were a lot of things going on here that made Callan want to laugh.
E'than's comment to Melaina for starters, then of course there was
Lucien's desire to purchase a dragon and finally, the 'how much is Ghet
worth?' question. Callan's eyes were dancing as he made his next reply.
"Oh, I think the more the merrier here at the bargaining table,
m'lady. Would you care to take a seat? I could pull up another chair for
you, or perhaps my knee would suffice?"
Callan was kidding of course...
didn't need a second invitation, and settled comfortably into Callan's
lap. He probably hadn't been expecting her to straddle him, but she was
full of surprises. She snickered. "While we're doing introductions,
hi, I'm Ghetsuhm. Though I used to be the Lisse nwalme."
Normally she wouldn't have mentioned it, but the whole thing was fresh in
her mind thanks to Y'Roden. "I'll just sit here while you negotiate.
You won't even know I'm here. Well, okay, you'll know I'm
merely blinked a time or two when Ghet made herself at home, then chuckled
as he angled his head around to look at Ghet, "Sweet agony? Or
something like that? My elvish is a little rusty these days. It's a shame
you're married or I'd be doing my damnedest to find out how you came by a
name such as that." Still laughing, Callan leaned forward slightly,
his one elbow on the table, his chest pressing against Ghet's back.
chuckled, and moved her hips just a little. "Pretty much. 'Torment',
but it's just a matter of interpretation. I could explain the why in
graphic detail but your head would explode. And I'm married to Galain,
you know that, don't you?"
She chuckled. Lucien seemed quite intent on getting himself killed. Not
everyone was as laid back as Ghet. Or laid back as often... "I'm not
a natural dragon, I'm afraid. That's a spell. But there are plenty of
skinwalkers here. I'm quite comfy where I am, though, at least for now.
Unless you wanna get up, honey?"
Ghet had no idea what was going to happen next, but she couldn't wait to
skinwalker, I'm not familiar with that term, is that someone who doesn't
wear clothes, cause I'd love to see you do that..." Lucien said
smiling at Ghet.
stopped with her shirt half-way over her head. Oh... this wasn't one of
those places. Okay, actually, the only thing stopping her was Y'Roden. The
poor man had had enough stress for one day. The last thing he needed was
to see all his ex's tattoos.
She pulled her shirt back on and shook her head at Lucien.
"Apparently, you have to come to my place of business for that. I...
dance. It's cheaper than an hour of my "company" anyway."
She really did have to get her contribution to the wards set up, it was
still pretty tense in here.
was both relieved and disappointed as the person who was using him for a
chair stopped removing her shirt. "I was rather hoping you'd take him
up on that and yet somehow relieved you didn't." Callan's tone was
full of mischief as he leaned back in his seat. "Actually, I had no
intentions of needing to get up. If you're comfortable, I'm comfortable.
Now, you two..."
looked from one blonde to the other. "It seems I just purchased the
pair of you. From this point on you no longer call him master, nor do you
call me that either. I am your employer. I have need of a few new
members in my house guard, the female division."
Reaching into the pocket of his pants, Callan pulled out two more velvet
bags similar to the one he'd tossed Lucien. Each bag contained the same
amount of rubies as the bag their former owner now held. Tossing one to
each of them, Callan grinned.
"You'll receive one of these per full cycle of the moon of Aerdon.
Prove yourselves both loyal and worthy of my employment and I'll double
that at the end of the year. Congratulations ladies, you now work for the
Black Dragon Emperor of the Diirlathe."
Callan grinned at Lucien...he'd deliberately left his title out of his
formal introduction until the finallity of the deal.
"I found two rubies apiece rather...cheap. I really should study up
on the foreign exchange rate."
Turning his attention to the still chilled wine on the table, Callan
poured a glass for himself and another for Lucien, then requested several
"Fionna, Ghet, Melaina? Would any of you care for a drink?"
snickered. She was kind of glad Callan had decided where the line was, as
that meant she didn't have to. This was the tactic she'd always used in
the past, and it had only proved fatal on... a number of occasions, when
the line moved abruptly while she wasn't looking. And she hadn't at any
point thought about Agaru; it wasn't Callan's dragon she was interesting
in at all. She would have been terribly surprised to get eaten.
She raised an eyebrow, impressed. "Wow, you pay better than I do. But
you girls let me know if at any point you want to make a buck more...
horizontally." Her laughing eyes ran over Mel and Fionna, and her
mouth opened, and then shut again. That was one of those things not
everyone would find funny, and she was getting better at spotting them.
"I'll take that drink, though, and we can drink to you being the
first person to ever be relieved I kept my clothes on. Not that's it's
something that happens very often."
She watched, still mostly amused, as Rachel and Mel transformed, glad they
weren't full-sized. Glad the wards were up, and the Inn was fully
fire-retardant. Probably, a while back, she should have let out something
soothing. It was just more fun this way. "We can get under the
table from here, right?"
had repeatedly let the topic of purchasing a dragon lie dead, thinking
Lucien would go on and find something else to prattle on about, but he had
to hand it to the man, he was focused. He was also either completely
ignorant, so much to the point he felt no fear of the gold and blue that
loomed over him, or he was blinded by greed.
At the moment, he felt no need to add to the scene in front of him, the
ladies seemed to have the cretin well in hand. "M'lady," Callan
drummed his fingers on the wooden table top, "I think the table would
probably just sally off to do battle from the looks of things around here.
And I am allowed to be relieved and disappointed at the same time,
Laughing, Callan took advantage of the former slaves' former master being
pinned under the gaze of not one but two dragons.
"You two? A word with you please?" Callan's look grew serious,
"You work for me now. I demand your complete loyalty and in reward
for that, I'll make certain you are trained and treated in a manner
befitting my house guard. If either of you have a problem with that, you
may walk away, free of my employment and keep your first months salary as
severance pay. I will warn you, though, cross me and cause me to ever
doubt your loyalty and I will make certain you spend the rest of your
lives tied to a slab of granite in the deepest part of the deserts of the
Diirlathe. Am I understood? Completely?"
Lucien's reaction to the dragons had Ghet chuckling.
You had to hand it to him, he had balls. Or no clues at all. Or both: they
certainly weren't mutually exclusive in her experience. What was really
bugging her was that she might shortly have to stand up in order to save
his life, and she was quite comfy.
She looked up at Callan, eyes laughing. "Yes, in fact I know the
feeling. Where were you a thousand years ago, hmm? And I'd suggest we dive
behind the bar if things get ugly, but then I wouldn't be able to
His exchange with the women had her perking her ears up. She'd been so
terribly good lately... "Tell me, when you tie people to big stone
slabs... do you ever pop by and y'know, visit?" Were her wrists
the pair he'd just purchased would be looking for a better deal, Callan
made a mental note to make certain they were watched for a time
when they were returned to the Keep. Turning his attention back to the two
ladies left at the table, Callan stretched a bit, just enough to tease
Ghet a little, then relaxed, "Whether I come by and visit depends on
WHO I have chained up and WHY. You, I would probably come see
regularly." Yes he was treading a little far into territory he
shouldn't be, but he'd never tended to tread softly before, why start now?
"As to where was I a thousand years ago?" An uncharacteristcally
soft smile crossed his face, "I was trapped in my own amulet which
was hung about the neck of Task Diamondwood, Mira's mother, a thousand
years ago. It was quite a journey, remind me to tell you about it
sometime...you know, they really should look into building a bar of some
sort of transparent stuff, thick crystal maybe, then we could all hide
behind it and see at the same time..."
allowed herself to fully enjoy then sensation of Callan's thigh muscles
shifting underneath her. She wouldn't have been at all surprised to know
that Ro's ears were burning. Her attention was rather taken by the mental
picture Callan was giving her. "Well," she drawled with a lazy
sensuality, "It's good to know that being chained up by you wouldn't
be boring. And I really don't think you're the kind to mind the odd
His story about being trapped in an amulet, though, caught the attention
of the higher bits of her body. "Really? Now, there's a tale I'd love
to hear some time. I mean, I don't think he was ever a person, but there's
certainly... an intelligence in my talisman." She pulled her shirt
open a bit more so he could see the silver tracery under her skin.
"It's stuck under there now, I'm afraid. If it comes off I die. So I
guess he's pretty much doomed to spend the next thousand years nestling
between my breasts as well." She chuckled. "How was that for
was it? You'd be referring to being trapped in my own assassin's
amulet?" Callan chuckled a bit, then took a sip of the wine he had
poured. When he'd cleared his mouth and had thought a moment, he took a deep
breath, then smiled again, only not quite so brightly. "It was a little
like being sent to prison...and being trapped with all the people you'd put
there in the first place."
eyes widened for a moment, as what Callan said triggered... something. Like
the memory of a dream, escaping even as she tried to concentrate on it. Can
you hear them? They are calling me... calling me down to damnation. I put
them there you see, I broke them. Her head swung to stare at Ro for a
moment. She didn't remember that, where had it come from? Still, what
Callan said sounded very familiar.
She wanted very much to shrug it off. "Under his skin" was a full
one layer further down than she'd been planning to go. Planning? Strong
word. "That doesn't sound like any of my ideas of fun," she said,
one hand idly stroking the back of Callan's neck. "I'm quite sure I
could have found something more interesting for you to do." Her voice
was light, good-humoured, but that uneasiness was still there, under the
it was Hell. And honestly, Hell was interesting enough but quite frankly,
I'm glad my daughter now bears the blasted thing. She has a far better
relationship with it than I did."
The brief moment of tension in the delicate frame of Ghet caught Callan's
attention, but he was carefull to keep that out of his expression. Smiling
softly, he simply slid his own hand over Ghet's at the back of his neck,
squeezed her fingers lightly, and very gently pulled her hand away. He made
no move to encourage her to find a new seat, and even allowed his fingers to
linger on hers for a very brief moment, then smiled over at Fionna.
"Would either of you care for another drink?" He raised a
questioning eyebrow at Fionna and then Ghet and reached for the bottle.
At another time in his life...far before the 'where were you a thousand
years ago' point in his existence, he wouldn't have thought twice about
bedding another man's wife, or owning slaves, or for that matter, having
both for dinner... but his time spent with Task had forever left its mark on
him, both in the ring of autumn colored diamondwood leaves that banded his
upper right arm and on his soul.
There were even times...times like now...that the bondmark itched slightly,
reminding Callan that he was treading a thin line between right and wrong.
at that moment Ghet had turned to look at him and something shot across the
still open link that hit the half-elf like a sledgehammer. Ro's hand went to
his heart, giving him the appearance of a man having a heart attack as his
features contorted in pain. Blood welled between his fingers, though from
his point of view he couldn't tell whether it was illusion or real. In his
mind images brought his focus into a sort of tunnel vision ... a sea of
screaming faces. Can you hear them? They are calling me... calling me
down to damnation. I put them there you see, I broke them.
Ghet smiled when Callan took her hand away. There was a time, and it was
about a thousand years ago, when if Callan and E'than had walked into her
bar, she'd have tried her hardest to get one or the other, or preferably
both, upstairs in record time. She hadn't often been disappointed.
Then she was pressing her lips together hard, and trying not to shake too
badly. The rest of the taprooom seemed to drop away. Ro was bleeding,
bleeding from the wound she'd given him when she'd killed him. She
was going to faint. She couldn't go near him because of his wife. Bodies
bled in the presence of their murderers.
She couldn't take it. She would have stood up if she'd trusted her legs. Ro?
paused and gave Ghet a sidelong glance and poured himself and her both
another glass of wine.
"M'lady? Ghetsuhm, are you all right?"
He seriously doubted it was him alone making this woman tremble...
took the wine Callan passed her. Her voice was low, and shaky, but also
she spoke without much thought. It was a hell of a burden she carried.
"The wound Ro is bleeding from, over his heart. I gave him that. It
was fatal." She drank. "Hell has many faces."
blue eyes slid slowly from Ghet to D'Riel, then back again. "So it
does, m'lady." Callan knew very, very little of the relationship these
two had once had, but it had taken little thinking on his behalf to add up
that the vessel he'd once sailed on with D'Riel had been named after the
woman on his lap, and that told him enough.
"And yet he lives?"
Callan knew enough about bizarre things to believe this woman when she said
the wound had been fatal. To suggest she had been mistaken would have been a
slap in the face and he took her misery quite seriously. He slid an arm
around Ghet's waist and pulled her close, not as a come-on, but in an
attempt to sooth frazzled nerves.
"And yet he lives..."
marred Ro's features again as his gaze lifted to meet Ghet's. Emerald eyes
softed and he managed a smile. I'm alright Ghettie. See, just the scar
and a little blood. Weird ... but ok. The half-elf shook his head, as
if to clear it. His mind felt clogged with cobwebs ... he was missing
several moments of time in there, and he knew it. What the hell had
was okay. He'd freaked the hell out of her, but he was okay. What had set
that off, anyway? She tried to remember, but it was like trying to grab
hold of air. Maybe if she tried to answer Callan's question, she could
sneak up on it. Something he'd said had triggered it...
is a little different for the D'Riels. I've lost track of how many times
Thaya's died now. I brought him back. It wasn't easy, but... dammit, I can't
remember! He was dead, though. I drank several pints of his blood." She
snickered. "He's still repeating on me." She'd been mad at the
time. Maybe she'd been mad when she'd brought Ro back, and that was why she
couldn't remember it properly. That was possible. Yes. She gave Ro a
searching look across the room, knowing he was as much, if not more,
discomforted than she was.
She nestled her head into Callan's shoulder gratefully, seeking only a
little comfort. "You have to stop calling me "m'lady". I'm
really no kind of lady. Okay, I can fake it, and convincingly, I've passed
myself off in more courts than I can remember. But when I'm being myself...
plain Ghet will do."
right, Ghet it is then. Though, I reserve the right to think you lady all
the same." Callan looked back at D'Riel and pulled Ghet a little
tighter, "It seems the two of us have more in common than either of us
would care to admit..."
raised an eyebrow, though Callan wouldn't have been able to see it anyway.
She kept so much of herself hidden, while still appearing to be completely
open. She didn't look like a blood-drinking lover-slayer. She smiled.
"That we do," she said quietly to Callan. "Best to just go on
pretending we don't."