(Story Starts Here!)
"So would you like to confirm what a 'Spiritess' is, just so we all give the same answer," Zalgus asked, just as he dropped a plush towel on top of Aislynn's wet hair. She truly did look like a drowned cat. He turned his gaze to his sister, walking to a trolly delivered by a servant. It had a tea set prepared, as well as small foods to tide them over for the night.
"Well..." Raina said slowly, having not thought about it just yet. She looked around the common room of their suite, noting that everything seemed to be purposefully one step below the absolute best. For someone so sure of his importance, the Duke seemed desperate to remind people of their place below him. Not exactly the qualities she trusted in a leader.
"You've gotten distracted," Zalgus said. He pulled his hair back from his face, tying it into a low ponytail. Then he took the tea set and brought it over to the low table between the seats, noting the intricate detailing on the pot that depicted the greatness of the West. Tall towers and spirits blessing the greatest architects - no mention of the backs that they built those towers on.
"I have not," Raina answered, finally taking a seat. "It was something that I decided to do on a gut instinct and now that I have time to collect my thoughts I'd like to do so. Thank you." She stuck her tongue out at her brother when he simply chuckled at her.
Aislynn worked on drying her hair, keeping the towel over her face for now. She still felt rattled from the non-stop trip and rain, so she didn't want either of the siblings seeing her face. They could both read her easier than they went through books. At least the room was warm, a high fire had been made in the heavily carved fireplace, where their soaked clothing had been set out to dry faster. This was the biggest house Aislynn had ever seen - what did one do with all this space?
"I suppose we can always just remind them how we revere the spirits," Raina was saying, her shorter hair turning wavy as it dried. "So any with a communion with one is respected."
"Simple, I suppose it will do."
"Do you have a better idea?"
"It is better to keep it simple." Zalgus was examining his book for water damage. Satisfied it was unharmed, he set it down on a small, round table next to the couch Aislynn was perched on, and poured the tea. "Less pieces to get confused. Try not to elaborate too much on it then, at least not without informing us."
"Do you think your friends will know anything about the ones after me?" Aislynn asked, pulling the towel from her hair finally.
"It is possible, but we will have to be careful about asking." Raina turned to Aislynn, rotating her arm when the ache returned. The joint was still tender from when she stopped her friend from falling off the horse. "How is your leg?"
"It hurts when I move it, but I'll be okay. Better than the alternative."
"Well," Zalgus said with a wry smile, "isn't that a pragmatic view on the situation." He took a seat after handing off cups to his sister, and then Aislynn. He balanced his own cup in one hand, before switching its location with his book.
"I think we can rest easy here," Raina said. "A lot of guards, and a number of shapers."
"I suggest we not become too comfortable." Zalgus shook his head, letting the book fall open to his last page. "Politics might be even more dangerous than Aislynn's stalker."
"Thank you for being the voice of reason," Raina said, sarcasm dripping from her tone.