321 The Verses of Victory II
Gryffyn was pacing. Back and forth, back and forth along the stone floors. Likely polishing them with his silken robe better than the maids ever could. Rima didn't dare comment though.
She'd never seen Gryffyn pace before. Usually he was either the one ensuring he stood above everyone else, or the one sat higher than anyone else. He was one of the most arrogant and lecherous men she'd ever met – though thankfully never with her. And she'd thought growing up on the streets of Rene was as bad as it could get. Oh how she would have wished for her and Tigin's half collapsed apartment now.
Still, as Rima leant against a column on the opposite side of the hall to Gryffyn, it was not his nervous pacing that drew the most concern. She could not help staring past him and out of the window to glimpse the dark cloud of smoke that now filled the sky. The fire was intense, and didn't seem to be slowing in the least. Rima wondered what Aegin had thought to achieve by setting it. If the destruction of Black Sands City was on his list, he was well on his way to achieving it.
A boom echoed and several buildings collapsed in the distance, the dust and ash that had collected rising to join the smoke. The rate at which they collapsed though, Rima didn't think that was the fire's efforts. Gryffyn clearly didn't think so either as he paused long enough to glance nervously towards the fire before he continued pacing, his hand rising to play with the pendant that hung around his neck.
She knew it was a long shot, but the fire was out of control, and the entire city was quite closely built, even the estate. If they didn't start evacuating it would be too late for many of the Tribesman. She'd been among them long enough to know that not all of them were like Gryffyn Blacksand. Many of them, especially since the Blue Suns had been unwillingly assimilated, did not even support Gryffyn as Chieftain. Taking the opportunity to correct the situation now would likely undermine him and make him angry. But Rima knew that their were nearly thirty thousand Tribesman in this city, she could not abandon them to the flames even if they were a mercy to Gryffyn's rule.
Rima pushed away from the column and straightened, rolling her shoulders back in determination, she opened her mouth to begin her plea, "Lord Gryf-"
The doors burst open. Rima and Gryffyn both froze and spun towards the disturbance. A Black Sands Tribesman rushed in. He ignored Rima completely, running to Gryffyn and stumbling to kowtow to his Chieftain, "My Lord".
Gryffyn stared down at the Tribesman, clearly angry at being disturbed, and snapped, "What?"
The Tribesman bowed his head far enough that it touched the stone floor Gryffyn had been polishing unwittingly, "The Tribe, Sir, they are begging you to send resources to help them fight the blaze," said the Tribesman, "It is far too dangerous for them to get close, and with your Djinn and the stranger fighting in the middle of it, I'm afraid that-"
"Well, this is curious," Gryffyn interrupted. Rima stilled at the casual tone, eyes widening in both pity and fear for the Tribesman who'd come to report as Gryffyn continued, "I really do not believe my ears".
The Tribesman frowned, risking a short glance up, then he quickly repeated himself, misunderstanding Gryffyn's calm rage for confusion, "Sir. You must send resources to prevent the spread of the blaze-"
Gryffyn's eyes narrowed, "I could have sworn one of my Tribesman was slandering their leader".
Gryffyn took a step forward towards this throne. To it's side, sat the broadsword that Gryffyn favoured, though Rima had never actually seen him swing it. He usually had Yashi or other Tribesman nearby to make the executions a whole lot less straining for him.
The Tribesman watched the move as well.
"Please, Chieftain, I meant no offence!" he said, attempting to placate Gryffyn in his panic, "I am merely an instrument Sir, an instrument of your great and powerful Tribe! A willing instrument! A proud instrument! I am honoured to even be in your presence, Chieftain!"
The ring of metal pulling from it's sheath rung out over the desperate pleas of the Tribesman. It only served to increase the man's woes. True fear filled his expression as he glanced over at Rima, seeking help from the only other individual in the room.
Rima had seen that look many times before. But it had never been directed at her. Not at the weak little Blue Suns Princess that the Chieftain was intent on calling his daughter. Not the brat who cause enough trouble for the Tribe that she had to be watched by a Djinn just to keep her still. Not the half-blood girl.
Gryffyn raised the sword up.
The Tribesman bowed down, desperately pleading for his life.
Rima's lips moved before she even registered the words, "Father!"
Gryffyn paused mid-swing, the broadsword swaying in his unsteady arms as his eyes snapped to Rima.
"You called me father," Gryffyn said.
She had, as much as it disgusted her. As much as she knew it wasn't true. As much as she thought it would be enough to shock the crazed man into compliance.
Rima nodded, "Father, the smoke, it comes from nearly a third of the grand city you have built. It has been but an hour since it begun. Surely, in your wisdom, you can see that such a disaster is a threat to the safety of your Tribe? After all, a Tribe without a home in the Hava Rastellen…they will be no better than the Blue Suns".
Gryffyn's sword slowly lowered as he stared at Rima, then his eyes turned to the smoke, "Yashi will stop it. He will stop it and repair the city when he has taken care of the Vampire".
Not the answer Rima was looking for.
Rima's eyes flicked to the Tribesman on the floor who was staring desperately back at her.
"You…you are not wrong, father, the Djinn's powers are enough of course unmatched, but even they cannot bring back the dead, surely we could at least attempt to control the edges of the blaze,�� Rima reasoned.
Rima saw in an instant that it was the wrong thing to say as Gryffyn's crazed gaze turned to her, "Oh, and you would know all about not bringing back the dead, wouldn't you?" He stepped towards Rima, who unconsciously backed away, "My Elva…My Bride…That cowardly B*tch!"
Rima backed into one of the columns, the sudden stop frightening her. Gryffyn was upon her before she could move. The Black Sands Chieftain raised his sword by the blade, and swung the hilt down towards her.