TKoT 1-3: Dunkir

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14: Apologizing

Reading the Horses

The Shithen Manor estate was a bustle of activity. The Blooded Volothian skinner had worked all morning and late into the afternoon on the new carriage horses. Srixocolta wore his long thick, now blood-stained leather apron. His blue scales were highlighted by strips of yellow and white scales that went down his arms and legs. He diligently skinned the inferior animals with his Shatrah, a unique tool that resembled a large potato peeler. He applied his healing power to heal the damage and grow new scales in the same pattern as the animal’s natural color. He also employed a caster to ensure the animal stays asleep during the procedure. Srixocolta did not want to cause pain to mindless animals, a creature that did not have free will or could choose in the conversion. By late afternoon he had completed his task.

His caster assistant started his clean-up spells, minor cantrips to remove the blood from the carriage house. Srixocolta loaded the lumps of bloody hairy horse flesh into a large nearby wooden chest. He quickly pulsed his power, imbuing his body with extra strength; he quickly lifted the heavy wooden chest up and on the back of his wagon. Srixocolta noticed that the lady of the house had entered the doorway, her hairless scalp proudly displaying her green and blue scales. He turned toward her, “My Lady, I am done; the horses are now fit for a Volothian Noble such as yourself. Please inspect the work.” He gestured for her to come forward and inspect the horses.

Natasha slinked herself forward, and she went to the first of the two newly converted mares. She felt her hand down and across the horse’s broad body. She was feeling for any imperfections, any skin that had not been replaced. She felt the freshly applied oil on her fingers, which would help the new skin from cracking until the animal had more time to get used to the new flesh. “Good work as always. I have already sent payment to your account.”

Srixocolta nodded, “Thank you. I will be off. I have one more appointment today; Lord Harpstion has purchased a new puppy, a beowulf hound. The best time of conversion is while the animal is still young.” He continued to pack up his tools after his assistant caster cleaned the blood-encrusted blades.

Natasha nodded in agreement, “Yes, the younger, the better. The earlier one embraces the truth of the scale, the sooner they see the light.”

Two brown scally attendants in light brown shirts and trousers walked past the nobles and moved to the horses. Taking the animals’ guiding bridals, each attendant positioned the horse to the nearby black transport carriage. Slowly they started the process of hooking up the harness to the nearby carriage.

Rolling down the Street

The large carriage owned by house Shithen was spacious inside, plush with rose-colored benches enamored with brass trim. The outside even had a cover for the driver, and no expense was spared in the comforts or functionality of this rolling room. Inside magic-lit globes provided soft white light and a full drinking bar filled with crystal cups and the best wine that could be bought. The carriage held room for six people inside and four on the outside. The driver and three more volothian bodyguards would make up today’s escort. The carriage rolled down through the stone-tiled streets, slowly traversing other carts, wagons, and other foot traffic.

Richard had spent the last four days healing; his hands and feet had regrown. Richard tugged at his soft black gloves covering his hands. Usually, the damaged limbs would have come back all green and scaly. This time they came back, human flesh, no scales, and bright pink. His healer told him that the coloring would return to a more human-like shade, and he would have to see Lord Srixocolta about having the skin repaired to the more volothian scaley tradition. Richard would have to wear these gloves until he could spend time fixing the damaged flesh.

Natasha sat across Richard in her bright blue and white dress, a golden belt adorned her waist. She wore long gem-encrusted earrings and an expensive gold and silver necklace displaying her family heraldry, twin serpents intertwined on a pointed sword. Her fingers were adorned with different rings, and most were magical. The magics went from utility to defense and offensive capabilities.

Richard looked at his sister while he sipped on a glass of wine, “You have been very quiet the last couple of days. Brother has locked himself into his room; he spends his days crying, slamming his fists into the walls. Screaming, I am sorry, please forgive me. Can you tell me what happened?”

Natasha’s red serpentine eyes narrowed, “I would like to say this is all your fault, but it is not. Somehow this rogue Blooded did something to our family. He’s an old Canandance veteran; after meeting with him, Kyle changed. Kyle says he has the situation under control, and he’s the head of the household. He says he is paying for our family’s sins, whatever that means.” Gripping the armrest on the lavish bench, “He can’t even look me in my face; he turns away, looking at me in disgust.”

Richard sipped again, “No, sister, I don’t think so. He has become weak, and I could take him on and beat him in his current state. I don’t have the sight for family leadership, though. I understand my weakness. You, on the other hand, have the ambition and the ability to lead us forward.”

Natasha’s eyes widened, “You know if brother heard you talk about this, he would have your head.”

Richard let out a small half-hearted laugh, “The crying weakling? No, he can’t even hold his own head now.”

Natasha let out a sigh, and she remembered what happened when Kyle took control of the family. He had done his coupe when Danie, her older brother,l had become weak and made several bad decisions that cost the family both money and honor. Richard was right, and it was time for her to step up as the family leader. She would have to remove Kyle as he removed Daniel by force.

Port 94

The carriage rolled up to the outside of Port 94, pulled by the volothian converted horses. The first to disembark were the bodyguards. Richard always insisted on bringing his walking arsenal everywhere he went. Weapons and gear shifted on the muscled volothian guard as he climbed down off the carriage. The next two to come down were Natasha’s bodyguards, dressed in a shiny iron breastplate. The armor’s etching added sharp lines that resembled scales. A softer brown leather with small studs of polished metal dotted the trousers. Each sheathed a broad scimitar at the waist, and both kept the hands on the weapon while walking around.

Rolland slapped Shaitar’s shoulder and pointed down at the noble percussion entering into the hanger. “Looks like they are here at last.”

Shaitar made his way down the decks through the cargo hold and out the ships lowered bay doors. He gathers more of his crew as they walked forward to meet the Shithen’s.

Natasha walked behind her bodyguards, followed by Richard and his walking arsenal. She came to a stop about six feet from Shaitar. Natasha thought if he tried anything, he is just one Blooded against two; the odds are in her favor. Still, a contract must be honored. “Lord Shaitar, I presume?”

Shaitar nodded, “Yes, I am Lord Shaitar. I take it the coward is here to apologize to my crew and me and bring honor back to his house?”

Richard bit his tongue; he knew if he did anything to provoke the situation more, the magic of the constable’s Witness magic would be enforced, an intervention he would not desire.

Natasha held her eyes firmly on Shaitars, “Yes, I am Lady Natasha Shithen. I am representing the family at this time in this dispute.” She stood back and mentioned her little brother to come forward.

Richard pushed past the bodyguards to stand before Shaitar, and he scanned the gathered individuals. He once again spotted the young infernal with the little blue and silver dragon perched around her neck. The little beast had a grin, and he could have sworn it was eyeing him for his next meal. Richard spotted the big-chested raven-haired woman from before, the one, his family, had abused; her hateful glare came from her position on the upper deck. The ones they usually took for the nightly pleasures ended up being no longer useful members of society afterward. He could see, she was not a broken woman but one forged from hate and fire.

Richard approached and bowed, “I, Richard of House Shithen, Offer my most sincere apologies. My actions against House Shaitar and his crew were unwarranted, and I humbly offer my deepest regrets for my actions.” He looked back at his sister, she nodded. He quickly fell back into the back of the line.

Shaitar shakes his head, “You have one more apology to make. To one specific crew member.”

Richard wanted to strike out again at Shaitar, and he would be better prepared for him this time. He calmed himself and came forward. “Whatever displeasing action do you think I have committed?”

Shaitar looked at him; the staggering strength of his gaze almost sent Richard running in fear. Richard quickly changed his wording and contemplating a way of changing his fears against Shaitar. “Oh, the lovely lady. Nothing was done without consent, but if you wish me to list all the actions I performed on her, I will. First I. . “ Richard felt a tight hand grip his shoulder. He turned to see Natasha shaking her head.

“Brother, this is not the time and place for this. Apologize, and we leave. I wish to waste no more of Lord Shaitar’s time.” turning back to Shaitar, “I am sorry for the inconveniences; sometimes I need to remind my brother of his place.”

Shaitar gaze shifted back to Richard. Richard started to protest but then stopped. “I am sorry that you felt your time with our family gave you. . . “

Natasha called the words of her spell, “Arcana: Pain.” Her eyes flashed with her grace. Magic had a chance of not working against Blooded, and she needed to ensure that her spell got Richard’s attention. The power of the period sent waves of pain into Richard’s body; he let out a yelp and fell to his knees; he looked back up at his sister with a hurting expression. Usually, his older brother punched him for much lesser reasons. Natasha’s face looked down at him disappointingly. “Apologies, I will not tell you again. You show disrespect to our house.”

Richard stood back, up the pain he had received sent a flurry of tears to his eyes. “I am truly sorry, hmmm..”

Shaitar interrupted him, “Opal.”

Richard whipped the tears from his eyes, “Opal, I am truly sorry for what I did to you.” He swiveled his head back to his sister; she nodded. He quitly returned to his place at the back of the line.

Natasha, in her stern, noble tone, “Is there any other grievance you wish to address. I would be happy to entertain you back at our estate?”

Shaitar shook his head, “No, your accountants have already been contacted with the repair bills.”

Natasha did a curtsy, “Then good day Lord Shaitar.” She spun around and left with the whole armored entourage, climbing back into the black carriage. Moments later, the carriage rolled away, heading back into their home estate in the inner city.

Opal came down off the upper decks of the Chimera, moving beside Shaitar. She watched as the carriage rolled away, “That’s a start.”

Shiatar spoke, “We need to stay focused on the mission. I plan on dealing with them later. We will get justice; after all the city’s law does not get involved in conflicts between houses.”

Opal turned around, headed back to the ramp of the ship. Kate stopped her and gave her a reforming look. “Would you want me to take care of them? I will if you ask me to.”

Opal thought for a moment, divine punishment. Thinking, Kate was younger than she was and powerful as well. She could get her to punish them, and she wanted to. “No. Shaitar is right, and we will deal with him when the time comes.” She continued inside the cargo bay and into her cabin.

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