The five council members sat in an eerie stillness as their meal was served. This was not, after all, a discussion to be had in the company or presence of others. Even after the door closed, sealing them off from the outside world, they merely turned their attentions to their meals, four robes and one nun's habit rustling, the only sound.

"I won't apologize for it," GrandFather Rupert announced finally.

"You never do," Mother Eurydice hissed. "It is becoming an issue Rupert. How the others tolerate it I shall never know."

Rupert rolled his eyes and looked away, reaching up to slick back the remaining gray hairs that adorned his head. "Probably because none of us are so shrill as you," he shot back shaking his head. "Besides, what is done is done. We can't very well change that now, can we?"

GrandFather Nicholas raised his hand to keep Eurydice from replying. "Enough," he snapped shaking his head. "None of us have time to bicker. We must focus on our tasks at hand. Euridyce is right that you did act out of hand. And if it is done again I will see that you pay for it dearly. As for you Eurydice, what is done is done. He has that much right. It is not your place to judge nor discipline him or any of the others. You can be easily replaced. Remember that. Now, we do not have time to bicker. Events are moving more quickly than any of us anticipated and we must deal with it now or let the opportunity given to us slip through our fingers. Are we all in agreement?"

The council exchanged glances before looking back at Nicholas and nodding a little anxiously. Of their group, he was by far the most powerful. And though there were days when they absolutely hated him, none of them were stupid enough to challenge him. It was simply better to let his insults and overbearing demeanor slide. One day there would be someone more powerful than him and they would let that one deal with him. They had their own concerns.

"But what can we do?" Revered GrandFather Lawrence asked. "The boy has been told. The channel was not allowed to open naturally and properly. We have no idea what it could mean for his ability."

A murmur of agreement met the man's words. None of them had expected Silence to admit that he was the boy's father. Then again, none of them had expected Rupert to allow assassins to make their way into the compound either.

"Perhaps we can use him as an... experiment," Esteemed GrandFather Maurice suggested. "After all, we have the control kept away. It should be intriguing to see how he develops now that he knows the truth. Well, some of the truth. I do not think that even Silence knows what he has helped to create with his... indiscretions."

A dark laugh flicked around the room. Maurice was right and they were all pleased now that they were thinking along the same lines. After all, not even the control subject knew what they were looking for, though it was making slow progress.

"What did it say today?" Rupert asked looking around at the other council members. "Who was to step in today?"

"It was Eurydice's turn today," Maurice said as they all turned their attention to the only woman amongst their number.

Eurydice leaned back in her chair and shrugged. "What does the little runt say every day?" she asked. "Sometimes I think it is too stupid to live!"

"Stupid or not," Nicholas cautioned. "We need it. It will come into it's own one day. We simply must give it time. If we do not have the patience to wait than we shall not harvest the proper fruits." They had once all rolled their eyes at such sayings, but even their silliness had a hidden truth in them. They simply had to wait. None of them wanted to, but it was necessary if their plans were to come together correctly. They had all been planning this too long to allow it to spoil now.

Lawrence sighed. "What do we do than?" he asked as he began to pick at his food. "Our only option now seems to be to continue to wait. It seems to me that we are still missing one variable," he pointed out. "What about the Nzombiy girl. If she becomes any more aware, she will realize what Silence is."

"She cannot leave anyway," Maurice pointed out. "What is there to worry from her? She's trapped here with the rest of them. It is not as if she can leave the compound. That is one of the rules of their companions isn't it?"

"And thank God for that!" Rupert declared shaking his head. "The last thing we need is that girl out and about again. Or for Lynuel to have the chance to inform her father of her status or whereabouts."

Eurydice shook her head. "We shall only be able to play that game so long," she insisted. "We'll have to deal with the girl and with Father Joquay soon. He cannot be allowed to continue to meddle in our affairs or in the affairs of state. If he is allowed to continue, there is no knowing what he'll do. For all we know he could already know his daughter is here. And if he knows than there will be nothing to stop him from getting her back. It would be just what those damn things need to finally get through to the government."

"You doubt our hold on the officials?" Nicholas asked looking properly insulted. "Really Eurydice. It is not as if we keep a leash on them like we do Silence. We do something far more fitting and controlling with them. We use fear. Or have you forgotten?"

The woman shrugged. "I leave those fools to you," she pointed out. "Honestly I have no interest in touching any of them. None of them have a brain worth developing anyway." Another murmur of agreement went through the room.

"We still have not decided what we are to do," Lawrence pointed out. "We have to make a choice and it must be now. If we waste anymore time there is no knowing what the consequences could be."

"Than I have just the idea," Nicholas said tapping his fingers. "I think it is time we had another martyr... or a group of them."

"What of Marcus?" Maurice asked sharply.

Nicholas shrugged. "My grandson has served his usefulness. The boy is a fool in the first place. And if he dies than God shall take his soul, I do not doubt. If he lives, than perhaps he has some further use to us all yet. I do not care."

A shiver went up four spines. No one ever crossed Nicholas. Not even blood.