The Deathbringer wore barely a thing over her nigh green skin. Fierce red eyes appeared out a tangle of thick dreads along with ears pierce with small tusks. The woman stood taller than a Mechari, and her body curved with a stringy leather of feline like muscle. She was Andromache, a Deathbringer of the Torine Sisterhood. A order of blademistresses founded by the legendary Tresayne Toria herself. In the honor of Vitara, the Torine guarded the Everpool, and it was Deathbringer Andromache’s duty to act as an emissary for a group seeking the pool. However, in the past few days that had changed.
Now before her clothed in simple leathers was a woman, much smaller than her, and with whitened hair. She was Nymphadora daughter of Julius of the Talyn clan. Andromache had met the woman once before, but now as the two sparred she was finding the small outsider, interesting.
“Why do you fight the strain?” her pupil asked. Nymphadora had appeared recently seeking guidance from Andromache. Now the two were fighting sword to sword, while discussing philosophy. A strange past-time one might conclude.
“The workings of the Entity will destroy us, and will devour Vitara’s work,” Andromache intoned. A rasping voice coming her throat as the ageless woman was showing annoyance. The other woman took it as a sign of weakness and lashed out with her power sword. The Torine easily deflected the downward blow and shoved the Talyn Swordmaiden away. If it were not for the kinetic fusion core on her power sword, Nymphadora would not likely have been able to dual the Torine sister head-on.
“I agree,” Nymphadora snapped. Andromache ignored the petulance of the woman and replied, “Why are you here then? You already know of the Strain.”
The words rang in the white haired fighter’s ear as she shifted her stance. Recovering her wind, the woman then took a moment to assess where they were. A large tree loomed above them as they sat on the northern border of Auroria. After arriving days before the woman had been able to convince the Torine sister to come back toward the border. A discussion which had taken a hunt, and conducting the basic rituals of the Deathbringer to prove herself to Andromache.
Nymphadora would not answer quickly. Her face twisted as her green eyes lingered on the ground. Ideas and accusations spun in her head. Just days ago her own Nephew had attempted to kill her. After putting a hole in his head the woman sent orders back to Cassus to deal with her wayward relatives. All the Caligians would have to be executed in silence. An order she did not wish to give, but would as the pressure was mounting.
“I worry my family has entangled itself in something dangerous,” the woman spoke softly.
“Oh? DO they not have honor?” Andromache questioned. The tall woman sheathed her sword and offered a hand to the downed woman. It took Nymphadora a moment to realize that the counterblow from the Torine had bruised her ribs. Without any armor, and even with her powered weapon the strength of the Torine was still a dangerous challenge.
A younger apprentice came to the Deathbringer’s side and offered a skin of water to both combatants. Nymphadora took the drink without hesitation as she glance at the small audience gathering just beyond the underbrush near the large tree that towered above them. Several Sovereign agents dressed in normal fatigues, and armed to the teeth. All had been sworn to secrecy to discuss what was happening there.
“No, they serve an individual we call the Masked Shade,” she said a name given to a Luminai she assumed was a member of the infamous Ghost House of Vorious the False.
“Oh? Strange name,” Andromache answered as she checked her leathers, and then her piercings. After a jarring match it was not unusual for some bits to have become loose. However, losing one of her prized tusked earrings was not an event the Torine liked to deal with.
“Seems you are having an epiphany outsider,” the Torine then added without provocation. Nymphadora’s gazed back at Andromache as she was found herself thinking again.
“The clarity of mind to see past my fear,” the Talyn answered. Andromache grinned widely as she stalked closer to her pupil.
“There is more than that child,” Andromache began as she reached out to cup Nymphadora’s chin. The large woman’s hand could have easily snapped her neck, and yet the Talyn knew the Torine was no threat to her.
“We Torine keep the balance of Vitara’s works, we serve the Blademother. Through our acts the world remains in balance. Deathbringers create the end, and Lifecallers preserve.” The words were simple, and yet the understanding was profound.
“So like the Empire, and my family,” she started to say.
“You must end that which is cancerous and threatens the balance. You must cleanse it, remove the threat, and bring about healing to ensure honor in the name of your works.”
Andromache was correct. Heaving slightly in pain at her bruised ribs, the pupil looked back at her cadre of Sovereigns. For years her family had been so focused on the feud, that much had started to devour them. Vengeance had to be applied, but not at the cost of their soul. Now that the Caligians and their factor were making a move, much was likely going to occur. Nymphadora Talyn, rested a few hours that day and let a Medic heal her broken pride, (and nearly broken ribs). Then after a farewell to Andromache she sent a silent order to her ship.
“Contact Augustex, I need to speak to the Council.” The message was relayed deep into a quiet ICI junction near Ilium. There a black and white Mechari awoke from an hours rest and his mechanic face formed into a smile.
“Our move it seems,” he intoned quietly.