There was a great deal to be gleaned from this tableaux, from the way in which the pair responded and interacted with other. He had suspected it before now. Michas had suspected it years ago in Osgiliath but now there was little doubt at all. Beregon cleared his throat as he neared and saw her eyes flick to his impatiently as if she had already marked his presence and did not overly much care. Halvarin, though, slid off the table he had perched upon and turned about to regard him. ”What now?” Beregon inquired, deciding to take the bit between his teeth. Amarwen’s brows lifted at the question, ”I was hoping you might tell me. Have you, or have you not, been leading this year past?” “I have,” he affirmed, ”But I presume you are here to reclaim it.” “Well, now,” she replied smoothly, glancing aside to where Halvarin stood, ”That all depends on how much of a mess it is.” “There’s no mess at all, your Grace.” “The caches of weapons?” “Secure and growing, though not as fast as I would like.” Amarwen drummed her fingers on the table for a moment, ”And what tidings from Rhovanion? Hal, here, has informed me that an army is being raised.” “If you were a diligent student of your family history, my Lady, you would be aware that raising armies takes time. Particularly when assembling them from a loosely organised people.” She pressed out a sigh at that and Beregon tried to regain the upper hand, ”Just what are you going to do with that Guild ship in your harbour?” Amarwen shrugged, ”Lord Hurian is eager to secure an arrangement that would behove Edholland’s coffers quite well.” “You will to not only trade with Castamir, you are prepared to equip and supply him?!” Beregon asked, astonished at what he was hearing. ”The problem, Beregon, is that you only see and hear that which confirms conclusions you have already reached,” she sighed, ”Edholland will re-supply select ships, those either already sympathetic to Eldacar’s cause or those we are likely to sway. And if Edholland’s coffers grow fat with coin Castamir can not use for other purposes, so much the better.” He blinked at her, ”You mean to steal Castamir’s fleet from under him.” “Naturally,” Amarwen answered as he had just asked whether the sun rose in the east, ”Eldacar will need both ocean and river vessels for the Anduin cannot again be allowed to divide his forces as it did before.” “You don’t have the reach within the Guild.” Amarwen smiled at Beregon’s statement, ”You are mistaken.” “One Guild officer is not enough, no matter how satisfactorily he may warm your bed.” As soon as he said it, Beregon regretted it. Halvarin bristled immediately but Amarwen merely sat back and considered him. A small smile played over her lips. ”This one Guild Officer has done far more than many for our cause,” she said softly, brushing her fingers against the back of Halvarin’s hand, ”Have you anything else to offer, Beregon?” The question made his jaw bunch, ”No.” “The matter is settled, then.” “No, it most certainly is not,” Beregon returned, ”Do you know how many people have tried, and failed, to infiltrate the Guild? What you propose now is a complete reversal of-” ”Do you know which of our people were compromised, aside from yourself? Do you know who the traitor is?” “No,” he ground out through his teeth, aware that she was firing questions to throw him off balance. ”Two years and not even that,” Amarwen shook her head at him. ”Be that as it may, your Grace, my point stands. For instance, how can you be sure that only sympathetic ships are re-supplied from Edholland. What is to stop Lord Hurian from seeking to expand further?” “The same thing that prevented him from using my mother’s treasury,” Amarwen answered, ”Lord Hurian desires peace and he is clever enough to know that he will not have it until the king is returned to his throne.” Beregon switched tactics again, ”Presume, then, that you succeed. Then what? Turn the Guild upon itself and destroy it?” “The Guild will destroy itself on its current path. I need not lift a finger to bring that to pass,” she said with a toss of her head, ” Gondor needs the Guild if Eldacar is to return. It cannot be done without them. They brought us Castamir and they will take him down once more.” “They turned their back on your father and slaughtered your mother,” he decried, his words jarring and harsh perforce. His statement drove Amarwen to her feet. ”Leave,” she declared. Beregon sketched a mocking bow, ”As you so command, your Grace.” “If it is command you seek then consider this your instruction: relay this change of strategy, inform them of my return to Gondor and above all, make no effort to interfere with Guild officers unless it has been sanctioned by me.” As he rose, Beregon eyed Amarwen and in return she lifted her chin. Remote. His jaw ground all the way to the library door and beyond.