Harper Report


Indira.jpg Shijan.jpg

Date: 2011.01.04
Location: EW - Headwoman's Office
Synopsis: Indira receives a report from her other informant at Jaya's bar and she is not amused.
Rating: PG13
Logger: Indira

Being summoned by Indira for a meeting was nothing unusual for the Headwoman liked to touch base with those who answered to her.

However, the moment the tall bodyguard crossed the threshold into her office, he knew something was up. Leaned back in her chair, legs elegantly crossed with a stylus tapping at her lower lip, a smile in place, Indira was the epitome of calculated intent.

Obsidian eyes dropped to her desk where three sheets of paper lay as if tossed there carelessly. Shijan knew better. His report, the map he had carefully drawn up of the cove and surrounding area (as asked for by the woman) and the other folded sheet had been placed with deliberate care so as to draw his attention to them.

It took less than a split second for him to take it all in, a perfectly bland expression remaining in place throughout. Giving a nod of head and a low spoken, “Indira,” in greeting, he moved to the side of the chair opposite her though did not take up seating. He never did. Remaining standing and using his height as a means of refusal to bow to her hand of authority.

“You’ve been a busy boy,” her husky voice broke through the short silence that had formed. He was hardly a boy at twenty seven turns, but she knew it irked the man who had once been a journeyman and had answered directly to the Masterharper himself.

Shijan didn’t give her the satisfaction of rising to the bait, merely remaining silent, hawk eyed regard set on the Headwoman, not a muscle twitching.

A flicker of irritation rose in Indira, never comfortable under that disconcerting gaze of his. She refused to tear her own gaze away however and met his dead on for a moment or two before breaking it and reaching for his report. After making a show of re-reading it, she tossed it back down on the desk top. “You know, for a former harper, you can be incredibly stupid, Malesh.” The deliberate use of his name serving as pointed reminder of just how much she knew about him.

Hearing his true name coming from her lips grated on him in the same manner as a novice badly torturing a bow across the strings of a violin. And still, he remained silent moving only to fold his arms across his chest and lift a questioning brow from out of his deadpan expression.

“What?” Indira’s mouth curved around a cunning smirk, “You didn’t think I’d find out?” Dropping his report she drew the other folded sheet of paper toward her and read a few lines from it:

I’ve also noticed some …changes, between the barkeep and her bodyguard. There’s usually indifference from them both, but since being back, I can detect that something’s changed. I’ve caught the way he looks at her when she’s not looking – when he thinks no one’s looking – and I’ve caught the same in her.

A soft tsking sound came from the back of her throat as she set Hayli’s report down with overdue care and leaned back in her chair again. “I always find out, harper,” the former title sardonically stressed, “you should know that by now.”

Shijan’s chin lifted, obsidian eyes narrowing lightly and eventually he broke silence with a twitch of shoulders, “You done?”

Sloe eyes narrowed onto the bodyguard and Indira’s lips pressed into a thin line. The man was positively infuriating! And so taking up the map he’d drawn up for her, she set her attention to once again taking in every curve and detail of the small coastline of the cove. “I’m pulling you off the job. Jillen will take over from you.” Spoken as easily as if she were making an alteration to that evening’s dinner menu.

That finally drew a low growl from the former harper as arms dropped from about himself and he took a step forward, hands twitching at his sides and black eyes flattening in warning, “She’s mine!” A more possessive timbre to his words than he’d intended.

Glancing up from the map Indira arched a brow up high, “Really, Shijan? Yours?” Tone dropped to deadly levels, daring him to challenge her decision.

Shijan reeled in a flash of anger and set a smirk into place instead as he tried turning the tables on the tousled blonde, “Jealous, Indira?” And then a soft snort spilled out, “You have no right to…” his words were cut off as the Headwoman swiftly interjected.

“Don’t forget your place, Igen.” Another reminder delivered to the tall teak skinned man. “You will do as I say until such time as your debt is paid.”

A muscle set to ticking in Shijan’s jaw, “I have long since paid my debt. Release me.” The demand coming out in the hissing tone of a tunnelsnake ready to strike.

Indira set a steady and uncompromising look onto the bodyguard, “You still owe me, Malesh. Or…” another cunning smirk set into place, “have you so quickly forgotten that night under the stars and a heady bottle of Benden Red, hmm?” Oh yes, she knew aaall about a once journeyman and the secrets of the others that he carried with him. Secrets dangerous enough that one note delivered into the right hands, would….Well now, she had more use for him dead than alive.

Taunting amusement rose in her eyes when she sensed more than saw how much effort it was taking for the man to restrain himself. Her next remark designed to be cutting and driven by the shame and embarrassment she’d felt when he’d cast her aside, “You don’t fall in love, remember? So what is it about our little Bitran barkeep, hmm? Is she that good in the sack?”

It was her last that had Shijan’s lips curling back into a silent snarl and he stepped right up to the desk, planting his hands palm down on the surface and leaning right into her personal space across it. “An empty vessel…makes the most noise, Indira.” Slowly and deliberately he slid his hands back toward himself and straightened. “One day, someone’s going to come along and you’re going to be so blinded by your bitterness that you won’t even notice what’s standing right before you.” That delivered smoothly as he took a step toward the door. Hand resting on the handle he turned a melancholy look over his shoulder back to the tousled blonde who had gone pale, “I only hope for your sake that time hasn’t already come and gone.” And without further word, he left, closing the door quietly behind him.

Recovering from the slap of the former harper’s words, Indira’s face contorted into a mask of fury and picking up the nearest thing to hand, (a bottle of exotic blend from a far off private northern vineyard) she hurled it at the closed door where it shattered, its contents slowly pooling and staining the rock floor beneath.

Dark eyes widened in horror for what she’d just done, hands flying to her mouth as she stifled the sob that rose up. Shijan was right and she couldn’t deny it. With tears streaming down her face, the Headwoman picked up a stylus and started putting words to paper. When the message was pouched and handed over for delivery, it carried tell-tale blotches of drops having fallen to its surface and blurred the writing in some places.

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