After five days of narrow mountain roads and cold, relentless rain, Sylis Moore had finally reached the royal palace of the high three. The entire kingdom was nestled in a remote AEssyrian mountain range called the Bukolans. The palace itself sat atop a mountainous plateau and was the perfect refuge because it was almost impossible to access with an invading army. Silas had to admit, its beauty rivaled some of the most magnificent places he'd seen on Kirillia. Almost all of the gray-white stone passageways were aligned with tall crystal windows overlooking snow-capped mountains. Every room was awash in natural light and heralded a breathtaking view.
Sylis glanced up and down the hall, trying to shake the intense feeling of isolation that threatened to overwhelm him. It was a great honor to be invited here because AEssyrians tended to be a bit xenophobic and rarely liked dealing with aliens who didn't already live among them. As a Kirillian businessman, Sylis would probably be viewed with some suspicion, so he had every intention of being especially honest with these powerful men. A deal here would be very lucrative and could mean many more in the future.
The double doors creaked open and a minor noble came out. He was dressed in dark blue robes detailed with silver piping. The noble bowed and Sylis followed his example. "The high three will see you now, sir."
Sylis walked into the audience room and approached the three golden thrones. They were all carved with great beasts and studded in jewels. Each was on equal level with the others so no lord was higher than his brother. Each high lord wore a midnight blue ceremonial uniform with embroidered gold accents. They looked more like gods than lords. Sylis went down on one knee and bowed his head as was customary when speaking to royalty.
"You may rise," the middle lord said. He stood up and Sylis was impressed by how tall and imposing he looked. "I am High Lord Chang," he gestured to his right and then his left, "this is High Lord Kohl, and High Lord Oden. They are my brothers and co-rulers of this realm."
Sylis stood up, wincing at the arthritic pain in his knee. He wasn't such a young man anymore. "It is my honor to serve you, Great Lords."
High Lord Chang resumed his seat. "We understand you have an excellent selection of foreign female slaves. Have you brought images for us to examine?"
"Yes, Great Lords."
"What race of foreign women can you acquire, sir?" High Lord Kohl asked.
Sylis swallowed. Do not over promise and be honest. "Almost any, Great Lord, but I must confess Asguardians are very popular because of their gentle nature. Their women make compliant concubines and wonderful mothers. The next most popular is human. Their women tend to be quite beautiful and are rumored to be very passionate once properly...educated in obedience."
"Do you have any human women in your inventory?" High Lord Oden asked.
Sylis lowered his eyes. "Regrettably no, Great Lord. There is one non-free human female on Kirillia. Although I might be able to acquire her, she's quite unsuitable."
High Lord Chang leaned forward. "We are intrigued. Why unsuitable?"
"She is currently being held in a Kirillian prison and charged with multiple murders, Great Lord. She is reported to have mercilessly killed her mother, father, and brother in cold blood. Her brother was only a young child. More recent reports state that she also killed one of her jailers for trying to rape her. Rumor has it she stabbed him through the eye with some wire from her bed that she manipulated into a weapon. It's quite a pity because she is a stunning beauty. If one were to purchase her, not only would the price be very high, but special precautions would have to be made to ensure the safety of the purchaser."
High Lord Oden sat back on his throne with an evil grin. "Fascinating."
"May we see a picture of this human woman?" High Lord Kohl asked.
Sylis removed a small three dimensional image projector from his pocket. He held the black, triangular stage in the palm of his hand and moved a finger over the sensor. A scale version of the woman's image appeared before them like a large wax statue hanging in midair. The high three examined the replica for several minutes. Then High Lord Chang exchanged looks with his brothers and all nodded they were done. "Thank you, Mister Moore. You may recall the image to your projector."
"The woman is, as you said, unsuitable for us," Chang said. "But we have another use for her. Our cousin, Emperor Megolyth, is quite an admirer of human women. Tongues are wagging that our cousin has cast his eye on one of the lovely young human doctors in his employ. Her lover, who interestingly enough is a Kirillian half-breed, has successfully thwarted the emperor's passions for now, but we believe our cousin will eventually take her as his concubine if not intercepted. Already his general, Gavin Theron, has been making inquiries about a human substitute to entertain his master."
High Lord Kohl frowned. "Why should the general care, my lord? Does he want another human bride to occupy his bed?"
"No, he is assisting his son, who is the doctor's champion and lover," Chang replied. "This young prisoner, flawed as she is, would make a wonderful gift for our cousin. But he cannot know of our generosity for if he did, he would surely refuse. Therefore, we will pay for the woman's release and encourage you to put her before the general as a possible solution to his problem."
Sylis was confused. Why would anyone want this woman for a relative? "Forgive me, Great Lord, but once I tell the general the unfortunate woman's history, I doubt he'll want her for his emperor."
High Lord Oden gave him a demon's smile. "You are not going to tell the general about her sordid past, sir. It is only for you to convince him to purchase her."
High Lord Chang slowly descended the stone steps and walked around Sylis making his skin crawl. Sylis couldn't help but feel like the only source of meat at an overcrowded banquet. "You see, sir, we are most disappointed in our cousin the emperor for a number of transgressions, not the least of which is his killing of our uncle by marriage, High Lord Halcion. The deceased high lord was most generous with his tribute to us and he is greatly missed. Emperor Megolyth found our request for tribute a source of amusement. The woman will be revenge on our cousin for his carelessness with our feelings."
Sylis bowed his head in understanding. "Yes, Great Lord."
High Lord Kohl stood up and glared down at Sylis. "We are counting on your discretion and resourcefulness in this matter, sir. Do not disappoint us." The last command was said with each word drawn out.
"I understand, Great Lords."
"Now what do you need from us?" Great Lord Chang asked.
"Money to bribe the prison guards, money to purge her records, and money to encourage the local slavers to send General Theron my way, Great Lord."
High Lord Oden threw a purse of gold credits at Sylis' feet. "Will that be enough?"
Sylis emptied the contents out into his palm. It was more than enough. He could do all he needed plus have enough left over to handsomely reward himself for his trouble. "Yes, Great Lords. This will be perfect. You are most generous. I will inform you when the transaction is complete."
High Lord Chang nodded grimly. "We are counting on it, Mister Moore. We are counting on it."