Chronicles of the Court Rogue: Treachery - Part Twelve
Jeran hoped Marian didn't get too mad at him for this. He
hadn't planned on telling Jasagh any lies anyways, and giving him the signet ring
was the best way he could get physically closer to the Gelert. Now all he needed
to do was get Mareian away from that Krawk. Stepping forward, Jeran pulled the
ring of his finger.
"That's far enough," Jasagh said. "Put it on
Jasagh eagerly scurried forward and grabbed the
ring almost as soon as Jeran set it down, apparently not noticing that Jeran
was now five feet closer than he had been before. He cradled it gently in his
hand for a moment before placing it on his finger, seeming to forget all about
Jeran and Mareian momentarily
"So," Jeran asked in as casual of a voice as
he could muster, "now what?"
Jasagh seemed startled by this question, almost
as if he hadn't planned any further than this point. He was surrounded, but
he had insurance in the dagger at Mareian's throat. But where to go from there
seemed to escape him.
Almost as if searching for an answer, Jasagh
turned to the Krawk. He rapidly gave an order in that odd language Jeran couldn't
understand. The Krawk shifted, probably to move Mareian closer to Jasagh; but
as soon as his hand relaxed off her, the pirate Lupess spun and erupted in a
flurry of punches to his face and stomach. The Krawk took an involuntary step
back, and the Lupess bolted out of his reach.
Using the confusion to his advantage, Jeran lunged
forward to grab the royal Gelert. Unfortunately the royal Gelert had quick reflexes,
and Jasagh jumped back out of Jeran's reach, making a sharp gesture with his
hand. The next thing Jeran knew was Mareian slamming into him, knocking him
to the ground as a bright light flared somewhere in the room. The whole building
shook from a silent explosion, causing timbers to rain from the ceiling. Jeran
quickly rolled over Mareian, shielding her from the falling wood. One of the
larger beams struck him on the shoulder making him grunt in pain, before the
Jeran looked around cautiously, climbing back
up on his feet as Mareian began to stir. Other than being a little shaken up,
she seemed to be okay. The Krawk was gone; the open door suggested he'd taken
flight right after Mareian had escaped from him.
Where Jasagh had been was a pile of damp grey
soot, with the royal signet ring resting on the top of it. "What happened?"
the blue Lupe asked, not really expecting an answer.
"Flashback," Mareian surprised him by speaking,
"or at least that would be my guess. Lisha once told me that if someone casts
an impossible spell, or a forbidden one, it reflects back at them." She gave
the pile of soot a long look, "At least I doubt he meant to do that to himself."
Jeran looked at the slightly steaming remains,
"That must have been a rather nasty spell."
"Probably not nearly as nasty as the spell caster,"
Mareian said, wincing as she reached down to pick the signet ring from the smoky
pile. "You might want to wash this before you wear it again."
"Captain," a knight called through the thick
wooden door, "is everything alright in there?"
"Mareian and I are fine," Jeran answered, opening
the door to face the red Techo, "Jasagh didn't fare so well."
"We captured the Krawk," the Techo reported.
"He's not going anywhere any time soon. Sir Danner's also arrived; he's worried
about Miss Mareian."
"Danner worries too much," Mareian said, dusting
off her skirt and coming to stand next to Jeran. "How'd he even know I was here
in the first place?"
"We never did get that part straight," the red
knight admitted. "He was going on about some Nimmo."
"Oh," Mareian smirked, "him."
"Is there anything else?" Jeran asked.
"We've swept the whole area, Sir." The Techo
shrugged. "There's no one else here."
"Then there's no point in staying here." Jeran
headed out though the wooden door. "Let's get that Krawk in the cell he deserves."
"And find a translator who speaks Islander,"
Mareian added following at his heel, "so we can ask him questions."
Jeran looked back at Mareian in surprise. "Is
that what they were talking in? How do you know?"
The pirate Lupess shrugged. "I caught a couple
words; though not the ones normally heard in polite society." Jeran snorted,
It had, he noticed with disdain as he stepped
out in the yard, started to drizzle a mixture of rain and snow while they were
inside. The remaining ten knights and their mounts had gathered in the front
courtyard, with a nervous blue Krawk in the middle.
A very relived looking shadow Uni pushed his
way through the crowd. Thick wet snowflakes covered Darcy's inky coat, creating
an odd spotted pattern. Jeran had to suppress the odd sudden urge to play connect
the dots; Darcy probably wouldn't appreciate the humor. "It's about time," he
scolded, pawing his hoof in irritation. "Could you have taken any longer?"
"Feel like carrying two?" Jeran asked. "We're
a ride short without Ricky."
Darcy snorted. "Who'd notice her weight after
you and your chain mail?"
"Could be worse," Jeran countered, swinging up
in his saddle, "I could be wearing plate." Shifting his weight to lift Mareian
up into the saddle, Jeran winced; his shoulder was going to develop a magnificent
bruise, he decided.
"Mareian," Darcy joked as Jeran pulled her up
onto the Uni's broad back, "I don't suppose Ricky would care to trade riders."
"I don't know about Ricky," she teased, settling
into the saddle in front of Jeran, "but I don't think I could get myself up
onto your back. You're too big."
"Ah well," Darcy shook his head in mock regret,
"I guess we giants have to stick together, Jeran."
"Well, we are outnumbered."
"Yes, but not outweighed."
"Keep this conversation up, and you'll both be
joining the midgets ranks," Mareian said in a sharp voice.
Jeran pulled his cloak around the Lupess to help
her stay dry from the sleet. "That's okay, Mare, the giants will always be happy
to help out your midget ranks."
"I'd tell you to feel free to hit him," Darcy
offered, "but Jeran's still wearing that chain mail and you'd only hurt yourself."
Jeran rolled his eyes. "Thanks for the backup,
"That's what you get for volunteering me for
Mareian loved Illusen's kitchen. The warm polished
wood and green painted walls made the small room seem to be perpetually in spring;
a very welcome change from the grey sky and snow of winter. Granted, the small
room got rather crowded when it held not only herself and Illusen, but Khalyen
and Jeran as well; but it was the best place in the kingdom to bring Khalyen
up to speed on what had happened while he was gone.
"The sad thing is," Khalyen said, "is that Jasagh
was never even eligible for the throne." Seeing Jeran and Mareian's confused
faces, he continued, "Mother disowned Shanna years ago, before either Jasagh
or Mare was born."
Mareian looked at her brother in surprise. "I
didn't know that."
The lanky Lupe shrugged. "Why should you have?
I hadn't thought about it in years. Aunt Shanna showed up one day to talk to
Mother; she wanted to challenge Skarl for the throne. Mother said no, they had
an argument. In the end, Mother disowned Shanna and took the ring from her."
"I wonder if Jasagh knew," Mareian mused. "Then
again, even if he did it probably wouldn't have stopped him, it would have only
given him another reason to want to take over."
"What I still don't get," Khalyen admitted, "is
why that spell rebounded back on Jasagh."
"From what I can figure," Illusen explained,
"Jasagh cast the spell through the ring."
Seeing the lanky pirate Lupe's confused expression,
the Faerie continued, "The ring does more than just show if someone is lying
if you know how to use it. One of the other things it can do is strengthen a
spell you cast, but one of the rules is that you can't use it to hurt someone
else who can use the ring."
Mareian blinked. "All that did was confuse me."
Jeran grinned at the pirate Lupess. "I think
what she's saying is that if the ring will work for you, it won't work against
"I certainly wouldn't want to test it," Illusen
warned. "We have no way of knowing if it only backfired because Mareian shoved
you out of the way and the spell hit her instead. It might not protect you quite
so much, Jeran; Mareian has a blood tie to it. It only works for you because
of a technicality."
"You know me, how I love to jump in front of
Mareian snickered at Jeran's dry tone. "I wouldn't
tell your sister about that. She may try to help you."
Illusen poured herself a mug of cider. "Help
him jump in front of spells," she asked as she settled down into her chair,
"or help him learn to not jump in front of spells?"
"Either," Mareian and Khalyen chimed together.
"Oh dear," Jeran said in a resigned tone. Brightening
he continued, "Hopefully now that we don't have to worry about Jasagh, and with
the Krawk locked away, things should get back to normal. Well, as normal as
things get around here."
Mareian smiled. Like there was anything normal
about life in Meridell Castle. Accident prone pages in danger of destroying
sections of the castle, overprotective Unis and Lupes, and a basement filled
with living skeletons.
If that's normal, she thought, Faeries
preserve us from life getting abnormal.
Author's Note: Many thanks to Dreagoddess for lending me her character,