Sulime took a deep breath and strode, she hoped, confidently into the room. She found the Lord Protector seated on a large, ornate raised cushion. A young pandered woman sat at his side, cleaning his nails. She bowed low and waited for him to address her. She was forced to stand there in silence until his manicurist finished her work. As he shooed the girl away, Sulime frown sympathetically.
When he finally afforded her a moment’s glance, she bowed to him again. “Just to make you aware, Borænin has arrived,” he stated before fixing the cuffs on his sleeved.
Sulime’s whole body stiffened. “Yes, Your Grace.” She pursed her lips tightly. “I shall give him every aid.”
“I would expect nothing less,” he snapped. “You will also assist the new,” his voice grew irritated as the instruction progressed. “Ren’dorei Novice he has aiding him.”
Sulime head snapped around, shocked. “He brought a Novice?” Her surprise was palpable.
“He was assigned one by the Warrant Officer. I will address that when I return.”
“Does the Hierarch not oversee the Warrant Officer?”
“He does. He sent word for someone of a certain skill set to be sent. As per his usual routine. The Warrant Officer perhaps did not understand that he should never send a Novice to accompany Borænin.”
“I shall meet with him and make sure he understands what is expected of him.”
“The Novice is a woman.”
Sulime was, in that moment, grateful for the veil on her face, hiding her reaction. “Of course. I will explain everything to her,” she adjusted. Changing topics, “Will Borænin be pursuing his usual agenda?”
“Not that it is any of your concern, but he will once he is permitted to do so.” His tone told her she had crossed a line.
Sulime winced slightly and nodded. “Yes, Your Grace.”
“You presume to high of a position, child.”
The Void Ranger stared down at her own feet. “My apologies, Your Grace.”
“Go. I have things to do.”
“Of course, You..”
He shooed her away, irritated. “GO.” Sulime bowed quickly and scurried from the room.
Sellynna opened the letter and read the detailed instructions of where she was to go. Stepping in front of the mirror, she adjusted her kit to be as presentable as possible. Locking her room behind her, she headed for the portal network to travel to Dalaran.
Upon her arrival, she found her way over to the elaborate statue in one of the floating city’s quieter corners. She wandered around, taking the time to appear as though she was there to study the sculpture. The Void Ranger off to the side grunted.
“Very subtle,” Sulime mocked.
“You need not work so hard to keep up pretenses. The people here cannot even conceive of the Realms we know.” The golden haired woman gestured around, “They accept what their eyes see.”
“Ah, You must be the one I am supposed to meet.” Sellynna bowed before her.
“Astute,” Sulime comment, offering her a bow, but one much more shallow in response. “I am Void Ranger Sulime. Captain of His Grace’s Guard.”
“Sellynna,” the Ren’dorei replied. “Novice of the Order. You have likely been told this is my first mission into another Realm.”
Sulime regarded her carefully, though the veil on her face kept Sellynna from reading much. “Indeed,” she nodded. “An unusual choice to accompany Hierarch Borænin.”
Sellynna felt her shoulders tightening, irritation at the suggestion she was not competent prickling at her. She turned it into a shrug, doing what she could to act nonchalant. “The Warrant Officer told me to go, so here I am. Why is it odd?” And what business is it of yours which of the Order is chosen? She kept those thoughts to herself though.
A deep chuckle escaped from behind the gauze. “Borænin is only called upon for situations of… ah.. delicacy.” Her resonant voice was not unlike the sound of clear bells that could be heard in some of the chapels at the Priory. “He serves the Lord Protector directly, you understand?”
The Ren’dorei reached up and pulled at the scarf obscuring her face. She loosened it, letting it fall about her neck. “I will do as I am asked. You needn’t worry.”
“There is more to it than doing what you’re told, young one.”
“Oh?” She raised a long, thin eyebrow. “I thought I was to serve the Hierarch as though I were serving the Lord Protector. To expect that should I fail, I would likely cease to breathe.”
Looking the younger elf over again, Sulime’s voice took on a tinge that seemed to Sellynna that she was almost impressed. “Hmmm. Perhaps you do understand. At least in theory.” The Void Ranger steepled her fingers, keeping them spread apart. She tapped her index fingers against her chin. “You must perform your duties to the Lord Protector’s satisfaction. That is to say, perfectly. No allowance will be made for your inexperience.” Sellynna placed her hands behind her back and listened patiently. “To illustrate this for you, the Warrant Officer that sent you? He will almost certainly be killed when the Lord Protector returns home. Simply for having sent a green recruit to serve the Lord Protector.”
Sellynna blinked, taken aback. “I do not understand. Wasn’t everyone on a first mission at some point?”
“Not for the Lord Protector, they weren’t. He has no patience for breaking people in.” The blonde woman paused a moment, most likely for effect. “Only for breaking people.”
“Shit.” Sellynna muttered to herself for a moment. “I’m screwed, aren’t I?”
Sulime laughed and again, that impression of the bells came to Sellynna’s mind. “Good,” she managed after a minute. “You understand your situation.”
The Novice sighed and set her shoulders. “I will do everything in the powers the Hierarch has gifted me to please His Grace.”
“A healthy attitude,” she nodded. “Now. First things first.”
Sulime gestured to Sellynna’s attire. “Am I to assume this is to appear less obvious?” One could almost hear the distaste in her tone. “The subtle,” boring, she thought, “choice is perfectly adequate for work in the field.”
Sellynna looked down at her kit. “But?”
“When you meet with me, or Borænin, you should be wearing something more…elegant.”
Sellynna nodded, clearly uncomfortable. “Elegant.” Shit. What the fel constitutes as elegant? She banished the thought and added, I shall see what I can purchase.”
Sulime stepped in close, her taller, more muscular frame looming ever so slightly over the younger elf’s. “And if I were you, I would keep that pretty face covered.”
“Covered?” Sellynna blinked. “Why?” Sulime removed the veil from her face, revealing a ruin of scars and damaged eyes. It was all the Ren’dorei could do to stop herself from shrinking away. A gasp escaped, followed by merely, “But…”
“You really don’t want to catch the Lord Protector’s eye, young one.”
“He did this…intentionally?”
Sulime laughed bitterly. “I volunteered to become what I am, and it is different for each of us.”
“I don’t understand why he would mar your face so.” Sellynna was truly astonished. She reached up to her neck, running her thumb under the edge of her scarf.
“Because he could,” the Void Ranger stated flatly. She replaced the veil, adjusting it to sit perfectly over her features. “I have to wear this so he does not have to see my scars.”
The pewter haired woman pulled the scarf back up and wound it around to cover as she had before. “Should I cover more than this?”
“That will likely be sufficient.”
“So…he gave you the scars, but doesn’t want to look at them,” she asked, attempting to understand. The other woman nodded. Scratching her cheek, Sellynna filed away that piece of information. “All right. Well. Is there any way to actually please him?”
“Do whatever he asks, and do it well,” she clipped. “Do not expect praise.”
“That last part I knew. I have heard that if he is not verbally dragging you through the mud, you’ve done well.”
“That is reasonably accurate. Borænin teach you that?”
“It is part of our training.”
Sulime shifted away, “Have you spoken to Borænin since you arrived?”
Sellynna nodded. “Briefly. We were discussing what little we had been told when he was summoned. The only thing I had upon arrival was, Scout the Alliance Cities.”
“I expect you will receive a mission briefing soon. The Hierarch is easy enough to work with, I suppose. But do not think of him as your friend, or mentor, or anything like that. He will cast you aside to please the Lord Protector at a moment’s notice.” She smirked behind her veil. “One does not rise as high as he without climbing over a lot of bodies.”
“Shit,” Sellynna muttered. I am so, so screwed.
“Cheer up. he’s better company than the Lord Protector,” she sighed. “A day or so ago, the Lord Protector was speaking with me. And gave me a very back-handed compliment. He said something to the effect of, Someone is actually learning something for a change.” She seemed to shift uncomfortably. “I replied by saying, Your Grace is too kind.”
“What did he say?”
“If you call me kind again, I will add to your scars.”
Sellynna gasped loudly. “All right,” she whispered. “I hope I never have to meet with him.”
Sulime stared at Sellynna impassively. “Me too, young one.” She sighed. “One last thing before we go.”
“Have you taken a life?”
Sulime’s relief was palpable. “good. You will likely be asked to do so again Do not hesitate.”
“Good. Now, off you go. We’ll talk again soon enough.” Sellynna bowed before her and wrapped the shadows around, disappearing from most people’s sight. Sulime watched the Novice leave, shaking her head. This one will be gone soon enough. She moved away from the fountain, heading back towards the city proper to continue her scouting for the Greythorns of this realm.