Soldier and Slave, Part 1

I did a dumb and forgot to prepare a post ahead of time for today again, so I had to dig through some stuff I previously wrote. I doubt it’ll make sense out of context, but I hope you enjoy it anyway.

“The Housemen are not trusted anymore.”

Idalia looked up from her greatsword, her whetstone pausing. Solange was looking at her caste’s necklace, a setting sun inlaid with the numerals of a clock. Solange had remained scrawny, and though she wore chainmail it didn’t make her any larger or more imposing, nor did it take a trained soldier like Idalia to notice that she would far prefer to be out of it. Her black hair was oily and unkempt, and the equally black tattoos on her face stood out against her pale skin. Her armor was emerald, as was her cape. It was probably important to her Legion, somehow.

Idalia’s armor was silver with blood-red trim, her own legion’s colors. Her armor was half-plate, and while her hair was messy and black as well, hers was cropped short. She smiled at her sister. “Speak your mind, Solange.”

Solange’s expression was unreadable. “Ever since Ilos decided to stay within the House, there’s been talk circulating that our caste should have gone with him. We continued to visit to get the tattoos, and… well. Some doubt our loyalty.”

“Like who?”

Solange laughed and looked to her sister, her smile back. “I appreciate you’re trying to keep me all sheltered still, Idalia, but I’m not deaf. I hear the things people say. ‘Iceskin’, ‘Deadeyes’, and other such idiocy.”

“If such things bother you, then pretend they don’t exist.” Idalia ran her whetstone along her blade again.

“It’s just sad there are people who think like that here in the capital, is all.”

Idalia shrugged. “I guess it’s a little worrying.”

Solange slid her necklace back under her chainmail and turned back to her table. She was drawing up designs for some new weapon for the Inquisition, Idalia knew. She smirked and placed a hand on her sister’s shoulder. “Mother has you sweating up a storm, I see.” She snickered. “So much hard work in a drawing. Don’t strain your fingers, now, you might break a nail. Then who will draw the prettiest art for the Inquisition?”

Solange smirked as she drew in another line, a long barrel taking shape on the weapon. “I’m surprised you can properly pronounce ‘Inquisition’, dear sister. Have you been practicing?”

Idalia feigned a gasp and backed up. “Me talk good much!”

Solange laughed.

Idalia ruffled her hair. “Stay safe, kid.”

“You too, sis. It’s a rough forest.”

Idalia left her sister’s room and shut the door behind her.

Eliana was even less light-hearted when she went to visit. She was already waiting at the door to their small home, a slight scowl on her overtly pale face. Her hair was bright white and draped down to her waist, and she had a bow as tall as she was strapped to her back. “Idalia, this is really something I should be doing.” She said without preamble.

Idalia shrugged. “There’s a monster out there that needs destroying, so I’m gonna go destroy it.”

“Because mother told you to.”

“Yes. And?”

“Onore is our leader, that does not mean she is infallible.” Eliana replied, folding her arms.

Idalia had her own frown now, her eyebrow cocking.

“Fine, she’s closer to it than I am,” Eliana relented, “but this still feels like a mistake.”

“Lampide needs me, Elly.” Idalia said coldly. “Nothing else matters.”

Eliana sighed and started to walk away.

“Elly.”

She stopped.

“When I get back, we’re gettin’ mead, alright?”

She was quiet for a moment, then nodded. “As you wish.”

Idalia pulled experimentally on the saddle strap, making sure that it was tight and secure. Satisfied that it was, she placed one foot in the stirrup and pulled herself on. She turned to her fellows, eyes cold and bleak.

“Let’s move out.”

The thunderous sound of a dozen horses galloping through the gate was like a furious prelude to a storm.

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