Hoping and fearing to believe.
That was one way to describe Leiaren, a prince of one of the numerous extrafacetary Unseelie Courts.
Leiaren Ad-Horsig Drjemear, Fifth of His Name, lounged in a cavernous clamshell seat that might have been called a throne were it smaller, as he considered one of his Court’s lessers. As with many creatures of Rhaagm, the summer elf prince wanted for very little. He generally wanted more living space than the district that his and several other fae-and-elf courts shared; that would be nice. He particularly wanted his position within the Court to rise; maybe to become a Lord of Songs.
He really, REALLY wanted to take a certain blood relation of his wife’s, and make him a head shorter. Metaphorically, considering how little practical effect there usually was in arranging an extrafacetary citizen’s interruption.
Not to say that Leiaren would have turned aside from murder – temporary or otherwise – if the circumstances were right. That was yet another reason for meeting with Bjill today.
Bjill, of no note besides his birth into the Court and possessing no further name reflective of his feats or storied accomplishments, stood before the prince, very busily looking un-busy.
“One more time,” said Leiaren. “Describe the waypoints in your story.”
It wasn’t like Bjill could forget the details stored in his eidetics, or that Leiaren would LET him forget. The man had a glut of self-motivating reasons to remember, and do his utmost to help his liege’s cause. Even so, it never hurt to emphasize importance through repetition. As agents went, the man before the prince had a good deal to recommend his services – not the least being his nerve. Despite the real possibility that failure would bring displeasure down on his head, the shorter winter elf had no measurable change in his expression.
“The initial meetings between the Gegaunli refugees and their keepers will be beginning shortly. I’ve been in contact with the assessor who’s also responsible for choosing… the subject’s beneficiary. As a result, I’ve been assigned to duties in his proximity. When opportunity arrives, I’ll see to furnishing strong evidence for his condition – by any means necessary.”
Unlike Leiaren’s trilling and almost seductive voice, Bjill sounded like a rock being slowly carved into a statue by a series of identical rocks. That cadence paused, as he stood at attention.
“My prince, I’ll do my best, but ‘strong evidence’ is the best I can-”
“Yes. Do not worry if your efforts fall short of your ambitions. I know you will do your utmost to expose this troublesome child.”
Leiaren waved a hand, warding off the possible future his minion described. Bjill’s eyes had strange sparks dancing in them, and (unless the prince was mistaken) he was looking forward to the opportunity to prove his worth.
“Do you have any further questions? Concerns?”
Bjill answered with a curt yet supremely respectful down-sign.
“No, my prince. I’ll not fail.”
He tapped the side of his head, implicating the Ktarebte machine dead man’s switch that would keep his lips shut if things happened to go awry.
“Excellent. If there are assets that would improve your odds of success, do not hesitate to name them.”
And with that, a departure.
“I suppose you still refuse to indulge my curiosity as to your sources?” the prince asked aloud, after Bjill left for a folding juncture. His head tilted as his eyes looked to the shadowed ceiling of his pearl-plated quarters. “Perhaps even-”
The outwardly human woman who’d come to give him the delightful news of his enemy’s disability spoke simply, mockingly, from the alcove directly behind his seat. She’d said little else, except that she shared in some of Leiaren’s ambitions. When he’d asked the price for informing him of the aforementioned disability’s existence, he’d been almost as surprised as suspicious at her reply.
“Take everything he is and drag it through the mud,” she’d commanded.
That memory flickered just under his skin, then left, and he removed himself to the present once more.
“Why is this so important to you?” Leiaren asked her, arrogantly curious. Her face overflowed with the sort of disdainful anger he might have felt if an especially greasy clump of cattle feces had personally and insightfully insulted him. It was the expression of someone who barely tolerated the frustrations of recognizing a master, let alone the imposition of obeying commands.
“There are those who have an interest in seeing him becoming a cipher for stigma and conflict, instead of what he currently is.”
Her voice said that under other circumstances, she would have put him under the knife for being so impudent. She caught his amused body noise, and became very subdued.
“If you are invested in your continued health, cease your imbecilic posturing. I could make your life thoroughly miserable if you convinced me it was worth my time.”
Leiaren said nothing.
“With you informed, I’ve done all that I shall be doing here. May you have success in your minor contributions to something greater.”
The outwardly human woman turned aside, and walked away without another word.