“I have many capable men and women to defend my borders, but the two of you are unique.” She fixed Durrak with a piercing look, “The last scion of the last great House of Farenholm who is also the Battlemaster of the nearly unrivaled Drakanda style would be a jewel to shine in any ruler’s retinue.” She twirled her goblet and it sent rainbows dancing about the room.
“Of course, the Prince of the Blackthorn Wood is a prize nearly as fetching.” She gestured and wine poured itself into a pair of golden goblets and floated toward them as though carried by invisible hands. Durrak took his and drained it. Lorin brought the cup near his lips but didn’t bother making much of a pretense about drinking.
“So. You do be a collector of nobility?” Durrak asked, simply letting go of the goblet and watching with interest as it was deftly snared out of the air once again. “How interesting, who else do be in your menagerie?”
“Most of my warriors are boring, if competent.” She said, smiling as he took a drag on his cigar. The tip flared an astonishingly bright turquoise and when he exhaled smoke, it was black from his left nostril and yellow from the right. “You are not only dangerous, you are interesting. Such strange and complex pasts. Such diverse reasons for becoming the beings you are now.”
“I do be having a single purpose and being a bauble dangling from a Lady’s necklace no do be part of it.” He looked at her steadily. “It no do be my wish to be an ungrateful guest, but I no will be staying.”
“What is this purpose pray tell?” She purred. At a gesture his glass floated back to his hand refilled.
“The idiot wants to try and kill a dragon.” Lorin snapped. He put his hand out in a familiar gesture and Durrak snorted in amusement, handing him a smoldering cigar plucked from his belt pouch. The Elf took a drag on it and blew a sparking cloud of green smoke into the air. “But not just ANY dragon. Not just any run of the mill dragon will do for Durrak Caverstorm.”
“Revenge.” Ellen Eth said, her voice a caress. “You seek the death of Certioth the Black?”
“That do be my first goal.” Durrak said, surprised at her depth of intuition.
“Then we can make a deal after all.” She sat back with a predatory smile. “I can give you the chance to kill her as long as you agree to be part of my household guard in return. If you join me, swear fealty to me and promise to obey my orders I can give her to you.”
“If you do be providing this you do be having my oath.” Durrak said, “But I will no give anything until you do be fulfilling your promise.”
Lorin gave him a stricken look, but Durrak continued smoothly. “We do be able to be working out details once you do be fulfilling your promise.”
Ellen Eth was staring at him with a small smile curling up the corners of her mouth. It made her look less amused and more like a vixen who had just seen the mouse slip into a small hole but knew it could wait outside longer than the mouse could hide.
“You have not let your Courtly wit wane over the years Master Dwarf.” She said, sounding mildly annoyed, a tone he knew was precisely calculated to make him nervous.
“I do be but a humble warrior Lady.” He said, bowing low to the creak of his war harness and the soft pattering of dried blood raining down on the pristine marble. “I no do be knowing of the ways of nobility.”