Interlude: Dysmas

Dysmas gave Nydia one last reassuring pat and headed into the living room, reading the thick document the Fifths had given his Kept. It really was quite thorough; he wondered, idly, where they'd gotten all of this information.

Anatoliy was sitting on the couch, flipping through channels disinterestedly. "So what'd she want?"

"She had this interesting treatise for Nydia." He thumbed through it a bit more. "Hunh, not surprising she put that line in there." He passed the folio over to Tolly. "Pretty subversive."

"Put what line in there?" The giant sat up a little, taking the folder from him and opening it up.

"Page seven, the second clause." He watched his friend curiously, wondering how he'd take that one. He'd been getting on Agatha's case recently, ever since the incident with Kailani.

"Mm." Tolly read it quietly, before handing the whole thing back to Dysmas. "Yeah. Is that what this is all about, you think?"

"It could be," he allowed. "I'd be angry, I suppose, if my crew had failed me like that. But I don't know why she gave it to Nydia - and neither does Nyd. It's almost as if she wants to get caught."

"Huh. Well, I dunno; I wouldn't think so, I mean. But you're right, she has to know that Aggie'll see it, then. She's starting a war."

"To what end, do you think?" She couldn't hope to win any sort of real throw-down, not with the enemies she'd chosen.

"I don't know. Revenge? She wouldn't do it if she didn't think she could win, though."

"Revenge?" Dysmas frowned. "Do you think she's going after Agatha, then?"

"If she's trying to start a fight on purpose, I can't imagine what else it would be. Do we know what alliances she's made? She's pals with Jamian. That means Ty. And she hangs out with the Thornes."

"The Thornes can't appreciate this any more than I do," he countered, pointing at the document. "And she's friends with Shahin, too."

"I can't imagine Sheen being in on this. But yeah, Acacia wouldn't like it. If she knows about it."

"Agatha won't like it, either." Dysmas pursed his lips, calculating. "And, of course, I don't."

"Of course Aggie won't like it... are you going to tell her?"

"She's crew."

"Well, yeah, but it's not like it's doing anything to her," Tolly said hopefully.

"If she gave one of these to Nydia, do you think she gave one to Bowen, too?" he countered.

"Yeah, you're right," Tolly sighed, slumping against the couch. "Shit. She's gonna get killed."

Dysmas frowned at his friend. "Dude, you really care about her, don't you?"

"Yeah? Don't you think I should?"

There wasn't an easy way to put "it's hopeless." "She's pretty set with Conrad, don't you think?"

"Yeah, but... Yeah," he sighed. "That aside though. I owe it to her to keep her safe if I can."

"You 'owe it to her?'" He shook his head. "You might want to; that's noble and all. But you don't owe her anything."

"I don't? What if it were you, Dysmas? Would you just send her on her way, forget about it?"

That surprised him. Would he? He'd never been in the situation Tolly was; Nydia was happily Kept, as Rowan had been.

"Seriously, man," Tolly pressed. "She didn't ask for it. She didn't want it. She didn't deserve it. It's not like what you have."

It was a lot like being Kept could be - but not like Dysmas treated his Kept. "No," he agreed slowly. "But you said it yourself, Tolly. She's declaring war."

"If she's doing it on purpose. Do you think she knows? She is awfully oblivious to stuff sometimes."

"How could she miss an opening shot like this?"

"Okay, okay. But we can at least not mention it to anyone until someone's had a chance to talk to her and find out what's going on."

"So she handed me a perfect opportunity to exploit her…"

"And we're not going to take it. Because we're not that kind of people. We're better than that. Aren't we?"

"We are," Dysmas agreed slowly. Anatoliy was, after all, crew. But so was Agatha. "Aggie…"

"Will find out on her own, if this is going to be as big of a thing as we're afraid it might be."

"Mmm." He didn't like the idea of lying to their crew but, after all, they weren't actually lying, were they? "You should talk to Kailani, though."

"I will," Tolly promised. "At the very least I want to know."


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