Bloodmaiden: Part 12

Amy turned toward the door, leaving the suitcase open on her bed. “I’m dressed. You may come in.”

The closet door opened, and Nick walked out, brushing against her coats where they hung in the back, and shutting the door.

Amy considered stepping around him and opening the door, but didn’t. “How did you get in there? I looked in that closet.”

Nick glanced back at the door and then back to her. “The wall on the left side opens into a hidden passageway. You press on a panel a third of the way up the wall. It’s no big deal.”

“Wait,” she said. “Can you spy on people in their rooms?”

Nick gave a half smile. “Yes, but we don’t unless there’s a good reason.  For example, Harcourt got in here once, and we kept track of him by following him in the passages, and eventually cornered him.  We don’t check in on people we trust.”

“Good. Don’t. I was just about to change when you got here.”  Another thought came to her. “Why was Harcourt here?”

Nick’s mouth opened, but he didn’t say anything at first. Then, “Well…”

“Just tell me.”

Somewhere outside, a horse neighed and a wagon clattered down the street.

Nick sighed. “Ok. Grandpa’s pretty sure he broke in to see the dimensional gateway we’ve got downstairs, probably on behalf of your father or the Council. I don’t think either of them knew for sure before that.”

Amy frowned. “Why did they even suspect? I’ve never heard of anyone having their own portal.”

“In the Nightmare War, the creatures were coming through a portal, and the only way to close it off was from the inside. Grandpa and his friends never went in that anyone saw, but they did come out when it began to close. I imagine that was a clue, or at least it would be for your intelligence services.”

Amy ignored the comment about the Empire’s intelligence services. She knew very well that they had spies everywhere they could. The first part of what he’d said was the interesting part. “How would your grandfather be involved in the war at all? I was always told that the Bloodlords’ Guard and my great aunt Mina, the Bloodmaiden, working with our best troops, closed the portal.”

Nick nodded. “That’s all true, but the Summerlands Adventurers’ League was also there, and my grandfather was then, and still is, in the League.”

Oh.” She’d seen guards and servants reading about the Adventurers’ League, but she never read the books herself. “Was he the armored one?”

“Yeah. He was the only one without any kind of magic.” Nick pulled out a simple wooden chair from the corner and sat down. “He still puts on armor when they need him to, but lately that’s been me.”

Amy sat down on the bed. The bed cover was coarser than what she had at home. “I’d think so. He’s got to be ninety years old. Armor or not, I’d think that his bones would break unless he’s Elderkin.”

Nick shook his head. “He’s not, but he is aging better than most people. So is my grandmother.  There are people in the League whose magic can slow aging down.”

Grabbing one of the poles that held up the bed’s canopy, Amy said, “There are people who would pay or even kill for that.”

“I know, but the League’s a secret society–sort of. They try to keep what they do quiet even if it does get embellished. Speaking of which, they’re involved with all of this. A League member owns the building. They found and repaired the dimensional gateway as a group. As of the moment your father called us, getting you out of here became a League project.”

She said, “So now I’m in a penny dreadful?”

Nick grinned. “I guess. We’re both in whatever book takes place years after the famous stories end. Which reminds me, where  do you want to go? Harcourt wants to go someplace extremely different, someplace where assassins will stick out because they won’t know how people look or they won’t know the culture. The idea is that it would be too much to absorb all at once.”

Amy put her hand to her chin, and sat there, thinking. “That’s a good idea. I wouldn’t have thought of it, but honestly, I’m more frightened of him. It’s not likely they can travel to another universe, but he’s worried that I’m a danger and he’ll be with me.  You saw what he was like this afternoon, and I can’t say that he’s entirely wrong. Back in the bad old days there were twin Bloodmaidens who fought over control of the Empire. It happened more than once. They sent one off to be fostered or exiled, and they’d come back leading armies against the family.”

She pulled her legs up to her chest, and wrapped her arms around them. “What I’m worried about is that he’ll interpret even my good intentions as high treason. My father told him that he wasn’t supposed to do anything to me unless I actually was planning to take over the throne. The problem is that my father told me that if it took a long time for them to bring me back, the family was probably in trouble. If that were true, coming back with an army would be the best thing I could do.”

Nick leaned back in the chair, and didn’t say anything at first. Then he said, “Why didn’t he tell Harcourt?”

Amy thought about it. “Probably because he might be involved, or might be friendly to someone who is. They’re sending me away because I make the Lords nervous. Being nervous might be enough to justify a coup, and even if he wouldn’t participate in the coup itself, he might be against me setting it right–especially if I were putting together an army.”

She let her legs back down to the floor. What was she, ten?

“You know what?” She leaned forward, both arms to her sides. “He’s afraid of your Captain Lee. Send me to an alternate dimension where he exists. If I hired him, that might make Harcourt think twice before he tries anything.”

“Huh,” Nick said. “That’s a good idea, but Lee’s a bit of a wild card as a mercenary. You’d probably be better off someplace where he’s connected to another version of me or Grandpa.”

She thought about it. “Can you do that?”

“I think so. Lee ends up being connected to my family in a lot of different universes apparently.”

9 thoughts on “Bloodmaiden: Part 12”

  1. Okay, I was completely off about Joe’s health and the clacking. Now guessing he was partially armored up in case Harcourt tried anything?

  2. I wonder is it same Lee projecting pecies of himself into simlar dimensions? Wich would scatter his power signature and make it harder to find him. Or and this is infinitly more terrifying are there Lees in alternative demisions that are as powerful as our? Given existance of portals and alt worlds, that woulf mean an Evil truly pysco lee that sides with his people may be out there hoping dimensions.?

      1. Thats way i was leaning but the idea of an evil version of Lee is inherently terrifying isn’t it. I mean regular lets call chotic good Lee is scary enough.

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