Behind Closed Doors

Eric leads Rebecca to his Kingly Study, which thankfully is adjacent to the Throne Room. It is smaller than could be expected, and windowless. There are three desks and multiple chairs, as well as several piles of parchment, ink pots and pens. Two locked cabinets can be seen in the back right corner. Eric lights a few candles and sits in a large chair of green velvet and looks at Rebecca attentively; his face betraying a worried expression, he asks, "What's on your mind, Rebecca?"

"You," she says, setting the glass she carried in with her on his desk. She does not sit. Her distinctive drawl is significantly softened now that is just her and her father. It's something she has been working on for the past year or so, but has chosen to keep it under her equally distinctive hat. "I don't like leaving you with no one to watch your back—and don't tell me you don't need it. You've told me yourself you don't trust most of the ones here. Gerard is the most trustworthy, and he's not gonna be here. Who are you left with? Flora?" She snorts. "Please."

Eric replies, "Flora won't be sticking around either, it turns out… She left for Shadow earlier tonight." He sighs and says, "Julian will be the closest to here but everyone will be busy with other things." His face lights up as he realizes, "You know… This might be the closest thing to a vacation as I'll ever get." His charming smile has reappeared. "In all seriousness, though, I would love to keep you near, darling. It just won't do for me to keep holding you back, though… You know it better than I."

She waves an impatient hand. "I didn't mean that. I know I need to go with the others, and I'm not complain' about that. I just don't like the situation it leaves you in." She sighs and looks up at the ceiling a moment before returning her gaze to him. "You promise to call me if there's trouble? I'm serious, Dad. Don't make me come home after this and find somethin's happened to you. I'll tear this heap o' rock apart."

Eric smiles warmly at Rebecca and says, "I get a feeling that I'll be more careful than you." He pauses, to sigh and to caress her cheek tenderly as he often did when she was younger.

"I promise. If I'm in trouble, you can bet your horse that it's your trump I'd be picking up… I'm also counting on you to do the same. I know you can rely on Finn for most things, but something about him doesn't feel quite right either."

She chuckles in spite of her worries. "Finn's alright. I reckon he was born under a dark star, as the sayin' goes."

Rebecca leans over and thumps the spot that had been flaring red earlier. She was naturally suspicious of anything reeking of unknown sorceries, and even she could see that it was. "That's another thing; that thing is creepy. What was it flarin' up about earlier? Don't tell me 'nothing'. I saw your face when it did."

"That? Oh… well, I suppose it wasn't nothing… Actually, I'm glad you brought it up." Eric removes the Jewel of Judgment from behind his black shirt and swings the chain around his neck and hands it to Rebecca for her to inspect. Changing the subject, he says, "If something happens to me, you're in charge." The faint glow grows fainter and fades out into her hands.

"That's the bottom line, Rebecca. There isn't anyone else… I made it clear to everyone that you are my legacy. If you learn of my death, make sure that no one touches me. Only you are to handle the corpse. And the first thing you do is take this and put it around your neck. I hid my notes in here… Find them. You'll need them."

Rebecca can see something swirling inside, but it is much too dark in the room to make out what it could be.

Eric clears his throat and says, "What you witnessed in there," pointing to his left, towards the Throne Room, "was just a sort of Warning. I use it to keep track of certain… things, which forces my attention elsewhere at times."

Large murky ruby. Much too murky…

Rebecca's wide eyes went from the stone in her hand to him. For a long moment, she can't decide what to yell about first. She holds it up to spin slowly in the candlelight and stares at it until she can decide.

"How am I supposed to do that if I'm not here?" she finally asks lowly. His daughter lowers the Jewel and looks back at him. It was clear by her pained expression that she did not want to be discussing this topic. What child does? "Is there one person with your Guard or in these walls you trust enough to call me if something happens? To guard you until I get here? This isn't something I want; but I will do it because you've asked me to."

"I don't imagine it will come to this, but Caine and Gerard have their instructions. If either contacts you from this room, claiming that I have passed, you can trust their word." In the candlelight, silhouettes appear. Shadows.

Just as a murky image begins to clarify within the Jewel and two silhouettes appear, Eric takes the jewel back. "Everything will go according to plan. Just do as your father bids, won't you?" He winks at her and places the bauble back around his neck and behind his shirt. "Besides, nobody wants me dead except the two bastards stuck below. And they can't get to me just now."

She is silent a long moment, frowning faintly. Then she blinks and brings her attention back to Eric. "I always have." Then she smirks. "Mostly."

Eric grins, "That's my girl."

Rebecca straightens and picks up her drink. She rolls the crystal height of it between her palms. "There's relatives, and then there's family; you and Uncle T are the only family I've got left." She sniffs and walks around the desk to him and leans down to kiss him on the cheek. This has been far more open emotion then she usually displays, and she's about reached her limit. "Reckon I should get moving. Once Demon hears we're heading out, he'll be chomping at stablehands to get him ready. Unless you have any more surprises for me?"

Eric's surprise is well hidden, and he smiles when she leans down.

"Not tonight. No more surprises," he says softly. "I'll have a guard bring you a bag with the appropriate paperwork and official seals for you guys to carry into Greymoor."

"Alright then," she nods. Rebecca drains her glass and sets it on his desk. "I'll go pack and change and meet the group in the Courtyard." She heads for the door, but stops with her hand on the knob. "We'll wait for your guard."

"Be. Careful," she says sternly, pointing at him. Then she winks, tips her hat, and heads out after getting Eric's smile.


TOCDead of Night

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