The King’s man, or not

No-one would tell him what was going on.

It grated on Borysko. The instant he had found that Drakon was missing, he had wanted to leap from his bed; but his treacherous body had refused to let him, and Madame de Silva had pushed him back and told him to stay put.

The warrior didn't want to stay put. He wanted to be out on the hunt, looking for Drakon, and his sword thirsted for Vagari shapeshifter blood.

And despite himself he was worried about the beargirl. He felt guilty; it was not her fault, none of it. But he could do nothing to find her and make it up.

So he sat there in his bed, picking at the blankets, fidgeting and shifting and, although he did not complain out loud, reproaching the healer every moment with his dark and gloomy expression.

The healer, after a few abortive attempts to comfort the big man, had given up and now ignored him. And so the hours passed in dull silence, and Borysko became more and more frustrated.

The minute the door opened to admit the slim figure of the Assessor, he exploded upright, ignoring his body's pained protests.

"Have you found him yet?" he demanded. Madame de Silva shook her head slowly and he slumped back against the pillow with a long, drawn-out sigh. It was echoed in a more ladylike manner by Madame de Silva as she perched herself by his bed; her face looked drawn and tired.

"We have looked. Believe me we have looked. But there is something that prevents us from scrying him, and we have found nothing from our enquires. But we have not yet given up."

"Have you checked the Pig and Bee?" Borysko growled. The Assessor nodded briefly.

"We sent someone there an hour ago. Calla; he is a good and intelligent man. He should be reporting back very soon."

"Well, good," the warrior grunted. He began to pick at his blanket again; the grey wool was unravelling swiftly under his calloused fingers. For a while the pair sat in silence, unlikely companions drawn together by worry; and then the door creaked open.

"Calla, is that you?" the Assessor enquired, without looking round. "Make your report."

"I am not Calla," said a soft voice. "I am a messenger, bearing a message from the King."

Madame de Silva turned, and met the calm eyes of a tall young man with white-blonde hair, and scars outlined in silver. He was proffering a letter, sealed with the King's seal; she took it, and dismissed him with a flick of her head.

"Vagari," Borysko growled, once the door had closed behind him. "Scum, all of them."

Nyssa gave him an unreadable look, and broke the seal on the letter. She had only read a few lines when she abruptly crumpled the expensive parchment in her slim fingers and beared her teeth in an uncharacteristic display of anger.

"The King," she said, meeting Borysko's eyes squarely in mute apology, "Says that he has evidence that you are indeed a traitor; and as such, you are to be immediately put to death."

Borysko said nothing. There was nothing he could say. Madame de Silva placed her hand on his, and they sat.


The Assessor stirred, drew herself up, and in an instant was the regal ruler of the Mage's Circle Training School once again. She turned, and inclined her head briefly to the bowing figure in the doorway.

"Calla. Report."

Calla, a young man with bright, intelligent green eyes, straightened up and, with a brief, curious glance at Borysko, began his report.

"The innkeeper reports seeing a young woman carrying an apparently unconcious boy out at about ten hours this morning. She claimed he was sick; the innkeeper thought nothing of it at the time. It may well be Drakon. The innkeeper also reports that the young woman had been taken upstairs earlier, at dawn, by what looked like an older Vagari woman..."

"Thank you, Calla, that is most helpful," Madame de Silva congratulated him, a small smile flitting across her face. Calla, obviously still curious, bowed and withdrew; Nyssa turned to Borysko.


"Beargirl," Borysko confirmed, sitting up in bed. "And I know where she'll be going. I'll go after her."

"But you are ill-"

"I'm sick of sitting here!" the warrior exploded furiously. "I will go!"

He clambered out of the bed, knees almost buckling under his weight, and grimly began to pull on his clothes. Madame de Silva sighed.

"In that case...I will go with you. We must hurry. Remember, you are now condemned to death."

Borysko, pulling on his chainmail with trembling hands, gave a wolfish grin.

"I'm not likely to forget."

The End

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