Chapter 94: Cydari

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It was a failure in virtue that created the atmosphere of the Eight, and a failure in virtue that they wish to perpetuate. They love vice, and love moral drudgery. The seem to thrive on debauchery and licentiousness.  It sickens me, to see what the Eight wanted for man to become. The Kai'Draen were signs, reduced to acting like carnal animals, unfeeling, uncivilized. 

-The Necromancer's Notes, Vol. 6, Chapter 4, History Wing 

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Skaria had been told to knock on a postern door, a servant's entrance. That, however, was a stupid thing to do. She wasn't some maid Lord Solstael could order around. She'd march through the front door when she felt like it, and in this case, she felt like it now. 

So, she adjusted the cloak around her shoulders, fixed a scowl on her face (which wasn't hard to do; she had plenty of practice), and shoved the grand doors of Solstael Manor open. 

She marched through the atrium with a fierce determination, a fire in her eyes that made anyone in her way flinch and get out of her way. It could have also been the half-dozen swords strapped to her back, but Skaria suspected it was a combination of those two things. 

She entered the great hall and brushed off a maid who asked if she could guide Skaria to the fencing salon, but Skaria wanted to find her own bloody way, and she didn't need someone else to help her with something as simple as finding directions. 

"So, Aaeron, you didn't introduce me to this lady," a voice said behind her. 

She whirled about. There, emerging from a darker hallway like some pale specter, was one of the noblemen. She had heard of him, knew enough about his looks to recognize, but she had never had the displeasure of meeting Lord Cydari until today. 

His blue eyes had a mischievous glint in them, but not the joyful mischief of a prankster. These had an edge to them, the eyes of someone wondering what he could do to someone and get away with. His skin had wrinkled like crumpled parchment, and his hair had turned white as the snow that still clung to Skaria's boots. He was lanky, tall, and had a strange swagger to him, a smug overconfidence that made him seem like a bit of a braggart. Given that he was supposed to be a pathological womanizer, that was to be expected. 

"Yes, well, Lord Cydari, she's a new addition to the staff. Not actually a member of the household, really, an outsider I contracted to teach my daughter self-defense," Lord Solstael explained. 

"I see," Lord Cydari said. "Well, young lady, what's your sweet name?" 

Skaria gave him a flat glare. "It's none of your business what my bloody sweet name is, thank you very much," she spat out. "If you'll excuse me, I must be going. I have a student that needs instruction on how not to be abducted, and I need to be doing more important things than exchanging pleasantries with people like you." She went to walk past him. 

He grabbed her. He grabbed her. Skaria turned, faced Lord Cydari. "Now, miss, that's just uncordial. I'm sure if you spend more time with me," he said, his voice slowly dropping to what he attempted to make a husky whisper, "that I can be very, very charming." He moved closer to her. 

You should have taken the servant's entrance, Lord Solstael mouthed at her from behind Lord Cydari. That explained it. This was the only time she had been instructed to use the postern gate, to enter in discreetly. It had been to make sure she didn't run into this idiot. 

"Lord Cydari, while you happen to be convinced of your charm, I can say with complete certainty you're not nearly as charming as you think," she snapped. Anger bubbled and boiled in her veins. "Now, do me a wonderful favor and get your bloody hands off me. Unless, of course, you have fifteen minutes for something." 

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