He thinks they’ll get along great…

She was petite and lovely, with soft brown eyes and shoulder-length dark hair. An easy smile touched Alaric’s lips. He could well imagine that he would enjoy working with her.

“Thank you,” she said, dismissing the acolyte.

“Holy Mother,” he said, bowing. He stepped back out of the room and slipped away with tiny, mincing steps.

Alaric smiled more once he was alone with the woman. “Holy Mother,” he said. “I can’t thank you enough for seeing me.”

“I apologize for making you wait, Lord Rathmore,” she said. As she settled down at the chair behind her desk, she added, “Won’t you please sit down?”

“Thank you, Holy Mother,” Alaric said, giving her a sunny smile. He settled himself in the chair and folded his hands in front of his chest. “I’m sure you’ve heard about the unfortunate deaths in the city this last month.”

“I have,” she said, nodding. “A sad state of affairs, to be sure. It seems the constabulary can do naught to stop it.”

Alaric nodded. “A family member of one of the victims came to me, seeking assistance,” he said. “In conducting my own investigation, I learned that the evil deed was being done by a shadow fae, with the assistance of a creature of hell.”

The priest frowned thoughtfully. “With all due respect, my lord,” she said. “It would be better for you if you did not meddle in the affairs of demons. Such things are not safe for the uneducated to handle.”

“Ah, but that’s why I came to you,” he said. He leaned closer and added, “With you expertise in the handling of demons and my knowledge of magic, I figured we might be able to bring the matter to a favorable resolution.”

To his surprise, she shook her head. “Thank you for bring the matter to our attention,” she said. She stood, then. “We will handle things from here on out, my lord. I would thank you to stay out of affairs that don’t concern you.”

Alaric blinked at the dismissal in her tone. He shook her hand, more out of good manners than for any other reason. “I came seeking your aid, Holy Mother,” he said. “This is my case.”

“It was,” she said, nodding. “Now, it is my case.” She stepped over to the door and opened it. Bowing, she added, “Good day, my lord.”

Alaric bristled and strode to the door. “Good day, Holy Mother,” he said. He had no intention of staying out of the manner. He’d find other clerical help before he let this woman simply brush him off in this manner.


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