Stone Warriors

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Chapter 20

Suppressing the urge to just barge in, I knocked on the door to his study. I was bored and going back to my room was not an option right now. Vyron thankfully opened the door, “Ah Cicatrix, my boy, please come in and I’ve told you a thousand times you don’t have to knock. You know how to get in here.”

Vyron was wiping blood off of his blade he uses to assassinate business partners​ who fail him and gestured with it for me to sit. That’s when I noticed a pool of blood and a body next to it on the floor, “So I take it I missed the action?” Vyron snorted and poured me a drink, “Yes, well it wasn’t your type of action anyways. I put sleeping pills in his drink to make his death painless.”

Wrinkling my nose at the thought of a painless kill, I questioned Vyron, “What’s the point in killing if there’s no pain, torment or screaming? Sleeping pills? I think you are losing your touch old man.”

Vyron placed the sword back in the holder on the mantle, “I know you don’t have friends or you wouldn’t have to ask that. Axrenorian was probably the closest thing I had to a real friend, well, more like the only business partner I didn’t ever have to threaten I guess. The point is, I started to like the times he would visit. He was actually quite pleasant to be around and fiercely competitive​.”

He gestured over at the corpse, “He made a blood deal with me yesterday that Zakyrik would fight like we wanted him to or he would forfeit his life, but you seen the mess that happened today, right? Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. I’m starting to rethink my decision to let anyone from the crowd join again.”

He walked past the body and to his liquor table, “Anyways, since he showed up without crying or begging for his life like a sniveling coward I granted him the favor of dying without pain. I am most aggrieved at having to kill him, though. But enough about him,” he poured himself a drink, “I need to tell you about the new sponsor for the Ruequal boy after the clean up.”

He walked to the fireplace and ran​ his hand across the stones. On the third one, he pressed it down and the hidden staircase appeared in the floor. Only a select few knew the secret to the Tamminalin’s power. I only found out about this five years ago during the last tournament.

Three hooded figures, dressed in yellow and black robes, appeared​ at the top of the stairs. They bowed as a unit and folded their hands in front of them. The middle one stepped forward, “You summoned us, master?”

Vyron turned up his glass and swallowed the rest of his whiskey. He then pointed at

the body, “Yeah, clean up this mess. Oh and take his soul somewhere pleasant.”

The figure nodded then removed her hood with the other two following suit. The figures were women, blonde triplets to be exact, and also mages who had been serving this family for almost a century. They waved their hands over Axrenorian and his body, blood and all, disappeared. They then pulled their hoods back on and walked back down the stairs without uttering another word.

They were hot. I wouldn’t mind taking one or all three to my bedroom. Then I grimaced as I remembered who I left in my bed to sleep it off. Xera.

As she dozed I watched her, disgusted at the sleeping lump. I growled deep enough to appease my mood, but not loud enough to wake her. I couldn’t take being in the same room with her anymore so that’s when I made my way here to find Vyron and blow off steam.

Xera was getting old. She’s good to pass the time with and take pent up frustrations out on, but that’s it. I need a new time filler. Who I’d really like to have looks just like Xera only a little younger.

Vyron sat down, clearing his throat which broke me from my thoughts of his daughters. A glass of bourbon was shoved in my hand and I accepted it gratefully. Vyron smirked like he could read my thoughts.

“Axrenorian’s son, Trevalo, shall be taking over Zakyrik’s sponsorship and I believe he will get the fight from him that we need. The money to expand Evanyl is so close I can taste it. So what is it I can do for you, my boy? Or did you come here to escape from my pride and joy?”

Involuntarily I made a face, “Yeah, well, she can’t find me in here. You know I’ve had Xera countless times. She is good at easing my stress and warming my bed, but I wouldn’t mind a change of scenery if you know what I mean.”

Vyron nodded and took a sip, “Well, Xera is a woman after my own heart. She seeks power and strength then makes it hers the only way she knows how, which means you can’t blame her for wanting the reigning champion. Xera is going to be a most perfect heir to our legacy. She’s just like me and loves this competition like it’s her child.”

Truthfully I couldn’t care any less about his legacy, but that just opened an opportunity to get what I want out of Vyron. “Yeah that’s what I’m here to talk to you about. Xera is just as crazy about this competition as Vyross and yourself. I know she’s going to be named your heir in your will. I can’t help to wonder though, what if something happens and somehow your other daughter gains control?”

He visibly paled and stood up, “You know good and damn well what will happen. She puts on a good show for me, and I love her for that, but I can tell she hates the tournament. She’ll close it down and release the mages from servitude. The barrier around Evanyl will be destroyed, my family’s influence over the town will shatter and it will be utter chaos.”

With some effort I managed to hide a smile as I seen Vyron was being steered in the direction I wanted this conversation to go, “I agree. That would be horrible. But hey, what if Xori was to belong to a man who seen things your way and managed her affairs for her? She can’t inherit any power if she’s married off because it would then belong to the head of household, her husband.”

Vyron’s eyes looked stormy, “Yes, that’s true. I’ve put too much work into taking over Evanyl. My father started it, but I’ve filled in all the loop holes. I was the one who told the mages to put the border up around the town.”

The wild eyes softened and looked distant as he reminisced, “My little Xori’s goodness would do away with everything, but it’s not her fault she turned out this way. When their mother was pregnant with Xera, the mages gave me the power to mold her into my image, so every night for nine months straight I would talk to Xera through her mother’s stomach and she came out exactly like me. Xori, unfortunately, I didn’t know about until she was born. Her mother hid her on purpose from me and by the time she was born it was too late to use my influence on her.”

He ran a hand down his face, “Xori was cursed with the same pure soul as her worthless mother, who was a heartless bitch and I’ll never forgive her for keeping my beautiful baby girl from me like that. The mages couldn’t reverse her purity as they cannot darken what they call ‘light magic’, which is what anything pure possesses, without dire consequences to their own powers. I can never slight her for something she had no control over, but I can’t put her in my will. Alas, what at am I to do?”

Putting on the most sympathetic look I could muster, I put in my offer, “I have an idea. Let me help you by taking Xori for myself. It’s for the competition’s future and the good of Evanyl, of course.”

Vyron looked unsure for a moment, but then gestured for me to proceed, “Simply put, I’ve had my eyes on Xori for a while now. She’s untainted and untouched. She’s pure light as the mages said and I can help you by snuffing it out. It’s a win for both of us. May even reverse the magic protecting her.”

Vyron pursed his lips in thought, but didn’t stop me so I kept on, “You could make an announcement that the winner of the tournament can pick a daughter to marry. I will win, of course, then I’ll take Xori as my prize. Xera can follow in your footsteps unhindered thus keeping the competition alive. There’s something about Xori’s innocence that draws me in and makes me want to destroy it, if you don’t mind me saying. I will succeed where the mages failed in breaking her good nature and watching the sparkle in her eyes slowly die.”

Vyron was quiet for a few minutes while he mulled my request over. The expression on his face was unreadable and I was starting to think I might had overstepped my boundaries. Finally, he leaned towards me, propping his elbows on his knees.

He gave a predatory smirk, “Alright, I accept your proposal. Without help from someone such as yourself she will always be like her damned mother, but I know you can break her down and make her be the daughter I’ve always wanted her to become. Don’t get me wrong, I love her, but I will trade her in a heartbeat for the future of this competition. Offering my daughters as a prize will up the bets and make the competitors fight harder, which is a better challenge for you and more money for me.”

We stood up and shook hands, then he placed an arm around my shoulder, “I’ve always liked you, Cicatrix. The son I’ve never had. We shall remedy that situation though by having you joining the family as my son in law.”

After I left the study I felt proud of myself. I was so close to getting Xori I could already hear the screams of her begging me to stop. It sent an exhilarating shiver through my body, so much that I decided when I get back to my room I’m waking up Xera and pretending she’s Xori right now.

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