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   Chapter 21 Councilor

Councilor: Book Six of The Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 18972

Updated: 2018-02-26 16:46

Chapter 21

The morning of the council meeting dawned and Elena declined breakfast when Benjamin offered her a bowl of the hot grain cereal. "Just coffee today, " she told him. Inside she felt a mix of relief that the day finally arrived and anxiety that she would not be able to pull off this high wire act.

Benjamin shook his head. "You'll need more than coffee to get through the council session, " he reminded her.

"I think I'll just eat after, " She told him. "I don't think I'll be able to keep anything else down."

"Are they still trying to go to war?" he asked.

"I don't know, " Elena replied honestly. With all of the other thoughts circling in her head she hadn't spoken to the other councilors about their positions. "I'm just giving a status report on the new Council chambers."

"There is progress?" Thompson asked. "I wouldn't expect them to be building in this." The three of them listened to the steady tattoo of rain that became the standard backdrop in the last few days as the rainy season set in. While dinnertime was still a sprawling affair, with Thompson's father gone, Jennifer spending time with Devon when she wasn't practicing opening the new channel and Bob and Lisa relocating to a small house in town rather than sharing the larger quarters, morning returned to just the three of them.

"Kiera reported the area cleared of all relative artifacts or however she puts it, just before the rainy season started. While no actual ground breaking work will be done until the weather clears again, we have a contractor in charge who is making sure to stockpile materials and gather work crews." She shook her head thinking of Frank Willis, their contractor. "He sounds more like he is planning an invasion fleet rather than a building project, but if that's what it takes to pull this off I am all for it."

She finished her coffee and stood. "Better get going, " she told them trying to squash the nervous butterflies in her belly.

"I'll make sure dinner is extra hardy to make up for missing breakfast and no doubt picking at lunch if the meeting lasts that long." Benjamin told her.

"Thanks, " Elena replied, gathering the last of the papers she would need for the meeting. She placed them in her waterproof satchel, slinging the strap over her shoulder. The yellow rain slicker went on top and she pulled the yellow rubber boots over her regular sneakers. She then picked up one of the umbrellas from the stand and headed out of the door. This would be no quick meeting in a diner with Peter.

This would be an actual Council meeting.

On her way through town, Elena stopped to pick up Lisa who was planning to be in attendance. Elena smiled as she realized her friend was strung as tightly as she was. They walked through town, Elena returning the polite greetings she was given from the few people they passed. Most were hunkered down inside away from the wet. The Librarians arranged for one of their scriptoriums to be used as a temporary meeting space for the Council and Elena and Lisa turned their steps towards the crossroads.

Once in the doorway, umbrellas were snapped shut in a spray of droplets and outerwear was passed to a cheerful Librarian manning a pop up coat check. Divested of their dripping rain gear they made their way to the chambers.

"Good morning grandfather, " Elena said as they stepped into the room. "And to you as well Peter." Elena said spotting the two men who arrived before her. Lisa murmured a polite hello and went to stand with the two large men in the back of the room. The two bodyguards seemed somewhat nonplussed by her joining them. Elena thought Lisa would be amused by that, but turned her attention back to the two men in front of her. She noticed the white edge of a bandage sticking out from under Peter's shirt sleeve.

"Were you hurt?" she asked moving forward instinctively. Both men exchanged looks and then Peter smiled at her concern.

"Nothing major, just a slight accident." He told her.

An indignant snort sounded in the doorway and the three of them turned at the sound. Alex Barton and Robert Anderson arrived and Elena could see Riko behind them in the hall as their bodyguards shuffled off to join the others. The snort seemed to come from Alex. Elena frowned as she noticed other bruises and cuts on both men.

"Slight accidents seem to be much more common these days, " Robert replied dryly. The Librarians provided a steaming kettle of what Elena heard referred to as Sea-es and she watched as Robert walked over and poured himself a mug.

"Nothing accidental about them, " Alex said angrily picking up his own mug and filling it in jerky motions. The final two councilors, Siobhan Connelly and John Havers joined the group, their bodyguards joining the pack. Elena studied them and noticed that they too had various scrapes and bruises. She frowned.

"Is something going on?" She asked, her gaze shifting from one to another. She, Alexandro and Riko seemed to be the only ones without injuries.

"Perhaps we can make that the first topic of discussion?" Siobhan said taking her own mug of the steaming brew before making her way to one of the provided desks placed in a semi-circle for their meeting. Elena noticed that in addition to a scrape along her left cheek and a bruise on her left arm, she was limping slightly. Elena filled a mug and took her own seat wondering what was going on.

Once they were all seated Alex looked at her. Elena saw the bodyguards, and Lisa, shuffle into place behind them and saw the man she thought of as the court reporter take his place off to the side. She could practically feel Lisa stan

ll, " She continued. "And I will be remaining in Haven until these matters are cleared up. In addition, those who sail for my House are slowly beginning ceasing to journey to Grant's Inlet. I thought if the process was slow rather than abrupt, it would not raise as many flags." She concluded.

While Alex looked as though he were sucking on a lemon, the rest of the Council approved her actions and Siobhan called a vote to hold all future Council meetings on Haven until Elena was cleared to return earthside. The vote passed and the Council session ended.

Elena stood feeling the tight knot of tension in her belly start to loosen. She introduced the possibility of allowing council retirement and Therese's new friends were not brought up. All in all, things went well. As they left, Alexandro nodded and smiled to her, but maintained his distance. She had not spoken to him about either Therese or retirement since she first broached the topics. While he occasionally joined their somewhat rambunctious group for family dinners, he maintained a distance and made certain not to bring the topic up.

Elena thought he was avoiding her, but didn't quite know what the avoidance meant. Had Therese listened to reason? Had Elizabeth convinced Therese to serve as a double agent gathering information from her new friends to help the Guild? Or had Therese begun picking out knives?

The only thing she knew for certain was that according to Benjamin's watchers, Therese and her new friends started routinely meeting aboard Therese's ship, La Piccola Principessa. She assumed it was because they realized they were being watched and wanted to cut down on the possibility of being overheard. What they were discussing was another worry for Elena. Not knowing any concrete details about anything was beginning to burn a hole in her belly as the worry ate at her.

As they walked back to quarters Elena tried to figure out a way to get her grandfather to talk to her. She knew it was a risky prospect. Alexandro talked when he wanted and not before. She knew by his actions, he decided not to talk, but couldn't stop herself from trying to figure out a way around that. Beside her, Lisa was trying to contain her excitement. They reached her quarters and once the door was safely closed behind them, Lisa let out a squeal of joy and did a short dance. Benjamin and Thompson were both in the living room and looked over with amusement.

"I take it the meeting went well?" Benjamin asked.

"As well as could be expected, " Elena told them.

"I need to go tell Evan, " Lisa said turning back towards the door. "I promised to give him the play by play as soon as it was done. I just had to get the happy dance out first."

"Just remember…, " Elena began.

"No one but Evan, I promise, " Lisa replied cutting Elena's warning off. She pulled the door open and left the building, no doubt heading to the crossroads.

"Does that no one but Evan include us?" Benjamin asked.

Elena sighed. "At the moment, that is part of a confidential project. However, I can tell you that the Council has decided against armada building and that I will be remaining in Haven until whatever governmental agency that has decided I am a person of interest loses interest in me."

"That could take a while, " Thompson told her.

"It could, " Elena replied. "And as Victor reported increased interest lately, I have the feeling that the rest of you may be joining me in my forced exile for a while."

"Because we know too much?" Thompson asked.

"Especially Lisa, " Elena said nodding. "Although I don't think that has occurred to her yet."

"I'd let her have her moment of giddiness first, " Benjamin suggested. "You can always tell her she can't go home for a while later."

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