Vivian let herself drop into the disturbed blankets of her bed, exhausted from the desperate fight and repeated wounds she had taken during the course of that combat. It was, for now, over—the enemy deceived and departed rather than defeated—and the others had gone to their own rooms for rest. She turned, raising herself to blow out the one remaining candle when…
“Dear child, do not rise on my account.”
The tall female figure lounged indolently on the padded lid of a chest set against the far wall of the small room. Her hair was dark red and arrayed in long, wild ringlets about her shoulders. It was cast back from her face, though, revealing sharp cheekbones and over-large eyes of icy blue. Her lips were twisted in a mischievous smirk to match the slightly mocking tone in her words. Her voice was surprisingly deep for one so feminine, although not so much as to be bizarre. Her lithe frame was clad in a forest-green gown embroidered with gold thread. Her head was cocked to one side as if listening, and her manner was slightly… distracted.
The preoccupied look vanished from her face, and the Leanansidhe rose, her dismissive gesture giving the lie to the implication of her mocking words. Vivian slumped back. Her visitor, however, did not approach, but instead glided over to where Vivian had faced the demon, reaching down to where the dwarves’ inept attempts at cleaning had missed a spot of Vivian’s blood. The Leanansidhe’s finger dipped down and rose again, stained crimson.
“Dear, sweet, sweet child,” she murmured. “So foolish to have been caught unawares, but wise in the use of the weapons you had. Do not presume that you’ve gained anything but a temporary respite.” Her lips closed over the tip of her finger, and the fey’s face melted in obvious pleasure. “You have attracted a most dangerous admirer. I could grow jealous.”
“We wouldn’t want that,” Vivian ventured.
“Indeed not,” the fey replied, now moving to where Vivian still lay. “I have given you a measure of power already. Now, dear child, receive another gift.” She bent, kissing Vivian’s brow with lips that burned cold. Vivian felt power run through her like a sudden chill wind. “And this time,” whispered the sidhe, “be better prepared.”
Then, she was gone.
WHAT? WHO? LINOS. THIS IS NOT THE APPOINTED HOUR.
There was the sense of a massive intellect rousing itself from… sleep?
“Master, I have much to report.”
THIS HAD BEST BE IMPORTANT.
“I believe so, Master.” Linos summarized the events of the evening.
HM. YOU DID WELL TO REPORT. THERE ARE POWERS MOVING AROUND YOU, AND THEY HAVE INTEREST IN THIS YOUNG WOMAN. FOR NOW, WATCH, OBSERVE, AND PROTECT THE WOMAN SO LONG AS THE COST IS NOT TOO GREAT.
THAT THING YOU DO WITH YOUR FINGERS. YOU ARE NOT A REPUBLIC SERIAL VILLAIN. AND IT’S ANNOYING. STO…
The “voice” suddenly ceased. ANOTHER IS HERE. SHE MAY BE ABLE TO LISTEN. REPORT AGAIN ACCORDING TO THE NORMAL SCHEDULE.
The sense of his Master vanished.
What in the Nine Hells was a… Republic Serial?