Chapter 104: The Courier's Duty

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Tactical analysis of our organization's operations indicate that the weakest link in information transfer chain is when information is being transferred from one agent to another. The Eight have different ideas on torture, but they're all open to eavesdropping or mail interception.

-The Necromancer's Notes, Tactics and Stratagems


This time, Skaria knew that lecher was at Lord Solstael's home. His carriage, with his livery, waited outside, collecting vagrant snowflakes. Great. Hopefully, the man could keep his hands to himself, and not get a kick in the teeth. However, Skaria doubted that.

So, instead of barging through the front doors, she escaped the cold through the side door, seeing as she didn't want to start an incident by assaulting Lord Cydari. Glaring at a few servants, who seemed startled by the mercenary barging through, she found her own way to the fencing salon. Maids and butlers passed by her as her she navigated the halls. This place was too posh, too pretty for Skaria's liking. 

Light streamed through the ornate windows, through the beautiful stained glass that seemed more at home in a cathedral than in a residential manor, even one belonging to a lord. 

She turned, lost again. This manor was confusing to the extreme, and even though she had visited a few times, Skaria still didn't get the layout. The halls, with their old paintings and glittering tapestries, all seemed to blend together after a few turns. She had been guided through a few times, but apparently not enough to get her through. 

"Lost?" a familiar voice asked. Skaria whirled around to find Kyra smiling at her. "I told you we were going to meet by the back door. But you had to go try and find your way alone." 

"How did you find me in this bloody maze?" Skaria asked. 

"One of the maids said you turned the wrong way." Kyra shrugged. "It wasn't that hard after that." 

"Why do you have so many bloody rooms?" Skaria complained. 

"I don't know. Some great-great-grancestor had to outdo another noble house's manor. I think that's the story." She paused, looking around. "Any news from him?" 

"You mean tall, shiny, and scaly?" Skaria asked. "As a matter of fact, yes." Kyra's face lit up. "Relax. You're going to have your fencing lesson first. I don't want you too distracted during your training." Kyra's face soured, but she didn't voice any complaint. 

She had already put on her fencing armor, all but the helmet, but as they walked through the halls, she saw part of it slip off. That woman hadn't put it on right. Of course she didn't. That made two fools, then. 

They arrived at the fencing salon after Kyra backtracked Skaria's path. There, Skaria stopped Kyra. "Your armor's too loose." Kyra grumbled, tightened it, and then looked expectantly at Skaria. "And no, I'm not going to tell you until the lesson's over." Kyra grumbled at that, but in a good-natured way. 

Kyra adjusted her armor, and Skaria handed her a practice sword. "Throw your helmet on, and warm up," she ordered. Skaria, meanwhile, began to pull her own armor on. As Kyra stretched, Skaria slipped on the heavy padded outfit, before throwing on the mask. 

Kyra finished her stretching, and Skaria assumed a stance. "Guard up!" she ordered, and Kyra assumed a different stance,  sword held back, poised to strike, other arm raised, back of the hand facing Skaria. That stance was meant to be used with a buckler or a heavy vambrace or gauntlet. "Alright, miss, if you're going to use that stance, put this on." She walked over to her bag and tossed a buckler, a small shield the size of a plate, at Kyra. 

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