Set: 2016 during Yannick, making Aldora 27 and Raneth 28. No spoilers to ruin your reading fun of Yannick or the BCRI Manhunts sub-series. I’ve also avoided spoilers about Raneth and Aldora’s lives except for Raneth’s promotion to a Specialised Royal Official (a new status royal official rank introduced between Broken Crown and Yannick) and his association with BCRI 🙂
Aldora yanked open the door of 11 High Street and glared at the news reporter on her doorstep. “What do you want, Celia?” she snapped. No wonder Raneth calls you all vultures, hovering around with nothing better to do than pick apart our ruddy lives!
The celebrity correspondent for Giften Daily News took a surprised step back, before she gave a quick smile. “Aldora Leoma,” she uttered, turning to the man behind her, with a Southern Kingdom camcorder resting on his shoulder. She waved a hand so he drew nearer, the camcorder pointed right at Aldora’s face. “I was hoping we could come in and talk to you about SRO Bayre. May we?”
Folding her arms, Aldora considered what exactly the news reporter could be up to. Enos and Raneth hate this particular woman with a passion. Something to do with how she always portrays BCRI in the worst possible light. I’d better be careful if I say yes. “Will this be the fastest way to get rid of you?” she asked. Might as well try and get rid of her at the same time.
“You’d best come in then, but he,” Aldora pointed at the cameraman and his equipment, “can wait outside.”
“Mark, wait there.”
Aldora eased to the side of the small corridor her father had installed into the house at Raneth’s insistence, allowing the news reporter enough space to breeze through and into the living room’s doorway on the right side. She shoved the front door shut, giving it a final nudge with her shoulder as it resisted going fully back into the frame. Have to get Dad to take a look at the door. It’s getting worse. Any more Frey attacks and this’ll either get completely stuck or give up and let Kacela in.
Heading into her living room, Aldora resisted the urge to roll her eyes as she spotted Ceila in her father’s favourite armchair, the Giften Daily newspaper in her hand. “You read us then. Why don’t you let me have more access to you?”
“King Cray made my home a reporter-free zone. Why do you think you’re above that?” asked the Dagger Bearer, plopping herself down onto the sofa. She rested her back against the left corner of the seat, noticing the familiar lump behind her from Raneth’s weapon stash.
“I’m the best reporter in Giften, and I didn’t want you to be forgotten while everyone’s worry about SRO Bayre.”
Aldora sighed. So she wants to get on my good side by, “looking out for me.” I’m not naive anymore. She stood up and strolled through into the kitchen, easing over to the still-warm kettle. I won’t make her one. Easier to get rid of her then and make sure she knows she’s not getting any special treatment or encouragement to stay. She pulled a tin of green tea leaves to the lone cup on the counter and started to make her tea.
“So, will you let me ask you some questions?”
Aldora warily glanced at the news reporter. She now stood in the doorway of the kitchen, where Raneth was prone to linger when they were talking. “Fine. What are your questions?” With her tea made, Aldora turned to face the news reporter and rested her hip against the counter, the cup of green tea nestled between her hands. She blew on it, watching as the steam’s tendrils fluttered towards the news reporter at her breath’s touch.
“You’re very close to SRO Bayre.”
“I have to be. We’ve been through too much together now,” stated Aldora.
“Yes. How are you coping with his being missing now for nine days?”
“Fine,” said Aldora. “He’s good at looking after himself and the BCRI lot are looking for him. He’ll turn up.”
“But aren’t you worried he’s seriously hurt somewhere?”
“The Bayre Talismans will let us know if he’s hurt or in serious danger. It flares up a little, but not to the point Raneth wouldn’t be able to withstand whatever’s going on. He’s probably investigating something discretely. He doesn’t need you pushing your nose in. If he’s, “gone dark,” the last thing he needs is for you to blow his cover on what he’s doing.”
“But, don’t you know where he is?” asked Ceilia.
Aldora’s lips twitched to the right side of her face as she considered her response. “What makes you think he shares his project operations with me? There’s far more at risk than our friendship these days.”
“But aren’t you important to him?”
“Everyone is important to him,” replied Aldora. She sipped her tea. I’m not giving you an easy interview, vulture. “Why don’t you just ask me outright what you want to know? You want to know where to be to get an exclusive of him reappearing, don’t you?”
Ceilia nodded. “Do you expect him to come home?”
“Yeah, but to the Bayre Mansion – he’ll avoid anywhere you know, so he won’t come here and this place he doesn’t consider his home anyway. Now you’ve asked your question, you can leave.”