Thursday, March 9, 2023

Ruin and Tavros: The Order Of Secrets And Other Matters

"We're going to have to find them," Ruin said. "I know you want to pull the kingdom back together, and I don't disagree, but... the Order of Secrets loosed all this bloodshed, murdered your cousin, and left the kingdom in chaos. We can't assume that whatever they do next won't make everything worse just because they've gone into hiding and we don't know what they're planning."

"I know," said Tavros, pouring a glass of wine and handing it to Ruin. "But the best information we have is from the four of you: they've been seen up in Duendewood. We have to establish a presence there before we can search for them."

Ruin took the glass and nodded. "If we can gather the druids and the remains of the army..."

Tavros poured himself a glass of wine, glanced at it, and then set it aside and downed the rest of the bottle. "I think you should try. That might give us enough of a foothold that we can make a real search. If Amun has mercy on us -- or Corellon, for that matter -- they might already know where the Order of Secrets is hidden."

"Any word from that priest who showed up during the storm?" Ruin asked. "Ezra, I think?"

"Cardon," Tavros filled in. "Ezra Cardon. No, he just showed up, griped at us, and disappeared again. He didn't even leave us any way to get word to him. I suspect he'll show up again the next time he wants something from us, and be just as high-handed and peremptory as before."

Ruin drained his wine glass. "We need more allies," he said. "And fewer assholes."

Tavros shook his head. "This is why you should stay out of politics," he observed, and handed the second wineglass over. "Why I should, too, because I agree completely."

Ruin paused, sipped his wine, and then said. "Very well, O my friend. There is one other matter I want to bring up."

"Oh?" asked Tavros. 


Tavros' jaw clenched. "Have you been talking to my mother?"

"As it happens, yes -- but not about that. No, my own mother had mentioned the need for Mythrandril to find a queen and father some heirs. And, well..." He looked the half-dragon over, then shrugged. "None of us are immortal, even now."

"True," said Tavros. "I don't know. If I must be king, I would prefer to marry a queen I loved... but I lack your experience in romance, I fear. And my being a half-dragon complicates things, as do the possible politics of any royal marriage." He shuddered. "I told you about that one noble daughter..."

Ruin laughed softly. "You did. And, as a personal favor, I will not try to give you advice on your love life. But you should think about finding someone, even as part of a political alliance, whom you can at least befriend."

Tavros paused with his hand on the neck of another bottle of wine. After a long moment, he said: "I will think on that."

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