Chapter 27:

Interlude: Lightning Aria

Reverie's End: Blades of Malice

Day: 7/28/991; Time: 21st hourBookmark here

Manheim and his grand-daughter, Aria, returned to their mansion in Gamma in silence. He could not help but smirk; Ordalia had just made his job easier by diverting the king's attention to an imminent threat. House Nyr could do as it pleased in the meantime. Of course, he could never be too careful. House Isles and Eris were both dangerous opponents. But Manheim only wished to spend the day in revelry, which was his wish every day. Lately, he had been allowing Aria the honor of doing the scheming.Bookmark here

The old man was in his usual chamber, drinking away the night, and enjoying his food. Aria was in another room on the same floor, speaking to a red-hooded man. The room was dark, but a candle illuminated a sigil showing two wings and a blade. House Nyr had ties with the Blades of Malice after all.Bookmark here

"So everything is going according to plan?" said the man.Bookmark here

"Yes. The king suspects nothing… it is Ordalia that is a concern. She led the king right into our trap, but her motives are a mystery. It is possible that she is aware of the existence of the Stones of Ethos… her plans are just as ours in that case: to seize the reigns of power," said Aria in her seductive and mischievous voice.Bookmark here

"It is highly unlikely that she knows. All that find out are quickly silenced. An information leak is unlikely. But I will send men to verify this with certainty. The plan must not have holes in it. Our trump cards must stay hidden till the end," said the man.Bookmark here

"I am sure your grand commander will keep his end of the bargain when this is all over," replied Aria.Bookmark here

"Of course. House Nyr will bask in the glory of the new world," replied the man.Bookmark here

"Then that will be all for tonight, Addas," said Aria to the man.Bookmark here

She then looked over to the right, at a corner of the room. Her eyesight was very keen and she was adept at sensing wind mana; Illusionary magic utilized this form of mana. Aria noticed a distortion near the curtain that was not supposed to be there; there was an eavesdropper. She quietly motioned to Addas, and said, "No need to concern yourself. This won't take long."Bookmark here

Aria pulled out her arm quickly and fired a lightning bolt at the distortion. Among the various forms of magic, the lightning element was among the fastest and most deadly. It was a rare mutation of wind magic that only the most skilled mages could even use. Had the eavesdropper been a common sellsword, he would have dropped dead instantly. However, this spy was trained in stealth, and was agile enough to dodge the lightning. He had not removed his magical cloak the entire time.Bookmark here

The trespasser had heard too much; Aria would make certain he did not leave alive. She was relentless with her attacks, firing lightning bolts everywhere, not sparing the furniture; the magically-cloaked figure kept dodging. When the spy tried to jump out of the window, she blasted it, and came within a hair breadth of burning him. The assault eventually ended after another four or five bolts; the spy got shot in the left leg. This was enough to disable his cloak. Aria then struck him through the chest without hesitation.Bookmark here

"You could have left him alive for questioning," said Addas.Bookmark here

"These types never talk. It would be a futile interrogation," replied Aria. She went over to look at the dead spy. There were no visible sigils or emblems, but she knew who had sent the man. Few organizations were this skilled in espionage. "This is more than likely one of Ordalia's men. I think you have your answer about her threat level. Tell me what she knows," Aria said, asserting her authority.Bookmark here

"Indeed. I will personally attend to this matter," said Addas, as he left the room.Bookmark here

Aria was now alone in a trashed room with a corpse. Her grand-father and his guests were too busy partying to notice the sounds of lightning and shattered glass. But a nearby maid overheard and ran into the room, unannounced. Had Addas still been in the room, and their discussion was overheard, Aria would have had to kill the maid. She was fortunate to come at the right time, although she was greeted by a horrendous sight.Bookmark here

The red-haired heir of Nyr looked at the maid and smiled, "We had an uninvited guest… I need you to clean this up." Aria left the room without saying another word, and decided to pay her grand-father a visit. She walked down the hallways of the mansion, towards the sounds of revelry. When she got there, the door was open already. Manheim was eating and laughing. He was accompanied by four young women; they were his favorites. It was common for him to spend his time like this; any day could be his last.Bookmark here

Aria greeted her grand-father, but decided to wait before giving him her report. She never got the opportunity to say anything to him after her greeting. Manheim died within the next few minutes after ingesting his final glass of wine. He got up to say something of a trivial nature, drank his glass, and died from a stroke a few seconds later. It was a nearly instantaneous death. There was panic in the room; the Lord of Nyr was dead. However, Aria was not surprised. This day was bound to happen eventually. Considering his lifestyle, his death was peaceful and quick.Bookmark here

The pragmatic Aria had considered poisoning him on multiple occasions, but decided to allow nature to run its course. At least now she was not guilty of parricide and could have a clear conscience. If he had lived for a few more years, then maybe she would have actually done it.Bookmark here

Manheim's death was certainly going to be big news. The funeral would take a lot of planning, as would Aria's coronation afterwards. The Blades of Malice could strike at any time, but this was not a concern of Aria's. She knew exactly when the Blades planned to attack Gamma.Bookmark here

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