The woman in black sauntered across the old workshop, and sat down on top of a closed crate. She crossed her legs demurely, which caused her long black dress to ripple slightly, and smiled at Jalmar. â€œWell, we should not do business anonymously at least.â€ Jalmar turned slightly so he was facing the bright-red haired woman. â€œIâ€™m leader of these thieves, people call me,â€ she was cut off abruptly by Jalmar, who rushed across the smithy and slammed his hands against the wall to both sides of the womanâ€™s head. The impact shook the entire building, and knocked a few of the older support beams in the ceiling loose.
â€œI donâ€™t care who you are or what you do.â€ Jalmar spoke flatly, but with some hostility showing through in his tone. â€œDo you know where I can find a fire-born terrestrial who looks something like me?â€ He stared his fellow Solar exalt in the eyes, unwaveringly. Her eyes narrowed, and she began to sit up. Jalmar grabbed her by the sides of her head, and rammed the back of her skull into the wall. This dazed her for a moment, and her minions began to ready their weapons. He didnâ€™t repeat his first promise of killing her if she refused; he wasnâ€™t the type to repeat himself. One of the support beams in the roof fell, and clattered against the stone floor. Immediately after, a small part of the roof collapsed, and some light rain began to fall through the gap.
â€œGo to hell!â€ the woman shouted, and both she and her minions sprang into action. The woman dove straight upward, out of Jalmarâ€™s grasp, and kicked her right foot out as it passed his face. She caught Jalmar in the forehead, but only succeeded in hurting her toes. Jalmar snarled, and grabbed her right ankle before she could pull her leg back. He hauled her downward to the floor, then spun while holding her by the lower leg still. Her face slammed against the smithy wall as she was spun, and Jalmar swung her into the nearest four of her subordinates. They flew back, into more of her minions, and formed a large pile as they collapsed together. Jalmar then smashed the solar woman back down to the floor, and knelt next to her. He landed one punch against her midsection, which blasted the breath from her lungs, and then picked her up by the front of her black dress. The rest of her followers fled in terror rather than stand up to Jalmar.
â€œNow tell me!â€ Jalmar bellowed in her face.
She coughed, then regained her breath. â€œAlright!â€ she managed to choke out, â€œAll I know is that an Imperial army is coming here soon.â€ The woman stopped to draw another breath. â€œTheyâ€™ll be camping south of here, looking for an anathema who killed someone important down in Chiaroscuro.â€
â€œThat was me,â€ Jalmar mentioned, â€œbut that doesnâ€™t answer my question. Is there someone with them who looks like me?â€
With some effort, she shook her head, â€œI donâ€™t think so, but Iâ€™m not sure.â€ Desperately she thought of a way to placate the titan that so thoroughly defeated her. â€œBut I could help you look. We are kin, like you said.â€ Finally she had caught her breath properly. â€œAfter all, you obviously want revenge, and I can understand that. I started into the criminal life to track down the man who raped me when I was twelve, and kill him. So I understand how that need for vengeance feels.â€ Jalmar dropped her suddenly, and stared at her with wide eyes. She sat up, and rubbed the back of her head. Jalmar stared at where she had been lying, even though no one was there any longer.
He was motionless for almost a full minute, then said to the woman, â€œIâ€™m sorry.â€ This confused the woman quite a bit, but he didnâ€™t explain. Instead, Jalmar stood and walked outside into the light rain falling on Nexus. He looked up into the storm clouds, and rain ran down his face. Then he roared, long and loud enough to be heard across the city. Anya arrived as he bellowed into the twilight storm. He eventually stopped and said to Anya, â€œThere is a woman inside, help her up and take her back to the inn.â€ This was not spoken as a request, and Anya knew better than to delve too deeply into Jalmarâ€™s psyche. So she quickly went into the slowly collapsing smithy, and helped the woman in black out. Jalmar stood in the rain for a long time, and contemplated his vengeful goals.
His convictions were even stronger now.