Black Sigil was pretty awesome for me, I thoroughly enjoyed it enough to play it through again. And afterwards I got to thinking what it would be like for Nephi and Aurora after the story and when they had returned to Nephi's Dragon lands. This started off as a simple little 400 word fun idea but quickly grew out of hand. I have no idea exactly where this is heading, but I'd like to follow the trail and see where it leads in my free time. Read, enjoy, review!
Disclaimer: I had no hand in making the original and take no credit for the story or wonderful music. That honor belongs to Studio Archcraft. I'm just enjoying the world they made.
"And let me once again say what an honor it is to have the Magna Dragon back,"
Nephi stifled a bored yawn while he tuned the other Dragon noble out. It was the same speech he had been hearing all evening in various forms and lengths and by now it was getting a little boring.
"After all, with you gone so long we had started to wonder if it was time to move on."
Including the thinly veiled threats. He was getting them at least one every other noble and he'd quickly made a game of amusing himself by comparing them all to see who had come up with the best threat yet.
"Yes, yes, I'm sure you would have thought the throne chair fit you nicely if you lived long enough," Nephi replied, waving a hand in dismissal as if the noble's threat wasn't even worth his bother. Which it really wasn't, this one was one of the poorer threats. "Do enjoy the wine and treats for the evening... you didn't check that for poison did you?"
He left the nobleman choking on his drink, moving around the various groups of chattering (or just staring) Dragons. Plucking a glass of wine from a passing Bulman servant, he paused off to the side and let his eyes roam around the room as he took a tentative sip.
Just in case there really was poison.
But there wasn't and he highly doubted that anyone would be making moves tonight. No, they would wait and observe, trying to find where to attack. Which left him time to re-familiarize himself with the various nobles, find out who replaced who and where they stood.
"You know you can mingle if you want," he spoke over his shoulder as the guard that had been assigned to follow him finally caught up. "I can take care of myself."
"It is my duty," the guard replied gruffly and Nephi couldn't tell at the moment if he was disgruntled over having to guard the long gone king who now was totally different or just tired of trying to keep up with him. Nephi shrugged as he finished glancing around the room. There were several new groups that he mentally marked for him to check on later. It was easy to see the tension between those who were open enough to the idea of Bulmen's being free, and those who were digging in their heels against it.
He swirled his drink in his hand before finishing it off. He had better get back to mingling to make sure everyone knew he was there, watching them and definitely not backing down from the throne. Later he would have chances to do more in depth observations.
As he started to step back out into the center of the grand hall he felt the hairs at the back of his neck lift up and glanced around before spotting the group of five Dragons making a direct line for him, the lead being a noblewoman who, if one were to go by her lavish dress that trailed five feet behind her, was quite wealthy and well off.
Nephi for the life of him couldn't figure out who she was. He took a half step back so he was near to the guard and whispered over his shoulder. "Pray tell me, who is this noblewoman that is approaching?"
The guard looked at him in mild surprise. "That is the daughter of a high merchant Dragon. Her family runs several stores throughout our lands. She's been frequenting the palace for the last decade or so. Her name is Tresendra."
"Ah." Nephi nodded to himself. A high merchant fit the profile perfectly. "And do you know who invited her into the palace in the first place?"
News and rumors, especially those involving the nobles, always managed to filter through the ranks and Nephi knew that even if the guard hadn't known about it before, he would of heard it from someone else. When the guard didn't answer right away Nephi knew the answer immediately. He let out a small sigh, wondering what other messes created by their choices he would be uncovering. "You don't have to answer that one."
The guard didn't have time to answer as the merchant's daughter came within social range of communication. She let out a sly smile, dropping a shoulder as she swished closer while her attendents dutifully stayed back.
"High Manga Dragon Nephi," she greeted sultry, trying to slide a hand through his arm. "You look even more handsome then all the pictures and statues that I've seen."
He slide sideways without appearing to be in any hurry. "More handsome then Rhys?"
It was abrupt, even by Dragon standards but she recovered quickly from her momentary surprise. He was after all the King, he could get away with a lot of things if he wanted to. She'd probably been hoping he hadn't known about that part.
"But of course," she agreed smoothly, trying to slide closer. "How could I ever settle for second best, handsome Nephi?"
He sidestepped again, feeling the handle of one of his daggers drop into his left palm, hidden beneath the volume sleeve of his cloak. He knew if he wanted to, he wouldn't need to explain executing her right where she stood. In fact, there was many ways to place the dagger so she wouldn't bleed to death until he was well away from her and then the blame could be placed on any of her suitors that she had spurned.
With an effort he pushed the images and thoughts away. He refused to go back into that dark pit that he'd managed to crawl out of. Ever.
Thankfully, he'd learned other ways of dealing with such people.
"You'll find that I am very different," He told her sharply. "If I ever find out that you've tricked Rhys, or stole from the royal treasury I will see you punished."
"Oh but Nephi-" She started to protest smoothly but he continued to talk over her in a voice loud enough for those nearby to hear. Dragon pride was quite a work of art.
"You dare take such a informal tone with your Dragon King? Don't be so presumptuous, someone like you would never get close enough to even make an attempt to kill me. You will address me with all the respect due to the rightful Magna Dragon or else I will have you thrown out of the palace this very night. Which stores does your father run in my Air Megaera city?"
She wasn't foolish enough to not understand the implied threat of the last line. To be the cause of her father's ruin would certainly remove all the luxuries she'd been enjoying if not get her permanently cut off from the family for angering the Dragon King.
"That wasn't my intention at all," she squeaked, her voice a higher pitch as she finally stopping her attempts at getting close, her hands fluttering nervously. "I do not presume to do anything but give you my highest respects, my lord. After all when Rhys – that is, Regent Rhys was guarding the throne – for your return of course-"
"And then there is this thing when-"
"-told him that I was willing to-"
"Tresendra!" He snapped finally, deciding that it had gone far enough. When she startled and snapped her mouth closed he continued in a milder tone.
"Your dress train is on fire."