Kyky: "We can keep up with them," … "I've heard this witch curses hypocrites," ... "How do you think the Queen of the West is going to fare with her?"
Manny: "Badly, I should think. But Rossi knows how to tell people what they want to hear...at least until actions say otherwise"
Rafael's eyes went to the centaur, brows twitching downward as he wondered just how well this man knew Francesca. Manny wasn't wrong in his assessment, the cwn annwn admitted, thinking about his last encounter with her and the lies that flowed from her mouth like a river. Sure, they were lies that had saved his life, but lies nonetheless . . .
Sanya: "If she were unable to control herself and her curses, she never would have lived long enough to amass the amount of power she has now," ... "If my grandmother is going to meet Duchess Francesca, I doubt it's just to curse her and be done. She'll hear the woman out. Anyone who gets between this meeting is at the greatest risk." … "Your concern for my parents is a kindness in dark times. The best I can hope is that they escaped before my grandmother's magic could touch them, and they're in hiding. Since they haven't gotten a message to me, though, I expect they're imprisoned, or that if they are cursed. Each has wronged her, by her accounting, so they would be vulnerable to her magic.. If you draw the Dune Witch's attention, the best thing to do is to be respectful and honest--no lies, no half-truths."
But which was the bigger threat? Rafael wasn't really sure. Though, he glanced up at the sun overhead, it was daytime; Francesca wouldn't be without protection but she'd hardly be able to draw a horde of vampires down upon them . . .
Eyes going back to Manny and Kyky, Rafael considered each of them. Kyky was capable, though hardly a warrior, but centaurs were known for their skill with bow and arrow and Manny handled his like he knew what he was doing. Sanya . . . well, Rafael wasn't sure what her fighting abilities were but her knowledge of the Witch of the Dunes was enough to rival his knowledge of the Queen of the West . . .
And it was entirely possible, though unlikely, that none of them would even have to draw a weapon. Though, if he had the chance, Rafael knew that he should take it and assassinate Francesca. Knowing and doing were vastly different beasts though.
"Francesca's strongest asset is her vampires," Rafael said after a moment. And her ability to lie and deceive, but it felt oddly personal saying that aloud. "With the sun as high as it is, even if she had some with her, they'd be significantly weakened." Still, until recently, Rafael hadn't thought vampires could fly so what if some could walk in the sun? "If they make an appearance, aim for the head and heart." He paused, considered, then reached into the pouch at his waist and handed out small bits of cotton - two to each person. "And if I tell you to block your ears, do it."