Adelaide Jade Regent
On the Beginning of Days
Ameiko sat in her room at the compound staring out at the milling activity in the courtyard. Every now and then she would catch a glimpse of her friends as they scurried around repairing their weapons, seeing to the last minute duties, sometimes looking quite lost. The recent foray to the Island of Ancestors had shaken Ameiko. Once again her friends had nearly died for her, worse Theibar had given up a part of his soul to secure one of the blessings. He seemed to be none the worse for wear but you never could tell what would happen when you made deals with demons.
The courtyard outside her window was where the warriors had chosen to train. Ameiko watched Matsuro work with the household samurai to get them ready for the upcoming battle. She hadn’t seen Matsuro fight outside battle since he was a child. Her brother really was a skilled warrior and teacher. Ameiko could see he was not paying 100% attention to his charges, he kept watching the gate for signs that Luthien had returned from her meeting with the ninja clans. Ameiko was glad that Matsuro had found Luthien. He had transformed from an angry and brash youth into a dedicated warrior. That, then, was one good thing to come out of this journey.
“He values you as a sister now you know”, a voice from the shadows of the room startled Ameiko. The elven ninja stepped out of the shadows.
“I know that when we started this journey, he blamed you for all the bad things that happened when he was left behind in Sandpoint, but now he realises that you had no choice but to leave.”
The two were silent for a while, watching the warriors train.
“That is not actually why I am in here. I wondered if you were up for a little outing.” At the words, Ameiko turned from the window and faced Luthien.
“The ninja clan told me a few choice rumours regarding the Jade Emperor and his Oracle. How would you like to come into the city and see if we can’t spread some dissent?”
Ameiko was excited at the prospect of spending time doing she was good at, but knew that there was no way she would get out of the compound with Shalelu and Sandru watching her like a hawk.
“I know what you are thinking, and don’t worry about Shae and Sandru, I’ve got it covered.”
Luthien tapped lightly on the wall and Shalelu entered the room.
“Shae and I decided that it was time for you to have an outing as Ameiko, not the future empress of the realm. Sandru doesn’t know but Shae will distract him until we return.”
Luthien dropped what looked like a large hole on the floor and started rummaging through it. She kept pulling out stage makeup and disguise elements, looking at them and either discarding them back into the hole or adding them to the large pile. When she had a large pile of objects on the floor, she picked up the hole and moved it back into the shadows.
Shalelu and Luthien worked together in almost silence, the closeness of the sisters was apparent as they communicated without words. When they had finished they smiled at each other and handed Ameiko a mirror. She did not recognise herself. The two elves had managed to transform her into a smiling middle aged servant woman wearing for all intents and purposes the uniform of the Jade Regent servants.
“Who better to tell the secrets of the Jade Regent than the servant who does his laundry” Luthien said. She stepped back into the shadows and quickly did her own makeup.
She stepped back into the light, and held out her hand. “Let’s go and spread some rumours.”
Ameiko took her hand and felt the unnatural pull of magic as Luthien transported them to a tea house near the Emperor’s residence. They spent the morning playing middle aged, gossipy servants. Ameiko felt as close to normal as she had in two years. When they had spread as many rumours as they possibly could, Luthien took Ameiko’s hand once more and returned them to the estate.
Shalelu met them and helped to remove the makeup and disguises. She informed them that they had returned just in time as Sandru was getting suspicious that Ameiko had not been seen in many hours. Everywhere they looked for her, Shalelu said they had just missed her. They were just removing the last of the disguises when a sharp knock at the door, followed by an irate Sandru.
“Where have you been all morning?” he said in a harsh tone “We thought something had gone wrong” He started arguing with Shalelu, gesturing at Ameiko and the door.
Luthien leaned close to Ameiko’s ear. “I will take my leave now. Always remember, even when you are Empress and I am your guardian, underneath all that, I will always be Luthien, your friend.” The elf moved quietly past the still arguing Shalelu and Sandru and left the room.