Tor did not trust these FallenDamen assassins. Of course, he did not trust many outsiders - they dishonored themselves by refusing to bow down to Akoraan and the Shard. But even still, something was not right with this Tanz character and his friend. Tor resolved to watch them closely. He did not want to get close to Tanz's blades, or learn just how deep a FallenDamen sniper could drive an arrow into the back of a man's skull.

Despite all of this, though, Tor decided that he would make use of their assistance. He took the gold and stored it in a secret pouch in his pack as he spoke to Tanz.

"So," Tor asked, "what? You just help us kill the Emperor... and then what?" he looked into the man's eyes as he spoke, searching for a clue.

"And then," Tanz replied vaguely, "the Emperor will be dead, and your mission will be complete, sir knight."

Tor shook his head at the continued use of that term. The kingdom of Batura did not raise knights - it raised warriors. "I am no knight," Tor said. Kierst gave him a suppressed smile from where she stood near the sniper, silently mocking his blunt reply. "But I am being rude. This is her majesty, princess Kierst Vedin of Batura," he said by way of proper introduction. Kierst nodded to the two men.

"It is good to meet you both," she said formally. She sounded tense to Tor, as though she were on edge. He glanced at her in concern, and she shook her head almost imperceptibly.

Tanz bowed deeply and twirled in an almost entrancing dance as he greeted the princess; Reiher, the other man, bowed his head silently.

"And I am, as you seem to already know, Tor Aviksson." the two men nodded to him. 

"Well," Tanz said, faking a yawn, "not that all this talking isn't truly wonderful, but I find myself bored with this particular location. Could I interest you, sir Tor and Lady Kierst, in a drink?" Tor and Kierst, after looking momentarily atone another, both nodded.

They were treated to what Tor found to be rather strong wine - what Tanz called "the finest wine in the region" - and a lengthy conversation.

"So," Tor finally said, "you too can touch the shadows?"

"I certainly can," Tanz replied. "The two of us dance an intricate, never-ending dance as time marches by."

"I see," Tor said somewhat hesitantly. "I have been gifted with the shadow magic for most of my life." He looked uneasily out the window at a man passing by, who was wearing all black and wore a longsword at his belt in a silver sheath. When the man vanished from Tor's view, his attention returned to the conversation. "If you don't mind," he said, "I think I will retire for the evening. I fear we may have a long journey ahead of us, and I will be prepared for it. Goodnight, gentlemen."

When Kierst stood and, bidding farewell to the two other men, followed Tor, he kept walking silently until they were within the room that Tori had prepared for them. Then he turned to her, saying, "I don't think they can be trusted."

"Perhaps not completely," replied Kierst, "but all we need is their help. So long as they hold true on that - it doesn't matter what other motives they've got."

Tor nodded silently, not bothering to state that it mattered to him and that he wanted to know what they were up to.

The End

18 comments about this story Feed