Jan. 17th, 2012

tayastorm: (Coffee)
Their newest prisoner was not being very cooperative, and unsurprisingly it was Setlao who got tasked with sorting things out.

The guard at the door snapped a salute at Setlao's approach and flinched at a loud crashing. Setlao ducked out of the way just in time as the door slammed open and a distressed healer bolted to safety, clutching her basket. She stopped and glared fiercely at him.

"I won't deal with that man," she snapped. "Nor will I ask any of the other healers to do so. He'll not die of the poisons, the rest we wash our hands of."

He bit back a smile.

"Let me speak with him," he said. "If he needs healing I will persuade him to cooperate."

That got a leer.

"Is that what they call it?" she asked. "Well then, I'll let you get on with it."

Setlao let the comment go with a faint smile. He knew all of the rumours and cared about none of them. They often suited his purpose in the end.

"Good day to you, lady healer," he said, bowing slightly.

She dropped a deep curtsy and left with a smirk. Setlao turned and nodded to the guard, who opened the door for him with barely concealed relief.

Inside the enemy general stood in the corner furthest from door and window, the bed pushed roughly aside to give him room. The contents of at least one healing concoction had been dumped on the bed, and two more on the floor and wall across the room.

The Jatasi general looked up and levelled a glare at him that rivalled any of the healers'. He was busy lacing up a thick leather vest that had obvious recent repairs, a discarded shirt on the bed with blood stains and at least one long tear. It was enough to be concerning, but it didn't seem to bother the irritated soldier.

"You tell those harpies they aren't coming near me with that devil's muck," he said. "I won't aim for the walls next time."

Setlao bowed quickly.

"Of course, general," he said in careful Jatasi. "I shall let them know. Are you requiring assistance with wounds?"

"Why? Is that what you do when you aren't playing angel of mercy on the battle field?"

Setlao bowed again just to hide his shock. His own people didn't recognise him, and here was a Jatasi mentioning it as casually as saying the sky was big. How many of their prisoners had taken back to their king the news that the Shadow spent his spare time dressed like a servant? Worse still, how many might have realised his relationship to his own queen and the damage that could be done if he was taken in battle?

Settling an amused look on his face, he straightened.

"I'm afraid I'm less suited to warfare than most," he said.

The general was across the bed and slamming Setlao against the wall before he knew what was going on.

“I yielded to you,” he snarled. “Do not prove my decision wrong by lying to me. You are more a warrior than any of us.”

Realising this was potentially going to end with him being outed in front of the guard, Setlao held up his hands, gesturing for the guard to back off.

"Will you permit me to speak my piece?" he asked the general.

For a long moment the Jatasi just glared at him, emotions warring behind his dark eyes. Then he nodded sharply and pushed away, leaving Setlao trying not to gasp. The man didn't seem to realise just how much pressure he'd been putting on Setlao's chest either, which was both impressive and worrying. It was also the sort of thing he was supposed to tell the council about, but he wouldn't, not yet.

As the general retreated to the corner, Setlao waved the guard out, closing the door behind him. It would get commented on but he could come up with an acceptable excuse later.

"They don't know," he said, dropping into the fluent Jatasi he preferred. With most of the enemies they took prisoner it was better to pretend to be able to manage with the language and not much more.

The Jatasi frowned at him. "Explain," he said shortly.

"There are many who would not accept that someone like me could be such a warrior," Setlao said, treading the line between truth and honesty. "Few know the truth, and even of those few they cannot always see it."

"Idiots," the man muttered, probably not meaning Setlao to hear it. Then louder, "Why do you pretend to not be a warrior at all?"

Setlao lifted his hands in a shrug. "It is simpler," he said. "And regardless, I am more than just a warrior."

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Tundra

April 2012

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