Eerika's Rooms, Angabar
"Yes, my lady?" Mikken bowed as he entered, the door behind him slowly becoming shut by the guards outside. Eerika sat at the table, like before when Ragnar and Ava had been here. Her hands were all covered in a black dust, from what, the knight could not tell. Though he assumed it was something to do with fire - what else? With a quill, she scrawled a quick letter on some parchment, blowing gently on the ink to make it dry, before rolling it up and sealing it with wax. The symbol of House Elverssen indented into the soft silver-white substance. Eerika only then turned her attention to Mikken, as if realising him for the first time.
She rose, suddenly, as if she were about to give him grave news. Steinar isn't... Mikken though, but quickly corrected himself, She would not be so collected if she had just lost her son. "Sir Mikken," Eerika was just a meter from him, "I don't know who to trust." He frowned at that, confused. Why would she not have anyone to trust? But telling me that she has no one to trust means that she can trust me. She can obviously trust Steinar as well, not to mention Alva. And Alva trusts Ragnar, which means we can trust him. But something still tells me that she is not talking about it like that.
"My lady?" Mikken asked, wondering what she meant this time in her secret way of talking. The High Lady was always private, but never so mysterious.
She sighed, fumbling with the roll of parchment in her hand, "Before we talk further, I'm giving you this." She handed it to him, the letter warm from her touch. Mikken ran his finger over the seal, breaking it to read the contents, "Don't read it out loud," she whispered abruptly, then touched her ear - like someone were listening to everything they were saying. "But once you have read it, just say yes or no. Is this understood?" Mikken nodded in reply, then flicked his eyes down to the letter again. It was formally written, his whole title listed as an opening. The calligraphy was outstanding, he was surprised that she had done it so quickly. Captain of the Guardsmen? Mikken knew that he shouldn't be taken aback by it, but there were far older and wiser members to console in the matter. The captain of a guild was always an important position to have, privy to everything their liege lord did or said. He could not refuse, though.
"Yes," he breathed. Eerika's deep blue eyes watched him constantly as the letter was folded and tucked up his sleeve. "Of course my lady, I would never dishonour you by refusing." Mikken gripped his hand into a fist, bowed his head and clasped the limb to his heart - therefore binding himself as Captain until death. "I will remain by your side, my lady, and hope that I shall never fail you."
"Thank you, Captain Mikken," the new title made him feel slightly irked, like it wasn't supposed to be there. Eerika drifted back to the table, her fingertips turning white as she leant on them. "There is no easy way to say this but I will say it. Mikken," Eerika had had her eyes cast to the floor, but they found his once more. The blue all stern and cold. "I believe that there is a traitor in our midst. More importantly in the court, yet I have no evidence to prove it; merely a hunch and nothing more." Mikken remembered something, something from a long time ago.
Taking in a short breath, he plunged into the half-remembered topic, "Lady Alva. She told me something when she first came to The Royal Court... about her attackers. They wore the symbol of Odin's eye on their garments. Not all of them, since there were civilians, but there were a few immersed in the crowd with it painted in blood on their chests." Mikken paused, wondering whether he should continue. "I don't know if it's related or if the group still exist but if either is true, it could spark rebellion. Now is not the time for such trivial acts, anyway."
Eerika contemplated all that he had said, "The symbol of Odin's eye? It represents knowledge and wisdom; why would her attackers use such a thing? It's not as if they are in anyway showing the morals of the Allfather. I find it disgraceful," Eerika hissed, "disgraceful that our people would be so disrespectful to the Aesir. Have we really become such beasts? Is this what war does to people? No wonder the mortals have fallen so far from grace." Slowly, she sat down, disappointed in herself, her rule and her people. "How can we be so dishonourable, Mikken?"
"When we win this war, I may be able to answer that question," he replied without hesitation. If the end justified the means, who would care? "Truth, my lady, Odin's eye can also represent truth." Mikken randomly stated the fact before he forgot again. Eerika nodded half-minded about it, knowing that she had so much to do in such littler time.
"Steinar's awake," she spoke, looking into the distance, "I want you to be with him for tomorrow, and during the coronation. I will have him there - we cannot be viewed as weak, not now. Other than that, I suggest you rest, Captain. There will be a long journey after Lady Alva's coronation." Knowing she wanted to be alone, Mikken bowed and left without a word.
Steinar was resting in his lounge, on the black couch in front of the fire. His arms were crossed over his chest, clutching the folds of his robe tight around him. The flame crackled in the hearth, the window letting in the slight breeze of the afternoon. "My lord," Mikken strode over to Steinar's slight right and bowed, "Good to see you're still alive." The lordling looked up to see the male standing over him, a sword strapped to his hip.
"I didn't know that I was going to be attacked in my rooms, Sir Mikken," Steinar grumbled from his hunched position on the seat. He seemed fatigued and annoyed - the latter no doubt from having to stay in his rooms without anyone to keep him company. I suppose I shall, in some way. It was true that Mikken and Steinar were of close age, unlike him and Alva, but it was not as if they had spent much time together. I suppose we have to deal with some things, Mikken thought as he quickly strode over to the window and shut it, snapping the latch back into place. "Why did you do that?" Steinar frowned.
"You may not realise, but it is rather cold in here, my lord. I don't think you realise," Mikken smirked, he knew not why but liked the feel of it. Crossing his arms, he leant against the window sill and watched his lord moan silently to himself. Bare were his feet on the couch as he pulled up his knees to place his head on top. Silver glinted in the sunlight as his hair splayed out in fine strands. It had grown quite long over the past few days, almost reaching half-way down his bicep. "And just for the sake of avoiding being embarrassed in public, I've been promoted to Captain of the Guardsmen. Only yesterday in fact, my lord."
Mikken didn't think that Steinar would surprised as he is - but maybe shocked was a better word for the expression he wore. Immediately, he was off of the couch, "Is Alva alright? What happened? Why were you made Captain of the Guardsmen?" All the questions came one after the other, Mikken could hardly remember the first one. "Mikken, what happened? Just tell me that and stop lying, I don't care hat my mother had told you to do, ignore that. Tell me!" The lordling urged with a horrid sense of dread at what may happen to his friend. She can command such faith, our Lady Alva, it truly is fascinating.
"Everything is fine, my lord. No one had been harmed - well that is a bit of a generalisation... Anyway, Alva I perfectly fine, there's no need to worry. You'll see her tomorrow and all will be well. I do not doubt that she won't tell you what happened to make her leave the Guardsmen." Mikken hoped that it was enough to calm him down, yet somehow knew that because it was Steinar nothing would until he saw her. Nothing; not the smallest of words or the grandest of barricades. He was certainly determined, and Mikken couldn't help but deny some sort of admiration for his virtue of stubbornness.
Steinar groaned and flopped down onto the couch, "Why will I never be able to do as I wish?" He asked himself, the ceiling, the world. Lying there, an arm over his eyes, Steinar seemed as lifeless as a corpse. Rising and falling was his chest in short, shallow breaths; the small outburst of his having left him a most tired state. "What happened to Alva that made her have to leave? What in the world would let her think such a thing! She is absolutely loyal to my mother, loyal to a fault. She would never leave, not unless something made her to." Steinar tried to make sense of it, Mikken could see the cogs turning away in his brain - tinkering with all the possible events that made his friend leave.
Mikken, listless as a fox on the hunt, stepped closer to his lord. "Some would say that it is the loyalty to your mother that made her leave, my lord." His green eyes connected with Steinar's, the confusion ever present in the captivating irises. Mikken knew that he should leave the lordling alone for a while, tired and broken as he is from all the duty. "I forgot there is something I need to do, my lord. I will return soon, you have my word." He walked over to the door, grabbing the handle and pulling it open, he stepped out into the dining room.
She truly can command such loyalty and love from her closest friends. No wonder Lady Eerika keeps her close...