Harvest 16, 6105 RTR – New 18, 6106 RTR (8 Jun 2002) Elise returns to Rephidim.
(Abu Dhabi) (Rephidim Countryside) (Elise) (Himaat) (Himar) (Rephidim) (Rephidim Temple)

Recovering enough of Ordway to identify the corpse proved to be the worst task remaining to Elise and Kaalaas, in their time spent on the Golden Peninsula. Later, after they went on to a village to resupply, they learned that the "trap" laid in the hills wasn't for the Executors at all, but for the mohra. According to the villagers, Ordway and Nyorga had set out to kill, or at least detour, the herd and keep it from destroying the homes of the natives. Kaalaas is unfazed by the revelation. "Even a criminal will have his soft spot."

Once again, Kaalaas remained in the background for much of the mission, ostensibly "testing" Elise's skills. Their assignment was to capture or kill Rinaldo the Blade, a sociopathic killer, thief, and rapist. Elise nearly caught and killed him on her own, based on a hunch that allowed her to find him in a crowded Himaatian marketplace. Unfortunately, he escaped when she tried to lure him away from the crowd. Kaalaas upbraided the noble when she learned about it afterwards, for what the Kavi termed "squeamishness." Luckily, Kaalaas was able to track Rinaldo down again at a handful of days later, and Elise executed him with quiet efficiency and minimal fuss.

This time, the pair do not even return to Rephidim before they are issued another assignment, giving Elise cause to wonder if her superiors hope to induce her to resign through overwork. This time, their target is Wesley Brakkon, a former Temple guard, who had blackmailed one of his superiors, then fled Rephidim when the Templar's indiscretion was discovered anyway, and the eye of the Temple turned to his blackmailer.

They track Brakkon to a seedy dive in the Himar, rife with gambling, graker-fighting, and unpleasant characters. Kaalaas stayed in the background, her mundane race making her stand out less, even in Temple uniform, than the refined white poodle. Elise's initial questions were met with blank stares, snide remarks, and bald-faced lies. "Oh, Brakkon?" the third to be questioned remarks. "Why, yes, I have heard of him. I believe he's turned into a flutterby, hasn't he?" His companions around the graker-pit snigger. "And flew off to the Procession!"

The first person she asked, a burly Jupani with meaty hands and a knife almost the size of a short sword stuck through his belt, delivers a rough prod to Elise's shoulder, looming over her. "Look here, little Exec-whatever-you-think-you-are. This is the Himar. We don't need your stinkin' Temple or your high 'n mighty sky island floatin' up with the stars. We ain't answerin' your questions and we ain't solvin' your problems. We protect our own, here, you got it? So just run on back to your mommy and daddy, little girl, and leave the big boys alone."

An already surly poodle is made more so by the array of jibes and mockery she has been made to endure in this bar. She's tired of failure, she's tired of being called "squeamish" or a "puffball." To her mind, her good intentions have come to naught, and her faith in such virtues has worn thin indeed. With a smooth motion, she pulls the sword from the cane her hand is already resting on, and severs the Jupani's prodding arm in an upward stroke. Before he can recover from his surprise, she finishes him. This done, the poodle – her eyes still on her fallen foe – says, "Everyone needs the Temple. Now… " Her gaze drifts to the nearest patron. "… about my questions."

The silence following Elise's kill is broken only by the quiet, clacking sounds of the graker bug-armies fighting, unattended, in their pit. All eyes are on her. The blood of the dead man streaks down her sword. A foot away from the slain Jupani, the second person she asked swallows hard. "Brakkon's staying with Miz Niria. Corner house, three blocks north, red, two stories. He'd be … uh … " He blinks a couple of times, staring at the blood pooling on the floor, then finishes, " … on the second floor. Back room. Prolly asleep."

Elise appraises the situation, and finds the proof there in the deed: results, as sure as the silence of the room. Elise is tired of failure, of being mocked, and of weakness. Her information obtained, she finds no reason to remain, and give anyone time to gather his resolve and go warn Brakkon. "I am glad we could be reasonable. Thank you, citizen." And without waiting for any such good-byes as the man could stammer out, the Executors depart.

After extracting the needed information, apprehending Brakkon is quick and easy. Even Kaalaas is struck by Elise's deliberate murder in the bar. Their return flight to Rephidim is mercifully quiet, Kaalaas choosing to leave her subordinate to her own devices, rather than subjecting her to the usual spate of jibes and insults.

Elise's homecoming, like the flight, is subdued, but the poodle is too weary to make much note of the comparative lack of enthusiasm shown by her sister. Leisa and her son greet the returning lady of the manor graciously at the door. Elise, however, almost immediately opts for the peace of her room, and a night unpolluted by the tensions between her and her hostile superior.

De Bellefeuille Manor, Grounds
A well-manicured lawn greets the eye, landscaped with occasional topiary bushes and a garden of flowers spread to either side of a short cobbled path leading from the circular driveway to the front entrance of the manor. The path widens and curves to go around a burbling fountain with a statue of a armor-clad poodle holding aloft a horn from which water spouts. A couple of stone benches rest to either side of the fountain.

With the morning already well underway, the lady poodle awakens. In her sleepiness she finds herself unnecessarily concerned with the location and disposition of her superior Kaalaas. Her eyes dart left, then right, and upon finding the Kavi nowhere in sight she immediately signs the Star and Anchor over her chest and rises out of bed. Her concern gives her cause to chuckle throughout the process of dressing and she thinks that she shall begin the day by seeking her sister. The lady of the house does not wish nor care for the help of servants to dress, and thus readies herself speedily.

Inquiry of the servants reveals that Katherine and their houseguests have already breakfasted. Elise finds food pressed upon her, and as a result holds a plateful of finger sandwiches when she walks onto the lawn. There, as Armand reported, Katherine is embroidering a handkerchief in the pale winter sunlight. Despite the season, the day is cool and pleasant, as is not uncommon with Rephidim winters. The contrast between the green lawn and gentle breeze of her estate with snowdrifts of the Himar is all the more marked to a traveler returned.

The lady of the manor takes a moment to marvel at the distinction between Rephidim and everywhere else she has been in her travels. For only is Rephidim so fair in season and mild in weather, she thinks. And for this and more she is well and truly glad to be home. She stands in admiring the weather for but a moment as one not accustomed to tarrying when she has something to accomplish. Having spotted her sister she continues in her direction and hails her when she draws close. "Good day to you, my sweet sister."

Katherine turns from her embroidery hoop to regard Elise, offering her a smile. "Welcome home, Elise. I hope you slept well?"

"Any time that I rise and not find Kaalaas near is the end of a good sleep indeed," answers Elise, also smiling. The elder poodle, dressed in her simpler robes and without her armor, circles around to stand where her sister might not need to turn her head so. There she thus searches for a seat as she speaks. "May we talk?"

"Of course, Elise." Katherine sits on one of the white-washed garden benches, among flowers and sculptured bushes. Another bench, placed at a ninety degree angle to Katherine's, makes this a convenient conversation nook during parties. The younger poodle folds her hands over her hoop and gazes at her sister. "What would you like to talk about?"

After taking a seat and being made more comfortable for it the Templar sister places her cane to rest against the bench. She folds her arms across her chest and gazes at her sister in consideration, as if searching for something. "Are you well? You have been uncharacteristically quiet as of late. And on the subject of marriage you have been reserved, though indeed I always considered it a subject most dear to you. And you have always shared. I know your trials have been much, but I am here to listen, if you have something on your mind."

Katherine smiles again, too quickly. "You seemed tired last night. I did not think you wished to be bothered with my chatter." She turns the hoop in her hands. "Grant would like to set a date. Maybe in the fall. Or next spring. When would you be able to be home for it, do you think?"

Elise considers this, cocking her head to the side. She narrows her brow as she reviews lists of appointments, arrangements, and the whim of superiors. "To tell the truth, I'm not terribly sure." She bites her lip and then offers, "But I can try and make arrangements for your sake. There is nothing … else … troubling you, is there?"

"What would be troubling me?" the poodle asks. "The de Bellefeuille breeding is unquestioned, our fortune is secure, our position in society strong. For myself, I am possessed of a faithful suitor, a loving sister, and a houseful of loyal servants. I have everything in the world to be grateful for, and no cause for lament." She smiles again, briefly. "What of you? Was your mission successful?"

Raising an eyebrow at that the lady's elder sister none-the-less concedes the point and lets the subject rest – at least for now. "Yes, it was successful," the elder poodle answers in short.

The other poodle turns her embroidery hoop in her hands. "I see. That is good to hear," she replies. A pause, then she adds, "Do you know what you will be doing next, yet?"

"No. I am uncertain as to my standing with my superiors," the head of the household explains truthfully. "I haven't been as successful of late as I would have preferred. But I believe I made up on that in my last assignment."

"I am sure you will do well, Elise. You have at everything else." Katherine offers another smile, then pokes her needle through the cloth, guiding it through a neat, careful stitch.

"I only wish that were the truth. But were I to claim it so, the First Ones themselves, Their name be blessed, may They strike me down for that lie." The elder sister begins drumming her fingers on her arm idly, considering what to say. She smiles as she does so finding her sister's joy infective. "Lord Grant de Ayde has been well, I take it?"

She nods. "He has been in excellent health. He received a promotion from the Temple while you were gone – he's a Captain now."

Upon hearing that, Elise smiles a bit more. "Fine news, worthy of praise that. I can think of no one who deserves it more." She nods a bit herself and adds, "He will be a fine husband for you. Whatever reservation I may have had about him has gone and faded. And, indeed speaking of potential husbands, I ought to visit that delicate prettily-powdered fop I'm inclined to see while I'm still home to do it."

Katherine quirks an eyebrow. "Whom do you – oh! Lord Dunbarre?" She shakes her head. "After what you wrote about him in those letters from Caroban, I can hardly credit that you're receiving his suit favorably. Whatever has come over you, my sister?"

"Honestly? He's not quite so bad as I once considered him to be. He is a good marriage. He is intelligent – though he hides it well. If you can scrape past the polished manners and perfect powdering he is a man as any other man – and not as insufferable as most. For he has conceded to my ways and bowed to my faults. Now," the elder sister quirks a brow and leans a bit closer, "he may well be playing his ambassador's game with me and all his charm might be planned and executed strategies, but, so long as he keeps a rein on his ambitions I am content. And do not think I ever trust his family fully."

Katherine shivers delicately. "I am grateful to have my Grant, for all his lack of connections and wealth," she says, her voice quiet. She draws a few more stitches through the cloth, then adds, "I hope he makes you happy, Elise."

"There's more to life than happiness, my sweet sister. He does make me laugh. And I should be surprised to think if he does not shiver at the thought of me as you do of him and his," says Elise. "At the very least he is pretty enough. More so than I."

The other poodle gives an unladylike snort. "That is not true. Or at least, it isn't true when you make an effort to look nice, instead of wandering the world in a travel-stained Templar robe or dented armor."

"Oh." The elder poodle glances in the direction of the drive and then back again. "Well then it should do you no happiness to have seen that grim suit of armor I ordered from the smithy. Dreadfully necessary, that. I fear poodles are not much feared. A belief quite without justification if you ever were to meet Lord Dunbarre's much esteemed cousin."

"I have had the … pleasure," Katherine says, dryly. "As for armor – you do what you must, sister." She gives a little shrug, looking at her needlework.

"Oh? You have met him then? If it dispels his reputation any, he was quite amused by that very same comparison on my beauty with his cousin's. And, believe it as you will, but he's either quite the lech, or holds some measure of fancy for me. For I might have accused him of being a flirt, were I not fond of retaining my head upon my shoulders." Despite the spoken memory of the threat, the elder sister smiles, evidently not at all bothered by the exchange, but rather amused by it.

After a quick glance around them, Katherine replies in a low voice, "He is, as you say, quite the lech." She keeps her nose down, studying the hoop. "Did you have any other plans for your visit to Rephidim, apart from seeing your beau?"

Elise chuckles at the revelation and is certainly not surprised by it. To the question she answers, "No. I have been so very busy I haven't had the time to consider my recreational activities. I might be inclined to lay about and declare myself as useless and immovable as a log after having been pressed so wearily in service to the Temple. But I can't quite stand to simply sit about. I shall need think of something. Have you any ideas? And on that matter, are Keyni and his mother well?"

"They are in good health, too," Katherine says. She sounds, for a moment, weary and mechanical. "Rephidim must be a healthy place. Have you gotten much news of Rephidim while you were abroad?"

"For that I am glad. For if there is any who I would wish well it would be they. As to how well informed I am, admittedly… " Looking for a moment distant, the elder sister simply shakes her head. "… no. I have heard little. And would I have heard of such news as to concern me I tell you I could not have given it its just due. My career has been trying as of late."

The younger sister nods again. "I do not know if I am current on the things that would concern you – ah – well, this would, I expect. Did you hear about Seline von Shanar?"

"What of her?" asks Elise, mildly interested and yet apprehensive.

"She was one of those who underwent the trials for the new Orders. She returned, successful, with several lost artifacts for the Temple. She is the first to succeed at the task set out for her. She has founded the first Order – the Order of the Shanar Lance, or something like that, I think. They knighted her just before New Year's," Katherine relates. "I'm told the ceremony was very dignified."

In a most unconvincing tone of approval and pleasure does Elise utter, "Splendid," followed by several variations and repetitions of the same. Not half the diplomat as her sister, and less so than she once was, the elder sister cannot manage to look pleased no matter how hard she appears to try. Her muzzle twitches, as if the attempt to remain smiling threatens to break and shatter her face.

As Elise's efforts to sound happy continue, Katherine at last takes her eyes from her embroidery again to watch her sister. After the older poodle delivers an especially bitter, "How wonderful," Katherine dissolves into helpless giggles, her shoulders shaking.

For her part, Elise glares daggers at her sister during her giggles, inserting only a very strained "Are you quite done?" when she manages to unclench her jaw long enough to speak it.

Paroxysms of laughter engulf the younger poodle. Breathless, she shakes her head in an emphatic no.

Elise tightens her folded arms around herself and turns away, slumping back in to the bench. She might well look sulky if not for the almost murderous glare in her eyes and the way her jaw tenses so badly as to make the muscles in her head bulge. If looks could kill all the lawn would be wilted.

Katherine composes herself, wiping the amusement from her muzzle with both hands. She returns to her embroidery quietly. "That would be the biggest event. I'm afraid all the other news back so far has been bad. Lady Rayn Ashbourne and her expedition has not been heard from at all practically since her departure, and her family fears the worst. Lord Royce Kelsie, poor man, was slain. They brought his body back for the funeral and … " Her voice drops trailing off, and she looks into the distance.

"Dreadful," mutters Elise although it's not certain if she's commenting on the continued news or still on the matter of von Shanar. She releases her tensed clench of her jaw and of her folded arms and just shakes her head.

As good as her word, Elise does little in her first couple of days back, apart from talk with her sister and the two Eeee houseguests. Jean Dunbarre sends a message in the afternoon of her first day back, asking permission – soon granted – to call on her three days hence. But before that day arrives, Elise receives a more pressing summons: to her Arch Inquisitor's office.

When she arrives, early in the morning on New Year's 18, Becky bustles around her, clucking and cooing with relentless good cheer. "How nice to see you again! Would you like some tea, dear?" she asks.

The lady Executor waves the secretary away. "I am here to see the Arch Inquisitor. He is expecting me," she explains in calm and reserved tones. Having uncertainties about what to expect from her boss, the poodle has her mind on the future meeting and not, despite her good cheer, the avian.

"Oh! Is he? Let me check his calendar… " The avian wanders away from the tea pot to leaf through the binders in her desk's drawers. Her small desktop is tidy to the point of looking unused.

"He is," a deep voice growls from the doorway to the Arch Inquisitor's office. Gaelan an Tsagairt, a tan-and-white Jupani in uniform of dark gray and silver, like Elise's own, seems to fill the frame with his presence, though he is not an unusually tall man. "Come in, Secundus. Becky, tell any visitors I am unavailable." He stresses the last word heavily. "Do not open the door. And I do not want any tea." He stands aside to allow Elise to enter.

"Yes, sir!" Becky chirps brightly. "I'll be right here if you need anything!"

Elise retains a controlled smirk as she enters the Jupani's office – a smirk she keeps to the opposite side of her face than where the Arch Inquisitor stands. Once inside, she snaps off a salute and regards the man expectantly.

The Office of Arch Inquisitor Gaelan an Tsagairt
This chamber shows little evidence of the personality of its occupant. The unadorned walls and floor give stark emphasis to the few furnishings – a heavy maple desk, a few chairs, and a case lined with torturer's implements. Tilted near one wall rests a man-sized frame in the shape of an X, with restraining straps affixed to it.

"Have a seat, Secundus. Why do you think you're here?" An Tsagairt circles to get to his chair behind the desk as he speaks, sitting after he finishes the question.

With a nod the lady takes her seat and places her cane to rest against her chair. From there she responds, saying, "I expect you would like to speak to me about my assignments, sir." The answer is made intentionally vague.

"Yeah. It's traditional for an Arch Inquisitor to evaluate a Secundus's status at some point after the first to fifth mission. Depends on the missions, depends on the Secundus, depends on a lot of things. You've had three. I'm talking to you now." The Arch Inquisitor looks directly at Elise's face as he speaks. "How do you think you're doing?"

Elise looks up and raises a brow, meeting the Arch Inquisitor's gaze head on. "Mediocre," she replies simply and straightforwardly.


"In the Golden Peninsula my tracking skills were inferior to Executor Majoris Kaalaas's. I let my guard down around children." The poodle pauses as she considers the following mission and then resumes, saying, "I hesitated in the bazaar in Abu Dhabi. I surmised attacking the Blade amidst the crowd would have been a brazenly bad public relations move and attempted to lure him away. I failed to execute that plan and capture him." Finally she evaluates her most recent mission and offers, "I may have been a bit heavy handed in the tavern."

"You killed a man in the tavern," an Tsagairt says. His manners are curt and unpolished, words wielded without subtlety. "You call that 'heavy-handed'?"

"The information was acquired. It was effective. They were protecting and harboring a fugitive and held open contempt for the Temple and a Temple agent. They were quite likely criminals themselves. If you are asking my definition of 'heavy-handed,' then it was more heavy-handed than I had employed in the past, and alternate methods may have been employed, but I did not judge them to be nearly as effective. It is a matter of efficiency over heavy-handedness." The lady tilts her head then asks, "Am I mistaken to believe the man's loss was acceptable?"

"Is that why you killed him, Secundus? Because it was effective?" The Jupani leans back, but his eyes never leave her face.

The lady reaches over and lays her cane across her lap and rests her hands upon it. Her eyes leave his face and she turns to stare most intently at the wall beside him as one deeply considering their deeds. "Yes. I deemed it an acceptable loss. Moreso in the past, hesitation has failed me; a gentle hand has failed me. In the bazaar and elsewhere. It seemed time to change my tactics, and to make an example," she elaborates. Her words are slow and carefully chosen for she still considers the action even as she speaks of them. And indeed she keeps the Arch Inquisitor in her thoughts and attentions as well wondering – perhaps with a touch of paranoia – that the Jupani may have been a relative.

Tsagairt makes a slight noise, a quick exhale that isn't quite a snort. "Any nightmares, Secundus?"

"I killed my nightmares, Arch Inquisitor," answers the Secundus.

"Convenient." Tsagairt rests his hands on the desk. They have the look of someone who seldom loses at arm-wrestling. "What about the children?"

"I occasionally dream of children, if that is what you mean. But little good I do them allowing heretics and scum to live, and the Temple to remain challenged," answers the poodle. She quirks a brow and adds, "Or did you mean the child who stole from me? Escaped, though I did try to stop him. The one my Majoris caught was punished by the law of the city."

"Why didn't you take the shot on Rinaldo when you had it?" Tsagairt barely seems to pause to consider her response to his last question.

"For one, Abu Dhabi may not terribly appreciate murder in the bazaar where nobles frequent. It's bad for tourism when people get murdered in your, ah, 'golden and sunny halls of joyous bargain hunting elation dear dear exalted noble buyer.' And I admit to have been unwilling to fill him with a quarrel in front of so many witnesses of various ages. But … I have reconsidered that matter," Elise explains. Again in fact for she already mentioned much of this earlier.

"Your lack of tracking skills?" Tsagairt says the words like a question, as if he expect her to understand what he wants to know.

Inclining her head to the question, the poodle Executor explains thus, "Lack of training, and of experience. I simply have not had wilderness and tracking experience before. Simply put, the enemy came to me for the most part. That does not include investigational skills, sir, but scent tracking and the like."

"That's your excuse," Tsagairt says. "Gonna do anything about it?"

"I inquired to the Majoris about her training. But I fear she'd rather use me for a target practice than spend training time with me. I'll see to training through the usual Temple channels," she answers.

The Arch Inquisitor grins at her comment on Kaalaas. "Right. You got anything else you want to tell me?"

"Is your secretary a test, sir?" The lady grins a bit herself. "Seriously. I need approval on a new uniform. As you may have heard, poodles do not much intimidate. As difficult as that is to imagine, I'm sure."

"A test for someone, I'm sure." Tsagairt stares at the door leading to Becky's antechamber. "That's it? Clothing? Nothing else?"

"Any idea what the Majoris's problem is, sir? I'd dearly like to know, though I cannot help but consider it might simply be an intrinsic personality trait. Also, I would like to request time off in the future for my sister's wedding," asks Elise.

Tsagairt shakes his head, and ignores the two questions to say, "You went on three missions and caught three targets, Secundus. You just came in here and didn't tell me one thing you thought you did right. Kaalaas do all the work? Or are you just dumb lucky?"

"I'd like to think it was modesty, sir," replies the Secundus dryly. "But if you insist. I did dispatch two of what the files are now dubbing 'mohra' single-handedly. It did not let my personal feelings get in the way of a single punishment or execution. The execution of the man in the bar led to a speedy discovery and termination of the target. And I would like to think I've learned something or two in my missions. I would suggest I am improving."

"I've got no use for that modesty crap, Secundus. If that's your reason." Tsagairt doesn't sound convinced by her explanation for her success, or her logic in not offering it early. "People tell me you learn from your mistakes. You learn from your successes, too. Remember what works." With the barest of pauses, he switches subjects. "You wanted to know about that guy you killed in the bar. You said it was heavy-handed. Want to know what Kaalaas called it?"

"Yes," answers the Secundus simply. She looks like she was going to add more, or else say something else, but whatever it was she abandons it quickly enough.

"'Decisive.' Me, I wasn't there. I don't have a Technopriest's clue what you were dealing with, whether killing one guy was excessive or whether you were lucky not to have to burn the whole place down." Tsagairt is still watching her, with the same steady stare. "But I can tell you this: the dead wolf was a nobody, a nobody in the Himar. The Himar doesn't matter. Neither did this guy. You got Brakkon. That was important."

Elise watches him and takes it all in. It seems to her like someone else would have had a very different take on the subject – but that also seems like a long time ago. "I understand, sir."

"Rinaldo in the Abu Dhabi. That ain't the same as the Himar. I wasn't there, but what you've told me, if I'd been there, I'd've taken the shot. Kaalaas would've taken the shot. We'd wave around our twin-bladed axes afterwards," he says, referring to the Executor's badge, "and the Temple would've covered for us. They'd do the same for you. Doesn't mean you should've taken the shot. Politics. Kaalaas and I are the worst diplomats on the whole damn sky island. I wouldn't pick us for a model.

"Hone your instincts, Bellefeuille." Tsagairt pauses, then moves on. "Letting a kid steal your sword, that was plain stupid. Gotta admire the kid, though." He gives a brief, wolfish grin. "But you ain't gonna let that happen again."

"No," mutters Elise. And indeed the Executor hasn't failed to forget that particular embarrassment. She wouldn't have been surprised if Kaalaas had a hand in that just to vex her, but she isn't about to voice that thought. "I'll train harder."

"Yeah. You still want this job, Secundus?" the Arch Inquisitor asks, in his usual blunt way. "You think you can do it?"

"I'm not giving up, if that's what you're asking," replies the woman. "There isn't anywhere to go but here. And from here, forward, so help me. I wouldn't dare think to let the Majoris think she's scared me off."

"I ain't asking if you're giving up. I don't give a vermite's tooth whether you're scared of Kaalaas or not, either. I'm askin' if you think you can do the job." His voice weighs heavily on the final words.

The lady snorts. "Yes. I will succeed." And she knows in her heart she must, for this is all that her choices, good or ill as they might be, have left her. Succeed and be firm in your achievement or fail and go home in defeat. Criminals and misfits who have sought to ruin her life and that of others more innocent than she. Von Shanar with her smug success that bars her from knighthood. They're motivation and furthermore for as far as she can see there seems to be no other path to take. This is it.

"Good. Kaalaas agreed." Tsagairt watches her reaction.

The lady raises a brow. For a moment she is quiet and says nothing. Then she just snorts again. "I see," she says.

He gives a short bark of laughter. "Do you? Don't worry. She still loathes you. She'd love to see me cut you loose. She said you're an incompetent, naive, stuck-up, arrogant, pampered princess.

"I asked her to prove it. She can't. Never seen her so mad. Think she hates me now, too. She had to admit that your worst was nothing worse than what half our Executors did in their training days. You've got a damn lot to learn, Bellefeuille. Not just what you listed off. Don't get cocky.

"Tomorrow, I want you back here. You'll tell me two more things you did wrong, and two you did right, in your missions so far. You said that you were too slack on Rinaldo and too heavy on the tavern. I want you to decide where you stand on that, too. What's it gonna be?" Tsagairt flicks at the corner of a page on the desk.

"Tomorrow, sir. Understood," agrees the canine. "I'll think on the matter in the mean time."

"All right. See you then. Your sister's wedding you can have off. Give Becky a note with the date," Tsagairt informs her. "And get her something to say what that uniform you want looks like. I'll look it over. Have Becky give you your new badge and send her in on your way out. You are dismissed, Executor."


GMed by Rowan

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