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A Matter of Business [Story][closed][OOC comments welcome]

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It had been nearly a week since she had supped at the Bismark where her two most beloved of pets relayed the information they had gathered information for her. She had given them their next orders. Taeryn expertly planned the supper, inviting each of the major heads and the main assistant to each of them in her small empire together for a particularly exquisite and fine feast. Torryn did her best work in the background and she knew without a doubt that she was working to fulfill her mistress's desires. They both were working late into the evening preparing one of the other slaves of her estate. But that was for a separate matter she'd deal with afterwards.


The dinner was going very smoothly. She could feel the undercurrent of nerves in the room as they dined. It was not often that they had been called together like this outside of a holiday. The last time had been when her father had still been living and that turned out to be... bloody. They weren't entirely certain what their new young mistress had in store for them but they feared it had something to do with the rumor surrounding Jerni's division and the profit skimming he was involved with. Jerni feeling that fear and showing it most of all.


She felt a momentary pang of dread at what she was about to do but did not let anything show other than the sweet smile and happy rich youth that she was. Heiress to an expansive Ul'dahn corporation that at it's front was largely the production of various alchemical concoctions. It had started out supplying the extensive mining operations in the processing of metals. But as generations past it had grown to encompass all manner of brews.


As everyone finished their desserts and not a single mention was made about any issues they had all begin to relax. It was at this point she struck. Saying simply, "Now before we conclude for the evening ladies and gentleman, let us retire to the basement for a bit business." It was satisfying how several faces paled. Jerni seemed about to faint.


She lead the way down the flight of light sandstone steps and into a very short hallway. To the left would be her own personal lab, formerly her father's lab. To the right would be the room designed specifically for discipline. It was the right door she chose, steeling herself as she opened the door and waited for all to file inside behind her. She wasn't particularly happy with what she was about to do... but it was apparent that she needed to prove a point. Make and example. Her father had left her all of this wonderful blackmail material and if she showed hesitant to use it... well that would mark her as weak and the Syndicate's scheme and point would be made. She settles herself into the little chair designed just for the master of the house.


She heard Jerni's wail as he ran to the woman hanging by her bound wrists up against the wall. The small boy tethered to his mother by cuffs chained to their ankles. The boy looked unharmed, per her orders. The woman looked roughed over but her orders had been simply alive and conscious. She met both criteria perfectly. She waited for Torryn to restrain Jerni and wait for the man to gain control of himself before speaking, "Taeryn, you'll take the boy upstairs now." Jerni fought to reach his son to no avail.


Once Taeryn had unchained the boy and taken him upstairs she spoke. Even to her own ears her voice sounded young and quite ill suited for such a dark place, "Now as I'm sure you've all heard by now. There has been a matter of profit skimming the past few moons. I feel the need to remind everyone that while my father isn't alive any longer, that is no excuse to sabotage this company. More so at the behest of a wealthy patron." That was something she'd made sure got left out of the rumors. She made note of the ones that looked surprised and the ones that didn't. She'd need to be extra attentive with the lot that didn't.


"I know that the Syndicate views me as too young and too weak to run this company. And I greatly suspect that a few of -you- all feel similarly. Well let me assure you that this is -not- the case."


Jerni half shouted, half wailed as he interrupted, "Please, Lady Maezu. I made a mistake! Please show mercy! I served your father well for cycles and will do so for you! I swear it!"


She arched a delicate brow as she turned her gaze to the man, "I am showing mercy. Your son will be taken care of as a member of my house." She smiled to the man, "Jerni for your crime of conspiring with the Syndicate and betraying a company you swore to further and advance... I'll be taking all of your assets in order to recoup the gil you've cost me. Your wife shall perish. You... what you do afterwards is of little consequence to me." The man wails and struggles against the hold Torryn had on him to no avail. The bound woman started to cry. A few of the others cast Jerni with sympathetic glances. A couple were fearful. Others were so far into this sort of business that while wary showed nothing further to her. None of them spoke.


She indicates to L'resh to administer the dose of poison that sat inconspicuously off to the side in it's small vial. An identical one beside it. This particular poison would take about a quarter bell to fully kill at this particular dosage. Slowly blocking the air from the woman's blood and suffocating her.


She didn't particularly wish to watch so she said, "I'm certain you'll want to remain by her side until the end. I'll grand you that and a bit of privacy, Jerni." She motioned for all her other guests to depart the room, herself bringing up the rear and leaving her two enforcers behind to monitor the situation.


Once they were upstairs and in her foyer she addresses Jerni's assistant, "This means you've just gained yourself a promotion, Marian. You're now officially the division head of the Aetheri production and distribution. As well as the increase in pay and benefits. I trust that -you- will clean up the mess and sever ties with this Patron?"


"Yes, my Lady." She gave a deep bow, not missing the implied fact that Maemae knew her involvement as well.


"Good. You'll take Jejeka as your assistant." She addresses the group once more, "It has been a pleasure to see you all again. I hope you'll all join for the all Saint's Wake feast later this moon. Oh, and one final thing, especially for your division Hugh, let me know if a Phoenix Rose contacts any of our storefronts at any point. Bring any requests to me."


They all murmured their assents and said their farewells.


She turns to Taeryn who was keeping the young boy of only six cycles close. He boy looked scared and remained silent. This was good. She liked the quiet children best. "I think he'll make a fine assistant in the kitchens for now. Since we're moving Candice to fill Dhyna's place while she is gone. See to it that he gets introduced around and settled in." She smiles pleasantly. She watches at Tae turns to follow her bidding before turning to retire to her office.


Ryn nodded to Mae, continuing to hold the boy's face and body close and slightly covered by her skirt as she turned.


"Jaren... you're a member of this House now," she murmured as she took him down the back ways to the kitchen. "You'll do as Mistress Maezu commands you, when she commands you and you'll do it quickly with no arguing."


She knelt suddenly, gazing at the small boy, her hand lifting his tearstained face to look into his eyes. "Your parents have gone to Thal, but you're not alone. You have a new family, a new home... Chosen to serve Nald in the House of Maezu."


She gave him a smile, wiping his tears with her fingertips. "Remember this day, Jaren... Remember the price of betrayal. It is not a lesson you want to be taught again."


Ryn took his small hand as she stood. "You will help Michele in the kitchen for now. Do as she asks and everything will be fine."




Once the poison had been administered, L'resh crept off to crouch in a corner, watching. Tori released Jerni, then walked over to the sobbing woman and cut her down. She watched the two cling to each other, crying and professing their undying love and forgiveness and loss for a long moment, her face unreadable, then turned on her heel and went to stand by the door.




One did not betray one's Master.... or Mistress. Not the one that cared for them, fed them, clothed them, protected them.


He had been a fool, and now an innocent had to pay....


She did not stop him as she saw him rise and stumble to the other poison vial.


It was the only true solution... Mistress would never suffer a traitor to live. The Object Lesson was more for the benefit of the witnesses... Jerni was no fool.


She glanced at L'resh, the Seeker's eyes focused on the Hyur as he fumbled with the poison amidst wracking sobs, but he also did not move to help. This was something Jerni would do alone.


Neither moved when he stuck the needle into his thigh instead of a vein. It would take him longer to die... and be much more painful.


This was also the punishment...


L'resh glanced at Tori with a knowing smirk. Tori merely looked back at the two, now clutching each other, his wife gasping slightly and jerking.


She hesitated, then sighed, her voice soft but slightly detached, but with a note of sympathy. "Your son will be well-cared for. Thank you both for teaching him the dangers of betrayal. May Thal greet you with all the honor a traitor deserves."

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