The apparent leader of pirates sent in a message through the cave mouth in heavily-accented Low Arcturan.
Alssonus prepared to reply, but the black clad woman interfered. With a look of annoyance, she snapped imperiously. The room rocked for a moment, and the air seemed to darken, and then the bearded northmen were dumped unceremoniously out of thin air into a pile, and were then surrounded by more leather-clad, iron-armored women.
Alssonus looked around, trying to take hold of the situation.
The only thing uniform about the woman guards were their scanty leather and iron outfits, and a profusance of piercings and tattoos. Some were Arcturans or Marcosians, others Zinaldians, Nermalians, Orlonians. There were Gundishwomen and Alssons, and even a tiny Halecan and a Licurian. Some were good-looking, others average.
The woman in black silk was another thing entirely, Alssonus thought. She was exquisite. Dressed in an ethereal slip of black silk, she had long, straight, shining hair, black with a crimson sheen. Her skin was pale as milk, her cheekbones and nose noble and perfectly purportioned. Her lips were as red as blood or rubies, though blood came first to mind. She, like her guards, was much pierced, with rings in her ears and eyebrows, and one on the middle of her bottom lip. Her eyes, beneath long dark lashes and lines of kohl, were a curious hard dark grey, like flint. The image she presented was one of a fiendish sort of beauty, like a succubus-demon, of blood and black.
This woman sipped from her bejewelled goblet and then, unceremoniously, let it drop to the floor, were the soft gold crushed under the weight of the gems it was studded with. As great a waste of good treasure as Alssonus ever saw.
"Who comes so blithely in, where spectral warnings show?" said the blood-black woman sinuously, and with a flick of her fingers caused all of the torches in the room to burn a corpse-like sick green for a moment.
"Is it treasure hunters? Or fugitive slaves?" she continued, then shifting into guttural, hard-edged Radothite tongue, saying to the pirates "Are they your slaves? Or perhaps you are the slaves and they the masters?"
"No matter," she said in High Arcturan, "It is of no account. Take them away. I shall deal with them later."
The guard-women bowed their heads and said, as one, "Yes, Lady of Darkness."