Friday, February 26, 2010

Dawn of the Dragonsworn-Part 4

The Lady of Holy Fire could not, and did not, conceal her befuddlement. Here was this man, Agent Delgana, obviously a veteran of many missions and yet he wore this plain gray wardrobe- not one item denoting status or honors of any kind. The man's behavior did not match his appearance, but she could not read him at all- unlike all other men she'd ever met, she could not so much as figure out a verbal tick or nervous reflex. Her failure unsettled her, and she unthinkingly hoped for calm until her husband could assist her.

Homsar, on the other hand, read her dismay clearly. He noticed her attempts to pierce his screens and read him, but concealed his satisfaction at her failure to do so. As she kept up the appearance of disinterest and formality, so did he in turn maintain a persona of similar disinterest. He noticed tells of authority and status in her body language, attire and tone of voice; all this spoke of a woman wanting to cow intruders and natives alike into a subordinate stance. Yet something caught his notice, a tick, that seemed out of place for this woman- a very familiar tick that he'd seen in women he'd roped into custody and turned against their criminal lovers.

"Your husband, madam, is the man responsible for this place?"

The Lady smiled and nodded affirmatively. "The Blessed Lord is indeed, as your people say, exactly what is on the tin?"

A clumsy use of alien idioms, meant to simultaneously mock and humanize- something is wrong here. Homsar noted that fact as a servant entered with refreshments, poured water into vessels, and gave one each to his mistress and then to Homsar. He used his sense of perception to detect the agent therein, and then quaffed it. This drugging seemed normal to his hostess, and he noticed the drug's slowing of his body. Sensing the expected reaction, he took up a comfortable chair and reclined.

"Space is not always kind to travelers." he said, and let his body lapse into slumber.

The Lady waited a few minutes, but when Homsar didn't revive she rose to her feet and summon another servant. That lizardman fled swiftly for her husband, all the while unaware that Homsar remained alert.

Homsar let his potent mind, and its sense of perception that surpassed human limits, fly far and wide. Following the servant, Homsar came to perceive the master of this place: The Blessed Lord. He dismissed a council of high-ranking lizardmen quickly, some of whom Homsar perceived to be highly-educated in the arts and sciences--the attire and accouterments revealed such capacity--and then bore daggers at the servant, now shivering where it stood.

"Master." the servant said, "Your mate is with the outlander. He slumbers, drugged as we did so many others. Yet Mistress is ill at ease and requires your presence; something about this one unnerved her significantly."

"Return. I shall attend her presently." the Blessed Lord said, and he wanted for the servant to depart. Then, taking up a dimly-glowing stone into the palm of his hand, he held it before his face and stared at the symbol carved into its face. "I call to you, Brilliant Shield. Attend and answer!"

A moment later, the face of a man-like figure with the pointed ears and green eyes of both the Lady and the Blessed Lord appeared before him- a man arrayed in archaic, glittering plate armor like a time-displaced fairie knight.

"Blessed Lord, I attend and answer." the figure said, "What pleases you today, sir?"

"Did you notice the outlander that arrived not long ago?"

The figure nodded.

"I shall send you the location of the outlander's boat. Take the Legion and secure it. Disable it if you can. Once you've done this, report to me directly."

"As you command, Blessed Lord."

The image disappeared. The Lord took up another and summoned one of the lizardmen masters he'd met with immediately before.

"We have another visitor, Master of the Flesh." he said, "If my wife is correct, he may be the most powerful one yet."

"Master, conversion may prove difficult if this is so." the lizardman said, "We may have to resort to more distasteful methods of making use of this one."

"You are authorized to fork his mind and retune as necessary before resleeving into a more suitable form. Be certain that you retune properly before you take that step; if he is as potent as my wife suspects, then he may resist harmonization."

"If he is as strong as you suspect, master, he may be recruited instead to your ranks. The Lord of Dragons may insist upon it, and he has yet to be wrong about his decisions."

The Blessed Lord nodded.

"Carry on, Flesh Master." the Blessed Lord said, and he dismissed the image.

Homsar followed the Blessed Lord as the latter came to where the Lady and his body reside.

"Still nothing?" the Lord said as he entered the room.

"Nothing at all. He sleeps deep and peacefully."

"His mission? Is he also looking into our excursions?"

"No, love." she said, holding him tightly, "He's looking for corpses from the war, to return them to their families, as well as any living survivors."

That stopped the Lord cold.

"He must never know about our son. I would rather pass him the ashes of our old lives, hand him all that there remains of that existence, and let him go in peace; we can keep him away from our preparations and training runs long enough to maintain our schedule, but if he ever discovers Edhel then we are exposed and he must meet the same fate as the other agents."

That was enough for Homsar. While still drugged, he reached out with his mind to the Admiralty of the Galactic Republic- wherein he found his aging friend in his aging office.

"Admiral!" Homsar said, half a galaxy away and entirely by telepathy, "You are not going to believe this one. Sit down, old man, and get ready for some potent dope."

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