Along for Her Reverie
The woman, Elsabet, studied the door as his steps faded.
He heard her run to it and try ripping it from its hinges. He closed his eyes and could clearly see in the room. Snarling through her teeth when it didn’t budge. The room shivered with life. Candles burst into flame with the energy of a torch, before settling into a comfortable glow.
Stalking the room made the gray gown swish around her ankles.
Glittering fingers of magic vibrated across the walls and interwove over the window slits like gold spiderwebbing. Blocking every exit.
“Enchanted the walls, did you?” She hissed. Tossing her arms. “What are you?” She raged. “Lord Bodane my ass! You’re no human.”
Of course not. He thought with a self-satisfied smile.
In his library below her, Bast dropped into his red and gold brocade chair. Swinging a leg over the armrest. Relaxing to tune into her thoughts.
She froze. Suddenly remembering before her fall to the pond. And prior.
Oh good. He settled his shoulders against the cushions.
“Lord Bodane.” She tried the name on her tongue. “I remember you now…”
She was thinking he’d toyed at being a charming and infinitely dangerous, as a gentleman. Pretending to be a mere human only hours before.
“But now I know.” She murmured. Her spiteful voice rising again. “I’ll shred you like child’s play.” The fireplace doused in a puff of whining smoke, as effectively as if she’d thrown a bucket of water on it.
Already regaining her strength. He tapped his lip thoughtfully, as he noted. Her fury fuels her power.
Sebastian envisioned her in the chamber above him.
“Nothing has gone as planned.” She paced. “I’m failing!” Stopping in horror she realized she, Serenade of the valkyrie, couldn’t recall the last time she failed at anything.
Failing at what? Bast wondered as he eavesdropped on her thoughts.
Prince Iceron of the Lost Island and his princess would both soon be learning she failed them as well. She’d thought this a simple mission.
Stealing from me, simple? Bast down in his library shook his head. Absolutely not. Grossly underinformed.
“Go to LandingTown, they said. Charm some mortal, they said. Return to the Island with the pendant. Offer it to the Prince of Air and Darkness, Dear Iceron.” She grumbled.
Crossing her arms over her stomach she clenched her elbows so tightly her fingernails drove into the pale flesh. Red droplets seeped from her arm, but she was heedless. The pain only a shadow of her rising ire.
“How dare you! How dare you!” Her fists turned white-knuckled. Ranting at walls calmed her. She quieted, realizing she needed to conserve her magic for it to regenerate. Palming her face, she rubbed tired eyes.
She needed to study her enemy.
Me. He realized. She’s thinking of me as the enemy.
Fair enough. He shrugged to himself.
She plotted to discover his weaknesses and leave this wretched castle with the amulet which she’d noticed still hung about his chorded neck. A beacon of her purpose...
He grunted. Staring at the ceiling above him thoughtfully.
Elsabet revisited the last fortnight, unwittingly taking Bast on the trip through memory lane. Much to his delight.
She’d been told the man carrying the pendant was dangerous. So, she’d taken Wrenny, the devious purple-eyed creature, with her to LandingTown, Igonox. A far stretch from the lush meadows they were accustomed to back on their Lost Island.
They’d disembarked to the aromas of the dock. From the stink of old urine to the scent of fresh biscuits a boy pedaled from a pushcart. But the smell of the fear of those boarding nearby ships was the most potent for the valkyrie.
She likes the smell of fear. Bast toyed with the flame of a candle on the table next to him. Pinching the wick and then releasing with dancing fingertips.
LandingTown was darkly cobbled streets. Hooves clicked over them, pulling creaking coaches. A man climbed a ladder to light the street lanterns.
Finally, the women rounded the block and found the rental Iceron had contracted for them. They entered the dim house. Wrenny’s purple eyes fluoresced in the darkness of the doorway. The butler swung the door wide, unleashing the smell of food roasting from the kitchens. Glazed chicken and potatoes and buttered green vegetables tantalized their senses.
Behind the butler, servants buzzed nervously across the foyer. He glanced at them beneath hooded eyes. Terror coloring his body language.
Iceron had mentioned their coming. And likely offered the servants caution.
Who the hell is this Iceron? He wondered with a frown.
To Serenade, the Valkyrie, finding fear when she arrived was akin to one finding beloved belongings already settled.
Serenade returned to the present with a jerk, drawn by the breeze drifting through the shutters. Jumping, she turned to attack. Finding nothing there, she commenced pacing. Utterly unaware of Bast below her, linked to her thoughts.
Bast leisurely scooped handful of exotic nuts from the bowl next to him. Firelight dancing over his features as he chewed. Awaiting the pictures moving over his mind’s eye as she remembered them. Dancing before him in nearly three-dimensional figures.
She recalled a sennight ago. Wandering LandingTown with Wrenny in descending darkness each evening. Studying the dress and mannerisms of the citizens.
Chattering women clung to the arms of handsome men, who strolled gracefully over the cobbled streets.
The men tolerated much mindless talk, in Serenade’s opinion.
Bast choked on laughter below. Of course, she’d think so.
It wasn’t long before the two foreign women wore similar garb. Their preference for bleak tones tamped down as they worked to blend into their surroundings.
Hunting. Bast realized. His hand already back in the crystal jar for more of his snack.