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    VVesley
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

The Alliance - 12. Chapter 12

“What is this?” Madame Ysabel drawled, smiling cruelly as she urged the boy upwards. The claw of her middle finger was just barely making contact with Luca’s Adam’s apple, and a tiny droplet of blood appeared where the gleaming point of her weapon touched him. Palm up, Ysabel slowly raised her hand and the boy stood with it. Had he remained crouched, the blade would have cut along his throat in a straight line upwards. Ysabel smiled again, white teeth and emerald eyes glittering with amusement at the reject that had been hiding at her back door. It was his own misfortune that she had come out of the door just minutes after he had hidden outside the house. The Demon suspected that he was trying to eavesdrop, or gather intelligence on her home.

He is small, she thought. Perhaps he will make good prey. One of Ysabel Di Coteau’s favorite hobbies was to release prey into the streets or woods, and stalk them while they ran in terror and confusion. Most never saw where she was, but she always made sure they knew they were being watched. In the capitol, this was especially fun. Fearful men and women ran through streets and narrow alleys trying desperately to make turns that would throw her off, but Ysabel jumped over rooftops and stalked them from above. When she grew bored of the game of cat and mouse, she went for the kill and left bodies in the streets. Her brother Yago had taught her this game in the backwoods of her girlhood home, back when she had been Ysabel Clarion. The attractive blonde man was the only person she knew to be scarier than her, and Ysabel preferred to keep it that way.

She flicked her wrist up in a movement that could have torn out throats, and the boy flinched. Good, she thought. Instead of bringing him harm, however, the movement had repositioned Ysabel’s hand so that it caressed his smooth face. Against the backdrop of one of her long black claws that rested on his temple, a strand of the boy’s pale hair gleamed in the moonlight and blew slightly in the wind. Frowning to herself, Ysabel remembered that she had places to be, and she didn’t want to mess up her own hair by chasing this runt of a boy.

“Who are you?” Her black earrings dangled and flashed in the moonlight, and wisps of loose hair trailed around them. The pink dye had almost entirely washed out of her head, and Ysabel had liked it in its natural blonde state. Tonight, her hair was piled into an elaborate compilation of braids and twists atop her head, a feat that had taken almost an hour. She was planning on seducing a few city officials that night, and had a hunger for secrets more than blood. The boy could be chased another day.

Surprisingly, he spoke with calmness and confidence. She eyed him with suspicion, wondering if he was sent after her with nefarious intentions. Very few commoners were so brave as to address her and not be visibly on the verge of breakdown. Is he here as an attack?

“My name is Luca, and I am – I was, a whore of Yonin Meko’s. I implore your assistance, Madame.” She noticed that the boy held his face carefully. Obviously, he was aware that anything she perceived as insolence would be enough to warrant his death, and that pleased her. He values what I will say next. He cannot be an assassin.

“And why should I help you, whore?” She emphasized the last word, drawing it out with her pretty and melodic voice. A brave one, she thought.

“I know your son, Alexandre.” As always, Ysabel stilled at the mention of the family she was separated from, unsure as to how to process the information. Per usual, it brought her psychosis just to a cold boil underneath the surface, and she was unsure of how she would react herself. Green eyes blackening, she pressed him further.

“And…?”

The boy gulped, his fear starting to materialize on his face. “I – I killed my master just an hour ago, and seek refuge with him. Alexandre gave me the advice that I should take my destiny into my own hands, and I finally did.”

Ysabel regained her composure, and stood up a little bit straighter. Now that is interesting. Yonin Meko would be an extremely high-class kill, and all of his establishments were guarded heavily. Many were after him, but he had been resilient as of yet. This boy claims to have killed him? Looking Luca up and down, Ysabel thought that he looked entirely untrained and incredibly weak. How would he have gotten in and out of Meko’s brothel so quickly and without alerting the guards? Unless he really is just a common whore like he says… he has the build of it. What trash.

Looking him up and down, Ysabel deliberated.

“You are attempting to get to my husband’s manse?”

“Yes, Madame.”

She gave him one more appraising stare, and spoke after a few seconds of quiet. “Perhaps you are not as useless as you appear. If you did what you said, then you may have some will to survive. But know you will find your head on a stake if my husband or children do not welcome you. There is a wagon heading to the estate within the hour from my stables, bearing a gift of soldiers for my daughter Talia’s graduation. Hide in the hay or don’t, I do not care.” Ysabel walked past the boy, who looked stunned standing at the back of her manse. She stepped deftly and quickly, and thought that if the boy bothered her again she would do what she should have and kill him on the spot. Heading to seduce – or potentially torture, if he was not forthcoming – a count on the opposite side of the city, Ysabel wondered why she had shown mercy. Disgusting. I should have slain that boy where he stood for trespassing. But she thought of herself, and smiled.

Perhaps she had a soft spot for small people that were always underestimated.

***

Alexandre had grown incredibly bored of the ceremony, and was beginning to realize that it would take longer than he anticipated. The graduates had all been introduced, congratulated on stage, and had their biographies read aloud, but there was still the process of greeting them and making contracts. This was the first time Alexandre would have to greet them, given that he had not attended another graduation in the two or so years since his own. Following everyone else and their posse in the crowd, Alex turned to walk out of the seating area and into the holding room. It was there that Talia would await he and his father, and he thought that he might peruse the seventeen year olds in the room to find someone whose loyalty he could eventually earn. He didn’t recognize every graduate, which was promising.

In Nabius, most of the children who attended academies were of a high station by birth already, and were conditioned to survive through to the end. They formed the first type of child that was found in academies. Alexandre had no doubt that many of the second type were the ambitious children of common soldiers or even poor folk, desperate to change their lives and social standings through the fiery crucible that was combat. If they made it through the academy and graduated as an elite, they were either truly gifted or lucky.

Not being a noble graduate meant two things. The first was that they wouldn’t automatically have a parent or pre-assigned dignitary to report to for assignments soon after graduation. Secondly, they were often actively looking for “bosses,” and would be easy to pick up. This was crucial to the general’s son, given that he hadn’t hired any of his own men besides Carlin. He would need to change that, and soon. Alex noted that he and Carlin were close-combat fighters, so he thought that he should look out for ranged fighters to add to his personal guard. There were a few ranged fighters that graduated around the same time as Talia, so he would head in her direction first.

“Congratulations, sister.” He gave a genuine smile, and they gripped each other’s forearms with their hands. He would have hugged her, but he had not hugged anyone save Carlin in a long time, and that would have been embarrassing in front of so much of high Nabius. The warrior’s greeting would have to do.

“Thank you,” she said back with just as beautiful a smile. Leaning over towards him, she whispered a little loudly. “I can’t wait to get the hell out of here.” Alex was about to laugh, but he stilled when a serpentine voice and a sweet smell swept over him from behind.

“Congratulations Talia. You look beautiful on the night of your graduation. It must be a happy day for you.” Jezebel’s words were sultry and seductive, but filled with condescension and apathy. She had joined the circle flanked by representatives of her own, and both children of Darion and Ysabel frowned at her approach.

“Yes, bitch, it is.” The entire circle went silent, and Jezebel’s mouth dropped open in outright shock.

Alex almost roared with laughter at his sister’s reply, and Carlin and Mikhail looked dumbfounded. To hear a Nabian noble treat another so rudely was quite honestly shocking, and Alex knew that they weren’t aware of the history between the two cousins. Still, it was extremely improper, and Alex was trying not to laugh. That would make mollifying the situation later that much harder.

Jezebel straightened, smoothed her dress, and regained composure. “Well. I see that not much has changed with you.” She waited for a reply, but Talia just raised an eyebrow. “I’ll be staying with you for a while, so you should get used to me. You really do look lovely, Talia.” The statement was said in a way that meant Jezebel was sincere, but her comment on Talia’s beauty was probably just out of jealousy.

“And you look like the snake that you are.” Talia smiled sweetly, and Jezebel held her face in a neutral stance.

“I take that as a compliment, cousin.”

“I must have said it wrong.”

Alex chose then to step in, before either of the women got too angry. He spoke up, just a tad too loud. “Well then. It’s good to see you Jezebel. Perhaps we can continue this some other time. For now, I believe it would be wise to take a look through the non-noble graduates, don’t you?” Talia and Jezebel shot glares at each other, and all three members of the Di Coteau family walked off in separate directions.

In the end, Alex had been able to secure three graduates from the academy for his own men. The first’s name was Roark, who was a tall, slender Nabian with orange hair that seemed skilled with a bow. Alex had wanted him as one of his first picks, and was very pleased that the young man had chosen to follow him. In reality, Alex was worried that he wouldn’t be able to get any of the teens there to follow him because of his height and build. But his name had apparently done the trick, and there had been more than a few graduates that were interested in working for him. Residual whisperings still floated throughout Nabius about his stunt in the war games, and they seemed to pay off.

His other two recruits weren’t as exciting, but Alexandre was satisfied to get them anyway. One was a black haired wall of muscle named Barclay, who was almost as tall as Carlin and brandished a cudgel as his preferred weapon. He didn’t seem too refined, but that could be fixed. The third recruit that Alex had managed to pick up was a rather handsome lad by the name of Eamon, who preferred using the poleaxe in battle. He had slate-gray eyes and sandy hair, with a face that could stop men and women alike in their tracks. He seemed a little cocky, but Alex knew that he would have no problem undermining the man’s confidence. Spear and poleaxe wielders were almost defenseless once one got in close enough, and Alexandre was excellent at doing just that.

The sun had now set, and Alex looked around the room. Of the few graduates that had not been of noble birth, none were left for the claiming. Considering the amount of dignitaries there, Alex was surprised at himself. I did well. He noticed that his father had rejected most of the flock that had been eager to meet him, and they had ended up with various counts and magistrates. Jezebel had also picked up one graduate, a slender girl with straight black hair that came halfway down her neck and ran in a rigid line just above her brows. A poisoner, Alex knew. For some reason, Jezebel had always surrounded herself by those skilled in her own favorite craft.

Swiveling the other way, he saw Talia discard her black ceremonial dagger onto the floor behind her discreetly, pushing her thick, braided rope of hair over her shoulder onto the back while she did so. She was anxious to get home, and receive her first mission.

***

Back at the house, Alex started in his chair when he heard a high-pitched shriek of fury and disgust. Carlin was propped on Alexandre’s bed, already shirtless and awaiting his icy lover to join him in bed. When he heard the outburst, he also sat up amongst his pile of pillows. He looked over to Alex, who scooted out of his chair. What on earth? Alex stood and walked out of his room into the hall, and almost got bulldozed over by an irate Talia, whose loose pink hair gave the impression of fire.

“Talia… may I help you?”

“This is a DISGRACE. Help me by talking father out of the mission he has given me!”

Alex was worried, but this wasn’t the reaction he’d expected his sister to have.

Was it too dangerous? “Explain your mission to me.”

Five minutes later, Alex was in shock himself. General Di Coteau had given his daughter a low level mission, to be completed in the next six hours. Some count in Mullansburg had warranted his wrath, but that was no mission for Talia to complete as her first. First missions were meant to be significant or huge, reflective of a warrior’s ability. I captured an entire region for hell’s sake. Alex shook his head, and agreed with his sister’s anger.

By giving Talia such a novice level mission, Darion was essentially telling Nabius that his daughter was weak. Everyone knew that wasn’t true, but Alex couldn’t fathom his father’s reasoning. He was quite literally disgracing his own daughter and kin.

***

Listening in from around the corner, Jezebel laughed to herself. She turned before Talia had finished talking with her brother, and slinked back to her own room. She supposed she was the better of the two now.

Copyright © 2016 VVesley; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Alex has been being downplayed by his father already, so this is probably just the same for Talia. The Di Coteaus are extremely powerful already, so they're probably just trying not to stand out until they're in the right position to take over everything, or at least that's my guess. Awesome chapter, although I feel bad for Carlin 'cause he'll have to wait longer for Alex to come to bed now :lol:. Can't wait for the next one! :D

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Two updates in one day. You spoiled us this time. I agree with Faxity. There has to be a conspiracy afoot. I hoped for a time lapse from Luca to arrive near the ceremony but I'm glad that he's going to make his way to Alex. Hopefully they can teach him some skills.

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oh im soooo happy for luca. I only hope you can convincingly show us how he will escape a carriage surrounded by soldiers...unless it is sent to Mikhail or somebody who will listen and then stab or it is received by the family....he can jump up like from a cake! ....it will be a bit harder to get out than in I suppose. I can't wait to see alexander's surprise when he gets to the house...hopefully safely. that will be a rough trip though. How long does it take for a group to get there...how will he do it? food, bathroom, etc...dangerous trip. too bad he didn't keep that knife.

ysabella is a real fun character. I love how the mention of the family she is away from makes her crazy act up...yet you don't know if that is a protective instinct or is it the reminder she's not there? I find I like her strangely.

I feel so badly for Talia....what the fuck is up with the general? Is this part of whatever plan he has for Alex? does he need her free to go with him? is it payback for not being married off. or is it his anger at his wife and his inability to deal with her that is letting him take it out on his daughter who is apparently like her, minus some crazy. this is like cutting her hand off in this society to treat her this way. I'd like to think his wife would come back and slice his balls off with her claws for what he's doing, but it will still be a while before she can. Damn!

Really, I like Talia and it seems that even if she goes and captures a bigger kingdom for the nation, she still will have this black eye. What does he have to gain by disgracing his own blood? it seems like it goes against the whole family. I hope Alex goes in angry and gets something out of his father. Esp, since I don't want to see that little witch cousin best her. And why aren't the family members a bit more worried about her? They know that family connection mean nothing in this society. brothers or not, the General must worry about the threat of secrets going back to them.

I'd love it if we could get a better idea of what the general is like, like we have gotten a few glimpses of his wife. It seems like even the kids barely know him, but with how much control he has over their lives, it would be nice to get a better look at who he is and what drives him from interactions between him and someone else, esp with relation to his kids.

I kinda hate to have these new characters, Alex's new guards, thrown in when things were just starting to heat up with the boys. I guess they'll still have time together, but they'll be busy training the others and such.

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On 01/28/2015 01:16 PM, faxity said:
Alex has been being downplayed by his father already, so this is probably just the same for Talia. The Di Coteaus are extremely powerful already, so they're probably just trying not to stand out until they're in the right position to take over everything, or at least that's my guess. Awesome chapter, although I feel bad for Carlin 'cause he'll have to wait longer for Alex to come to bed now :lol:. Can't wait for the next one! :D
Hehe you'll have to see :P And thank you!!!! I'll try to get it up relatively quickly!
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On 01/28/2015 01:32 PM, Rebelghost85 said:
Two updates in one day. You spoiled us this time. I agree with Faxity. There has to be a conspiracy afoot. I hoped for a time lapse from Luca to arrive near the ceremony but I'm glad that he's going to make his way to Alex. Hopefully they can teach him some skills.
Aw thanks! You'll have to see! :)
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On 01/28/2015 06:43 PM, Cannd said:
oh im soooo happy for luca. I only hope you can convincingly show us how he will escape a carriage surrounded by soldiers...unless it is sent to Mikhail or somebody who will listen and then stab or it is received by the family....he can jump up like from a cake! ....it will be a bit harder to get out than in I suppose. I can't wait to see alexander's surprise when he gets to the house...hopefully safely. that will be a rough trip though. How long does it take for a group to get there...how will he do it? food, bathroom, etc...dangerous trip. too bad he didn't keep that knife.

ysabella is a real fun character. I love how the mention of the family she is away from makes her crazy act up...yet you don't know if that is a protective instinct or is it the reminder she's not there? I find I like her strangely.

I feel so badly for Talia....what the fuck is up with the general? Is this part of whatever plan he has for Alex? does he need her free to go with him? is it payback for not being married off. or is it his anger at his wife and his inability to deal with her that is letting him take it out on his daughter who is apparently like her, minus some crazy. this is like cutting her hand off in this society to treat her this way. I'd like to think his wife would come back and slice his balls off with her claws for what he's doing, but it will still be a while before she can. Damn!

Really, I like Talia and it seems that even if she goes and captures a bigger kingdom for the nation, she still will have this black eye. What does he have to gain by disgracing his own blood? it seems like it goes against the whole family. I hope Alex goes in angry and gets something out of his father. Esp, since I don't want to see that little witch cousin best her. And why aren't the family members a bit more worried about her? They know that family connection mean nothing in this society. brothers or not, the General must worry about the threat of secrets going back to them.

I'd love it if we could get a better idea of what the general is like, like we have gotten a few glimpses of his wife. It seems like even the kids barely know him, but with how much control he has over their lives, it would be nice to get a better look at who he is and what drives him from interactions between him and someone else, esp with relation to his kids.

I kinda hate to have these new characters, Alex's new guards, thrown in when things were just starting to heat up with the boys. I guess they'll still have time together, but they'll be busy training the others and such.

Haha there are a lot of ups and downs still to come for the two, and the new characters are just another part of that. I'm not sure that I'm going to do a piece from the general's perspective, but we'll have to see I guess. Hopefully you understand why in the next few chapters! Thanks for the review as well! :)
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Perhaps she had a soft spot for small people that were always underestimated.

 

Ha, ha! Alex would be so pissed by that! Could Ysabel have a heart after all? Good for Luca to stand up to her. Can't wait to read Alex's reaction when he shows up.

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On 01/29/2015 07:45 AM, Puppilull said:
Perhaps she had a soft spot for small people that were always underestimated.

 

Ha, ha! Alex would be so pissed by that! Could Ysabel have a heart after all? Good for Luca to stand up to her. Can't wait to read Alex's reaction when he shows up.

Hehe… you'll have to see what happens there. And as to the question of whether or not Ysabel has a heart… I'm not sure myself! I think she has a lot of crazy to sort through first!
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That was quite an interesting chapter. Firstly, big sigh of relief for Luca. He survived the demon Di Coteau and may yet make it to Alex and hopefully safety. Speaking of, interesting his first thoughts would be to flee to Alex and not try to get back to his own country. 

I just loved it when Talia greeted Jezebel, not one to mix words I think there's no doubt as to how she feels about her cousin. Finally, with so many graduates from the various academies, to receive a high profile mission first up would be more a bonus than an automatic. There probably wouldn't be that many high value targets to go around so her assignment may seem like a slight but could also be the best available at the time.

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