"The house is not secured, Lady. I cannot sanction your leaving just yet."
Thaldis was in his black armor, a choice Kiraleen had come to interpret as meaning business. She gazed past her bodyguard to the center of the Spirit Rise, where Goldsworth kept Iantha entertained with minor water-and-sparkle spells and floating her stuffed animals.
"I'm packed and ready to leave as soon as Meia arrives," she said, turning back to Thaldis. "Which should be within the hour. I was supposed to be in Silvermoon a week ago. The Convocation can be stalled only so much longer."
"I understand this is not your choice." An understatement. The look on the blood knight's face when she handed him Lor'themar's letter detailing attempts by a faction of Silvermoon's nobility urging negotiations with the Iron Horde had been priceless. "However, the new wards from the Pandaria experiments haven't been implemented. Tomorrow, I was told. Definitely." Or else hung unspoken in the air.
"There's also the matter of three of your staff... ex-staff, rather."
Kiraleen looked at him sharply. "What happened?"
"They helped themselves to some of the household furnishings. I hope you weren't too attached to the sitting room's curio boxes or the silverware."
"No... did they try to take anything from my room? Or Iantha's? Or the Master's retreat?" She paused. "Were they recommended by Lord Verilore? Or Lady Sunrunner?"
Thaldis smiled without humor. "Judging by the hands scorched to the bone, 'try' is the appropriate word, Lady. And no, they were independent hires for the summer."
"Of course," she sighed. She could either inveigle the meadery people, or turn to friendly Houses for help. Neither of which appealed to her. Was her own judgement of people that bad? "They won't be able to find other work. Punishment enough. No need to inform the Guardians."
Guardians. She still hadn't written Aerana. Verilore had told her of the Twilight Empire's troubles at the Ripe Corn festival. Kiraleen had meant to send a note to Aerana offering encouragement and help, but she hadn't known what to say, at first. Then Iantha had gotten sick, her first true illness. Between Iantha and Outrider responsibilities, she hadn't found the time.
Iantha had recovered fully, the chilly autumn weather and fierce storms discouraged looters and spies alike. But now the Regent Lord wanted all his supporters in Silvermoon to assist in heading off a supreme bout of stupidity before it took root in the Convocation as a whole. Kiraleen felt some sympathy for the let's-negotiate faction. Many sin'dorei still alive remembered the orcs' attack on Quel'thalas, and from all accounts the Iron Horde had reached Blackrock Mountain with terrifying speed. Too much of the Eastern Kingdom, not just Quel'thalas, was vulnerable.
If the rumors about how and why the invaders had been able to strike so hard and fast from the Dark Portal were true, negotiation simply wasn't an option.
"If you'll open a portal in the morning, Lady, I can oversee the new wards' installations. As soon as the work is done, you can follow."
And you can report to Lor'themar. An unkind thought. She had no proof, aside from the fact the Regent-Lord had approved of her choice.
Kiraleen nodded. "Of course, sir."
Thaldis didn't quite smile at the honorific. His expression turned to quickly hidden dismay as Iantha rushed over and hugged his legs, urging "Thal" to come play. A soaking wet Iantha.
Kiraleen ducked her head to hide her own smile, and slipped inside her personal tent to dig out dry clothes for her daughter. Her bodyguard could dress himself.