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Return to Inquisition (M) Jabba x Firesblood

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Offline Jabbathejack

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Archive - http://archive.visionary-tales.com/return-to-inquisition-m-t21544.html

Staunton led the way up a flight of stone steps and through corridors, all the way showing not even the slightest concern of the vulnerability of showing his back to a stranger. Eventually, he paused outside a door and opened it, again holding it open for her to enter.

Inside, was a study, a fire burning in the hearth, casting a soft glow over the room. Smiling, Staunton gestured for an empty chair, inviting her to sit.

He paused by a decanter and poured two glasses of red wine, one of which he set on a small table beside her chair. Taking the other, he retreated to another chair, set beside a small writing table.

He raised his glass into a toast.
"Your health, Miss Valaria." Smiling thinly, he took a small sip, watching her for a moment before he continued.

"Initially, I was rather annoyed to hear that the young master Dufresne had left his post without orders, yet when he told me about you, I was curious."

"Do you know why he had you brought all the way out there? Away from your family? I wonder, how much do you really know of your mysterious benefactor?"

He paused as the door to his study opened and Malachi entered, standing by the door as he waited to be addressed. Staunton smiled, beckoning him forward.

"Ahh Malachi, my boy."
"My lord, I have news."

Malachi remained the perfect employee in front of Valaria, speaking quietly and professionally, casting his guest with only a quick glance before he spoke.

"Excellent." Staunton's smile widened. "Please, continue."

"The Nyari tribe headed north from here about a month ago. All information suggests that they will be difficult to track." Malachi glanced at Valaria, his expression still cold. "But not impossible."

"Thank you, Malachi." Staunton turned to Valaria. "So, there you have it, my dear. A direction and a time frame, albeit a vague one. That should, at least, provide you with some chance at finding them."

"In return, perhaps you could answer some of my questions? Eat, drink and spend the night here, if you wish. I am sure we could find you more comfortable quarters."
« Last Edit: May 29, 2019, 03:48:43 PM by Jabbathejack »


Offline Firesblood

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Valaria spared a cursory look around the study, satisfying herself that they were alone.  Her eyes never seemed to stop moving.  She was looking for clues as to the true nature of the predicament that she found herself in, for weapons she might use to defend herself if it came to it, perhaps even looking for an escape.  However, the young woman was all too aware that she was at the heart of a fortified citadel with no friends to aid her.  She was alone, and even if she were four times better and sneaking about, the odds of success still did not weigh in her favor.  Nothing weighed in her favor right now, and this man knew it well. 

Valaria accepted the seat and the wine hesitantly and found that even though he might have toasted to her health, she could not drink it.  She needed her mind clear for this, and who knew what toxins might have been laced in with the wine, or coated the vessel it was poured into?  Best to be cautious.  After all, what reason did she have to trust him when all she had known at the hands of his agent was betrayal?

She regarded him in silence as he mentioned Dufresne, save for the sound of teeth grinding against teeth when she clenched her jaw.  Solomon had been an agent of his all along, a spy in Ampetrion’s household just lying in wait.  She had played him so easily with her desperate request to be saved.  Solomon had swallowed her lies, but it seemed she had been played in kind from the very beginning.  She had been foolish, and the depth of that foolishness was now on display.  His name clicked inside of her mind.  James Staunton.  Ampetrion had mentioned him in the carriage, how he had been his reasoning to take her from her family.  She also remembered Ampetrion’s comment about what Staunton might do if he knew anything about her.  Too late for that now.

“James Staunton,” she murmured carefully, peering at him across the desk.  “He mentioned you only once by name.”

Valaria paused then, wondering what she could say.  Ampetrion had withheld everything from her because he did not trust her, and apparently rightfully so.  She had gone and gotten herself caught by the very man he had been fearful of in the first place, after he had explicitly told her that she could not leave with such a risk hanging over her head.  Maybe he would guess upon his return at where she had gone, but by then it would be too late.  The damage was done, and she had no hard information to trade for her freedom.  When Staunton realized this, any worth she might have somehow held to him would plummet to nothing. 

The entrance of Malachi saved her from saying anything else for that moment, however, and Valaria focused her quiet ire on him.  She dared not say a word to him, not even to scold or insult him like she wanted.  It was difficult to keep her fiery temper in check, but she managed it just the same with only the tightening of her grip on the wine goblet.  She briefly wondered what he would look like with wine splashed over his pale face but resisted that urge too. 

She was glad for it, for the news of her family cooled all the ire from her in the span of a second, and it was all she could do not to jump to her feet with the information and run with it.  It was a ploy, a carrot, maybe even another trap, and shared openly in front of her.  Without Ampetrion’s influence over the past several months, she might have taken it as a simple gesture of good faith, but she had nothing of worth to give him in exchange, and could not even pretend to.  She could lie, of course, but something about the man made her think that he would know if she did, and that she would not much care for the consequences of playing him falsely.  He was no Solomon Dufresne, to fall for the hook and line cast by a pretty face and sorrowful eyes. 

Valaria’s gaze flickered from Malachi to Staunton and back, then fixed finally on the Lord of the Citadel.  Her lips parted with the faintest quiver, and the exhaled breath that came next was a nervous one, but she spoke honestly.  “I will answer if I am able, but you must know that…I was only in his company for a short time and in that time, he did not see fit to share much with me in the way of his plans or ventures.  He…did not know me well enough to trust me, he said, and I pressed him often.  As to why he took me at all…he did not see fit to inform me of his reasons for that either.” 
« Last Edit: May 29, 2019, 06:30:32 PM by Firesblood »


Offline Jabbathejack

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"Ampetrion mentioned me? How delightful." Staunton smiled at the mention of the first name that he barely used, looking almost as if he were talking about a dear friend rather than a bitter enemy.

"What did he tell you about me? I wonder what sort of demon he painted me as."

To his amusement, he saw Malachi blink in surprise as he was instructed to divulge information rather than using it as a bargaining point. Yet, in truth, it was not the information that she could supply that was important, it was mostly that they had managed to assist her leaving Ampetrion's clutches.

"You may know more than you think you do, my dear. It has been many years since I last saw our mutual friend. Please, tell me what you know about him."

"Malachi here is a most resourceful young man, as I'm sure you're aware by now. If anyone can find your family, then I'm sure he can."

Staunton's smile faded a touch.

"But of course, we have to face facts. I'm sure that if Ampetrion took such pains to keep you under his watchful eye, he will not be pleased that you have left him. He will, no doubt, immediately look to your family in order to find you once more. If I can be of any service in that respect, you have only to ask."


Offline Firesblood

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Valaria didn’t return his smile.  She set the untouched goblet of wine on the nearest surface and folded her hands neatly on her lap.  “He said only that James Staunton was one of his oldest nemesis, but did not elaborate beyond a fear of what you would do should you discover his weakness.  It was the last discussion we had, on our way home from some nobleman’s function in Venice, where he has been given sanctuary.  He informed me that my family had gone missing, and listed you as the reason to remain safely with him when I insisted on trying to find them. I, of course, knew better than that.” 

The pointed look Valaria gave him at that moment made it clear that the irony of her circumstances was not lost on her, nor the foolishness. 

“I know that he travels often and has a few unnamed allies, but more enemies.  He cannot leave Italy for fear of their retribution; he sees shadows in the corner of his eye and feels invisible eyes upon his back, but whether they are shadows of his own creation is something I did not have a chance to fully deduce,” she explained.  Valaria paused again and sighed, shaking her head.  She was afraid to share the next part, but she needed to get to her family, and it was perhaps the only real knowledge she had of Ampetrion.  “He called me ‘Grandaughter’.  My parents called him ‘Great Father’, though he fathered neither of them, or their parents before them.  I do not know how we are connected to one another, but…he seems to have lived an unnaturally long time.  He…he has not changed in appearance since I first met him as a small child.  My father told me he is the same as he was when he was but a child.  I do not know how…perhaps devilry is at play.”

The mention of Malachi leading her to her family was unpleasant, but at this point Valaria would take whatever help she could get, and would not complain.  All that mattered was finding her family safe, to be home again, such as it was.  She was aware that Ampetrion could show up at any time and take her back.  She would fight, but her parents had given her up once.  He could convince them to do it again. 

Valaria worried at her bottom lip.  “He would likely try again, yes,” she murmured softly.  She tilted her head slightly, peering at Staunton with faintly narrowed eyes.  “Please forgive me if I offend, but I do not believe for a second that your concern for my well-being is altogether sincere.  May I ask you what you stand to gain through assisting me in such a manner?”           


Offline Jabbathejack

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Staunton's smile disappeared as he listened to Valaria talk. It was true, she did not know much that he did not, but this was the closest that he had been in a long time.

"Am I the oldest nemesis of a man who seems to be ageless?"

He snorted, shaking his head with a bitter smile, well aware that he was frozen in his thirties from the night he had been changed.

He looked across at her, his smile fading. Was she wondering whether the two men who stood in the room with her now carried the same curse as her mysterious relative? How long would they be able to lie to her?

"I confess, I do not know much about devilry, but we are all demons in our own way."

He watched her for a moment, wondering what the secret was that Ampetrion had been so careful to hide from him. What made this young woman so special?

"Of course, I am mostly looking to protect my interests from those who would see us harmed. There is no point in pretending otherwise to you."

Staunton stood up, setting down his wine glass on the table beside Valaria's untouched one.

"If he wanted you by his side, then I take great pleasure in doing my part to ensure that that does not happen again, petty though the sentiment may be. Thank you for talking to me. You are free to go at any time you wish, but if you so wish, I can have guest quarters available for you for as long as you need."


Offline Firesblood

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Valaria frowned at him, her brow furrowing.  They were all demons in their own way…there was something suspicious there, but she realized that she really didn’t want to know.  She had been unwittingly swept up into whatever game that was being played between Staunton and Ampetrion, and she wanted no part in it.  The less she understood or knew about whatever world the men lived in or the unnatural possibilities of said world, the better. 

She glanced at Malachi again as Staunton bade her free to go, then rose slowly to her feet, giving the pale blond man a small curtsy.  “Thank you, my Lord.  I am sorry that I could not be of more help.  I am grateful for your offer of hospitality, but I really must be going.  Time is not on my side in this.”

She paused by Malachi, her lips pressing together in displeasure.  She was still rankled from earlier and well within her rights to be mistrustful of him, but he had proven himself a far better tracker than she was.  Getting to them was all that mattered.  She could easily tolerate the young man if it meant finding them.  “I would gladly accept help tracking them down, if you are still willing to provide it.”  She looked at Staunton once more. “I have no coin to pay, but I would be in your debt for the favor.”


Offline Jabbathejack

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Staunton bowed low.
"It was a pleasure, my dear."

Favours were powerful things. Far more valuable than coin. Staunton smiled pleasantly as Malachi ushered the young lady out of the office and closed the door behind them.

"Come with me." Malachi murmured softly, leading her down a corridor and down a flight of stairs.

He led her to the citadel's kitchen, devoid of life at this time of night, yet there was still the embers of a fire burning left over from earlier.

"You should eat first." Malachi muttered, not looking at Valaria as he peered into the pantry in search of the customary left overs from dinner.

"I asked someone to bring you some food, but you ended up braining him with the dish, or so I heard."

He returned with a side of boiled ham and some bread, with a little cheese. He found her a plate and set it down on the table, along with a kitchen knife which he slid over towards her. Was she going to try and stab him with it? Malachi honestly could not care less what she did with the knife, sharp though it was.

"Eat. You'll need your strength."

Malachi reached into his coat and pulled out a map of the area and spread it out over the table.

"We're here." He stabbed the map with his finger. "From what I understood, the Nyari were camped here until recently. Reports say they travelled north."

He trailed the route with his finger.

"Yet where they went from this point, I'm not sure. I was planning on heading over there to see for myself. After a month though, there might not be too much information to be found, but one can never tell."


Offline Firesblood

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Valaria followed Malachi without another word, casting a single glance at Staunton over her shoulder just as the door closed behind them.  He was really just going to let her go?  She was truly free?  There was a part of her that had insisted that it was all just a trick, that as soon as they were done speaking he would have her stuffed back into the cell she had inhabited before.

Malachi led her through the silent citadel, down empty halls and empty stairs, into a kitchen as sleepy as everywhere else.  She looked at him when he encouraged her to eat, and Valaria considered refusing, but her stomach twisted within her belly and growled audibly.  It had been a while since she had eaten, and food had been spare on the travel here.  He was right, and she grudgingly admitted it to herself even as he pushed what he had found in the pantry across the table to her.  The knife glinted in his hand and she took it, staring at it for a moment.  They wouldn’t hand a prisoner a knife.  She really was free, wasn’t she?

“Thank you,” she murmured softly, cutting a slice from the ham.  She was wary of eating too much, even as ravenous as she suddenly felt now.  At Malachi’s comment about the guard that had brought her food, she had the grace to look at least a little ashamed for her actions. “You tricked me.  I was afraid.  I thought that I had come all this way to find my family, only to end up a prisoner,” her eyes evened with his. “There are people killing other people right now simply because they do not believe in the same god.  I was given no reason for my imprisonment.  Can you blame me for trying to escape?”

She leaned forward while eating her food slowly, observing the map that Malachi laid out before them.  He pointed out their location and trailed his finger to where her family was last spotted.  Frowning, she tilted her head.  It was a days ride, perhaps even two, just to get to the last place they had been.  Would they be able to pick up a trail?  How far had her family gotten, and were they still safe? 

“There could be markers.  My father leaves markers that only others of my people can identify.  With everything going on, he may have left them behind for other clans to find their way to safety,” she informed him.  She was not positive that her father would have done that in this case, but she hoped. 

After a moment, Valaria realized that Malachi was not eating, and frowned at him.  He had eaten almost nothing since they had met, not even the food he had brought with him, which he had given over to her in exchange for time by her fire.  He had eaten nothing there, nothing on the trip.  You have not had your eye on him the whole time, Valaria thought to herself.  Likely, he has already eaten. 

She pointed out the place on the map he marked.  “That is one of the places we have camped before, come to think of it.  I may know where they will be going next if you are correct in deducing their direction.”  She finished the bread, cheese, and meat without much delay.  Simple fare though it was, Valaria was hard pressed to remember the last time anything had tasted so good.  After rare small game, tart berries, and bitter greens for days, it was difficult not to eat more, but she was full and gorging herself was a terrible idea.   

“Lead on.”


Offline Jabbathejack

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"If I hadn't tricked you, then you would not have come here. Not willingly."

Malachi replied simply, showing no irritation at what had happened, even when he had mentioned the guard who had been attacked; he was simply stating a fact.

He stood up and folded the map up, sliding it back into his pocket. He paused, frowning as he realised that Valaria would need some supplies for the journey. Heading back into the pantry, Malachi found an empty sack and he returned to the table, putting the rest of the ham and cheese into the sack. He did not give the knife a second glance, leaving it where it lay on the table.

Malachi frowned, fixing Valaria with a steady gaze. How was he going to explain having to hide whenever the sun rose above the horizon?

"You should probably rest now before you travel. It is a long way and you are probably tired. I have an important errand to run on the way, but I can arrange for a horse and a guide for you if you leave in the morning."

***

"This land isn't too different from our own." Celyn frowned, looking over at the forest that surrounded them. "It's warmer here though."

They'd taken their horses off the road once the shadows had begun to lengthen, resting the horses. It had been a long journey, but they were due to reach their destination the next evening.

"Not many wolves around here, so father said."

He looked over at his uncle for confirmation. Celyn was just sixteen, but he could easily be mistaken for a much older man. Tall and broad shouldered, he had a muscular build, without an ounce of fat on him.

Celyn's blond hair was long and unkempt, tied back away from his face in a loose knot. Truly, he looked like a peasant, dressed in simple fabric, faded and stained from many hours spent in the saddle.

"What's she like, uncle? They said she was pretty? But what if she doesn't like me?"



Offline Firesblood

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Valaria’s frown deepened as she watched him.  “You may be right, of course,” she admitted, surprisingly without reluctance.  “I have a quick temper.  It’s only after the anger has burned away that I am able to look at things more objectively.  It is…something I should work harder on.”

She watched as he went about collecting food in a sack, her brow furrowing.  When she had met him, he had played at being a frightened boy.  He still looked like a youth, but his manner was aged beyond his years.  He had to have grown up very fast, she realized, to be so good at deception at such an age.  His life is none of your business.  Leave him be with the questions.

He suggested she rest, and it was all she could do to bite back the protest.  There was a heavy desperation clawing at her heart, making her feel like every precious second that passed was one second lost in the race to find her family.  She wanted so badly to believe that they were alright, but the world was rarely a kind place and times were more dangerous for them than usual.  She hated it, but she recognized the wisdom in rest.  It would be stupid to refuse sleep, when there was likely to be little enough of it while they were out there. 

Reluctantly, Valaria nodded.  “Very well then,” she sighed softly, standing.  “I would greatly appreciate the horse and the guide, and in the meantime I will rest.  Show me where to rest, and I will see you again when you catch up.”

--

 Oscar glanced at his nephew as he spoke, listening but remaining quiet.  This was Celyn’s first outing, and in Oscar’s opinion it was obvious.  He understood; Cel was excited and nervous.  He was going to meet his future mate for the first time, now that he was a man.  Personally Oscar didn’t much care for the Mutt that had come to them with the offer, but he wasn’t Alpha.  All he could do was his best to prepare the boy. 

“This country is crawling with vampires and wherever vampires are, trouble also waits.  The last pack native to this area left half a century ago.  This place may be similar to home, but it is not home.  Keep your guard up,” Oscar directed. 

They were nearing their destination; the Mutt’s manse was nearing on the horizon.  He couldn’t help the small smile that tugged at his lips at Cel’s question.  More nervous than excited, Oscar thought.

“It does not matter whether the woman likes you, or whether you like her.  We must all do what is expected of us when it comes to matters that affect the pack.  You are doing your duty, and she will do hers,” Oscar replied gruffly.  He nudged the boy with his elbow lightly and flashed him a wink.  “She is a beauty though.  I did not have the chance to meet her when I visited to finalize the betrothal, but I did glimpse her.  I do not believe you will find complaint with her looks.  How she is as a person, though, I suppose we discover that for ourselves when we take her back home with us.”

He fell silent, staring ahead.  He could see people moving around, more than seemed to be normal for an ordinary day, but who knew with Ampetrion?  The Mutt held strange customs, after all. 

“Try not to be nervous, lad.  You are a likeable sort.  You will do well.”     


Offline Jabbathejack

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Malachi shrugged as he slung the sack of supplies over his shoulder.
"Or you should channel that anger into something useful."

To his surprise, Valaria actually agreed to his suggestion of rest; that would make things a lot simpler in hiding his true nature from her.

"This way." He turned on his heel and led her back up the stairs, heading towards the guest rooms. All of them were empty at the moment, kept ready for use at a moment's notice.

"I trust you will find this room satisfactory."

He opened the door, holding it open for her to enter, but he remained in the corridor.

"I will have a guide saddle a horse for you and meet you here in the morning." He paused for a moment, holding out the bag of supplies that he had filled earlier. "They will be trustworthy, I assure you."

No need for her to use the knife that he saw her swipe from the table earlier. He nodded briefly before turning.

"Good night."

Malachi headed immediately to the guard tower, finding a man that he knew was dependable. Rousing him from his slumber as quietly as he could, Malachi took the man aside and explained what was required.

Immediately afterwards, he headed out to the stables and readied his horse; he needed to move as quickly as he could; he could not afford to waste the darkness.

***

"Vampires?" Celyn frowned, unable to stop himself sniffing at the breeze, but there were no strange smells out there right now. He had never met one, but he had heard many tales of vampires causing trouble with the packs near their home. Usually, however, those tales ended with the demise of the vampire. He might not have met one before, but he knew that they were generally weaker than a werewolf in his prime.

"Of course." Celyn replied immediately; he knew what was expected of him, he had, after all, been preparing for this moment for a long time. It was just something that would go a little more smoothly if they liked each other.

He knew how controversial this decision was, even within their own pack. He would be mating with someone outside of their race, even though she held wolf blood, or so he had been told. He'd overheard the elders discussing it not long ago and he knew that there was a risk that their children might not even be able to transform. He could barely imagine that, to be of wolf blood, but... it sounded to him like being half a wolf. Incomplete.

Of course, it was part of his duty to move beyond things like that. They were doing this because of a pledge between families that had been forged when he was but a pup. If it would make their clan stronger, then he knew it was the right thing.



Offline Firesblood

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Valaria said nothing in response at first.  Ampetrion would say much the same thing to her, when she was angry about something.  Often he would send her out to spar with Solomon, but Valaria was beginning to realize that Solomon had really not taught her much.  He had been reluctant to, given her gender, from the very beginning.  That did not matter so much now; soon she would be with her family, and she would fall into the roll among them that she had always been meant to fill.  Learning the ways of the blade would have no place there for her.  She didn’t want to think about Ampetrion finding her again, trying to wrest her back from her family once she found them. 

She bade Malachi a soft ‘goodnight’, and shut herself in the room, exhaling softly.  Alone now, and mostly safe in her mind, the tension melted out of her frame and she finally allowed herself to feel just how exhausted she truly was.  Hard travel, little sleep, and even less food had taken its toll on her, and she fell asleep almost the instant her head hit the pillow.

--

Oscar led them silently ahead, glancing sidelong at Celyn as the gates of the manse loomed before them.  The first thing that greeted them was the sight of a young peasant woman’s head on a pike; human, Oscar could tell, and dead less than a day. 

For a moment, the older wolf paused to regard the head, his dark eyes narrowing.  He recognized her, he thought; the servant girl whom he had seen at Valaria’s side the last time, who had approached Ampetrion very briefly while in Oscar’s company.  The older wolf spared a glance at his nephew and started moving again, past the gates and into the courtyard.  Supplies were being gathered and soldiers were preparing themselves to go on the move, and Oscar liked that not at all.  Something was wrong here.

Before they made it much farther, Oscar spied Ampetrion.  Directing Cel, Oscar led the way to the Mutt, resisting the urge to scowl.  Something about him had bothered Oscar from the beginning, but the Alpha demanded diplomacy, and he had no choice but to do as he was told.

Ampetrion regarded them with some annoyance, then straightened and smoothed his features.  “Apologies, Oscar,” He began, folding his hands at his back.  “I was not expecting you quite yet, else I would have sent someone to meet you.  I fear that…now is not a very good time.”

Oscar’s frown deepened.  “We are here on the agreed upon date to meet the agreed upon terms.  I have a groom, and you will provide the bride, aye?”

Ampetrion grimaced.  “Unfortunately, the bride has gone missing.  I was away on business for a week and when I returned, she was gone with the help of one of my Captains and her maid servant.  I do, however, know exactly where she is going and we are preparing to leave to bring her home directly.”

Oscar growled under his breath.  “Does this happen often, her running away?  I would like to think that if it were, you might have mentioned it before now.  You said nothing about her being troublesome.”

“No,” Ampetrion said through grit teeth.  “This is the first instance of her fleeing, and no doubt in her mind it was for a good purpose, even if it was against my command.  I made the mistake of informing her that her family had gone missing some time before I left.  I mistook her plotting for simple sullenness at my refusal to allow her to go looking for them.  I suspect that is exactly what she is doing right now.”

Oscar looked at Celyn.  Personally he was more than willing to just take the boy home.  Ampetrion was empty handed, no matter the reason for it. 

The Mutt seemed to know Oscar’s line of thinking, and sighed.  “I humbly ask your patience.  I will have her again in less than a week, and our plans can move forward accordingly.  In the meantime, the hospitality of my home is available to you.”


Offline Jabbathejack

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Roe woke up as the night shift returned to the guard quarters, signalling the change of shift. Heaving a sigh, he climbed out of bed and dressed.

It had been a strange night; he'd been woken by Lord Staunton's aide, Malachi and given orders to escort a young woman on the north road and keep her safe until his arrival. He had been given no further information and he had not asked.

Etienne Roe was one of the older men in Lord Staunton's service, a veteran of many years as a soldier, specialising in reconnaissance.

Buckling on his sword belt, he gave a nod to his comrades and headed out to the guest quarters of the citadel. He paused outside the room, knocking loudly. He hoped that she would be ready, whoever she was.

***

Celyn stared at the woman's head as they passed by. He turned to look at his uncle, almost asking him if such practices were common out here, yet then they had arrived in the courtyard and he ended up holding his tongue. He could ask such questions later on, when they weren't in danger of being overheard.

"It's busy out here." He ended up murmuring softly.

Celyn frowned as the man approached; he presumed that this was Ampetrion, but he did not bother to introduce himself to him. His frown deepened.

"Her family has gone missing? Then of course she has gone. I would do the same in but a heartbeart."

The thought that he might be speaking out of turn did not occur to Celyn even for a moment. Others might well have been bowing and scraping before a lord, but he did not see himself on anything but a par with the man before them.


Offline Firesblood

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Valaria opened the door promptly, the sack of things that Malachi had provided to her for the trip slung across her shoulder.  She stepped out and closed the door behind her.  She had been awake for nearly two hours and had been ready to go within the first few minutes.  She was anxious to be off, but she waited as patiently as she could for the guide Malachi promised to appear.  In the time she waited, she at least had managed to write a short note to Staunton thanking him for his hospitality; the tutor she studied under at Ampetrion’s Manse would have been proud.  She gave no indication that she had been inconvenienced or irritated by the wait and gave him a small nod of greeting.  “I’m Valaria Nyari,” she said by way of curt introduction, already moving down the corridor and the stairs beyond. 

It seemed she had no plans to waste any time at all. 

--

Ampetrion gave Cel a tight smile as Oscar spoke up.  “Ampetrion, this is Celyn, second son of our Alpha.  Celyn, Ampetrion Nyari,” he made introductions gruffly, realizing that the duty had been neglected by both of them. 

Ampetrion looked away, shouting out an order in an unfamiliar language to the soldiers forming up behind them.  He returned his attention to Celyn and inclined his head.  “I apologize for my rudeness, young Master Celyn.  As you might imagine, I have a great deal on my mind, but it is no excuse for ignoring social protocol.  While I am relieved that you understand the reason for her disobedience, I must emphasize that the whole reason I took her from that place to begin with was because her life was in danger.  Now, she has run full speed right back into enemy territory, risking her own life and everything we have planned for the last dozen years.”

“When the Pack is threatened, it is the wolf’s duty to protect it no matter the cost,” Oscar replied, his voice sharp.  His eyes slid to Celyn. “She may well do better among our people than we could have imagined.  She may not be wolf, but she seems to retain the spirit of one—at least in this instance.”

“All well and good,” Ampetrion sighed, “but if she dies, the point is altogether moot.  Now, I apologize for my shortness, but I must finish preparations so we can begin hunting for her.  You will stay—or go—as you choose to.”
« Last Edit: June 01, 2019, 12:57:29 PM by Firesblood »


Offline Jabbathejack

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"Etienne Roe." He gave a nod of approval as he followed her down the corridor; at least he wouldn't have to rouse this one himself.

"You can ride, I presume? I was instructed to have a horse ready for you."

He followed her down the stairs and out to the courtyard, when he took the lead.
"This way. Stables are here."

Entering the stables, Roe motioned towards a horse for his guest. Moving with practiced hands, he had his own horse ready in moments, keeping a watchful eye in case the young woman had any difficulties.

Leading his horse out, he nodded with silent approval as she appeared to have done all right. He mounted and turned his horse's head towards the northern road.

"Let's see how far we can get before young master Malachi catches us up."

***

"If she is in danger, then I believe it would be best if we came as well."

Celyn spoke up without checking with his uncle first, but he was confident that this was the right course of action. He did not trust this Ampetrion, there seemed to be something... off about the way that he smelled. Something rotten perhaps.