Friday, January 7, 2022

Durest: Lineage

"Prisoner! The Solari-Hunter would speak with you! Refuse at your peril!"

The guard's voice rolled through the dungeon, echoing off the stone, and Durest swallowed a rebuke as the girl in the cell stood and approached the metal bars. He didn't manage to keep the look of annoyance off his face, though, and the girl grinned as their eyes met. 

"Hi, Dad," said Vandraka. "Funny meeting you here." 

There was a momentary pause, and Durest resisted the urge to look at the guard's expression... barely. He reached up and rubbed at his forehead, trying to relieve the headache he felt gathering there. "Vandra," he said, and then trailed off because he literally couldn't think of anything to say except: "Did ye seriously just walk up to the lines and present yerself as an up-and-coming necromancer and possible spy for the King or the High Provost?" 

"I mean... yes? It got you here, didn't it?" Her face was older than he remembered, coming into real adulthood, but there was still a childish gleam of mischief somewhere in the back of her eyes. 

"Sure'n me brothers are going to murder me in me sleep," he muttered, but he didn't break eye contact. "Aye, an' it did at that. Am I supposed tae speak fer ye, bid the jailors set ye loose?" 

"No need," said Vandra, dropping something to the floor and crushing it beneath her heel. The cell which had been enchanted to hold mages suddenly lost its magic, and she opened the door with a word and casual gesture and then stepped out. 

Knowing what was coming next, Durest flung an arm out and caught the hobgoblin guard as he moved to attack. "Hold off, will ye?" he said, firmly. "This's me daughter, and perhaps a tad melodramatic. She'll no be tryin' tae murder us all just yet." 

The guard settled back, seeming reassured to have someone else in command. 

Durest eyed his oldest daughter. "Up-and-coming necromancer?" he asked. 

She nodded. "I mean... arcane, not divine. I hope you aren't disappointed with that." 

Durest smiled. "My sweet little girl, already raisin' the dead and defeating hostile magics. And at such a young age." 

Vandraka shrugged. "I thought it through well before I ever got here. If you hadn't come, I had a way out." 

"That's yer mother's blood in ye," admitted Durest. "I've never thought things through in my life." 

"Yeah, well..." Vandra grinned. "Fair warning: Mother says if either you or I become undead, it'll be divorce and repudiation. And Uncle Morthros says he'll either bring you back in chains or behead you. Possibly both."

"My dear, sweet child," said Durest, "ye've come to the wrong place if you don't expect to be--"

Vandraka grinned, looking pleased with herself. "I thought I'd make an excellent vampire, especially now while I'm still young and pretty. I just wanted you to know so you could prepare." 

Durest paused for a long moment, then said: "Ye worry me sometimes, child." Then he gestured for the guard to remove her bonds -- probably unnecessary, but his daughter would remember the gesture and know how he meant it. "Come," he said. "We've people tae see an' int'rduction tae make."

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