“By Quinton’s beard, you are the most incorrigible-,” Desmon said, slamming the saucer against the edge of the table. Before the broken half could hit the floor, Jalem repaired it and replaced it, clean, on the top shelf of the pantry.

            “Explain to me how you could let him do such a thing!”

            Jalem leaned against the cupboard, folded her arms across her chest and said, “No.”

            “Nothing good will come out of this, Jalem. You know that!” Desmon reached for something else to break, stuffing his fists in his pockets instead. “We can barely breathe now. What he’s doing is-.”

            “What he’s doing is his choice. He doesn’t need your permission, nor does he have to testify before you. You do not have the responsibility of the trial masters. You do not have the authority to contort yourself into someone you’re not meant to be.”

            “Don’t tell me whom I’m meant to be.” Desmon looked around the house; Jalem’s eyes followed him. “You’ve been packing.”

            “It’s only a matter of time, Desmon. I see no reason why the things I own, that define me, should end up in the magistrates’ possession. The museums they brag about so often? Do you realize how many of those items were stripped away from their rightful owners? Yes, they are only things, but I will not let the tyrants keep what they did not create.”

            “You sound like my father,” Desmon said. “Only difference is, he’s collecting things.”

            Jalem didn’t say anything, aware that what her friend probably saw was but the smallest portion of things that brave Rune Noble was going to safeguard, then smuggle out of the magistrates’ reach.

            “Please, talk him out of it, Jalem. Please?”

            She answered him with a thin smile.