Ashkevron Residence in Aren, Askavi - Kitchen
While clearly unsatisfied by both Gennar and Denvar's words, Mikhail sat down again, simply waiting for Faeril to finish whatever she was doing with the 'Reaper'. Both Eyrien's reasons for not protect Faeril wasn't something Mikhail could understand. He didn't know what their relationship with the black widow was, but listening to an earful was way better than having her killed or wounded if they really cared about... or needed
her. Despite having given up on going there, Mikhail was still alert, listening to any strange noise coming from the second floor."Very well. I cannot understand your reasons though. Keeping Faeril safe seems to be much more important than avoiding being reprimanded by her."
Mikhail said as he sat down, grabbing the cup of coffee that was served by Gennar and taking a sip. Much to his despair, he finally figured out why exactly Gennar's coffee was called a horror a bit ago. Shaking his head a bit after taking a sip from the coffee, he couldn't help himself but to cough a bit, shocked by the taste. Even though he tried to be discreet, anyone who was directly looking at him would notice it.
As the Eyriens continued talking to the woman though, Mikhail silently listened. Even though he didn't know what exactly were the woman's circumstances, she didn't seem to be at fault for even being there. In fact, she apparently didn't even know the reason why she was there and was even accused of being a spy and suspected because she was armed. While Mikhail wouldn't have the same reaction as her if he was in her position, he surely understood why she was angry.
Unsurprisingly, the woman didn't try to hide her indignation with the entire situation, even though she was being a bit blunt about it. She did a few good points though. Even if Faeril was a black widow, it seemed unlikely that she had so many enemies to the point that the two Eyriens would accuse her of being a spy. Mikhail already suspected that Faeril was more than just a healer, but the second the man called 'The Reaper' walked inside that house and after that woman in front of him said those words, he became even more certain that she was in fact hiding something.
Other than that, the woman, who had introduced her as Dareen, had said a few interesting words as well, particularly about Queens and a certain Queen called Dorothea, who had quite a few rumors going around regarding her actions. While Mikhail wanted nothing with the world of politics, he couldn't remain oblivious to it or just ignore it due to his job. Plus, he didn't exactly trusted Queens and was a good bit wary of them."Sorry for interrupting, but you two seem to be overly suspicious of the wrong person here..."
Mikhail said, obviously questioning the Eyrien brothers' sanity as they completely ignored the man who was obviously dangerous and instead accusing the woman. Even though she was armed, she was much less of an immediate threat than the man called 'The Reaper' who was currently alone in a closed room with Faeril."I am not from here,"
Mikhail said, stating the obvious."But due to my job I do hear quite a few rumors... Both well known and some which are supposed to be secrets... And this name, Dorothea, came up quite a few times."
he said to Dareen, obviously interested in her words.
The brother shared a glance at Mikhail's words. "Dorothea is the Queen of Hyall and the High Priestess. It's her twisted little pet Queens who usurp the surrounding territories for her favor- which grants them power they would not otherwise have."
Giving Dareen a look the Warlord Prince frowned. "How can you not know of this? It's common knowledge in Pruul that Dorothea holds the reins over Queen Zaanthia."
He spoke of the Terrritory Queen of Pruul. The woman had a vicious love of amusements and those amusements left a trail of broken Blood males."The fact is, we cannot take chance. Especially not now. As for Faeril and the Ebon-Grey? I'd rather deal with either of them after the other has worn them out. We would not put a dent in that man's power. Ashke would."
Gen pointed out solemnly. His brothers' Tiger-eye against the Ebon-Grey would be a death sentence, and the Green he wore would hold for a time. But the Red that was Faeril's offering would hold firm until the last.
Dareen nodded exasperated at Denvar's words. "Yes, I'm not totally clueless. I'd heard the name, and knew she was the Queen of Terrielle. But in my experience, it's one thing to know of somebody, and another to know who they really are. It's just...when you live under one system for so long, it becomes hard to know if that system is unjust. Maybe it's easy for you to understand, out here frolicking in your fields of flowers, but the dust storms tend to cloud ones vision."
Once again she had retracted, not wanting to give anything away about her past.
But it seemed she was in the company of enemies of the Queens. The brothers envar spoke of corruption and usurption. There were rumors, of course, of what Zaanthia did; But enemies of the crown surely benefited from spreading such vile lies. Perspective would cast new light upon her homeland.
Dareen made a face of disconcertation, her eyes going dark and her brow furrowing. "Why...why do the Queens hunt down the Black Widows? I've..."
she trailed off. "I've watched other people hunt them down, and kill them like animals. Why? They call the Black Widows traitors, cowards, manipulators and schemers. Practitioners of evil Craft. Is that true? Or is that all a lie, too?"
Nervously, she traced the line patterns underneath the sleeves of her arms.
Mikhail heard the Eyriens' words about Dorothea. He knew who she was, but he had no idea the extent of her influence. According to their words, the Queen of Pruul was also one of her 'pet queens' as they mentioned. Given where that conversation was going and the things that Mikhail heard Faeril talking about, he feared if he wasn't careful he was going to get dragged inside those political struggles, which was nothing but a death sentence to him at best. At worse, a prisoner, or being a corrupted queen's hound."I know who Dorothea is. Enough to know that avoiding drawing her attention by gathering information about her is the most sensate thing to do."
He replied. He avoided asking about Dorothea, even mentioning her name. That's why his information regarding her was... Limited. Since he was amongst those who didn't like her and certainly weren't her allies or spies, it was a good option to acquire some information in order to avoid such a dangerous Queen."Unacceptable."
Mikhail said, looking to Gennar with a serious face after he mentioned that it would be easier to deal with the remaining one if Faeril and 'The Reaper' clashed."If something happened to Faeril, it would be very complicated for me."
he said. Given his tone of voice and serious expression, it was clear that he meant that he would do anything to attain his goals. Even if that meant going against that 'Reaper' man.
When Dareen spoke again, Mikhail nodded, agreeing with her words. More than anyone else, he knew that merely knowing who one is and truly 'knowing' the person were two different things. Not only that but he didn't exactly followed, nor respected the system she mentioned."Fear, Dareen. They fear that which they can't truly and completely control."
Gen frowned slightly and his great leathery wings shuffled uncomfortably. "Black Widows are powerful in their own way. They are skilled at subterfuge making them a threat against the Queens. But if they work for the Queen? Who wouldn't want to have a loyal lackey who can pick the thoughts from a man's mind for the whim?"
Denvar also looked shamefaced as he stared down at the coffee. "Perhaps it is out long lives that allow us to not be so affected by the twisted Protocol you seem to speak of. Or that it's been twisted a fair bit more in Pruul."
The last bit seemed said more to himself.
Dareen leaned back and shook her head looking away from Mikhail and back toward the ground. "Dorothea is already the Queen of all Queens. On the surface, it would seem she has nothing to fear from the Black Widows. Surely she could just deal with them like she dealt with everyone else? Yet her ruthless and lethal hunt of them continues, with no signs of slowing down. There has to be something we're missing. But then again, perhaps these Queens are more unstable and paranoid than I suspected. It's not like irrational hatred of a group of people is unheard of."
The Pruulish witch glanced at the brothers sideways."It's typical."
Her voice rose in pitch and strength. "Of course someone so evil and cowardly would become the most powerful person in the world. That's just how it goes. In my comparitively short amount of time on this earth, that's how it always happens. I've seen it time and time again."
Tense, the mercenary whipped her vision across the room with seemingly renewed interest."So, what. Are you all organizing an escape plan? Or is this just a sulky corner of the world for brooding about how unfair everything is?
A rhetorical question, perhaps, as right afterwards her eyes met Mikhail's. "You talk like you're just here for personal gain. That true?"
Mikhail knew how dangerous the Black Widows could be. And certainly, so did most of the Queens. Denvar's explanation was on point. Even though most queens feared the Black Widows, they all would love to have one working for them. One they could trust and control, completely
As Dareen mentioned that for her it seemed that Black Widows were no more dangerous than Xandar, Mikhail slowly shook his head, disagreeing with her."Killing is easy. Using violence and brute force is simple. But what a Black Widow can do though, its not. They can completely control someone, fabricate or erase memories, produce deadly poisons and even make someone completely mad. Everything regarding one's mind is no secret to them."
Mikhail continued. "But they can also heal wounds that no other would be able to, those of the mind. The main problem is: Queens don't trust those whom they cant control or manipulate freely. For them, an existence such as the Black Widows, who can easily manipulate someone, alter their memories & etc. is a huge threat and something to be either eliminated or somehow controlled and subjugated at all costs."
he completed. Even though one had the skills and the capacity to kill someone, that didn't make him inherently evil. The same was true to the Black Widows."Power tends to corrupt those who wield it. It is the human nature. It is not that the evil and cowardly ones that become powerful, it's the other way around."
Mikhail replied to Dareen after her comment about the powerful ones always turning out to be evil.
When Dareen looked to him again though, asking if he was there only for personal gain, his expression didn't change as he replied."If you are asking if I have any ulterior motive or some task of grand importance by coming here, then no. I do not."
Mikhail said."Faeril is one of the few Black Widows who can treat my... condition. I made a deal with her. That is all."
Both brothers stiffened and glared at Mikhail as he revealed Faeril's caste to the Pruulish woman. "Why don't you announce that fact to the entire Territory? I don't think they heard you."
Groused the Warlord. Giving Dareen a warning look, he snapped a Green shield over the door and windows that led outside lest the witch try. "Aye, she is a Black Widow and she will decide what to do with you."
Dareen clearly tensed up as the moment of relative calm was broken. Mikhail revealed his true purpose for being here; Faeril was a Black Widow. The Pruulish woman's immediate thought was to make an escape, but not for the reasons the the brothers were suspecting her of. Once the shield was up, Dareen knew she couldn't escape. Trapped and indignant, she stood tall and straightened her back, becoming defensive."I'm sure she will. Right after treating Mikhail's genital warts- or whatever stupid condition he has that's now got me trapped in this dreary house."
Were they going to kill her because she knew Faeril's secret? They had no reason to trust her. Infact, if they knew more about her past, they would probably flay her alive for what she's done against Faeril's kind. This was a dangerous situation. Dareen would have to choose her words carefully. Which is why she already regretted her impulsive need to insult everyone around her when she's nervous. Dareen was far out of her depth. It seemed everyone here knew the truth of the situation except her. This whole town seemed to be some kind of bizarre cult around this Faeril woman. If the Queen's fear of the Black Widows were justified, it was already too late."I'm not a spy. Let me remind you, Denvar, that you flew me up here personally."
She kept her cool, but her mind was racing. Perhaps they just brought people they suspected of being traitors into their death dungeon, and once they cracked or made a slip of a tongue, killed them. If the whole town was in on it, there was nothing stopping them. All because this secret-spilling simpleton, Mikhail, couldn't keep his mouth shut! She had no weapons, either."The Black Widows don't have an enemy with me."
Dareen re-iterated with finality.
Mikhail raised his eyebrows, surprised by the Eyrien brothers' reaction. As far as he was concerned, if he was able to reach Faeril, anyone could if they searched around for a bit. At least for him, he wasn't considering that to be a secret. After all, just as Dareen had said, Denvar himself brought her here."I wasn't considering that to be a secret. After all, we already have Xandar, The Reaper here. If I was able to reach Faeril, knowing who she is, anyone who searched around for a bit would also be able to."
Mikhail completed, shrugging.
Dareen's reaction to that though was nothing short of amusing to watch. Obviously tensing up after hearing Mikhail's words, it was obvious what she was thinking. Especially as she proceeded to tone down her insults and try to explain herself.
Even though the Eyrien brothers were obviously trapping her inside by putting a green shield on the door, Mikhail didn't seem to change his expression nor his posture, as he simply continued sitting down and waiting for Faeril to finish her talk with Xandar."Dareen... You don't seem to realize the situation you're in, do you? I would recommend you to stop insulting everyone and think carefully about your situation."
Mikhail finally said, obviously referring to her previous comment about his condition. Both his tone and his cold stare clearly meant that she wasn't helping herself with those comments.
Denvar huffed in irritation. "We brought you here and you were convert about it. Randalvar is the gate keeper, they may look but they don't directly know. Did you know before we brought you directly to her who she was specifically?"
Gen nodded absently as he rumbled deeply within his chest. "I'd suggest you follow his advice, witchling. Faeril doesn't deal well with those who cannot keep a civil tongue.""I brought you here because you might be a spy."
The Warlord Prince retorted. "We will see if you an enemy, or rather Faeril will. Provided she doesn't cut you to bits for your lack of manners.""Woman, did you never learn Protocol? Was your mother a landen?"
Gen snapped finally, his temper sharpened by Mikhail's foolish notion. "You know Protocol. Keep to it and don't be a fool."
Dareen bit her tongue. Manners, manners, manners. Protocol. Those who demanded respect were most often the ones who did not deserve it. These pompous bastards have never had to work for anything in their lives! How many people have they killed just because they didn't fit into their narrow view of what is normal and acceptable? One? Ten? A hundred?
Probably none, she thought suspiciously, narrowing her eyes at the men in the room. She knew exactly what she was dealing with. A few steps away from the people she used to work for. Clenching her jaw, she tilted her head at Genvar who had raised his voice. Sniffing, Dareen shrugged. "I'm nothing if not a fool."
The Pruulish witch feel silent and brought her left finger up to her right shoulder, and began tracing the line pattern that ran up and down her bicep.
As the Eyrien brothers continued, Mikhail didn't make any effort to hide the fact that he thought that they were nothing but fools. Not only that they were completely ignoring Xandar, but that they brought Dareen here despite not trusting her. There were at least a bunch of reasons that Mikhail could think since Dareen entered the room that pointed to the fact that she wasn't a spy or anything like that, despite not knowing much regarding her situation."I suggest you two to be a bit more careful regarding your secrets and start thinking with your brains. Bringing someone inside your own house despite not trusting them isn't exactly something smart. Ignoring Xandar, 'The Reaper' too..."
Mikhail said."The only reason why I said what I did regarding Faeril is because I judged it would be safe to do so in her own house."
He continued, obviously criticizing the Eyrien brothers."If Dareen was a spy, would you really think she would have let herself be caught so easily? Don't you think she would have something planned in case she was captured? She would be prepared... Something she definitely isn't."
Mikhail continued."Until now, the decisions she took weren't the smartest ones. Do you still need any more proof that she is innocent other than her own mistakes? Despite her rude manners, she was honest. It's easy to read her emotions and what she's thinking."
It was indeed surprising that Mikhail, who himself said he only cared about his own interests, was defending the woman in front of him. The reason for that though was a mystery to those present. The only thing one would be able to take out of that was that he was obviously more complicated than just what he said about himself."You forget Mikhail who also dwells within this house. Bringing them here when they are a suspected enemy is two fold a risk and a potential reward."
Gen pointed out. Faeril could well pick over the girl's mind to find what kernels of information they needed if she was an enemy after all. "Randalvar is not a fool, if Xandar- who is known to hate the Queens- was not to be trusted he would have sent him elsewhere. You assume too much.""We cannot take that risk. We must be sure and that means she must meet with Faeril as all do."
Denvar pointed out cooly. "This is not the first time we have been wrong, nor could it be the first time we have had to execute one of the puppets of Dorothea."
Dareen watched curiously as Mikhail stepped in to play devil's advocate. It didn't matter though, Dareen thought. Her fate was sealed. That Black Widow was going to poke around in her brain. She'll see what Dareen has done, and then Dareen will die for it. She wasn't exactly sure what they saw when they did their thing, but certainly Faeril could could see the thought at the forefront of her mind. There's something cosmically karmic about it. It's only fair, right? It would be nothing if not just. Dareen had seen much pointless death, it would be somewhat satisfying to know that her incoming end will be poetic, if unknown.
Tired of fighting for survival, the Pruulish woman crossed her arms and put the flat of her boot against the wall behind her."I'm not a very good liar. Never developed the skills for it. Everyone I ever met was either paid to stand with me, paying me, an enemy, or some fool who just needed a talking too. Not once have I ever decieved anyone about my position relative to them. Say what you will about steel- it's honest."
Dareen said to the room. She wasn't lying, but she certainly wasn't professing her sins to these people. It was impossible to confess now, of course. Impossible. "So, what will it be? You got a big axe back there? Maybe a deep, dark hole? Or are you going to get Xandy to fold me like an omelette? I understand if you want to keep it a secret. The surprise is often the best part of murdering someone, right?"
With nothing left to run from, Dareen regressed to the cruel, dark, sardonic wit of her youth.