Another piece of unfinished writing… well, more like some random dialogue. I’ve got an entire world in my head.


  • Koani Grader - Eldest daughter of Karryasa and Zamfir; widow; somewhat of a seer, but not nearly as good as her mother; appeared to crawl out of the woodwork when turmoil hit the Grader family; has had dealings with rapine in the past
  • Vythe Vidallyn - Grader’s Head of Security; Koani’s personal bodyguard; actually happens to have a “thing” for Koani that isn’t really mutual
  • Karryasa Grader (Arch Magosai) - Zamfir’s mate; rather maimed/torn in appearance; a very renown seer; seen as the “head” of the Grader operation; thought to have Zamfir under a spell to “use” him
  • Zamfir Grader (Arch Magos) - Karryasa’s mate; deeply into politics; known more so for his “presence”; very adept with elemental magic and “shadier” things; all of his magic has a signature aqua colour, typical of a Grader
  • Codat - A Grader bodyguard; USR trained; not too much “real” experience under his belt just yet


Takes place shortly after Zamfir Grader’s death and before the official inauguration of the Council of Thirteen.


Koani brushed a long strand of aqua hair out of her eyes. It had been yet another late night. All day reporters had been badgering her. Ever since the passing of Zamfir, they just seemed to be insatiable. Everything that she said she was being quoted on. The paparazzi were everywhere. Never letting her have a moment’s peace. If it had been bad before, it was ten times worse now. Koani pretended not to mind. However it took every last ounce of her restraint not to lash out. Things would settle down she continued to remind herself. They’d smooth out. Sooner or later. They had to.

Koani was looking forward to retiring for the night. Sleep beckoned to her as she walked up the pathway to one of the Grader manor’s many side entrances. Vythe was silently following in her wake. Koani could hear the soft crunch of his footsteps in the snow but she wouldn’t look back. Something was on Vythe’s mind. This much she could tell. He had been more silent and brooding that afternoon than was normal. Koani didn’t like it when he got into one of those moods and so she chose to ignore him as best as she could. It was when she had finally reached the door and was unlocking it that Vythe chose to speak, or rather, cleared his throat. However this failed to remove Koani’s attention from the door lock. She didn’t want to look at him. She didn’t want to see the expression that she knew he was wearing. This was where he had kissed her before. On the morning of Zamfir’s death. Was he trying to bring her attention back to that? Koani succeeded in springing the lock. It was then though that Vythe chose to speak.

“Koani,” he began, his tone somewhat softer than usual, “I think that we need to talk.”

“Can’t you see that I’m tired?” Koani replied, her voice carrying an annoyed note as she finally swung around to face him. Vythe’s eyes locked with Koani’s, and for a moment they silently battled each other.

“I love you,” Vythe said earnestly. These words caused the Grader to abruptly break her annoyed and haughty gaze.

“Don’t say that,” she half hissed before she turned her attention back to the door. She opened it and the heavy door swung inwardly on it’s hinges without a sound. It seemed as if she were telling Vythe “not to do” a lot of things lately. No matter what she said though, he continued to cross the boundaries that she lay down before him.

“I wish that you wouldn’t play games like this,” Vythe said, a little bit of anger in his voice now.

“Games? Are you mad Vythe?” Koani responded, a sharp edge in her voice in response to the anger she had detected in Vythe’s.

“I just want to talk to you,” he murmured, his voice now returning to its usual tone. Koani paused and seemed to consider this for a moment. This had after all been building between them. It had been starting to affect their business relationship and Koani did not like the air of awkwardness. There of course were other issues that she was currently having with Vythe as well. Perhaps now would be an appropriate time to bring them up. She was even prepared to blackmail him if needs be.

“Okay,” she relented. “But inside.”

Vythe followed as Koani led the way. Once inside, Koani took Vythe’s coat and removed her own. These she hung up in the nearby closet.

“Go take a seat in the parlour,” she told him. “It’s at the other end of this hall. I’m going to be a minute.” Vythe nodded then continued on down the hall past Koani.

Vythe couldn’t remember a time when Koani had ever invited him inside of the Grader manor. Usually he met her outside, and sometimes in the main foyer if the weather was particularly fierce. Koani didn’t entertain many business or personal guests. Not many had set foot within its walls since the untimely death of Koani’s mother two long years prior.

While nothing overly drastic had changed in regards to the building’s structure, Vythe was well aware of an atmospheric change. The building seemed empty.

Years ago it had been a central networking hub. Full of bustling bodies with purpose. It was a thriving, living place. Now the manor’s staff was down to a simple skeleton crew. At one point in time the manor had housed the entire Grader family – all fourteen of them, as well as a host of servants and colleagues. Including Zamfir’s kook of a brother, Lakmir. However, as soon as things started to look bad, they were gone. Much like rats jumping off of a sinking ship. Many of Koani’s siblings were living off-world now. They figured that the further away from Koani they were, the safer they would be. In Vythe’s opinion, they were right. Being around Koani was like walking around with a ticking time bomb. Sooner or later something disastrous was bound to happen.

Vythe entered the parlour, his eyes wandering gracefully about the room. It had been redecorated since he had last set foot in it. Koani certainly had impeccable taste. When had she found the time to redecorate? It all looked too much like her “style” in order to be the work of a hired decorator. Did she ever really sleep? That was something that Vythe had always wondered. She seemed to accomplish so much that she mustn’t have room for something as time consuming as sleep. Here he was, shoving himself into her “time off” period. Vythe would have felt bad about bothering her like this – had his own thoughts not been bothering him for the longest time. Where was she anyway? He had already been waiting for – he consulted his watch – thirty seven minutes.

Vythe got up from the chair he had earlier deposited himself into. Maybe he should go and look for her. He left the parlour and wandered on down the length of the hall. Vythe paused every now and then to peer into various rooms.

Eventually he found her. Koani was in the back kitchen. It was a kitchen Vythe was familiar with. When the Grader household had been at it’s height, it was here that the masses of hired help prepared the feasts.

Koani was sitting up on one of the long marble counters, her head down as her hair swam in front of it and an empty glass beside her. Vythe watched her from the wide door frame. She was breathing so softly, the rise and fall of her chest was so minute, that Vythe for a moment thought that she wasn’t breathing at all.

“Koani?” he called out to her as he stepped into the kitchen.

“Mm?” came her response.

“Are you alright?”

“Yes. I think I just forgot that you were here.” That in itself was a lie. She had been stalling. Not wanting to talk to him. Vythe pulled a stool from another one of the counters and sat down on it. Koani reached over to the tap and one handedly refilled her glass with water.

“So what did you want to talk about?” she asked him at last.

“I wanted to talk about us. The thing that we have.”

“We don’t have anything, Vythe. Aside from a strictly business relationship.”

“And why do you think that is?”

“Because I don’t want anything more.” Came Koani’s swift reply.

“Want to know why I think that is –”

“Not really.”

“I think you’re afraid. It’s been how long, Koani? And you’re still holding onto Saber.” Koani knew exactly how long it had been. The years, the days, right down to the approximate time of her husband’s death. She took a sip of her drink, choosing not to respond to Vythe at that moment. He was wrong of course. She wasn’t afraid. At least, she didn’t believe that she was.

“I mean, you’re still wearing his ring. He’s dead, Koani.” Vythe pressed on.

“Thanks for the reality check.” Koani glanced down at Saber’s ring. It was one of the many rings that littered her fingers. The sentimental value that it had to her was immense. She didn’t find it strange at all that she still wore it. Unbeknown to Vythe, she also had Saber’s own companion ring as well. Upon returning to Ramath-lehi, her mother Karryasa had returned it to her. Saber’s ring however, she had worked into one of her own necklaces. Although Koani wasn’t letting on, it was actually hurting her quite a bit to hear Vythe speak like this.

“You’re not as strong as you pretend to be either. I’ve seen you at your lowest and weakest moments. I’ve been by your side. I’ve looked out for you when you’ve been sick, injured, and even drunk. I want to be there for you Koani. Even more so than I am now. I think you need someone in your life that will give you more stability.”

“So what are you suggesting?” Koani asked placidly before she took another sip from her glass.

“That you let me in. Let me in and let me see that heart of yours. Let me in and let me combat those inner demons. Let me in so that I can help share the burden of your secrets – I know that there are still many that you’re keeping from me. I love you Koani. Dearly so. Even back when you were still with Saber. I was so jealous of that Lapices arden. I think you simply liked him because he had such a dangerous profession: Space Exploration. You liked the thrill, the adventure of it all. I know something about – ”

“I’m sorry,” Koani interrupted. “You just have it all wrong. Perhaps I do need someone in my life. I just don’t think that that someone has to be you.”

“But why not? You know I care a lot about you. I laid myself open back there and now you’re trampling me. Why aren’t I good enough for you? Haven’t I proven myself time and time again? Don’t I have the credentials?”

“Yes, however…”

“What is it that you don’t like about me?”

“To put it plainly Vythe, you’re cruel. You’re trying to speak about love as if you know something about it. You don’t hurt those that you love. I think that you’re saying that you love me only out of obligation. Your job isn’t to love me.”

“So everything that I have done, for you, for your family, over all of these years… All of those things mean nothing to you?”

“I appreciate everything that you’ve done. It doesn’t go any further than that though.”

“I know that you’re lonely,” Vythe said after he had struggled to swallow Koani’s last statement. It tasted like foul rejection. Koani virtually had no one now. Her siblings had deflected and even her own son appeared to be defying her by going out with the very same creature that had once threatened Koani’s life.

“No thanks to you.”


“Please Vythe. I’m really not all that naïve. You’ve been sabotaging things on me.”

“Koani, that’s crazy. I’d…” Vythe was silenced by the strange smile he had just noticed Koani wearing as she lifted her head to stare at him. It looked as if Koani were about to burst into peals of laughter, or tears, or perhaps even both.

“That’s another reason right there though. You’re selfish. You’ve been trying to keep me all to yourself. I can’t even begin to believe just how deceitful you’ve been. You’ve chased off suitors of mine. You’ve threatened them. Rewired phone calls. Even given poor arden the wrong dates and times so that I would be stood up and have no one around except for dear, loving, Vythe to console me.” These last words Koani spit out acidly.

Vythe’s stomach seemed to drop into his knees, his mouth agape. Koani’s knowledge had floored him. For how long had she known? When had she grown wise to his meddling?

“But if you knew, why didn’t you…”

“Say anything? Fire you? Call out a hit and have you permanently removed from the face of this planet? Because I didn’t care.”

“You didn’t care?” Vythe blinked.

“That’s what I said.”

Vythe grew silent. He didn’t quite understand Koani’s words nor the reasoning behind them. Any normal pendragon in her situation most likely would have acted out. Not simply ignore the problem. If there was anything that Vythe had learnt from Koani over the years though, it was that she was a far cry from being normal.

“Why didn’t you care?” he asked her.

“I don’t want to get into that.”

“So now what?”

“You stop it. You keep your nose out of affairs that are mind and mine alone. Otherwise I will topple you, Vythe. I will force you to resign. I can’t have you as Head of Security if you cannot even protect me from yourself.”

Vythe held his breath for a moment. He was almost certain that Koani would have fired him on the spot. All she had done was threaten him though, quite severely, and had told him to stop it. Stop his meddling. What did that mean? She had said that she hadn’t cared about it before. Yet she cared now? What had changed her mind? Had someone caught her eye? Vythe felt a bit of a pang in his chest.

“I guess that’s all that needs to be said then,” murmured Vythe as he got up from the kitchen chair.

“Mhm. Just about. One more thing, Vythe. Don’t bother coming into work tomorrow.”

Vythe did a bit of a double-take then stared hard at Koani. Was this to be his punishment? Was she slowly going to get rid of him, push him further away?

“I don’t think that you were quite yourself tonight,” Koani continued. “You, I, we both said a few things that would be best forgotten. I’m giving you tomorrow off. Codat is going to fill in.”

“But Codat…” Vythe began, then stopped. So was that how she was going to play then? Forget about all of this? Forget about his confession? Write it off as some sort of stress induced hallucination on his part? Vythe prickled.

“There is nothing wrong with Codat. Now come,” Koani said as she slipped off of the counter’s surface. “I’ll show you to the door.”