Episode 12: Meela’s Secret
Meela said goodbye to Caelynn and walked off. Unbeknown to Caelynn she doubled back and hid in the shadows to watch Caelynn board the airship. Meela only finally moved once the airship had sailed and it was obvious that Caelynn was gone. She began walking towards Loro-Don’s centre. As much as she wanted to play some cards, and there were probably many games she could be involved in, she had to attend a meeting as she was expected.
The further you got to the centre of Loro-Don the more it became dominated by gambling houses, brothels, and entertainments. In the exact centre there was a town hall where public meetings were often held, but this meeting Meela had been summoned to was on one of the top floors of the building and was only to be a attended by a select few. It was a secret meeting of the the Loro-Don Council, of which Meela was a member, though she attended few meetings. The town hall was a sturdy stone structure of around three floors. For a city that was dominated by gambling it was an oddly plain building. Meela walked through the double doors and went up the winding stairs that were on her left. When she got to the top she walked through another doorway to find a narrow corridor with two guards at the end. When they saw her they opened the door beside them and ushered her through. She came into a square room that was mostly taken up by a round table. There were eight other people seated there who all looked at Meela when she entered the room.
“So glad you could make it Meela.” said the Mayor, a human woman with long greying hair. “Please have a seat.”
Meela looked around the room. She recognised them all save one. There was a human with very black skin seated at the table with them. Meela presumed he was from Yastell. She sat where she was opposite the Mayor.
“So why did you send for me?” Meela asked them, though in reality she was directly looking at the Mayor when she asked the question.
“Because you are part of this council and as you were spotted in the city earlier I thought you would want to attend. But also we have a problem we would like you to help us with.” the Mayor said enigmatically.
“And what is this problem? Presumably it is something to do with Yastell?” Meela asked her. The Mayor smiled at her.
“Your insight serves you well. The man sitting next to you is Uson. He is from Yastell. He has been sent here by the sovereign of Yastell to ask for aid against the Empire’s armies that are about to attack their kingdom. I thought who better than the protector and saviour of Loro-Don? Surely you could help in some way?” Meela rolled her eyes at the mention of “protector” and “saviour”. She then looked to her left at Uson who nodded and smiled at her.
“Let me remind you that most of my airships were destroyed on the attack on Salané’s airships. I am still in the process of rebuilding my fleet. I’m not sure what help I can give against Salané’s armies.” Meela told them.
“We thought you could go down there and see what they precisely needed, and we could all send what we could, seeing as the Empire isn’t currently a threat to us here, thanks to you.” said Mukkon, a dwarf who was one of the city’s wealthiest merchants.
“One of the reasons I came here was to give my crew a much needed break. They need to let off some steam. I don’t want to suddenly sail off to Yastell with them still a bit discontented, and I guess you want me to head off pretty soon?” They all looked at each other when she said this.
“Well actually there is another way, and it is a far quicker way…” Mukkon said gently as if he was walking into a minefield. Meela gave them a cross look.
“What you’re proposing is dangerous. And it’s not a way I like to travel.” Meela said in a belligerent manner.
“But you can do it.” said the Mayor, “and you are probably the only one that can.” Meela audibly sighed.
“Yes I can do it, but it’s dangerous, especially if it’s an area I’ve never seen before.”
“All we want you to do is teleport down to Yastell, look at the situation there, and then teleport back.” the Mayor said earnestly to her.
“Oh is that all.” Meela replied sarcastically. The Mayor ignored her comment and continued on.
“Uson here can provide you with maps so you will have a better idea of where you’re going. The situation is quite urgent. We have heard that Larantel is sending some troops and wizards to help the Empire. It is thought once they arrive the offensive will begin.”
“Larantel is nothing more than another Imperial province these days.” grumbled the dwarf. Meela smiled at that remark.
“I wouldn’t say that to anyone from Larantel, but maybe that’s becoming true. Regarding Larantel’s involvement, I have set a plan in motion that may stop that, but not in the short term.” Everyone looked at her in surprise.
“Can you tell us more about that?” the Mayor asked.
“No, as it needs a great deal of secrecy. Someone is involved that is very dear to me, and I do not wish her to come to harm.” Meela answered. Everyone in the room looked surprised a second time.
“Oh my, are you involved with someone again? That is happy news!” said the Mayor smiling again. Meela could feel her face going red. It had been a long time since that had happened. She looked away. “Oh it’s true! You’re in love!” Meela could hear the others whispering and the odd slight chuckle. She knew she was eventually going to relent.
“Look to be honest I was planning to teleport anyway. I was planning to go to Salané to ensure everything for my plan was being set up. Maybe after that I could teleport down to Yastell. It is quite draining magic though.” Meela told them in desperate hope the subject would quickly change. The Mayor looked happy.
“Thank you.” the Mayor said to her.
Uson produced a leather satchel and rested it on the table. He opened it and brought out some papers. He turned to Meela and handed them to her.
“Here are some maps of the area. I’ve also drawn a picture of the fortifications that you will need to visit, if that will help. It’s on the border of Grazlukk where the Empire is massing it’s armies. When they attack they will hit this place first.” Uson told her in a heavily accented voice.
Meela took the maps and looked at the illustration. That would certainly help. It would give her something to focus on when she teleported. She was resigned to doing this now. Still, if she could further annoy the Emperor by stalling his plans it would be worth it.
“Thanks that will help.” she told Uson. “If the Empire takes over your kingdom most of your people will be enslaved and be forced to work in the gemstone mines there. I will do everything in my power to stop that from happening.” Uson nodded smiling at her.
The rest of the meeting involved other issues that Loro-Don was facing. Meela still sat there but didn’t really hear anything that was being discussed. She was instead focusing on what needed to be done, and wondering how Caelynn was faring on the airship journey to Salané. She was starting to miss her.
After the meeting it was getting late. She said goodbye to the Mayor and others and decided to walk back to the Crimson Vengeance to sleep. She could have stayed in an inn but she wanted the familiarity of the bed in her cabin. When she finally got to her airship she collapsed onto her bed. She could smell Caelynn in the sheets. She fell into a deep sleep.
The next morning she found Bronwyn and told her that she would be away for a few days, and while she was away Bronwyn was in command. Then she decided to relax for a few hours and finally went gambling. In a seedy tavern she got into a card game with a group of other pirates and undesirables, but she couldn’t focus on the game, as the thought of what she had to do weighed heavily on her, and as a result it didn’t go well for her. She was usually a very good player. By the late afternoon she abandoned the game and spent the rest of the time in Loro-Don wandering through the streets, smelling the street food, listening to the music spilling out of the doorways, and watching everyone walk past. By the late evening she guessed that Caelynn should have arrived at Salané by now and so she prepared to teleport to the capital.
Meela didn’t like teleporting for chiefly three reasons. Firstly there was always the risk of her ending up somewhere else other than the desired location. She could end up thousands of miles away, in another dimension, or in the worst case, the Shadow World. When she teleported there was a brief time before she appeared at her destination where she could always feel the Shadow World reaching out for her, trying to ensnare her. If it ever succeeded, she knew it would be a difficult task to escape that place. Secondly leaving one place and then appearing in another, almost instantaneously, left her feeling unfocused and slightly drained. Thirdly appearing in her destination so quickly took the fun out of traveling. For Meela the journey to the destination was often the part she enjoyed the most. Teleporting just ripped you from one place to another while cutting out the best part, in Meela’s opinion.
She knew she couldn’t teleport straight into the Imperial Palace as it had wards that were a protection from people doing that. She didn’t know who put those wards up, but they were strong and she didn’t want to try overcome them, in all likelihood she would be bounced out and appear somewhere completely different. So in the quiet of her cabin she focused on an image of the Palace in her mind, as though she was outside and looking at it, and then she said the words. Instantly she disappeared from her cabin, and again briefly felt the tendrils of the Shadow World searching for her, and then she was in the Imperial Gardens just outside the palace. She fell over succumbing to vertigo. She stood up, but still swayed on her feet.
“I so hate doing that.” she said to herself.
Meela looked around. It was dangerous for her to be here. She couldn’t be certain how the Emperor would react if he knew she was here. She decided to put a spell on herself. It wasn’t so much an invisibility spell, but more of a people don’t notice you spell. It made people’s minds not acknowledge that she was there, so long as she didn’t do anything to grab their attention. She went to the part of the palace where she understood the guest rooms were and climbed up the wall there. As she could happily climb up a ship’s mast with no problem it wasn’t really much of a difficulty for her. She looked through windows of various rooms until she saw that in one room luggage was being brought in. She guessed that was Caelynn’s room, and so she waited…
After she had surprised Caelynn and after a couple hours of sex, she lay in the bed while Caelynn gently slept. When she was sure that Caelynn wouldn’t wake, she quietly got up and put some clothes on. She put another spell on herself and opened the door. She softly padded to one of the courtyards. The air was cold. Meela could see amongst the bushes a dark figure was quietly standing there. She walked up to them.
“So you got my message.” Meela whispered to the figure.
“Yes I’ve been waiting for some time. I was about to leave.” the figure replied still standing in the shadows.
“Sorry. I had to ensure Caelynn wouldn’t wake. I didn’t want her following me.”
“You risk a lot being here. So what did you want?” the figure asked her.
“I need you to keep an eye on her. If things look like it’s becoming dangerous for her here I need you to pull her out if I’m not around.” Meela told them.
“You obviously care for her a great deal. You don’t think she can take care of herself here?” inquired the figure.
“I like to think she can, but she doesn’t know humans and their ways that well. She’s entered the lion’s den here. The Emperor probably knows by now she is connected to me, and he will try to use that to his advantage.” Meela informed them.
“You think it was a good idea for her to come here? You’re placing her in great peril. The Emperor can be very vengeful when he puts his mind to it.”
“I know that’s why I need you to keep an eye on things for me. She’s here to find information. She wanted to come here. And I hope she is successful.” Meela whispered.
“And what about you? What will you be doing when your not infiltrating a place where you’re regarded as a criminal fugitive?” asked the figure. Meela sighed.
“I’ve got to go down south. I don’t know how long I’ll be. I’m worried it may be longer than I expect. I’m needed to be a hero again.” Meela said slightly bitterly. The figure gently laughed.
“But you like being the hero, no matter how you bitch about it.”
“Yes I guess. Sometimes I think it would be nice to be able to relax and just play cards with people. I don’t seem to have any time for that type of thing anymore. Now I just seem to be involved in politics and intrigue” Meela complained. The figure laughed again to Meela’s annoyance.
“Nothing’s changed. You’re just a player in a bigger game is all. You invite all this into your life by your actions. If you weren’t doing this you would just complain no one’s taking notice of you. You would never be content just spending your time playing cards with people. You can’t have it both ways.” the figure informed her. Meela grumpily nodded. She had to admit to herself they were probably right.
“Maybe.” she conceded.
“We should probably go our separate ways now. We don’t want the guards to notice us.”
“Okay, but you will keep an eye on Caelynn for me while I’m not here?” Meela asked.
“Of course. I’ll keep an eye on her as often as I can. She won’t even notice I’m there.” the figure replied.
“Thank you.” Meela said to them. The figure seemed to nod and then quickly walked off in the opposite direction. Meela traversed back to Caelynn’s room. Once she got there she stripped naked and got back into the bed. The bed was lovely and warm. Caelynn moved over and put her arm over Meela.
“You’re cold.” complained a sleepy Caelynn.
“Yes I had to use the bathroom.” Meela told her. They both slept till the morning.
After Meela had got up and stealthily left the palace she looked at the picture Uson had given her behind a garden wall. She focused and teleported again. There she stood in the hot air in front of some towering fortifications. She was in Yastell.
Next episode: Yastell
Author’s note: Sorry for taking so long to get this episode done. Hopefully part 13 will be finished early next week.