Jordanna the Mystic sat inside her cottage with her eyes closed. The fire in the corner was warming her feet gradually as she sipped a glass of wine. She could hear the bustling of the other Mystics outside her cottage door. Most of them were unpacking and putting away supplies from the journey, eagerly awaiting to return to their families, she was sure.
"Pardon me, my lady," came a voice from beside her. That particular voice belonged to Angula, her servant Dwarf. She had been cleaning and unpacking Jordanna's belongings since they had arrived back in Aesir and was at the present time sweeping the floor beneath her chair.
Jordanna sighed and set down the cup, moving swiftly from the chair and to the window.
"Was your journey prosperous as usual, my Lady?"
The Mystic's mouth curled up in pleasure. "Yes. More so than ever before, actually."
Angula set the broom against the far wall and walked over towards the kitchen. "I'm happy to hear it, my Lady."
Just then, the door of Jordanna's cottage burst open and in walked Fray. He wore a dark fur coat, and lifted his hood, shutting the door behind him.
Jordanna turned to him, the cool northern air chilling the bit of her neck and collarbone that was exposed by her dress. "My Fray," she cooed, walking toward him and caressing his cold cheek with the palm of her hand. "Do you bring me any news?"
Fray smiled widely, his eyes bright. "Yes, My lady. I certainly do."
Jordanna returned his smile and gestured to her table. "Angula," she spoke, motioning for a hot drink to be placed in front of the young Mystic.
The Dwarf hurried over to the stove and retrieved the pot and a mug. She placed it front of him quickly and poured the contents, letting the steam rise to the ceiling. "Here you are, sir."
Fray nodded and grasped the cup in both of his hands, taking a sip and sighing in relief.
"Tell me," Jordanna began. "What news do you bring?"
Fray set down the mug and folded his hands beneath his chin. "I followed our dear crown Prince just as you suggested. It appears as though our Rebel prisoner is not being kept in the palace, but a lowly cabin on the outskirts of Aesir."
Jordanna frowned so that her eyebrows were knitted together. "No one else knows of her whereabouts? No one suspects anything?"
Fray shook his head. "I'm not sure at the moment. Carlowe hasn't really spoken to Graymeer or anyone in the council since our company returned home. I don't think anyone besides those that were with the company knows that we even have the Shakel girl. Word of the King's death hasn't seemed to have spread either."
Angula made a small sound of surprise from across the room but then returned to her duties.
The Mystic frowned, ignoring her. "I suppose he's waiting to tell the general public about the King's death until after he's told the Queen and Prince Wren."
The younger Mystic cracked his knuckles. "It appears that way. I know that the Queen found out a bit earlier. She did not take it well."
Jordanna chuckled a little to herself. "No. That does not surprise me. Nadine has certain expectations when it comes to what her life should look like. Being a widow at 45 is not one of them."
Angula waddled over to them and filled their glasses silently, setting before them a plate of bread and cheeses. Fray took a piece and gnawed at it hungrily but in a modest manner.
"I expect Graymeer has already informed the council," Fray offered, swallowing a bit of bread. "Prince Wren is due back from his hunting trip tonight so tomorrow will probably be when the real fun begins."
"Yes." Jordanna answered, smoothing her dress and taking a long pull of the wine, rich and bitter. "I can't wait to watch Carlowe suffocate beneath the crown."
Fray nodded firmly. "Tell me, my Lady. What plans have you set in motion already?"
Jordanna blinked once and placed a fist beneath her chin, locking eyes with the young Mystic that sat before her. "Right now, three of our fellow Mystics are convincing the Rebels that they wish to join them. This way, we will earn their trust and be able to destroy them from the inside." She watched as Fray grinned at her words, hanging on each syllable. "Another Mystic is travelling far in search of an ancient power, one that has been told through many legends for as long as I have been alive."
"Power?" Fray inquired. "What power?"
Jordanna smirked. "You don't think that this merry band makes up the entirety of all of the Mystics in Calaria, do you?"
"No," he replied. "Isn't that what the Crusaders do? Exterminate the other Mystic group to the west? The Rising Mystics?"
The Mystic lurched backwards in disdain at the mention of them. "They are vile; an embarrassment and disgrace to the rest of our kind that seek our rightful place in power."
The younger Mystic seemed to cower at her words, retracting away from her for a moment.
"No," Jordanna went on. "Besides us and those to the east that have dubbed themselves the Rising Mystics." She shook her head, seemingly irritated. "There are more, some yet undiscovered, some only talked about through whispers. But this particular legend tells of a Mystic with dark power, one that resides in the Vesirian Mountains."
Fray's eyes widened at this new bit of information.
"It's where I sent Meena. I sent her to persuade him to join us, to stand by my side as we take over Calaria together." Her smile widened menacingly and her eyes darkened. Her striking beauty was overshadowed by a greed that seemed to drip from her words.
The young Mystic blinked and then returned her smile sheepishly, taking another drink. He swallowed apprehensively and then adjusted the collar of his shirt. "Yes," he continued. "Well, uh, as it were, I was not able to venture inside the half-breed's cabin, of course. But I am positive that the Shakel girl is there. Good old Princy seemed especially anxious before he arrived, and rather contemplative as he left."
"As is his nature," Jordanna finished, taking a small sip of wine. She paused before speaking again, playing through the plans she had in her head. "Continue to monitor him and update me when anything new or unusual happens. In terms of my plans playing out the way I want, I believe that this piece of information could be most useful."
"Useful?" Fray inquired, raising an eyebrow. "In what way?"
Jordanna pursed her lips. "For manipulation, of course."
Fray rolled his shoulders and smirked to himself. "It's going to be so... delicious watching the Ramos family finally fall."
"Oh yes," Jordanna countered. "Once the Ramos family falls, and we are the only ones left standing as a crutch for the Dominion to hold onto, all that will be left is eradicating the Rebellion. And with our friends infiltrating the hopeless southerners right now, I'd say that when the time comes it will be rather simple."
The two Mystics tipped their glasses together, the sound echoing throughout the room as they took a final sip.
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