“The Emperor will pay for what he has done to me!” Mar-Tshi-Srin declared to Gremlaw as she led him through the maze of corridors and hallways which made up the Imperial Palace.
“We would be better off just getting away from here,” Gremlaw suggested, “if you are coming with me, that is?” He added. The young woman turned to look up at him,
“I would like to,” she said in a small voice, “I want to meet my mother but I cannot allow his crimes against my family and myself to go unpunished.” Gremlaw stumbled as they entered a set of rooms and she helped him to sit on a pile of cushions. “This is my suite,” Mar-Tshi-Srin told him, “I will find you something to wear.” Gremlaw looked down at himself and realized he only wore a pair of thin trousers and had nothing on his feet.
The Lavashian woman returned a few minutes later with a bundle of assorted cloth, “These belong to my manservant, he will not miss them.” She handed the bundle, which included a pair of supple boots, to Gremlaw, “Will you need assistance to dress?” She asked. Gremlaw gave her a long stare and she turned away, shrugging.
Gremlaw wrapped himself in the voluminous clothing which consisted of a long, cloak like garment with sleeves and a deep hood he drew over himself to hide his features. The boots felt like they had been made for his feet in spite of the fact the rest of the clothes were enormous on his smaller frame.
“Follow along behind me and remain quiet,” Mar-Tshi-Srin instructed Gremlaw as she handed him a three foot long katana in a scabbard, “Conceal this beneath your robe and show no one,” she cautioned, “You are supposed to be my acolyte and therefore should be ignored.”
Gremlaw did as he was told as the brown robed Lavashian woman preceded him through the labyrinthine Palace towards, Gremlaw hoped, some kind of exit. With a sense of dismay, Gremlaw came to understand he was being led into the heart of the place, towards the Emperor.
The pair arrived at a door flanked by two tall men holding evil looking halberds with two foot long, curved blades on the tops. Mar-Tshi-Srin stood before the two men, who looked down at her,
“I will see the Emperor.” She spoke in Lavashian and in a commanding tone.
“The Light of Heaven is not to be disturbed.” One of the men said. Rather than arguing with these men, the diminutive woman simply pointed towards them. Both men crashed to the floor, unconscious.
Gremlaw tightened his grip on the handle of the katana as Mar-Tshi-Srin casually opened the wooden door and slipped inside. Gremlaw noticed a similar pair of men collapsed inside the room and wondered at the power this young woman had. Once again, the opulence with which the Imperial apartments were decorated took Gremlaw’s breath away.
He followed Mar-Tshi-Srin through several rooms which joined one another before discovering the Emperor sitting in a conspicuously Trathlainian chair and writing something at a desk. The elderly man turned at their entry,
“I left orders not to be disturbed!” He snapped as she approached.
“I have information regarding the Trathlainian spy.” Mar-Tshi-Srin stated in a submissive tone. Emperor Kavash’s eyes flicked to Gremlaw’s hooded form and he queried,
“Who is this?”
“My acolyte,” Mar-Tshi-Srin answered, “I allowed him to end the spy.” The Emperor allowed a look of surprise onto his face, just briefly, before speaking again.
“Approach, then, and speak of what you gleaned.”
Mar-Tshi-Srin took two small steps towards the man who was systematically trying to overthrow the Kingdom of Trathlain and before he could react, grabbed his head on both sides. Emperor Haz-Tchin-Kavash’s body went rigid as if struck by lightning, his spine locked into a line which continued down his legs and even his feet had pointed toes. His hands alternated between tightly clenched fists and rigidly pointed fingers. Gremlaw could see the color as it drained from his face, see his tongue working back and forth inside his wide open mouth and thought the Lavashians eyes might pop from his head as they bulged with the pain of whatever she was doing to him.
“Apologies, uncle…” A voice announced as another, younger, version of the Emperor entered the room from a different direction. Gremlaw watched in horror as this newcomer looked at what was happening to the Emperor and was about to open his mouth to scream for help. Although Gremlaw had been through quite a few trials in recent weeks, he managed to dart towards the man, drawing the katana as he did so and laying the diamond sharp edge against his throat. Mar-Tshi-Srin released the now vacant eyed Emperor and turned to this new person,
“Greetings, Light of Heaven.” She said dropping to one knee. Gremlaw took in the scene and knelt as well, hiding the katana again.
Silence reverberated in the room for untold lifetimes until the new Emperor of Lavash came to his senses and spoke in a deep, commanding voice,
“For personal service to myself, you are both granted release from Lavash.” Gremlaw’s hopes rose as this message set in, “Know, however, that once a full week has passed, you will both be considered traitors of the Empire of Lavash and are to be executed on sight.” The Emperor turned and made his way over to the desk where his uncle drooled over his fine silk clothes.
Gremlaw and his new traveling companion, Mar-Tshi-Srin, made excellent time as they journeyed from the Empire’s capital southwards towards a port where the Lavashian woman easily secured passage on a ship bound for the kingdom of Trathlain.