Ezar had sent Aral and Serg to Escobar, and Serg had returned a dead hero, and Aral a live one. That was all Piotr needed to know. The inner workings of plots were invariably dull and absurd, and you could tell all you needed to know from the outlines. Aral's support was strong, and Serg's was broken. Grishnov was down, and Negri was up, and Aral had Negri's second following him around as Negri had once trailed Ezar. So Piotr knew that soon, by Ezar's will, his hands would be between his son's. He had, after all, taught Ezar himself.