Smoke sighed and twirled her crowquill pen between her thumb and forefinger, not caring that superfluous ink spattered all over the shining marble-topped desk; a quick shield of Air kept the ink from falling on the newly completed essay, impressively entitled "Common Themes in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Troylus and Criseida; an Analysis and Criticism." Leaning back, she stretched her neck and winced at the popping made by stiff tendons.
In front of her, one of the Soulless slumped in his chair, chin mashed against his chest as he snored. Smoke sighed; the Soulless in life had been a renowned teacher in Caemlyn, but he had given up his soul to the Great Lord in a gesture that (he had hoped) would illustrate some tragic concept to his reticent literature classes.
Smoke felt her thoughts turning towards Demandred, and she let them, having finished with the essay in a fraction of the time allotted. She hoped he was doing OK and that he was keeping out of trouble. For an instant, she entertained the notion of stretching her mind out across the earth to touch his and let him know she was doing well.
Right after that thought came the thought that her older and tyrrannical brother would know of her actions instantly and would most likely punish her... or use her for bait to induce Ariella's continued cooperation. Setting her jaw, she looked at the sundial; over an hour to go. The Soulless snored in his chair.
Smoke scowled at her absent older brother. From Day One her sibling had been impossible to tolerate or deal with rationally. Always taking her stuff and leaving her hanging in the Pit of Doom was only the tip of the iceberg... the big chunk of ice that sank her ship came when she had refused to stand with him when the Hundred Companions sealed him up in the Bore.
Well, it served him right. He was a Bore, after all... and a boor, as well. There had never been any love lost between her and her millenia-older brother. She frowned briefly, wondering if some revenge against Shai'tan had been involved in her Bonding of Demandred... then she banished the thought.
"Okay," she muttered. "I'm going to do this. So what if he gets mad? What's the worst he could do, anyways? I could spend eternity writhing in agony... but making him mad is so fun!"
The Soulless stirred and mumbled sleepily. Cautiously, Smoke reached out with her mind, fumbling through the barriers constructed to block the influence of her Bond...
... her awareness brushed his, in a brief electric shock that made her bite her lip to keep a cry back. A feeling of... of mournful happiness? Fondness? Revenge? Determinedly, she struggled for what the object of Demandred's fondness was.
A... a grolm ??????
Incensed, she flung her pen down and charged out of the room, leaving the gaping Soulless behind.
Demandred shot upright in his chair, dropping the glass of wine onto the stone floor. A current of...something...seared through his soul for a brief instant, and he could have sworn Smoke was near him, but... Something butted against the back of his leg, and unconsciously he reached down, stroking it lightly.
A figure in pure black stood across from him, watching him with what may be called sympathy. "Demandred? I hope that last part didn't scare you. They do make inhuman noises when touched like you just did..." Broken sobs filled the room, as Semirhage's newest 'patient' gasped for breath. Tear-filled eyes stared toward Demandred, burning through him. "You going to continue?"
Shaking slightly, he rose from the chair, returning the stare toward the shackled form on the wall. "Not just yet. I think... Just let me think."
Semirhage merely sniffed. "Alright. Tell me when you want to continue, there's still some others I need to check up on." Demandred nodded as she disappeared, leaving him alone with the chosen victim. A high-ranked official of the Saldean military, a general, so he heard. Reduced to tears so easily... Deftly, he wove flows of Fire and Spirit, right to the point where she said it would cause the most pain without killing him. The screams were absolutely wonderful, complementing his mood perfectly. Until Smoke returned, at least...
He almost leaped through the ceiling when Semi returned. "I taught you well, Demandred." A smile, brighter than he could remember, appeared on her face. "There's still a lot I have to teach you if you want to match my skill, but that should be enough to... Where did you say you were going?"
"The Tower of Ravens. After a little visit to the Empress." Demandred laughed, increasing the intensity of the flows. The screams died off, as blood trickled from the man's mouth. "Too bad. No blood can be drawn from the Blood, yet... Do you have another to practice on?"
"Of course, Demandred, of course..."