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Enchantress

Chapter Text

I rested my hands on the short wall lining the balcony attached to my bedroom. As the wind ruffled my hair, I closed my eyes. My ears picked up the sound of horses on the ground below, and the wind rustling the nearby forest’s leaves. My eyes opened again and I watched the small herd wander around their pasture. The day was like any other, not much planned and yet things still needed to be done. I frowned when an unfamiliar sound reached my ears. I looked around and my gaze ended up towards the sky.

The….thing was too large to be a phantom or parrot, and I didn’t recognize the design. The flying, or rather crashing, object was mostly white with some red accents. It headed west, plummeting towards the ground.

My frown deepened and I turned away. My grey-blue dress swished as I walked down the hall. I kept an eye on the southern facing windows as I walked, smoke followed the object’s route to the ground.

I made it to the hall next to the staircase when I met my head-maid, a middle-aged woman with brown hair that was almost always pulled into a tight bun.

“Delia.” I nodded to her. “Did you see the sky?”

She nodded. “Yes, my lady. It fell in the direction of the village.”

I glanced out the nearest window, which faced west and thus the path to the village. “Correct.” I turned towards her. “Find Mary and keep an eye on the path. If anything or anyone was in that… object, there is a chance it or they will come here. And if they do…”

Delia gives a small smile. “Mary will come to find you. I know the routine, my lady.”

I narrowed my eyes at her playfully. “Careful, Delia. Your statement almost sounds like it has an ounce of sass.”

Delia lets out a small chuckle. “Perhaps it did, my lady.” She straightens and turns her face into a neutral mask. “Where would Mary find you?”

I held back a sigh. “I shall be in my potion room.”

Delia nods to me and takes her leave, making her way down the staircase.

I spare another glance out the window, then shake my head in disbelief and continue down the hall.

Once in my potion room, I make my way to the lectern and flip through the pages. I mutter to myself as I collect water bottles, nether warts and glistering melons. I set the supplies next to the brewing stand. Minutes fly past as I continue to make healing potions. I add glowstone dust for strength and redstone dust for the affects to last longer.

“My lady?”

I turned to see Mary standing in the arched doorway. “Who has come to the mansion?”

“Eleven people, ten are human and one is...I’m not sure what they are. Miss Delia sent me to get you as the group emerged from the forest on the path to the village.”

I frown and wipe my hands on a nearby piece of wool. “I’ll go see what they want. Please keep an eye on these potions, once they are done just put them in the large chest near the lectern.”

She nodded and I walked back down the hallway towards the front of the mansion. I paused above the stairway and looked down out of the window. The group of people were in the front yard, with Delia in between them and the doorway to the mansion.

I swallow in anticipation and dread, turn and go down the first few steps then turn again and descend to the small landing at the top of the staircase leading the rest of the way downstairs.

From there, I could see the front of the group and the back of Delia. The bearded man who was speaking with Delia looked over her shoulder and met my gaze. Delia followed his gaze and nodded to me. The white clad men behind him, the ones who held their helms under their arms, openly stared at me.

I steadied myself, they probably hadn’t seen a dark elf before, and descended down the rest of the steps, my mother’s lessons of making your walk look like you were gliding, going through my head.

I stopped in the doorway to the mansion and gazed over the group.

“Gentlemen, and lady, meet the Mistress of the Mansion, Lady Idraho.” Delia introduced with a small bow and an arm sweeping towards me.

I nod to her. “Welcome to the Edge of the World.”

“My lady, this is Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, the head of their party.” Delia gestures to the bearded man.

He bows. “It is a pleasure, Lady Idraho.”

I tilt my head slightly. “Who is it that travels in your party, Master Kenobi?”

He takes a step to the side. “May I introduce Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker and his padawan Ahsoka Tano. Escorting us are Commander Cody, Captain Rex, and troopers Kix, Jesse, Hardcase, Fives, Echo, and Tup.”

The troopers along with Commander Cody and Captain Rex were wearing armor that was much smaller than any I had ever seen.

I nodded to each person as Master Kenobi spoke their name. “I have not yet heard of the Jedi, but it sounds like an honor. Now, what is your business on my property?”

Kenobi looked a bit taken aback by my bluntness but I only raised an eyebrow at his hesitance. “Our ship crashed five clicks west of here, and we decided to head east.”

I narrowed my eyes. “You were the ones in the object that fell from the sky.”

“Yes, we call it a gunship, ma’am.” Commander Cody confirmed.

I exchanged a purposeful glance with Delia and motioned for her to stand next to me.

“Yes, my lady.” she murmured to me.

I turned my head towards her but kept an eye on the group. “Gather Greg and Charlie. They should be in the kitchen, and also summon Mary and Alice. Go, as quick as you can.”

She nodded, walked back inside, and quickly up the stairs.

I straightened. “Now, Master Jedi. I do believe that you were of your own free will when you chose to head east instead of west.”

Kenobi nodded slowly, not knowing where I was going with this.

I narrowed my eyes. “If you had gone west you would have arrived in the last village of what most people call ‘Civilization’. What I don’t believe is that you were ignorant of who lives here.”

Kenobi and Skywalker frowned and exchanged glances.

“There have been soldiers at my door before, but none have looked quite like you.”

“I’m afraid I don’t understand, my lady.” Kenobi spoke up. “What are you saying?”

I scowled. “The people of ‘Civilization’ despise me and have sent armies to try and kill me before. No one comes to my door without an ulterior motive. No soldier comes to a dark elf’s door for sanctuary, so the only conclusion you must be here to kill me or those under my care.”

“Wait, what?!” Skywalker protested.

By this time, Delia had returned with the entirety of my staff.

I turned to my groundskeeper, Greg. “Take them to the cells. Master Kenobi and Knight Skywalker in one redstone cell and the Commander and Captain in the other. Make sure the Padawan is by herself as is befitting of a woman in a group of men.”

I spun around, entered the mansion and strode towards my office.

“Lady Idraho, wait!” Kenobi cried out but I ignored him.

~*~

Hours later, I was still in my office.

Delia knocked on the doorway, then stood in front of my desk.

“Yes, Delia?” I didn’t look up from the inventory of supplies.

“Wouldn’t it be wise to speak with the prisoners?”

I slowly looked up and narrowed my eyes. “Does one wish to speak with me?”

“Yes, Master Kenobi.”

I sighed and leaned back in my chair. “Very well, escort him here.”

Minutes later, I hear footsteps on the carpet lining the hall.

I swallow and straighten my back, these conversations rarely lead to anything good.

The two enter my office and Delia stays near the doorway while Kenobi stands right in front of my desk.

“Master Kenobi, you wished to speak with me?” I raised my eyebrows.

“Yes, I wish to know why my men and I were put in cells.” He stands with the stance of a high ranking soldier, feet shoulder-width apart and his arms behind his back.

I gaze at him for a few seconds before answering. “Very well, but it is a long story.”

He nods minutely but doesn’t move otherwise.

I sigh. “I have been on this earth for over a thousand years, and have lived in this mansion for every moment. This world deems that my race is reason enough to cast what is left of my people aside. The second I leave my property, men and women want my head on a spike.” I met his gaze. “For a thousand years, soldiers and mercenaries have been hired to kill me. They come solo, in duets, in groups or in armies.

“I have lost friends and all of my family to humans and what did I do to deserve it?
I lived.”

His brow furrowed and he started to stroke his beard with his right hand, while his left arm supported his other arm.

“I took in outcasts to be under my protection and most chose to become a part of my staff. Delia’s parents are an excellent example. Her father defected from the army, he didn’t want to kill for the rest of his life and society decided her mother’s red hair was just too different. They came to me and I gave them a home and a purpose. Her mother became my head maid while her father became my groundskeeper. While here, they fell in love and decided they wanted to raise their daughter in the village. I agreed and they moved out after her mother gave birth.” I took a deep breath and steadied myself. “The peace only lasted six months. A traveling merchant recognized them and the village rose in anger. Her father was killed trying to save his wife and child. Her mother was injured and struggled through down the path. She made it back here, but her injuries consumed her life.” I didn’t have to look at her to know that Delia was trying, and failing, to hold back tears. “I raised Delia, not to hate the village, but to be cautious. People can change their minds and hearts in an instant. Now, tell me why I should believe you and your men are any different”

While Kenobi thought through what I had said, I glanced at Delia and tilted my head in a silent question if she needed to leave. She shook her head minutely and straightened her back. My gaze returned to the man and I waited.

“You saw our transport crash, correct?” Kenobi started, and I nodded in response. “We were in a battle above a nearby planet and the gunship was supposed to take us to the surface to reinforce the ground troops. On the way down, we were hit and the pilot did his best to get us out of danger. We hoped that we could find somewhere to recover safely, but as we entered the atmosphere the gunship took more damage. It was all that our pilot could do to not crash completely. As we neared the surface, one of the men spotted your mansion. The gunship crashed and we were able to escape the wreckage but our pilot didn’t make it. Your mansion was the only civilization we could see, so we came this way and hoped for the best.”

I searched his eyes for the usual deception but found none. “I can tell you are telling the truth. However, I have never heard of people being able to reach the stars. Are all your people so advanced as to fly and to travel the skies as easily as we travel between villages?”

Kenobi nodded. “Yes, most of our people have the means to travel between star systems as well.”

I smiled, shaking my head. “Unbelievable.” I muttered, then cleared my throat. “I would advise you not to speak of this to anyone else of this land. We lack the means to travel the sky and if they are suspicious of my travels between realms, I fear for what they would do with your people's practices.”

“Realm traveling?” Kenobi frowned, but I just chuckled.

“A story for another time, Master Kenobi. For now, Delia will show you and your men to the smaller of the two bunk rooms. Will Padawan Tano be alright with you and your men or does she require a different room?”

“That would be her choice.” Kenobi shrugged.

I turned to Delia. “If the Padawan chooses a different room, give her the master guest room.” I looked back to Kenobi. “Settle yourselves and I will send someone to fetch you all when dinner is ready.”

Delia led him from my office and I rubbed a hand across my forehead. Change was on the horizon and I could only hope that it would be for the better.

Chapter Text

I strode towards the staircase leading to the third floor, my mind going over the preparations that needed to be done to accommodate the new guests.

“Lady Idraho!”

I turned to see Alice leading the otherworlders in the same direction I was heading.

“Are you also heading to dinner?” Skywalker asked as they came closer.

I nodded slightly. “Am I correct to assume that you are settling in well?”

“The bunks are similar to the barracks we usually sleep in. Feels almost like home.” a man with a tattoo of a disjointed five on the right side of his forehead stated.

I gave a small smile. “I will take that as a good thing, trooper…?”

“Fives, ma’am.” He smirked and winked.

I blinked quickly, then narrowed my eyes. It had been centuries since someone had flirted with me, and I wasn’t entirely sure that that was what Fives had been doing. I cleared my throat. “Of course. It will take me some time to remember your names. It has been a while since we have had guests.”

We continued up the steps and entered the first room on the left side of the hallway. Delia and Mary were waiting by the closest table.

“There are four tables, four chairs each. Sit with who you like, but I would request that you don’t move tables after sitting down.” Delia instructed.

I glanced at the group and noticed that Delia’s neutral mask made some of the men uncomfortable. I sighed internally, it has been too long since we have had guests.

“Thank you, Delia. Have you eaten yet?” I moved towards the table to the left of the table nearest to the door, in an attempt to get her to stop staring at them.

“Not yet, my lady.”

I hummed, gracefully sitting down. “I would like for you to eat with us then.”

She looked like she was about to argue when I raised an eyebrow at her. She sighed. “Yes, my lady.”

She, Mary and Alice sat at the table farthest from the door and looked uncomfortable.

The troopers broke into two groups and were talking with each other as they slid into chairs. The Jedi sat with me and glanced around.

“If you don’t mind me saying, but this is quite a large dining room for you and your staff.” Kenobi said, raising his eyebrows.

I gave a small smile. “There is a smaller dining room that we usually use down the hall.”

“What’s for dinner?” Skywalker rubbed his hands together.

“I believe it is rabbit stew, Greg went hunting earlier.”

“And Greg is…?” Kenobi inquired.

“Greg is my groundskeeper.” I answered. “He usually eats in his house or outside.”

“How much staff do you have, if I may ask?” Kenobi glanced back at Delia, Mary and Alice.

“There are five currently under my care, and all are on my staff. Delia is my head maid, with Mary and Alice working as maids under her. Greg is my groundskeeper and Charlie is my cook.” I nodded at Charlie, who was setting bowls of stew in front of everyone.

Kenobi frowned. “So few for such a large home?”

I chuckled, absentmindedly stirring my stew. “Yes, there is not much to be done. Greg hunts for meat and cares for the animals we keep, Charlie cooks and cares for the farm on the ground floor. Mary and Alice clean and occasionally help me with potions or crafting. Delia makes sure we stay organized, keeping inventory of what we have, what we can sell to passing merchants who are willing to trade with us and ensuring we have enough to last the winter.”

Skywalker glances up from where he is leaning over his bowl and practically shoveling food in his mouth. “Do you pay them?”

I frowned at him and paused before speaking. “I don’t understand what you are trying to insinuate, Knight Skywalker.”

He chewed and swallowed before responding. “You say they are under your care, but are they free to do as they wish? Can they leave when they want or are they kept here under fear for their ‘safety’?” He lifted a hand to mime the quotations.

My eyes narrowed in anger and I set down my spoon. “You dare suggest that I keep slaves?” I spoke in an even tone that did little to hide my rage. “You think I am like those…monsters who take away the freedom of those they claim to protect?”

At this point, the room is silent and Delia, Alice and Mary have anger shown on their faces.

“Lady Idraho, I assure you Anakin meant no disrespect.” Kenobi tried to interrupt, but I held up a hand.

“Do not defend one who has control over his own actions, Master Kenobi.” I stated and stood. “If you believe my staff to be slaves, then I urge you to ask them and gather evidence before you imply what you have no knowledge of. Excuse me.” I swept out of the dining room and down the staircase to the second floor. I turned the corner and continued down the hall.

My thoughts were on a rampage through my mind. How dare this human accuse me of slavery, did he not know his own history?

I entered my room and continued to the balcony. Once there, I leaned on the railing and breathed heavily as I tried to calm the emotions roaring through my body.

Perhaps as one from the sky, his particular kind of human did not know of the history of this land. Yes, he must have spent his life in the sky and knew not of the actions of his fellow humans. I would speak with Kenobi about this, if these people are to stay, they must know our customs.

~*~

I spent the next hour or so calming myself, not wanting to leave my room unstable. Once I had regained control of my emotions, I strode out of the room. I returned to the third floor but moved past the other rooms without looking at them. I paused for half a second before walking through the vines covering the doorway of the last room. My feet sank slightly into the dark green carpet and a smile grew on my face.

There were three tables with filled plant pots and a large flower bed that decorated the room. There were also two small barrels in the room, one was at the end of the room closest to the doorway and had four sea pickles giving off light, while the other barrel had a lily pad floating on the surface of the water.

I moved over to the lily pad barrel and let a finger gently trace the veins of the pad. “There is no need to linger outside the room, Master Kenobi.” I stated, not looking up.

“I didn’t want to disturb you, Lady Idraho.” He used a hand to hold some vines back as he entered the room.

I hummed absentmindedly, took a few steps and looked out one of the windows.

After a few moments of silence, Kenobi moved to stand beside me and also looked out the window. “I must admit that I’m at a bit of a loss. Usually I can fix Anakin’s mistakes, but this situation appears to be different.”

I turn my head and gaze at him. “Knight Skywalker seems to take advantage of that, Master Kenobi.” I return my gaze to look outside. “This situation is between him and I, and your interfering helps none.”

He looks down for a minute, then nods. “It appears so. I apologize if my actions have caused unrest.”

I let out a small chuckle. “Your actions have caused naught but another view of the young Knight.”

Kenobi brows furrowed and he looked at me. “Oh?”

I nod, glancing at him. “You care for him but you have sheltered him, Master Kenobi. Both of you know that you are more adept in political situations and he uses you as a crutch in said situations. Which is a logical response if you always, as you said, fix his mistakes.”

Kenobi sighed. “What would you have me do?”

I turned my body to face him and met his gaze. “Urge him to atone for his actions and allow him to face the repercussions on his own. You will not be at his side forever.”

He thought for a moment then nodded slowly. “A wise action, Lady Idraho.”

I raise an eyebrow. “Indeed.” I motion for him to follow me, then walk to the barrel holding the sea pickles. “Do you recognize this particular flora, Master Kenobi?”

He shook his head, leaning forward to better see in the barrel.

“These are sea pickles. They are found at the bottom of the ocean or on coral reefs. They can survive out of water, but there is a consequence. Once out of water, they stop producing light.” I state, gazing at the plant.

Kenobi looked at me, confused.

“Perhaps Knight Skywalker is similar. Politics do not make him shine, but nevertheless he will survive.” I met Kenobi’s gaze again.

He chuckled. “He won’t be pleased to be compared to a plant.”

I smiled and huffed. “Then prompt the young man to learn more about plants. There are many that, even I, would not take offence to being compared to.”

Kenobi shook his head, still smiling. “I will take your word for it, my lady. I will take my leave.” He nodded to me and walked back through the vines.

I watched him go. He was unlike any human I had met, and yet he was so similar. Perhaps any human had the potential to be like him, but none took to it as he had.

~*~

I stayed in my garden for several hours, examining and caring for the plants within its walls. But I knew I could not stay for much longer without calling my actions ‘hiding’.

I sighed, knowing it was time to brave the halls and the possible interactions they held. I brushed off the skirt of my dress and walked through the vines.

I made it to the base of the staircase from the third floor to the second floor before encountering anyone. I had just turned left, when I heard a voice behind me.

“Lady Idraho!”

I turned to see trooper Fives with two other troopers. “Fives, who are your companions?”

“This is Echo and Tup.”

Echo had a blue hand-print on the left side of his chest-plate while Tup had the tattoo of a teardrop under his right eye and his hair pulled into a bun.

“A pleasure to meet you both.” I gave a small smile.

“Likewise, my lady.” Echo nodded back.

“So, I’ve got a question for ya.” Fives grinned.

I raised my eyebrows. “I shall try to answer.”

“Why do you have a boxing ring in your home?”

I chuckled. “Come with me, gentlemen.” I led the way down the hall a little ways and we entered the room. “I am not quite sure what a boxing ring is, but this is the arena room.”

In the middle of the room, raised on stone, was a fenced-in square. There was a balcony around the perimeter towards the top of the room, which the ladder next to the doorway led to.

I led the men to the stairs leading to the gates into the ring. “During my father’s time, there was a monthly fighting competition held here. Young men would fight for bragging rights, the favor of a lady or just to expel energy.”

“Were there more people living here, in your father’s time?” Tup asked, looking around the room.

I smiled, nodding. “The bunk rooms were full and there were small houses all around the mansion. Back then, there was an entire town surrounding the mansion. Humans were known but not a threat.”

“What happened?” Echo asked quietly, frowning.

My face fell. “A war. The humans decided that they wanted the land that the dark elf’s lived on and that negotiations with ‘savages’ were absurd. They gathered their armies and attacked the cities first.” I began to slowly walk around the arena. “They only killed the people. They didn’t want to ruin the land that they claimed. Bodies were piled and burned, while artifacts once treasured and revered were broken, sold or used against us.”

“But the mansion still stands?” Fives grimaced.

I sighed. “Yes. My father took the warriors of the town and went out to face the human army, while my mother gathered the others, builders, healers and ranchers. The people converged their power and returned the wood of the buildings back into trees. They created a shield around the mansion and hid within.” I swallowed, preparing my voice for what I was about to say. “My father barely made it back, but he unintentionally led the army here. The power of the dark elves held that day, the humans retreating. My father passed before the sunset, and my mother used her sorrow to protect the mansion as the people fled. When the humans returned, the mansion looked empty, so they left. It was only decades later that they came back to find me as Mistress of the Mansion.”

Silence fell over the room and I glanced over to see the men shuffling uncomfortably. I huffed quietly and gave a small smile. “Do not worry yourselves over a reminiscing old elf. Feel free to use this room to train, fight or gather. I will take my leave.” I nodded to them and walked down the hall.

Once on the other side of the mansion, I allowed myself to stagger and lean against the wall. Since when did I so easily tell humans of the history of dark elves? A tear rolled down my cheek and I closed my eyes. Was it time for them to know or was it simply because I had become lonely? Either way, I should at least attempt to contain the sorrow I had locked away for centuries. It was unseemly for a lady to cry in front of guests.

Chapter Text

It was late morning when I decided to leave my room. I was walking towards the main staircase when I heard a thump and a cry as I passed the arena room. I paused, then took a step into the room.

Two troopers were kneeling next to another, who was laying on his back and groaning.

“Easy, Hardcase.” I recognized the armor of Captain Rex. “How bad is it, Kix?”

The other kneeling trooper shook his head, running his hands gently over the injured trooper’s arm. “It’s not broken but I think his humerus is cracked. I can’t do much without my med kit, though.”

I took a few more steps towards the arena. “Perhaps I may provide some assistance?”

Both Captain Rex and Kix tensed as their heads whipped towards me. I made sure that I looked non-threatening as possible, and loosely clasped my hands in front of me.

“Do you have medical supplies?” the Captain asked.

I tilted my head slightly, thinking. “I do not understand ‘medical’ but I have healing supplies, if you wish to use them.”

Captain Rex exchanged a glance with Kix before they helped Hardcase to his feet.

“How far do we need to go?” Kix asked.

I waited until they were out of the arena before I walked down the hall. “Not far.” I led them past the staircase to the third floor and into the potion room. “He may sit on the counter.” I pointed where, then opened a chest.

Kix glanced around after Hardcase sat on the counter. “What is this place?”

I walked over with a glass bottle filled with a shimmering red liquid. “This is my potion room.”

The Captain nodded to the bottle. “And that is?”

“A healing potion. Specifically an Instant Health potion of healing.” I removed the stopper and swirled the liquid around, then spoke to Hardcase. “Try to drink all of it, it will heal your arm quickly.”

Hardcase took the bottle, glanced at Kix then Captain Rex and downed the potion. Once he swallowed the last of the liquid, he gasped, dropped the bottle and clutched at his arm.

I caught the bottle, calmly put the stopper back in and watched Kix fuss over the other trooper.

Captain Rex watched Kix feel over the previously injured arm, then shook his head in disbelief. He turned his gaze to me and tilted his head up a fraction. “Thank you.” His words spoke of gratitude but his tone spoke of a challenge.

I raised an eyebrow, returning the challenging look. “You are my guests, it would be inhospitable if I were to leave one of you injured.” I took the bottle to a smaller chest and placed it next to other used bottles. “But I do have a question for you, Captain.”

Captain Rex straightened, shifting slightly in front of the other troopers as if to protect them. “Oh?”

I turned to face the three troopers and noticed that Hardcase was on his feet. “Do all of your troops share the same face? If there were fewer of you, I would dare to say that you are brothers.”

The Captain frowned. “Have you not seen clones before?”

I narrowed my eyes. “Clones? As in organisms that are genetically similar?”

The Captain nodded slowly. “Yes. All of us, other than General Kenobi, General Skywalker and Commander Tano, are clones.”

I tried to wrap my head around the thought of cloning humans. I frowned as a thought entered my mind. “Why?”

Kix crossed his arms. “Why what?”

I walked to the other side of the room and leaned on the counter next to one of the brewing stands. “Why clone humans? Are there not enough already?”

Hardcase and Kix tensed at my words but the Captain waved at hand at them. “I’m guessing you don’t know about the war?” He asked.

At this, I shook my head. “The last war that affected these lands was the war between dark elves and humans. I have heard of battles but nothing as large as a war has happened in over a thousand years.”

Captain Rex scratched the back of his head and exchanged a glance with the other troopers. “I’m not the best to explain the politics behind the war, but my brothers and I were created to fight it.”

I huffed quietly. “I’m afraid I do not understand the reason behind creating a person just to use them to fight.” I studied their faces and came to the realization that they were all uncomfortable. I stood quickly. “My apologies for bringing up a difficult topic.” I glanced outside to gauge the sun’s position. “Charlie should be making lunch, should any of you be hungry.”

Kix glanced around the room, at the lectern, the chests, the counter that wrapped around the end of the room and the growing nether warts in a bed of soul sand next to the end of the counter. “Would it be alright if I returned here? I’m interested in how quickly that potion healed Hardcase.”

I gave a small smile. “If you wish it, I could teach you how to brew potions.”

He nodded, a smile growing over his face. “Ya, that would be cool.”

I frowned slightly at the wording but understood the gist of what he said. “We can return after lunch.”

With that, we headed to the dining room. The troopers walked in but I paused in the doorway.

Now that I had learned their origins, I noticed that whoever created them had failed in making them the same. There were different hair colors, hairstyles and tattoos that proved my thought. Captain Rex was blond and kept his hair shaved close to his head, while Cody had a scar on the left side of his face and kept his black hair a bit longer. Fives and Echo had the same hairstyle and color but Fives had his tattoo and Echo had no scar nor any tattoos that I could see. Both Jesse and Hardcase had shaved off their hair but had tattoos covering their skull. Kix had created designs in his shaved hair and Tup’s hair was longer than the other’s. Yes, whoever had created them had failed to make them similar in any way besides genetics.

~*~

Kix and I spent the afternoon in the potion room, and I taught him the basics of brewing. It was only after Jesse bodily pulled him from the room (to my amusement), that I was able to go to my office.

I had only just sat down, when there was a knock on the doorway. I looked up to see Knight Skywalker standing there.

“Are you busy?” He asked, shuffling uncomfortably.

I narrowed my eyes but shook my head. I would at least hear what he had to say before I came to any conclusions.

He stepped into the room and glanced around. “I like your decor.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Thank you.”

There were a few minutes of silence before I sighed quietly. “What can I help you with, Knight Skywalker?”

He swallowed, seemed to gather his thoughts and then spoke slowly. “Obi-Wan pointed out that I may have been rude to you yesterday.”

I raised my other eyebrow. “Indeed.” I waited another minute for him to speak, then rested my elbows on my desk. “Your words during that particular meal were abrupt and impolite. Were I not so understanding, your words could have caused me to throw out you and your party.”

Skywalker groaned and rubbed a hand over his face. “I’m not good with things like this.”

“I noticed.” I stated, keeping my face neutral as he quickly looked up. He looked wary, so I tried a different tactic. “You are used to someone helping you in political situations, which is how, I assume, you have lived this long. But Master Kenobi or whoever usually is with you, will not always fix your mistakes.”

Skywalker watched me intently, so I chose my next words carefully.

“I would be willing to help you with verbal tact in exchange for something.”

He narrowed his eyes. “What do you want?”

I sighed internally, this was going to take a while. “In exchange, you will not break anything nor will you use verbal abuse to take out your frustration. I have enough patience to help but my patience can run out. You will stumble and make mistakes but I will not throw you out for them. If you choose to accept my offer, you must be patient with yourself.”

He gazed at me for a while before speaking. “I would like time to consider your offer.”

I smiled. “Very well. You have until dinner tomorrow to give me your answer.”

He nodded and left.

My face fell and I rested my head in my palm. We would also have to work on exits. This may be harder than I had anticipated.

~*~

I was in my garden room when night fell. I was watering the flowers, letting my mind wander.

There was a knock on the doorway and I glanced over my shoulder to see Master Kenobi. I smiled and he walked through the vines.

“Good evening, Master Kenobi, or rather, good night.” I looked back at the flower I was watering.

He moved to stand next to me. “Good night then, my lady.” I could hear the smile in his voice.

“What brings you to the garden?” I glance at him as I move to the next table.

“I was looking for you. Anakin said he spoke with you earlier.”

I nodded. “Yes. He came with the intention of apologizing and left with an offer for him to think over.”

Kenobi frowned. “What was the offer?”

I glanced at him with a raised eyebrow. “That is for him to consider and if he chooses to accept, for me to help with.”

Kenobi chuckled and shook his head. “I should have known that you wouldn’t give a straight answer.”

I chuckled with him. “Perhaps, but you brought up another topic that does not include your presence or knowledge.”

A comfortable silence fell as I continued to water the flowers and he watched.

“I do not remember the names of these flowers, and would appreciate it if you would remind me.” He said gently, as if his words could break the comfortable feeling in the room.

I smiled softly and nodded. I led him back to the doorway and we made our way around the room counter-clockwise. I simply gestured to the plants and spoke their name. First was the large flower bed. “Lilac, Rose, Peony and Sunflower.” Then the first table. “Orange Tulip, Cactus and Red Tulip.”

Kenobi smiled. “You keep a cactus in your garden?”

I gave him an amused look. “Of course, I’m not an amateur.”

He chuckled and we moved on. Next was the second table. “Cornflower, Allium and Blue Orchid.” A barrel was between the second and third tables. “Lily-pad.”

“Not a flower.” Kenobi pointed out.

I raised an eyebrow. “Still as lovely.”

He bowed his head with a grin.

The third table was next. “Lily of the Valley, Azure Bluet and Oxeye Daisy.” And lastly was the second barrel. “You know the sea pickles.”

Kenobi chuckled. “Ah, yes. It is always good to see Anakin’s family.”

I laughed, closing my eyes and tilting back my head. When I lowered my head to look at Kenobi, he was watching me with a smile on his lips. I gazed at him for a while before tilting my head slightly. “What is on your mind, Master Kenobi?”

He watched me for a moment before speaking. “I would prefer you call me Obi-Wan.”

I was surprised, but didn’t show it. I couldn’t tell what his intentions were, but I knew him enough that whatever they were, they would not hurt me.

“Only if you call me Idraho.” I responded, my eyes meeting his.

He grinned. “Very well.”

We were silent for several minutes before I looked away. “I should retire, Delia wants to go over supply lists in the morning.”

Kenobi took a step back. “Of course.”

I headed out of the room but paused at the doorway and looked back. “Sleep well, Obi-Wan.” Then I continued out of the room and down the hall.

It was only because I had sensitive ears that I heard his response.

“You as well, Idraho.”

Chapter Text

I woke the following morning with an overwhelming feeling of dread. I quickly made my way to the kitchen on the third floor and there I found my entire staff.

“My lady, what are you doing up so early? The sun has barely risen.” Delia frowned, halting the previous conversation.

“What is the schedule for today?” I asked, my gaze scanning each staff member, still trying to calm my mind.

“I’m goin hunting later, our meat supply is runnin low.” Greg leaned back against the counter.

“I’m doing the usual. Greg, get your rear off my counter.” Charlie whacked Greg’s arm with a wooden stirring spoon.

“Alice and I are dusting the libraries this morning, then I’m cleaning the artifacts and Alice is gathering eggs.” Mary glanced at Delia, who nodded in confirmation.

“I’m putting new blankets in bunk room one. What is wrong?” Delia insisted.

I sighed, trying to gather my thoughts. “A feeling of dread overcame me this morning. I would appreciate it if all of you could stay close to the mansion today.”

“Are you going out?” Alice asked hesitantly.

I hesitated before responding. “I believe so.”

Greg huffed. “It’s been years since ya left, Iddy. What brought this on?”

Delia gave a small gasp. “Greg! Show some respect!” She looked appalled at the nickname.

Greg rolled his eyes. “Give it a rest, Delia, she’s never insisted that we call her by her title.”

“Enough, you two. I have a bad feeling and I want to make sure the mansion defenses are holding.” I interrupted before the argument could escalate. “I’ll inform our guests about this.”

“I’ll pack you some food.” Charlie started bustling around the kitchen.

I nodded in thanks and made my way to the first floor. I walked to the bunk room, where I found all of the otherworlders in various conversations but they slowed to a stop when I appeared in the doorway.

“Lovely, you’re all here.” I took a single step into the room. “I would ask that none of you leave the mansion today.”

Anakin frowned. “Is something going on?”

I hesitate, not wanting to explain something I still didn’t fully understand. “Please adhere to my request.”

Anakin narrowed his eyes but Obi-Wan cut off what the young Knight was about to say. “Of course, my lady.”

I nodded and walked away quickly. I returned to my room and changed out of my dress. I donned a slim dark brown dress that ended at my knees, I pulled on a black vest that was slightly shorter than the dress and buttoned in the front. Black leggings covered my legs and black knee-high lace up boots covered my feet. I braided my hair into a high ponytail and put on fingerless leather gloves.

After I was redressed, I headed to the entryway of the mansion. Waiting for me there was my staff along with Master Kenobi, Knight Skywalker, Padawan Tano, Captain Rex and Commander Cody.

I nodded to the otherworlders and stood in the doorway outside. Mary handed me my sword and I strapped it to my waist. Charlie handed me a pack, I glanced inside before nodding to him. It held food and a couple potions.

I walked outside, where Greg was holding the bridle of my dark brown stallion, Meinus. I tied on the pack behind the saddle, then swung on.

“Do you know when you will return?” Kenobi asked, walking out of the house.

I gazed at him for a second. “Stay inside, Master Kenobi. Something or someone is coming.”

I nudge Meinus’ sides and he gallops north. We crossed the bridge over the river by the mansion, and entered the forest. The trees were a blur as Meinus continued to gallop.

After several miles, we came across a small lake. Meinus slowed to a stop and I gazed around the small clearing next to the lake. I slid to the ground and knelt next to the water as I let Meinus fill his thirst.

Nearby leaves rustled and I shot to my feet. I drew my sword and let it hang loosely in my hand. I narrowed my eyes and scanned the treeline, pretending not to notice the flash of dark blue in the leaves.

After moments of silence, I sighed and rolled my eyes. “Time for this game to end, dear cousin.”

A feminine voice, that was deeper than most, chuckled. “I guess I was incorrect to think that these past centuries living domestically have dulled your skills.”

Another dark elf dropped from the trees and sauntered towards me. Her skin was a few shades darker than my own sky blue flesh, and her eyes were more of a melted gold while my own were honey colored. Her storm grey hair was styled in a long mohawk, and swayed as she walked.

“It is good to see you again, Idraho.” she smirked.

I bowed my head slightly. “Always a pleasure, Hosasha.”

She chuckled. “Somehow you can always say my name in a way that makes me feel as though I have disappointed you.”

I raised an eyebrow but said nothing.

Hosasha spread her arms, the smirk still on her lips. “So what have I done this time, cousin dearest?”

I scoffed, turned and started leading Meinus back towards the trees. “You have no regard for life, Hosasha. That goes against everything I stand for.”

She groaned and followed. “Not all of us have a magic guarded mansion, Idraho. I’ve had to fight for everything I have, while you sit and have everything given to you on a golden platter.”

I clench my jaw and continue walking.

“Come on, ‘raho, I just need a place to lay low for a few days.” she whined.

I whipped around and snarled. “You hunt humans, Hosasha! You kill without thought and I cannot trust you with my staff!”

Hosasha sneered. “That’s your problem. If you had kept your parent’s staff, this wouldn’t be a problem.”

I narrowed my eyes. “My mother sent them away with the rest of the city, or have you forgotten how she saved you and your mother?”

Hosasha growled and slammed my back against a nearby tree, making me drop Meinus’ reins. “I owe you nothing! My father died fighting humans, just like yours! In fact, he died because of your father!”

I shoved her arms off my shoulders. “That was his choice. Just like it was yours to stay in the city, even though you have no magic.”

Hosasha bared her teeth. “I stayed to protect my mother! It was an idiotic choice to leave the safety of the city. We could have held off the army easily.”

I shook my head. “No, we couldn’t have. Father returned saying they had to attack at night in order to have a chance.”

She scoffed. “A cowards choice.”

I narrowed my eyes, thinking of the rumors. “You would know.”

Hosasha growled lowly. “You know nothing, Idraho.”

I pushed past her and picked up Meinus’ reins before turning to look back at her. “You are not welcome at the mansion, Hosasha. And if you attack my staff or guests, I will kill you myself.”

She met my gaze, her eyes burning. “You don’t have the skill to kill me, oh Mistress of the Mansion.” She taunted.

I swung onto Meinus’ back. “You no longer know my skill, Huntress.” I nudged his sides and Meinus cantered away. I could feel her eyes on my back, but I didn’t look back. I knew that she wouldn’t just leave, she was planning something.

My mind refocused, when we recrossed the bridge. I frowned, seeing Kenobi, Skywalker, Tano and Greg in the front yard.

I pulled Meinus to a stop next to where Greg and Kenobi were watching Skywalker and Tano spar. “Did I not tell you to stay in the mansion?” I stated heatedly.

Greg frowned. “What’s got you all tied up?”

I dismounted and scowled. “There is a dangerous individual nearby and you are in the open like a daft animal.”

Greg’s eyebrows raised. He had worked for me for years and never heard me almost insult someone so directly.

Kenobi glanced between Greg and I. “We meant no disrespect, my lady.”

I took a deep breath to try and calm myself. “Get any and all people outside back into the mansion as soon as you can. Then, gather Delia and whoever else needs to hear and bring them to my office. There is much to discuss.”

Greg took Meinus and took him back towards the pasture, while Kenobi nodded and walked towards Skywalker and Tano. I spun, strided into the house and down the hall towards my office.

Once there, I opened the ender chest next to my chair. I pulled out the notes my father had created detailing all of the warriors in the city. I flipped through them until I came to Hosasha’s paper. I put the rest back into the chest and closed it.

It was then that Delia, Kenobi, Skywalker, Tano, Commander Cody, Captain Rex and Greg entered the office, making it crowded.

“What did you find?” Delia immediately rushed to my side.

I leaned on the desk, my right hand on Hosasha’s paper. “Not what, but who. It is time you learn of my cousin, the Huntress Hosasha.”

Delia and Greg frowned. “You have never spoken of any family past your mother and father.” Delia stated, confused.

I glanced at her. “For good reason. Hosasha was not the best of us, nor the most moral. Father accepted her into his warriors due to her father being my mother’s brother.”

“Was she a good warrior?” Skywalker crossed his arms.

I gave a small smile. “One of the best, but her savagery kept her from my father’s guard, or any position other than reserves. She was angered by this, so when my father gathered all the warriors to go fight the human army, she refused and stayed behind.”

“Coward.” Greg muttered, but everyone could hear.

I nodded. “Agreed. The last I saw of her was when my mother sent the people of the city away, Hosasha was set on protecting her mother. Yet, years later, word came that her mother had died not long after that.”

“How?” Kenobi stroked his beard, standing in what I knew was his thinking position.

I shook my head. “I don’t know and haven’t had the chance to ask.”

Skywalker snorted but straightened his face and cleared his throat when Kenobi threw him a look.

“So she was who you met in the forest?” Commander Cody guessed.

“Correct. She wished to stay in the mansion.” I scowled.

Tano glanced at Skywalker and Kenobi. “What is so wrong with that?” she asked.

I gazed at the padawan. “Her current occupation is hunting humans.”

At this, everyone tensed.

“What?” Delia looked aghast.

I pinched the bridge of my nose. “She blames humans for the downfall of the dark elves, and rightfully so. But, she hunts the innocent and weak.” I gazed around the room. “She waits for soldiers to leave a village or town, then kills who is left behind and burns it to the ground.”

“How do you know this? I thought you hadn’t seen her in centuries.” Captain Rex pointed out.

I met his eyes. “Actions such as those do not go unnoticed. Word has even spread here of her actions. I have tried to follow her movements but I cannot leave the mansion, and thus I didn’t foresee her arrival.” I sighed and stared at the paper. “Hosasha is not a woman of honor, and she has no moral code. The most dangerous kind of warrior.”

There were a few moments of silence before Delia broke it. “So what do we do?” She looked at me.

I swallowed, apprehensive of any drastic measures. “We prepare. Keep anyone from leaving the mansion.” I looked at Greg. “I would ask that one of the soldiers accompany you during your duties.”

He nodded. “Aye, extra hands are always welcome in a fight.”

I returned the nod. “Good. Until we find something to do with the animals, you must continue your duties outside.” I paused and took a couple breathes to gather myself. “No one goes outside alone.” I gazed at the group, making eye contact with each person. “Hosasha is not to be underestimated. She will do what she must to get me to agree.”

I was about to speak again when I was interrupted by a scream. I straightened quickly, recognizing the voice of Alice. I pushed past the group and sprinted down the hall, knowing they would follow. I slowed to a stop after exiting the mansion, and clenched my jaw.

Hosasha was standing behind Alice and was also holding a sword to her neck. Alice was in tears and the basket for gathering eggs was at her feet. Next to the basket was an unconscious Fives.

I heard the group come to a stop at the doorway behind me, and Delia gasped at the sight.

Hosasha gave a sadistic grin. “Hello, cousin dearest. I do believe that it’s time for us to talk.”

My eyes moved between Alice and Hosasha. This was going to end badly.

Chapter Text

I glanced behind me, and saw many things. Delia looked desperate, Greg looked murderous, while the otherworlders looked determined. I met the gaze of Kenobi, then turned back to Hosasha.

“Return my maid and we will talk.” I tried to bargain.

Hosasha scoffed and shook her head. “And let go of the one thing keeping you from killing me? I didn’t know you took me for an idiot, Idraho.”

I scowled. “I take you for many things, Hosasha, but an idiot was never one of them.”

She chuckled, then narrowed her eyes at me. “Now, can we talk in peace or will I have to kill this lovely young human?”

I sighed, realizing the choice I would have to make.

“We can find another way.” Kenobi muttered, somehow knowing I would hear.

I shook my head minutely and met Hosasha’s eyes. “Release my maid and I will come with you. I will even leave my sword here.”

Hosasha gave a small grin. “I will give you a few minutes to convince your guests that following would be a bad idea.”

I nodded, turned and walked to the group.

“We can take her.” Skywalker rushed to say.

I shook my head. “Not at the cost of Alice and maybe Fives.”

“Is there no other way?” Delia wrung her hands, casting fearful glances towards my cousin.

I placed a hand on her shoulder. “I’m afraid not, Delia. But do not fret, I can handle myself.”

“That’s not what I am concerned about.” Kenobi said softly. “Can you fight her and make it out alive?”

I stared at him for a moment. “I will not allow Hosasha to be the thing that kills me, Master Kenobi. She may have spent the past few centuries bounty hunting, but I have always been more skilled.”

“So we just trade Lady Idraho for Alice and Fives?” Commander Cody shook his head in disbelief. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

“Agreed.” Kenobi murmured.

I gazed at Kenobi, then looked at the rest of the group. “If you could give me a moment to speak with Master Kenobi in private?”

Delia nodded and herded the others a few feet away.

Once they were far enough away, I faced Kenobi. “Will you watch over my staff while I am gone?”

His eyes searched mine, but I couldn’t tell what they were looking for. “Only if you promise to return alive.”

I smiled softly. “I will do my best.” I took off my sword belt and held it out to Kenobi. “Hold onto this for me.”

He took it and nodded. “I will keep it until you return.”

I was about to turn when I paused and tilted my head at him. “I will see you again soon, Obi-Wan.”

He looked like he wanted to say something, then he stopped himself and nodded again. “I will look forward to then, Idraho.”

I turned and walked up to Hosasha. “I am ready.”

She smirked and nodded. “Good.” She pushed Alice away, and the human tripped over Fives unconscious body before running to Delia, who hugged the younger woman close. Hosasha huffed at the sight, then jerked her head towards the path to the village. “Walk with me cousin.”

I clenched my jaw and followed her.

Once we stepped onto the path, I could hear the sound of someone running to, then kneeling beside Fives.

We walked in silence for several minutes before Hosasha stopped and turned towards me.

After another minute of silence, I met her gaze. “What?”

She shook her head slightly. “I’m just trying to figure you out, Idraho.”

I frown slightly. “Oh? I never thought you were the one to try and think ahead.” I gazed at the trees around us.

Hosasha huffed, a small smile on her face. “You don’t think much of me, do you?”

I raised an eyebrow. “Should I?”

She clenched her jaw. “I have changed, Idraho, though you might not think so.”

“I know you have changed, Hosasha.” I cut her off. “But what you have changed into still remains to be seen.”

“What do you mean ‘what I have changed into’? I’m still your cousin.”

I shook my head, wandering around the path. “Are you? The Hosasha of the old city would never have killed children, that Hosasha had morals.”

“You don’t know what I’ve been through!” She growled, pointing a finger at me.

I whirled around to face her. “Exactly! I know next to nothing about you, except for the rumors that you are a blood-thirsty monster that humans think all dark elves are!”

She glared at me. “Then it is decided.”

I frowned, confused. “What is?”

She grabbed her bow from where it sat in her quiver. “If you will not give me a chance, I will have to take over the mansion by myself.”

I gaped at her. “The mansion’s magic will not allow you!”

She knocked an arrow on the bow, facing me. “But you have the power to change that.”

I took a step back, unsure of what she was planning. “No. I refuse.”

She drew back and aimed the arrow at me. “Very well.”

Time seemed to slow as she released the arrow. I watched the arrow soar towards me and I tried to move out of the way.

The arrow lodged itself into my shoulder, just below my collarbone. The force of it knocked me to the ground and I gasped as I hit the path. My vision swirled, it reminded me of the affects of taking a dizziness potion.

I heard footsteps and Hosasha’s face appeared, blocking out the leaves above me.

“Once I kill your staff and guests, you will change the magic of the mansion. Until then, I recommend you stay here.” She left my sight, and not long after, my hearing.

It could have been minutes, but it felt like hours before I could convince my body to work with my mind. I rolled onto my side, grimacing at the pain, and slowly crawled to the base of the nearest tree. I propped myself against the trunk and took a few breaths to steady myself. Then, I raised my right arm and grasped the arrow protruding from my shoulder. I closed my eyes, grit my teeth, and pulled.

A tear slipped from my eye as I tried to recover, the arrow slipping from my fingers to the ground. My eyes looked down the path towards the mansion, hoping to see anyone or anything.

After a few moments, I clenched my jaw and pulled my legs to my body. I used my bloodied right hand to push off from the tree and stand. I took some deep breaths and quickly bent down to pick up the arrow, grimacing at the sharp pain in my shoulder from the movements. But now I had a weapon.

I staggered back towards the mansion, hoping that I wouldn’t be too late. I sighed in relief when I came to the end of the path and nothing looked wrong. I swallowed and tried to move as quick as I could towards the door.

The silence around me grated on my nerves, signalling that not everything was right. I leaned heavily against the doorway and placed a hand on the wall, trying to sense the magic of the mansion.

The only thing I sensed was general unease from the mansion itself, which wasn’t too unusual. It was the same thing I always sensed when someone not living in the mansion got too close to the property.

“Lady Idraho!” Mary came rushing down the stairs from the second level. “You’re hurt!” she gasped, a hand covering her mouth in horror at the sight of my shoulder.

I shook my head. “Pay it little mind, Mary. Where is Delia?”

“The entire staff and all of the other worlders are in the map room. I was coming to get Hosasha’s file from your office.” She explained.

I grit my teeth and pushed off from the doorway. “It will tell you nothing that I don’t already know. Help me to the map room please, there is no time to waste.”

It took longer than I would have liked to get to the map room. The blood loss made my head spin and the pain only made it worse.

I could hear raised voices once we neared the map room. I braced myself for whatever I could think of happening next, then straightened and walked into the room as normally as I could.

“Lady Idraho!” Delia was the first to see me enter, and rushed to me.

I gave her a small smile. “It is always a pleasure, Delia, but we have no time for pleasantries.” I glanced up to the rest of the room staring at me. “In fact, I think we have little time for anything.”

“What do ya mean, Iddy?” Greg frowned.

I went to my throne-like chair and sat down, keeping my back straight and refusing to show my exhaustion and pain. “Hosasha intends to kill all of you in order to make me change the mansion’s protection magic. She wants to take the mansion for herself.”

Kenobi assumed his classic thinking position and stared at the map. “Are you the only one who can change the magic?”

I nodded, hiding a grimace at the motion. “Yes, as Mistress of the Mansion, I am the only one who can command it.”

“Alright, I know you said we have little time but you are injured.” Kix interrupted. “You can do little good in the state you’re in.”

I gazed at him. “I will be fine.”

He met my gaze and refused to back down. “I’m sure you will be, after you are healed.”

I scowled. “Fine.” I turned my head to look at Mary. “Could you go to the potion room and bring me a healing potion? Instant Health II.”

Mary nodded and rushed from the room. There was silence in the room and a couple of the people shuffled nervously.

I scanned the room, mentally checking on each guest and staff member. I was pleasantly surprised to find Fives and Alice standing next to each other.

Mary rushed back into the room and handed me the potion. I pulled the stopper and downed it in one drink, to the surprise of almost everyone in the room.

“Now, can we get back to planning?” I replaced the stopper and set the empty bottle on the edge of the giant table.

Kix narrowed his eyes but nodded.

“Good. I would suggest that our first move is to bring the livestock into the mansion.” I glance around the room. “Hosasha is not above killing anything that will hurt us in any way. I would also suggest that Greg moves inside as well.”

Greg huffed but nodded. Charlie glanced at the only other male member of my staff before speaking up. “I’ll set up a bed in my room.”

I nodded to the cook. “Thank you.”

“Which rooms will the animals be placed in?” Delia went to the nearby bookshelf and pulled out the layout of the mansion. She unrolled three pieces of paper and placed the one showing the ground floor on the table in front of me.

“The horses will be split between the two redstone cells, and the sheep can be put in the tree room.” I pointed out the three rooms as I said them.

“The chickens can be placed in bunk room two. The beds will be good for nesting.” Delia pointed out.

“That leaves the pigs and the cows.” I muttered, scanning the rooms.

“We could use the other cells?” Mary suggested.

I tilted my head, gazing at the rooms. “Yes, two per cell, maybe three in the larger ones.”

“I’ll go and get started then.” Greg rubbed his hands together.

I held up a hand. “Not yet, Greg. There is more to be discussed.” I looked around the room, meeting the eyes of each person. “There is more at risk here than any of you believe. And it is time that you know the details about what Hosasha has been doing for the last few centuries.”