The blankets felt so warm. The sheets were like a hundred hands creasing Sorie’s naked flesh, rubbing against her sturdy frame and enveloping her slim curves.
It was nice. So nice that a moan of pleasure flowed out from Sorie’s mouth.
Sorie rested within that peaceful existence, that knife edge place which lied between sweet dream and consciousness.
Here she did not have to worry about thoughts such as the damned legions of the dead, the creatures from another world, nor that mind altering evil desert. She also didn’t have to worry about the piles of corpses which were still burning back home. All there was, was the bed.
She must have read far too many books on zombies and the tales of Avalon. Yes, that must have been it to have dreamt of something that odd happening.
Something moist touched her cheek. With her eyes still closed her mind ran though the possibilities until she came to the obvious. “Yes Prince. I’m awake.”
Prince was a teacher’s little tabby cat. A mischievous little bastard that would occasionally chose to lie on her bed.
Today the cat was rather frisky, it would have been nice if Sorie were not so comfortable.
There was the barest hint of a chill before something crawled under the sheets, Sorie could feel the soft fur rubbing against her shoulder as it past. The damn cat found its was under the cover, but its mischievous ways did not end there.
A wet tongue scraped against Sorie’s nipple.
She let out a gasp of surprise. “Prince!” The shock caused her to open her eyes and draw back the sheet. “I’ll get the cook to turn you into a pie, you…”
Underneath the covers, looking up at her, his cheeks brushing up against Sorie’s breasts, was Jessy Turburskey.
The fourteen year regarded Sorie like an affectionate puppy, his own naked body pressing up against hers. “Good morning.” Jessy said.
“So what did you do then?” Vanasher asked.
The cup clattered in Sorie’s hand. “I grabbed my clothes and ran out of there without saying anything.”
Vanasher could only laugh at her dear pupil’s flustered face. “Take it easy girl. You are not the first to get drunk and wake up next morning with a boy sucking your breasts.”
The Dean of the Royal academy took a sip of her wine and Sorie, not for the first time wished that she could have a fraction of this she-elf’s poise.
Vanasher had access to some of the most powerful spells in the world, including the forbidden ritual the churches had decreed as unpopular, so it was difficult to trust that Vanasher’s youthful and feminine features were accurate.
As always the Dean wore a long white cloak with a grey dress, all of which clung to her healthy brown skin. It was rumoured that Vanasher dyed her long hair silver as a sign of uniqueness and status, but Sorie chose not to believe such talk.
Vanasher was powerful enough to appear to be a goddess, but she instead chose the look of a refined baroness. The Dean was all business and calculation with an understanding of fine taste.
Sorie on the other hand had made a cardinal sin. She had not paid attention to the status of her drink.
From reports, Bancroft had put a little something extra in Sorie’s watered down ale as a playful jest, the result had been Sorie waking up in a young man’s bed and smelling of sex.
“Why can’t I remember anything?” Sorie sobbed feeling dirty.
“A devious concoction. Used for whores who have many customers but wish to have no memory of the night. You should be grateful that she had not slipped something less pleasant in your drink. You should also be grateful that jackal seed has no hangover effects.”
Sorie held her head in her hands and bobbed up in down. “How stupid could I have been?”
“Like I said it could have been much worse. Not many who take such drugs wake up without bruises.”
“Oh Gods, Oh Gods, Oh Gods.” Sorie said like a mantra, wishing that this to be a bad dream.
“Enough of that.” Vanasher said her tone like that of a disproving mother. “Tell me what have you learned?”
“Besides that I’m a slut that likes little boys, teacher? Not much?” Sorie held her head. Gilt was grasping at her, threatening to swallow her down a dark pit of despair.
Vanasher nearly spat out her newly poured wine, clearly her little student was making too much of this.
The Dean had seen Jessy. He was taller than most human and elven boys his age and kr held an intelligence in his eyes she wished a third of all her previous students had.
Vanasher looked away and grit her teeth as she remembered some dark memory that she had over her own brush with jackal meat and her mother’s business.
There were far worse men Sorie could have gone to bed with in her drunken stupor.
“Don’t you fret girl. You did no wrong. I suspect that the worst you will get will be a few more youthful admirers.” Vanasher flashed a wicked smile. “And a bit of a reputation for a virgin eater.”
The agonising howl that came from Sorie spoke that this fate was far worse than death.
“As for you not remembering. That might be best.” Vanasher said wisely.
Both women became silent.
“Forgive me. I have disgraced the Academy.” Sorie cried to her teacher, hoping that her apologises would do something to cure the problem.
Vanasher waved the girl’s sobs away. “What of the boy’s room? Did you see anything? Some machine? Some great manner of device?”
Ready to cry at any moment Sorie sat up. “Forgive me, teacher. I ran as soon as I woke. I saw nothing.”
Vanasher could stand no more of her old student’s hysterics and slapped Sorie across the face.
Sorie gasped and held her cheek, not for the pain but from the strike coming from somebody she saw as her friend and elder. She held her head down knowing that she deserved far worse.
Nobody had been allowed inside either Jessy’s or John’s domiciles. No thief or assassin could boast that they alone had fooled the strange houses’ security and discover what secrets were hidden away. And yet, Sorie, in her drunken way had not only managed to be invited inside but had failed to document anything.
Vanasher’s amber eyes turned to her student and Sorie cringed under her past teacher’s disappointing glare.
“Was I wrong in choosing you for this mission?” Vanasher said though it was unclear if she was talking to Sorie or herself.
“N… No. Lady Nickell.” Sorie stuttered.
“Tell me what your mission objective is”
Sorie stood straight, not forgetting the slap but ignoring it and the tears that ran down her cheeks. “My mission is to learn everything about Techscope and its people, and report my findings to you.”
Vanasher rested her hands on Sorie’s shoulders and stared down on her with calculating eyes. “Why is our relationship with Techscope important?”
“Because Techscope is the only ones who have machines capable of mining the gold underneath Cichole and destroying the Fomori filth.”
The Dean of the Academy nodded. “Very true. But than why are we here”
Before Sorie could answer Vanasher chimed in. “We are here to learn, Sorie. Our relationship with Techscope is only temporary. The Silth government knows that, the Techs know that. The moment the last nugget of gold is confiscated the men who govern this country will have no further need of Techscope.”
“Make no mistake. This is a delicate truce with an hourglass running in the background. Eventually somebody will do something stupid, and we must learn everything we can from our allies if we have a chance to end a future war with as little bloodshed as possible.”
Vanasher brushed Sorie’s back revealing her pleasant-enough face and freckles. “You have the opportunity to save lives Sorie.”
The Dean of the Royal Academy cupped her Sorie’s chin with her fingers and forced the younger of the pair to look up and into her eyes. “Did I chose wrong or should I have rested the future of our country and my with the efforts of a diseased whore from some back alley?”
Sorie remembered that bitch Bancroft’s smile and the way Jessy had been ready to eat out of her hand. Anger swelled within the scholar as thought of that smiling making a fool of her. “No, my lady. I swear I will not disappoint you again.”
From outside of the Dean’s tent one of the two posted guards spoke. “Dean Nickell. I have word that one of the foreigners is approaching. What is your will?”
Vanasher looked thoughtful for a moment, and Sorie guessed that the Dean was running through the various pros and cons of dismissing the party. “Allow him to enter.”
“Yes, my lady.” came the reply from outside.
Sorie lowered her head positive that this was about her transgressions last night. Knowing nothing of Techscope culture she suspected that an outsider lying with a child diplomat was frowned upon.
As if reading Sorie’s mind Vanasher spoke firmly. “No you will not go. Take a seat. If you can, cry more, but don’t over do it.”
Not understanding but putting her trust in her mentor, Sorie took a seat and didn’t have to try hard to feel sorry for herself.
After ten minutes both she-elves heard the guard outside speak with the unknown party, “My lady is expecting you.” she said as she opened the tent flap.
If either she-elves expected the creature to have walked into their presence was human or other such barbarian they were soon surprised.
The male Silth who came through the tent flap was overall pleasant looking and dressed sharply. He wore a black suit that made him appear business-like, his short blond hair was immaculate, and his shoes were polished to the point that they almost carried a mirrored sheen.
Soire held her mouth closed with her hand. She had never seen a man like this before in her life and sure that he must be some illusion.
The tent was soon filled with the smell of burnt ozone, an effect of residual magic as both Sorie and Vanasher placed enchantments over their eyes which filtered out the powers of glamour and illusion. To was considered rude but a necessary defence.
Sorie had to perform the spell once more as she could not believe her eyes.
The Silth male who looked as if he came from some perverted romantic novel was not using magic to enhance his looks. He was as he appeared. Which was odd because Silth do not come in blonde nor are they generally wealthy enough to afford clothes so finely made.
The Silth bowed to both Sorie and Vanasher. “Laddies. May I have the privilege of a word?”
His voice contained a strange foreign accent. It neither grated not did it sound comical, in fact Sorie was tempted to weave a vocal spell so that she may listen to during lonely nights.
Then Sorie noticed the strangers eyes and sniffled a shriek of terror.
The stranger’s eyes were a hellish red with what looked like piranha teeth about to swallow the emerald green pupils.
There was no doubt about it, this creature came from the Company.
Ever the calm and collected hostess, the Dean of the Royal Academy gestured to a vacant near a low table. “Please, take a seat, Mister…”
The man sat down and placed a black leather case on the table. “You may call me Mr Black. I represent Techscope’s law form. The Company has been informed that has been an indecent between a Sorie Kingsbrew and a staff member of our by the name of Jessy Turburskey. Is this correct?”
“That is correct Mr Black.” Vanasher said sounding unimpressed.
“And I am correct that you are representing Miss Kingsbrew and her wishes?”
“That is also correct, Mr Black. My I ask you would like a cup of tea?”
There was a click as Mr Black opened his case. “That will be nice Dean Nickell.”
With a wave of her hand Vanasher used her powers to open one of her nearby trunks where a cup and saucer levitated a few feet from the floor. Said cup and saucer then glided over to lie in front of Mr Black, the tea pot soon followed.
This was a common enough strategy with mages of all disciplines when dealing with other parties. Those unskilled in magic often feared or were in awe of those who could use magic.
Mr Black however seemed less surprised or intimidated by the show of power. “Two sugars and milk thank you. Never mind I brought my own.”
From his case Mr Black drew out three small packages. He opened the first one and poured milk into his cup. The other two contained white sugar. He then discarded the packages into his case.
Though it was scandalous to taint the Dean’s highly expensive tea with condiments, it was clear that Mr Black was displaying his own form or power at the meeting.
Sugar was a highly expensive import that few individuals in the country claim to have.
Sorie reluctantly turned her eyes back to her mentor.
Vanasher hid her disdain well beneath that bored exterior, but anyone who had to spend an large amount of time in her presence understood that the Dean did not like being shown up.
“Let us run through the events of last night so that we may clear up any misunderstandings.” Mr Black began.
“Last night. Your client and my client met each other for the first time at the Sodding Man. They then played a game. Half way through said game your client became intoxicated. Eye witnesses then report that your client proceeded to dance on her chair, make lewd comments another staff member’s hat, and publicly urinated outside of the establishment. After the game she and my client retired to Mr Turbuskey apartment where the two engaged in sex. Is this accurate?”
Sorie wanted to run outside, locate that witch Bancroft, and then murder the bitch.
Vanasher didn’t turn her head at Sorie, instead her gaze was on Mr Black. “That is mostly true. Unfortunately, Mr Black this situation is far from a simple drunk one night stand. I believe that Jessy drugged my poor student. He then took advantage of her and so is responsible for damages.”
The silence in the room could have smothered all three occupants.
Sorie stared down at the ground but inside she was screaming tormenting herself. This was getting out of hand fast.
“And you have physical evidence of this fact?” Mr Black asked.
“Of course.” Vanasher said.
“Despite the fact that I previously interviewed five witnesses who said your client was the one who initiated my client. And I have two eye witnesses that will testify that it was in fact Bancroft Enya who sabotaged your client’s drink with an unknown substance?”
Sorie wanted to ask what the hell her mentor was doing but kept her silence.
Vanasher pointed an accusatory finger at Mr Black and raised her voice so that others outside could hear. “Jessy Turbuskey, conspired with Bancroft Enya to wound and discredit my organisation. Jessy traumatised my client and I demand recompense.”
“You do understand that your client had sex with a minor, meaning that she could be charged with statutory rape?” Mr Quiz said flatly.
Rape? I could be charged with rape? Hot tears ran down Sorie’s cheeks. This was getting out of control. This was just meant to be some drunken mistake.
Vanasher let out a genuine laugh as if she had just heard the fumiest thing in the world. “A man accusing a drugged elven maiden of rape? You are a long way from home. No, I suspect that if Jessy were to find himself in front of the local magistrate Techscope will be the one to lose.”
Mr Black’s beautiful face was directed at Sorie and she half-wanted to prostrate herself and beg for his mercy. He then turned his gaze back to Vanasher.
“Just to humour you, what does your client suppose would be fair recompense for damages done to her and your organisation?” Mr Black said.