The boy was not happy about Agmund’s presence, but he was more than willing to lay out the details of the attack. The Nedetakaei nest had at least ten human hostages, was in the middle of what had been a very populous area before the gods came to town, and had been lain with booby-traps, Worked wards, and at least three explosive trip-lines.
“They don’t want anyone coming in to them, but they’re not going out much, either. They come out just after dark, about every fourth day — no set pattern, but it’s been three days with nothing, so hopefully today’s the day — but they always bring at least two of their hostages, and they go out in two-person teams. If we want to wipe out all three, we have to get the two when they’re out —”
“And then beard the third in the lair or hope they come out. Da. Roof attack?”
“Booby-trapped.” Dominic smiled grimly. “It’s almost as if they expected combat-ready opponents with wings.”
“Always said, Mara’s greatest failing was predictability. But you.” Agmund tapped the boy’s shoulder. “You are not a Mara, no?”
The boy folded up a bit. “Don’t need to rub it in,” he muttered.
“Who is rubbing in? I am not a Mara, either.” Agmund dropped his Mask for a moment, letting the bearishness of his features show through. “So we are not so predictable. What about up from underneath?”
“Under… never thought of that.” The boy’s wings twitched in a habit he’d probably picked up from Luke. The fliers that didn’t study under him didn’t get that habit of nervous telegraphing in quite the same way.
“Then we should look, no, and hope they did not think of it either. Think of it this way,” Agmund offered, with a large grin, “it is much cleaner now than it would have been a year ago.”
Dominic made a face. “Sewers. I hate sewers, even clean ones. But it’s not a bad idea.”
“If back-up had come, what would your plan have been then?”
“Like I said, wait for the two to come out, then storm the place. I don’t want any hostages to die… but the Nedetakaei have to be taken out. They’re too dangerous otherwise.”
“Willing to try it my way, this time?”
Dominic studied him. “Well, you’re the grown-up, and you came to back me up.”
“You are a grown-up too,” Agmund reminded him. “I was there when you received your name, Shifting Shield.”
“But you’re the one with the experience,” Dominic countered. “So your plan wins this time. We go from below?”
“We go from below,” Agmund agreed. “And we go quietly, when the first ones leave.” He growled an Idu out, sending his senses through the street below, and was pleased to hear Dominic do the same.
The boy didn’t appear to have the words for Earth or Worked things, but with a mutter to himself (“Everything has air and water;” he sounded as if he was quoting someone), he did a Working to Know the air and water beneath their feet. The two patterns together would tell them where they were going.
“There,” they pointed at the same time. The manhole cover was just a few yards from their feet. And, as if on cue, the back door to the warehouse opened and two Nedetakaei exited.
Agmund nodded to the boy, and they got to work. It might be messy, but the Bear could go back to Addergoole and tell Luke that one more of his Students had survived. That, in Agmund’s opinion, was worth far more than wading through a sewer.
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