This is a longer section that I intended, but the introduction of Rayne didn’t have any decent cut off points. You get a sense of how this character is going to start though. She plays an important role in the story and I really enjoyed writing her. There’s something about Rayne that reminds me of Kira when I started designing her all those years ago. It’s funny since I created them separately and only put Rayne in Quest of the Brokenhearted after several failed versions. Maybe she was one of the keys I needed to get this idea rolling.
Kira is about to whirl around with her weapon when the door creaks open and both women turn towards the intrusion. To the adventurer’s surprise, it is not a monster that walks in, but an elf who is no older than eighteen. Her brown hair is streaked with blue and her unblemished skin stands in contrast to the filthy dress that she is wearing. Only one of her feet is covered in rags while the other is exposed with all of the nails trimmed except for a long one in the middle. A momentary crease in the corners of her lips makes Kira think she is trying to smile, but the expression never materializes. The timid girl stands still with her callused hands behind her back until she is shoved ahead. With a disgusting snort, a gelatinous hog waddles into the room and sniffs at the floor. It bounces over to a table full of used bandages and devours them, the wrappings still visible in its slimy body until they dissolve.
“This is Rayne,” Cyrena says while waving the servant over. With a stomp, she snaps off the long toenail and pats the girl on the head. “As you can see, she has a high tolerance for pain and works very hard. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her sleep more than four hours, but she’s been here a little longer than me. Little Rayne will escort you to the parties, get anything you ask for, and stay in your room to make sure you don’t have to wait. I do apologize for her appearance. She has been working in one of the factories for the last two months. Still, I thought of her as soon as I saw you. Both of you are curiosities, so it’s a perfect match.”
“I am here to serve and be used for whatever you want,” Rayne replies in a meek voice. As she looks at the two women, she notices that they are both staring at the strange hog. “This is my pet and guardian. He protects me from any monsters that think I’m a meal. I call him a Gooie Pig since I don’t know what he really is. I promise that he won’t make a mess of your room. If he does then I take full responsibility and accept my punishment.”
“This is already starting to wear on my nerves,” Kira mutters without looking at the elf. She turns in time to see the servant’s ears twitch and rubs her forehead. “I’m sorry about that. All I meant is that I don’t have the patience to deal with someone who has obviously been raised to be blindly obedient. Don’t be surprised if I give you very little attention, especially with that slimy thing walking around. Now, you mind explaining the special rules, Cyrena?”
The harpy is about to speak when her head abruptly cocks to the side. “I’m sorry, but I’ve just been told that they’re surprises. All I can say is that they will make things more fun and you can’t break them. Not that you aren’t allowed to, but it’s impossible for you to go against these rules. Well, you could die and that would put an end to the whole thing. I must apologize about leading you on and then leaving so quickly. My husband needs my opinion on future champions just in case you or one of your fellow competitors manages to defeat one of the current generation. Please show Lady Grasdon around Lacarsis, little one. I’m sure she’s curious about our great city. After all, she’s probably only heard the rumors, which pale in comparison to reality.”
Blowing a kiss to Kira, Cyrena opens a nearby window and steps out to reveal that they are at the top of a castle tower. She soars by a few seconds later and vanishes behind the nearest covered walkway, which is shaking as if being struck from the inside. Wrapping her weapon around her waist, Kira is about to head for the door when she remembers Rayne. She glances at the elf, who is nervously going through a nightstand. The girl pulls out a pair of leather boots that have a few scuff marks on their toes. Walking over to Kira, she kneels and holds them out to help get them on her new master’s feet.
“You need them more than I do,” the adventurer points out, her attention drifting towards the Gooie Pig. The creature is casually eating the used bedsheet, its snout and curly tail happily wiggling. “Take me to a marketplace and I can try to negotiate a pair for myself. I have that large scythe . . . Where is that thing?”
“The Shadow Earl asked me to carry it to your room,” Rayne answers, refusing to move from her spot. Mistaking the silence for judgment about her scrawny appearance, she bows lower to the floor. “I’m stronger than I look. Sorry if I made a mistake. Know that from now on, your orders are the only ones I follow. As long as you don’t ask me to attack the masters of Lacarsis since they’ve done so much for me.”
“I’m sure they have,” Kira says before crouching in front of the elf. Gently pushing her over, she takes the boots and puts them on the girl’s filthy feet. “My first order is to stop acting so subservient because it’s making me uncomfortable. Even when I had servants, I treated them like family instead of employees. I’d like to do the same with you since we’re stuck together and I don’t think you’re going to let me ignore you. Second order is what I said before. Take me to a marketplace, so I can get boots for myself and an unsoiled wardrobe for you. Do you understand?”
“Yes, and I will do my best or-”
“You can punish me as you see fit.”
“Well, at least you stopped yourself, which is faster progress than I expected.”
“I’m used to beatings, so don’t think you have to hold back.”
“And we’re back to being uncomfortable.”