Facing the Empress

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As Ilana was getting dressed for the Wild hunt she couldn’t help but recall the events of the ‘Blackest winter’. She laughed at their amusing name for it. Something was still nagging at her brain. How had Haroon bested her? He was standing before her and no one else was in the room and next thing she remembered was being tied up and interrogated by Vashna Devenal Steele. That was a stroke of luck. Apparently Vashna Devenal and the seemingly mad Shara Steele are not so mad after all.

They spirited Emara away and in a private holding between their lands a plan was made. They would using blood magic and deception. Inform the rest of the Ven that Emara had been flayed and skinned alive and hang her skin at Haroons house. ‘How uncouth for the poet warrior’ thought Emara.

The ritual was traumatic and extremely painful as they flayed her alive whilst repairing her skin at the same time. Shara and Devenal waited the hours it took for the process, smelling the scent of putrid, burnt flesh as Emaras face was burnt off below the skin. Then came the repair process of hours of creation and construction. The blood mage was skilled and kept some form of Emara in the look however her face was something  one wouldn’t call beautiful but rather …. Interesting. The reparations weren’t of her old face. No, she would wear a new one! That of Ilana Thorne, a Vashna of the Senate. Emara didn’t know how Devenal sorted that out and in fact she didn’t care. I will be Empress and the Senate will bow before me so what do I care for how they run their organisation.

The night wasn’t a complete waste though, she had managed to get two Vens secret names and would use them when the time was right. Haroon however would need to be dealt with swiftly. Thinking of death and Vrentae Emara though ‘Pity the mage had to die, Itharius would have been interested to meet him’. She tingled in anticipation of the reunion they would have in secret at the hunt. The moment when she would let him know it was her and he would sweep her up in his arms. ‘Best to keep him away from Devenal and Shara however. They may be helping me now but there is only room for one Empress and Emperor. That is myself and you Itharius.’

“Tyr fetch my black cloak!”. “Of course Vashna Ilana” replied her Seneschal smiling. “Be careful” he whispered. “I always am” replied Emara.