It’s Hard to Get off on the Right Foot with People Who Hate Your Family
The portal opened to somewhere where the air smelled like salt and dust, where long grass touched Sam’s legs, and where wind blew from the south.
“It’s a ruin,” Henry said, hand on Sam’s shoulder. They’d put clothes on to meet with Clan Cween, which Sam was grateful for because he didn’t feel like burning down a whole hillside just because of the grass brushing against his bare skin. It was annoying enough that his hands were touching it. “A ruined town. City, I think.”
“It’s not empty.”
They’d brought six of Sam’s dragons, who’d fanned out around them after the portal had opened. Henry had told them they could have their cock cages off if they did a good job being bodyguards, so they were taking it seriously. The one who’d spoken was named something, but Sam didn’t care what, so he’d called him Lizard.
“Explain,” Sam said, taking a step forward. His boot hit a stone that didn’t move, so he stepped over it, or tried to. It turned out to be a step, so he just stepped up.
“There are humans here,” Lizard said. He wasn’t much younger than Sam, but he sounded like a child who wanted adults to think he was grown up and was accomplishing that by speaking in a deeper voice. “Using magic.”
“It’s everywhere,” agreed another Lizard. He sounded like less of an idiot. “I can feel it all over, but mostly over there.”
Before Sam could throw something at him, Henry got him to turn to the left a little. “There are some stairs in front of us. Looks like there might be a courtyard or something up there.”
“So they had us teleport in somewhere we’d have to fucking walk to them,” Sam growled. “We’re off to a great start.”
“I’m sure they didn’t mean anything by it,” Henry said.
“Of course they meant something by it,” Sam snapped. “They already made us come here.” Sure, his side of this portal was in the dedicated teleportation tower, but it was also only on the second floor.
“Of course they did, but to be fair, we are the ones who asked to see them and your family does have a history of starting shit.”
“Whatever. Speaking of starting shit, pay attention to if there are future clan members here.”
Henry just patted Sam’s shoulder and walked him the rest of the way up the stairs, which weren’t actually that high and were mostly just annoying. “There’s nobody here,” Henry said, once the stairs had stopped.
“Yes, there is,” Lizard disagreed, and Sam heard wings flap. “They’re all right there.”
Sam could feel them too, a buzz of sorcerous power that wasn’t too powerful, but was definitely complex. “It’s an invisibility spell or an illusion spell,” he told Henry. He resisted the urge to tap his finger against the pocket Henry had had sewn into all his jackets. The leystone there was already resonating, he didn’t need to physically touch it, just feel it out. “They’re being sneaky. We know all seven of you are there.”
After a second, there was a pop of Order, and there they were. Sam didn’t know how big sorcerer clans got if they didn’t start murdering each other because no clan worth learning about had ever managed that, and definitely not Clan Cween, but he did sense that their leader was here. “Apologies for the deception,” said the man, stepping forward. “Several of my clan warned me that we couldn’t trust you to come alone.”
“You didn’t ask me to come alone,” said Sam. “You asked me to come without any sorcerers.”
“So you’ve brought demons.”
Oh, for fuck’s sake. “These are quite obviously dragons,” Sam said. He was told it was very clear to look at them. “If they were demons, you’d have sensed it the minute they appeared here. They’re just my bodyguards, which considering how many of you there are, seems retroactively prudent.”
“Do you blame us for wanting to outnumber you?” asked a woman. “Your clan doesn’t exactly have a sterling history.”
“What clan does?” Sam asked. “If I remember my history lessons correctly, you people were responsible for the earthquake that destroyed the city of Fred’s Talon. And ten years ago one of your demons escaped its binding and killed thirty people before you found and banished it.” Sam had spent all day yesterday listening to Henry read the notes Derek had compiled for them about Clan Cween.
“The current Clan Cween is far more responsible with its power than our predecessors,” said the main, voice defensive and tense. “Such accidents do not happen on our watch any longer.”
“So you’re not responsible for your parents’ behaviour,” Sam said, pointedly. “And neither am I.”
“Has been dead for a year,” Sam interrupted. He wasn’t interested in this. This had all been a stupid idea. He could banish their stupid demons without putting on clothes, nevermind fucking talking to people who just wanted to be difficult. “And frankly, no matter what harm you think he did to others, he did just as bad or worse to me.”
“We’re very sorry to hear that, but you have to understand our wariness in contacting a member of Clan Netzer,” said the woman.
“This is stupid,” interrupted Lizard. Sam had very clearly instructed all six of them not to talk. “They’re mad at you because they fought with your sire? Who the fuck cares what someone’s sire did? Humans are stupid. I think you should just kill all of them.”
Finally, smart words from one of the Lizards. Maybe Sam would give that one a name, so he could remember him later. “We’re not here to kill anyone,” he said, as much as he wanted to agree with the dragon. Sam should have been born a dragon, concerning himself with nothing but fucking and violence. It sounded nice. “We’re here to re-forge the relationships my father destroyed.” Derek had written that line for him. Only he could have come up with something so saccharine and empty.
“And we aren’t here as the survivors of Clan Netzer.” Clan Netzer had belonged to Solomon. It was worthless to Sam. “I’m Samson, founder and leader of Clan Arkhewer.”
That finally shut him up. Henry squeezed Sam’s shoulder as another member of Clan Cween, probably his wife by the way their powers fit together, whispered something. He cleared his throat. “You have the apologies of our clan. I’m Jakob, the leader of Clan Cween.”
“Why apologize? Everything you said about my father was true,” Sam said, sighing. Why had Derek’s saccharine bullshit worked? Obviously these people were idiots. “But that’s in the past. This is my husband, Henry. We would appreciate it if we could have dinner with you, so that we can begin to work together to make all of our clans stronger.”
Sam wasn’t even lying about that. He was planning to make the world a better place. These people were fuckheads, and removing any access they had to actual power was a good start to making the world better for everyone else.
And all he had to do was suffer through a dinner party first.
2 thoughts on “Villain, 90”
“ Sam wasn’t even lying about that. He was planning to make the world a better place. These people were fuckheads, and removing any access they had to actual power was a good start to making the world better for everyone else.”
Interesting. Given Sam’s dislike of pretenses and excuses and hypocrisy, this…may be genuine. Which is a huge step up from “become as powerful as possible so I can do what I want, whenever I want.”
Of course, he’s also not very self-aware. Runs in his family, really. It remains to be seen if he’ll ever apply this line of thinking to himself.
It does seem like it might be genuine, yes. I do think Sam’s experiences with Scott have very much convinced him that the threat posed by higher demons is literally existential, and for all that he’s a selfish little brat he doesn’t want the world to be destroyed, because that’s where all his stuff is.
Of course, you’re also right that Sam isn’t that self-aware still. It’s very possible that “assholes shouldn’t have lots of power” doesn’t at all apply to him in his mind. He did banish all his clan’s demons, but there’s no doubt he still hopes to be the strongest person around at the end of the day. 😀