FOREVER KNIGHTS: #3 Forsaking the Vanquished

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SEBASTIAN - Taunting Rhyers

WaterRose, Meadow Mountain, Grier Country (Elsabet is captive seventeen years)

SEBASTIAN

“Any luck?” Rhyers strode into the parlor where Sebastian was craned back on the settee swirling gold liquid in a crystal glass.

“With which?” Bast sat, turning his lower body to put his feet on the floor to face his friend. “My damnable Valkyrie or finding Raese?”

“Well since you sound so delighted to be discussing your little sweetheart upstairs, let’s keep to a safer subject.”

Sweetheart…That’s about the last term…

“I’ve not found Raese.” Bast said sullenly.

So, stop asking me.

“Well I had gathered that much.” Rhyers said derisively as he swept the tails of his overcoat from his way to take a seat. His black hair pulled tightly back from his face with only the few characteristic tendrils escaping. He tossed his head to throw them from his face. The firelight reflected in the dark color so vibrantly that from the current angle, he appeared nearly blonde.

“You play haughty well, Old Friend.” Bast remarked, eyes flashing gold as he took a swig. His annoyance at the remark obvious. My annoyance at everything obvious.

“I apologize.” Rhyers tipped his head. “I forget the attitude I so often portray. There’s no other way to be a successful spy in Mane Country.” He sighed.

Bast gave an acknowledging tilt of his head. I’m just looking for a fight anyway.

God, I’m a miserable wretch. His lips tightened as he shifted in the chair.

Trying to lighten the subject he told Rhyers. “You look it today. Your disguise tossed aside; you look every inch the Isle Captain.”

Rhyers shrugged but gave a half smile at the compliment. “You look like hell.”

Good. I feel like hell.

Bast sat bare-chested. Letting the wounds covering his chest and shoulders soak in the energy of WaterRose to help him heal. Though he was mostly recovered from releasing his beasts for Alazareth there were still some raw spots that the creatures had been particularly rough in tearing apart. And his run through InnerCircle City as the panther had led to rocks hitting him in the head and shoulders. But the spot really aching was still near his hip. Making him crane far to one side of his chair.

“It’s been a rough couple of months…”

“I see that.” Rhyers chuckled. “How’d your mission to retrieve Lucien go?”

Painful.

“Swimmingly. Radix, The Old Demon, had set him up to take the fall for the murder of some lovely at a ball.”

“Like he did Mardichi in England!” Rhyers’ face darkened instantly in rare rage, but his careful control quickly banished the emotion from his face. “I gather he’s safe or you would’ve alerted us?” Rhyers relaxed and draped a long arm across the back of the chair.

“He is.”

“Then why alarm me?”

For fun.

“To bait you. To watch your careful composure crack.” Bast said honestly.


Because everyone is irritating me today. You’re fair game.

“You play albeit dirty, Bast.”

“Always.”

“Good thing you arrived when you did.” Rhyers gave him a thoughtful look. “To InnerCircle City, I mean.” He lifted a haughty brow. “Purely coincidental, I assume?”

“Purely.” Bast took another swig of his sherry and slapped the cup on the table.

“Your typical humor seems rather black today.”

Bast jerked his head roughly upward. “Difficult. Difficult.”

“Were she not, she would be a man.”

Bast’s head shot up and he looked horrified. A nightmarish thought considering the things I’ve fantasized about doing to her.

“Whose composure cracks now?” Rhyers smirked. “Not too pleasant an image?”

Bastard.

“You’re a scoundrel of the first water.”

“As little Ebony regularly tells me.”

Ebony?

“Still hanging about that girl?”

“She’s tiny and her brother is my friend. He’s keen on hunting demons. I look after them both.”

“You attend their parties to dally with fine Mane Country ladies.” Bast mocked.

“You’re a fiend. I’m ever the gentleman.”

No, you’re not!

“You’re ever bored.” Bast mocked Rhyers’ haughty tone.

Rhyers deflated and nodded vigorously. “Senseless.” He grew serious. “Any trace of Calisto?”

Bast’s eyes fell to the liquid cradled in his hands, resting between his knees. His lips tightened. I wish there was. I’d give anything to see her.

“Think he killed her?” Rhyers breathed, leaning forward.

“Not a chance.” Bast said dully. “She’s too valuable to him.”

In-case Raese ever returns.

Or to use against Chavias…Bast remembered the vision he'd seen in the globe so many years ago. Telling him about Chavias' fall. I could've done more. If I'd known it'd be then...

“She’d never give in to him.”

“So, he’d rather torture her indefinitely.” Bast said dully.

Her and Chavias, no doubt. Bast choked on the distaste running through him at the thought of his old friends.

The subject made a lump of emotion in his throat. I need to discuss something else.

“How is Mardichi?” Bast said randomly. Throwing Rhyers off-guard. “We talk very little anymore, as you well know.”

“No one talks to him much anymore since he found that little mate of his.”

“At least he’s not so bloody wretched all the time.” Bast laughed.

“No.” Rhyers frowned. “He is eerily giddy. Like a tutelage girl, he’d say, were it one of us.”

Sebastian shook his head laughingly. “That he would. Well I’m happy for him.”

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