Viviane chuckled to herself, as she watched the siege towers burn.
“Sometimes you worry me, nightshade petals,” said her husband, sitting quietly by her side, Murgleys lying on his lap.
“Just remember to stay on my good side,” she answered.
Mansemat turned to regard the immense pyres, and nodded. “Oh, I need little reminder to try and do that,” he said. “But this would be a major one.” His eyes narrowed. “The Stylite doesn’t seem to be doing much, is he?”
Viviane peered into the distance, her nose wrinkling in disgust. “Nope. I can feel him… lurking in the distance, but that’s it.” Her frown deepened. “That… doesn’t make any sense. He’s their damned magician--they created the entire order to deal with the threat of the Nightfolk--and all he does… is…” She shook her head. “Something. I’m not sure what. There’s some nasty magic at work out there… but I can’t get slightest idea of what its supposed to do…”
“And we know isn’t protecting key assets of the army--because you just destroyed a sizable chunk of them.” Mansemat shook his head. “I wish I could understand these people. I really do. Right now it feels like I’m fighting someone I cannot see. Either because they’ve reached a place so dark it lies beyond even the power of the Mother of Night to reveal, or because they’ve a light so bright in their hands it blinds me when I am before it.”
“Any real difference between those?” asked Viviane, smiling slightly. “When you get down to it, I mean?”
Mansemat sighed. “No, not really. In the end, all that matters is, this is an evil that lies beyond my sight…”
“Nisrioch…” she began.
“Is as baffled as we are,” said Mansemat. “And frankly, rather irritated by it. He always hates it when things escape his Sight. Which is understandable, as its usually a bad sign…”
“Well come on,” noted Viviane. “He can’t See everything--he should know that. And some things--well, come on, it’s like the line of Ahrimanes and that freaky gift they’ve got for avoiding divination. I mean--Nisrioch couldn’t even spot his own daughter thanks to that. And honestly, I find these people a lot scarier than Belberith. Or Falerina, for that matter.”
“What about Alcina?” asked Mansemat.
“Technically, she’s on our side,” replied Viviane. “But if she wasn’t…” The Badb shuddered slightly, then grumbled slightly, shaking her head. “You know--I love you, Manny, but you can be a real jerk sometimes. Here I was enjoying a victory, and now you have me thinking about the creepy Ashuranas, and the creepier Stylites, and all this cosmic… creepiness.” She gave him a reproachful look. “It’s not fun.”
“Sorry,” said the Dark Lord of the Plains sheepishly.
“You’re making sure I get a very nice dessert tonight,” she added.
“Of course, nightshade petals,” he agreed.