A maids Swordsong

By Desert Mouse

Princess Serena Brightmoon giggled as she slipped into the small library. She knew that she didn't have a lot of time, her guardian Terisa Swordsong still thought she was in the audience chamber meeting with the Duke. But soon she would find out that they had taken a break and wouldn't be very happy with her.

With a bright smile Serena looked around for a welcome friend, and she knew that she would find the Duke's daughter here because she had focused herself on the sound of the humans inner voice.

"Are you finished your meeting with father?" Rei Windley asked looking up from her book.

"Just for a few hours, we decided to take a little break." Brightmoon smiled. She had come to Windley as part of a mission on behalf of her father Crown Prince Thunderwhiskers to speak with the three rulers of the Sutherland alliance. The mission itself was boring, and Serena decided that she wanted to explore the city before getting back to it.

"I have an idea." She giggled.

"What kind of idea?" Rei asked confused.

"Let's go explore the city, I've never gotten to visit beyond the castle!" Brightmoon suggested cheerfully. However Rei wasn't sure that would be a good idea.

"I don't think we are allowed to leave the castle."

"It's your city isn't it? Why can't you leave the castle? And take me with you?" Brightmoon asked.

"Because even inside the city walls it can be dangerous." Rei replied giving the Princes her father's usual answer. She had only ever been allowed to leave the castle when she went to see Sutherland or Roddenberry on behalf of her own father. Duke Andrew Windley liked to keep his daughter protected.

"It would be good for you to get out for awhile." Brightmoon smiled.

"I don't think it's a good idea…" Rei tried to reply. The princess looked like she was thinking about it, then decided.

"I'm going to visit the city anyway. It's boring being cooped up in the castle." Brightmoon giggled.
"I can go alone if you want me to, but aren't you the hostess?" she teased.

"Mile's and Miss Wilcox would both be mad at me if I let her roam around the city by herself. Something terrible could happen to her, but they won't like the two of us running off either." Rei thought concerned. However this Princess wasn't going to sit and wait for her to go tell someone, so the only thing she could do was agree to go with her.

"I'll go, but we can't stay too long." Rei said worried.

"Sire I had not realized that you and Princess Serenity had finished speaking." Terisa Wilcox spoke by transmitting her thoughts into Duke Windley's mind. Last year she had lost her voice when she was taken by the Black King's warlock Salem Anderson. Because the operation had been done with a combination of magic and an archaic form of medicine called surgery the effects of Salem's experiment were irreversible. Now Terisa only had two ways that she could speak to people, by using her peoples telepathy or by writing in a small notebook she kept holstered opposite of her sword. "You have not been informed Miss Swordsong?" Duke Windley asked, but shortly after he said it he realized that it was a stupid question. "We decided on a short break, but I'm not sure where your Princess ended up." He apologized. "Thank you sire." Terisa transmitted. The Duke nodded and continued on his way to his own chambers leaving Swordsong alone in the hallway. "Princess where are you." Terisa thought closing her eyes. She could hear the minds of everyone in the castle all speaking at once, and she focused carefully trying to find the one that belonged to Princess Serenity Brightmoon. However that voice was nowhere to be found, so she tried harder knowing that Serena was an exceptionally gifted member of their race. "She's hiding her mind again. I will find you Princess." She thought pushing herself to her own limits. Then when she still could not find Serena's voice she pushed past those limits, she navigated the song of voices both within the castle and the city and could still not find the one she wanted. Finally her concentration broke, she pushed too far. "Darksouls rage, every time she gets better and I can't keep up." Terisa thought frustrated. She was breathing heavily from her attempts to find the Princess through telepathic means and would need to rest before she could try that again. Terisa waited until she had caught her breath before walking to the Duke's audience chamber to find his General Miles Ripley. If anyone would know the movements of people inside this castle, he would. When she arrived Miles wasn't alone, there was a maid speaking to him but the conversation ended abruptly when she entered. "Tima are you ok?" Miles asked, he was concerned that she had suddenly stopped talking, but he had some ideas of why. "Miss Swordsong's business is more important." Tima said quietly. Miles sighed and glanced over at Terisa as if to ask "do you have one of these?" "Tima please just ask your question, Wilcox will have to wait her turn." Miles said flatly. He waited for the maid to continue, giving her a look that made her uneasy. "I can't find the Lady. She was waiting for me in the library but when I got back she was gone and her book was still open on the table." Tima said finally. "Could she have gone with the Princess?" Terisa tried to transmit a question to them, but neither of the humans seemed to have gotten it. "Why do I have the feeling you are about to say something similar." Miles asked looking at Swordsong. "Princess Serenity has also disappeared." Terisa tried to transmit. However when he continued to look at her, waiting for an answer she realized that she had overdone it trying to find Serena's inner voice. "I'm going to have to do this without telepathy." She thought un-amused. Terisa nodded her head and took the coil bound notebook out of its holster. "Princess Serenity has also gone missing." She wrote down and showed Miles. She let Tima see the writing as well,, knowing that the maid had been taught to read at the same time as her Mistress Rei. "I'm afraid I don't have anything that will help, it isn't like Rei to run off but if your Princess was involved.' Miles stated. He didn't need to continue because Terisa knew what he was getting at. And she shared the thought that Serenity likely had something to do with Rei Windley being missing. "Thank you for your time, you don't mind if I have a look around the castle do you?" Terisa wrote out. "Not at all, they may still be here. I'll have my men keep an eye out for them." Miles replied. Terisa gave him a polite bow and turned to leave when she heard the voice of the maid. "wait…" Terisa turned around to see what she wanted, but the maid seemed reluctant to speak at first. "I want to come with you… if the Lady is with her…" Tima spoke quietly. Terisa understood that she was worried about her Mistress, and even though she felt the maid might get in the way she nodded her head. "Thank you." Tima said with a weak smile. The two of them left the audience chamber together to start the search.
Talking to several guards led Terisa and Tima here, the office tucked into the basement of Windley castle belonging to Linda. She was the one that handled all the work assignments of the domestic staff, excluding Tima whom reports only to the Duke's daughter. Terisa knocked on the doorframe until she got Linda's attention. "Can I help you?" Linda asked. She saw Tima partially hiding behind the feline from Avalon and looked to her for the answer. Tima looked at Terisa to take the lead, but she just shook her head. "Not this time, she seems to want you to answer." Terisa thought almost grinning. She knew that at one time Tima did report to this woman. "Excuse the interruption… we were just hoping you have seen Lady Windley or Princess Brightmoon. She disappeared from the library" Tima asked "No, but Amy has been working near that area most of the day. Perhaps she has seen something?" Linda suggested. "She should be cleaning in the Duke's study now." She added checking with the work schedule she had created at the beginning of the week. Tima thanked her and she went with Terisa to the Duke's study. It was just a few rooms down the hall from the Library. There they found another maid, Amy dusting the study's books. Terisa tapped on her shoulder to get her attention, and Amy looked to the more familiar Tima for answers just like her supervisor had. This time however Tima wasn't going to take the spotlight because Amy was a newer girl and she didn't feel comfortable interrupting. "Is Tima afraid of this maid?" Terisa wondered watching Tima. She didn't need her powers to read people. And she had her own theory why, having had more chances to observe Tima then any other of the Windley staff. "I think she is afraid that the other staff looks at her differently because of how close she is to Rei Windley." She thought amused. She didn't see any signs in Amy that she thought poorly of Tima, however since it was apparent that Tima wasn't going to step up. Terisa took out the small notebook and started writing a message. "Linda told us that you have been working in this part of the castle most of the day. Have you seen either Princess Brightmoon or Lady Windley leaving the library?" she showed the message to the young maid whom took a few minutes to read it, and shook her head. "I'm sorry I can't help you. But I have seen one of the guards around." Amy replied. She thought for a moment trying to remember the man's name. "I think it was O'Brian." "Thank you for your time." Terisa wrote out. The maid nodded and the two of them left to find this guard. However that turned out to be a dead end as well, O'Brian had not seen anything, and didn't know of anyone else that might. They then spent some extra time wandering around the castle but found nothing, leading Terisa to suspect that the Princess had likely run away with the Duke's daughter. "It's possible they are still hiding in the castle, but I know Serenity. She hates being cooped up inside castles, so she must have talked Rei into showing her the city." Terisa thought carefully. "Can you show me around the city itself?" Terisa stopped Tima to show her the writing on her notebook. "Do you think they might have left the castle?" Tima asked. Terisa nodded quietly. "I don't really know a lot about Windley, but I used to run errands outside the castle." She explained. That was good enough for Terisa, besides she suspected that Tima was just being modest again. She had a habit of understating her own abilities.
Outside the castle it was a lot easier to find a trail to follow. It wasn't common for a Jiyu'rei to be in the city, so even people that didn't recognize the Duke's daughter could point Terisa and Tima in the direction that a blonde cat person had gone dragging a human behind her. The trail first led them to a tailoring shop called "a stitch in time" where they found a young couple tending to the store. Tima seemed to lock up again, meaning that it was up to Terisa to try and ask them what they saw. "Yes there was one of your people in here before. She had the Lady Windley with her but they left already." The man explained. He seemed to be sorry that he couldn't be more help. "Rei's cat friend said she wanted to see the Wind Society's library. Lady Rei seemed confused by the request I think, but agreed.' His wife added after some careful thought. "Thank you." Tima said softly. "Why would Princess Serenity want to see a library? There is one inside the castle." Terisa wondered. She was also confused by the idea, but at least they had a general idea where to go. "You have been a great help." Terisa wrote on her book. "I hope she isn't going to get into trouble. That Jiyu'rei seemed like she was nice. " the woman frowned. "Only a little." Terisa tried to transmit. But it didn't look like it worked, so before the two of them left the shop she wrote it out in her on her notebook. The Wind society in the city of Windley primarily took the form of a great library. They also recruited young magic users but they got sent to the academy in Sutherland for training after their powers are tested. It was a grand building and care had been taken in decorating the white walls. However despite all that, it was still just a library. And it contained nothing more then books. "This won't interest her for long. So they can't still be here." Terisa thought looking around. She found one of the Wind teachers and wrote in her book. He seemed like he might be the only one on duty at the moment. "I believe that Jiyu'rei Princess Brightmoon and Lady Rei have come here recently. Do you have any information on where they may have gone next?" she had to write small because the pages of her notebook were not all that large. However the teacher had no problems reading it. "I thought she looked familiar. You must be her guardian Swordsong." The teacher smiled at her. Terisa looked at him surprised. "I have been to Avalon for the Society. And I know you from speaking with Darien Macgregor a few years back." The man explained. "Yes your princess and Rei Windley have been here. But they already left. Princess Brightmoon was asking about a place to go swimming like a pond or a lake nearby. But Rei suggested they go to one of her favorite places instead." "I think...I know where that is. Thank you sir." Tima spoke up. "Where?" Terisa wrote out. "It's back in the castle. There is only two places that Lady Rei feels comfortable." Tima told her. With that the two of them headed back to the castle, but Tima seemed to be reluctant to say where it was exactly they were going.
Inside Windley castle Tima led Terisa to the gardens. "The library and the private garden make my Lady feel relaxed. But they started off in the library." Tima finally explained. "So then it makes sense that Rei would have brought her here." Terisa thought. She also had a feeling that if it was true, then it was in part a brilliant attempt to get Brightmoon to let her go home. "There.' Tima said quietly. She saw her friend Rei and the Jiyu'rei Princess sitting on the marble bench like nothing had happened. "Hi." Brightmoon giggled. "Don't you hi me." Terisa thought annoyed. She still couldn't use her powers but Brightmoon could, and sensed that her own childhood friend was very angry with her. "What's wrong Swordsong?" Brightmoon asked confused. Terisa took out her notebook and started to write again. "You ran off again, and dragged Rei into it." "Why are you writing?" Brightmoon asked. She was confused again. "This is your doing Princess. I can't use my powers because you hid your mind." Terisa wrote out. For some reason, Brightmoon found this extremely funny. She couldn't stop giggling even as she tried to stick her tongue out at Terisa for using her formal title. "For the rest of the visit you will not be allowed out of my sight." Terisa wrote out. She allowed Tima to see it as well, believing correctly that the maid would have some similar concerns for her own Lady. "I'm sorry Lady Rei… I must ask that I do the same thing until Princess Brightmoon departs." Tima said, her voice was shaking because there was nothing she could do, even if Rei disagreed. "I understand Tima." Rei smiled at her. "And Princess, if you attempt to escape again. You will not be allowed to play with Miss Windley again." Terisa threatened in writing. "You can't do that!" Brightmoon protested. "I think she's serious." Rei suggested almost as quietly as Tima usually was. "Fine, but only until we get back to Avalon." Brightmoon finally agreed. She couldn't help but giggle again. "But it was a lot of fun. " Terisa flipped her book to a spot in the back where she usually kept track of problems. And she wrote down Brightmoon's name along with the time and the incident that happened. She still suspected that Rei was just a victim here, so she didn't write her name down too. "What's that?" Brightmoon asked curiously. She got off the bench and tried to take a look at what Terisa was writing down. For her trouble Terisa flipped the book back to the start and hit the Princess on the top of the head with it. "Ow...What was that for?" Brightmoon pretended to pout. "Any number of reasons Princess, running off with Rei, making me chase after you without my powers, or trying to peek at my private notes." Terisa wrote out. Tima looked to her Lady and smiled weakly. "We should leave them alone." She suggested. "That sounds like a good idea." Rei replied and they left the two Jiyu'rei to talk things over.

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