The New Freeglader

Chapter 20

Eavis strode into the Council Hall, where the Council of Eight was waiting. She bowed and moved up to the great, round table without waiting for an invitation.

"I have an answer to the problem of the Guardian of the Night," she said.

"Indeed," said Parsimmon, slightly amused.

"If we can find out from him where the Guardians are now based, we can infiltrate. Send someone in," Eavis said.

This was also what we had decided, Cancaresse's voice whispered in their heads.

"However," Cowlquape said, "We are also aware of the fact that it is dangerous. Infiltration may, at any moment, be met with death if not handled properly. We know nothing of their society, except what sources may tell us, and even though we have a former Guardian on our side," he looked at Xanth, "We cannot say how the society has changed. It is unfair to ask someone to risk their lives on a mission we know so little about."

Eavis looked a little like the rug had been pulled out from under her, but she recovered quickly. "I volunteer," she said. "You can't ask someone to go, so I volunteer, because I had thought of it already and made up my mind."

"Then we're going with her," said Xanth. "I know about the Guardians. You must admit, it makes sense."

"Nothing could make us stay behind," said Rook.

"I thought so," said Eavis. "I don't suppose me saying anything about how easily Xanth will be recognised will be of any use?"

Suddenly, Xanth grabbed her by the shoulders and spun her around. "I'm not staying behind again like a coward while my friends fight off the Guardians if I can help at all," he said, the look on his face warning Eavis not to argue. "I won't do it."

"Masks," Rook suggested. "He and I can wear masks."

"We'll play on their superstition," Eavis said thoughtfully. "I'll disguise myself as a…sorceress, or wise woman, or something, and we'll put you two in cloaks and masks…"

"And we'll be silent," Xanth said, "So no-one will recognise my voice."

Then it's decided, thought Cancaresse. The three of you will go, and you will bring back information.

They nodded.

"We will leave as soon as possible," said Xanth.