Low, sultry tones echoed from the piano as Morgana's fingers slid across the ebony keys. Moonlight faded into the gallery from the wide windows, bathing her in a sliver of light. Slowly the tune picked up speed, teasing out her fingers, daring her to keep up.
The door opposite her opened, revealing a tall, bald man in a deep violet robe. On his shoulder perched a small winged gargoyle. The music stopped, her eyes darting up. She narrowed her eyes as she stood. Gone was the tight fitting thievery outfit. Now she stood in a deep red gown that clung to her waist and showed just a touch more cleavage then was appropriate.
"You're late, Dragar," she said, putting her hand on her hip.
The small gargoyle fluttered off the man's shoulder to land on the piano next to her. Smoke trailed from its nostrils as it mewed softly. She reached out and stroked its chin, her pointed nails scraping against its granite skin.
The tall man bowed low at the waist, the top of his head glimmering in the moonlight. "My apologies, Mistress. I came at my best speed. Crossing the kingdom is not something to be done in a moment."
The gargoyle fluttered up to rest on Morgana's shoulder, nuzzling into her. She waved her hand at Dragar, scoffing. "My order was to stay close."
"Mistress, your protégé forbade me from staying near you. He worried constantly about your return," he said, standing straight again. He kept his eyes down at the floor. "Speaking of, where is Loran? I would have expected him to be at your heel, groveling."
"Dead. Along with a dozen or so knights he had hired to keep me under lock and key. For all of his precautions, he didn't have much in the way to keep me from reaching out. Only a way for my magic to not leave the confines of that infernal book."
Morgana turned on her heel and walked towards the other door to the room. Dragar's footsteps followed her, the gargoyle making sure to keep his place on her shoulder.
"The imbecile made a mess of my work room. You know how I want it. I have other things to deal with," she said.
"Yes, Mistress," he answered.
She smirked. "Good. Get to work."
"Of course it's me, my pet. I've missed you," Morgana purred.
"You look as radiant as ever, sweetling. The world has been too bright without you shrouding over it," the man in the mirror said with a wide smile. His sharpened teeth gleamed from under the dark beard.
She chuckled, crossing her legs and leaning back in her chair. "How long would it take you to come back home, darling?"
He reached forward and took a sip from a pewter goblet, his long nails scraping against the metal. "A week at the most. Two days if I crack the whip. My men know how to jump when I tell them to."
"And if I tell them?"
His smiled turned cruel. "They would trip over themselves to follow you."
"Good. Take the week. I would prefer my things aren't damaged by the rush."
The mirror swirled away back to the silvery gleam. One week before the rest of her power would be within her grasp. Patience. Come now. We can wait another week.
Fucking bitch, something else whispered in the back of her mind. It was so faint Morgana tensed, thinking someone had broken into her mind.
Walls went up around her mind, metaphorical teeth snapping at anything left in her mind. She felt...nothing. Absolute silence. She frowned, drumming her nails on the arm of her chair. She was too old to have thought it was her imagination. Nothing like that would have come from her mind. Her dreams were full of blood and death, the kingdom in ashes around her.
"Dragar," she called, rising.
It was only a moment before the bald man was in front of her, his robes rolled up to his elbows. Black ink swirled around his wrists, disappearing under the sleeves. He bowed towards her.
"I'm going to bed for the evening. Wake me at dawn. We will be having guests soon."