It was generally quiet in the small compound that was attached to Dramanaks’ council halls. Once, ostensibly, this building had been a stable. Horses had fallen out of use with all but the most terribly rich (that is to say nearly every Councilor but Iso and Sariya. It wasn’t hard to convert the building into something that the Hunters were used to. They were, after all, products of Rast, which was not a place that put great emphasis on comfort. Quite the opposite, usually.
The hunters worked (that is to say, slept and did little else) out of the building. Ymaka had, tactically, selected the room farthest from the entrance. This was half to give herself plenty of warning and half to inconvenience anyone that bothered to come looking for her. Ymaka did not like to be disturbed.
Heavy footfall on the wooden planks of the hallway outside implied she was about to be.
It was Emanuel Shavrem that opened the door, which explained how someone who walked that loudly got past the mercenaries she had hired to secure the door. Ymaka straightened her mask as she looked up. It tended to slip when she was alone. Probably some metaphorical thing.
“Your lantern is lit, Shavrem. Official business, then?” Yamata asked, trying to be nonchalant. Eman was smiling, and that alone gave her some pause. Normally he was so…unhappy. She could understand it. Ymaka certainly didn’t want his job. “I am not going to give you your quickfire back, if that’s why you’re here.”
“It isn’t. New orders.” he shot back, brandishing a sheaf of papers. The stationary was Brise. Dramanaks had difficulty keeping paper so crisp and white.
“Nice of you to share.” she said, sarcasm evident even with her mask. “But what you watchmen are doing doesn’t concern our work here, except so far as you stay out of it.”
“Yeah, I know.” Shavrem said, stepping into the room and dropping the papers onto her work. The small pile of bones she was carefully marking with her symbols, damned if she knew where she learned them, was scattered. Ymaka recognized the aggression was just to unnerve her and took the letters in her gloved hand, leaning back to read them.
After a few minutes she looked up. Eman couldn’t make out any anger in her features. The mask, and all, but he could certainy hypothesize. “You are going to get my people killed.” she said.
“Better than all the citizens that have gone missing while this problem has gone unresolved.”
“Don’t pretend to understand what it is we do.” Ymaka’s words took on a dangerous edge. “You realize he isn’t giving permission for any of your people to be briefed. You’ll still be in the dark.”
“I’ll take what I can get.”
“Fine, send two of them down here whenever pleases you. Try to make sure they’re not idiots.” she said, handing the letters back. “And I’ll be writing letters of my own to encourage this interference to end, and that you do the same.”
“You saw why his mind changed, right?” Eman said. He was still in the room. It was growing harder for Ymaka to not attack him. He probably didn’t deserve it, of course, but who did deserve what they got?
“Because you confiscated the quickfire. You may be trusted to handle matters sensitive to this city, Ymaka. I’m trusted to keep the people of this district alive. Keep that in mind before you complain about interference again.”
“I will.” She smiled, knowing he couldn’t see it, and watched the watchman stomp his way back down the hall and into his district. The smile fell the moment he was gone. She knew enforcing the council’s decision was a mistake, but it had to be done. It was on their welcome that she was even there.
It was cliche to complain about politics ruining everything, but Ymaka certainly felt like that was the case here.
With a sigh, she returned to carving her bones, dusting the etchings with silver and running a gloved hand along the patterns. They reminded her of something, but that part of her was locked away now. Broken by Rast’s conditioning. She didn’t mind. It was undoubtedly better this way.