He closed the door as calmly as he could. He didn’t think that Eiod had seen through his glamour, but the Sinner-Anglëtinean had definitely figured that something was off which meant his glamour wasn’t as perfect as it should be. And if his glamour failed? Well then everything he had been working on for over the last half a millennium would go to waste before he could even see it start to come to fruition.
But his primary concern at the moment wasn’t the mixed breed but rather Cymerian currently staring at him like the other male couldn’t decide whether to act like a predator or prey. Despite having only just spoken words of submission by calling him Anointed One. It was such an odd term for him to be assigned, he still wasn’t quite sure where it had even come from. But it stuck and he was too focused on much more pressing matters than arguing titles.
Iköl looked worried for what it was worth as he stalked further into the room, glancing down at the shackles the Cymerian hadn’t taken off as he went. He doesn’t know how to pick the locks of spell worked iron like Eiod can. Hmm. Interesting. That worried expression was the only thing that kept his anger in check, that kept him from lashing out at the insolent male. Sending an Oiki pack to the Steward Corps’ camp was not what they had agreed on, it wasn’t even close. So much could have gone wrong with that endeavor, especially since he hadn’t been forewarned and thus was caught entirely unawares. And then there was the fact that the Cymerian had followed that thoughtless act with an attempted attack on Alaïs. For someone who was supposedly such a magnificent strategist, Iköl Aodh had only managed to prove thus far that he was more suicidal than strategically inclined.
He could forgive the attack on Rhyshladlyn at the camp, the attack on the camp itself. He could forgive letting the Qishir escape and making the alterations in his careful planning necessary. He could forgive a lot. But Alaïs was off limits and Iköl knew that. But if he made it obvious how distraught he was over the foiled attack on the Lord Queen, Iköl would have a weakness to exploit so he had to pretend to be equally upset about the camp attack as he was about the one on Alaïs. By the Great One, I wish I had known how exhausting being in league with him whilst hiding my true identity would be.
“What the fuck was that?” he hissed and delighted more than he probably should have when Iköl jumped and nearly tripped over the low sitting table in his haste to put more distance between them.
The Cymerian might not know who he was, but Iköl could sense that he was superior in strength and abilities, and that was more than enough for the Cymerian to tread as lightly as possible. Even if the bastard often pressed his luck with it.
“You attacked Alaïs? Are you stupid or just suicidal?” he continued, taking careful, measured steps as he all but chased Iköl around the room. He wouldn’t put his hands on the other male, not yet, he still had use for him. But by the Great One, that usefulness was starting to become less and less of a reason to keep the Cymerian around, let alone alive. “If you’re interrogated we will be caught out! Did you think of that before you acted? Or was it just a blind move like what happened back at the Steward Corps camp?”
Iköl’s eyes darkened and narrowed as he leaned forward, his own anger swirling to the surface, making that blue petal in his left eye shiver with it. Oh bring it, youngling. You do not scare me. There are far more terrifying things in the Worlds than you.
“Don’t snarl at me for the camp attack. You said you wanted me to get him to make greater rifts between him and his Court. I did what I could with the resources available. If you would just give me more information on him, and I know you have it, then my job would be so much easier,” Iköl’s voice dripped venom, would have slung it across the room had his shackles not prevented it.
“And you didn’t think to warn me of your plan ahead of time? I don’t want half Rhyshladlyn’s forces killed, let alone the Qishir himself, when I hardly have anything in its proper place!” he snapped back, voice filled with a danger that would have warned anyone else to back off. But Iköl had never been like most Dhaoine and normal dominance displays meant nothing to the Cymerian.
“Right, how the fuck was I supposed to contact you, huh?” Iköl snorted. “You have to be all mysterious and shit, showing up at random like you’re tracking me. I know it’s all a game, shüshuut, I know you only do it to try and keep me on my toes. Well, you’ve succeeded. Now stop bitching at me for shit that’s already done with.”
He bared his teeth and growled, low and dark, fighting to keep his glamour in place because he knew the second he dropped it that Iköl would sound an alarm that wouldn’t be ignored, no matter the Cymerian’s crimes. He still needed the other male, even if the things he had done made his stomach churn, because there were some things that only Iköl could do. And while he could find someone else, and easily at that, to play Iköl’s part, he didn’t want to. The Cymerian was the perfect scapegoat if this entire thing failed.
“Why did you attack Alaïs?” he repeated when he had control over his glamour and trusted that he wasn’t going to drop the pissant where he stood, no matter how enticing the idea was. “What good could that have possibly done for our plans?”
“That bitch had it coming. She thinks she’s on par with the rest of the big players in this war?” Iköl’s voice was sharp and full of disdain the likes of which he hadn’t heard since before Shiran City had been destroyed. “She’s barely deserving of being a breeder for a proper leader. So, I had to take her down a few pegs. The Oiki alpha wouldn’t have gotten close enough to hurt her. I would have cut it down myself to make it look like I was on their side had Lulphé’s bastard child’s personal guard not moved so damned fast.”
He came to a halt mid-stride, head tilted to the side. “What?”
“Yeah,” Iköl’s shoulder twitched like he would have waved his hand if he had been able to. “He moved faster than I could catch and intercepted the alpha before it even got three steps. It was insane. I thought only the greats were able to move that fast. It was like he knew I was going to set the Oiki at the bitch before I’d even started the order let alone finished it.”
He hummed and tapped an index finger against his lips in thought. “That’s very interesting.” If Eiod could see Iköl’s plan before he could even start it, then I may need to keep a better watch on the mix-breed. He’s far more of a risk to my plans than I originally gave him credit for.
“Yeah… interesting,” Iköl parroted with a roll of his eyes. “Now what do we do? You gonna spring me from this place?”
“No, I am not,” he replied, rubbing a hand across his lips before sighing. “I’m going to let them interrogate you. Let them see that the Oiki acted on its own, that the fight with Rhyshladlyn must have snapped your control of it as its master. And when they release you, I’ll find you again. This only delays our plans. It doesn’t necessitate that we rewrite them entirely, again.”
Iköl frowned, the first trickles of fear shining out past the worry that had marked his expression since the start of their conversation after they’d finished the required greetings.
“But that’s not what actually happened,” the Cymerian spoke it like a question.
He just smiled and knew by the way the other male’s face paled that it was one of the darker ones that didn’t come close to touching his eyes.
“I know that,” he agreed, “but they don’t and soon enough, neither will you.”
“Wait… wait, what?” Iköl spluttered as he backpedaled in an attempt to outrun him but it was impossible.
He was faster than the Cymerian, stronger, better. And plus Iköl was shackled with his magick dampened and in a locked room. There was nowhere for him to run. And really, with what Iköl had already done, what he planned to do? Him being terrified like this, having his mind raped and memories reshaped against his will, was the least of what he deserved.
And that was the only thing that kept him from feeling guilty.
Well, that and all the times Rhyshladlyn had wronged him over the centuries. He didn’t care who he cut down, who he hurt, who he used along the way, but he would make Rhyshladlyn pay for his transgressions. One way or another.