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Warhammer: Shadows of Empire - Master and Commander (Mikhail)


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Nayobee sighed briefly sensing that whatever was going on with Mikhail it surely affected his mood. She seemed oblivious to the idea that the reason for his foul mood was her doing.

“I’m looking for a human noble going by the name Baron Fehringer.”, she didn’t add more to the question and simply waited to see Mikhail’s reaction. Ioriona was close behind her – like her shadow.

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Mikhail signed off on an inventory of the pantry, an amused smile on his face. Hetta must have told Faust to punish the wayward apprentices with menial work. He nodded at Nayobee's words but did not look up as he placed the paper in a small wooden tray and moved to the next item. "Very good. I suppose a wish of luck on your search is in order." His tone was flat, concealing his anger behind it.

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Nayobee briefly hesitated and decided to ignore the hidden hostility, "Unfortunately my luck is strongly dependent on your help, Mikhail. I wouldn't stand here and ask for your help if I hadn't considered every other available option first. We found his residence but he was absent - supposedly because of the plague. I know no one else to ask for rumors or hard facts in that matter.", the Elven Ghost Strider struggled to keep her impatience and annoyance in check and her voice remained calm yet deadly cold.

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Mikhail looked over the invoice for the book binder and signed the paper. "The name doesn't sound familiar." He slid the paper into the tray and picked up the next, a bill to be issued to a farmer who requested a tree grown over his wife's grave. Mikhail lowered the price slightly then signed it and moved it to the tray. "Is that all?"

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Most certainly not, Mikhail. I wouldn't bother wasting both our times if it was. I need to find this Baron.", she spat out the title like it was contagious while she put her hands on Mikhail's table.

"What is going on here, Mikhail? Are we playing games? I do not have time for hurt pride. If I'm not welcomed here anymore then just tell me and I'm gone. So what's your call?", she resumed her aloof position and crossed her arms over her chest challenging him with her eyes. The Elven maid was not in the mood for any further delays. Those who weren't on her side she considered her enemy, it was as simple as that.

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The pen snapped, spraying ink across her hands and Mikhail's papers. Mikhail was livid, the anger plainly written on his face. "DO NOT!" he started, then paused and took a deep breath. "Do not presume to think that you know my concern. You speak of hurt pride? Of games? I ask you, how dare you abuse my hospitality?! How dare you put my people into harms way?! HOW DARE YOU INVOLVE THIS TOWER IN AN ABDUCTION!?? What kind of pride, of games, do you think you are playing at?" Mikhail was on his feet, his voice raised in anger, his face red. At his sides his hands alternated between fists and claws as though he were crushing something in his hands. The living walls of the tower thrashed about as though blown by a fierce wind, a wind of anger.

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Nayobee's expression remained unimpressed by Mikhail's outburst but inside she was starting to boil. Maybe it would have been easier to just leave the city and let them all rot but then she would have accomplished nothing.

The Elven Ghost Strider took a deep breath her eyes meeting Mikhail's with cold lust to kill. "First - I have never asked any of your people to get into harms way. It was their choosing to help me I haven't forced anyone to do anything. Second, Ioriona's abduction was necessary else she would be dead by now - for nothing. I know you don't expect much compassion from one such as me but what has been done here - to my people is wrong. I could care less if it wasn't for the killed children. There is a bounty out there on our heads - someone is paying hard currency for this. Choose for yourself what is right or wrong Mikhail but don't blame me for abusing your hospitality. Your apprentices could have said no. They had a choice.", she was keeping her own anger in check but it showed on her face that she very much desired to see blood right now.

"I am not playing games, Mikhail. I never do."

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Nayobee had never seen Mikhail this angry. The only time he had ever raised his voice above a conversational tone in her presence had been in the midst of battle. Now he looked like he was facing down an Ogre Irongut. "Don't you dare! Don't you dare dismiss your responsibility for your own actions, Nayobee. You lead my people, you were their leader and their injuries are your responsibility. You involved this Tower, and by implicit association myself, in a kidnapping. I don't care how you rationalize it but you have taken the hospitality I extended you and abused and misused it.

"If you had wanted more help you should have come to me and asked for it! I understand your pain. I understand that you want vengeance or revenge or whatever you call it. But you had no right to drag this Tower and my people into your little war. I thought you were my friend, clearly not, because a friend would not risk ruin to a friend's honor." The walls of the Tower were animated now, a mass of viney tendrils armed with wicked thorns and grasping roots, the magister's anger imbuing them with strength and purpose.

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Ioriona steps forward,

"Master Wizard, I am not totally aware of all that was done to effect my release, but I will pay my debts, be it to you or your descendents. If any fell in the attempt, I will find a way to reward their families, though I am not rich. I am a Ghost Strider and we remember our friends, and our history."

"So, to you and your Tower, I pledge to come to your aid in time of trouble, or to aid a member when away and our paths shall cross. This I swear."

She steps back to the flank of Nayobee and regains her solemn demeanor.

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For the first time Nayobee was intimidated by Mikhail’s furious anger. She hadn’t expected such outburst and was completely oblivious to the ‘problems’ her actions had caused him. She wanted to defy him because it was her nature but the words died in her throat.

Suddenly Ioriona stepped forward and spoke up offering some kind of recompense for the damage done and thus saving Nayobee from escalating the argument.

Nayobee made a double take but couldn’t bring up the courage to look into Mikhail’s eyes. This time his righteous anger was undeniable and she felt that she had wronged him. This situation was strangely familiar to her – her stubbornness and defiance were the major reasons for her self-imposed exile. Would she turn her back again and leave? She considered that option for a moment but shook her head slowly.

Reluctantly she bowed, “I apologize for my actions, Mikhail. I’ll accept any punishment you impose on me to redeem myself in your eyes. Until then I’m your humble servant …”, she hesitated and clenched her fists before she continued to speak, “… but I need to find this bastard and you are the only one I know I can ask for help.” Her voice was shaking from the effort to remain low and controlled but Mikhail could tell that she was struggling to fight her nature. He has never seen her like this before.

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Mikhail nodded, his own anger subsiding, the vines and roots quieting. "Then for now I release you to pursue your ... your justice. But know that I will not look kindly upon further transgression upon the honor and name of my self or my tower. I do not know anything at this time. I can however see if any of the nobles may know. You will need to wait until such time as I am able to see them."

Mikhail turns back to his papers, "In the meantime I think perhaps you should consider a more metered approach. Chasing after this man, in the state of rage you are clearly in, can do little but compromise your judgment, and I fear your actions say that this has already occurred. Come and see me tomorrow, perhaps I will have word then."

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The elves have not been gone long and Bertha brought another visitor to his desk, or so it seemed. The sun was closer to the rim now and dinner couldn't be that far off.

"Magister, a Smith says she has an appointment with you. She seems most insistant, so I have her waiting down stairs for her dismissal. Shall Victor show her out?"

Mikhail knew of only one Smith and a female one at that in this city - Heln, Guildmistress and Parlimentarian. His mind cleared further and he remembered why she was here. She wanted to know about ...

"Send her up," Mikhail sighed to the surprised Bertha. Downstairs she went and soon enough returned with the Golden-hued Mistress of the Hammer.

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Nayobee made herself comfortable in her quarters offering Ioriona to stay with her. She removed her armour and carefully placed her equipment and trappings next to her bed.

Her thoughts were still lingering on the argument with Mikhail. She had made only few acquaintances in the past and Mikhail was one of the few she considered her friend. Chances were that she had severely damaged that relationship now. The Elven Ghost Strider sighed and looked at Ioriona through sad eyes. The last days had put her through an emotional rollercoaster and Mikhail was right that her judgement was seriously clouded by her emotions. She hated to admit it and wished they had never come to this city – but then Ioriona would be dead by now and nothing would done to avenge the deaths of the innocent children and their parents.

With a mixture of frustration and sadness Nayobee stared out of the window which showed her the city’s ugly roofs and alleys. She hated being here – she hated human settlements – she hated it was all she had.

<I’m tired>, she said to Ioriona but didn’t move towards her bed. She stood there and stared with those cold blue eyes and wept quietly.

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Heln kept her eyes open as she was shown up the stairs. She'd wore the official garments of her office, her head high and her eyes bright. Stopping in front of Mikhail, she said, "I'm here."

It'd been a pain to get here. No one was pleased that she had to arrive late for her rotation, but she'd managed to convince the captain that what she needed to do was important. Now, to see if the Magister made that the trust, or wasted everyone's time.

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"Indeed, please come, sit. Bertha, please bring up the meal, and some of the ale I prepared this noon." Mikhail walked to the basin and using sand and soap scrubbed the ink from his fingers then dried his hands. "Where would you like to start? Ask what you will I will answer what questions I can."

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"What I know is that it appears artificial, and intentionally created. It was initially spread into the towns via the river, and those rat creatures seem to be responsible. There is an apothecary trying to work up a cure, and he may well succeed but at the moment we have nothing." Mikhail sat as the meal was laid out for them. "I know that healing magic seems at best a balm, and that given the progression of the disease we are likely looking at something intended to soften the town for a siege or invasion."

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Heln was quiet as she laid her napkin over her legs. "I was attacked by very aggressive rats," she mused. "You say they carry the plague?" Mikhail nodded, and Heln sighed. "That's a very bad sign - I was uninjured and with another adult. Even a group of rats shouldn't have been comfortable enough to attack two people."

She studied him for a moment as she cut her meat. "A siege? By whom? And is the Countess aware of this?"

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"I don't know and yes I think she is. She's pulled so many of the town guard into her holdings for the express purpose of maintaining a viable defense force. Or at least that is her claim. I don't know if these rat creature are acting toward their own ends or have been working toward a goal set by another power. Regardless we have a situation that is not going to get better until it gets worse." Mikhail sliced a huge slab of ham off onto his plate and a more moderately sized one onto Heln's. After dishing out the accompanying foods he dug in without preamble, savoring the ham with a spicy rustic mustard.

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