Sahna Nillu's Office

A smaller chamber with gray stone walls, adjacent to Sahna Nillu's residence in the southeast tower of Fastheld Keep, with a writing desk that's normally cluttered with survey maps, leather-bound ledgers and inkwells. An iron-reinforced wooden door leads out into the residence.

Sahna's seated at her desk, a cup of cooling tea at one elbow as she reviews a large map of Fastheld. Small, polished stones mark certain points on the map.

The door swings open, a fully dressed Ganeos standing there. A deep bow is offered to the woman, lingering near the door. "Light's greeting, dear. Planning a campaign?"

Sahna glances up, expression warming. "Ah, Ganeos.. Not exactly, although it seems I may soon have to wage war against your esteemed cousin Duhnen. I rather did get myself caught in a little situation with Gabriella; Between calling me a cold, manipulative bitch, Duhnen's also been insisting he'll drag me in front of the tribunal. No, this map is for some properties of mine, ones that I'm going to shortly be putting new uses to."

"Did he now? Duhnen has a mouth and he does like to use it. Well, so do you, but I'll forgive you for that transgression for the sake of love." Ganeos moves to join the woman. "Actually, as you can see, I'm dressed for traveling. Came to speak about some of your aforementioned properties. I'll relent though. Let's hear your plans."

"Is that what it is? Love?" Sahna asks, with a warm chuckle. "It's such a difficult concept, that. I've spent the last few days hearing Gabriella spout off about it during this sick little game of hers. I don't know what I think, anymore.. I tried very hard to help her." She rubs at her chin, absently. "My plans are still in development.. Nothing but dreams and stones on a map, right now. We can talk about what you wanted to speak of."

"Gabriella's sick little game?" Ganeos says, clasping hands behind his back. "You'll have to update me. Anyway, onto the meat of the visit. Sweetwater no longer has anyone taking an active administrative role in it's affairs, does it?"

Sahna nods. "Yes, I'll tell you the whole story, soon." She answers, picking up her teacup for a sip. "Not since Chase died, certainly. The town's been limping along since it's always been a quiet little place, but Amore wasn't in any shape to take over.. So I've just been making do by sending along the occasional order. I don't like neglecting what I built like this."

"Give it to me, then." Ganeos says. "As much as I enjoy the idle life, it does get boring." He sounds entirely serious about the suggestion also, never mind not really showing much an aptitude at anything but laying around. "Was considering holding a Masquerade Ball there, in all seriousness, if I can find an appropriate spot."

Sahna watches Ganeos, her own expression serious as she considers the matter. After a few beats pass, she nods slowly. "All right. I'll entrust it to you, Gan. There's a small steward's cottage on the main circle, but I don't know if Amore's moved out yet, so you may wish to use the plantation. The plantation also could be a good place for the ball.. The weather is warming, and the gardens are large enough to accommodate something outdoors."

Ganeos bows. "I am honored by your trust." The man straightens, looking Sahna over, then shakes his head. "Now, Gabriella's game...?"

"We'd be in a pretty poor position if I couldn't trust my own fiancée." Sahna responds, softly. "Ah, yes.. I'll start at the beginning. Gabriella had a fight with Duhnen and came here, to me, to ask for a guard. She was planning on going into the Shadow district and staying in her brother's old room until Duhnen came to get her. So, I sent two guards with her and told her I'd pass her location on to Duhnen."

"Oh my." Ganeos says, eyes twinkling, laugh lines spreading out from his eyes. He takes a seat for the first time, crossing his legs, ankle at the knee. "This has already caught my attention. How did the message go over with my cousin?"

"He entered without knocking and said if the first words out of my mouth weren't the location of his wife, that he was leaving. I was taken by surprise so I told him he could turn right around and walk out." Sahna replies, grimacing. "I don't like being treated like dirt. Later, I felt bad and wrote to Gabriella telling her what happened. She didn't come back, however, so the next day I went and tracked Duhnen down to tell him the location and complete my obligation. He called me some nasty names and said he didn't believe me, that I was lying or holding his wife in captivity or something." She refills her tea, exhaling.

"There is something wrong with those two." Ganeos says with another smirk. "Just when I think they may be normal, I hear about one of their new escapades into insanity." The Seamel Baron leans back in his seat, pondering. "I'd offer to go see Gabriella, to make sure she's ok, but going into the Shadow district these days isn't the kind of adventure I enjoy."

"Oh, it gets better from there." Sahna answers, sourly. "I realized if he wasn't coming, I couldn't just leave her there. A day or two is one thing, but I don't know if I'd mentioned that Gabriella was pregnant? She is, at any rate. I left a message to Hartnek asking for some blades, but then I decided time was of the essence. So, I took two more of my guards and went into the Shadow District to meet with her. She declared she'd even have the baby there if she had to, until Duhnen came for her. the thing is, there had already been trouble. I couldn't leave her there in good conscience, and I wasn't about to leave my two men there to die for her foolishness. So I had my guards grab her and put her in my wagon... She even tried to stab them, she was that determined not to leave. Stabbing an innocent man, all over her love life.. It makes me sick and angry to even think about it."

Ganeos quirks his face up into a mask of discipline, but still can't quite hide up the surprise. "She tried to stab one of your men for carrying her bloated butt back into safety?" He reaches up, rubbing at his forehead. "Light's blazing GRACE. I'm glad I wasn't the one that went to check on her after all. Anything else? Oh, and I knew about Gabriella's pregnancy. She mentioned it. I suppose Duhnen hasn't been as affectionate lately, and she got snitty about it?"

Sahna massages her temples, looking miserable. "Yes. She didn't manage to stab him, but she did take a bite out of his shoulder. Sprigg was there, he picked up the dagger afterwards and we took off. I knew if I put her on one of my properties Duhnen would cause trouble, so I decided to take her to her family and brought her to Arturo's in the hope that he could talk sense into her. I couldn't just /leave/ her there. So we went to Lush Glade and I stayed with her on the top floor of the tower. There, it was revealed that she did this because Duhnen had run off to sulk once, or something. I sent Sprigg to go tell Duhnen where she was, but he arrived shortly after Sprigg left. She left with him without complaint, and he said that if there wasn't a letter waiting in his room back at the keep informing him of where she was, that he'd bring me before the Tribunal for kidnapping. Then they left, and I came home. " Sahna stops massaging her forehead, clenching her hands into angry, hard fists. "Supposedly he's resigning as Surrector, but I suspect he'll hang on to the title as long as he needs it to try and hurt me. I've had enough of it, Ganeos. If he tries one more blow to me, after I went out of my way to try and help them, I will _destroy_ Duhnen Seamel. I swear it by the light that I am not here on this earth to be used and abused."

Ganeos moves over behind the woman, placing hands at her shoulder, starting up the motion often associated with a massage. "Ah, my vengeful little wildling, I'm not going to stop you if you want his blood. I don't like being ripped to shred personally. Just remember that he may be family one day. So, you might have to live with him, or take him out of this life. Whichever."

Sahna leans into the contact, deflating visibly. "To tell you the truth, Gan.. Maybe I'm blowing smoke. Maybe I've lost my touch. I'm not used to things blowing up in my face." She smiles, wretchedly, up at him. "I don't understand it, really. I wrecked Orell Mikin when he hurt my sister. I've been ruthless before, but when I try to do it now, it just hurts. I just want the whole thing.. Both of them.. To just go away. I feel pathetic."

"You're getting soft." Ganeos says. "It's not all hard edges with you anymore, you got some curves now." He smiles, slyly, down at her, thumbs digging gently into the skin at her neck. "I should know. I've seen them. Sides, I don't want to see or hear about you killing people off, convenient for society or not."

"Curves, on bony little me?" Sahna asks, lips twisting into a grin. "Why, I'm just the innocent little assessor. I just take people's money." She murmurs, amusedly. "I thought softening up would be a good thing. Being nice to Gabriella, burying old bad blood, trying to do the right thing.. That's why this hurts so much. I tried as much as I was capable of. I broke my cardinal rule, Gan. When you show weakness to others, of course they'll take advantage of you. If you give something, someone'll just take it and use you. I can't live like this, but I can't go back to where I was either. It's being stuck." She stares down at the map, then declares, "It was foolish to dissolve my networks. Today I laid the foundation of getting my claws back into this bloated whore called Fastheld. Even if I can't be as hard as I was before, I won't make the same mistakes a second time." She reaches out to one of the stones on the map and shifts it a few inches to the left, over the town of Hawk's Aerie.

"So, the first move is made." Ganeos mutters dryly, hands falling still, staring over the map. "Good luck, dear. I should be gone by tomorrow, sorry that I can't shield you from the incessant stupidity that you call your on and off and on again friends. I trust in your ability to handle it with your own blend of charm. You showed a moment of weakness, just draws them in for the killing stroke as they lay down their guard. Or simply bat aside the sword and embrace them. Just don't get too friendly with Duhnen. He's a lady man, and more handsome then I. Hate to lose it all just when I'm on the verge of receiving it, mmm?"

"There will be no 'on again', this time. It's gone too far." Sahna answers, folding her hands. "Trust me, you have no cause to worry, Ganeos. Like all of my responsibilities, I take the obligation of a marriage contract very seriously. Not to mention Duhnen Seamel would be the last person in the world that I'd be attracted to. They're both sick in the head, caught up in dreamy ideals with very little basis in reality. " She draws her lips back in a silent snarl, before regaining her composure. "I do hope I'll still see you, Gan? I like the idea of you being independent enough to try a project like Sweetwater, but don't be too much of a stranger."

"I'll try to come by and visit you." Ganeos says. "We still haven't set a date for the official event, now, have we?" The lean man keeps his position behind the woman, staring over her shoulder. "The ceremony, I mean."

"We haven't, at that. " Sahna muses aloud. "I've never been fond of big weddings. Maybe just a small, quiet ceremony. That way we can avoid people singing bawdy ballads out of boredom like the last ball. " She looks up at Ganeos, frowning slightly. "Or did you want something with more ceremony? "

"Quiet is fine. I never really considered myself worthy of throwing a huge fit." Ganeos says, moving away from the woman to pick up a ledger, flipping it open and studying the content. "Might avoid unnecessary embarrassment also in the case someone uses it as an opportunity to grab some fame and speak nasty rumors about some Tax Assessor I happen to know."

"That's a mistake.. Not considering yourself worthy, that is. I can conclusively say that if you believe you're worth something, and act like it, then people just assume you are." Sahna stands, looking over her shoulder at Ganeos with a bitter smile. "All right.. If you can try to find a priest who'll just give us a basic ceremony, we ought to just dispense with the whole business and get it over with. It'll be one less thing to worry about."

"One less thing to worry about." Ganeos relents. "I'll look around for a priest. Hopefully we won't have to settle for our priest with the steel lash of a tongue. If not, well.. private ceremony. We can drive a candle cue through his chest or something." Ganeos closes the ledger, walks over to his fiancée, and takes the opportunity for a quick peck at a cheek. "Light's Blessing, Sahna. I think I'm off for sleep before I disappear tomorrow."

"I love it when you talk all sexy." Sahna responds slyly, leaning over to plant a kiss on the Seamel's cheek. "That'd be a wedding gift almost as nice as Duhnen Seamel's tongue on a silver platter. Best of luck with Sweetwater."

Return to Season 4 (2006)

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