The conversation replayed in his mind. The Lord Protector, as usual, cared only for results. Not that he had expected different. The man only cared for what would get him what he wanted. He fed the Lord Protector a piece of information, the locating of Lady Isse’s double but held back the details about his conversation with Kalimé. For now, it would remain in his pocket for future use. Far too many doubts racing through his mind of late to play his whole hand at once. He laid the groundwork to keep Sellynna away from the man for a time, by explaining her lack of uniform. Hopefully it would give them some time.
He made his way down the steps of the inn, stopping at the desk. He handed the innkeeper a small pouch of coins, his expression held placid as always. “The lady in room 4 will need a different room to stay in. This should cover what is required. And,” he continued. He placed three gold coins into the woman’s hand. “This should be good enough to keep your questions to yourself.” The woman stared at him, perplexed, but nodded.
An hour later, Sellynna descended the stairs, her face flushed, wearing an embarrassed expression. She tried to slink out of the inn without being seen, without success. The young woman that ran the inn held a key out to her. “Room 7, when you return,” she said simply. Sellynna took it and moved for the door. She stepped out into the sunlight and fell against the wall, grabbing her head in her hands.
It took her a few moments to regain her composure. She straightened and moved in the shadows of the buildings as best she could. She crossed over the bridge to the Mage district and eventually spotted Borænin sitting at a table inside the tavern. Stepping over to him, she attempted to bow, nearly losing her balance. She gripped the edge of the table and righted herself before sinking into the chair. Once seated, Sellynna put her head down on the table and groaned.
“Regrets, my dear?”
“Only about the bourbon…”
He glanced over at her. He started to reach for her head to smooth the hair that she hadn’t quite brushed properly. A moment before he did so, he pulled back. “Well, that’s nice to hear.”
“And the axe that seems to be planted in my skull.”
The Hierarch lifted a large mug and placed it beside her hand. “Drink water. The pain you are feeling is dehydration.” She fumbled to pick it up and drink it down before replacing her head on the table. “Don’t regret the bourbon too much,” he requested gently. “It was the key that opened interesting doors.”
She nodded vaguely. “Another key would have worked on me.”
He arched a long, violet eyebrow. “Hmm, such as?”
“Anything with alcohol would have done the trick,” she answered quietly.
He chuckled and sat back in his chair. “Then how would the result have been different?”
“It didn’t need to be that strong..”
“No doubt that it did for me,” he offered. “But I am sorry for your discomfort.”
Sellynna rolled her head to the side and stared up at him. “Are you feeling any better today?”
He smiled pleasantly. “In one sense, I am feeling quite well.” His answer brought a happy expression to her face. “In another, I am a bit apprehensive.”
Sellynna’s smile faded and she turned her face back into her arms. Foolish to think that was more than the bourbon last night, her Shade taunted. You are nothing compared to him. She quietly whispered the mantras to herself, causing Borænin’s long ears to prick.
A half smile appeared on his face, proud to hear her dealing with the lies appropriately. “Not because of you, my dear,” he reassured. He motioned for a server to refill Sellynna’s water.
“Are you certain,” she asked quietly.
“Very,” he replied with a nod. “Last night, during the…ah…festivities, the Lord Protector attempted to summon me to his Unholy Presence. I am marshaling my excuses,” he explained. Because if he learns of this, we may both pay in terrible ways.
“Should I be prepared for a,” she swallowed, hard. “Requested visit?” Sellynna sat up and picked up the mug shakily. Raising it to her lips, she drank a bit more down.
“My intention,” he told her, “is to leave you out of my report. I shall tell mostly truth, leaving out important details.”
“Like what we were up to?” She chuckled lightly.
He grinned at her, glad to see a smile gracing her face. “Among other things. No doubt the Lord Protector would care little about me dallying with a subordinate, but I’d rather not have you on his mind.” Because if you were, it…no, he cannot.
Sellynna blushed very slightly. “You do not have to protect me, Borænin.” She placed her hand on his tentatively. “But I am flattered.”
He stared at her hand for a moment before slipping it out from beneath hers and picking up his drink. He took a sip and set it down, tapping the rim of it gently with his fingers. “In point of fact, I do, Sellynna.”
She blinked, confused at his continued distancing from her. “Is this because of what I said to you,” she asked quietly.
“More what I said to you,” he explained. “I have shared knowledge that is dangerous for you to have.”
She nodded. “In case you are concerned that what I said was due to the liquor,” she said, squinting against the light in the room, “your secrets are safe with me. I meant that very sincerely.”
“I am gratified to hear that, my dear,” he replied, his eyes distant.
“Should you go? To see him?”
He sighed. “I should,” he nodded. “I’d much rather remain in your company. But to delay further would be unwise.” She smiled at him faintly, but concern was evident in her eyes. “Fear not, my dear. I am accustomed to deflecting his moods.”
“Shall I resume watch of the little tailor?” she reached into her bags and pulled out an herb mixture which she dumped into her water. She swirled it around and drank it down.
He smirked, knowing she’d used her field training to boost herself for work. She’ll still hurt, but she can function. Well done. “Please do. Make special note of any Silverthorn types you see.” She nodded in understanding. “And one more thing. Keep your eyes open for other watchers.” Sellynna’s expression shifted to confusion. “It would surprise me not at all to learn that Sulime or the Lord Protector has other people on this. If they do, we need to know.
“I see. I will do my best,” she agreed. “Well, my handicapped best,” she added, rubbing the heel of her hand against the center of her forehead.
“I have the utmost faith in you.” He rose from his seat and straightened his tabard. “I will find you when my interview is over.” Sellynna stood quickly and bowed to him. He bowed in return and turned for the door.
Sellynna watched him leave with a sigh and looked for a server. Once she had some things to take with her to eat and drink, she headed towards the fountains and the new shop in search of Niquisse.
Borænin arrived in the portal room of Dalaran and took a calming breath. He will be furious with you. You might not survive this one. That’s what’s you get for playing with the girl. She won’t stick around anyway. Once she realizes what a coward you are. Borænin stopped a moment and spoke just above a whisper. “You can try all of your tricks. I know what I am doing and you will not make me falter. I’ve had the better of you for five hundred years. Or have you not yet learned?” His Shade hissed, but backed off.
The Hierarch climbed the steps to the terrace, finding the Lord Protector in his usual place. He waited in the doorway a moment, staring at the man’s back before bowing. “Your Grace.”
The Lord Protector whipped around, glaring. “You are late, Borænin. I called for you last night. Repeatedly. Explain yourself.” His golden eyes smoldered. He rubbed his fingers together, ice crystals forming at the tips and crackling.
Borænin straightened, his placid expression properly in place. “My deepest apologies, Your Grace. I must beg extenuating circumstances.”
“Extenuating circumstances.” He pursed his lips, the rage filled expression did not soften. “The damned well better be good.”
“My investigations required that I…ah…” he paused a moment. “Socialize. In the process of earning the trust of a target, I became unfortunately inebriated.”
“You went drinking.” He crossed his arms in front of him. “With a target. I thought you more professional than that, Hierarch.”
“Call it creative interrogation, Your Grace.” He grimaced. “Under normal circumstances, I hold my alcohol rather well. However, they have a spirit here known as bourbon. A devilish concoction, Your Grace.”
“And it rendered you incapable of reporting in,” the golden man sniped.
“I fear so. I was quite indisposed.”
“Do not drink this…bourbon…again.”
“Fear not on that score, You’re Grace,” Borænin assured him. “I would not touch this demonic brew ever again. The results were terrifying.”
A golden eyebrow creeped up on the Lord Protector’s face. “Terrifying? What could a beverage do to you that would warrant that description?”
Borænin offered him an uncomfortable look. “Well, Your Grace,” he began, working his tone to create the scene properly to ensure the lie rang true to the man. “Beyond my own considerable distaste for feeling out of control, the amount of bile that vomited forth from me was simply indescribable.”
The Lord Protector turned away, a look of utter revulsion taking over. He raised a hand to block Borænin from his view as though the man was actually doing the very thing in that moment. “That… thank you… I shall avoid the substance.” He shuddered a moment before turning back to the Hierarch. “You realize that you were one hour away from me calling in your subordinate?”
“Again, Your Grace, my deepest apologies. But Your Grace’s sensibilities were a large part of my decision to delay,” he offered. “This Realm’s liquors shall not pass my lips again.”
“See that they don’t,” he said with a smirk. He flicked an arm back, causing the fine silk sleeves that feel from his arms to ripple in the air. “Though, I think perhaps I should call this…Sellynna in and instruct her to keep an eye on you.”
Borænin looked properly abashed. “If Your Grace wishes. I would like to think this small blemish on an otherwise stellar record would not warrant such oversight.” He inclined his head respectfully.
“Hmmph,” he chuffed, settling down on the small bench situation near the railing. “Did this experiment of yours yield anything of value? Or did you simply cause yourself discomfort to no purpose.”
“I would not say no purpose, Your Grace,” the Ren’dorei responded. He moved to remain properly in front of the Lord Protector. “The result, however, may not have been worth the pain. The waters are muddy. I found myself, quite by accident, in the presence of one who bore the name of our own Sulime.” He spread his hands apart, keeping his stance open and honest in appearance. “Like the counterpart of Lady Isse, she looked rather different.”
The golden one’s face shifted very slightly. “How much?”
“She was of the Ren’dorei, such as they exist here. A hunter before, a Farstrider, in fact.”
The Lord Protector rose and began pacing. “Does she bear the name? Because we had found only two Greythorns in the registers.”
“She does not. She wears the surname Dawnfeather.” He placed his hands behind his back, working to keep his body posture calm, though he prickled at the pacing. “And this is where it gets interesting, Your Grace.”
The man sighed and gripped the railing, ceasing his strides. “Go on.”
“By strange coincidence, she bears a striking resemblance to the counterpart of Lady Isse, the young tailor we discovered.” The Lord Protector looked at him oddly, but he continued. “Your Grace knows full well the tricks that fate plays across the many Realms. This is hardly the strangest thing we have seen.”
“Hmm, I will grant you that.”
Borænin nodded. “This woman claims to be in contact with the Silverthorns of this Realm. She said they approached her, claiming she was a long lost member of their bloodline.” He chuckled suddenly. “Oddly enough, he reaction to this seems to mostly be irritation.”
“What?” The Lord Protector’s face darkened. “The Silverthorns are claiming the bloodline through a Ren’dorei? So they know…”
“It seems so, Your Grace. Though she herself is highly skeptical of the connection.” He gestured to the pitcher of water sitting on the table and the other nodded dismissive permission. He poured a glass and sipped it thoughtfully. “Unless they play some other game, she did not seem to believe them.”
“This is good,” he grinned wickedly. “We may have found our insider.”
“Your Grace believes we can suborn her to our purpose then?”
“If she does not believe them, but they think it true…” The two men grinned at each other. “Has Sellynna been taught the proper mind control techniques?”
“She has some training in that direction, Your Grace.” He sipped his water again. “But forget not, she is a Novice.”
“Yes… The Warrant Officer.”
Borænin’s brow furrowed. “That reminds me, Your Grace. Sellynna received a package. An unauthorized package, through the local rift.”
The other man glowered. “Who sent something through,” he demanded.
“It was her uniform, badly damaged,” Borænin explained. He raised an eyebrow, , the corner of his mouth creeping up. “Who else, Your Grace?”
“Is the rift prepared for things to be sent back yet,” the Lord Protector asked icily.
“I believe so. Are you thinking the Warrant Officer’s discipline will not wait for our return?”
“I am thinking I shall begin now and draw it out until we have finished here. Bring me a bottle of that bourbon that you disliked so much. I will prepare a special package for him.”
Borænin laughed heartily. “Most excellent, Your Grace.”
The man grinned wickedly. “I think I shall pay him a visit and… thank him, for his most excellent choice in your assistant. My next question, about the girl, is if she is working out.”
“I believe she is, Your Grace. She has shown initiative and delivered regular, detailed reports of her findings.” He sipped his water, allowing for only the briefest pause. “Through her efforts, we have the names of 3 Silverthorns, but as of yet, not their position within the family, save in one case.”
“Who do we know for certain?”
“The leader, calls himself Patriarch, Forosuul.”
An expression of curiosity crept onto the Lord Protector’s face. “A male head of House. That’s an interesting turn.”
“There is also a young woman by the name of Kalimé and a young man named Ælithil.”
The golden one nodded, not really listening as the names were not ones he recognized or cared about. “Do you need more hands here, or is she sufficient? If you find her lacking, you will order more through.”
“This far I need no other help,” he reassured him. “I will call for more if things move quickly and I find her inadequate.”
“If she is…inadequate, send her to me. I may find her entertaining,” he ordered. “Sulime has been whiney lately.”
Borænin chuckled. “Lately,” he asked, attempting to shift the focus onto the Void Ranger.
“Worse than usual,” he grumbled.
“You Grace has patience I cannot comprehend.”
“I may need a new plaything if this keeps up.”
Shit… Borænin arched an eyebrow. “As bad as that?”
“It is heading in that direction.” He sighed, irritated. “She and I will have a little chat soon if it doesn’t come to an abrupt end. And I would like someone who knows their place waiting.”
Borænin inclined his head before turning away to refill his water. I need a plan… he thought to himself. “Wise as ever, Your Grace,” he replied, smiling pleasantly.
“What else do you have for me?” He flicked his long sleeves back, sending the flurrying again. “Have you found him yet?” He turned to face the street again, watching the people below.
“The Other?” I fear not, Your Grace. But the noose seems to be growing tighter,” he answered. But around who’s neck? He banished the thought quickly, fearing he might be caught out. “No doubt we will reveal him soon.”
“I am growing impatient, Borænin,” he hissed. “Find him soon. Or I will call the other hunters in to assist in the search. And what of the old man? Have you found traces?”
Borænin nodded. “Of him there has been no sign,” he lied. “And we’ve seen no evidence of…ahh…reverence towards his memory.”
“Good. I would prefer to bleed this Realm. I don’t wish to do what we did on number 16. Not until our profits are well in hand, of course.” He smirked and turned back to Borænin, hoping to find the man off balance, but was disappointed to see the usual calm exterior.
“I do not believe that will be necessary.”
The Lord Protector nodded curtly. “Good. Now, if there is nothing else, go. And report in with good news soon, Borænin.”
Borænin bowed before him. “As Your Grace commands.”
“And next time I call,” he continued in a threatening tone. “I will not be kept waiting. If you do not arrive quickly, your Novice will.”
“Understood, Your Grace.”
The Lord Protector turned his back to Borænin. “Off with you.”
Borænin nodded and backed away, moving into the hallway before he turned and moved down the stairs at an accelerated pace. He left the building without undo haste in case eyes were on him and made for the portal to Stormwind, and Sellynna.
There was one spot that allowed both protection from the hateful sunlight and still afforded a reasonable view of the storefront the Lady Niquisse had entered. She wrapped the shadows about her, fading into the foliage and out of sight. The streets were growing busier, making it more difficult to focus at times. Her senses caught a shift within the shadows and turned her attention to the man standing there.
Borænin settled down beside her heavily. “Well, I survived and things proceed apace.”
Sellynna glanced at him cautiously. “How angry is he?” She brought her skin to her mouth and took a drink.
The Hierarch closed his eyes and allowed himself a moment to enjoy the gentle breeze that came in over the short wall beside them. The leaves of the tree creating the shaded canopy over their heads rustled softly, whispering of nature’s peace. “Very,” he answered eventually. “He accepted my excuses, but he wasn’t happy about it. I wove enough truth in to keep him interested and somewhat mollified, but him being him, he had to be an ass about it anyway.” Sellynna chuckled at the man’s boldness, knowing just days ago, he wouldn’t have dared speak such thoughts aloud. “He mentioned you,” he told her. She looked over at him, her expression concerned. “Several times, in fact. In a manner I dislike.”
“What about me,” she asked nervously.
“He nearly summoned you when I did not appear,” he told her. Her mouth fell open, her eyes widening to match. He nodded grimly. “And he warned that if I ever do not answer promptly, he will do so.” He watched her carefully, continuing. “He queried me about your performance, and…made allusions to make some use of you. For amusement. His amusement, mind you.”
“Amusement. Meaning what I think it means?”
They sat quietly for a few moments, letting that sink in. He took a breath, looking away from her. “He complained about Sulime. Said he might wish to replace her. However, there is one bright spot.” She perked up a little at this, gesturing for him to explain. He chuckled. “I informed him of the Warrant Officer’s games. Your Uniform, et cetera. He is very angry about it. His plan is to return home for a short while to punish the man personally. This would give us breathing room.”
“To find a way clear of it all,” she replied, nodding. “Is there anything I can do to…help Sulimè get back into his…graces”
“That reminds me, procure a bottle of bourbon, lace it subtlety with some of your poisons to exacerbate its effects,” he requested.
She tipped her head to the side. “Which effect are you wanting it to have,” she asked curiously.
“Nausea, sickness, extreme disorientation,” he requested.
“Who is this for? Not the Lord Protector, right?” Her expression gave away the fact that she was making calculations in her head as to the right blend of things to add.
Borænin chuckled. “The Warrant Officer, stage one of his punishment. I may have played up the side effects of bourbon a bit.” Sellynna grinned wide. “If I could get the Lord Protector to drink it, the request would be for death.”
“Borænin, that man is going to shit his pants. Literally. Preferably in front of the Lord Protector.”
“Preferably on the Lord Protector,” he corrected. “Now, such pleasant imagery aside, we have two paths open to us, my dear.”
She sipped her water again before gesturing for him to continue. Her hand came up and pulled her soft pewter hair back into position to cover the tell-tale scars on her neckline. “Tell them to me, in order of your preference.”
“One, we continue playing the game, and see where it leads, much as we have this far.” He kept his expression calm and still, but inside his guts were churning. “It is a more cautious approach, but if I am being honest, it merely delays the inevitable.”
“Or?” Her ears twitched at the sound of a young human couple walking up to the window of the shop and peering within. She watched them carefully as he spoke. They didn’t linger, but pointed out the next shop and walked within.
Borænin dropped his voice very low. “We go renegade. Now.” His gaze remained on the shop in front of them, his expression unreadable.
Sellynna looked at Borænin, surprised. “Could we do that,” she whispered.
“We could try. We could go to the Silverthorns, confess everything. Warn them about him,” he told her, his voice tightening very slightly. “Give this Realm a chance. Enlist their aid in stopping him.”
“But, forgive me,” she countered carefully. “Could he not find us? He is able to call to us, does that not mean he knows where we are?”
“Knowing where we are does not mean he can get there. He is not all powerful, Sellynna, why else does he work through agents?” He hoped it sounded believable, knowing that he was up against an entire lifetime of hearing the opposite.
Sellynna nodded nervously. “I will go with whatever plan you believe best.” She swallowed down the panic that was building in her chest, forcing the proper Order appearance of calm to remain in place.
He leaned a little closer and whispered, “He’ll kill us both just for having this conversation.”
“From what you’ve said, I am in line for that or worse already.”
“At this point we both are,” he told her. “I lied to his face today. Told him we’d heard no word of Kalithil.”
“And if he finds out..shit.” Her veneer started to crack, a bit of deeper violet showing in her eyes.
“Three nights ago I had drinks with the man’s daughter. His daughter-in-law is making your gown, for the love of shadows.” He laughed bitterly.
“The gown we ordered in case I am summoned,” she said with a nod. She ran a hand down her face, shifting back slightly to look up at the tree above them. She watched a small bird flit from branch to branch, picking at the bark with its bright beak. “This is insane,” she said, pausing slightly. “But…let’s find them.”
“You really want to do this?”
“Borænin, I don’t know if what we did last night mattered worth a damned to you beyond a bit of fun. But I would much prefer to be your release, than his.”
Borænin smiled faintly. “I am not in the habit of impulsive dalliances, my dear.” He turned to face her, his eyes showing the barest hint of softness. “Now. You must remain within Alliance territory, preferably a city such as this one. No venturing out to Dalaran. You must stay where the Lord Protector and Sulime cannot easily reach you.”
Sellynna turned around and dragged her bag into her lap. She reached in and pulled out a list of cities. She indicated a few with stars next to them. “These are all neutral. Sanctuary cities. I will avoid them at all costs.” She handed the page over to him.
Borænin took it from her with a nod. “Excellent. I shall go and meet with Sulime. I intend to sue some of the Lor…of, hell with it, Gilræn’s comments to see how she will react.”
Sellynna tugged off her tabard and stuffed it into her pack. Borænin watched her, looking slightly sad. “You are going to bait her?”
“I am,” he confirmed.
Sellynna tipped her head at his expression. “Perhaps we can use the uniform again one day. But if I am hiding…”
Borænin smiled, though the sadness remained in his gaze. “I was just thinking it suited you, that’s all.” He returned his attention to the shop front, thoughts swirling in his mind.
The Novice reached over and traced along his cheek with the tip of her nail. “One day,” she reassured him tenderly. Borænin looked over, slightly startled. “Oh…I’m sorry!” Her cheeks filled with color as she jerked her hand away.
“Oh, no, no, it’s all right,” he said, breathing heavily.
“I just thought….nevermind.”
“No one has been casually affectionate with my person for long years, especially not in public, it simply surprised me,” he explained. “I do not mind.”
“If I am being to forward, you will tell me,” she asked nervously.
“I’ll tell you, and then tell you to keep doing it,” he told her, offering a quick wink. Sellynna blushed again. “I have had to be the Hierarch for a very long time, my dear. Bear with me,” came his earnest request.
“If the others only knew…” she murmured.
“Others?” He sounded genuinely curious.
“The other novices.”
Sellynna grinned and leaned in to whisper in his ear. “That you are so damned good…” Borænin turned nearly black as she took the opportunity to nibble on the edge of his ear. “Too much,” she asked.
Borænin looked around, slightly anxious. “Perhaps for a public square, my dear.” She shifted away and sat back in her previous spot. “My training is not lightly set aside, forgive me.”
“Mine has perhaps made me bolder,” she explained apologetically. “Forgive me.”
“So I see,” he chuckled. “There is nothing to forgive, my dear.”
Sellynna pointed at the building. Borænin looked up, the moment broken. “One of the Silverthorn types went inside just before you arrived. Haven’t seen him come out yet.”
“Can you describe them,” he asked, refocusing on their work.
“Tall, not exceptionally for a Kaldorei, but on the taller end. Shaggy hair, like he doesn’t think a brush is necessary. Sharp features. The tell tale colors. Dressed well, but not in armor. Though he was carrying a weapon.” She stared at the building intently for a moment. “If I were to guess from the noise inside, he’s helping move heavy objects.”
“You have sharp ears, my dear.”
“Comes in handy if you’re supposed to be focused on surveillance.”
Borænin nodded. “So…to rebellion then,” he asked with a nervous smile.
Sellynna turned her body fully to him. “To rebellion.”
Borænin took a deep breath. “You realize it is likely we can never go home.”
“Home was a farm full of people that basically sold me off to get rid of me.”
“Give them some credit, they sold you to me,” he replied, grinning wide.
“They did. Was it a good purchase,” she asked playfully.
“I’d say so,” he answered. “Time will tell, of course.” He winked, his eyes sparkling at her. Sellynna looked at him, a little nervous. His smile faded. “What is it?”
“What happens to me if you decide this is a bad idea?”
Borænin looked at Sellynna steadily. “I am not so easily swayed from my course, my little novice.” She nodded, taking a deep breath. “I have waited a very long time for this, my dear. You have no idea.”
She held out her hand and Borænin took it, squeezing lightly. “I am with you. All the way through it.”
“You are out of your mind,” he responded, awestruck. “What did I do to inspire such loyalty?”
“I have two options. Stay with you, who put his trust in me,” she said happily. “Or likely become a sex toy for a man who might kill me if I say the wrong thing while he makes use of me.”
“Well, I suppose it is nice to be the lesser of two evils,” he chuckled.
“I didn’t say that. Or imply it.”
Borænin laughed lightly and squeezed her hand. He took a deep breath and stood up suddenly. “All right,” he started. Sellynna blinked and pushed herself gracefully to her feet. “You now have two tasks before you. Make it three.” He dusted off his pants and hands. “Get that bottle of poisoned bourbon, in the hopes that the asshole takes it home and leaves us alone for a little while.” Sellynna nodded. “Two, keep watch on yonder shop, your goal now is to let me know when I might find our tailor present. I intend to beg audience with her elders from her.” He touched her arm very gently. “Three, stay safe.” He pulled his hand back away and clasped it with the other behind his back.
Sellynna inclined her head. “Do you wish for me to speak to any of them or just, be your eyes?”
“Just be my eyes for now, until the other pieces are in motion,” he instructed. “If you are summoned by Gilræn or Sulime, ignore it.” Sellynna winced, knowing it would mean the call would become more aggressive. “If you do not hear from me, go to them,” he pointed at the shop. “Tell them every damn thing you know and beg asylum.”
Sellynna eyes went wide. “How…how long should I wait?”
“If I am out of touch more than a day, go,” he said firmly.
Sellynna looked around, carefully noting who is nearby before she grasped his face and kissed him. Borænin jumped slightly, but let himself be drawn in. “Training be damned,” she whispered. He chuckled lightly. “Come back. Please,” she pleaded.
“Stay safe, my little novice,” he said gently, pulling her hands down from his face and setting them down along her sides. “There’s not much point to this if I end up here alone.”
“You won’t,” she responded, nodding stiffly. She took a breath and put her facade properly back in place. “But the same goes for you.” Sellynna reached into her bag and pulled out a small vial. She held it out to him. Borænin arched an eyebrow. “This won’t last long, but if you feel in danger, add this to their drink. They will be out for maybe an hour.”
Borænin slipped it into a pouch on his belt. “I will see you soon, my dear.”
“I’ll go get that bottle for you,” she told him and bowed before him.
He returned the bow and turned from her, striding away. To all the world, he appeared to be a calm, confident man, but to the one who had been watching him for years, there was an uneasiness to his gait. For the first time in a long time, Sellynna was completely terrified. “Shadows hide your steps, Hierarch,” she whispered to his retreating form. In her mind, a soft, menacing cackle rippled through. Setting her shoulders, she ignored her Shade and took her first step towards the unknown.