Chapter 17: Jagged Assembly II
[Link to part 1: The Solune Prince: Jagged Assembly I]
[Author’s Note (added months later): The whole thing with Siren’s name really being something else; that likely will not make it into the final draft. I’m leaving it in here because…it’s here, but if it never comes up again, this is why. Also, his “real name” was going to be Anselm. Maybe it can be his last name. We’ll see. Either way; enjoy.]
Natasha did not wait for anyone to introduce themselves, rather, she began for them. “Astore, here on the wing. Something of a reliable man. Want is your name and station?”
Astore straightened. “Astore Reginal. I am an ex-guard and current rank three Solune Agent.”
As he spoke, Natasha wrote.
“Next, you.” Natasha looked ahead to Alexandre. “Dirge.”
“Yes, um, yes.” Alexandre was tense. She breathed. “I am Alexandre Dirge. I have a degree in Kemia, and I am between semesters for my masters in Kemia.” Natasha wrote, andw hen she had finished, she looked up at Alexandre and frowned. She hoped that by doing this, she could compel Alexandre to continue.
Alexandre did continue, though nervously. “I am also an ex-gang leader, and an ex-convict, and umm…it was only for a few months.”
“Yes.” Natasha nodded. “Next, to the Lussa guest, Lilllith.”
Lilllith spoke, composed. “I am Lilllith of the Lussa City, though I am known to some as Lilllith of the East.” She paused for a moment, possibly omitting something, and then continued. “Though I retired from the Lussa guard, I am still technically satellite member, and am often called to serve the crown. Before I had the honor of serving the royal guard, I was in the police for a period of fifteen years. I was part of the force during the time of the brief military operation that occurred a few years ago.”
Natasha nodded again and wrote.
Chloe squinted at the ceiling in order to avoid eye contact with anyone in particular while she thought about what she had just heard. So Lilllith has always been a woman of combat. And; she is rather aged after all, isn’t she. How strange…
“Next, Kent Rhye.”
Kent stopped whispering to Senica when he heard his name. “What?”
Natasha sighed visibly. “State your name and station so that the rest of your travelling party knows who you are and has an idea of what you may be capable of.”
“Oh, we’re doing like a roll call. Okay.” Kent straightened, deigning for once to look like a dignified part of the royalty. “I’ve done a whole lot of work studying the Sol-Metch in the south. They have some interesting but dangerous methods for creating energy. Nuclear. In the past, I also served as a judge, although that was under a different law system, and it was a long time ago, so I’m not sure if I could do that again.”
Natasha frowned. She wrote documents like this in point form, so she had to translate his words to fit. “Fine. Next, your woman.”
Senica, not realizing that she had been so rudely addressed, said, “I am Senica Eir-Aeur…for now anyway.” She smiled and looked around, bashful. “I work as an anthropological researcher from the Djeb, although like Kent said we also work in the south. While I was in academia, I…worked part time. Due to the nature of that work, I was trained in unarmed fighting.”
“Fine.” She finished writing, then said, “And you…the man who would hide his given name.”
The blonde-haired man mumbled to himself from the corner before speaking up. He said, “Siren.”
“Sure.” Natasha wrote. Chloe peered down the steps and over Natasha’s shoulder at her papers, something she would not have been able to do if not for her elevation, as her sister was even taller than she was. She saw that Natasha had written down a different name, quite likely the young man’s real name.
“And?” Natasha continued.
“I study biology and the liberal arts. I can play certain stringed instruments.” He scratched his stubble. “That’s it I guess.”
“So, ah, that is everyone?” Chloe asked.
Natasha said, “No, there is one final person.”
“Ah, yes, me! Ah—”
Natasha unclipped the sheets she had been writing on, put away her clipboard and stepped forward so that the stood with the rest, facing Chloe.
Chloe looked around at her audience. She was more alarmed than nervous. She started and then stopped a few times, failing to speak. She realized that she had accidentally begun engaging in one of her greatest fears: speaking to a crowd. She gazed around, dazed and frightened. She found confidence in her sister, Natasha, likely the oldest person in the room.
“I am Chloe Rhye, fifth Prince of the Solune. I have spent most of my life studying. I dabbled in tutoring. I can play keyboard instruments like the harpsichord…sort of. I know a bit about everything, and a lot about certain things.
“My father trained me in the royal weapon, the two handed sword. I am also versed in other forms of martial and offensive fighting, thanks to my mother. And, umm, that is all. Thank you.”
Chloe then sat down in her mother’s throne, exhausted by her effort.
The woman in the header is Natasha Glass Rhye.