|Posted on January 19, 2012 at 7:15 AM|
also known as Red Snake, Queen of Hearts, Damned Spot or Renard
"You are your greatest enemy. Do not give in to temptation, passion or greed." –Continental Tarot
The air is thick with the fragrance of Corona tobacco. Illuminated by a rickety desk lamp is an ornate wooden desk, done up in red silk and piled high with compasses, eyeglasses and fading documents. Time has been unkind to the man who sits here with furrowed brow – he is only twenty-two, but already his face is clouding with age. Under the dim light, he studies an officious report with a kind of dominating prescience, contemplating his duties beneath a majestic map of the known world, all while fingering a wooden pipe in his pale hands.
There is a crack of light from the door. A shadow falls.
"I have explained the evils of smoking to you, brother," a woman's voice chides gently.
"It helps me think," the man replies, scarcely turning away from his desk.
"I don't believe that for a second."
"Believe what you will. Don't waste my time. There is work to be done."
The woman smiles. "You never did stop rubbing it in my face that you were the heir to the Iron Throne."
The young prince says nothing. His visitor sighs.
She takes her seat before him, setting two intricately carved swords to one side, adjusting a few errant locks of crimson hair. She wears the full battle armor of a female Loyalist blademaster, but with the silver crest on her helm which marks her as a noble of the Ferricéan kingdom; even in the yellowing desk-lamp light, she is beautiful.
There is silence for a moment. The prince has not looked up from the typewritten report on the table. Finally he pushes it aside, takes a contemplative puff from his pipe, and closes his eyes.
"Why the sudden visit, Elyn?"
"The usual. The Azukh-Macois campaign's drawn to a close, and I'm as glad as any fellow on the front lines to return to my home and family. Not even I can fight without rest."
The prince raises an eyebrow. "Yes, but you don't usually arrive at Castle Eisenhart until you've regaled every watering hole in the county."
The woman groans. "Don't judge me."
"You don't usually speak to me without removing your helm, either." Prince Eltore stretches in his seat, then fixes his sister with a critical eye. "Is something the matter?"
The prince stands from his desk. "I have my doubts."
The room has suddenly grown still. The curtain flutters, and the large double doors creak closed.
"Yes, sister, there is definitely something different about you today. Your mannerisms are off. There is something strange in the tone of your voice. The Elyn I know would not so casually throw aside her weapons. I don't know who you are or who you're working for, but you are not my sister."
The woman does something unexpected then. She begins to laugh. Hers is a cold, unpleasant laugh which sends shivers down the spine and echos between the musty walls of the office. It is not the laugh of Lady Elyn Kreuz Eisenhart.
"You are quick, Prince Eltore. But it doesn't matter what you do now."
From beneath her armor, she draws a blade – one decorated in the image of a coiling serpent.
Commander – Order
You need only a single unit in your opponent's deployment zone to win by capture.
~To be continued~