Serena gave the faintest hint of a smile.
“I hope to see you soon then,” she said. “Little One.” She gave a single wave of her hand as she turned to leave. The smile faded soon, as it always did, and made her way to the tower. If things were going according to schedule, she could catch up, rest, exchange notes… better than sitting around drinking, anyhow.
Serena had been to the tower several times before, but she never quite got used to it. She had no problems getting the gate guards to let her pass, but once she crossed the threshold, the extravagant courtyard, the beautiful flower beds, the suits of armor on patrol alongside various acolytes, the holy aura that subtly and faintly stabbed into her half-demonic being, the way the sun always seemed to shine slightly
more brightly here than anywhere else in the city, even when it should be covered in the tower’s own shadow… they remained familiar, yet not. She approached the front doors and they swung open in front of her.
The woman behind the door was short, just a little over five feet tall, and clearly old, but there was an unmistakably powerful commanding aura about her. Her facial features bore some similarity to Veronica’s, creased into a look of mild frustration, and she had full, pristine silver hair that seemed to be a result of something more mystical than mere aging. She wore the distinctive robes of the Order, but they were more pristine and decorated, with the most prominent feature being a necklace of large blue glass prayer beads, each with a different golden inscription. She was flanked by an entourage of two suits of armor on either side of her, with the two closest to her bearing far more elaborate silver and gold trim, covered in runes that, even while inactive, caused Serena to momentarily wince in pain before she grew accustomed to it, and ornate yet deadly-looking halberds and swords, with an Order acolyte trailing behind her. She gave Serena a look of surprise as she met her gaze.
“It’s been a while, Glint.” Serena said, her facade faltering ever so slightly.
“A- Serena,” Glint said, her frustration soon returning. “You’ll have to wait a bit, apparently some foreign asshole tore up half the damn market.” She huffed and stormed towards the gate outside.
“Would you like any assistance?” Serena offered.
“No,” Glint answered. “I think we can handle this. If I have to start casting, I don’t want you anywhere near it. Just wait in my room, I’ll be back soon.” Serena simply nodded and left her to her business. She would go to Glint’s room, order some breakfast from the servants, maybe some wine, and relax and wait for someone else to fix things for once.
Veronica scowled in annoyance as the man began to sing. She considered telling him that he probably didn’t have any
of the necessary papers to spellcast in a public area like that, but after his arrogant little speech she decided to just see where this went. If he thought that he could work above the Order, he had another thing coming. She just kind of crossed her arms and stared at him as he sang. She didn’t even flick him in the face while his eyes were closed like she was considering doing a few moments earlier.
And then it happened. She felt a little guilty watching the streets and market get torn up when she could have easily punched the “sage” in the nose while he sang. She knew the couple who owned that shop, after all, not to mention the rest of the damages. Tirnea suggested that they leave, and Veronica thought for a moment. She would really
rather see what they do to this guy, but she probably shouldn’t be wasting their time on this, unless he was going to bug them some more. She ultimately decided, and opened her mouth to speak.
“VERONICA!” The sound of her grandmother’s voice sent a shock down her entire body as she reflexively snapped into a rigid posture. She turned to face Glint, taking note of the acolyte and the pair of Wardbearers she had alongside her in addition to her usual security. She wasn’t used to hearing her sound so on edge.
“Gra-er, Grand Inquisitor!” Veronica said with nervous enthusiasm. “What are you up to?”
“Well I just got home from Nethergate and now I’m trying to figure out what in Calieo’s name is going on here,” Glint said. “You’d think I’d never left the damn place. Do you have any idea how this all started?” Veronica thought for a moment. How could she explain this?
“Well,” the knightess started. “Serena has the two of us out on Choir business, and this kid starts asking us to help him find a butcher, but then he starts going on about some beast under the earth, and I tell him to report it to the Order if it’s so much trouble, but then he says he’s a sage and starts chanting this spell, and that’s what caused all the commotion.”
“And you didn’t stop him?” Glint asked with a frown.
“I, uh, didn’t think it would turn out this bad.” Veronica answered. Glint sighed and rubbed her temples. She turned to the sage with a look that suggested that she was running dangerously low on patience.
“Boy,” she said sternly. “I can tell you’re not from around here, so I’m not even going to bother asking you if you have the permits to do half of what you just did. So I’m just going to ask you what in the flames of Forno were you thinking when you did it.”
Hidden amongst the crowd and commotion near an alleyway, two figures stood in the shade. One cloaked under a parasol, another under a beaked hood.
“How much of that did you catch?” Ashley asked.
“Most of it.” Magnolia said quietly, almost inaudibly with the din of the crowd, but her companion never failed to hear her.
“Do you think that’s what the Pinuran girl had up her sleeve?”
He began to try to wrap his head around the situation before he turned to leave. Wouldn’t want to get spotted, after all.