09: Review and Rankings
The Hall of Records
Kyle preferred the strongest of his volothian warriors with his two bodyguards, strong for the unblooded and trained well with the blade. He made his way across town Hall of Records, a large white stone building with two prominent statues of dragons holding balanced scales. A broad set of marble stairs leading up to the bronze double doors. Two guards dressed in the muscle-shaped bronze cuirass, fiery red plumed helmets, and carrying shields and spears. Each lowered their head as Kyle of House Shithen passed by, his two bodyguards opened the large doors for him.
Inside the Hall of Records, a tubby blue-robed man is wearing an eye-shaped amulet made of gold. His hair, white with age and face wrinkly, his seeing glasses hung from the lower nose. “Greeting Lord Shithen, am I to assume you wish to see the witness report from last night?”
Kyle kept his cool; getting angry at this civil servant would do him no good. Andrew always had been a good and loyal agent of his. “Yes. You know my intentions here well.”
Andrew motioned Kyle to follow, “This way, my lord, I have already taken the liberty of preparing you a written copy for your later review.”
Kyle did not say a word as he followed Andrew down the circular corridor of filing cabinets that held the resident’s most important contracts, deeds, and titles. After a short walk, Andrew opened the door to a very plush study. Plants and decorative busts of different nobles abided the corners of the room. A floating blue, glowing crystal hovered over an expensive desk, giving the room a soft frigid glow. A bronze helmet with a golden eye traced into the forehead lay on the desk along with a rolled scroll, tied with a red bow.
Andrew bowed his head, “My lord, when you are ready, I will be waiting just outside the door.” Andrew walked out and stood outside; the two bodyguards shut the door and waited inside with their master.
Kyle moved over to the desk, sitting down on the plush chair in front of him; he placed the helmet on his head. The symbol of the eye glowed, then his eyes shone with white light. Record Images transmitted from the floating crystal entered into his eyes. Kyle watched and heard what the constable last night had witnessed. The details of the contract, wager, and the grievances. He was disgusted that a rogue Blooded had beaten his little brother.
He pulled the helmet off his head and placed the bronze viewing device back on the desk. Sighing, Kyle gathered the scroll he tucked it into his belt for later review. Opening the door to the Archive, he looked at the three men, “Andrew, thank you for preparing the witness scroll for me in advance.” Snapping his fingers and pointing at Andrew, one of Kyle’s bodyguards pulled a small purse from his belt and handed Andrew the bag. The sound of coins gently jingled as Andrew accepted his payment, “As usual, my Lord?”
Kyle gave no emotion in his response, “Yes. The usual.”
Andrew nodded while tucking the coin purse into his pocket. “Is there anything else you wish to know, my Lord?”
Kyle shook his head, “No, not at this time. I must now go meet with Lord Shaitar and discuss the terms of the contract in more detail.”
Andrew nodded, agreeing with Lord Shithen, “Do you wish for me to assign you a constable to witness?”
Kyle shook his head again, “No. Not needed.”
Lord Shaitar and Lord Shithen
Kyle walked his way across town, and he enjoyed the walks he could ride or even take one of the carriages that his family-owned. He was waiting for one of the Volothian priests to have some free time to convert the horses he had recently purchased. Removing the flesh and replacing the disgusting fur with a nice set of reptilian scales would wonder the horses’ aesthetics. The plebs in front of him cleared a path when they detected his presents; if they failed to move in time, one of his bodyguards would forcefully shove the pleb aside.
Kyle continued to lead his volothian bodyguards outside the city gates, underneath the metal giant, Gul the Watcher. He had only seen the colossal statue move once in his lifetime, and that is when Voloth himself tried to renege on a contract with a mortal. Gul nullified the gods’ magic and physically picked him up and dropped him across the mountains, miles away. He passed by the gates, and he was approached by one of the guards.
Kyle stopped, turned, and looked at the pleb; he had started his scale conversion but had stopped. He is a weakling, one who could not stand to complete the refreshing of his skin. “My lord, I have news about the incident; I can tell you more about the ship captain’s, Shaitar. All for the standard fee, of course.”
Turning his head and looking onward, “Yes, but here is not the place to talk, see me after dusk. I will meet you at our usual place.”
Kyle continued to walk, ignoring anything else the pleb guard had to say to him at this time. The trio worked themselves down the outer streets of Dunkir. A large moat circled the city, with a double-wide bridge leading up to where Gul the Watcher stood. The ports where the air-ships landed encircled the outer city. The wealthier the port owner, the bigger the pad space where ships could land. The main street circling the ports contained stone brick tiles, some varying in color for decoration purposes.
Arriving at Port 94, Kyle’s bodyguards went first into the already open doors. He looked at the Canandance Corvette, with pieces of the hull torn off and exposed. The air-ship had been in a battle; sections of the ship had already been marked with white pieces of chalk indicating points of repair. The exhaust thruster port on the starboard hull hung together by the ropes used to bandage the ship’s damaged thruster.
He remembered the last fight of Canandance City State, and the Volothian Royals had decided to add the Canandance territories to their own. He was there as ground support representing his family, and he fought against the cities Blooded defenders; each one fell as the cities nobles did not work together. The fights often are two or three volothian Blooded against one Canandance Blooded. Voloth himself showed up to the battle to issue victory, cursing and killing those who dared to deify him or the Spire. The city had not supported Voloth, and the other gods failed to defend their followers, not wanting to anger the King of the Gods.
Kyle watched as a beast; a large grizzly bear sniffed at a small wagon of supplies. The bear put his nose up in the air, sniffed then growled as he turned to the new people entering the hanger. “Stay your ground men, If this beast charges, I will enjoy putting the creature down.” Placing his left hand on the hilt of his ruby-encrusted dagger.
The two bodyguards stepped back to give their lord the space he required for the upcoming slaughter.
Nolland stepped out from behind a doorway, a few dozen feet from the agitated bear. “Grizz, come back over here.”
Grizz snarled and slowly walked back to the stocky dwarf.
Nolland continued to shout out, “Shaitar, looks like they are here!”
Kyle eased up on the hilt of his dagger, “Looks like my entertainment may be put on hold for the moment.” Walking forward now, he headed to the lowered cargo door of the Chimera on the underside of the vessel.
Then the man he had seen in the Archive, the blue coat, walked down the wooden ramp, on his back, the hand and half sword held tightly in the leather sheath. The hat he wore was a brown tricon swashbuckler, and a small silver badge pinned to his chest, a circled pair of cross blades. The ship’s captain stopped at the ramp’s base, just to stand a few inches higher than Kyle to make the noble look up at him. Each other’s eyes locked in a fierce gaze, neither one wanting to show weakness before the other.
After an awkward silence, Kyle spoke. “Lord Shaitar, I presume?”
Shaitar kept his face emotionless, “Yes, and you are Lord Kyle Shithen of House Shithen. I don’t take it that Lord Richard will be attending today?”
Kyle watched the expressions on Shaitars face, nothing he could read. No seething hate; he is hard to read. Shaitar’s stance and mannerisms showed him to be a capable commander, which means more of a threat. “No, you left him rather incapacitated. My brother’s suiting punishment was foolish, and he has paid for such action with his humiliation. His wager was rather foolish as well.”
Shaitar’s replied was cold, “Well, he is a fool. I may learn from the lesson he may not. Taking someone for a night of debauchery is not an honorable action.”
Kyle tightened the grip on his hilt. This rogue was questioning his honor—still no hint of anger coming from him.
Shaitar continued, “And he paid the price. He will have to live with that shame for the rest of his life. Something we all should learn is a little humility, and it serves to remind us that we are all human.”
Kyle smiled, “Ahh yes, but we are more than that; we are Blooded, that gives us the right to rule as we see fit.”
Shaitar grinned, “There is a difference between ruling with suffering and protecting the ones we rule.”
Kyle did not like his answers, as Shaitar spoke as a proper Canandance captain would. Serve and protect the people he ruled, make allies with mortals. Richard is right, and he is a threat. His bloodline will have to end before he can start an actual house. “We do have a difference of opinion. I want to see how much the bill is for the repairs. I will have my brother ready himself for his apology to you and your crew, though he is bedridden at this time. Could I have you come to our estate so that we can handle this in private?”
Shaitar shook his head, “No, thank you for your invitation though, here is fine.”
Kyle nodded in agreement, “I will speak to the port owner and see how soon I can get the funds to repair your ship. The sooner we can get this behind us, the sooner we can move on. Good day sir.” He turned, and his bodyguards followed; he headed towards the main doors of the pad. This Shaitar is dangerous; I will have to ensure he dies, and in the most horrible way possible, time to pull in a marker.