “And I’d love to hear your explanation of how it was necessary to kill everyone in Jet’s organization when the only ones who had dangerous information were Jet, Enturi, and me.”
“I didn’t kill Jet,” she insists. “The humans did!”
“That’s a pot full of piss!” I interrupt her. “You’re responsible! When Jet started using the information we acquired from Jeamo to damage his rivals - beginning with the raid on Lainath’s guards - you knew that if he continued, it would undo everything you were working for. So you decided it was time to recover the plans and take Jet out. And somewhere along the line, you figured out that you could kill two fish with one spear. So you leaked the information on Jet’s operation to the humans. They took him out, solving one of your problems. And the completeness of the raid, the total destruction of his entire operation, provided you with the ammunition you needed to get the other bosses to buckle under and go along with your escape plan.”
She returns her full attention to me, having completed binding her severed hamstrings. She lifts her rapier again defensively, moving it back and forth while her other hand slips down to her side. I better keep an eye on it. I don’t want another throwing knife tossed at my throat.
“I have just one question,” I say.
“What’s the real reason you were crying when you found us in Jet’s lair, next to Jet’s beheaded corpse and those of his most loyal elves, ears hacked off?”