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Thread: Family Matters

  1. #1

    Default Family Matters

    Poeros walked into the large building with a look that a warrior bore before an impending battle. The doors opened for her and the servants inside bowed their heads in respect. Some scurried her out of her way, mistaking her for another and not realizing it till she passed. She walked down the hall where an aged female servant stood with her arms tucked neatly in her large sleeves.

    "The mistress has been waiting for you, Lady Layla."

    Poeros made a face at the name but nodded. The older woman lead her farther inside the building, the smells of lotus filling the halls in a smoking haze that made Poeros' head dizzy. She passed the room where the source was coming from, a quick look showing a younger man with three woman lounging around him like cats napping in the sun, all of them in stages of undress.

    "I see my brother keeps to his normal activities." Poeros muttered after they passed the room.

    "The young Master does indulge himself when it suits him."

    "Which is more often than not. Does mother even take him to court?"

    "She does, although he is not permitted to speak without her nearby now."

    "Say something embarrassing, did he?"

    The older woman slowed in her walking to give Poeros a small smile. "He may have thought a noble was a serving maid and spoke to them as such."

    Poeros shook her head, her head running different situations of that theme through her head. All of them ending in some stages of embarrassment. At least the noble houses weren't going at open war right now. The woman opened a door leading out to a court yard with the sun lighting the ground . The different arrangements of tropical plants, some bearing fruit, decorated the corners of the room. Near the center lounged a woman with her back to Poeros over an arrangement of soft pillows with a servant lightly fanning her. In the room were other servants, all tucked against the wall as if to trying to blend into the very stone itself. Poeros' eyes were able to pick out the role for each of them, one to be beaten when its owner was angry. Another to please its mistress should the desire be there. One with food, another with an extra pitcher of chilled wine stood off to one side of the woman lounging in the center of the room. With meek, downcast eyes, the servant laid out a goblet of wine and an arrangement of fruit and cheese, which was left untouched, the food meant for Poeros. Poeros noticed that they were a simple assortment and not the highly colorful, overly expensive collection she had seen in the house on previous visits.
    "You do enjoy taking your time to come and see me." The woman said, not bothering to turn to look at Poeros. The older slave and bowed as she closed the doors still facing the inside of the room as she left, leaving Poeros with the impression of leaving a small rabbit locked in with a lion.

    "Traveling by boat does take time." Poeros said calmly, moving to the center of the room to claim a pillow by the food and wine.

    "Petty details, Layla." The woman said, her voice soft and like velvet to the ears. She turned and looked at Poeros. To anyone else in the room, they would think that the other woman was Poeros's twin, but her mother was graced with the gift of not having aged features. . . or Poeros suspected actually dabbled her fingers in magic to keep her appearance youthful. The only thing setting them apart was that her mother's hair was long enough to touch the back of her thighs and Poeros's own scars that decoded her back and arms like a battle field. She looked over Poeros like one did with a mangy dog covered in mud. Poeros made a face at the name and her mother quirked an eyebrow in the same way Poeros herself did countless times. "Still go by that disgusting slave name?"

    "It's my name." Poeros said, her eyes narrowing. "Besides, father disowned me so what I call myself really shouldn't matter."

    "Well, if you hadn't decided to marry that thing, you would still be in good favor with your father. You should have married that nice man from before... Telar? Tandlar?"

    "If you can't even remember Tankar's name, you can't say I should have married him. Besides, it's hard to marry a man that goes missing for almost a year."

    "Petty details." Her mother said again, making Poeros rolling her eyes. She waved Poeros closer. "Come here. I want to have a better look at you."

    Shifting closer, Poeros moved till she was sitting within arm's reach of the other woman. Her mother rose to a sitting position and looked Poeros over. Her eyes looked on with dissatisfaction as she eyed the muscle around her daughter's shoulders and legs. Taking Poeros's hands, she clicked her tongue at the short and chipped nails, turning her hands over to rub her thumbs over the calluses formed on the palm of her hand and finger tips.

    "I see that thing has taught you bad habits."

    "That is my husband you are speaking about." Poeros said, unable to keep the growl out of her voice. Her mother lightly tapped her face in a mock slap, making Poeros blink and pull back like a startled horse.

    "Don't speak that way to me." The woman chided, poking Poeros' nose with a finger. "You shouldn't have to be physical when you are able to use those silly parlor tricks of yours."
    Poeros stayed silent, her eyes looking back to the plate of food, but not hungry for any of it. Her mother frowned and grabbed Poeros' head with both hands to make her look back at her, the woman's long nails pressing uncomfortably into her cheeks. Lady Saccmis' eyes narrowed at Poeros, her grip tightening on her.

    "What did you do to yourself?"

    "I didn't do anything."

    "Don't play coy with me." She finger walked the tips of her fingers to her daughter's chin. "You might be able to fool those simpletons out there, but not me."

    " I am honest, I didn't do anything." Poeros felt her head tingle as she grew light headed, her mother looking at her but not really looking at her, but rather something far off. Realizing that her mother was probing her with magic, she shook her head and pulled away from her mother's touch.

    "At least that disgusting taint in you is gone. It was foolish of yourself to indulge yourself in that."

    "I am sure when you were younger you did foolish things too." Poeros retorted, rubbing her head to make the light headed feeling go away.

    Her mother let out an in-lady like "hmp" and leaned back onto her pillows, resting her head on a hand. She eyed Poeros' belly, her eyes narrowing. "There is something very annoying in you, but at least it is not harmful. How old is this?" She pointed a finger and touched her daughter's lower belly.

    "A few weeks."

    "Annoying. How many of those have you had?"


    "Disgusting half-breeds."

    "They are your half-breed grandchildren." Poeros fought to keep her temper in check, her mother succeeding in slowing bringing it to a boiling point. "What is it that you want? I highly doubt that you brought me here to insult my family and ask me questions that you already have the answers to."

    "He really has taught you some bad etiquette to make you so direct. You had so much promise before you met him."

    "What do you want?" Poeros asked again, jaw clenching together now.

    Her mother let out a mock dramatic sigh and rolled on to her back. " It is such a shame that you have lost all your charms." She lifted a hand to inspect her nails. "I want you to steal something for me."

    "You have slaves for that."

    "Slaves are clumsy things." Her mother turned her head to eye Poeros. "Besides, it's a family matter. I want one of my own to do it."

    "Then send Hasani." Poeros retorted, her eyes narrowing.

    "Your brother couldn't find himself out of that lotus filled room let alone find a way into a place without being seen, and you know he can't fight. It has to be you."

    Poeros could not deny the fact that she had spent some of her years as a thief in the street. He had not been something her father was fond of, but having a personal thief and assassin to call on was useful, especially in noble society. Before her disownment, she had been sent on such tasks before by her father and mother. Things were different now."And if I say no?"

    Her mother looked her coolly, turning on her side and drummed her fingernails on the tile floor. "Do you think those care takers you have watching your children would be able to kill one of my pets?"

    Poeros felt herself grow cold, the color leaving her face. Her hands clenched into tight fists, the whites of her knuckles standing out in sharp contrast to her tanned skin.

    "I'll take that as a no." Her mother reached over for her wine goblet and took a sip. "I also have a few things to give you that will help. One of the servants will give them to you on the way out."
    "Very thoughtful of you." Poeros managed to say dryly. "What is that I am fetching for you then?"

    "Ah... that is much better." Her mother cooed at Poeros. "It's an artifact that someone uncovered. A stupid noble keeps it in his home on a display, but he doesn't have any idea what it is or will do. I want you to get it and bring it to me." She waved one of her hands to the servants in the room. "They have the details to give you. Now go." She shooed Poeros, rolling back on her back and stretched out. Poeros took the sign that she was dismissed and stood to walk away.

    "Layla." Her mother called to her as she reached the door where the servants was waiting for her. Poeros snarled to herself and turned her head enough to look over her shoulder at the woman. "Have Latari sent to me. I wish to have words with her. Do not worry though, I will send her back when I am finished with her." Poeros grounded her teeth and walked out of the room not saying anything. Latari, her own woman that watch her children in her absent, was not someone she wanted her mother to get her claws on. There was little she could do though, and that fact frustrated her more than anything. She walked half way back to the entrance with the aged servant, slowing to a stop. She stood with her fists tight one of them snapping out to hit one of the hall way walls with a thumping sound. Poeros was use to having pawns. Being a pawn was not something she enjoyed at all. Pulling her fist back, she looked at the knuckles, the skin torn in some places with a bit of blood oozing from the wounds.

    "Young mistress shouldn't hurt herself so." The older woman said, taking Poeros' hands in her own and holding it sandwiched between her own cool grasp. A shimmer of green light flashed between her hands onto Poeros', pulling away to show a wound already several days into healing.
    "I am not your mistress." Poeros said flatly.

    The older woman gave Poeros a look. "Your brother may be the one that is most spoiled, but when it comes to the succession of this house, we all know it will fall to you. Even if you did marry a Northerner." The servant held out a rolled scroll and a bundle to her. "These are the things you need. Your mother will expect you to finish this soon."

    Snorting, Poeros took the items and stomped the rest of the way out of the building.

  2. #2


    Once she had cooled her head, Poeros took the time to think of the encounter. Sadly, while the request of her mother sounded simple in theory, she knew that there were other reasons for the thievery... and more than likely another for the reason of selecting her daughter to do it.

    'If she really wanted something, she would go and take it. She is powerful enough to do so on her own, so why send me? It's not like the magic drains her. One of her pets could go.' She mused, looking down from her rooftop at the travelers and merchants calling out to get their attention.

    The name of the noble family, Sawalha, wasn't familiar to her either. Which means they did not show their face at court or deal in politics. This left Poeros slightly curious since those of Noble houses dabbled in either or if not both for house survival. She herself had always worked with politics, fighting for her place among the ranks of men and those that would bring change to the order of things. The spying and pretending to like your enemy in a lavishing room and small fitted shoes had never appealed to her. Only doing it out of necessary to speak to someone if there was no other way.

    'So whatever they do, it doesn't require them to be concerned about appearances. Affiliates to a temple, perhaps?'

    The other question is that those of noble status had the means to keep that status. Which meant a fixed income of some sort. Again, though, Poeros had never seen the name of the noble house for trade, not even when she worked held the title as a Steward for a trading city. Not cloth, meat, grain, gems or even tomes. It left Poeros to deduct that it must have been something of a magical sort that this family did. Sighing, she crossed hers legs together and pressed her lips together. There would be no helping it. She had to find out more. Walking into a situation like that where she knew nothing would only serve to leave her at a disadvantage. She would have to find the house and simply watch it for a few days. Part of her just wanted to break into the noble house, take the artifact and finished this chore.

    'Too many unknowns. She wants something else.' Poeros mused to herself. 'There is something else that noble house has that she wants seen to.'

    It's a family matter, I need one of my own to do it.

    Poeros tapped the top of her forehead for a few moments, her eyes half closed. Saccmis didn't care about family. She didn't really use the word the same way that Poeros did. It was a clue. Shaking her head, she got up and dusted her clothes off. Looking down, she stepped off the edge of the room and fell to the ground below, starting a merchant as she landed neatly on her feet. Nodding to the blinking man, she nodded and made her way down the street. Merchants called out to her, but she only stopped at a few, picking up dried fruit and jerky. Stopping by at her room, she picked up her water skins and left a note for Rhunne, telling him she would be away for a few weeks.

    She eyed her clothes, debating the best way to walk around the noble distract. Biting the bottom of her lip, she put in her normal night garb and a few of her nicer outfits. She looked over the things that her mother had given her for this errand. Some of the things she easily recognized. Others she would have to look are in more details when she didn't have to worry about servants peaking through keyholes.

    She jotted down another letter and made her way downstairs, grabbing a servant and giving it to her. "Do you know a merchant named Massri?" She asked. The servant nodded. "Take this to him and let him know that I will be arriving shortly."


    Poeros placed a hand over her mouth as the boat moved along the river. She groaned and leaned over the boats edge, willing herself not be sick. The river boat was not very large, only holding three people and another one to guide the boat as it lazily made its way down river. Traveling by land had always been her prefer choice, but to get to the noble district, the only way to really go up there was by boat if she wished to pretend to be visiting as a political diplomat as she normally did.

    A loud voice laughed as a large man sat next to her. His belly was round and a beard long and white that was well down the center of his chest. "I see you are still prone to sea sickness, even on the most gentlest of currents!" He smacked her on the back soundly, making Poeros' eyes go wide before she emptied her stomach into the water. "There! Should be much better now!"

    Poeros groaned and shook her head. She gave the cheerful man a dirty look to which he only grinned wider. His white teeth stood out sharply against his tanned skin and the wig that adorned his head seem to make his fat cheeks even fatter. His weight was well over what any other merchant would be by design, signifying both his love of food and the amount of money that he made able to afford to eat so much. Despite that, when he walked, there was a pounce to his step and a quickness in his movements. Poeros half expected the man to have more muscle then what appeared and that the fat was really just collected around his belly like so many other men late in life.

    "So." He leaned back against the rim of the boat, inter locking his fingers over his stomach. "What is it that requires your attention? You haven't bothered to set foot out there," He jerked his head to main land they were sailing along. "Since that little trade city you worked for disappeared. Shame of failure kept you at bay?"

    "Hardly." Poeros crocked. "I have just been busy."

    "That still doesn't answer my question."

    "You are being nosy, Massri."

    "I always am when it comes to you sleeking around." His hand smoothed over his thick mustache. "Plotting figure heads either mean good change or the lower class dying. Less business for me."

    "Neither are my goal. Just doing a little sightseeing."

    Poeros had met Gilbert during her days when she spent more time working with politics. He was a merchant that had taken to planting his merchants tent near the building where all the heads of different groups. He was a noisy man that liked to have his fingers in different jars. His trade also gave him ample information, selling the best trained slaves to nobles that would visit him while they did errands for their masters. He had always seemed to be far too educated for a slave dealer to her and her hunch was right.

    "I don't suppose you know the affairs of the Sawalha House?"

    "Ah, now the truth comes out." He chuckled and waved over a servant that poured and handed him a goblet of wine. "The Sawalhas are privet. They never attended events, just send representatives in their stead. From what I understand, may noble families are upset at their continued ignorance of protocol. They don't play the game, as it were. They don't even buy slaves from dealers in the city. Makes it very hard for a hard working man such as myself to survive."

    "But they are still able to survive just fine."

    He nodded. "Although I think the how of it might interesting... if anyone were able to find out. You'll tell me when you do, yes?" He grinned at her.

    "I might."

    "There is something else though." He looked at her. "A woman makes her way in and out of there more often these days. The slaves and guards outside the house bow to her when she enters. "

    "The Lady of the house?"

    Massri shook his head. "No. Something else. Although... " He paused a moment. "She use to come in and out of your mother's house a great deal for that time while you were gone."

    It's a family matter, I need one of my own to go.

    It clicked in the back of Poeros' head. Family. It didn't mean blood kin. To her mother it meant those of the same magic. An apprentice that left? Or was doing something that was not approved of? A number of other possibilities came through her head, but they all ended the same way. This wasn't a thievery. It was an assassination. Of course her mother couldn't go and handle it. Not if the apprentice had placed up wards to protect herself. To keep her mother at bay. But those wards wouldn't work on Poeros.

    'She wanted to see if I could figure it out. She wanted to see if I could do it.' Poeros fumed, her jaw clenching. 'Wanted to make sure I was still had the nerve to do it. I will have words with her when I go back.'

    Her features remained neutral during her mind revelations, but that didn't stop Massri from watching her. He reached a finger up and tapped her forehead. "You have something."

    "It's nothing that you can use." Poeros muttered.

    Massri pouted at her, his large lip wobbling mockingly. "You always have the most interesting information but never share it with me. How do you expect me to get by on such crumbs?"

    "You need to lose a bit of weight anyway." Poeros chucked, patting his large belly. She sighed with relief as the boat pulled into a dock. She stood and made her way off the boat, the solid land taking away her nausea somewhat. She turned and gave the man a small bow. "Thank you for being kind enough to bring me here. I know it takes much time out of your day." She pulled out a scroll and tossed it to him. He caught it with another one of his wide grins.

    "Who is this then?" He tapped the scroll.

    "A whore that believes herself to be something worthwhile and high breeding. She does trade in mundane things. Competition with you, I believe. It's all her trade routes, who she does business with and such. You should be able to ruin her just fine with all that."

    "Ah, Lady Poeros, you are too kind." He grinned, this time taking on a sinister air.

    "Uh-hun. When you become the biggest merchant in the city, I will be expect a discount for my goods." Poeros holster her back over her shoulder and nodded to him before turning and making her way deeper into the city, Massri's laughter following her.

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