Emine (pt 3)

By the time they arrived at the Heights Emine had gotten used to seeing dragons in the sky. This was good, considering the bright red dragon was there to greet them before they could even pass by the entrance into the valley.

“You’ve brought new blood, I can smell it. Show me.”

The words were creepy, but the tone was far too smooth. It actually made it a bit more creepy, that Emine didn’t feel as bothered out by the words because of the tone. She hid behind Sanni, who appeared to be waiting on whatever it is the man behind the reins said.

The horses didn’t appear to have any problems with a dragon right next to them. Emine squeezed her bag to her chest.

“Why don’t you ask her yourself?” Sanni called forward.

Emine could feel her heart in her throat as the long neck snaked over. The face of a dragon wasn’t what Emine had imagined. The feathers became smaller and smaller, to the scales that surrounded the eyes and mouth. On this dragon, the smaller feathers were gold. Her eyes were not serpentine, as Emine had thought they might be. They appeared to have several pupils that were not black, but white against a ruby backdrop, moving independently of each other.

A hand appeared in front of her face, breaking her concentration for a moment. “Please, Ramar. Don’t make me warn her not to look into your eyes. They’re so beautiful and I’d hate for her to have this first time spoiled.”

“Flatterer,” the dragon called Ramar said.

Way to make an introduction

“Your name.”

Vidvan nearly had a heart attack, wheeling about from where he stood at his desk. There was no confusing who stood there in front of him – Tavesh. That was surprising enough, even before Vidvan considered all of the other reasons the man could not have been there.

“Wh-what?” Vidvan didn’t sound nearly as surprised as he felt, but there was still plenty of it.

“Your name,” Tavesh said again. “Is it Vidvan? I’m making an educated guess.”

Vidvan nodded, trying to pull himself together. “You shouldn’t be here. How did you get in here?”

“I’ll leave. But I had to know your name. My apologies.” Tavesh made an exaggerated bow.

He had to know that Vidvan could have him killed for this. Accusing someone of entering the tower when they weren’t invited. Which he could not have been. If he had been, he would be accompanied. No one else was here.

Then he left, before Vidvan could say anything else.

When he doesn’t know better

Dahlia hugged her legs to her chest and buried her face into her knees. She stayed like that, hoping no one would find her today. There was nowhere else to go, not that she wanted to go anywhere. She didn’t know what to do anymore.

“Hello?”

Her fingers pressed into her arms, almost to the point where it hurt. Then she peered up in the darkness. The boy that stood before her looked like that woman who was always coming to the orphanage. The woman seemed nice, but adults were like that. Adults always seemed nice. Then you got to know them.

She swallowed. “‘lo.”

“What are you doing?”

The way he spoke made her feel like he came from an entirely different world. Like he was an adult. She didn’t like it. “Sitting.”

The boy nodded. “Oh. Okay.”

Just like that, he sat down next to her. She wanted to tell him to go, but she wouldn’t. She never did anything like that. Because that was always the opportunity others took in order to tell her what she was or wasn’t allowed to do.

For a while, all was quiet but for the sounds of the children outside of the closet. The thin light that came into their crevasse lit upon the string wrapped around his fingers. It was made of rainbows. He held out his fingers and the string attached to them.

“Pinch the x’s.”

She couldn’t stop herself. She reached out to play with the string.

The Prize’s Perspective

“Who are you?”

Words bitten out through chapped lips. She was still beautiful, despite the cold playing havoc on her. She knew it. And she could see from the young woman looking back at her, that the stranger new it as well.

The girl smiled with her teeth. “I’m going to be your wife.”

Toiréasa scoffed. “What makes you say that?”

“Because you only deserve the best. And that’s what I’m going to be.”

If anyone else had said that, Toiréasa would have rolled her eyes, laughed, ignored them. Other people had wanted to lay claim on her before. Being made of fire and being the daughter of her father made her very desired. There was something about this girl.

Toiréasa decided it was the teeth.

She smirked. “Well, I’ll enjoy watching you try.”

With that, their pact was made. Toiréasa still hadn’t asked for a name. It didn’t matter. Toiréasa waited for the day when someone would prove to be adequate.

A fire in ice

Toiréasa was made of fire.

That was what her father had always said. It was what kept her going in the increasing chill of what should have been summer. What kept her going when the food came scarce. What kept her going when she was face to face with a beast, the likes of which she had never seen before.

It was a hound of some sort. A wolf, maybe. Too large for either of those, Toiréasa reckoned. Red fur, except for the black of its back, made it obvious against the backdrop of snow. Enormous teeth that fit into a similarly enormous mouth. Another odd beast, like the many others which now had accompanied the strange weather shifts.

The beast would eat her. Toiréasa wouldn’t make it easy. She screamed, a throat-tearing sound as she readied her practice blade. The canine’s wide chest looked ready to deflect any strike, but Toiréasa didn’t care. She was ready to strike with what limited abilities she had.

With a few bounds, it was upon her. Toiréasa yelled again and put her sword out, though she had already fallen on her back in the white cold, those teeth snarling above her. She brought a foot up and kicked the creature in the stomach. The beast didn’t budge, merely roaring in Toiréasa’s face.

Toiréasa roared back.

The Meeting

He had been waiting for the facts to go through, sitting in the jail cell. It was true, his license was relatively new and it was the first time he had come to this city. He should have waited years before relocating. But there was a lot of things Jay should have done that he had not. A lot of things he had not done that he should have.

Perhaps he had gotten in over his head already.

Jay was not alone in this cell. There was a smaller man in there too, surprisingly asleep. Jay didn’t know what to make of that. Despite his appearances, the other man had to be comfortable enough to sleep when anyone could be put in here with him. It had not been a busy day, with just the two of them here. Jay watched him warily, hoping he was brought in here for excessive drunkenness or the like. He did not sleep like a drunk man, but the smell in here made it difficult to discern if it was the stranger who smelt of alcohol or simply the last residents who had occupied this space.

“Hello!”

The moment Jay hadn’t been looking was when the other man had awoken. Spryly, he swung into a vertical position on the bench, looking over at Jay with eyes not hindered by any sort of sleepiness. “What are you in here for? That’s the question people ask in here, isn’t it?”

Jay revised his opinion. Comfortable enough, or stupid enough. “Being where I didn’t belong,” he replied vaguely. “You?”

“Oh, the same.” The other man nodded. Now that he was awake, it seemed difficult for him to remain completely still. It was either his head or his hands. Shifty had never been meant to be taken so literally. “Apparently you’re supposed to have permission before going into the public museum.”

“What?” His curiosity came from two places. First, the statement itself. Secondly, the fact that the museum was brought up in the conversation, when that was the next place on his list to check out when they let him out of here.

“Well, at two in the morning.”

Jay snorted despite himself. “That goes without saying, I think. Thief?”

“Hey, wait a moment! You can’t judge me!” The man’s protests were definitely not of an innocent man, but even more so not of a malicious one. “You said you were taken in for the same thing!”

“I wasn’t stealing anything.” He wasn’t mentioning his P.I. status. It didn’t seem as common here as it did where he had come from. That was why his license had confused the officers and they had made him wait here while they attempted to sort it all out. “I was just where I didn’t belong.”

“So was I! I just happened to be taking something that didn’t belong to them either. It can’t be stealing if the person you’re taking it from didn’t own it, right?”

Jay didn’t want to go into how a museum might “own” a piece. “How far did you get?” His question came from genuine curiosity and the belief that this strange man might actually answer him. He wouldn’t get any important information, but it would pass his time wasted in here with more entertainment than otherwise.

“In and out. Unfortunately I didn’t have a car or anything to help me move it and I must have tripped an alarm.”

Jay stared at him, jaw nearly slack. “You… got out with it.”

“Only down the block. I was going to take it to- well, that’s a long story, but-”

He wasn’t sure whether to be impressed or not. Jay had the distinct feeling he was missing a very important part of the story that the other man wouldn’t be able to tell him. The other curious thing was that someone caught red handed would have ended up here, with Jay, who hadn’t been proven guilty of anything.

“-the necklace was a fake, I know it,” the man had continued while Jay had not been paying complete attention. “I mean, I don’t really, but I believe Josie, and if they would just look at it, the police anyway, then-”

“The Monsoon Pendant?” Jay asked before he could stop himself.

“Why yes! The very one! See?” That said, the man pulled it out of his pocket.

Jay coughed. “You- ah, excuse me, they didn’t take it from you?”

“Of course they did. This is another one.”

“Who are you, if I may ask?”

The man laughed. “It’s more polite to offer your own name first! But it’s Robin. Family name.”

“Indeed.”

Perhaps Jay had gotten in deep over his head, but it wasn’t the case. It was in meeting Robin.

Meeting Robin and not ever getting rid of him.