Warlord Kappu

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General Kutantra and five warriors surrounded us as we were walked down a windowed corridor. The walls were sandstone and the floors polished granite, the windows lined the wall to our left and the wall to the right was filled with tapestries and paintings.

My bones were still aching and though my headache had calmed, it still lingered in the back of my head. Suruli kept giving me worried glances, and Nisvārtha was a blank, stone wall. Something in his violet eyes had gone out, making him look defeated and empty. I was trying not to let that scare me.

We finally reached a set of large doors, in front of which stood two guards, both tall, both holding big swords, and both wearing identical expressions of "Don't fuck with me."

I swallowed hard as they moved aside for the General and opened the doors, allowing us to pass through, into a large, circular room.

The room wasn't that big, but it was round, with a wide red carpet leading up to a raised dais on which sat a fancy thone. In this throne sat a very skinny, middle aged Indian man dressed like Śarat, but far fancier. He was wearing a loose, long sleeve shirt lined in gold, and into loose pants that closed tight at his ankles and had a wide waistband around his midsection. The theme seemed to be white with gold accents, but around his waist and over his shoulder was a decorative red and gold wrap, tying in nicely with the necklaces, bracelets, and rings that encrusted his neck, wrists and fingers. His hair was black and oiled back into a ponytail at the nape of his neck. His slit-pupiled, reptilian eyes were a pale green color, his lips were thin, and his eyebrows perfectly shaped.

Sitting on a cushion by his feet was a young woman who looked around Havala's age. She was wearing a white and gold sarong, her copper arms exposed, gold jewelry adorning her arms and wrists, and sheer, gold cloth covering most of her long black hair. Her face was the spitting image of the man on the throne, but her eyes were a pale blue, her lips were fuller, and her skin was a shade darker.

"Greetings, Warlord Kappu." Nisvārtha said curtly, looking at the man in the throne.

Warlord Kappu's eyebrows raised by a hair, "Who are you?"

"My name is Nisvārtha Shade, Leader of Clan Maretu, and I have a few things to discuss with you." He glanced at the warriors flanking us. "In private."

Kappu sighed and flicked his fingers at the men, "Kantantra, stay. The rest of you, leave."

Once the warriors were gone, Kappu steepled his bejeweled fingers under his chin. "I have never heard of you or your clan."

"We are fairly new and do not get enough publicity to be known." Nisvārtha replied smoothly. "My business here concerns this young fledgling wyrm here, Kendra McLane." He gestured to me. "She was found by my clan, lost, confused, and ignorant beyond belief. I bring her here before you in hopes that you would have a place for her in your clan."

He studied me for a moment. "Come forward, child," he ordered.

I walked closer to the Warlord, my headache growing worse with each step. I was suddenly very aware of how I must look right now. Filthy, hair in a messy braid, my face covered with sweat and grime.

"Where is your twin?" he asked.

I looked up at him. "My what?"

"Your twin. All wyrms are hatched with a twin. Identical and permanently linked to each other. Even my daughter here, Urisu,"-he patted the head of the woman at his feet-"has a twin." His gaze fell on me again. "So where is yours?"

I rubbed at my face. "I don't think I have one." I said.

"You would know if you had one. No thinking should be necessary." He sighed, "You can't possibly be a wyrm." He waved his hand at us. "You may go."

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