8th Trial of Ymiden, 715th arc
'At least I'm not that cold.' the woman thought, in response to the scornful words that echoed from back around the corner she had just turned. Once again, the natives of this city looked upon her with loathing..."Loathing undoubtedly borne of envy," Linika sneered quietly, finding her hand clenching the hilt of her dagger beneath her arctic attire.
She relaxed her hold and thought again of her mission, and its importance to her people, the Naerikk. This reflection was not done out of hurt feelings, to find some resolve against the city-wide animosity directed at her daily for simply being naer. It was more to remind her that she must continue to feign regret and humility, rather than cutting the filthy eidisi whore's eyes out. 'She should find a good whore's use for that smart mouth!' she added inwardly as a grinning afterthought.
Truthfully though, Linika did not care what these worm-wombed fools thought of her. The last laugh would be all the more enjoyable when she watched this collection of self-righteous bookworms swarm in directionless panic as their mysterious research was suddenly proven vain and inconclusive. Her resentful reverie once again cycled through its mental path...'All the wasted arcs, thinking they were establishing some basis for their superior attitude. The debunking of any validity for their furor against the followers of a true queen! Oh, how they hate the Great Mother, Audrae, the Divine Matron of the Naerikk; the only race where women are given the unquestioning preference they deserve!
'What matter that she dispatched that weeping, moody little Immortal boy, Treid. After all, he has not truly died. Perhaps when he is finally reunited with his bleeding heart, he will take it upon himself to grow up, and recognize the truth of strength as the determining factor in the right to rule.' Linika rolled her eyes. Clearly this was a philosophy that escaped these Videnese...or Videnians...or whatever they were called. An unconscious scowl formed as she defaulted to the racial, "Eidisi".
But in the meantime, she had to pretend to have been truly exiled from her homeland of Augiery, on Martyr's Landing, the most blessed site in all the world. And though it was technically correct, for she had committed a great wrong, it was with good results, and in good intent. Thus, her "exile" was also cover for her mission. Success would bring a heroine's welcome and reinstatement in the strong sisterhood of the Naerikk. She would bide her time. Haste and impatience were the lethal enemy of espionage.
Linika's thoughts stopped cold, her eyes flashing through the triple emotions of discovery. Guilt, calculation and decision, followed by the theatrics of her role-playing: hurt, shame, resignation and an altered aspect of guilt. A man had just appeared before her, an eidisi man, and she needed to once again put on the face of a naer exile; torn between the shame of having been rejected by her own people, but also embracing a culture that she found more pleasant for its less aggressive nature, but then also hurt by this kinder culture's equal rejection of her.
In truth, she despised the weakness of this people. In fact, the more scorn she absorbed from these eidisi, the more she would relish their fall. But she needed to conceal this. And what better way than by adopting the same weakness herself? She looked up into eyes as cold as the Viden sky, "Please sir, I want only to go home and shed the soil of my day's efforts. I seek no quarrel with any of your people, naer though I am. For I am 'Eill', an exile. They judged me unworthy to belong there. So I...wish only to belong here." she said, trying to appear meek.
But for all her confidence in the righteousness of her mission, and the necessity of a timid facade, there was still inner frustration at her lack of progress. And where she should probably have left off her commenting, a few slivers of anger slipped out. "And it would be easier to prove this if I could do more than chopping out blocks of ice, and loosening frozen soil as if I have no more skill than a village fool. I may have been cast out of my homeland, but it was not for lack of education."
She waved in the direction of the nearby edifice, "They do not even let me touch the door of the Academy. It's not that I fail to realize there is a basis for enmity between out peoples, but I have been here for near an arc now. Am I to be kept as a mere laborer forever? Is this how your people justify their claim of superior intellect? By denying other races access to the learning that would prove otherwise? By keeping us away from the training that would show them that we are not idiots?"
The angry heat in her face brought her back to earth, turning to the heat of embarrassment instead. She lowered her gaze, trying to regain her veneer of contrition. "I'm sorry. I should not accost you with my complaints. It's just that I am a trained herbalist, but my knowledge is being wasted. I would also see my scope broadened to include such northern flora as I see about...while digging ditches." resentment spiked once again with these last words.
She took a deep breath and exhaled a wide frustrated fog. "I know much of southern flora, and would see what knowledge comparisons would yield. But I have no equipment. And with my training being in toxins, and their antidotes, I suppose it's understandable that they think I am up to no good. But they do not seem to realize that you can not study one without the presence of the other." she shook her head, "Such a waste..." she muttered as she sidestepped to let the man past.