A new chapter for my serial, Gryphon. Enjoy. Clink on the links below if you need to catch up on the previous posts.
Gryphon made her way deeper into the Council’s complex trying not to let the oppressive white marble walls and ancient wards make her tense. She hated being walled in and the building was all but designed to put visitors off while showing off how rich and above you the Council member were. She hated even having to walk its gilded halls but when the Council called, you answered promptly. Hopefully it had something to do with the decision about her status in the Clan.
She faltered for a moment when she saw the small group waiting outside the main hall but forced her head up and back straight. She wasn’t about to give them the satisfaction of seeing her afraid. Her former brothers watched her approach with wide predatory grins.
“Sister, long time no see? Have you decided to return home to the nest?” He asked grinning as he crossed his large biceps over his muscular chest, his blonde hair falling into his eyes did nothing to disguise the anger filling his gaze.
“No, I was summoned to speak with the Council, Cael. I am not returning to the nest.” She said keeping her distance, the last thing she needed was for a fight to break out in Council Seat. Cael had always been the more physical one, lashing out in anger at the smallest provocation.
“What no hug for your brother? I feel slighted, Sister.” The other brother said giving her a winning smile that had lured many a woman to his bed while he opened his arms like she was still a child to run into his arms.
“I am not part of your clan or nest until the Council’s decision, Aedan. I cannot claim the title of sister and you well know it.” She said, fighting the urge to cross her arms over her own chest as a barrier to their gaze. Aedan had lusted after her since they were children since they were not true siblings in his eyes.
“I’m sorry, Sister, it’s just that we have missed you greatly. The house has been barren of entertainment without you around.” Aedan said with a leer looking her up and down like a piece of meat.
“I’m sorry but I have other business to attend to.” She said stiffening as they stepped forward enveloping her in the scent of their combined anger and lust.
“Of course, don’t let us keep you. We just wanted to see our missing Sister one more time. You know Mother is still rather desperately looking for you. She’s like a scent hound, nose to the ground.” Cael said watching her like a rabbit. She bit her tongue on the cutting reply that wanted to emerge forcing her face to stay in its calm mask, her lack of reaction had always angered her brothers more than any words she could’ve hurled.
“The Versus Clan Head is a formidable tracker.” She agreed pushing her way past them, “I wish her luck in her hunt.”
“We await the day you return to us, Sister; May it be soon.” Cael said his eyes promising violence as his jaw flexed; she knew he was grinding his teeth in frustration.
Gryphon had the doorman announce her presence and did her best to shake off the anger and bitterness that made her hands shake. She couldn’t do anything until the Council made its decision. Until then everyone in her family was stuck biding by the laws of the fae, unable to act out in anyway without affecting the decision.
She was shown into the Council chamber only a few moments later which set her nerves alight, the last time she had been made to wait hours while the Council members ignored her. What would make them treat her with respect? There was no reason for a high ranking Council member to show her any respect considering she under the law was not even part of a clan or house.
The Council members sat on a raised podium looking down on the single chair set before the semicircle of their gaze. Each member was dressed in fine fabrics and wore their jeweled chains of office proudly displayed. Each was the head of their Clan and generally only the heads would be put forth for ascension to the Council.
“Ah, Gryphon! Thank you for joining us so promptly.” One of the members said with a wide smile gesturing her to the seat before the semi-circle of seated members. Councilman Dragan was often chosen as the spokesperson for the Council since he was so photogenic and charismatic with his wide open smiles and fair looks.
“I am at the Counsil’s command.” She said slowly taking a seat with a forced smile.
“Would you care for any refreshments?” He asked with a winning flash of white teeth that was a hair too predatory for her comfort so soon after the confrontation with her brothers.
“No, thank you, sir.” She demurred as politely as she could with a small smile, she was too nervous to even think of eating.
“Well, to business then.” He said with a strained looking smile, “We are still deliberating on your request of the Counsel but hoped to approach you about a small matter that the community needs completed.”
“What exactly would such as task be? If I may ask.” She said when the silence continued on for several long moments with the Counsel looking at her expectantly.
“Well, the Counsel finds itself in need of someone in your unique situation. As you know one of our members will be stepping down in the next two weeks and we must name his successor. We are in need of an unaffiliated fae to judge the trials for the seat.”
“You wish me to judge the trials of ascension?” she repeated blankly in shock, no one of low rank had ever judged the trials, generally the son of an unaffiliated clan or house would be called forward to take up the task as it was seen as a great honor.
“Precisely,” He said giving her a delighted smile, “All of our ranking clans are invalidated since we have at least one member who is a relative of a competitor in some form. We will of course provide you with all the documentation and guidance you need during the competitions and you will be compensated accordingly.”
“If I agree to fill this position it will have no bearing on my request to be released from my clan, correct?”
“While the Counsel will be grateful if you do decide to assist us in this time of need, there is no legal benefit from helping us in this hour of need.” He said with a winning smile that was more teeth then Gryphon liked.
Gryphon nodded in understanding but mentally she was laughing hysterically. There was no true way to be completely without bias and if she helped the Council they probably would rule more fairly in her own petition. She scanned the seated members discretely noting that everyone was attentive to the conversation even if they weren’t participating.
The only councilman who was ignoring the proceedings was Councilman Hereford who was about to step down from his seat. He watched the proceedings with a bored air, nothing he could say about the selection process would be heeded anyway. The other Council members had written him off already and he wasn’t enjoying the early dismissal, his dark eyes skimmed over her with blatant disgust.
“I am rather busy at the moment, what commitment of time would the task need?”
“You would be required to stand judge over the three trials, one for the next three weeks. Each trial will last as most a single day, not exactly a large commitment of time however you will be compensated of course for you lost productivity.”
“How exactly?” she asked, watching as the speaker floundered for a moment at her interruption.
“How exactly would I be compensated? I am currently without a Clan or steady income while the Council makes its decision as I am sure you are all aware.”
“We could of course provide you with a meaningful sum in advance of the trials and once they are completed present you with the remainder of the amount once services are rendered.”
“I’m afraid I have been living among the humans for too long, sir, I require exact numbers if I am to give up several days of my time, in writing of course.”
“Of course,” He said with a strained smile, “Would you be willing to give us a short time to gather the necessary documentation?”
“Of course,” She agreed with a smile, “Would an hour suffice?”
“That would be most sufficient, if you would see yourself out while we debate?”
“Thank you, Councilman Dragan; I’ll await your call outside.”
The Councilman waved her away already moving to join the other members on the podium. Gryphon didn’t bother lingering as she exited the Council hall. She moved past the seating area and out into the hallway where there were several open balconies to one side.
She desperately wanted to shift and spread her wings or at least to be able to call her Grand’Mere. This could be the turning point in the council’s decision on leaving her clan but if it went badly she could be condemning herself in the process. The trials were a political mine field with Clan heirs often dying during the competition which could result in feuds that would and had lasted for centuries.
She paced in the open air until she was called back to the Council hall for their offer. The entire Council looked put out at having to nail down a solid price for the services of a lowly clanless half breed which only made Gryphon fight off the threatening grin. A table had been brought in on which a thick roll of parchment lay, the contract.
“The contract is ready for your signature with a copy prepared as well.”
“Thank you, Councilman Dragan. Would you allow me a moment to peruse the document?”
“Of course, please let us know if there are any clauses you wish changed.” He said with a sharks grin, the pleased looks to the rest of the Council simply made her determined to take her time.
As soon as she started reading she let the grin take over, they thought to lose her in flowery language and sub clauses that meant nothing. They didn’t realize that she had spent the last thirty years working for her Grand’Mere reviewing similar contracts.
“Do you mind if I make a few notations?” She asked pulling out a pen.
“Go right ahead, though we will have to review any changes before the final contract can be signed.”
“Wonderful, let me read this in full and then we can start to review the needed changes.” She said giving him a wide smile before bending her head over the document and letting her red pen start crossing things out.
Six hours later they happily kicked her out of the chambers once the documentation was finally signed and a copy quickly made for her records. Gryphon calmly walked out of the hall fighting a shark’s smile, she loved getting one over on hypocritical purebloods. She knew they might resent her in the long run for it but they had tried to trick her into signing away every right she had as a free person while she was serving as the judge for the trials.