RHYERS - Sam Marshall Hunts Cimmerii
Marshall Manse, Mane Country
“I think I’ve found one, Christophe.” Samuel Marshall had been Rhyers’ partner in Mane Country for nearly a year now, becoming apt at spotting demonlings since one had attempted to take his sister.
Samuel had been angry at what had happened to them. When they’d returned to Marshall Manse, Samuel had asked question after question about what had happened to him and what had nearly taken his sister.
Rhyers had told him if cimmerii wanted his sister, there was likely a reason. And they’d likely come back for her again.
“They won’t get her.” Samuel’s square jaw lifted.
Rhyers had nodded his understanding. Feeling compassion rising as Samuel explained since they’d lost their parents in the garden only a few years past, he’d been raising the girl best as he could.
It was probably cimmerii that killed them too. Rhyers had been very certain cimmerii targeted the little girl. And he’d decided to help.
To teach Samuel how to spot them, track them, and kill them.
And I’ve trained him well. Rhyers went on the missions with him to kill cimmerii, to keep him safe. But Samuel had taken over finding them.
“Where’s this one?” Rhyers asked.
“A man in LandingTown.”
“There are many there.” Rhyers commented.
Rhyers sat on the settee in Samuel’s study. Thoughtfully swirling his glass of port. He was so startled he nearly tossed his drink when tiny frigid hands slid over the back of the settee to cup his cheeks.
He squawked at the abrupt touch. So cold even he felt it.
Did she soak her hands in a frozen washbowl? He spun on her with wide betrayed eyes. After a moment his face changed to a broad smile.
“Devious, little…” He feigned anger. But laughter tainted his voice.
She giggled uproariously as she vanished behind the furniture.
Samuel barely turned from the window to glance over. “She likes you.”
“Actually, she’s been very quiet since mom and dad. She doesn’t open to people well.”
Rhyers hopped around the settee and spotted her silently crawling to the door. He stomped the floor and watched her lunge to her feet cackling. Skirt flying as she ran out the study door.
Rhyers chuckled, turning his focus back to Samuel. “So, when do you want to go?”
They were disrupted when the door cracked back open and one large brown eye peered in.
Impertinent whelp. Rhyers smiled as he walked over to gently click the door closed.
“We could go-” Samuel started again.
The door eased open again behind Rhyers.
Without looking he caught the handle and pushed it closed. Hearing the feet of the little girl sliding on the other side as she tried to press enough weight to keep it open.
A smile pulled at one corner of Rhyers’ mouth.
“When do you think, Christophe?” Samuel huffed. Turning to face him.
“In two days’ time I can be ready if you can arrange for-”
The door inched open.
Rhyers pushed it closed quickly.
He closed it again. Laughing when he heard a mischievous snicker on the other side.
Samuel rolled his eyes Heavenward. “Sometimes she makes me crazy.” He groaned.
“Is she always like this?”
“When no one is around?” Samuel clarified. At Rhyers’ pointed look he answered. “Worse. She never goes away.”
“You like me around!” The impish voice retorted on the other side. But there was a faint resonance of wounding in it as the door stopped opening.
“Look what you’ve done!” Rhyers mocked. “You’ve hurt her feelings.”
“Yes!” The door cracked. “You’ve hurt my feelings! You’re a mean brother.” She announced before yanking the door closed herself.
“See, you’re a mean brother.” Rhyers pointed out.
Both men laughed. Samuel’s head fell as he surrendered to laughter as well.
“At least you’re never lonely.” Rhyers commented.
“Never that.” Samuel took Rhyers’ place on the settee.
“You’re lucky to have her.” Rhyers said. “Never forget that.”
“I won’t.” Samuel sobered instantly. “Not after I very nearly lost her…Had it not been for you…”
“It’s what I do.” Rhyers said dismissively as he dropped into the chair across from the settee.
“Christophe, if anything ever happens to me…” Samuel started.
Rhyers lifted a staying finger. Eyes wide as he shook his head adamantly. “Oh, no. You do not want that!” He shook the finger, gesturing to his length. “Look at me!” He wore finely tailored garb. An immaculately powdered wig heaped atop his head. Face carefully dusted with the white layer of makeup, Mane Country Lords customarily wore. “I’ve not the faintest idea how to tend children. I’d be a horrible influence.”
“You look so different in that.” Samuel commented still studying Rhyers’ clothes.
“Far from the barefoot man in breeches who ran through the woods to save my sister.”
Rhyers chuckled. “I hadn’t thought you saw me coming.”
“I did. It was hazy and far away. Like I wasn’t really there.”
“Ah. Speaking of which. You must stop calling me Christophe or she’ll catch on. In Mane Country,” He gestured to his well-made face and hair. “I’m Lord Bodin Rhyers.”
He gave a half smile and explained. “Christophe Bodin Rhyers.”
“Ah. It’s so, then. Bodin, My Friend, we go to LandingTown in two days’ time. Providing I can find some poor sap to watch the hoyden.” He tossed his hand toward the door.
“Good luck.” Rhyers shook his head.