Darkstar (Caylin) Feb 1, 2018 23:12:26 GMT
Post by Carjen Brando on Feb 1, 2018 23:12:26 GMT
It was a cold and brisk winter evening in Mir. There was no snow but it was definitely chill enough for some, the wind whipping through the trees sending branches creaking and dead leaves skittering across cobbled streets. Carjen watched from where he’d paused in his work, standing from his desk and moving over to a window where he stood and watched the weather with similarly cold green eyes. Below his keep, a few houses danced with the light of their hearths, smoke rising from their chimneys and the soft sound of laughter carrying up through the breeze. There wasn’t much to do around the castle in winter, other than cook and clean. The fire in the forge could barely stay alight in this wind and the workers building his stable addition were finished for the season. Everyone was home and happy, cold but happy.
At least, he hoped they were happy. He didn’t pay his workers much, more of them were trickling in as the cold drove people inside of nearby walls and slaves were being left out in the cold to rot. He’d gained ten more followers over the last month so he could barely afford to keep them all. But he was trying and they all seemed pleased enough. Beneath him on the street, the tiny form of the boy Kalyen caught his eye, running up the main road to the keep. He seemed in a hurry but then again that boy always was bustling his way somewhere or another. He was barefoot and Carjen frowned. He knew that he’d made that boy shoes last winter, why wasn’t he wearing him? He turned to go find the lad and scold him for punishing his feet so unnecessarily.
Pausing in a mirror to run a hand through his dark hair, Carjen straightened his shirt and pulled on the cuffs of his sleeves dutifully before making his way into the well lit hall. It was cold out there, no fireplaces to warm the place. It was still much warmer than it would be outside or in the main hall, the ambient heat from his study wafting through the door behind him. But he still rubbed his hands together anxiously as a brisk wind rushed up the hall. He hated the cold, he wasn’t built for it, jaguars were jungle dwelling creatures, he liked to be hot and sweaty if he could choose to be. But Mir was a temperate place, in winter it grew cold and though the snow was beautiful, especially around this time of year, it was an unnecessary evil that he despised. He’d make his visit downstairs quick.
Long strides took him down the hall to the stairs and he descended the case easily, his tailored shoes scuffing against the cold stone as he moved. At the bottom, he found Kalyen had already reached the keep and was paused in the entrance hall, huffing and puffing from his run. Carjen gave him a look. The boy’s curly blond hair was a mess and his clothes were ill-fitted and worn, as though he had just gotten out of bed. It was almost late enough for sleep he would admit to himself later, but it still surprised him, while simultaneously explaining why the lad was barefoot. No one went to bed with their shoes on. He looked up as Carjen crossed the room toward him.
“M’lord.” He puffed, out of breath. “There’s a woman at the gate asking for you by name.”
Carjen’s brow furrowed immediately. It was awfully late for any visitors and for them to use his name rather than calling him Lord Brando was odd indeed. Kalyen seemed to realize this, his eyes were wide and panicked and he was shaking, perhaps shivering, but probably shaking. Carjen put on his calmest expression.
“I’ll see to it. Get yourself warm boy, you look wretched.” He said smoothly, his voice deep and dark like coal but smooth and warm like buttermilk. He shouldered his way by the boy, who nodded obediently and limped his way to the kitchens to warm up, as Carjen descended the front steps and out into the cold. He didn’t bother searching for his coat, there was some urgency to settle this soon and settle it quickly. If it was a customer, he didn’t want them freezing to death out there, he’d invite them in but he was skeptical. It was much easier to send orders by mail than to visit the castle in person and at this time of night no less. No, he was expecting something far more nefarious, a spy perhaps, perhaps some guardsmen from Emberi seeking to question him about one of the recent unsolved murders of the kingdom. That happened from time to time.
He moved briskly down the main road of the manor, headed straight for the tall green gate at the front of the tall stone walls. There, he found some of his guardsmen waiting for him, armed with their swords, ready. But he waved them aside as he approached. He wasn’t afraid, cautious maybe but not scared, nothing scared him. Well, that wasn’t quite true either but in this case he was expectant and callous, cold as the wind that ran through his hair and ruffled the collar of his white shirt.
“Open the gate.”