Lord Iskander Dukas, minor noble of Divinity’s Reach, hesitated before knocking on the door the the Ames residence.

He actually took half a step back and nearly tumbled down the step when the door flung open and he was greeted by the large and vibrant visage of Ingridr. “Alex! I see Jim passed on my message? Good! Come inside.” And she simply reached out, grabbed him by the shoulder, and pulled him in.

Ingri was…a force to be reckoned with, which Alex decided just described Norn in general. She was tall and willowy, also duskier than most Norn he ran into, with black-red hair that fell in a shining wave down her back and always had flowers braided into it. Today’s outfit was all ruffles and floating feathers, a look that could have been absurd but suited her just fine.

The feathers may or may not have been illusion–it was hard to tell. Illusion came as naturally to her as breathing. 

“Ah–hello, Ingirdr. Yes, Jim told me you had something for me. I appreciate it, I do, but you don’t need to keep making me clothes–“

“Nonsense! This is my hobby! And if I make any more for myself I’ll have to find space for more closets, and I don’t find that nearly as entertaining. I don’t get too many men to dress up, so humor me, won’t you?” She swept down a hallway to her sewing room, leaving Alex to trail haplessly in her wake.

“There’s always Jim.”

“Oh please, the man is no fun in that regard.” She sorted through some shirts on a rack and handed Alex a whole stack of them. He blinked. “No sense of fashion what so ever, and no desire to humor me–this is part of what makes you so fun! You’re fetching, darling, and you have taste. Ambrosine presents a challenge to design for, and I love a challenge, But you’re pure fun. But do tell Chris if he pulls the buttons off your purple coat in his haste again that I’ll get him good in return? If he thinks his locks will keep me out he’s wrong.”

Alex turned red and hid his face in his hands. “Ingri.”

“The Ames family is all the same, Alex. Don’t be ashamed. I’m well aware of how they are.”


She gave him a wicked grin, threw a couple pairs of trousers on his pile, then gracefully folded herself down onto a chair tucked into the corner of the room. “You also had something else to ask me?”

Alex looked down at the floor. “How much do you know about the Vanguard?”

“Oh, I keep tabs on cousin Tove’s activities with them–and I know our dear Ambrosine is involved, and Imke. Have you made any progress finding their commander?”

He scrunched his nose in displeasure. “Yes and no. Yes, we found out where he’s being held. No, in that we need to figure out how to get in there. The fortress he’s in…” And Alex briefly sketched out the problem with the location and the scarab plague, although not without recoiling in horror several times.

“And you want to know if I’ll go instead. Because I’m Norn, and therefore safe. But the Vanguard has plenty of Norn, does it not?”

“But we know mesmer magic is involved, and I’d feel better if there was a mesmer along with them to help them with anything they may run into. And I just don’t know many others that aren’t human, and while Jim is confident there’s ways, I just…I can’t…”

She leaned forward and laid a hand on his shoulder. “It’s alright, Alex! I understand. You’re not an adventurer–not yet! It’s sweet that you’ve been helping so far, and I’m sure you’ll get braver in time when you find your feet. But the scarab plague is a little much to face at first, isn’t it? I’m not much of an adventurer myself–I leave those shenanigans to Imke and Jim. But I’ve also done a lot more field work that you, clearing out pirates and Svanir from around the family farm. I’m no stranger to a fight an the risk it brings. I’ll go if they truly need my help. It’ll be fun to needle Ironwood some more.”

Alex game her a sunny smile. “Thank you, Ingridr.” he paused. “Needle Ironwood?”

“Oh yes! I helped Tove out while he was recovering from his….little adventure in the jungle. Made some clothes to replace what had gotten destroyed and the like. In fact!” She got up and bustled over to a shelf stuffed full of notebooks. She pulled a newer one down and flipped through some pages. “If I assume he’s pout on some weight–and he’d better be eating–then I can probably make a few more things…”

“You’re the only person I know who loves to harass someone with gifts.”

Ingri cackled. “It’s my favorite way to be a pest. Anyway, go on now, before you wrinkle the shirts. Say hello to Chris for me!”

Alex sketched a bow, despite his bundle. “Have a good evening, Ingri.”

Author Ambrosine
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