Soulmate or Soldier, Chapter 10

What is it you really want, a Soulmate or just a Perfect Warrior?


Chapter the Tenth

Where... I can’t think of a subtitle


“Am I going to have to crawl the whole way there?” Crawling everywhere is gonna ruin my knees.

“No, just to and from the steps, those ones.” Sararic points at the fairly steep stairs just off to the side of our door

“Was Fast begin serious, about him and the Empress? Also, Regnant or Consort?” Ahh, room to stand up, that’s much better.

“Consort, and he likes to think so, personally I’ve always thought she likes Lock best of us. We grew up together; her, Fast and me are military children, Lock was a runaway Fast’s parents took in when we were all around seven. Pretty much the only reason we got posted to the Imperial Flagship, it’s just about the only thing prestigious enough to get us away from Court without looking like a dismissal.” ...That sounds... plotty

“So that simpering stuff when you picked us up was?”

“Not acting too familiar in front of unknowns, like you and the mage, or especially the Guardsman. That’s part of why Ceonred and Longjie thought it best to get us away from Court, there is a lot of unrest from the Guard Families over an independent Emperor marrying someone from a High Military Familiy, especially when their heir has adventurous wanderlust.” Well shit, and knowing my luck, that’s going to blow up in my direction at the worst possible time... And he is looking down from up the stairs with the same joke-smirk Fast and Lock have, “also, Iason likes us playing it up, has done since he was little and spitting fire at everything, it pleases the draconic bits of his ego.”

“Wait! He’s part Dragon?... From which side?” Ric has stepped away from the stair to an ornate door on the same side as ‘our’ Stateroom.

“Longjie’s, Iason is the first time the Imperial Bloodline has had a worthwhile measure of Dragonblood... things will be... interesting with a functionally immortal Emperor with a fondness for burning things.” He reaches for the door handle, but is interrupted by the door being slammed open and Häming crawling out in as close to a huffy slouch as is possible. We step (he steps, I crawl) into the Wardroom. “Presenting Alice Olo, as ordered sir.”

“Ah, Miss Olo, delighted to meet you, I’m Commander Edvard Tiderider, Captain of the Pauldronius.” He steps around from the table that’s covered in charts and the ilk and shakes my hand. “I must say, you are not quite what I expected.”

Need to squelch that twich when people say that, I get the feeling everyone is going to say it. And this ‘Commander Tiderider’ isn’t what I expected either. I was sorta expecting some grizzled Old Sea Captain stereotype, big thick white beard, worn old sweater under a battered old jacket, not someone so well together that (were he twice the height... and not on another world) he would fit right in one of those 100 hottest men lists, in a stupidly well tailored, blood red uniform tunic/jacket/doublet/whatever.  “Right back at’cha bossman.”

“Quite... this is my First Mate Solara Deckwalker,” he gestures towards the rather severe woman standing at the table more focused on what she is reading than anything else, who gives only the barest glance at me. “And you already know Prince Iason,” who is sat, looking proper swish in a dark green version of that uniform, sharpening his nail-claws that were hidden under his gloves before.

“So, what do you need me for? I still have effectively no idea what the smeg is going on round here.” Iason is patting the low seat next to him, so obviously I take it, and sort of stare at the moving lumps on the back of his jacket... wings?

“You are getting a commission, in the Imperial Marines, to serve as part of my new bodyguard unit with Aerilaya, Markys and my Uncles. It will let us stick together, as the prophecy requires, and gets me free of the Imperial Guard, whose loyalties are feeling a little suspect.”

“Yeah, Ric mentioned a little about that... is Häming going to be a problem, I’m guessing he is your ‘proper’ bodyguard, how are we planning to get him out of the way?”

Wow, not seen anyone’s face light up like that in ages... or look at me like that... what did I say?

“It’s already started; he has anger issues with disrespect, especially from the actual military. Hopefully dismissing him like we just did, and having the crew primed to annoy him further, will make him do something that we can use to justify leaving him in the Marine Lock-up in Dwarf-Town.”  Her feral grin makes this Cap/XO dynamic clear, he’s the Father to His Men, and she’s the Bitch Queen from Hell.


Iason pipes up, “Don’t ask us to pronounce its ‘real’ name, everyone that could say it died over three thousand years ago, it’s a ‘coastal’ city at the mid-point of the Vinder, where it splits and heads out to either side of the Grand Ridge. It’s been Imperial Territory since the very beginning of the Empire, the Navy has a fairly major fortress and dockyards on one side of the lake, the waterfront of the Old City on the other side is mainly merchant docks and warehousing, nobody lives in the old city itself.”

“So, we go there, drop off Angrypants-McHamburger, then what?”

“Resupply, and have Markys and you outfitted with proper Marine uniforms and equipment. After that, it very much depends on what information they have for us. We have all been out of touch for some time, and that attack earlier coming from the east suggests something very wrong has happened.” He looks unsettled, which definitely doesn’t feel right on his recruitment poster visage.

“Okay, see I have no idea about any of this world’s geography or geo-politics. So while that might have meant something to a native, it means nothing to me.”


... I hate info-dumps, they always make me feel like a stupid cow. Probably going to forget a huge swathe of all that anyway. At least the food they had brought in was good... even if I had no idea what it was. I just want to go to bed...



...Okay... well that’s not the weirdest thing I’ve opened a bedroom door too... Kinda fun watching that panic from the outside though. And it looks like there’s a wardrobe of spare clothes (definitely gonna raid that later).

“Hey, Markys, its okay, calm down, it actually suits you... even if that shift sends all sorts of wrong messages with the hooker jacket over the top.”


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