“I know Grim, he wasn’t lying. I also know he’s not a murderer. If he killed, he did so for a reason.”
“Every murderer has a reason,” Durban said gently.
For the first time, he caught a flash of anger in Panvia’s eyes. “Grim,” she repeated firmly, “is a man of principle. He’s got a rep for never using lethal force unless he’s backed into it. Ask anyone. Is not just me saying that ‘cos he’s family. If he killed, it would’ve been because he had no choice. Had no way not to do so.” She fixed Durban with her stare as if willing him to believe her. “You need to understand that.”
Durban nodded. “I hear you loud and clear.”
Standing up, Panvia drained her mug to the dregs then set it on the table. “I hope you do,” she said. “Now I need to go try help Ebon. You know where to find me.”
Rising too, Durban gripped her arm. “Thank you. Thank you for passing the message on.”
“Don’t thank me for it. I nearly didn’t, you know?” She looked sick as she spoke. “I nearly broke my word to my own brother.”
Durban released her arm, suddenly uncertain he had read things correctly. Before he could ask, Gernie spoke across him.
“Tell Ebon we’ve got his back on those repairs, will you?”
Panvia gave him a thumbs up and left the room, closing the door behind her. Durban sank back in his seat again.
“I don’t get..?”
Shaking his head, Gernie took a drink of the cooling mulled wine before he responded. “She loves her brother. Grim gave her a second chance and talked his twin into doing so too. Most of the people in her life before, well, before she wound up here, they didn’t. Even her other sister didn’t and still won’t.”
“I get that. What I don’t get is why that would make her reluctant to pass his message on to me.”
Gernie gave a brief laugh.
“Man! You know for someone who can read people the way most read texts, you can be slow on the uptake sometimes.”
Durban smiled at that. “So what am I missing?”
“Panvia knows you, Durban. She knows what you’ve done, the kind of people you hang out with, what they are capable of. And she knows how good they are at it. Right now, she thinks telling you that message has probably just signed her baby brother’s death warrant.”
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