The thief-king lounged on xir throne, dressed in finery and oozing luxury. A devious, dark smile played across xir lips as xe watched the viper in xir fields of thieves cross the room to have an audience with xem. The thief-king would allow zir misdirection and deviance no longer.

“I crave peace,” says the leader of the revolution “But I know not it’s sweet embrace. We’ll carve out our freedom in blood.”

“There must be a better way!”

“We’ve tried.” says the leader “We’ve tried kindness and they see it as passivity, they don’t care for our attempts at a better life. They don’t care for us. So we’ll remove them from our way.”

“Kiss me,” orders the second-born heir.

“Absolutely not,” says the mercenary, with a soft smile “You’re very drunk.”

“Am not!” says the heir indignantly “I’m- I’m only a little drunk.” xe says, holding two fingers close together for emphasis “And I want you to kiss me.”

“And I want you to go to bed, dear princex. Perhaps you can ask me again in the morning.”

“I’d prefer not to have to kill you,” says the mercenary “Stand down.”

“Oh,” grins the bounty hunter, black teethed and bloody “You’re the fae-killer? Is that who you are? Protecting your little second-born heir from the big, bad, wolf? Haha. Try and kill me then. I dare you.”

“You’re forgetting,” says the bounty hunter “I’m not human. I have no time for your squabbles.”

“So what,” says the mercenary,  standing firmly in front o the second born heir “You’re hunting us because you want to for no reason at all.”

“Money,” the bounty hunter grins “And a good fight.”

“I’m to marry the Lord’s eldest in exchange for their army,” says the heir.

“Unacceptable,” says the mercenary “We’ll have to find some other ally.”

“Impossible. This is the best way to ensure our victory.”

“At what cost? A marriage you do not desire, an ally that thinks they can own you and your kingdom through the old traditions?” the mercenary sneers “Absolutely not. I will not allow you to play such a strange game with your future.”