After they arrived in their office space, Sashati sprawled in his office chair and opened the book Arch Lich Chander Daray had suggested would further his education on the Council.
“Reading again?” Diyarta asked. Once forced into teaching, Diyarta had left that life behind her for good. Her preference was to be in a gym sweating rather than burying her nose in between pages.
“I’m an advisor to our leader. I cannot function in that role if I don’t fully understand the Council.”
“Are you suggesting that I’m failing in my role as advisor?” Diyarta asked.
“I believe we have different strengths. You have the ear of the demons. You can advise Hexaniys on how to improve their lives. They are strangers to me and him. In our former realm and here in the Council, advisors have areas of expertise. If we were to study the same thing, our voices would be redundant.”
“You were so wasted as a guard in that palace,” Diyarta remarked.
“As long as I never have to return to such a role, I will have no complaints.”
“The same cannot be said for our people. You want to be an expert on the Council, but you cannot forget your place. Hexaniys lives with the Darays because he is one now. You are not. Hexaniys is safe surrounded by sentinels.”
“So are the demons,” Sashati replied. “They live in the Daray Sentinel Complex.”
“It is a temporary home, or at least it was supposed to be, I believed. They want to embrace being demons, not be forced into training and the things that sentinels love simply because the Imperator is mated to one.”
“No one has asked them to train. I do it because I like it.”
“As do I,” Diyarta said.
“One reason the complex suits them is because of the many classes the sentinels offer in the evenings and on weekends. It was supposed to be an avenue for the demons to learn about the Council and to find something to give their lives purpose. Instead, they shop and rest in their apartments. They will go to restaurants for meals but not to the sentinels’ cafeteria.”
“I told you, they fear being lumped in with the sentinels.”
“They must find hobbies at the very least,” Sashati replied.
“They are recovering from the atrocities they’ve endured.”
“Diyarta, they refuse to even explain what happened while we were here at the behest of Masal’akra. How are we to help them if they will not discuss the war?”
“Perhaps when the wounds are not so fresh, they’ll be more forthcoming.”
“It has been many weeks,” Sashati said.
“They worry about you living with Hexaniys among the sentinel leadership.”
It was a cause of disagreement that had slowly grown between Sashati and Diyarta. The demons supposedly wanted Sashati to live among them, but Hexaniys and the Darays had offered bedrooms to Sashati and Diyarta. His fellow praetor had refused the invitation and gone to the Daray Sentinel Complex.
Sashati was torn between the two places and didn’t know if he was right to stay near Hexaniys, but the demon refused to be dictated to by anyone. That was a life they’d left behind, and the new Imperator gave them plenty of space to make decisions for themselves. The problem, as far as Sashati could see it, was that the demons wanted to do nothing. They spent money and complained to Diyarta instead of exploring the Council.
“The guards of other leaders often elect to share homes or land with them,” Sashati said.
“Demons must find their own path.”
“I’m entitled to do what I choose.”
“Just don’t forget that you’re a demon.”
“How could I ever do that?” Sashati asked.
“It’s easy to get swept away into this world of sorcery and shifters, even though we differ from the others in this world. Our power is lost, and we must never forget how that came to be or that there is no ability to regain it.”
“My hatred for the Imperian burns as brightly as it has since the first time I heard his name,” Sashati growled. The Imperian inspired rage in him like nothing else could, and he doubted any demon lamented the loss of their magic more than Sashati. There was so much of it around them, and it pissed Sashati off to think that if it weren’t for a single man, he’d be casting spells alongside his new allies.
“I wish I had been alive in those days. I would’ve slit his throat myself.”
“Get in line, Diyarta,” Sashati retorted.