The very act of Vanessa’s witchery, enabling us to travel so far within mere moments, left my stomach uneasy. My mouth was dry, and my head was left spinning. I leaned upon my beautiful companion Erima, my hand reaching for hers.
We were recognized at once, and a carriage summoned to take us my dear Aunt Winter. As we prepared to enter the carriage, something caught my attention from the corner of my eye.
“A moment, please, my ladies, my good carriage-man,” I said, attempting to hide the discomfort of our eerie travel from them all.
Not a few yards away lie some of the seediest of Fallscliff’s establishments catering to weary (and horny) travelers. And nearing one of those establishments, accompanied by a lady of the night, was an old friend. I quickly muttered the words of command to empower my fancy footwear with speed of motion, and caught the two as they stepped laughing into the shadows of the alleyway approaching the entrance of The Saucy Seamaid.
Their kiss was passionately involved, and neither held much notice of their surroundings. It was all the more surprising for them when the blade of my dagger caressed Algar Redwine’s throat.
“Here, be a good lad and hand over your money pouch, would you?” I rasped at Algar.
The girl backed of, eyes wide and shining with fear in the shadows. Algar’s shaking hand pulled his pouch from around his neck to proffer it to his shadowy assailant. As the Seafolk girl ran down the alleyway posthaste, I chose to reveal myself to Algar.
“What the fuck are you doing back?” he spat, “I thought you were in Karnas!”
“Yes, well, one can never truly tell where Tybalt Rashemar might show his face next, can they?” I smiled slyly.
Algar composed himself quickly. As the youngest son of the prominent Redwine family of brewers, he had his dignity to maintain after all.
“So what is it you’ve come to me for?”
“There were several introductions made upon your behalf a few years ago, if you recall?” I remarked offhandedly.
“Of course. Now you’ve come to call upon my favor in return, I take it?”
“An astute observation, my friend. I’ll mark my point quickly, so as not to take any more of your valuable raking time. I shall need you to prepare something of a soiree. I need to speak with my peers, and gauge the situation here in Fallscliff. Something is amiss, and I mean to find out what. Ensure that the cream is invited, of course. The young nobility, from all the most powerful families. And be sure to invite that fellow whose father is the lead scribe for the Guild, would you?”
“And where shall I send your invitation, Tybalt?” he inquired with a twinkle in his eye.
“Oh, you know me, Algar. I shall invite myself, as usual. Now I really must be going, I will see you tonight.”
“Tonight? How will I-”
“I trust you will find a way to manage,” I said as I turned back to the shadows to leave Algar Redwine wondering about my plans.
I have to wonder a little about that myself. There’s something to be said for spontaneity.
I rejoined my companions to preen when ogled by the folk of Fallscliff upon our journey to my Aunt’s place. The conversation went as well as I’d expected, with my Aunt having no sense of humor, and less patience. She preached caution in my suspicions of Minister Roget and his part in this game. Preaching to the choir, if ever I’d heard it.
But still, my mind was made up. I had to know.
Winter advised us upon our rooms, making some ado about Erima and myself needing but one room. I’m not sure what all the fuss was about. Perhaps only to embarrass Erima a bit. She shouldn’t be embarrassed. I’m quite the catch, after all. And even if I am reluctant to admit it to anyone publicly, I’m caught. She’s quite a woman, Erima is.
On our way towards the Travelers Arms, I catch myself thinking of all we’ve been through together, and that night of passion shared in a land of death. They do say opposites attract, and that good girls like bad boys. What goes unsaid is that, deep down, bad boys like good girls too.
When we reach our room, I take her hand, smiling, and open the door for her. Shutting it behind us, I take her in my arms to kiss her with all the passion I have developed for her in our time together. Breaking the kiss after some time, both of us breathless, I look into her eyes.
“Darling, I’ll need an date tonight, as well as an alibi,” I say with a roguish grin.