A Liar’s Game – Introduction – Links to all parts
“End the Prince any way you see fit, although remember; this must not be traced back to us.” Thorne paused in his reading, his head shook from side to side in disbelief. His sapphire blue eyes glanced briefly over to Tayne, sat uncomfortably in the chair opposite the large mahogany desk he stood behind. His gaze dropped once more as he continued. “An accident is preferable, or poison provided it cannot be traced.” Lord Thorne’s face had begun to darken with anger, an evil vine-like vein pulsed at his left temple as if it fed on the inner fury within. “There has been mention of a profitable meeting between Von’Faygan and a Tynerian emissary. This also must be stopped, for good. Remove the Tynerian from the board, this is the only way to ensure a second is not sent in his stead. The Von’Faygan’s must be seen as unreliable, even dangerous in the world of trade.” Thorne dropped heavily into his chair, a plain, unadorned object, exactly like it’s owner. Regal in a utilitarian way, powerful with no need for accessories. The head of the families personal bodyguard dropped his head into his hands, his elbows rested on the desk before him as he sighed deeply. Slowly his head lifted, his stare focused once again on Tayne. “Thank you… We grow more in your debt by the moment Lord Tay.”
Still in shock, Tayne had no idea how to respond. He had had no idea that the woman that he had accidentally poked in the breast so damn hard, that she had flipped backwards over the balcony to her death, was in fact an assassin. The letter that Thorne now held, grasped so tight in his hands that the knuckles had turned white; had fallen free of the woman’s dress as she had plummeted four floors down, to land strangely enough, unfolded and open, right next to Lord Thorne himself. By the Man’s expression, he obviously awaited Tayne’s acknowledgement, although unfortunately for Tay, his mind was in absolute shambles. Panic, fear, uncertainty, worry, surprise, almost every emotion going was in the process of battering his psyche, therefore, the degenerate trusted his own mouth none. Instead, with a sombre expression, Tayne nodded soberly.
“By Tarran, Modest as a monk!” Throne exclaimed, then coloured slightly as he realised, that was exactly what his guest was. Or supposed to be anyway. “No offence intended Lord Tay, I only mean…” The man paused as he struggled to find the right words. “Look, I just mean that you’re the real deal. Any hopeful nobody would be pressing for wealth beyond imagining, which I’m not saying you’re not entitled to. What you’ve done is a service this Family with never forget. I mean…” Another pause as his head shook once more in disbelief. “How did you know! I just cannot get my head around it. Sand said Dianna passed him as he left your chambers, so she can’t have been in there for more than a few minutes…” The panic inside began to build more rapidly, his heart felt like it was going to explode. “Blast, I’m sorry. Your secrets are your own to keep. Just know we are grateful. Anything you need, you have it.”
Relief flooded Tay’s senses as the man before him took his panic endorsed silence as a declination to reveal some sort of mystic art he had used to reveal Dianna’s true intent.
Knock, Knock. Both men jumped slightly as two knocks sounded off of the wooden door that barred the entrance to Thorne’s study. The man threw Tay a sheepish grin before he called “Enter.” A wizened old man stepped slowly into the room as the door swung wide, his legs shuffled with an odd gait, supported by a unique looking staff of what appeared to be carved bone… the handle made to resemble the red-eyed head of a wolf. The old man paused as he awkwardly attempted to bow, his legs trembled as he tried not to fall.
“Enough Kirzan, you stubborn old fool. You know full well there is no need for you to bow to me” Thorne spoke the words with a strange tenderness, as though he held a strong affection for this decrepid old husk. Even after Thornes words, “Kirzan” precariously continued his bow, at one point, Tayne almost darted from his seat to catch the frail old man, fortunately he recovered himself just in time. Eventually the man had straightened, a victorious smile locked in place to reveal two rows of pearl white teeth, clearly visible through the long white beard that hung from his jaw down to his midsection. The old man turned his gaze to Tay and winked mischievously, his emerald-green eyes twinkled with life. Tayne found himself locked in battle with a chuckle that threatened to escape and blow his cover. Control yourself!
“Lord Thorne.” Kirzan nodded as he spoke, his smile still firmly set in place. “One is never too old to adhere to formalities my boy.” Thorne himself laughed at the old man’s retort. Suddenly, Tay realised he was sat in the only other chair within the room; the poor old man’s legs tremored as he stood, his walking cane rattled against the flagstones of the floor as his hand shook uncomfortably. Unsure of the etiquette, or the man’s rank in comparison to his own imaginary one, he was unsure of what to do… should he give this frail gentleman his seat? Or would that insinuate weakness or poke a hole through his lie. Fuck it. He thought as he stood. If they thought it odd, he’s a damn monk from the damn lands of damned Dagonia. The man had done him a service anyway, since his entrance, his mind had been taken away from the thought of Dianna and her death, He deserved to sit down.
“Please, Lord Kirzan. take a seat.” Tay indicated towards his newly vacated ex-position as he moved to lean against the mantlepiece of the fireplace.
“I say, young man. are you insinuating that I am quite literally that old, that bloody decrepit, smelly and quite frankly, useless; that I require seating before I end up in a dusty pile of wrinkled flesh and bones on the floor before you?” The old man’s stare turned inquisitive, the words spoken indicated anger, but the tone was contradictively conversational. Bollocks.
“I- I uh, I mean-”
“I-if y-you a-are…” The old man mimicked the nervous stutter Tayne had suddenly acquired as he frantically sifted through the countless thoughts that clashed within his skull for a suitibly non-offensive reply. “Then I dare say you’re correct dear boy. Thank you.” The statement was punctuated with another wink as the old man hobbled over to Tayne’s chair before he slowly lowered his body to the padded seat. This time Tay didn’t even bother with an attempt to hold back the laughter, a chuckle of disbelief slipped free as he watched the old joker inhale sharply as he adjusted to his new seat. As the sound reached Kirzan, his left eye popped open, the green iris locked to Tay. “Oh a laugh, that’s a good sign. better than a fist to the face anyway, a true risk I run every time I open my senile old mouth Im afraid.” Still with one eye open, Kirzan finished his words with a lopsided smile. Both Thorne and Tayne began to laugh simultaneously, the mood immediately lifted.
“Kirzan, this is Lord Tay of Dagonia. The man we owe our thanks, perhaps even our livelihood, twice over.” Thorne chuckled with a smile as he indicated towards Tayne.
“Well met my boy.” Kirzan, with a strangely youthful smile nodded his greeting. “Although Lord Tay of Dagonia, I must admit, you look none like any Dagonian I’ve ever met. For one, you’re the wrong colour. Dark brown if I remember correctly, skin like chocolate. Makes me hungry you see?” His warm smile never wavered, although the twinkle in his eye seemed to grow stronger, as if he was teasing him. The now familiar panic began to build once more, his coherent thoughts at risk of being scrambled a second time.
“I was found abandoned as a baby in the Dagonion wastes, Lord Kirzan. The monks claim it a miracle I survived.” Thank you sand you amazing young soul.
“Ah! well that’s that then isn’t it!” Kirzan exclaimed dramatically, his scrawny arms thrown upwards into the air, followed by the great billowing sleeves of his sky blue robes, the hood of which slid back ever so slightly over his completely bald head from the sudden movement. Tayne couldn’t work out what it was, but there was something about this old man. For one, without a doubt, he knew that he believed not a one of his lies; the constant twinkle in his eye seemed to taunt him playfully, as if to say “Lie all you want young man, but I see the true you.” But strangely, Tayne was not worried.
“Regardless of your origin my young friend, you have my thanks. And, I am proud to say, the thanks of my Lord, Thorne’s brother, whom will be pleased to thank you in person tonight at dinner.” The twinkle at no point shifted, even his words seemed a taunt. “Oh, and none of this “Lord” business for me dear boy. I am but a humble sorcerer, a dabbler in the arcane if you will.” Immediately the urge to hold the sign of Tarran to his chest as a ward against evil almost overpowered the superstitious drunk. A wizard! Dabbler in the arcane indeed! subconsciously, Tayne realised he had taken a step backwards without notice. “pfft now now lad, calm yourself. By dabble I mean read a lot of books. And by arcane I mean science. ” What? The old man chuckled as he watched the fluidity of Tay’s face as it swapped from revulsion to confusion, to fear.
“Stop winding up our guest Kirzan.” The self proclaimed “Sorceror” grinned guiltily at the edge of steel in Lord Thorne’s words. “Kirzan, is an apothecary, as brilliant a scientist as he is a rogue. His potions and concoctions as well-known as his ability to infuriate.” Amelia’s Uncle stared ruefully at the grinning chemist.
“S’what I said isn’t it?” Kirzan chuckled. Tayne found himself once more disarmed by the old man’s charm, a genuine smile played out on his own lips.
“You have news for us Kirzan?” Thorne continued.
“The news?” Kirzan’s grin extended as he reached within his robes pocket and produced a small violet coloured liquid within a miniscule vial. The Vial he held gingerly between thumb and forefinger, then with his other hand, he pulled out the stopper. Slowly, he tipped the violet liquid out onto his hands as he rubbed them together and patted the substance around his neck. Immediately Tayne’s nose started to itch.
“This.” The apothecary stated, his grin somehow even more mischievous.
“Wha-…” Thorne cut off mid word, Tay moved his gaze from the old man to see what had distracted the Lord, but was puzzled to find Lord Thorne locked in a dreamy stare, the focus of which seemed to be the old man before him. With a frown, Tayne turned his own attention back to the senile old joker. Huh. The man was gorgeous. His wrinkled face did absolutely nothing to conceal the beauty of his form, long slender fingers curled delicately around the staff of bone. Such beautiful fingers, why had Tay previously thought of them as gnarled? Kirzan winked seductively at Tayne as he noticed his stare. Blood began to move immediately. within moments, Tay’s “third leg” was stood to attention, painfully so as it strained against the crotch of his trousers. What the hell?
Tayne sneezed another of those explosive sneezes that had gotten him into this predicament in the first place, briefly afterwards, his thoughts cleared, long enough to move his gaze to back to Lord Thorne. The man’s eyes were still locked to the old man before him in what could only be described as a loving gaze, drool slowly dribbled from the corner of his mouth to run slowly down his chin. What the hell.
“Ah…” Kirzan remarked, thoughtfully. Tayne’s attention immediately locked back to the beautiful old man. “You appear to possess a moderate amount of natural resistance, I must admit I did wonder…” By Tarran… His voice was like a chorus of the good lord’s disciples as they sung in harmony, his lips, although withered and aged; just seemed so damn succulent.
“Atchoo!” What the hell? what had the old man just said? resistance? Tayne lost his train of thought as again his attention was stolen by the beauty of the man before him.
“Lord Tay?” The angelic voice sang. Oh how very nice it was to hear his name spoken by such a creature… A dreamy smile spread across Tayne’s lips.
“Atchoo!” huh? Suddenly, something clicked. The scent, it was the same scent that Dianna had worn, that same tickle in his nose! “Dianna’s perfume…” he whispered. Every ounce of concentration he possessed was being pushed against the mental tendrils that wrapped about his mind as he inhaled the fragrance, his thoughts already had begun to go fuzzy as if his head was slowly being filled with a soft cloud of bliss. Even weirder, the longer he went without a sneeze, the more attractive the strange old man before him became.
“Amazing.” Kirzan stated as he pulled a grubby cloth from his robe pocket and began to scrub at the area that the violet liquid had been applied. Rapidly the haze began to recede, the attraction to the man waned. “Tynerian Desire.” He stated, as if those two words were an entire explanation in itself.
“I’m sorry, what?” A bright red Thorne questioned, embarrassment clear on his face at his prior actions. Kirzan turned to face the handsome Lord, his eyebrows raised as if to say “Really?”
“Tynerian Desire Thorne, a potion made from the pollen of the extremely rare Tynerian Princess…?” Thorne continued to stare blankly at the alchemist before him. Kirzan sighed deeply. “The flower Thorne… The Princess is a rare orchid that grows only in the heated soil of Tyneria. When the pollen is mixed with certain other components, it forms… This.” The man held up the now purple-tainted rag. “The pollen bonds to whatever it’s applied to, then slowly disintegrates. anyone that inhales the particles suddenly feels an almost mind numbing attraction for the source, and the source being the person that it’s been applied to.”
Thornes eyebrows dipped in the middle as realisation hit.
“and you couldn’t have just told us that?” Kirzan smiled that seemingly trademark mischeivious smile of his.
“What would be the fun in that?”
Thorne shook his head in disbelief.
“You’re a twisted old man Kirzan.”
A Liar’s Game – Introduction – Links to all parts