Close-up of Ansom, looking depressed.
"Noooo, it's not her," he scoffed. "It's more what she said, isn't it? That you were 'already gone.' You may not love her now. As you say, you may never have loved her. But you certainly did like to chase after one another. You liked it when she took you for a prize. But now she's giving up on you."
Ansom was silent. And Jack knew when to let a man chew.
"She has a Turnamancer," said the warlord, after a long while.
"She's a Royalist," said Ansom, turning his head to meet Jack's eyes. "Jillian's intentions were to turn me to Faq. The Turnamancer didn't know if it was possible, but I was not troubled by it."
Jack studied the wrinkles in the warlord's brow, with an eye and a memory so sharp that he'd be able to project a precise map of them, like a mountain range, if you asked him to do so a thousand turns from now. "You are worried now," he said.
Jack raised an eyebrow. So here was Ansom's ringing, after all. Not his lover, but his brother.
The warlord looked up at him again and said, with utmost seriousness, "Do you think we are alive?"
"Yes," said Jack, tilting his head slightly. "Well, some of us more than others. But hasn't that always been the case? Decrypted or not?"
He'd meant it as a joke, but Ansom's expression only darkened further.
"That's it, Foolamancer. I think... that Ossomer must have believed something, felt that something... was more important than the will of the Titans. He was a... deeply traditional man. He still loved Jetstone." Ansom swallowed. He seemed to be struggling for his words. "But when I look in my own heart, I feel nothing like that. Not for Jillian, nor for Jetstone, nor for the ideals of Royalty. I only want to see the world ruled by Tools."
"I see," said Jack, foregoing sarcasm. This was just what he'd come down here to find out: whether or not Ansom could be trusted in the field without risk of turning. Time to come right out and ask it, he supposed. "And are you worried that when you go to Jetstone or Faq, that these feelings will reawaken in you?"
Ansom held his lips together for a moment, his eye darting around in thought.
"I am worried that they won't," he said quietly. "I am worried that I am already gone."