"So let me get this straight."
The tunnel was shrouded in darkness, but even there, the man standing with one hand rubbing his temples was noticeable. His cloak, a deep sable, coiled around his ankles and twitched in the darkness when it touched the ground. Underneath it, a pale shirt stood out in the darkness, with a dark jerking falling over his leather breeches. Well-worn travelling boots completed the ensemble. Long blonde hair, tied back in a ponytail, stood out almost white against the black of his cloak, and his eyes, when he opened them to glare at the being across from him, were slate gray.
"Nine days ago, you managed to, in your fumbling, trigger a Solar Exaltation. Of a Solar. Down here, in the middle of nowhere, you Exalted a Solar." He sighed again, and let his hands fall across his chest, folding them as he raised an eyebrow.
"You make it sound as though it were a choice." Hissing filled the tunnels, as the dark tendril ahead of the man twitched. "There was nothing to suggest that the boy was abnormal."
"A boy, all alone, does something foolhardy and brave in order to save one other person, showing incredible guts and pretty decent skill just to get this far? It's a recepie for Exaltation, you little twit. Honestly, I don't know how your race survived." The man glanced backwards at his companion, enshrouded in dozens of deep purple veils with an ivory mask, and back at the creatures standing before him. "Jasmine, what do you think?"
The woman known as Corpse Scented With Jasmine shrugged, letting veils ripple across her body. Her voice, passionless, came from behind the mask. "I think we are wasting time, Twice-Forged Steel. Finish your conversation."
Steel shrugged again, and smiled. "Alright, let me lay it out for you. I am curious as to how someone you captured Exalted. In particular, I am curious because our deal was that you would not move against the surface without being told that it was time. Now, I don't remember telling you that. Did I tell you that?"
"They were not on the surface!" The tendril writhed in anger, and more began to gather. A pathetic number, truthfully, but still over a dozen. "You expect us to ignore those in our domain? Now our species has been nearly wiped out, and you who offered us protection in exchange for our services make light of it! I want to know what you are going to do to make amends!"
"What am I going to do?" Steel smiled cheerfully, but there was an edge in his voice. Cautiously, Jasmine stepped backwards, towards the tunnel mouth, as he continued. "Let me explain to you, in detail, how I am going to solve that particular problem." He raised his hands forwards, and a pair of gleaming soulsteel sais manifested in them.
"Do you think that it was perhaps excessive to destroy every member of their race?" Corpse Scented With Jasmine stepped delicately over a still-twitching piece of tendril and turned to look at her companion, her eyes pale behind her mask.
"Yeah, probably." He shrugged. "I had some frustration to work out." After a moment, looking around, he sighed. "Alright, fine. You were right. Using these creatures as a first wave against the area was a stupid plan, and was pretty much doomed. Feel free to say 'I told you so' any time now."
"I'm not going to do that." Jasmine watched Steel, her mask expressionless.
"See, that's what I love about you, Jasmine. You don't hit a guy when he's down." Steel looked around, shaking his head. "Let's get out of this pit."
"I'm not going to, because once again you are overlooking the critical in favour of the trivial." Jasmine didn't move, and Steel winced.
"Right. You wait for him to get up, then you hit him. Alright, fine. What am I missing?" By way of response, Jasmine's mask turned towards one of the many alcoves in the tunnels, and Steel raised his eyebrows as he followed her gaze. "Jasmine, there's nothing there..." His voice trailed off. After a short time, he managed a very faint "oh."
"Oh indeed." Jasmine watched the empty alcove a moment longer, and then turned to Steel. "It is no longer here."
"Oh, Void. How could it be gone? It's not possible. It isn't possible." Steel strode over to the alcove, looking into it desperately, and gulped. Turning, he began to pace back and forth, kicking a tendril out of the way. "We're dead. We're so dead. She is going to flay us alive, and then she is going to heal us so that she can flay us alive again. We are in so much trouble..."
"Not necessarily." Steel looked up, like a drowning man clutching at a branch, as Jasmine spoke, still cool and calm. "The only person down here was the Solar and those he rescued. He must have taken it with him. If we can find him..."
"We can find it!" Steel's face lit up, and he ran over, reaching out to hug Jasmine and then stopping at the last moment as she stiffened. "Right. Sorry. Jasmine, you are truly the brains of this operation. I could practically kiss you right now. I don't know what I would do without you."
"Most likely, you would be dead."Jasmine turned to the tunnel mouth, and started walking. For a moment, Steel thought he heard a muffled chuckle come out from under her mask. "Come. We can make inquiries at the town above as to which direction the Solar went. I gather he made something of an impression." She paused, and raised a hand. "But subtly, Steel. You are capable of subtlety, are you not?"
"I'm a master of the subtle, my dear." Steel grinned, saluting, and followed her down the tunnels. "Hell, I should have been a Day caste, I'm so subtle." He strode forwards, his cloak billowing behind him as it coiled over the tendrils lying on the floor.
"Lovely." She sighed quietly, shaking her head, and the two Deathknights left the slaughter of the tunnels, walking towards the town, ready for pursuit.