Spin Offs, Kelifa B

Spin Offs, Kelifa B

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The house had been taken quickly, most of those within had been caught by surprise and had not put up a fight. There was a melee at the back of the house after Lavmor had bashed the back door in, she and the sisters with her had quickly secured the rear entrance. Another brief melee had taken place in the main room. Mishdal had taken a gash to her arm but they were able to overwhelm the enemy. Two of the local ruffians had been killed in that fight, three others were subdued with less violence while a Tannican priest and three slavers had withdrawn into a back room. A room without windows or obvious exits, other than the door to the main room.

 Before they had been able to raise any protections against sorcery, the Priest of Light had been able to subvert Div’s mind. Thankfully everyone had been aware of the possibility of mind-magic, Lavmor had been quick to subdue Div before she was able to do serious violence to anyone. Kelifa had raised a circle of protection in the main room. Mishdal was healed while Havella was sent with another sister to fetch the Count’s Guard.

They waited for the arrival of the guards, Lavmor searched the building for the women their sending indicated would be here. She had needed to call on the Goddess’s guidance and was led to a hidden door leading down to an oversized cellar. Nearly fifty women and children had been found, they had not been horribly abused, though they were underfed and lacking proper facilities to care for themselves. Their confinement in the underground cell had left many of them sick. Lavmor and Mishdal moved them to the back alley.

While all that was taking place, Kelifa and three other sisters kept vigil on the Tannicans. Kelifa maintained a one sided dialogue with the priest. There was no attempt from the Tannicans to communicate, escape or fight to the death; they were still in the room when the Count’s Guard arrived.

Initially the guards had been at a loss, they were surprised by what that the Sisters of Mercy had done and there was some talk about arresting the lot of them. Thankfully, despite Lavmor’s objections, Kelifa had insisted that they take no weapons more lethal than short staves and cudgels. That fact alone was what likely saved them from being taken into custody. That and the fact there were two and a half score of slaves, recently liberated.

A handful of guards had joined her in the circle of protection, she had kept Mishdal and two other with her as the rest of the sisters, with an escort, moved the women to the Temple of Mercy. Two other guards had been sent to find an officer with sufficient rank to deal with the situation. It was a long while before anyone returned. Lavmor and Havella came back before any further local support arrived, they reported that the Cira-di was furious, but those they had rescued were receiving care.

When more guards finally did show up they arrived with the Count, the court mage and a priest of the God of Justice. The entire block had been cordoned off. The Tannicans did eventually surrender, the court mage oversaw that part of the operation. If they had taken much longer Kelifa suspected that she and her companions could not have maintained the circle of protection that had negated the Tannican priest’s spells. She thanked the Goddess for her assistance.

After personally investigating the situation the Count approached Kelifa. She gave a modest bow, it had been many years since she had curtsied for anyone, “Lord-Count, you honour us with your presence.”

He gazed at her with intense grey eyes, “Having heard that the Sisters of Mercy had taken it on themselves to root out slavers, I had to come see the situation for myself. And please, address me as Count Greshdal.”

She gave a smaller bow, “Of course, Count Greshdal, I hope you can forgive my ignorance.”

“There is nothing to forgive, in that regard. Though I’m not fond of vigilante justice within my city. As I understand, you were lead here by your goddess. Is that so?”

“It is, Count Greshdal, the Goddess gave visions of this place, and the women and children held captive here. It was unusual in that the vision was shared among many of the sisters.”

“So, it never occurred to you to seek out the guards, report the situation and let my people handle things?”

“No, Count Greshdal, it did not.”

He raised an eyebrow, perhaps amused, “I see. It is a fearsome band you have put together here. These women of the Goddess of Mercy. Within your order, who is your superior?”

“The Goddess, Count Greshdal, in all matters.”

“So you answer to no one, not even for secular issues?”

“On the contrary, Count GreshdaI, I answer to all the other sisters. Though within our order we typically report to and receive advice from the local Cira-di.”

“Very well then. I expect you and your superior will be joining me for an early breakfast on the morrow. Until then you have my leave, I’d suggest returning to your temple. There has been more than enough excitement for one day.”

“Of course, Count Greshdal. Until tomorrow morning.” She gave another small bow. The count gathered his retinue and departed. Shortly thereafter Kelifa gathered the remaining sisters and did likewise. She was not looking forward to the conversation she would soon be having with the Cira-di, though she saw little point in delaying the encounter.

Yabeeri Volnt had been very upset. She admonished Kelifa for not informing her of the vision and their intentions. Kelifa saw no point in justifying herself, so she made a simple apology and informed her that the two of them were expected at the palace tomorrow morning for an early breakfast. She had left the woman fretting about the pending appointment and found her bed. She thanked the Goddess for protecting her and the other sisters, then slipped into a peaceful sleep.

She awoke well ahead of the dawn, feeling refreshed and well rested. Conversely the Cira-di did not appear to have received the same gift. Despite the fancy robes and abundant makeup the woman appeared haggard and worried in the light of the new day, she may not have slept at all. She was also unhappy with Kelifa’s choice to wear her armour to the engagement.

A carriage was sent for them from the palace. The two of them said little to each other during the ride and by the time they had arrived the Cira-di was drawn and pale, literally wringing her hands. Kelifa felt bad for the woman, but she had no words of comfort for her. A palace official greeted them and after getting over the shock of seeing Kelifa in armour, he explained the protocols. He even offered Kelifa a dress to wear but she declined.

They were taken to a waiting room in the upper levels of the palace and informed that a servant would be along shortly to escort them to breakfast. Shortly turned into quite a while, during which time the Cira-di continued to fret and worry, initially about the meeting in general and then about the delay. Kelifa became concerned that the woman would put herself in the grave if she kept going like she was, so she opened a window and suggested, “I do not think we are in any sort of trouble, Cira-di. At most we might receive a scolding. My impression of the Count was that he was more surprised than upset by yesterday’s events. Why don’t you take a seat by the window while we wait? Take some deep breaths of the morning air. It will help calm you.”

Her response was waspish, “You are telling me to calm down? If not for you I would not be here at all. Maybe you should be more concerned with the repercussions of your actions.”

Kelifa wondered how this woman had become a Cira-di. Had she always been so disposed? Certainly there was nothing about the woman that inspired any confidence in her ability to lead. She was very happy when the servant finally arrived to take them to breakfast. She wished she had thought to eat something before coming to the palace, the delay had left her feeling famished and she wondered if others could hear how much her stomach grumbled.

They were lead to a beautiful solarium, resplendent with blooming flowers, though the season was late for such. They were left just a few paces past the door they had come through. The servant informed them that the Count would be announced, then he stepped back to the wall beside the door and waited. It was not long before another servant appeared at the other entry and announced, with copious titles, the arrival of the Count, his wife and his daughter. The Count entered first, looking radiant in a fanciful breastplate.

Kelifa granted him a deep bow, while the Cira-di prostrated herself and in a voice cracked with stress she wailed, “I beg your great forgiveness, merciful Count. Such actions that transpired yesterday took place without my knowledge, nor sanction. It is these upstarts from the GreensBridge High Temple that have sullied your peace. It is this woman who leads them, this paladin.”

The Count was clearly taken aback. His wife and daughter entered a moment later, also surprised. Kelifa held her bow and prayed to the Goddess to grant the mercy of sanity to the Cira-di. Thankfully the woman did shut her mouth, though she sniffled and wept. The Count’s daughter came to Yabeeri Volnt and helped her to her feet. The Count went to the breakfast table and sat with the assistance of another servant. His wife joined him at the table, after a short delay, so did his daughter. As previously instructed, Kelifa then sat, she noted that both she and the Count had been given sturdy chairs while the others sat on ornately carved and cushioned chairs. After the servants had helped the Cira-di calm herself, she also joined them.

None of the rest of them acknowledged the older woman’s outburst, servants began to fill plates and pour beverages. When all was ready Count Greshdal said, “Let us share a meal together and then we shall talk of yesterdays events.”

Kelifa thanked the Goddess for the feast spread out across the table and ate. After a while the Cira-di also started eating. When the Count’s wife finished her meal Kelifa stopped eating. Shortly thereafter the Count’s daughter asked for Kelifa to relate the events that had lead to the capture of the Tannican priest.

She proceeded to do so, without much embellishment, she felt there had already been more than enough dramatics. After the telling, the Count’s wife thanked Kelifa for the story and made polite comments about the bravery of the Sisters of Mercy, then she and her daughter departed.

Count Greshdal resumed eating and encouraged the two of them to do so as well. Kelifa was thankful, she was still hungry and had not sat at such a fine spread since she had left home years ago. When the meal was done she thanked the Count for his hospitality. The servants cleared the table.

After giving the Cira-di a thoughtful look the Count turned to Kelifa and said, “In light of the service you and your order have provided to the city, I thought it would be appropriate to split the value of the coins and resources taken from the slaver’s den. It has come to my attention that you and your band of Fighting Sisters have made numerous inquiries about buying horses for your trip to Swampdon. In that regard I can facilitate your needs and there would still be a considerable sum, I had thought to award the rest of that sum to the local temple. Unless you believe that there is greater need elsewhere?”

“Thank you for your generosity, Count Greshdal. I think that the temple’s needs will be greatly relieved by such a generous gift.”

“Then it shall be so. When you are ready, make arrangements with my head stableman. The rest of the weight will be sent to the temple in the next day or so. Now I must see to the day’s business. When you are done here a servant will see you out.”

They did not stay at the palace much longer, she had a quick conversation with the stableman and made arrangements for her and the sisters to return. Thankfully, the trip back to the temple was a quiet ride, the Cira-di had little to say.

Goddess Be Praised.


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