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[personal profile] tayastorm
Pt 1

I couldn't leave it alone, so here's the next part. (I promise I won't end every snip with swearing. Probably.)

“It's an easy enough skill to pick up,” he said. “For children, anyway.”

Yes, Bastard, I remember that snipe about me being a kid. You'll see.

The man coughed. “Standard tactics,” he said apologetically.

He reached up to the straps on the blindfold. His fingers brushed the ears exposed by the short cropped hair, and Baereth struggled to hide the involuntary shiver of pleasure and desire. It was one of many things his kind liked to keep secret, and the only one he shared the sentiment for.

The pressure on the blindfold increased for a second, then vanished as the stiff leather fell away. Baereth sat blinking in the blackness, letting his eyes skitter back and forth as they adjusted to the lack of light. He began to pick out depths in the shadows and then the edges that marked out what little was in the room. Rough brick walls, a low wooden table with shackles, tiles etched deep lines that pulled away the fluids spilled, and a pale man with shaggy hair and gentle features staring blindly at him with a wide mouth that looked just as ready to smile as to snarl.

“Okay?” Bastard asked.

“How slowly can you adjust the light in here?”

He snorted. “I can honestly say I've never had cause to find out,” he said. “If I unchain your hands, can I trust you not to make trouble?”

Trust me? Baereth thought with silent laughter. Certainly, and a hybrid will bring the sun to her final resting place, and trees will dance in the clouds.

“Give me a good reason,” Baereth said. “And I'll think about it.”

Bastard sat back carefully, feeling around him and nudging a length of chain a short distance away. It was amusing, like watching a child fumbling around on its first night in the heart caves, but mostly it was pathetic. These people were like worms wriggling uselessly on the ground and somehow his own kind got pushed further and further into the wilds.

“As I said-.”

“Yes, yes,” Baereth snapped. “Can't keep me, kill me, or send me away. What have you and our glorious king decided for me?”

“A royal appointment.”

Baereth choked, triggering a coughing fit he'd really wanted to avoid. That's worse than a fucking job, that's- that's-. It was insanity, a joke, or some bizarre new torture. He didn't understand these people and he really didn't want to.

“Are you okay?” the bastard asked, sitting forward and reaching forward. Completely missing him of course.

“Fine,” Baereth said roughly, getting himself under control. “What sort of 'appointment' did you have in mind?”

“Secretary,” Bastard said.

Baereth burst out laughing, now absolutely certain the man had a screw loose, and probably more than one.

“I'm serious,” the man said, “but I don't mean it as you think.”

Stifling the laughter with an effort, Baereth said, “Oh really? And how could you possibly mean it that you think I'd be willing to go along with it? Please, I'd be delighted to know.”

He was also breathless from pain more than laughter, but fucked if he was going to let on.

“It's one of those archaic roles we pretend never existed in the first place,” Bastard said. “Once it meant 'keeper of secrets', and became someone who managed their lord or lady's affairs discreetly. But the alternative is better known by another name.”

The pause was obvious dramatics, and Baereth snarled. “Get on with it.”

Bastard laughed. “Sorry,” he said. “Bad habit. We're offering you the decidedly unofficial position of royal spymaster.”

Well fuck.

Pt 3 / Pt 4 / Pt 5 / Pt 6 / Pt 7 / Pt 8 / Pt 9


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April 2012

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