Four Mages Rise of the Rune Lords

Death and Taxes

“Theo, back so soon, and once again, alone?” a young-looking she-elf approached the brute.
Upon hearing the voice, Theo instinctively slipped into a role he fulfilled less than a year ago, “Hello, Mistress. I hope I’m not troubling you tonight.”
“Trouble is but the nature of Chaos. What brings you back, boy? Are you seeking a bed to leave undisturbed?”
“My apologies for that, Mistress. I came to check on that item I left here in your protection.”
“Ah yes, your …Memory? I noted then you didn’t tell me why you kept such an exquisite memento. Regardless, my child, I told you when you left it in my care, it would be safe. Do you question my abilities?” Her eyes flashed gold for a moment, clearly preparing to reflect the wrath of such insinuation.
“No Mistress, I’m just in need of comfort from that Memory. Another friend has died, this time a murder,” Theo shared, following one step behind his former Mistress as protocol expected. She sat in a large pillowed lounge while Theo immediately knelt beside the bed. Mistress Ayamyra smiled at his obedience.
“You’ve grown stronger since you and dear Andri left. Why hasn’t he come to visit me? Who are your friends who have died?” Ayamyra suggested Theo inform to her what she desired to know. Another courtesan arrived and provided a glass of an aromatic red wine for Mistress.
“Mistress, I’m sorry. Andri…”
She had seen that expression enough times to recognize the grief and loss of a loved one, “When?”
“Approaching a month, Mistress.”
“And I’m only now hearing of it?” Her offense bathing her words.
“I had told no one, Mistress. My regrets have weighed on me heavily,” Theo confessed.
“You disappoint me. Continue. Who else?”
“He was a new friend, called himself Selith.”
“And when?” She asked again, controlling the confession more directly now.
“The other night. When the Temple to Sarenrae in the Underbridge was desecrated,” Theo looked down at his knees, expecting additional humiliation would be added for what he would say next, “We were there to protect a friend; there at the friend’s insistence to help the sick. The friend survived, but has his own guilt driving him on a new path.”
There was an unexpected silence. Soft white-noise of the city, the torchlight, and a few soft conversations in distant corners were drowned out from the weight of Ayamyra’s silence.
“They’re fortunate you aren’t one of mine anymore. You truly disappoint me, Theoric. You should take your trinket and leave this place,” a single hand signal sent a few courtesans bustling about the Dome. Quickly, Theo was escorted to the entrance, and Ayamyra presented a twine-bound, linen-wrapped deck of cards. “Before I give you this, did you at least avenge your friend’s death?”
Theo grinned, “Justice Ironbriar and his gang skinsaw men are now twice-dead.”
Ayamyra’s eyes gave away her shock. Impressed, she returned the deck to him, “Don’t return here, Theoric.”

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