Chronicles of the Court Rogue: Rivalry - Part Six
What, in the name of all the flaming fire faeries was taking
them so long, Mareian wondered irritably. She sat on one of the stone benches
by the entrance courtyard of the castle where Jasagh had arrived, pretending to
read a book. There were only three exits to the courtyard, two leading into the
castle and the main gate leading to the outside. Poor Danner got to cover the
main gate; hopefully his tail didn't get too solidly frozen, she thought with
a grin. It had snowed pretty heavily the night before.
Mareian sighed; Jasagh had arrived nearly 30
minutes ago. She knew Hagan tended towards formality, but this was taking formality
to new extremes. If he keeps this up, Mareian thought, we'll run out
of time before Lord Darigan and his nobles arrive for the ball tonight.
Hearing Jeran's sharp whistle and the sound of
quickly approaching foot steps, Mareian dropped the book she was holding and
pulled the pair of small daggers out from her sleeves. Jumping gracefully to
her feet, Mareian moved to the center of the hall, just in time to be in front
of the entrance court yard's double doors as they flew open in Jasagh's race
to escape. Quicker than thought, she stepped in front of him and raised one
small sharp dagger to his throat. "Going somewhere?" she asked smugly as the
royal Gelert skidded to a stop in front of her, his arms pin wheeling to keep
For one moment, Jasagh looked as if he would
fight, but his shoulders sagged in defeat as Jeran and Mirtah caught up behind
him. Meekly, he didn't resist as Jeran grabbed him roughly and chained him.
Mareian was a bit disappointed by that, the idea of the pompous royal Gelert
getting beaten to a pulp by Jeran rather appealed to her; Mareian was like that
"Good job, Mary Anne!" King Skarl's voice boomed
"Mareian, not Mary Anne," she muttered under
her breath while rolling her eyes in exasperation. At least Mary Anne was closer
to her real name than the 'Madeleine' he used to call her. King Skarl was very
bad with names; according to Jeran, he'd spent the first two years living in
the castle answering to the name 'Jamie' whenever the king spoke to him. The
king rarely took such interest in the palace children anymore, much to the relief
of the poor tutors who'd had to keep multiple names straight for each child.
King Hagan was much slower to respond. Mareian
couldn't decided if he was in shock from his advisor's betrayal, or just very
sad. Looking around the room, Mareian saw that everyone else was busy; Rolan
was busily talking with Skarl, while Jeran was giving directions to the knights
Danner had just brought in, and Mirtah was busy glowering at Jasagh and just
generally looking intimidating. Slipping her daggers back into her arm strap
sheaths, Mareian put on her best little-girl face as she slowly walked up to
the king. The last thing King Hagan needed right now was someone rushing up
to him or waving weapons around.
"Do you need anything, Majesty?" she asked the
large green Skeith softly. King Hagan just looked at her blankly. Still in shock,
Mareian decided. Turning slightly, she caught Danner's eye. "Get Lisha," she
mouthed to him silently. Danner nodded and headed down the hall towards the
Gently Mareian led the stunned king to the stone
bench near the door. "I'm Mareian, Majesty, I work for Jeran," she introduced
herself, grinning slightly she added, "My name isn't Mary Anne, despite what
King Skarl may tell you." Hagan smiled slightly at that statement; apparently
he knew of brother's trouble with names. Mareian kept chatting to him about
nonsense topics until Lisha arrived, slightly out of breath from running down
the hall with Danner. With relief Mareian let Lisha take over the care of the
king; babysitting kings really wasn't something Mareian was good at.
Now that she was free, Jeran caught her eye.
"You okay?" he asked, his eyes concerned.
Mareian grinned impishly up at him, "I'm fine,
he didn't lay a finger on me. You and Mirtah were too quick on his tail."
Jeran visibly relaxed; apparently her sitting
so quietly with the king had worried him. "You know best about ways to escape
from dungeons," he said to her quietly, "so can you make sure Jasagh doesn't
have anything he can use to disappear again?"
"Can I keep whatever I take from him?" she asked
with a grin, visions of new toys dancing in her head.
"I'll think about it."
His answer was better than a 'no', so Mareian
decided to drop the matter. Besides, she had to think of suitable way to handle
the dungeon's newest Gelert resident. "Danner," Mareian called sweetly, "could
you see if we have anything in Lord Jasagh's size in a nice pastel pink?" The
royal Gelert's glower at Mareian because of her request was nearly as nice of
a present as her new opal jewelry.
Much to Mareian's disappointment, Danner did
not have any pink jail uniforms. Uniforms were only given to the most dangerous
of criminals; normally prisoners got to keep their own clothes. Mareian was
taking no chances with Jasagh, however; who knew what kind of stuff he could
have stashed in his clothes, especially if they were modified in similar ways
as how Mareian liked her clothes.
His jewelry was confiscated too and inspected
by Mareian. His necklace pendent opened like a locket, and held some sort of
bitter smelling white powder that she wasn't going to mess with. The enameled
broach on his cloak was hollow, and held ground glass; which Mareian shuddered
at what would have happened if the glass had found its way into someone's drink.
Satisfied that she had found everything, Mareian
placed Jasagh's processions into a small locking box, and sealed it. Handing
the locked box to Squire Athless, Mareian watched him place the box in Danner's
security room. With that finished, Mareian had just enough time to get ready
before the ball started.
Hurrying up to her quarters, Mareian hastily
changed into her lilac and silver ball gown. She was clipping on her new opal
necklace from Jeran when the door knocked. "It's open," she called, grinning
at Jeran and Mirtah as they walked in. "What," she teased Jeran when she noticed
he was wearing a silver and black tunic, "no full, formal armor?" Sir Jeran's
dislike of formal events was legendary.
"I tried," he sighed, "but his Majesty wouldn't
let me." Mareian carefully hid a grin at his dejected look.
Danner's voice came from the doorway, "You're
not still grousing about not being able to intimidate everyone away from you
by wearing armor, are you?" Danner looked like he was going to say something
else, but he caught sight of Mirtah, now dressed in her dark red and black formal
ball gown. His eyes widened, while his jaw opened then snapped shut with an
audible snap. Oh dear, Mareian thought, it's a good thing we dealt
with Jasagh before Danner knew Mirtah was his partner. Otherwise he would have
been completely useless.
All across Meridell, Day of Giving parties were
going strong. How sappy, Jasagh thought in disgust. On a brighter note,
because of the holiday, his loyal servant within the castle had been able to
free him after only a few hours within the dungeon. Jasagh was sure the look
on the Lord Sheriff's face tomorrow when he realized that his prized prisoner
was gone with all his processions, would be priceless. He must be sure to have
his servant describe it to him. Perhaps he could be very lucky and hear about
the large Lupe Champion's reaction as well.
With a sigh, he sat on a worn stool. Foiled again;
and for the second time by that runt of a Lupess. The first time had been understandable,
she was a thief and he was imposing on her Council's domain. At first he'd thought
she worked for the usurping King Skarl, but all the warriors she'd brought had
been from the same thieves' council. So he'd ignored her, yet this second time
there was no mistaking her for working for anyone other than the king. Not and
have free access within the castle, like she apparently did. He'd known that
it would be impossible to remove Skarl from the throne while Jeran was still
alive, but now he was beginning to suspect that he couldn't remove Jeran while
this Lupess remained in the way.
Well, he thought with a satisfied smile, that
was easy enough to fix. He knew her type; they worked for the person who paid
the most. Loyalty could become flexible with the right incentive. It was vital
that this Lupess work for him instead of that overgrown mutt of a Lupe. Yes,
he must give serious thought to this problem named Mareian Mahkra.