Of Mortals: Chapter Twenty-Eight

The task had perhaps been hopeless from the beginning and the prospects presented to her no better even with the alleged help from an inside party, yet still, Sirian was reluctant to agree to Kovarlin’s terms. He had his points; Shi’Karil would be dead in moments weather or not Sirian showed her muzzle, there was little chance of her escaping as it was, and in Kovarlin, there was a chance things could turn out different, and if all else failed, she had at least the cardinal to rely on. It was an uneasy agreement, better in no way for that personal animosity Sirian felt for the cougar; however, if there were another approach to take for this situation, it wasn’t evident to Sirian. Filling herself full of Erkinan, ready to strike at the first hint of betrayal on behalf of this unsteady ally, Sirian let Kovarlin free.

As he removed himself from the tangled heap he lay in with the armored bird, Kovarlin ran fingers over his whole body, checking for any damage. He then danced his digits across the two glossy, ebony glass-like blades that were never far from his person. With a confident expression, he regarded the fox as though to let her know that at any moment he could slash her throat and leave her for dead. Kovarlin didn’t plan on that, not just yet, but wanted to ingratiate himself with Sirian, let her trust him as long as need be. Having made that deliberate concession, Kovarlin spied ahead and surveyed the situation before calculating precisely how he would make his next move. Though he couldn’t be definite in his assumption, something in him gave way to the possibility that his two supposed comrades were on to his scheming. If they had even the slightest idea what he was about, not simply how it appeared but what it was in truth, the situation was about to make a turn far from his favor.

As he approached, Kovarlin was spotted by Mishon, and though he had undoubtedly laid eyes on him, the coyote was not the one to address the late in coming cougar. Rather, without even acknowledging him with a glance, Amirot spoke, “You were to be present for the interrogation, Kovarlin. Now, it is evident your interest lies only in the execution. How is it, my compeer, that we should confide in your judgments when you do such a minuscule amount of work to further our endeavors?”
“Ya ain’t need’n me ta do all da dir’y work. Dis lil’ girl from da north country is no warrior. She shoulda cracked like an egg. I ‘ad nuff ofa ’em at da enda me knife. Why ya can’t make short w’rka dis ‘un I can’t e’vn guess,” Kovarlin remarked, quickly gaining the ire of both men present. However, his coarse tongue seemed to offend the duo, they collectively seemed to shrug it off as little more than the cougar’s mannerisms.
Mishonrayel’s gaze shifted from Kovarlin to Amirot, “She was accompanied by Sirian, there’s no doubt about it, I’m sure he could smell it on her if he knew that scent. We need to be on the lookout for her, she’s craftier than most, I hate to admit. If we aren’t careful, she’ll sink our whole ship… or cloud to be more appropriate.”
“Dat ain’t da one I t’ink’ll be causin’ us grief, Am,” all eyes fixed on Kovarlin as he uttered his simple statement. Indicating Mishonrayel to Amirot with a mere glance, Kovarlin went on, “I ain’t know what ya t’inka our friend, Amirot, but I feel dat weakness in ’em. He gonna break at firs’ sighta dat fox, and dat’ll be da en’a all we doin’.”

The three fell silent. Even Shi’Karil became muted as the tension between the men reach it’s paramount. Amirot looked between his compeers with a weighing gaze as though he wasn’t rightly sure which man he could place his trust in. For Kovarlin’s part, he remained calm and detached as though his pronouncement of the other man’s deceit was as simple as reciting the day’s events. Mishonrayel’s eyes broadcasted his rage almost more so than the tensing of the muscles in his neck. A growl was forming deep in his throat, and the coyote knew he wouldn’t be able to control himself. Had he his head for even a second more, Mishonrayel may have considered what not minding his tongue would get him; however, the man was incapable of helping himself. Blistering with all the hate his mind and soul could manage, Mishonrayel cut into the cougar with a razor-sharp tongue.

Like a tornado forming just as it touches down, Mishonrayel raged forward with a spinning strike, perhaps trying to catch Kovarlin off guard. What the attempt did, in truth, was put the coyote off balance and throw his footing to the wind. Kovarlin did not let the moment pass him by and instead seized on his opening. Wrapping his arms around Mishonrayel’s waist, he locked his paws together and jerked back with such force it made the scene of the lean cougar lifting the massive coyote all the more impressive. Even as Mishon landed, he was rising again, a snap had echoed through the room from his neck, but it seemed whatever damage done was trivial, at least to him. Yet, countering any attack the coyote could have attempted, Kovarlin was ready with a dagger. He did not engage but kept his armed paw drawn back, ready to strike like a scorpion’s stinger only far more deadly. However, as this evident stalemate failed to reach Mishonrayel, another intervened.

Taking the other man’s wrist in his firm grip, Amirot regarded both of his subjects with disdain before properly scolding Kovarlin, “We are not intent on forming a habit of attempting physical contest with our allies that have a tendency towards the fatal. Are we, Kovarlin?”
“He weak, gonna turn on us, ain’t nothin’ mo’ then dat,” Kovarlin remarked, not wanting to acknowledge that penetrating stare.
Mishonrayel growled again, ready to once more attempt to quash the imposter before he could spread any more lies, “He’s the one who’s soft, Amirot! He doesn’t care about you or me, or what we’re supposed to do, he’s in it all for himself.”
“This conversation would be more appropriate without the intrusion of our so undesired latecomer, gentlemen. So, by chance, would either of you be capable of civility until we have settled with this feigned usurper. By all means, once through, you two can embar our progress once more with invalid nattering of betrayal…,” Amirot concluded, trailing off as he set sights on something beyond Mishonrayel.

All four of them, Shi’Karil included, fixed on the gleaming visage of the armored cardinal standing in the threshold to the main chamber. The three looked amongst each other, Kovarlin achieving a believably confused expression to match his fellows. Yet, as he made to look perplexed, he could not ignore his senses, his awareness of the fox scuttling ever closer. She just needed to be a touch closer, he thought, then it all could fall into place. Finally, as Mishonrayel moved to examine the bird, still half the room’s length away, Kovarlin felt a shifting in the atmosphere, and then that pale golden fur came into sight where all could see.

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