The atmosphere was tense. None of the captains and lieutenants standing in the sparsely decorated cabin of the Mirade wanted to break the silence, so they could only wait for their great leader to speak. Around them, the timbers of the airship creaked from the wind outside, adding to the tension they felt.
In the dim light, Cornelius Rellen sat in somber silence staring a a knife that lay on the desk before him. He had been in this state of brooding ever since he had come aboard the Mirade after the Relleiux had been crippled.
Had Zoey witnessed this scene, she would have recognized the knife as the same one she had left behind when she had killed the man in black by the crater. She had never recovered the knife when she had fled, and now it was here.
Cornellius Rellen had taken the knife from his younger brother when Markus returned from that fateful trip. Now, he was simply staring at it, wondering who in the name of all the gods was the the person that created it. He knew that the woman he hunted was the one that made the knife, and he had no delusions that she was also the one responsible for the destruction of his flagship, but how had she done it? Who was she?
The knife he had before him had some clues. Even the best artificers and array masters that the Rellen family had at their disposal had been unable to decipher the arrays that had been placed on the knife. The arrays were so intricate and complex that they were unable to even copy the array, much less decipher it.
His artificers and array masters were able to discover some of the knife's functions, like the incredibly sharp magical blade that it could produce, and the deadly poison it could excrete, but duplicating the effect was impossible on such a scale and with such incredible precision. If they were to try and produce a blade and replicate the magical blade with their own skills and array, it would have to be a monster two meters long just to contain the array, and the power to maintain it for even a minute could fuel a Kreppelin for an entire day! They were unable to produce the same complexity and efficiency with their understanding, and since they were unable to decipher the array on the knife, they were unable to duplicate the design.
Besides that, the design and quality of the weapon was incredible. The steel had superb strength, and it was better made than the majority of the weapons that the Rellen house possessed.
The verdict was that the maker of this weapon was someone extraordinary, or extraordinarily lucky to have found this weapon somewhere. But Cornelius felt differently. All the evidence said that the Harmonic Heritage carrier was the origin of this knife. She had routinely come forth with items and weapons that were comparable to legends and myths.
Cornelius had heard about the thundering magical weapon that killed before you knew it was in her hands, and the blinding flash bombs she threw. The mercenaries in Sand Pit had given information of gas that she used that made it hard to breath, and grenades that stunned you. There had also been tiny metal spiders that fired webs that shocked and stunned anyone unfortunate enough to walk into them. And finally there was the more recent complete destruction of his flagship from a distance of two and a half kilometers away.
Whatever weapon that woman used had destroyed both masts, blasted open the stern, and cracked the keel, leaving behind damage too severe to repair in the field. They could either spend a massive amount of time and effort to recover the Kreppelin, or they could burn it.
Cornelius had decided to burn it. This was a reminder to himself that he should have never underestimated his target, and that even he, leader of the Rellen house, could fail if he was allowed to become complacent. His flagship and his pride had both been sunk with a single shot, and he was not the type to forgive such a slight. Even now his red eyes smouldered with anger, but his thoughts were clear.
He knew what he had to do.
"How long until we reach the city?" He tersly asked one of the captains.
"Two days, my Lord," came the nervous response.
"Has word been sent to the east?" Cornelius questioned.
"Yes my Lord. All sleeper cells have been sent the information on the target. When she gets there, we will know," the captain replied.
"Good. Increase our speed. I want to be in Colten as soon as possible. Dismissed."
"Yes, my Lord!"
The captains and lieutenants all pounded their fists on their chests in salute and filed out, leaving Cornelius alone in the dim cabin surrounded by the creaking timbers.
He picked up the knife and spun it in his hands.
His prey could keep her freedom for now, but she would belong to him eventually.
He had been complacent before, but next time, he would be properly prepared.
Even if he had to bring that insane sister of his out of her prison and set her loose, he would have her.
Her Heritage, her body, her mind, her secrets... all of them would be in his hands eventually.
That, he was certain of.