Nine - in which Volker has borrowed Chekhov's GunMature

Volker resigned himself to the fact that there would be little sleep tonight. After giving Mayrin time to be on her way, he would himself leave. Vanora would want to hear about this, as would the Captain. And, he supposed, Noman himself.

He finished his tea and wished he'd had the presence of mind to ask more questions of the young woman. For instance, how did she know Noman was still alive? He'd asked after why she wanted Noman, but not the circumstances that had brought her here. She'd known an awful lot about him... maybe Noman knew her?

The nights were getting ever colder, but were not so cold yet that Volker felt he needed a coat. He took one anyway, the better to hide the pistol he brought with him. For all the Watch  was putting itself back together the streets were still dangerous, and a small worry had begun to creek into Volker's mind. If magic could fade away enough to prevent high level spells from working, it could fade to the point where no spells worked. 

Vanora's guards were understandably displeased with his wanting to visit at such a late hour. Still, they knew him, and when he said he had urgent business they were willing to believe him. They took him to the estate's foyer, where he waited until the Prince made herself presentable. When she did appear it was hard to believe she'd likely just gotten out of bed. Except, perhaps, for the fact that the Captain looked as if he'd just gotten up. He followed behind her, looking bleary eyed and somewhat disheveled next to Her Ladyship's pristine appearance. 

"Volker?" she asked, a surprising amount of concern in her words, "Is everything all right?"

Her eyes were watching his, so it was the Captain's gaze that gave Volker the reason for that concern. It was fixed on the pistol at his waist. 

"Oh," he looked down at it, surprised the guards had let him carry it in. It hadn't even crossed his mind until now. "Yes, yes," he assured them both. "Well... maybe."

"Maybe?" the Captain asked, eyebrows raised. 

"I just got a visit from someone looking for Noman."

"Are we talking a demon someone, or a person someone?" the Captain inquired.

"Oh, a person someone. She's a mage, and a very talented one if I had to guess. She said her name is Mayrin."

Vanora sat on a nearby lounge and reclined slightly, head supported by one arm. "What did you tell her?"

"That he was dead, of course." 

"Good," the Captain nodded. "Problem solved."

"Oh no," Volker shook his head. "Far from it. She was certain Noman is still alive. She asked me to help find him, as a matter of fact. Unfortunately she refused to tell me why. All she would say was something about demons devouring the world."

"Another Incursion?" Vanora guessed.

"That was my first thought, yes. But like I said, she wouldn't say anything else. I was hoping Noman might know something about her."

"No," Noman's voice caught Volker by surprise. All three turned to see him standing just outside the room, where the shadows overpowered the light of the lamps. Wispy tendrils of black smoke gently floated through the air around him, green demon eyes flashing. Volker shivered involuntarily. He doubted he'd ever get used to being this close to demons.

"I don't know any mage named Mayrin," Noman continued.

"Tch," Vanora clicked her tongue at him. "You shouldn't lurk, dear." The admonishment drew a glare from Noman, but it faltered and fell away quickly. 

"Is she another champion?" the Captain asked. He stepped aside so Noman could join them. "Another of Airea's agents?"

"No," he rejected the idea. "Airea and Saliea are the only Old Gods left standing, and they only have one Champion at a time. Airea would have told me if any of her other agents were going to come looking for me. Saliea, on the other hand... you'd have to ask Esme about that. But I don't see why one of them would be looking for me. 

"Then who is she?" the Captain asked. "Where is she from? What does she want?"

"I can try to get that information out of her tomorrow," Volker said. "I said I'd meet with her again then. Speaking of which... what do I tell her? That Noman is alive? That I can help her find him?"

"Maybe I should just go have a word with her myself," Noman suggested thoughtfully. "Do you know where she's staying? Is she at the Guild Hall?"

"No, she's at The Barrel." Noman winced ever so slightly at the name of the tavern. "But do you think that's a good idea?" Volker asked. "We don't know why she's looking for you. She may not have the best of intentions." 

"I wouldn't worry too much about that," Noman told him. "I'm still damned hard to kill, remember? Even without the stone she'll have a fight on her hands if she tries anything."


The End

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