Urdru's lips twitched into a grin, then twitched again as though it had gone sour or couldn't decide if something was funny or distasteful. ?So has Jonas. None of them could pierce the defences of the 'holy city'.?
Still lounging lazily, Livia turned from her view of the empty space and faced Urdru. She glared at him skeptically, and said sarcastically, ?Ok, so, this city that we can?t see? we also can?t get into. Good thing you came along to sort that all out for us.?
Kristoph cast a warning glance at Livia, but said nothing. Sometimes her sarcasm was an asset, other times it wasn't needed, at least he felt so. One of the benefits of her and Brend working closely together, he mused, was that then they could each deal with each others attitudes. It didn't seem like her attitude phased Urdru in the slightest, however, and the older man kept talking.
?Of course it is,? Urdru smiled, as though self satisfied. ?I knew you'd recognize it sooner or later.?
?The only thing she is likely to have realized,? Kristoph had found his voice again, and had to interrupt. ?Is that every word you utter takes you closer to the end of your life,? he cast a brief peripheral glance at Livia, ?And not of old age.?
?If I could crow without coughing,? Urdru's eyes glittered and he smiled with humour that seemed suddenly dark, coloured as it was with the discussion of his ending. ?I would. You're completely right, and completely wrong at the same time.? He actually waggled his brows. Somewhere in the peanut gallery, Brend groaned, and Urdru spoke again. ?I said none of you could breach the defences, open the gates to the city; I didn't say I couldn't.?
Livia appeared genuinely interested now. Not wishing to invite another glare from their leader, she chose to stay silent.
Fiona still watched Urdru closely, noting how his age seemed to be taking its toll on his health. She wondered just how old he must be, and if he used his playful taunts and jovial anecdotes to cover up just how close he was to his end as a defence mechanism. If he could, in fact, do what he claimed, it would certainly cause him further strain. ?What can we do to help?? she asked, trying to sound supportive.