“Common sense really isn’t that common.”
Sorche du Remerdii
(Ideally read to the tune of Don’t Fear the Reaper, by Blue Oyster Cult.)
Sorche is my favorite villain in this story– I’ve touched on him before in my Kione excerpt, and have been working on him in the background since June began and I figured out what a smart-ass he was.
“Apologies, du Jadis.” One of the men in black bowed slightly. Rylan decided (for now) that he was the leader, and noted his unusually dark skin showing between his cap and scarf. “This is a rescue, despite appearances. We’d appreciate it if you would move quickly. We’re not to hurt anyone.”
Another man appeared with bandages while a third pulled out Rylan’s coat that he’d left in the other room, along with his hat, muffler, gloves, but not his swords. Rylan allowed them access to his wounded arm, and they bandaged it (sloppily– Rylan thought he could have done better, even with one hand). “Who do you serve?” Rylan asked.
“Now?” The leader glanced back to the men who were keeping the doors. No one had intruded on them yet. “Very well. On behalf of my lord, Rylan du Jadis, I commend you for your bravery, congratulate you for your victory, and condemn you for your idiocy.” He offered Rylan an exaggerated bow, and pulled back his left sleeve to show a golden bracer, celestite set into the ring on his middle finger instead of a sigil. “You can call me Sorche du Remerdii.”
Sorche is the adopted son of Remerdii, a landed gentleman who has managed to achieve great wealth, and foster brother to Kione Remerdii. Sorche was taken as a small child and given the name of the Remerdii’s dead son and brother. Sorche has always been considered a gentleman as long as he could remember, given good rooms and private tutors, encouraged to compete with his brother Kione. He’s better than Kione at the Mordache Art, fighting and other physical activities, but falls short at tact and diplomacy. Sorche just can’t help but take jabs when he sees the opportunity.
I’ve put another Sorche excerpt, longer this time, under the cut.
Had he found it? Rylan put his caution in the back of his mind; if he had found Wyrren’s guard and prison, then his pursuers trivial in comparison. He turned and looked at the light, which shone from a doorway in the next hallway. He approached. The door was covered with a single skin, indicating the presence of Mordache by the way the doorway would let in the cold. The skin was pulled taunt from the inside. Rylan cut one of the corners with his knife and let himself in, knife in hand and ready for a fight.
There were no guards, no inner doorway, and more importantly, no sign of Wyrren within. Sorche du Remerdii dropped an intricate silver teapot on the ground and held him his hands in front of him, groping for invisible thread. Rylan was faster, and tackled the bastard Mordache. They landed in a heap on the ground, Sorche on bottom, Rylan over him with the tip of his knife against Sorche’s chest. “Wyrren,” Rylan growled. “Where is she? What have you done to her?”
Sorche’s slanted eyes opened wide, then narrowed. “Ah. Yes. That.”
Rylan pressed on the blade, his temper growing. He didn’t like that answer. “Don’t fuck with me! Wyrren. Lady Wyrren Jadis de Renideo. Tell me where she is!”
“Um… Not here. The lady wasn’t fond of our hospitality, so… could you maybe not press so hard? We’re not entirely sure where. She tunneled under the floors.”
The thought of Wyrren overdoing herself and passing out underground and possibly short on air made Rylan dig the blade in tighter, though from the description that did sound like something she would do. “Where? Show me. I want to see it.”
“Of course. I could move a bit faster if you would get off of me. And while I’m sure you’re a very attractive man… my taste runs in the other direction.”
Rylan swore and jumped up, repulsed. Sorche offered him an amused smirk, and made a fist. Ice filled Rylan’s stomach, as if someone had reached into his gut with frosty hands. Rylan forced himself forward, driving the point of the knife under Sorche’s chin. The pain abated at once.
Sorche’s eyes had gone wide. “Moving like that when someone’s got you from inside can kill you, you know. How stupid are you?”
“I don’t give a damn. Get me Wyrren. No, wait. Show me your hands.”
Rylan searched the room with Sorche at knifepoint, first looking around the room and studying the contents. There was an unlovely desk formed out of a crumbling alter, a stool beside it, lamps in each corner. The teapot that Sorche had dropped was badly tarnished, and there was a cloth beside it stained charcoal gray. “Rope, Sorche. You’ve got to have some.”
“As I have said, I’m really not enamored of men…” Sorche smiled pleasantly at the poisonous glare that Rylan sent him. “The bag by the corner should have some.”
Rylan had some difficulty searching the bag while holding Sorche captive at the same time. It didn’t help when Sorche began explaining that really, he preferred tying his partner better, and began describing his love life in garish detail. Rylan considered gagging him while he was at it. He found the rope, but was surprised when Sorche du Remerdii held his hands out to be tied without a fight.
Sorche noted the expression and shook his head. “I told you, du Jadis. I’m not your enemy. I was told to take you away from the palace and keep you safe.”
“You locked us up,” Rylan replied.
“With all due respect, du, you thought jumping into the arena floor with a tiger was a good idea.”
“And what’s that supposed to mean?”
“My dog has better judgment than you and your lady combined. Really, I’ve been considering it. I can’t think of any possible reason that you would have done that. Name one good reason that doing something that risky (and making the king really want to kill you) would be a good thing.”
“The tiger fight is an omen,” Rylan answered. He finished the knot, but decided to leave Sorche without a gag. “It means change.”
“You’re being serious, aren’t you? An omen? Don’t you remember those guards that my men took out before you arrived? That wasn’t a welcoming party. The king wasn’t sending them to give you a nice pat on the head.”
“Things changed,” Rylan reminded him.
Sorche du Remerdii groaned and shook his head, obviously thinking very little of Rylan’s answer. “It’s this way.”