Day 286: Write a scene in which a women is fired after only a week on the job. Just a week earlier, the same person who is now firing her was very persuasive in convincing her to take the job.

 

Grakus Ironskull, of the Dark Isles Ironskulls, has never been very comfortable at a desk. His armour is designed for battle, not a war of words and intrigue and as such keeps catching on drawers. His six foot seven, broad-shouldered frame also doesn’t help, as the desk itself is built for a clerk, or a dogsbody, or anyone that has never seen battle in their life.

Somebody knocked at the door. “My lord Ironskull!” Arden Shipman, his second in command, called through. “Captain Havisdotter has arrived.”

“Send her in.” He shouted back, looking down at the reports before him. This was not going to be a fun meeting, to say the least.

Fjonna Havisdotter stepped into the room and snapped to attention. She was every image of the dutiful soldier, leather armour moulded to her body to allow for greater range of movement, hair cut short to prevent the enemy getting a handhold in close combat. By her side hung two blades that danced on the line between long knife and short sword, both singing as they cut the air as she walked.

“General Ironskull, Sir.”

“Havisdotter. Take a seat.” He raised a mailed glove, gesturing to the seat before the desk. She broke from her rigid pose and sat down, placing her hands on her knees and giving every impression of being as at attention as before. “Last week, I asked if you would become Captain of the Seventh. What did you tell me when I first asked?”

“I said no, Sir.” She swallowed, not in a fearful way, more of a challenge. “I specifically requested I stay with the Valkyries.”

“Indeed. I then asked once again. I told you I’d not seen a warrior of your prowess since my own youth. You then told me, what?”

“That I had much more to learn and that the best place for me was the Valkyries.”

“Exactly.” Grakus lifted his hand to his chin, scratching the rough beard covering a healing wound. A close call with a Mallian death squad had nearly taken his jaw off. The Seventh, his chosen warband at the time, had almost let him die. Their captain, Mors Stormsearch, had disappeared at the first hint of battle. “I then insisted. I said that the Valkyries had other capable leaders rising through the ranks and that you, personally, should be commanding. Not following the orders of Niamh Seacrest. I instructed you to take charge of the Seventh.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“So, Havisdotter, I’d like you to tell me what happened at Barock Pass. Then I have to make a decision as to whether I release you from your duties or kill you where you sit.” Grakus smiled as he slid the plate gloves over his hands. “Move for the knives, you die. Move at all, you die. Talk and I’ll make my decision.”

Fjonna thought for a moment. She was considering making a run for it, making an attack on the General. Here at Portin’s Keep, she wouldn’t make it fourteen yards before there were three crossbows pointed at her. Those options were out. She analysed other possibilities, going for the window, calling to her sisters in arms. None of them came through.

“Very well. Barock Pass.” She took a deep breath.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 280: Put two characters, each of whom wants something from the other, in a room together.Neither of them is allowed to ask for it straight out. Give them five minutes with only dialogue to get what they want.

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“My Lady, the Baruvian delegation has arrived.”

Ilyanna Seabreeze looked around the room. Her courtiers all looked at her with the last hopes in her eyes. “Very well. Send in Lord Baristojk. I will treat with him alone.”

“But, my Lady,” The Magus, Bortian, looked up in horror. “He is Baruvian! Evil itself spawned there, and…”

“Are we to judge the sins of a nation by the actions of one wayward son?” Ilyanna shook her head, sadly. “I will not be the one to plunge my nation into the grip of mass hysteria. Send in the Lord. Then, once formal introductions have been managed, you will all leave us.”

The courtiers and attendants looked at each other. This was a breach of the standard protocol, but what were they to do? The Light of Pernicia had spoken. While they all grumbled, they did as they were bidden. The crowds petered out to leave them alone. Lord Baristojk of Baruvia, haughty and standoffish, and the Lady Seabreeze, radiant and hopeful.

“Ilyanna.”

“Lord Baristjok, within this hall you will refer to me as “My Lady” or “Lady Seabreeze”. You surrendered your right to abandon formalities long ago.”

“Very well, my Lady. You know why I have come.”

“I do indeed. However, it has to be said that I am loathe to hear your requests.” Ilyanna sniffed and tried to look down her nose at him. She knew she should have asked for the throne to be placed on a raised platform. As it were, he simply stood tall and stared directly at her with his deep blue eyes.

“Lady Seabreeze, the Gemstone Rebels have taken Pravia. Within forty eight hours, they could be marching upon Baruvia.”

“Yet you have none to blame but yourself. Had you kept a tighter leash on the Lion Cub, we wouldn’t be having this issue.”

Anger blazed in Lord Baristojk’s eyes and his next sentence came through gritted teeth. “Ilyanna, I came to treat with you fairly. If you consider this an excuse to belittle me and to discuss my faults-”

“Olja, your faults are numerous and indescribable. My statements are exactly that – statements of facts. Now, unless you are prepared to state your business directly, I have no further time for you. So,” she said, eking out every last drop of venom she could find, “Why are you here?”

The Lord Baristojk stared at her, then turned on his heel. His long strides took him to the entranceway quickly, but then he lingered. A hand, calloused and scarred from countless hours of training with sword and axe, rested on the handle. “You know why I came, Ilyanna. Leave me my pride, at least.” He pulled open the door and began to walk through. His last words dawdled in their passage to Ilyanna, long enough for the door to have closed behind him. “I’m sorry for the past, Ilyanna.”

The courtiers streamed back into the room following his departure. “My Lady, are you okay?” The Magus asked, looking at her rigid form. “Has he hexed you?”

Ilyanna broke from her reverie. “No, I am fine. I got what I wanted from the meeting. Now it is time to see to it that he gets what he wants.”

“And what is that, Lady Seabreeze?”

“We will send the Twelfth Legion to Pravia. They mobilise tonight.”

In this piece, I wanted there to be a mystery. What’s going on, who wants what? In the end, deciding on my character having very different desires for the meeting was easy. Baristojk wants support to defend his nation and is acting on a political level, while Ilyanna wants an apology. I haven’t decided what Baristojk did just yet, but I’m fairly sure it was bad that Ilyanna holds a grudge. 

Still, everyone got what they wanted in the end?

The Idiot in Tin Foil