Introducing another short story. This one’s a little shorter than the first (which you can read here), and follows a different character, but I’m pretty happy with it. I hope you enjoy, let me know what you think and check out our ongoing D&D campaign Tides of Power, set in the same world as this little story.
“Why would you be conscripting soldiers, General? Dopliastein only borders the sea and the mountains. Do you intend to declare war on the fish?”
The general she was talking to sighed. “It’s not about our plans, it’s this absurd exemption you somehow conned Her Majesty’s father into granting Quentolhm.”
Tsera sighed heavily. It was not the first time she had had this discussion. “General, as I’m sure you know, given that the agreement is kept in the palace archives here, we accepted leadership over Quentolhm under certain conditions.”
She was sounding irate, a risk the general did not pick up on.
“If you have a campaign you want to recruit for, then we can certainly give people that choice, but we will not have our people pulled into a war they want no part of. I’ve said this to others before, and our position has not changed.”
An attendant approached Tsera, saving her from whatever the general was about to say, and saving him from whatever she was going to do in response.
“Pardon the interruption, Lady Spiristri, but your presence is requested.”
“You must excuse me, General. If you especially wish to, we can continue this conversation later.” Tsera stood, made a shallow bow towards the still seated general, and followed the attendant out of the room.
Tsera followed the attendant, past the formal audience chambers, into a less opulent part of the palace. They eventually came to a comfortable, though not luxurious, lounge, with a single person reading in a chair. The attendant let Tsera enter the room, then shut the door, leaving the two ladies together.
“You summoned me, Your Majesty?” Tsera bowed, much more than she had to the general. “How may I be of assistance?”
Queen Waldrada closed her book, and smiled a tired smile up at the half-elf. “Take a seat, Lady Tsera.” And as the lady sat, the queen continued.
“I have a small problem that I’m hoping you’ll be able to assist with while you’re in the city.”
“You need me to kill someone else? You’ll end up with nobody around.”
The queen winces at the direct comment. “You put it bluntly, as ever, but yes. There is a traitor in the government. I have the necessary evidence to prove their guilt, but I don’t want to go through a public trial for various tedious political reasons.”
“I’m not one of your blades, to have them just kill on a whim. I want to see your evidence and come to my own conclusion. But you knew I’d insist on that anyway, didn’t you. I presume you have the information here?”
“You are sharp as ever, Spiristri. The box on the side.”
She indicated to a box set to the side of the room. Tsera walked over, took out the files and papers within, and started sifting through them.
By the time she had finished, it was several hours later, but Tsera had gone through everything thoroughly.
“This all seems correct. No discrepancies, and the evidence agrees. Yabuil Greyspine is guilty of treason, subject to trial and execution. And yet, you want him to be quietly removed instead?”
The queen scowled. “I’m not at liberty to discuss it with you.”
“Well, his sentence would be execution regardless, and it is of course your prerogative as to what you choose to share.” She shrugged. “Did you have any special requests?”
“No, make it clean and simple.”
“Noted. Was there anything else, Your Majesty?”
“No. Thank you.”
Tsera bowed again, and left the room, heading out into her accommodation in the city.
As she walked, she adopted a scowling expression for anyone who might happen to see her, as two of her guards fell in behind her for the walk back. She glowered down the streets, all the way through the inn, right up until she was in her rooms and the door closed behind her. Suddenly, she was smiling again. “That went well, I think. Tomorrow night will be ideal. Until then, we have some time.”
She addressed her guards, 4 with her in total. “I will not be leaving the room for the rest of today and tomorrow, unless something unexpected comes up. Would one of you be so kind as to let the staff know I will be taking my meals in here, but you can have some free time in the city then. One of you stay here at a time, for propriety.” She waited for their acknowledgement, and left them smiling and discussing shifts, walking into her bedroom. She changed into more comfortable indoor clothes, returned to the lounge, and settled herself with a book.
It was the next night. Tsera prepared herself for her work. She pulled on her armour; she slid on soft boots; she set a mask over her eyes and nose, fastening it behind her head; she pulled a cloak around her shoulders. As she stepped over to and opened the window, she pulled her hood up against the wind, and her form wavered and faded from perception.
In a house across the city, a man was asleep, window open towards the sea, a slight breeze bringing cool air into the room. His partner slept beside him.
The window slowly drifted further open. The breeze dimmed for a brief moment. Nothing in the room stirred. Then the man shuddered briefly and lay still, unbreathing. The breeze dimmed again, and the window drifted back to how it had been.
Yabuil Greyspine was dead.