He lifted his head sharply and stared at her with wide eyes.
“You forget how long I’ve known you,” Sashir explained, relaxing her arms and dropping them to her sides, “and how many times I’ve patched you up. I know how you work, and I know when you’re lying. But,” she continued, walking towards him with a warmer smile, “I also know your judgement can be trusted, and that you wouldn’t lie to me unless you had to.” She placed her hand on his cheek, which, she noticed, colour had returned to. “I will not ask again.”
“No, Karn,” she said, turning her head to the side to address the larger man. “He has his reasons.” She turned back to him. “And we’ll respect them…even if it is against our better judgement.”
Varai smiled gently and dipped his head in thanks.
“Your things are in the other room,” she said as she turned and began to walk away. The young girl, Kari, stayed at her side, and Varai followed on, adjusting his loose robes as he went. He looked at the dirty, featureless walls as they walked down a short, narrow corridor, and then up at the bumpy ceiling. While the scent of Carcyli was still strong and present, though not intoxicatingly so, there was also a definite, lingering smell that he could only assume was burnt sugar - the usual tell-tale sign that Kari had been cooking.
“When did you move here?” He asked as they stepped into a larger room, lightly furnished but warm and cosy nonetheless.
“About two months ago,” she answered, leaving him standing near the doorway, scanning the room as she approached a cupboard. “The old place was found out. Or, we think so, anyway. More footsteps went past the front door than there should have.” She removed a bundle of cloth, which clattered strangely in her hands as she lifted it, and held it out towards him. “Jseek has cleaned your blade.”
Varai strode into the room as she offered him his belongings, and once he took them from her, he crouched down and layed the cloth out on the floor. Within the wrapped bundle there was indeed a blade – it was a large sword, slightly curved and at half his own length, and its hilt was wrapped in black and gold. He lifted and unsheathed it, and, had it been an unfamiliar blade, he’d have marvelled at its perfect balance, but as it was, he merely inspected the steel. Not only was there no longer any trace of blood, but it also had a shine to it that he hadn’t seen in some time. He grunted his approval and began to sort through his other items – the coin pouch he tied to his hip, concealed within the folds of his Vankar; the flask he kept hidden within the Vankar's waist once tied, filled not with alcohol but rather a special concoction to keep a few unique enhancements of his in line; a small picture he kept hidden even safer within an inside pocket of his garment, and finally the badge of rank he wore on his left shoulder. He fixed everything into place, slung the scabbard on his back then easily resheathed his sword.
A hand landed gently on his shoulder. "You're not going anywhere yet, Varai," Sashir told him. "You may as well remove that blade and badge and be settled for a while."
Varai's shoulders slumped and he sighed deeply, but did as she suggested. He had foolishly assumed that he was well enough to leave since he could walk around well enough with little pain, but he knew that he should have known better. Sashir was not so careless. "How long will I have to stay?"
"You say that like you don't want to be here," a hissing voice came from behind him. He turned abruptly and grinned sharply to find a serpentine face staring at him from the doorway. The face was humanesque - enough that one could easily distinguish the eyes, nose and mouth, but lacked any visible ears like most reptiles. The figure was hooded and cloaked in black, and the scales that replaced the skin of the figure were a muddy brown colour, but large shining eyes penetrated the dark shadow that covered his face, narrowed though they were.
"Well I wouldn't say that, but now you're here I find myself a little more aware of my thoughts," he said, his grin remaining as he turned to face the figure who walked quickly and silently towards him, swaggering from side to side with each step like a four-legged lizard. As the reptilian being stopped before him and lowered his hood, he revealed the long, scaled, tentacle-like appendages that hung down from his lower jaw, and sharp spines that jutted from the back of his head and ran right down his back, which only grew larger the further down they went, and pierced through his robes.