“Leria… Sedai? You shawled? Wait, doesn’t that take years?” The woman before him was still blond and young, but it just seemed different now.
Leria laughed softly," You know its impolite to ask a woman her age." She removed her slim fitting gloves, and showed him the beautifully worked serpent-ring she had earned alongside the shawl. "I can state that you look like you have seen better days, Do you need something to eat or a place to rest before you move on?"
Remembering his manners, Roberto put his hand over his heart, then to the hilt of his dagger, nodding in respect to the Sedai. "You know what they say Leria Sedai, no rest for the wicked. I have been out of contact, I must report to the head of the Theifbane."
Leria bowed her head respectfully in return, "Juilin and Rico would be unhappy with me if I let you walk away..." motioning to his current state. " like that. You will come with me, and Maura will see you properly bathed and fed before you leave the City." The only passing accepted was pulled aside and she spoke quickly, to have a meal brought to her apartments and Maura alerted to her return.
Roberto looked Leria over, pondering at her change. What he had said to her would have had her bowing in acceptance the last time they spoke. This time, she just ignored his statement and moved on with purpose. He sighed deeply, and as he did he also caught the mix of odors. The combination of stenches almost made him cough. With an evil smirk he nodded towards Leria. "As you say Sedai, I should be more prepared for the city life if I want to blend in. I will heed your advice. Lead the way."
Leria smiled and reached down to pat Aran," I'm sure you'd like a little something too. Perhaps Laras can find you something to gnaw on." She led them both to the Tower and up a floor to her apartment.
Maura stood by the open door and wrinkled her nose," The accepted wasn't kidding that I should open the window." A smirk played across her lips as she turned to Roberto," Behind the door to the left is a bath for you. By the time you are done, your dinner should be here. I'll have new clothes brought for you so that you have something fresh, it won't be your personal effects but enough for you to look respectable."
Leaning into her trusted attendant, "Be rid of the clothes once he is out of them, and bring the bag from the bottom of the dresser in for him." She turned to her desk and called out to a novice scurrying past, "Go to the kitchens, and tell Laras I need a sizeable meat bone."
Roberto let out a snicker. "Yes ladies, I will do your bidding. Is there a razor in the bath as well? I feel I should do something about my hair." Maura nodded," When I was told a man would be bathing, I brought one. But you will have to suffer with her soap. It smells like jasmine." "I have smelled of worse things. Thank you for your assistance mistress. Aran, play." He walked into the bathhouse and the hound gave a playful bark, pouncing on Leria Sedai in an attempt to lick her face. The process took him longer than he expected. He still had open wounds on his side and left arm. His hands shook a little as he started to shave. He took a deep breath, and started the process of trying to look more human than wolf.
Leria's laughter echoed into the bath as she let the dog lick her face and played about, bringing back memories from Baerlon. The novice returned with the bone and Aran gratefully stole away under the desk to gnaw away at it. Maura, brought in a tray of dinner for the Sedai and her friend, and moved to the bathing room to check on him.
He was still shirtless when she entered and she let out a scream," Ay! Why didn't you tell us you were injured... Leave your shirt off for dinner." Maura began her usual prattle and muttering and returned to the main room to fetch the supple of bandages and sutures.
Roberto came out of the bath not long after. His beard was trimmed down, but not shaven off. His hadori held hair back from his face, but it was at least clean. Without the blood and dirt it was easier to see the worry lines that had formed on the face. The gray that was coming out was subtle but visible. Roberto was still a man in his mid 30s, but right now he looked older. The wounds in his side and arm were visible, they had been sutured but by his own hand. They were healing, albeit slowly.
Leria motioned to the plate of dinner that was sitting at the table, and snickered as Maura set herself upon him. " I think you should eat while she fusses over you." A roll of soft bread was taken in her hands as she pulled off a small piece watching Maura prod and clean at the sutures and his wounds, mumbling all the while. " Does it being back memories of my wounds?"
Maura scoffed," Memories? Leria you came back just last night with a gash on your leg from something north of Fal Dara."
"Shawed. Your own rooms. Going north of Fal Dara. It seems I was away for longer than I thought." Leria responded, "The Wheel turns Roberto... some things change, and some remain the same." Her eyes sparkled a moment, "You know what I have been up to... but I don't have your tale."
Roberto looked over the food, took a drink from what had come with it, and settled in to tell the story.
Three months earlier
"Gentleman, there is something we must speak about." 5 generals. Two guards. Seven. He could take seven. "There have been several leaks, and it's been a continual problem that keeps getting worse." He walked to the other end of the table. "The plan to solve the problem is here right now." He quietly draw a sharp, red stone dagger etched with a crane from his sheath. "I was the leak." The closest militant darkfriend general made a strange sound as he placed a sharp, red stone dagger etched with a crane in his back. Before they could even react Roberto had drawn a throwing spike from his boot, letting it arc through the air towards another militant darkfriend general, catching him in the throat. Aran immediately charge the general on the other end of the table that was drawing his sword, grasping on to his arm and not letting him move. Roberto hadn't stopped to make sure the throwing spike landed, he needed to trust his throw and the gargle sound to his side was the confirmation he needed, instead using the confusion to sneak behind another general, placing his dagger in the back of one more enemy. Three dead. Four remained. He jumped over the table, kicking as the general on the other side and flipping him over his char, one of the guards had come with his halberd out, but the other was attempting to leave to get help. With his back turned he made a perfect target as Roberto switched his dagger to his left hand, drawing another spike out from his sleeve, arcing it through the air at the guard. Switching his dagger back to his right hand he drew his short sword as well, he kicked the general he had just knocked over in the head, coming down with his sword to stab him while he was still sat. Three left.
There would be no more easy kills here. His hands were covered in blood. His Hadori on the hilt of his dagger slick with it. These last two generals would die even if it meant he went down with them. Suddenly his left arm was pierced and he dropped his short sword. He had ignored the guard with the halberd too long. "Aran Rescue." The black and tan bloodhound threw himself at Roberto's attacker, knocking him out of the way. Roberto took the time to attack the already crippled general Aran had had just released. He dodged two swings from a sword to close in, stabbing his dagger up into the chest and towards the heart of the general. Before he could get the dagger out he heard a roar from the final general. The man had gone berserk, charging forward and bashing Roberto with his two handed sword. Roberto was able to parry the first but the second swing dug deep into his side. He let out a grunt of pain. Aran didn't wait for him to call this time. He leapt at the final general, teeth bared. He grabbed his throat and ripped, the roar from the general turning into the gurgling sound. Roberto quickly climbed to his feat, rushing at the man with the halberd. He parried it with his dagger at the last second, running up the length of the halberd and putting his dagger through the eye of the last guard.
He had severe wounds in his arm and side, but he could not rest yet. He ran outside the tent. "Attack on the generals! Attack on the generals! Mobilize now!" As his cry was heard, he used the chaos to sneak among the tents. It was time to leave the damn blight.