The Gyroshock house was eerily silent in the late hours. Jenna, the odd maid, had gone to sleep, or shut down…or whatever the fel magical constructs do, leaving Robin sitting on the floor where Oxplow and Bibbit had left her. The last candle had burned out hours ago. Ciera still hadn’t come home. Sparkle and Wolfy were gone. Her sweet niece and not-so-sweet, but still-loved nephew…gone. Ciera was proud of her family. Her family of strays. The family of people no one else wanted. Because of Robin that family was coming apart. She’d been spelled again. She couldn’t remember what happened. Couldn’t remember the fight with the corehound. The damn little girl had held her, trapped her with some sort of magic.
They’d taken her mana. Hurt the Templars. Hurt her family. Her friends.
You know everything I do, Robin.
Robin finally stood and walked over to a candle, lighting it with a nearby match. It was still dim in the room, but she didn’t need much light to find her way upstairs to her bedroom. The wardrobe was plain, simple. Much like everything else in her room except for the gift from Kage on her wall. Ciera was right. Robin DID know everything that Star did. Her mind remembered. Her muscles remembered. She took a breath and threw the wardrobe door open. After pushing clothes aside, she slid a hidden panel open to reveal two blades hanging on the back wall. A set of bladed fist weapons hung below the swords. Robin took a breath and stared at the weapons for a long moment.
No one cares.
She set the candle on the table by her bed and leaned her pandaren-style monk staff on the wall. Robin reached into the back of her closet and pulled out the new weapons. “No one is taking anything from me or Ciera. Ever. Again.”
Star marched into the brawler’s pub, armed to the teeth and looking ready to kill. A few usual patrons nodded to her. She sat at the bar and ordered her usual, a glass of milk. Another gnome sat on the stool beside her. The woman’s face was mostly covered by a mask, only revealing her purple eyes and a set of fresh claw marks down the side of her right cheek. Star nodded to her. “Gonna start calling yourself Claw now, Sword?”
Sword looked over at Star as she ran a hand through her short black hair. “Nah. Job went wrong.” She shrugged.
“Your jobs go wrong? First I’ve ever heard of that.”
“Hmph. Unexpected anomaly. Back in business?”
Star took a sip of her milk and shrugged. “Might be. Who’s taking kids nowadays?”
“What you’re asking me is…who would be fool enough to take your kids, Night?” Sword leaned forward on the counter, looking intently into Star’s eyes.
Star narrowed her eyes and lowered her voice to a whisper. “You know something.”
“Word does get around.”
“It was pre-planned, then. Who did it?”
Sword peered around the pub and took out a piece of paper. She scribbled down some quick words and folded it, pushing it over to Star. “That’s one for our past, Star. Don’t expect anything else for free.”
Star frowned and slipped the paper into her pocket as Sword sauntered off to take her turn in the brawl arena.
The rest of the night proved pretty fruitless in the pub. None of her old contacts knew anything, not even after she poisoned one. And he was too much of a wimp to not admit to involvement at that point. Damn. She’d tossed him the antidote and headed off back towards home. She stopped outside of the tram entrance and ducked into a corner, pulling the note out.
Check the Book.
Star burned the note and took off for her house at a run. Ailke knew a lot more than she was saying. That was for sure.
Ailke entered the dark, cramped room she was sharing with Selena and Erin and tossed her gear down on a nearby table. “Phase two in motion.”
“Yep. Seems so. Everything’s in place. Seems too easy.” Selena frowned at the assassin.
“Where’s the kid?”
Selena grimaced. “Playing.” She gestured to the door behind her.
“That a good idea?”
“Erin may be insane, but she has some sense of self-control. Besides, she doesn’t often get to play with kids her own age.” Even so, Selena didn’t look convinced as she spoke.
“Mmm.” Ailke moved to the center of the room and picked up a small crystal always kept there. She looked into it. “Word from Mother?”
Selena nodded. “Keep on plan, on schedule. Pissed that you failed to kill Bibbit. But, hopes you unnerved him enough.”
“Unfortunate. Entire incident.”
“But we did get a victory. A few of them. Enough to make them bleed. And some they haven’t figured out.”
Ailke set the crystal down. “Consequences will be reaped. Of course. All these years of planning. We could still fail, you know. One misstep.”
“Don’t be pessimistic, Ailke.”
“You let Star call you Ailke.”
“Only my friends can call me that.”
Selena frowned again. “Are you changing your loyalties?”
Ailke just smiled. She moved past Selena, pushing the other door open. “Going to make sure the kids are getting along.”