Topic: The Fates of Fortune
Subject: The tapestry grows...
"Where will I find you in the morning, when I have finished with our friend?"
An elven purr curled over the words that tugged her back to the here and now. In just these past few days she had begun to become accustomed to that purr. It rarely rose above a level needed for her to hear it, and she could not recall it rising above that ever. While it rolled her back in she continued with the examination that she had been conducting since they had fallen into silence in the bar.
Likely he was aware that even when she was not locked in his gaze that he held her attention. Her gaze had never lingered far enough to lose the ghostly flickers of him in her peripheral. Every movement, every breath was caught by her while they had sat together.
If the silence was comfortable his hands were not. Tendons pressed against the pale skin and the muscles tensed. Most of the time he seemed to struggle to keep them occupied, caressing the stem of the wooden chalice until it began to shine with the oils from his fingers, wiping at the corners of his lips when his tongue had finished running over them, adjusting the fall of the shadows from his shoulders, running through the locks of his mane. The rise and fall of his chest betrayed how he controlled his breathing. Between breaths and hidden fidgets with his fingers his eyes had always fallen on her.
Each time they did the distance between them seemed to fade, the noise of the tavern quieted and she faltered. Words danced on the tip of her tongue, but she wasn’t sure what they were, was only certain that she dared not speak them. A few times she felt herself abandon the words and start to rekindle whatever it was that had happened in the alley before they came here. Fear ripped her gaze from his each time though. Staring back at his fingers the doubts began to creep back in along with the distance the table provided and the noises that proved they were not alone here.
You are using him Cay. Not even paying him for this job. A tool, an elven tool to be used and discarded when you are through. Just as you have been used.
He owes me.
He isn’t doing it because he owes you. Nyx would not do anything for anyone because he owes them. Nyx would rarely let himself be in someone’s debt, but if it happened and they asked him to do something he did not wish to… he would not hesitate to kill them. Perhaps that is what you are doing? Pushing him? Seeing how far you can use him before he tires of you?
It isn’t like that…
Then tell me how it is Cay…
“Tomorrow…” she whispered softly and let her look fall upon the horizon as she considered it. “He doesn’t trust me yet. I lost my shadow last night, doing it again will raise suspicions. I won’t lead them back to where you live. They already know where I live.” Turning her head slowly the horizon changed to the starlight from his eyes. “I know you can avoid being seen by Dmitrova’s thugs. I will await you under my tree.”
He gave her a slight nod. “Until the morning then.”
A flutter of his cloak and he had started to turn from her but much to their surprise the delicate pressure of her fingers against his ribs, just over one of the bandages that wrapped around his battered body stopped him. “Are you certain you are up for doing a job tonight?”
Tenderness caressed the words and filtered through her gaze as she looked up at him, a tenderness that most would not believe the Witch capable of. A tenderness that Nyx might have somewhat delirious dreams about from when she had so carefully applied the bandage she now pressed her fingers against.
Admitting your concern over your tool?
The voice went unanswered, however, as she once again felt his fingers curl around her own. His lips parted as if he was going to say something and quickly she stopped him. The tenderness leaked out of her features and her voice, but not from her eyes and she kept her fingers curled into his. “Not that I care, except that if you mess up it could lead back to me… and I’m not up for spending another night stitching you back together. I did a decent job the first time, you start pulling on those wounds they will break open and you’ll just have to go back to your seamstress friend to get them mended this time. I’m not your mother, or some gentle lover willing to baby you…”
Normally there would have been more but she suddenly her lungs held no more breath to expel more of her venomous words. So she fell silent and failed at her attempt to either pull her gaze from his or to turn it as stony as the rest of her face.
Instead she tried to read his expression as he gave her hand a slight squeeze and pulled it back into the space between them. "No need to worry, Cay. I am sure that I will be fine."
Now she could feel the tendons she had watched through the evening grinding in protest as his fingers uncurled and left her hand floating between them for a moment.
"You see to our Captain and I shall see to Lemoyne, yes, and I will find you come morning..." At the last moment his eyes managed to do what she had not been able to do and broke their gaze. The next she was alone in front of the Salty Mermaid, her hand still wavering before her.
“Pshaw!” She cried when she noticed her hand. It quickly dropped to her side and she pulled the dark blue cowl up over her face. Spinning she turned on her heel and started toward the Hydra.
* * *
Vadim smiled as he laid the wooden box on his desk. He leaned over and took in a deep breath of the musty cigar smell that emanated from it. That smell wrapped around the memory of Bolstoii relinquishing the box to Vadim and brought a smile to the liver colored lips.
”Oh… Styopa… mind if I take a few of these lovely cigars on my way out?” He had grinned while his finger left a smudge across the top of the box.
“Eh! Take the whole thing you rotten gutter snake. I’m surprised you haven’t asked for everything else around here, my house, my wife, my life!” Styopa had flared up, sweat still beading up on his forehead.
As Vadim pulled the box under his arm he leaned in close and smelled the other man over the smell of cigars, smelled his anger and his trepidation, “I plan on it… later… one piece at a time partner.” Vadim let that last word hang between them with a gleam to his eye then laughed.
He settled down into the chair he had special ordered with the comfort of his rounded rump in mind. Today had been a deliciously good day. He reviewed his luck while he lit up one of Styopa’s cigars and began puffing on it.
Before the sun had even risen he had gotten to break Nyx with his own hands. He had fallen asleep still buried inside the welcoming depths of Tselika. She swore to him that Nyx was not broken, but Vadim had been there until she had drug his unconscious body from the tunnels. Vadim had heard the elf scream, and watched the rivers of blood drain from his body. If he was not dead no doubt he was no licking his wounds in some alley, feeling grateful that his life had not been taken and thinking twice about ever crossing paths with him again. Bolstoii was doing the same. The information the Wharf Witch had brought him had been just what Vadim had needed to bring his opponent to his knees. Corrisan had hinted that something was happening between a slave and the Bolstoii girl, he had not hinted that the slave was deeply involved in murder. Of course the elven bastard had denied it all. Even hanging by one foot from the barn rafters while Bolstoii enacted his own bit of fatherly vengeance upon the point-ear. The girl, however, had broken down immediately, spilled the lurid details of their affair and begged for forgiveness and mercy for them both, claiming it was love that drew them together. She could not substantiate the claims of murder, but despite her best efforts she could not give her lover the alibi he needed either.
In return for his ‘assistance’ with this matter Styopa had ‘offered’ a very tasty bit of his business to Vadim. The Hellkites would now work guard duty on certain shipments of slaves and narcotics that slipped into the city after certain pockets were padded so that eyes looked in the wrong direction. There would be cuts and trims that would help to line Vadim’s own pockets as well as bring him another rung up the Hellkite ladder.
He was still musing over his good fortune when voices were heard outside the door.
“I don’t know what the bloody password is today! Dmitrova asked me to report to him. So I’m reporting!” A high female voice called out.
“You need the password to get in.” The firm voice of Karl responded.
“Pigs feet! Green River! Peaches! Thick Skulled Round-Ears! Cockroach Breath! Mother-f****** Breeders! Get out of my way!”
Dmitrova sighed. He had not, apparently, managed to break that little half-breed b****.
“Let her in.” His voice rose over the smoke and the cursing going on outside the door. The next moment a woman fluttered in with Karl and Odon flanking her.
“Sorry boss…” Karl sputtered.
The woman in the blue dress cut him off, however. “You know I don’t appreciate you first sending Mouse to trail me and then using your pigs to delay me coming to see you. If you want to know something first you have to let me into your office, then you ask me.”
Vadim cocked the cigar between his lips and looked over the flushed female that stood before him. Last night Cay had come in dressed differently but with Nyx on his mind he had not paid it much attention, this was a notch above last night and she had his full attention now. If the voice, and the temper, had not matched his memories of the witch he might have doubted it was her.
Her color was high and a few strands of her hair had fallen free in her struggle with the guards outside. The dress was beautiful, though somewhat rumpled and stained. Those facts only added to the look in Dmitrova’s eyes though.
“You almost clean up nicely…” he muttered around the cigar.
“F*** you Dmitrova.” She spat her angst at him as she plopped into the chair she had sat in last night while listening to Nyx scream.
“You still look ripe from someone else plucking you Cay. I prefer my meat fresh.”
He laughed when he met her glare. “Fine then, you are here to report, what have you to report?”
Through the curtain of smoke he watched as she turned her head and thus her gaze to the corner of the room and pulled her lips into a thin line. “Nothing. The Bolstoii house was pulled tighter than a virgin on her wedding night. Moving through the Imperial District was a nightmare, I couldn’t go three steps without being asked questions by some guard. I thought this whole business was supposed to be taken care of.” The points of her eyes finally moved back to him.
“It will be, that is not your concern.”
The points rolled toward the ceiling before settling back on him. “Fine. I went to the Trade Bureau to see if I could trace Aelion through the records. Find out how long he had been in service with the Bolstoii’s, who his last owner was, those kinds of things. But I had no luck. All the records concerning anyone with a drop of mith’ganni blood have been pulled by Imperial Lugheads looking for a lead. Went by the cemetery too, seeing if I could gather anything about the noble b**** Aelion admitted to poisoning. But according to the gravedigger I ran into there the funeral had been postponed due to the havoc on the streets, and the body had not yet been released to the undertaker.”
Vadim gave no reaction to her lack of progress for the day. Instead he watched her carefully when he asked the next question. Tselika had warned him not to trust the half-breed, and as he could still feel the scratches the little assassin had left down his back he thought maybe to give her some heed.
“And Nyx? Any sign of him?”
He watched as she stiffened in her chair and brought the flames in her eyes burning down on him. “Am I covered in his vile elven blood?”
At that he laughed, pulling the cigar from his lips to do so with more vigor.
“Alright. Point taken.”
The flames died down a little as she sunk back into the chair. Arms crossed beneath her breasts and she took a deep breath while keeping Vadim in her vision. “What now Captain?”
“Well… I’m feeling generous today.” He reached into the desk and pulled out two bags. “You’ll get Nyx’s share of the job too. Take a few days; I should have something lined up for you soon.”
She caught both of the bags as they were tossed to her and she nodded. “Thanks.” There was little actual gratitude in her voice he noted. “May I go now?”
The cigar went back between his lips and he nodded to her. She said nothing. The figure, which he had really only guessed at previously, and with great inaccuracy, rose out of the chair. Eyes flashed at him and then at his guards before they disappeared in the shadow of her cowl. A flutter of blue material and she had stepped out.
“Follow her.” Vadim nodded to Karl. Tselika does not trust her, and as pretty as the Witch has proven to be she… she’s still got a nasty elven streak running through her, besides she’s not the one gobbling up my flesh right now, now is she?
A smile curled Vadim’s lips as he shifted slightly in his chair at the thought. It had been a good day, perhaps he should turn in early tonight, see if that morsel was still wrapped in his sheets…
Posted on 2010-01-05 at 22:21:03.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 12:18:21 by Eol Fefalas