Rayk. Nillu. Like a bird of prey, the Mikin turns her head very slowly, her eyes growing cold as they fall on her employer. "My lord," she says softly, her voice treacherously smooth. "How delightful it is to finally see you. You have returned from your hiatus, then? I have some wonderful news to give you regarding Hawk's Aerie."
"Ah, evening Rayk," Duhnen greets, nodding to the man. "We were just having some of Orell's wine...something new he just got in, I believe." He glances to Tien, an eyebrow raising at her tone.
"Oh yes? A new batch? Delightful, I must try some." He waves to a serving girl, ordering a glass as well, "Duke Orell has excellent taste when it comes to wines, I believe." He shifts his gaze to Tien, his voice kept light despite the wanning of his smile, "Oh? Perhaps I should fear what you have to tell me... Jarl nor Corwin sent me a report the past few days."
"Fear? What is there to fear when I have the delightful priveledge of informing you Sister Laeria Mikin herself has taken up residence in your township, my lord," Tien states silkily, a smile crossing her lips that does nothing to warm her eyes. "We, working together, hope to bring the Aerie to a new level of faithfulness and purity. The Shadow shall be expunged from your people. The Truth of the tenets shall be ingrained in even the smallest citizen. Evil shall have no place on your land. Please.. there is no need for thanks. I do this as a service to my Church and Faith, as well as you, Baron."
How pleasant. Duhnen steps over to accept a glass of wine as it's delivered, lifting it and taking a drink. "Well. That's good news. I know Sister Laeria. I'd call us friends, as well, and I'm sure she'll do a wonderful job."
Rayk Nillu's face slowly transforms from his normally gentile expressions to a rare, yet irate, scowl at mention of Church invasion into the quaint township. Murmuring to himself, "Shade take me." He sighs, "If I had the wisdom to have forsee this, I would have never made the mistake of putting the overly-zealous Mikin in charge of my Nillu town."
Looking between the two, and not being foolish enough to not recognize the growing tension, Duhnen clears his throat, lowering the wine glass to a nearby table. "Well. I believe I must be going. Imperial business calls, as usual." With a bow to the pair, he sets off to the stairs with a farewell of "Light Bless."
"Overzealous?" the noblewoman picks up, tilting her head at the nobleman with a near innocence. "What is overzealous in wanting to protect your people from the Shadow, my lord?" Tien asks quietly. "Only the Shadow have anything to fear on your lands. It is only the Shadow and those who serve it who would show joy at servants of the Light being chased from your township."
Rayk Nillu sighs again, rubbing his forehead as he tries to think this through. "Indeed, the shadow should not be allowed into the land, yet what of your people? These are Nillu subjects, not Mikin. I allow people to enjoy the freedom of their own worship to the Light." He takes a slight step towards the young woman, "I know you see the Light differently then I do, but does the Light /feed/, /clothe/, /shelter/ the people you seek to 'purify'?"
"Yes," Tien answers in confidence, dipping her chin slowly. "Have you not been to the sermons? Sister Laeria not only tends to their spiritual needs, but seeks to help them while they linger in this physical realm. We visit those who are ill, we seek herbs for those who cannot get them themselves, we collect clothing for the shirtless.. the Light does not turn a blind eye to those who /need/, my lord." Pausing, the Mikin continues, "Just as children soon forget their lessons, we, as children of the Light, forget the righteous ways without reminders from the Holy Church."
Rayk Nillu hmmms quietly, "I know of the Church's interest of goodwill, I have seen it firsthand." He leans back on his rear foot, shaking his head, "But I did not tell you to go about, turning Hawk's Aerie into your own personal coven. This is not acceptable, and the Nillu house will not stand for it. Our views on stewarding a town obviously differ, thus I have no further use of you and you are dismissed." He chews on his lower lip and nods, "My cousin Sahna may be a more.... helpful teacher then I."
"You dismiss me for caring for the spirituality of your people?" Tien asks cooly, raising an eyebrow swiftfly. "You dismiss me for bringing the Light to your town? How.. odd. I would not think you, Baron Nillu, who are a faithful and pious man, would have a reason to fear the Light. How.. saddened Sister Laeria Mikin will be to discover that you do not wish her presence in Hawk's Aerie. Undoubtedly, it is unexpected."
Rayk Nillu narrows his eyes ever so slightly at Tien, his lip curling a slight fraction, "I dismiss you because I feel my way of teaching would not integrate well with your... 'faith'. But perhaps, you question my motives? Possibly you think my faith does not match yours and you think I am 'tainted' as the rest of my people, hmmm?" He sets his jaw to one side, "Even the Shadow has it's place in the world order, for it balances out the Light."
"The Shadow has no place in this realm, and you will burn for those words, Baron Nillu," Tien says, her teeth pulling back into a feral expression. "You are an instrument of the Shadow. You deserve death. You deserve worse. I am glad you have released me from your service, for I wish not to consort with the damned. Sister Laeria Mikin will be visiting you soon."
Rayk Nillu returns Tien stare equally, "You dare accuse me of being shadow touched? Even the the most pious of people must realize without Shadow, the Light has no purpose. I have no love for the Shadow, and I know the purpose of the Light is to extinguish the Shadow." He shakes his head, sighing, "I seem to recall what happened to Lord Alieron for his unswerving loyalty to the Light and accusing the Emperor of the same."
"I am no fool," Tien hisses back. "I know what happened to my kin. I do not doubt the Emperor had his reasons, and I am below questioning him. You, however, have just stated a tolerance for the Shadow on your lands. You are a Shadow lover, and you shall suffer long hours in a dungeon for such crimes. Evil must be destroyed, and you with it."
Rayk Nillu peers at Tien with odd eyes, "Tolerance for the Shadow in my lands? Did you not hear my words, woman!" He shakes his head, "I swear to the Light that you Mikins hear the word Shadow and instantly accuse the person who said to be shadow touched. If it would calm your nerves, Sister Laeria may stay in Hawk's Aerie for all I care, for I never stated I was to kick her out. But if you dare accuse a servant and blood relative of the Emperor to be shadow touched, I /will/ do my best to bring the wrath of House Nillu and House Kahar upon you."
"You have stated that the Shadow has a place in the realm," Tien says flatly, glancing over to the guards and beckoning them with a flick of her wrist. "Keep this man until I have had a chance to speak with Sister Laeria Mikin or another servant of the Church," she tells them, her voice leaving no room for question. "You live an impure lifestyle. You have removed me from my position because I am.. overzealous, when I only wish to bring the Light to your people. This is the behavior of one who fears the Light. There are many ways to consort with evil. You may not be Touched, but you bear its Taint."
Rayk Nillu eyes Tien quietly for a few moments before replying, "And you think my people did not experience the Light on their own? That they are of taint because the Mikins were not interfering in their lives?" He sighs softly, "Fine, I will stay under your guard, but I want you to look back through history, and tell me, how many Kahar descendants have ever been touched or tainted by the shadow? I do not consort with shadow, but if you see fit to look into my activities as such, do so. Perhaps my consorting with the Zahir disturb you? I do not know, but until the mean time, I /will/ send for the Imperial Chancellor and ask the Emperor on his own advice."
"And I shall inform them that you have stated you feel the Shadow has a righful place in our lives," Tien states coldly. "You will reside in the guest room. Duke Orell Mikin will be informed of your presence. Your blood may protect you from being Touched, Rayk, but it does not keep you from being seduced by its darkness. You are not above questioning. No one save the Royal family is, and you will see that."
Rayk Nillu speaks a bit loudly, "You twist my words, Mikin. I said it has rooted and made a place here, but did I ever say it deserved one? No. Perhaps you would prove me wrong and go and destroy evil as we know it. Please, I would gladly die if you can show me that all darkness, all shadow, all unhappiness, all greed, all lust, all evil is destroyed." He fall silent further, resting on his heels while under guard.
"In front of the witnesses, Rayk Nillu, tell me you did not say these exact words? The Shadow has its own place in the world order, for it balances out the Light." Tien says coldly, flatly, her body as still as stone. "Those were your words. Confirm it."
Rayk Nillu says, "No. They are not." He replies quietly, returning Tien's gaze. Offering his hands out to the guards, he adds, "My imprisonment?""
"You lie!" Tien Mikin says, lifting her hand to look towards the guards. "Tell me then, what your words were, Rayk. And you will look worse for your lies."
Rayk Nillu shrugs, "That the shadow has it's place in the world." He states flatly, musing off-handily, "Under the thumb of the Light, deservedly, if it were." His gaze goes blank, waiting to be escorted away or burned or killed, which ever is to happen to him.
"You, guards, as witnesses, have heard this." Tien says, her tone still a disembodied one. "And you have heard that I am holding him here until the Church can further investigate the meaning, implication, and reward for such sentiments. Please, escort him to one of our guest rooms and see he has adequate accomodations."
Rayk Nillu nods, then watches Tien for a moment before accompanying his "escorts" to his new found prison.
Return to Season 3 (2005)