JUN: Y’know, sometimes I think you might just be bullshitting me for amusement, but your brother really does just live in a castle, huh?
REGENALD: Garish old thing, is it not?
KRYSTOFF: I know. He ought to at least maintain the castle grounds, but he just lets it get overgrown and ugly. If this were my territory, I’d contract a whole bunch of creatures to maintain decorative statues and botanical gardens and a moat…
ROTYS’LAV: Talking shit about my digs, baby brother?
Rotys’lav manifests in a flourish of the black, inky tendrils I’ve come to recognize as a manifestation of his and Krystoff’s magic. It builds him out of nothingness until he’s standing before us, just as menacing as ever.
KRYSTOFF: Ah, there you are, you fiend.
ROTYS’LAV: I see you kept the goddamned human alive, despite how nicely I skewered it for you.
Krystoff visibly bristles at that, and I instinctively position myself behind him, despite how badly that shook out for us both last time.
KRYSTOFF: Don’t lay a hand on Jun or I’ll string your innards across your own courtyard.
ROTYS’LAV: A poet as always. Fine, you have my word.
KRYSTOFF: Speak, then. Spare me your usual subterfuge and tell me what your plans are. I will comply as long as I know what’s going on.
ROTYS’LAV: I’d never lie to you, sweetest Krystoff.
KRYSTOFF: Don’t be fucking disgusting, for crying out loud.
Rotys’lav just rests his head on a folded pair of hands and rests the other pair on his hips, unfazed by Krystoff’s hostility.
ROTYS’LAV: Yeah, yeah. No one knows exactly why I’m gathering them. I think some of them are hoping I’m stepping down and announcing a successor to my territory, or that I’m seeking territorial partnerships. Everyone wants a piece of me!
KRYSTOFF: How’d you get any of them to agree to show up in the first place without a clear reason?
ROTYS’LAV: I’m pretty much the biggest fuckin’ deal in all of Duen aside from our pappy, so you’d have to be pretty ballsy to turn me down! ‘Sides, everyone knows I throw great parties. I called it a peace conference. Inoffensive enough, right?
ROTYS’LAV: So I’m gonna get them real loose and comfy, then I’m gonna tell them they’re either gonna fight tonight or die trying. Then I’ll summon the old man.
ROTYS’LAV: If I get the jump on him in my own territory, all of our powers combined just might stand a chance.
Regenald and I exchange glances, both of us probably feeling a little out of place. We’re essentially just Krystoff’s accessories right now, but that’s fine. I don’t have to contribute to every single conversation that happens around me, and I’d personally prefer it if Rotys’lav forgot that I’m still alive.
Watching him move around fills me with the fear that he’ll be holding a lance if I look away. Woo, trauma.
ROTYS’LAV: Alright, enough standing around outside like a buncha fuckin’ babies whose mommies just dropped them off for the sleepover! Come inside and impress the others. Don’t humiliate me, Krystoff. Make yourself an apparition worthy of half my bloodline.