While I was definitely shook by surprise by Deirdre's words. What surprised me more was the absent of screaming. The man had a knife stuck in his hand and the expression on his face could be best described as... Bored.
"While I commend the young lady on her apt response, could she perhaps aid me in retrieving this knife?"
Deirdre turned around, looking dangerously annoyed but she got hold of herself and pulled her knife out of the hand. It sounded like wood. The man took some pliers with his other hand and some small metal box that he put next to the spiky sphere. With a smooth and gentle motion, he picked up the dangerous object and placed it in the metal box. Closing it and hiding the box somewhere on his person.
"There, let's get this out of the way."
I pulled Deirdre next to me by her shoulder. She was eyeing the man carefully, not trusting him one bit. "Testing me?"
"Interesting, a little careless, but definitely clever."
"What kind of poison was it?"
Deirdre took a deep breath before answering. "Paralytic poison. Quite dangerous."
"Indeed, even with leather gloves it's possible to be stung. Fake hands make it so much easier."
I frowned at him. "What do you want of me?"
"If the rumors are correct, we have work for you." He looked at Deirdre and blinked. "Intelligent servant."
"I like people around me to be useful."
"Hmm. Does she know of your affliction?"
This wasn't easy. I didn't like to lie, but if I told the truth I had the feeling that we were both rather exposed. It was strange that he didn't say if she knew I was an abomination. But in this case I could fairly safely say yes, I thought, as it would only mean I was honest to my servant. Though it might mean that they wouldn't trust me with anything. Not that I wanted to do much with them. Unfortunately I couldn't really play stupid with this man. It would have made things a lot easier.
"Yes, she does."
"Interesting." He took another close look at her. "I will stop wasting my time here. Taran, you are invited." He pulled a large envelope from his cloak and held it out to me. Part of me was wondering if it would contain more poison. But, preparations that he already went through for one trick, it seemed a bit too suspicious. I took it with a small bow.
There was no seal in the wax that held the envelope closed. No features that said anything about the identity of the letter.
"I suggest you read it in your room." The man turned around and attempted to leave.
I wanted to pull him back, but stopped in mid-grab. Considering the possibility of more nastiness beneath his hooded robe, it was probably not a clever idea to try my luck on him. Verbal assault was probably safer. And easier.
"So you are no more than a lackey?"
The man turned and smiled. "Hmm. You are clever. Isn't every man a lackey to someone else?"
With that and a flick of his gloved hand he disappeared to the gate. Part of me wondered if he would be let through in those clothes, but he had probably ways around things. Deirdre tapped me on the shoulder while my gaze was still on him. When I turned she was looking at me worried and wearied.
"Let's go. Before people become curious."
I smiled. "Alright."
Back to my room.