318 A Plan for all Parties
The first week of her incarceration, Rima had been angry. Angry at Gryffyn and Yashi. Angry at Black Sands, then angry at Aegin, Sevis, Tigin and the rest of the Red-Eye tribe that had failed to protect her. Then, finally, she was angry at herself. Gods above, could she have been any more useless? Even the maids assigned to look after her seemed far more adept at any sort of combat than herself. She'd tried escaping enough times to know. She'd only managed to get past them a couple of times, and the guards had caught her then.
Three months after her incarceration in Black Sands, she'd actually managed to get outside of the Estate Gates. The city was surprisingly a lot like Rene, but the Tribal influences and elements were clearer here.
Yashi had been waiting for her in the market.
"Nice try," he'd told her, "But you won't ever get out of the city with me here".
The wishes of that perverted asshole Gryffyn were the foil to her every plan, and Yashi the sword he wielded to exert his dominance.
Yashi, despite the clear subversion that he was treated with, didn't seem to mind in the slightest.
After six months, and no sign of rescue, Rima had grown tired of waiting. She'd spent any time she could manage in the city. Yashi didn't bother her so long as she didn't attempt to leave. Sometimes he even accompanied her, though it was less likely anyone would approach her with him keeping a watchful eye over her shoulder.
To her surprise, he even tended to spark somewhat normal conversations with her. He almost felt like a friend. If not for the reminders that punctuated nearly every conversation that she was a prisoner and he had to report back to his Master soon.
Now, after over a year of similar routines, including the dreaded meals she had to share with Gryffyn whilst members of his Harem fawned over him, Rima was pretty sure she knew enough about her environment to understand how to escape. All she lacked was an opportunity.
First, she knew that for every wish Gryffyn made, he had to sacrifice something to Yashi. It was clear to her that these things were what Yashi craved. Aegin had mentioned in passing that the path the Djinn followed was Envy. The question that Rima had found herself asking after routine had significantly decreased the fear she felt in Black Sands was simply, what did Yashi envy?
She'd spent the better part of a year trying to figure that out, only to come to the conclusion that perhaps there wasn't something in particular that Yashi envied. He seemed to take anything that Gryffyn offered for his wishes. Whether memories, skills, knowledge or the like. She did not witness Gryffyn wishing for something often, but the more she heard from the servants who had witnessed it, the more she realised that Gryffyn was not simply sharing something he knew or had experienced, he was letting Yashi take that thing entirely and make it his own.
That was when something else occurred to Rima, the more Gryffyn lost, the more single-minded he became. It was not a mere coincidence.
Second, there were hundreds, thousands of people in Black Sands, yet no matter how little Gryffyn had left to give, Yashi still stuck by his side and abided by his orders. As such, it must have been more than an envy for Gryffyn and his experiences that kept Yashi close, and more importantly, obedient. It had been clear through her time spent with him that Yashi was not obedient to his Master by choice. In fact, he often took advantage of those wishes he had to grant that were worded loosely.
When the Blue Suns Elders that she'd found had informed her of the existence of Djinn Vessels, the answer to Yashi's obedience became clear. Gryffyn was in possession of Yashi's Vessel. He could not grant the wishes of anyone else unless the Vessel changed hands.
So, Rima had started observing Gryffyn, looking for the Vessel.
After months of doing that anyway, just waiting for him to snap and have her killed, it didn't take her long to find it.
Gryffyn wore 3 necklaces…but he only touched one of them. Like an absent-minded tick, or a thought-provoking gesture, he would occasionally sit back and his hand would drift to the bronze medallion on his chest, worn with age, and the inscription barely discernible.
If she could get the medallion away from Gryffyn, then Yashi would no longer serve him.
She was just waiting for an opportunity.
Yashi roused her rather rudely, yanking back her bed covers with a blast of wind. He was clearly in a foul mood this morning. It barely counted as morning though, it was still at least another hour before sunrise.
Knowing that he could not hurt her without his Master's order, Rima took her time.
"What now?" asked Rima.
"Your Vampire came and went today, I thought it prudent I tell the Master," said Yashi.
Aegin had come? Yashi was prompt in dashing the hope in her eyes.
"He took not even a step close to your room, though no doubt he could sense where you were situated," continued Yashi.
Rima tried not to think about how much that hurt as she gritted her teeth, "Then why, by the gods, are you getting me up in order to go and tell Gryffyn? I was clearly not to blame here".
Yashi glared right back, "I'm not taking risks. You stick by my side from now on".
Rima glared back into those blue eyes for a long moment. As always, she was the first to break eye contact. Yashi may have taken on a young form, but he was intimidating, and his eyes spoke volumes of his power and lack of compassion.
Rima rose up in order to dress.
"It's nearly dawn," Tigin sighed, "We've missed an opportunity and were sitting ducks out here".
"Just give him a few more minutes," said Sevis.
"He can cross the fucking Hava Rastellan in a few minutes, Sevis, face it, he's either gone, or dead," said Tigin.
Sevis opened his mouth to reply when a loud clap rang out, like thunder, only much, much closer. Sevis and Tigin both turned away and braced themselves as a gust of wind beat down on them.
There was a short beat of near silence as the sound of footsteps just a few metres from them reached them. The young warriors both drew their blades quickly as they turned, only to see Aegin standing there.
Only, it wasn't exactly Aegin. He folded enormous wings behind his back before they seemed to shrink and vanish, then looked at them both with a smile that appeared far more calm than how the two of them were feeling.
"If we're being technical, it takes me more like a few hours, probably closer to a day or two to cross the entire Hava Rastellan. I haven't actually tried it so I can't know for sure," said Aegin.
Sevis, coughed lightly to clear his throat and straightened slowly. Tigin followed, though was not nearly as smooth in covering his shock.
"You have wings".
Aegin grinned, "Yeah, cool huh? How was my entrance?"
"Have you always had wings?" asked Tigin.
"Okay, wings and entrances aside, what do we know about Rima?" Sevis prompted.
Tigin and Aegin paused, then thought better of it, though Aegin in particular looked rather disappointed in their lack of response, "Didn't see her, but I think I may have found the Vessel. I'm ready to go in now. I think I can get it".
"You think?" asked Sevis with a raised eyebrow.
"I know," Aegin replied, "I'm unsealed now. Nothing holding me back, and way more power at my disposal. My next fight with Yashi won't be so one sided".
Sevis took a long look at Aegin before he sighed, "Congratulations, but you still need us".
Aegin frowned, "What?"
"With all due respect, you are one individual, and newly unsealed. Have you had any practice with your new abilities in the last, I don't know, hours? Minutes?"
Aegin opened his mouth, then closed it again, then responded, "I can do it-"
"Shut it, we're helping," said Tigin, "I'm not going to be left here again. She's my best friend, my sister in all but blood".
Aegin took a long look at Tigin, then at Sevis. Was this what Rassa had felt like? Knowing how weak he and Ebony were yet forced to bring them along at their insistence? He suddenly had a new understanding of how much of a burden and a liability they'd been to him. But Rassa had kept them with him anyway. Even seemed happy about it at times.
Eternity. That's right. He'd told them once that he had eternity and insisted on them choosing their destination. Eternity was an awfully long time to live alone. No doubt it was worth the burden of humans. No doubt it was worth it to risk losses that may only last a couple of years.
Aegin found himself smiling, "Fine, you can come, but wait until dawn to come into the city so I can clear a path. I'll keep Yashi distracted and try to get to the Vessel. You go and find Rima and get her out".
Sevis looked at Tigin who nodded, then Sevis turned back to Aegin and held out his hand, "We all come out together, agreed?"
Aegin took the young Tribesman���s hand, "Of course, tribe, brothers, sister, friends, family, whatever you want to call it, we go in and come out as one".