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Sea of Power
Adrienne was an unyielding, controlled female who knew her mind; and this was not something Lord Travers was used to encountering. Brainless chits, flirtatious women, scheming ladies, yes – but a merely firm, composed woman who knew what she wanted? – no, never.
“The paper, please, Lord Travers,” Adrienne repeated, holding out a gloved, firm hand.
“Why would I ever give it to you?” He inquired patronizingly, with a sardonic smile. Adrienne returned his smile with one of her own as she replied, “The arrow pointed at your head may or may not sway you.”
Lord Travers turned slightly, cocking an inquisitive eyebrow. Then he located the object in question. “Ah, yes,” he said carefully, “it may.”
“I thought it might.” Adrienne returned coolly. “The paper, Lord Travers.” She advanced.
“Very well, very well,” he mumbled, digging around in his waistcoat. He produced a bit of white and handed it to her.
“Thank you.” Adrienne said, taking it. She unfolded it and scanned its contents. Her eyes narrowed. “If you are trying to buy yourself time, Lord Travers, I’m afraid that will never do. The real document; at once!” She did not raise her voice, but spoke as one would to a servant whom one knows must do their bidding.
Lord Travers’ fingers itched to close on her throat, to choke her. But he restrained himself. “I…do not have it.” He said at last.
“Nonsense. Come, now, Lord Travers; be reasonable!” Adrienne was obviously quite in possession of herself still. He was disgruntled to discover that he was not.
“You must believe me when I say I do not have it, My Lady.”
“And you must believe me when I say that your words mean as much to me as the rats in the grain. You have it; we both know you have it; and if you do not produce it, you will be killed and we shall find it ourselves.” Adrienne said all of this without passion, in a calm, musical voice. The only facial expression visible was the slight quirk of one eyebrow.
After a long silence, during which neither moved nor said anything, Adrienne said, with the first sign of impatience. “I wish to prevent bloodshed, Lord Travers, but if that proves to be impossible, I do not faint at the sight of blood.”
Another pause. “I say I do not have the paper, My Lady.”
“And I say you are a liar, Lord Travers.” Returned promptly, coldly. Then a sigh. “I shall be forced to open fire, my Lord.” She tapped her foot against the floor three times.
Lord Travers did not duck quickly enough to avoid the arrow flying at him; it struck him in his back and he fell to the ground, dying.
“Lord Travers, perhaps you will now be more inclined to tell me the location of the document.” Adrienne’s tone had not changed and she did not come any closer to him. As he tried to stagger to his feet, however, she said softly, “May I help you with anything?”
“You witch! – you veritable demon!” He gasped.
Her lips twitched. “Yes, I believe so. The location, Lord Travers.”
“It – is – not – here!” He rasped, then fell, dead, to the floor.
She looked down at him, expressionless. “Pity. He was quite faithful to his master. He would have made quite a valuable addition.”
She passed over his still form and, with a firm step, strode towards his desk and began roughly jerking drawers and cupboards open.
“Men, advance!” She cried, and instantly three tall men (though not so tall as to surpass her height) joined her at the desk.
“Search for the document,” she said, her eyes burning into each of theirs like brilliant blue coals; “do not rest until you have found it.”
Each of the tall men bowed and backed away. They spread out and searched the room, ripping and tearing it apart; they knew that Crayton’s men would be there in a matter of hours and they had no time to waste. Being well-trained and able-bodied men, they went through the room efficiently, never stopping, never making a noise save for the ripping of boards, chairs, and carpets.
Adrienne herself was no paltry weakling; she did her share, and still more. Her dark hair came undone as she searched and flowed down her back and over her shoulders. She ravaged the room and yet did it in such a cool manner; you would have thought she was merely doing stitchery from the calm way she dispatched drawers from their cavities.
“Ah-ha!” She let out a triumphant laugh. “Here ‘tis! – and not a moment too soon!” – as they heard steps on the stairs. With a quick glance around, she gave a nod. “You know what to do.”
The men nodded and disappeared. She herself advanced towards the window, as calm and controlled as ever.
As the door opened, she whirled around and clutched the windowsill behind her, hands determinedly clutching the document. “Crayton,” she said, letting her breath out gently, and cocking her head to one side. “How lovely to see you.”
“The pleasure, Adrienne, is all mine.” The man advanced.
Adrienne cocked an eyebrow and grinned. “Well, then, Crayton, I’m sorry I couldn’t stay any longer. But, you see, I have a prior engagement.” She fell backwards out of the window, not even bothering to look down out of it before doing so.
Crayton’s lips twitched. “That was a brilliant life wasted.” He remarked, then turned from the window to exit the room.
“Indeed, it was.” Adrienne agreed, coming into view. Crayton whirled. Adrienne was astride her mongul, smirking. “I have a feeling your right-hand man was probably quite useful to you, seeing as he was your right-hand man. I am quite certain you would not have had a fool for your –”
Crayton wasn’t about to let her finish her sentence. “Guard!”
“Sorry I can’t stay to chat, my Lord. I must be off in a flash! Goodbye!” And with a flash of lightening, Adrienne was gone.
Crayton ran to the window and slammed his fist down on it. “That witch! That sorceress!” A yawning sound made him turn around, and he gasped in horror. The floor was opening beneath him to reveal Tartarus.
The gaze he shot after Adrienne produced a black fire that almost reached her as she flew through the air; but before he could kill her, he was safely deposited in Tartarus.
Adrienne, meanwhile, flew back up to her commander. “I have the document, my Sovereign,” she said, with a low bow.
“Good.” He answered, his voice booming and causing a lightening to flash. “Well done. We will begin our work shortly.”
“Yes, my Sovereign.” Adrienne bowed again and left his presence, bowing. Once out of the throne room, she jerked back upright and regained her cold, cruel, regal bearing. Snapping her fingers, she called, “My men! At once!”
She strode through the halls of the huge palace, sneering at the King’s splendor. One day, she promised herself, she would own all of this; all of this and much more.
Adrienne was joined at the edge of Olympus by seven of her strongest men. “My Lady,” one of them said, bowing low, “we have discovered a…” he hesitated diplomatically, “a slight hindrance to your plan.”
“Which is?” Adrienne cocked a dark eyebrow at him as she turned from looking out over the world to stare at him.
“A human,” he replied carefully, “whose name is Merwyn.” At the name, Adrienne’s eyes narrowed. She snapped her fingers and a book appeared in her hands. Flipping rapidly through the pages, she came to the one she wanted. A slow, sardonic smile appeared on her face.
“Ah, yes,” she said smoothly, “dear Poseidon’s son. We shall take care of him. In time.” She snapped her fingers again and two of her men brought her mongul forward. “And now, forward, men!”
With a great cry, all of them sprang down from Olympus to the world below, to complete their mission: undermining all gods and empires, kings and nations, so that she, Athena, under the guise of Adrienne, might take over the world and rule.
The eyes of Merwyn, the young sea-lad who had fallen in love with her some time ago, watched from his own hideaway, thoughtful and waiting for the perfect opportunity to stop her plan’s course and change it entirely.