Laurant hurried up the stairs, the rolls of parchment grasped firmly in her hand. Perhaps she could get to her rooms before anyone else noticed her, as she would rather not have to explain precisely what the scrolls read. That would be a less than pleasant conversation. “Mother, Father… I know you desired me to become a mage like all of my sister and brothers, but I just thought you should know that I have decided to instead become a Blood Knight instead. If you truly think of it, a sword and shield are truly not all that different from a wand and robe…” Laurant’s hand gripped tighter around the documents that verified her role as an adept of the Blood Knight order and would allow her continue to study.

Indeed. Her parents’ normally frigid faces would warm into an inferno, complete with flames shooting out of their eyes as they prepared to emolliate her into submission or out of existence. Meanwhile, Lilithaine would likely smile serenely as though she were listening to some sort of innocuous gossip, while watching their parents roast her sister’s flesh was roasted from her bones, both figuratively and literally.

Laurant quickened her steps, nearing the door to her room, arm stretched out to the knob.

“In a rush Laurant?” came the chilling words, just as she was about to turn the handle on the doorknob. Looking over her shoulder, she saw the smirking face of her eldest brother, Matthias. He wasn’t as vicious as her other brother and sister, just self-serving. She would much rather deal with him than one of the more malicious siblings.

“What do you want Matthias? I’m busy…” Laurant grumbled out, trying her best to sound as surly as possible. Anything resembling happiness would alert him to the scent of an opportunity to make her beholden to him.

“I was just wondering what my dear sister could be in such a hurry over. You do seem quite eager to get to your room,” Matthias slowly stepped closer, circling around to the side so that he could catch sight of her eyes, “Perhaps it is something in those scrolls you are carrying?”

Oh dear, that wasn’t good. If he read them, he’d bribe her heavily for the next few weeks, and she couldn’t really afford it after the last time…

“… They’re love letters, aren’t they?” He asked smugly, sure that he was right.

“What?” Laurant uttered, blinking in surprise. Love letters? Who in the blazes would send her…Oh wait…

“Yes…” Laurant sighed dramatically, “Yes, they are. Promise you won’t tell anyone? It’s just…. It’s just a tiny flirtation really, nothing at all serious…” Better she pay him the bribing price for something as trivial as a love note, which would warrant a minor favor or two at most.

His smug smile widened to a leer. “I knew it was only a matter of time before you fell from your moral pedestal, just like the rest of us.”

Laurant continued to stare back at him, waiting for him to get to the point of his diatribe. Hopefully he wouldn’t gloat for too long, for all she needed one someone else to come along now, but it didn’t seem hopeful. So she continued to watch him go on and on, slowly drowning out the sound of his chatter with her own thoughts. And as she watched him, it occurred to Laurant that Matthias must be using the blood thistle much too much lately, as his skin was starting to get a very ugly mottled look to it.

“…won’t mind this small favor of course, in return for me keeping your secret, will you?” Matthias’ voice broke into Laurant’s thoughts suddenly, causing her to blink out of the trance she had slipped into.

“I’m sorry, what favor exactly?” she asked, rubbing her forehead and furrowing her brow.

Matthias’ eyes rolled, indicating he thought that Laurant had the mental capacity of a tickbird. “I… would like you… to cover for me at mother and father’s gathering later this week. I have… ah... a… scheduling conflict and Savine is feeling in ill health,” which of course meant that he had scheduled a meeting with one lover or another.

“Yes, fine…I’ll cover for you.” Laurant replied tiredly. She just wanted to get into her room and to safety away from the predatory members of her family.

“Excellent. Well, you have a good night then little sister,” Matthias drawled out before wriggling his fingers in a wave, and turning to go down the hall.

Laurant waited a few beats, until her brother was nearly out of sight. Looking around, seeing nor hearing anyone else coming along, she quickly flicked her wrist, twisting the doorknob and slipping inside. Now to safety, she smiled, taking a deep breath and exhaling it slowly, her back resting against the door. Unrolling the scrolls in her hand, she read over the words printed there once more.

Finally, and for once, Laurant had gotten her way about something in this family. The family just didn’t know it yet. She would be a Blood Knight, not a mage. She would be someone who could take care of herself, and with any hope, get free from this sanitarium that her family called a home.

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