In the officer’s mess, Lieutenant Firedrake sat on a bench with her elbows on the rough wooden table, chin in hands, staring down disconsolately at the infuscation on her left forearm.
The enchorial brand of the Noetican high military etched into the skin denoted her country, battalion and rank. The tattoo had altered over the years as new details were added, becoming more elaborate with every promotion. It was quite complex now.
Her pupils suddenly contracted and her eyebrows furrowed as she sat up and slammed her fist on the wood, making both her tankard and the surrounding soldiers jump slightly. None of them asked her what was wrong, they already knew that the operation to close the temples of Seraphina and prevent any of the followers leaving had been a failure, that when they entered the main temple, nobody was in there.
Meaning that they’d been forewarned.
She hated the idea of a traitor within the midst of her ranks. Hated the idea that it had to be somebody she trusted, because she always played her cards close to her chest. She trusted very few people with the knowledge of which temple they were targeting, only telling those who she needed to, but they might have betrayed her or let it slip and been betrayed in turn. Now there would have to be a lengthy and unpleasant investigation to find out where the leak came from.
Dammit! Why couldn’t people keep their mouths shut?