"You keep them apart on purpose." Prince Gavan accused.
Heath turned away from the window. "I do."
"Why?" Gavan poured some wine for Heath and himself.
"I think that Keaira should be a scout for the Huntresses. Scouts are solitary. They don't have friends." Heath sat, his sharp gray-green eyes taking in the room. "You took down your portrait."
Gavan glanced at the empty space above his fireplace. "Ah yes. that I did."
"Why?" Heath asked, sipping his wine.
Gavan hesitated, "Kael and Khalon." He answered, "they have no respect for the people. They do not even respect their own father."
"They hope he dies soon." Heath answered. "You will be next on their list."
"I will. Heath, if we do make this journey to request aid from King Calhoun, you must leave some. spies. here. I cannot afford to allow my brothers to take the thrown in my absence." Gavan reached in his pocket and pulled out a small bag of Semota. "I found this in Khalon's room."
Heath nodded, "so he's addicted to Semota? We can use that at some point. And in answer to your request, I have several spies of my own. Your brother, Valin, he may also be a useful tool. Rumor has it that he has found love."
Gavan's eyebrow raised, "love? One of the ladies of a minor house?"
Gavan's other eyebrow raised in mild surprise. "Should we bring her with us, to ensure Valin's loyalty?"
"No, Valin is week of character. Layla, the servant, she is strong. I have had her watched. She was orphaned at 14 with multiple siblings to feed. She pulled through, even built a small cottage in the outskirts of the forest. I think we should speak to her." Heath grabbed the Semota out of Gavan's hand. "Are you sure this was Khalon's?"
Gavan shrugged, "my cleaner found it in his room."
"Semota Awareness is known to raise IQ, improve problem solving and enhance memory. why would Khalon need this? I'd think he would be in the bottle. He doesn't seem like that type that would enjoy Semota." Heath sighed, pulling a pipe from his picket and packing it with some of the Semota. "The Awareness may help us solve this."
Gavan shook his head. "I cannot afford to take the afternoon off. Though you are welcome to stay in here during the Trance state. I assure you, no one will interrupt."
"Do you want me to approach Layla today?" Heath asked, taking a small lamp from the wall to use to light the Semota.
Gavan only shook his head and returned to the window, watching Iluska ride out into the training field. "So she has decided to join the Defenders."
"Decided? She demanded it. Something about revenge." Heath shrugged, "she'll never make it through training."
"Queen Iolani is going to be furious when she hears of this." Mumbled Gavan as he exited the room.