Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language and violence.
The walk back to the house was tense. Torryn wasn’t just angry, he was furious. The moment they’d entered the old run down town house at the centre of Razor territory he’d stormed right through the entrance hall and into the large room in the back that served as his office. She knew enough to know he expected her to follow him but she wasn’t exactly in a rush to go deal with his moods on her own. One look at Larken and Hale told her that there was no way either of them were coming with her.
“You shouldn’t keep him waiting” Larken prodded after a long moment where she just stared at the double doors at the end of the hallway that seemed to be taunting her with whatever fate awaited her.
“I know” She sighed loudly staring at the doors for just a little longer before she strode forward trying not to wince at the spasm of pain that went down her side.
She didn’t bother knocking, he’d wanted her to follow him or he wouldn’t have left one of the doors open for her. Stepping inside she shut it quietly behind her, turning back to face him. Not that he was paying her any attention, no, he was far too busy fixing himself a drink from the decanter on the opposite side of the office that contained some dark brown liquid.
Torryn’s office was the only room in the entire house that could lay claim to looking like it belonged in the original elegant townhouse it had once been. He’d done it all himself she knew, bits and pieces he’d picked up all over the place. Some of it had come straight from the market place, like the simple bronze statue on the oak desk , others, like the maroon carpet underfoot and the majority of the furniture, had been obtained by more questionable means. She was absolutely certain that half the books on the bookshelves that lined the room from floor to ceiling were worth more than the entire building put together, and they certainly weren’t within Torryn’s budget.
“Look I get it, I screwed up” She finally admitted, the silence getting just a little too much for her. “But if you’re just going to give me the silent treatment until I break down and babble and, you know I will, can it wait until tomorrow?”
“Sit down Aidene” His voice was hard, less an offer than an order. One she had no other option but to obey. He waited until she took the armchair opposite the old oak desk before he turned to face her, resting back against that same desk just staring at her. It made her uncomfortable enough that she shifted uncertainly in her seat. “What happened, you’re never this sloppy”
“Emric happened” Aidene replied dropping back into her seat, all traces of humour leaving her voice just by saying his name. Today had scared her far more than she was willing to tell him. “I’d been at the docks for hours by the time he turned up, their shipment was weapons by the way, knives, swords, maces you name it they had it. They’re definitely gearing up for something”
Her voice got scratchy towards the end, she was in desperate need of a drink before she finished this conversation. Torryn didn’t say anything as he rose to his feet again filling a glass with water from the other decanter on that tray before he handed it to her. He waited until she’d taken a drink before he spoke again. “What went wrong?”
“What didn’t” She muttered letting out a humourless laugh, “I know how to do my job, you know I do. I know to get out as soon as I spot someone I know. I’m good at spotting familiar faces in crowds but I didn’t spot him. He’d come in a black out car, I’d noticed it, I’d watched it waiting for someone to step out but they never did. He radioed one of his men and the next thing I know I’m cornered on all sides and Emric’s strolling towards me like he’s got all the time in the world. But you know Damnation aren’t the brightest sparks, I got away, they gave chase and well, you saw how it ended up”
“They gave chase?” Torryn asked, not quite a question but she knew what he was getting at.
“I lost most of them to the cobblestones in the older parts of the city. The other two got trapped in the crowds of the market but Emric? He’s run these streets longer than I have, he knows them just as well if not better” She shrugged her shoulders as if that explained it all. Apparently it didn’t.
“That’s it?” There had only ever been a handful of times she’d ever heard Torryn raise his voice and every single one of those times had terrified her enough that she never wanted to hear it again. It was all she could do not to freeze up completely as he yelled at her. “You nearly died today and all you can come up with is he knows the streets as well as you do!”
“Oh come on” She rolled her eyes at him, “It’s not like it’s the first time someone’s tried to kill me. Hell, it’s not even the first time Emric’s tried to kill me!”
“It’s not even the first time this week!” He roared at her, there was no hiding the flinch this time. He undoubtedly noticed it because the next time he spoke his voice was at least a reasonable volume, even if it was simmering with rage. “Hale says you’re being reckless, making stupid decisions that you know you shouldn’t be making”
“So what, Hale’s spying on me now?” She spat, crossing her arms over her chest like a petulant child.
“Yes” She hadn’t expected him to admit it, she’d expected him to gloss over it again like he had earlier but to hear him actually admit that Hale was spying on her? That he’d asked him to spy on her? It was enough that a twinge of guilt flashed through her. “Of course he is when you’re doing stupid shit. Count yourself lucky Aidene, you know if you were anyone else you’d be out on their ass long before now.”
“So why don’t you then!” She snapped, the guilt replaced very quickly by a flash of anger. How dare he think he was giving her special treatment, she’d worked hard for where she’d gotten. He might have taken the chance on her in the first place but no one could say she hadn’t done her share of dirty work for him.
“And have Larken go trailing off after you, no thank you” He snapped right back, he wasn’t about to deal with her hissy fit. At the slightly surprised look on her face he let out a loud sigh, “Christ Aidene you don’t make anything easy do you? You know exactly why I won’t kick you out”
It was true, she knew what Larken was like. She knew he wouldn’t let her go off into the world on her own, especially when she was making all sorts of stupid decisions at the moment. And he’d never forgive Torryn for throwing her out either, not after everything.
“If Mariela hadn’t heard he was after you and came running for us, I’m not so sure you’d even be here to have this conversation with” Torryn admitted when she didn’t say anything in reply. “We can’t keep running to the rescue everytime you mess up”
She opened her mouth to defend herself but nothing came out, she had nothing to say in her defence. As much as she’d gotten away from Emric she had no idea how it would have ended, and she couldn’t quite get the image of Emric’s grinning face out of her head. She had no snappy reply, no angry retort so all she said instead was a quiet little “I know”
“Get someone to check you out, I don’t know who’s still about but Larken’s bound to be somewhere” Torryn decided pushing off from the desk, retrieving her glass from where she’d put it on the little table beside her before putting it to the side beside his. “I want a full report tomorrow. You’re going to have to lay low for a while anyway, Emric’s going to be on the hunt for you”
She gave a nod of her head, the only sign she gave that she’d heard him. Rising up onto unsteady feet she made it to the door before she hesitated, her hand on the partially open door.
“Torryn?” She turned back to face him feeling a lot more vulnerable than she’d ever wanted to in front of him. He glanced up at her from his desk absolutely, a completely blank expression on his face. “Thank you”
She didn’t wait for a reply, didn’t even really expect one, before she disappeared out of the office closing the door behind her with a soft click.
It was a long climb to her room on the third floor of the house. It was the only time she’d ever truly hated how far away her room was from everything given how much she just really wanted to collapse into her bed and sleep. But by the time she’d made her way to the Razors it was the only room left.
It wasn’t a particularly big town house, only four rooms instead of six like the larger ones had. Most of the Razors resided elsewhere with the exception of Torryn, Larken and herself who’d had absolutely nowhere else to go. When Torryn had taken over the Razors he’d moved into the main room on the first floor of the building, the one the previous leader had inhabited. It had left three further rooms all of which had been occupied at the time. Larken had moved in when he’d been promoted to second. After that, well. Aidene had managed three nights on the streets before she’d bumped into Larken and Torryn looking more than a little worse for wear. She’d taken the couch up until Hale had decided he’d had quite enough of living in as he put it a revolving door of people and had gotten his own place just a little away. She’d taken his room and when the final occupant of the house disappeared, they’d left it empty. Just in case anyone else had the need for it.
Pushing open the door on the right hand side of the third floor she barely even blinked at Larken sitting in the old rundown armchair beside the window in her room flipping through a book she knew he had no intention of reading.
“Well it’s official” She declared flopping down into the single bed they’d crammed into the attic room she called home. “Torryn hates me. Him and Hale both”
“He doesn’t hate you” Larken rolled his eyes not bothering to look up from the book in his hands. “Well, Hale maybe but Torryn doesn’t”
“Oh he definitely does” She insisted pushing herself up onto her elbows so she was looking at him. “I think the words complete and utter screw up probably flashed through his head more than once today. Oh and did you know he’s had Hale spy on me?”
Larken had never been very good at hiding his emotions, it was why they’d always made sure to keep him very far away from the card tables. The guilt was written all over his face.
“You knew?” She asked incredulously not quite believing he hadn’t even given her the courtesy of a heads up.
“You’ve got to understand Aidene your decisions lately have been questionable” He started off slowly “We were just worried”
“Oh fantastic” She snapped flopping back onto her bed with an angry huff.
“Don’t be like that” Larken sighed, “You’d have done the exact same thing if it was me running around leaping off buildings like I had nine lives”
“That was one time” She muttered sourly, but they both knew he was right.
“If it helps if Torryn really hated you you wouldn’t still be here” Larken tried, placing the book on the table beside him. “What did he say?”
“He just wanted to know what happened” She shrugged her shoulders as she finally undid the hair tie that had kept her long brown hair out of her face for the day, wincing as she came in contact with a matted portion of hair that was undoubtedly coated with blood, a simple touch to the back of her head confirmed it. “And then he got mad but I think it was mostly just that I got myself caught”
“What did happen?” Larken asked leaning slightly forward in the seat, his eyes bright with interest and worry. Despite the pair of them looking almost identical in features that one look was so very different from any Torryn had ever given her. Larken, despite all their years on the street, still had hope in his eyes. That had died in Torryn years ago. She visibly hesitated trying to decide exactly what to tell him.
“Torryn asked me to check out the docks for a rumoured shipment” She finally decided. “Emric turned up in a black our car and I didn’t realise until they had me cornered. I ran, they gave chase, managed to lose most of them along the way but Emric just wouldn’t give up”
“I noticed” Larken admitted the question hanging in his voice. “He really doesn’t like you”
“Correction” She replied a she pushed herself up into a sitting position, moving to untie her trainers and slip them from her feet. “Emric has never liked me”
“Yeah well, you do like to make him look stupid” Larken pointed out. “I can’t fully blame him for wanting to throttle you, I do too sometimes”
“Hilarious” She muttered tossing a shoe in his direction, he easily caught it with nothing more than a gentle laugh. It faded slightly as he watched her move about the room with much less fluidity than she usually managed.
“How’s the ribs?” He asked as she winced for what must have been the twentieth time since she’d entered the room.
“Hopefully just bruised” She replied dumping her shoes in the corner beside her cupboard straightening back up to grab a fresh set of clothes from inside that might make her look slightly less like she’d been dragged through a hedge backwards.
“Have you had them checked out yet?” The accusatory tone to his voice came from years of knowing she avoided healers at all costs.
“I figured I should look a bit more presentable first” She waved the clothing in his general direction, an outright lie and they both knew it. She’d never had any intentions of going in search of a healer.
“Hop up on the bed and I’ll take a look” Larken offered already rising to his feet.
“I’m fine Larken” She insisted
“Humour me” He replied sharply staring her down. “Besides, it’ll save you a trip when it turns out you’re not alright”
She opened her mouth to argue but one look at his face had her shutting her mouth, she knew better than to argue with him when he was in that sort of mood. So instead she dumped the clothes on the chair he’d vacated taking a seat on the bed where she pulled her shirt up over her head. It was the string of curses that he let out that had her finally looking down.
Her side was a mess of blacks and blues all centred around her ribs. From the dark colours of it, if she had to guess it was probably more than just bruised. But it wasn’t even that that Larken was staring at, he tried to concentrate on just that but every now and then his gaze would dart just a little further up. To her neck where a single shallow cut stretched the width of it.
He didn’t say anything as he stepped forward prodding gently at the forming bruises on her side, a furious look on his face.
“How bad is it” She finally asked, anything to get rid of that look on his face.
“It’s more than just a couple of bruised ribs” He replied his tone just a little sharper than she was used to. “Remind me if I ever see Emric again to smash his face in”
“Larken…” She started hating how quickly he’d gone from joking around to violence. It wasn’t worth it, not for her.
“I can’t do much about your neck” He admitted cutting her off before she could say something. “You’re going to be sporting bruises for a while but let’s see what we can do about the ribs”
He didn’t wait for her to confirm anything before his cold hand was pressing against her side earning a squeal of surprise from her.
“Baby” He muttered, a slight smile returning to his face replacing the dark look she hated seeing on his face.
“Your hands are cold!” She hissed at him, he ignored her a slight look of concentration making it’s way onto his face. Her gaze dropped down to where his hands were still pressed into her side, glowing white with healing magic.
It still amazed her, healing magic. Well, magic in general. It was seen so little in the city now that it always surprised her when it occurred. She knew it had once been everywhere, everyone had possessed it but now? Over the years people had stopped using it. There hadn’t been much point when the best their magic could do was hang out some washing or turn the cooker on especially not when it was unpredictable in those with no training, and unless you could afford proper training you never learnt. The magic became dormant, unable to be passed onto the next generation.
Torryn and Larken had been lucky. Their mother had been a healer, she’d provided them with just enough training as children that their power had shown through in the children’s home that the three of them had grown up in. The home had seen it for what it was, a chance to get ahead, and had paid for the two of them to attend lessons. It was such a rare gift that within a year of training they were attending on scholarships.
The faculty of the school were probably rolling in their graves with how they’d chosen to use their gift.
Aidene on the other hand, hadn’t been so lucky. She’d been only four when she’d been left on the step of the children’s home, she could barely remember a time before it. But she knew at least one of her parents had used their gift regularly enough it had passed onto her, it just wasn’t as helpful a gift as the Belfer’s gift was. Her magic liked to display itself in frantic bursts typically when her emotions were high like they had been today, she was under no suspicions that the only reason she’d had the strength to push Emric off of her was because of her magic.
But for the most part magic was a thing of the past. It resided in it’s original form only in the twelve families responsible for the control of the world, they used it like they had it to spare. It was probably why they were the only ones that still held the original elemental magic that all magic had been born as.
The white light heated his hands quickly, she was pretty sure he’d done that on purpose just so she wouldn’t complain again.
“How does it feel?” He asked a moment later, the light disappearing from his hands as he withdrew the magic.
“Much better” She admitted grudgingly, it hadn’t been until he’d fixed her ribs that she’d realised quite how difficult it had become to breathe. “Thank you”
“Don’t worry about it” He replied taking a step away from her, he seemed to hesitate before he spoke again “You need to be more careful you know, one of these days, one of these you might not be so lucky”
“I know” She confirmed quietly, and she did. She really really did, if he’d asked her why she was making all of these stupid choices lately she wouldn’t have an answer for him, not one that made sense anyway. She didn’t know why she was doing it because she did know they were stupid.
“I’ll let you get changed” He decided seemingly satisfied by her answer. “Give a shout if you need anything”
He didn’t wait around for a reply before he stepped out of the door, she listened to his footfalls as he made his way back down the stairs to his own room, only then did she collect her clothes making her way across the hallway to the bathroom to try and get the worst of the muck and blood off of her.