Elena Morgayne
Failed heart
Wed Nov 30, 2005 10:24 (XFF:, unknown)

Finding Roaric in the city wasn’t as difficult as she’d thought—Kiral had a friend who knew someone who dealt with ice pepper merchants in Caemlyn and there were only six on the list. When that list was handed to her, Ronan picked the name above his seemingly at random but the directions were listed for each of the merchants, so she didn’t need to find a way to work around getting his address. She worked with her friends to devise a plan on how to draw in the Saldaean merchant (by the name of Aldin Buchan) to be partnered with them and subsequently backed to get his foot in the door of Andoran’s noble Houses. While they planned, Ronan plotted. She couldn’t just walk into Roaric’s shop and kill him, but then again, she possibly could. She knew just enough about Illusion that she could change the color of her hair and maybe the lines about her face. Hunch a little, dress all in black skirts, even grab one of her Saldaean cut dresses, and she could suddenly be a feeble old woman who had gone in for ice peppers that day and eventually when the next customer came in—it could work.

“Elena, are you even listening?” Kiral’s voice broke in with amused impatience. “If you’re dreaming about that Murandy lord, you can stop now. I heard he took up with Cairla al’Shai and I have a bet down that she’ll have him married within three months.”

Ronan’s head snapped up and she forced her face to smooth curiosity. He had taken up with that woman?! What was she? Chopped liver? Was their plan for nothing then and he was going to just move about in Cairla’s circles and let Ronan follow after him like a puppy? “Really? It’s too bad that he’s fallen in with her.” She replied smoothly, swallowing back the bile that had risen in her throat. “Someone should warn him that she cares little for his love and only for his title and coffers.”

Lonora tittered. “Why would we do that, Elena? If she marries this poor sop then he’ll take her with him to Murandy and we’ll never have to see her again. I’d prefer that over her hanging about and snickering at us behind her hands like she knows something we don’t.”

Hm, wonder if that’s the reason he’s attracted to her—same smile. Shrugging her shoulders, Ronan smiled and gave some answer that seemed to appease them but she really was waiting for the visiting time to be over—she had the address of her mark and she needed to get working. It’d been three days already since she’s received word of her mark and she wanted it finished tonight. The merchant would be an easy target once she spun the Illusion and she’d make it look like his heart gave out on him. Natural causes, no foul play, nothing to indicate he’d died by anything else than an overworked heart.

It seemed that the three women wanted to stay longer and plot how to make money in ice peppers and for every minute that was ticked off on her water clock, Ronan regretted even mentioning the plot. What sort of thick idiot would suggest something that would encourage people to come over to her house and stay longer than normal? She was the sort of thick idiot. It was nearly evening by the time the ladies left, and only so they could get changed and head off to whatever parties they had to go to for the evening, leaving Ronan pounding her fist on her leg, cursing herself for letting it get this far. She’d have to wait until tomorrow at the earliest to pay that visit to Roaric, which mean another night just spent at another frivolous gathering, talking to people who either stared at her with concealed expressions or open admiration. Both grated on her nerves.

She was sitting in the darkened room of one of the manors while a gleeman tossed balls about in the air while he expounded on some strange story about a woman fooling three kings, when she felt the touch of someone’s hand on her arm. “Mistress Elena, Lord Durik wishes to meet with you in private immediately if you would.”

Ronan had been expecting a summons from Kyran, or even it being his hand on her arm and she quashed the immediate resentment that it wasn’t him when she stood and quietly followed after the footman. Lord Durk was a tall, stately man with ash blonde hair that was beginning to silver through the well groomed mass. He wasn’t handsome, but neither was he plain, there was merely a striking authority about him that drew the eye. When she approached, he gave a bow, “Mistress Elena. I thank you for coming.”

She smiled to conceal her puzzlement. “How could I not for one such as you, my Lord. How may I serve you?” It was a simple opening that she’d learned quickly meant that if he wanted her in his bed, it was merely a request away and she saw his brow raise slightly at the mention before his face went blank.

“I wished to speak to you of ice peppers.”

“Ice peppers!” Ronan spat out the words before she even knew what she was doing and scrambled to recover when Lord Durik looked surprised. Well, only one thing for it now. “I watch you and see you appreciate me and I appreciate you and you pull me from the gleeman’s tale telling to ask me about ice peppers.” She slashed her hand, a very Ebou Dari gesture, “That! For ice peppers, Lord Durik! I care nothing for ice peppers with you standing before me in such an intimate place. Can you look at me and tell me that you only think of—trade?”

For a moment she thought he’d withdraw hastily in some effort to get away from her overtures, and then his face broke down. “I didn’t know, Mistress Elena, and I didn’t want to insult your honor—“

And instantly, Ronan knew that the ice peppers had been merely his excuse to draw her away and do exactly as she had been insinuating. It was an effort to keep her face from showing its amazement and she deliberately curved her mouth into a smile. She had no idea what she would do with a minor lord chasing her about Caemlyn, but she was sure that if she asked Kyran, he’d think of a few good uses. As Durik drew her close, she could smell the scent of cinnamon on his breath and the deep, spicy aroma of him. She knew he was going to kiss her and Ronan tilted her face slightly to give him best access, to appear in his thrall and docile so that he could feel powerful over her small, fragile form.

“Ah, didn’t mean to interrupt, I was just looking for the water closet.” Kyran’s voice was amused from the darkness and as Ronan turned around, she glared at him. He’d been watching for some time, she guessed, and was just waiting for the right moment to step in and make things irritating.

Her glower a slow burning ember, Ronan knew her smile wasn’t pleased in the least. “It’s down the other direction, my Lord. These Andoran manors really can be so large compared to the ones you must own in Murandy, so it’s no wonder you’re turned around.”

She heard Durik draw in a sharp breath and wondered if this was going to turn out badly soon. But Kyran merely smiled and gave a short laugh, “They do make them so much different here in Andor, don’t they? Well, sorry for interrupting, carry on.” She watched in amazement as he walked away, hands tucked behind his back and whistled some strange tune.

“Light, Mistress Elena, you do spit in the face of danger, don’t you?” For all his composure, she could see that he was pale in the half light.

She took a step back. “All right, my curiosity is piqued, Lord Durik. Why does everyone tread so softly around him? He’s from Murandy, they’ve been a step away from being annexed by Andor now for centuries. Their king is barely more than just a status symbol. Why are you all treating him like he’s the Dragon in disguise?”

Durik settled back against the wall and studied her a moment with regained composure before nodding once. “You wouldn’t have heard, even traveling in the circles you travel. His family’s lineage stretches back to the days of when Murandy was founded, his ancestors one of a few noble houses that had helped put the first queen of Murandy on the throne. He’s akin to one of the greater Houses here in Andor and has earned that respect.” Durik shrugged and looked down the hall. “It’s a mystery why he’s here—some are saying he’s out searching for a wife, to help strengthen his noble House as well as secure it against any loss of power should Murandy be swallowed by anyone. If it’s Andor, then he’d be protected with an Andoran wife, if it’s another country, Andor would move to protect him as well. Can’t lose, I suppose. It’s bloody clever, but then again I have yet to see a Murandian who wasn’t.”

Ronan was already moving away from the lord, sensing that the mood of intimacy and dark trysts was past. Kyran had certainly put a damper on the mood—intentionally—and now she was left with a sour stomach. So his cover was that he came from a powerful noble House in Murandy, hm? And she was just some wretch who married the right man and now scrambled for money to keep the lifestyle she was accustomed to. Wretched man!

Ronan hobbled along, leaning on her cane and glancing up occasionally from beneath the black lace veil that swathed her gray head. She had enough wrinkles to match the steel of her hair and a slightly bent back to accompany her slow walk. She was a woman who had seen better days and never looked forward to the rains of spring due to her arthritis. And she was reminiscing about the heat that used to take her tongue and set it on fire from just a taste of ice peppers—her handsom Haerild always did have a thing for spicy foods, yes he did—so she was walking down to the nearest merchant who was said to keep ice peppers.

Roaric was a thick, muscular man who looked like he’d worked his way up from being the muscle for another merchant to his own business. With hair that had receded long ago and was kept shorn in short, salt and pepper fuzz, his head was as thick as his arms, which complimented his thick body perfectly. She couldn’t have taken this man without using the Power in the first place, so it was no wonder that she was given permission to take him out by using saidar. When she hobbled into the store, he gave an oily smile that made her want to rub her hands to clean them, but his menacing demeanor was completely concealed by the desire to make a sale from a woman who obviously had money. “Madam, please come in, come in, is there something I can help you find?”

Her voice was thin and reedy as she smiled at him, “Ice peppers, sonny! My handsome Haerild, Creator shelter his soul, loved the ice peppers and I just wanted to have a taste of two myself to remember him. Today would have been our sixtieth anniversary, you know. What a nice, handsome man he was…” She drifted off, but that was fine because Roaric was already smiling and moving toward the back.

Ronan was already straightening and embracing the Source when he turned around suddenly as if to ask a question; his eyes widened but it was too late. Earth and Fire and they were squeezing into his heart, making it race, causing it to spasm uncontrollably. With a cry, he clutched at his chest but it was too late, the damage had been done and she could feel the heart weakening further and further. The light was nearly from his eyes when she looked down at him with an expressionless countenance, “There’s always a price for betrayal of the Black Tower, Roaric. Maybe you’ll remember that in your next life.”

The little old lady hobbled out of the store, small bag of ice peppers clutched possessively in her grip and a small smile playing over her wrinkled lips.

  • Ice peppersElena Morgayne, Wed Nov 30 08:39
    Your aunt’s neighbor, Roaric al’Tuun, just won’t listen to reason. She’s told him time and time again to stop eating all the ice peppers, it’s bad for the digestion, but he won’t listen. It’s in his... more
    • Failed heart — Elena Morgayne, Wed Nov 30 10:24
      • Slipping into characterElena Morgayne, Wed Nov 30 12:40
        After sneaking into her manor and scaring her half out of her wits, Ronan sat opposite of Kyran, hot cup of tea cradled in her hands to steal as much warmth as she could. She felt put out with him... more
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          Since their staged rendezvous in the gardens at Taravin’s, Ronan was soon inundated with a greater amount of invitation from some of the more powerful houses in Andor; if she’d known that linking... more
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