Gremlaw was beginning to feel the heat of anger well up in his chest as he watched this fake sister help his mother to bed. On her return, the youth leaped from the chair he sat in and grasped her by the throat,
“Who are you and what have you done to my mother?” He hissed into her shocked face. Gremlaw had both hands around the woman’s neck which made it impossible for her to answer. Instead, she reached into a hidden pocket within her clothes and pulled out a small, stoppered bottle, waving it before Gremlaw’s wide eyes. The youth snatched the bottle and released the woman, “What’s this?”
Choking from the near throttling, the woman whispered,
“Antidote.” Cold fear ran through Gremlaw at these words.
“Antidote for what,” he asked, fixing her with a glare,
“The poison which even now, courses through your mother’s veins.” Gremlaw had a nasty suspicion what was occurring here and asked,
“Do you by any chance know the name DeLarouge?” The nasty grin which spread across the woman’s visage was all the answer he required. Gremlaw sighed, sensing the trap snap shut around him,
“And where do I find the good Duke?” He asked the imposter. She looked surprised and Gremlaw added, “Even a common thief like me has heard of the noble house of DeLarouge.”
Duke Wattiern DeLarouge sat comfortably before Gremlaw, picking at the plates of food on the table between them.
“Help yourself,” he stated in a cultured voice. Gremlaw did not move, “I must apologize for the methods we employed to get you here but it is vital to the security of the kingdom you cooperate.” Receiving no reply, DeLarouge continued, “As you must know, our neighbours the Empire of Kavash have been attempting to invade us for decades.” DeLarouge paused for a response, “However, their previous attempts have been military in nature. This has changed.” The Duke looked at Gremlaw, “I will have your mother slaughtered!” He shouted. Gremlaw danced to his feet and almost managed to lay a hand on the Duke before guards restrained him.
“So you can react,” DeLarouge stated, “I was beginning to think you had passed out. Still. We believe agents from Kavash are promoting the spread and use of a newly created narcotic known as Forever.
“Forever is almost instantly addictive and so far, we have no information anyone has been weaned from the drug. Users have their will drained, they become listless and ineffectual, their single goal to obtain more Forever.” DeLarouge paused, “We have known about this drug for some time, however, there have been some instances of it being used by members of the military who protect our borders from Kavash.” One of Gremlaw’s eyebrows raised as the kingdom’s army was known for its harsh discipline and harsher punishments for breaches of it.
“Is it Forever my supposed sister has poisoned my mother with?” The young man asked, DeLarouge looked away before shaking his head. The Duke gestured to one of the guards who called someone beyond the door.
“This is Dron,” DeLarouge introduced a bulky man who leaned against the wall, arms folded, staring at Gremlaw, “He is responsible for training our agents in combat techniques.” The second newcomer was encased in a brown, hooded robe which concealed everything but a chin and lower lip from prying eyes, “This is Mi-Zhu-Quan,” DeLarouge said, “She defected from the Empire some years ago and trains agents in the art of the detection of magic.” Gremlaw looked skeptical as magic remained a fairytale in the kingdom.