Taunting Landon.

The Council members left one by one. Lady Cluere left last, nodding to her daughter as she shut the door. Arowyn collapsed into a chair nearby, wondering how she would pull off her idea.

Bennett had grown lazy, it was true, but so had they. Her sister had many regular customers thanks to Alina's use of attending the gardens, among other things that helped them survive under the radar.

But that didn't mean that there were gaps that needed to be fixed.

She pulled the knife from the table, not noticing Landon appear inside. He shut the door softly, barely Arowyn until she had moved out of sight.

Arowyn quickly moved about the room, waiting. She then heard Landon speak.

"You may come out, it's not use spying' on one such as m'self."

She didn't move.

"I will leave if you wish, but I want to know who sent ye first, Alina or Her Ladyship." 

"Neither." Arowyn stood up. "Sulking, are we, Landon?"

"Merely thinkin'." He replied, smiling. It was not his carefree grin, Arowyn noticed. The grin was infamous among all of Landons aquaintences, friendly or otherwise.

"You haven't seen Alina yet, I take it." Arowyn said after a moment.

"Nay, I havna spoken to her yet."

"Ah." She paused, knowing she had to speak carefully.

"She tried not to show the change in herself after you left, you know. If we even mentioned you or implied anything about you, she would tense up, but pretend nothing was wrong. She would hide under her invisible mask, acting as if life was as normal as ever. She never even. . ."

"She did what I taught her to, which was to grin an' bear it!" Landon snapped, surprising himself almost as much as he angered Arowyn.

She was on him in a flash, hitting, striking, kicking, and yelling.

"It was wrong. You should have given her something, anything. She always said you would come back, all of you. Neither of you will have any peace until you resolve it, and you know it. You know better then to lie to yourself, O' noble Landon of Alvilaid, Prince of Masks, Lord of Fools, Master of-"   She hesitated to say the word. Would she be going too far?

"If you to know it t'be true, then say it." He dared.

"Deceit." Arowyn finished rebelliously.

Now the last time Landon had been called master of anything, he had gotten angry, which was a rare sight to most. He had known what Alina's reaction would have been, true enough. But he had told her ahead of time, as well as making sure that he made no promises. He had made a mistake, and he felt horrible.

The taunts, as well as the lecture, had roused his temper and he lashed out.

 He stuck at her, using everything in hand-to-hand combat possible to learn, giving Arowyn severe difficulty to block. Next thing she knew, he had her restrained. She could feel his breath as he whispered hoarsely into her ear. 

"I tol' no lie, maid' no promise, an' did nothing foolish. I never did anythin' to harm anyone and I gave her fair warnin' that I wished to go. Tell me what I did wrong, and I will try t'mend it." Arowyn smirked.

"Just don't ask you to talk to Alina-" His grip tightened.

"Ask awa', before I grow tired o' ye." Landon whispered. 

She stayed silent.

Arowyn had been through worse, they both knew that. Landon softened his grip by just fraction at this memory, and Arowyn took her chance.

She pulled her arm free, ducking as she did, and twisted around to disable his knee. He knelt and grabbed her foot as it swung, and they both lost their balance.

The End

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