“It will accomplish something,” said Gwyn. “It will drive out the Downworlders who call Brocelind home—all the faeries and the werewolf packs who have lived here for generations.”
“It is an excuse, I believe, to begin driving the Downworlders out of Idris,” said Jia. “Dearborn intends to use the current mood of fear among the Nephilim to push for stricter anti-Downworlder laws. I knew he would, but I did not expect his attempt to empty Idris of Downworlders to come so quickly.”
“Do you think the Clave would ever fall in line with him?” asked Diana.
“I fear so,” Jia said with a rarely expressed bitterness. “They are focused so much on their fear and hatred that they don’t even see where they are injuring themselves. They would eat a poisoned banquet if they thought Downworlders were feasting beside them.”
Diana hugged her arms around herself to keep from shivering. “So what can we do?”
“Horace has called a meeting in two days. It will be his first opportunity to present his plans to the public. People respect you—the Wrayburns are a proud family and you fought bravely in the Dark War. There must be those of us who stand up to resist him. So many are afraid to speak out.”
“I am not afraid,” said Diana, and she saw Gwyn give her a warm look of admiration.
“The world can change so quickly,” Jia said. “One day the future seems hopeful, and the next day clouds of hate and bigotry have gathered as if blown in from some as yet unimagined sea.”
“They were always there, Jia,” said Diana. “Even if we did not want to acknowledge them. They were always on the horizon.”
Jia looked weary, and Diana wondered if she had walked all the way here, though she doubted it was physical exertion that had tired the Consul. “I do not know if we can gather enough strength to clear the skies again.”
* * *
“Okay,” said Kit. “First we’re going to make a tension wrench out of a paper clip.”
“We’re going to make a what out of a what?” Dru hooked her hair behind her ears and looked at Kit with wide eyes. They were both sitting on top of one of the long tables in the library, with a padlock and a pile of paper clips in between them.
He groaned. “Don’t tell me you don’t know what a paper clip is.”
She looked indignant. “Of course I do. Those.” She jabbed a finger. “But what are we making?”
“I’ll show you. Take a clip.”
She picked one up.
“Bend it into an L shape,” he instructed. “The straight part is the top part. Okay, good.” Her face was screwed up with concentration. She was wearing a black T-shirt that said FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE on it and featured a cracked tombstone.
Kit picked up a second clip and straightened it completely. “This is your pick,” he said. “What you’re holding is the tension wrench.”
“Okay,” she said. “Now how do you pick the lock?”
He laughed. “Hold your horses. Okay, pick up the padlock—you’re going to take the tension wrench and insert it into the bottom of the keyhole, which is called the shear line.”
Dru did as he’d instructed. Her tongue poked out one corner of her mouth: She looked like a little girl concentrating on a book.
“Turn it in the direction that the lock would turn,” he said. “Not left—there you go. Like that. Now take the pick with your other hand.”
“No, wait—” She laughed. “That’s confusing.”
“Okay, I’ll show you.” He slid the second clip into the lock itself and began to rake it back and forth, trying to push the pins up. His father had taught him how to feel the pins with his lock pick—this lock had five—and he began to fiddle gently, raising one pin after another. “Turn your wrench,” he said suddenly, and Dru jumped. “Turn it to the right.”
She twisted, and the padlock popped open. Dru gave a muted scream. “That’s so cool!”
Kit felt like smiling at her—it had never occurred to him to want a little sister, but there was something nice about having someone to teach things to.
“Does Ty know how to do this?” she asked.