Swiftly sheathing her Sais, Mei-Ling turned from her opponent and ran towards the stone wall behind her, the knight in hot pursuit and the lords and ladies of the court calling for her blood.  She never stopped as she came upon the wall, running up it a few steps before using both feet to push herself off and over the knight’s head.  Flipping around in mid air, Mei-Ling landed behind the knight on her hands and turned her falling momentum into a tumble, coming up again across the room from the armored man.

Gasps of astonishment now sounded from the throats of the nobility as the knight, unable to slow his momentum, crashed face first into the wall and staggered back, stunned.

Mei-Ling and the knight now stood on opposite sides of the room, catching their breath momentarily.  He was bleeding freely from several places where her Sais had found openings between armor joining and panting heavily.  Mei-Ling stood slightly stooped as she held her arm across her stomach, covering a long graze the knight managed to land.  A light sheen of sweat covered her, and while she was not breathing easily, neither was she as winded as the knight.   She glanced quickly to Tyrion.

“My lord?” she asked.

Tyrion nodded to her.  “They have had their show.  End this.”

The knight roared at these words, raising his sword and charging.  Faster than anyone could follow, Mei-Ling drew two of her throwing knives and flicked her wrists, launching them at her opponent.  Landing both through the eye openings of his helmet and deep into his brain, the knight was dead in an instant although the body continued its charge for a few steps before falling over, landing next to the Moon Door.

The hall was quiet in disbelief.  Mei-Ling walked over to the corpse but not even a whisper of her footsteps could be heard.  Lifting the knight slightly by the collar, she jerked her knives from the eyes sockets of the corpse, ignoring the wet, squelching noises they made.  Wiping them off on a bit of the dead knight’s exposed under tunic, she sheathed her knives before dropping the body out the Moon Door to tumble through the sky and meet the ground below.

The child lord looked up at his mother.  “Is it over?” he asked innocently.

Lady Aron stared at the Moon Door in disbelief before turning her gaze to Mei-Ling.  “You do not fight with honor!” she declared hotly.

Mei-Ling looked back at her.  “I do not fight with your honor.”  She turned and calmly walked back to her robe and slipped it on as the Mort the jail keeper undid Tyrion’s chains.

Tyrion turned to Lady Stark’s retainer, a grizzled, loyal old knight Tyrion knew had served the Stark household for many years.  “I believe you have something of mine?”

The knight looked to Lady Stark, who nodded to him before he tossed Tyrion his coin purse, scowling.  And while it was not the sum of the effects that the Lady Stark and her retainers had relieved him of, Tyrion was no less pleased to get at least some small measure of it back.

Tyrion caught the purse with a smile, and turned towards the tall door leading out of the hall and the Eyrie with the mysterious and alluring Mei-Ling gliding silently along beside him.  As he passed by Mort again, Tyrion tossed is coin purse to the surprised man.  “A Lannister always pays his debts,” he said, referencing the promised bribe if Mort would grant him an audience with Lady Aron.

Leaving the great hall of the Eyrie, Mei-Ling turned and lead Tryion down the stone walkways and ramparts of the great castle.  Once they reached what passed for ground level at the Eyrie, Tyrion made for the gates, but stopped when he saw Mei-Ling headed for the stables.

“Where are you going?” Tyrion demanded.  “They’re not exactly going to let us walk out of here with their horses.”

Mei-Ling replied without stopping.  “Not theirs, but we will take mine.”

“I’ve never known a Sister to ride when she could walk,” Tyrion commented, following swiftly.  “And by the way a Lannister is not exactly used to being led.  We’re usually the ones doing the leading.”

Mei-Ling looked back at Tyrion.  “Well you are more than welcome to be the first to come upon my Thunder, but he does not take kindly to strangers.”

Tyrion held his comment as they approached the stables and were met by two guards.

“Lady Mei-Ling, are you leaving us?” one asked politely.

“I am,” she replied.

“And what if we won’t let you leave?” asked the other with a pointed look at Tyrion.  It was apparent that the outcome of the duel had spread swiftly through the castle.

Mei-Ling looked at the two guards.  “Seeing as the duel was fought and won within your rules you would be dishonoring yourselves and your lady by preventing us from taking our leave.  Failing that, if you still refuse to grant us leave, then I will be forced to take it from you.”

The four made an interesting sight over the next few moments.  The guards looked at each other, deciding what to do, Mei-Ling stood waiting with her hands hidden in her sleeves, watching to see what the guards would decide, and Tryion in turn stared at Mei-Ling, studying the woman who saved him.

“Very well Lady Mei-Ling,” the first guard said at last. “But needless to say you would not be welcome back at the Eryie.”

Mei-Ling inclined her head to them as they let her pass into the interior of the stable.  Warm and dry unlike most of the Eryie, the stable was full of the smell of feed and horses.  Mei-Ling led the way down the main isle to a middle stall in which stood a beautiful blood bay.  Strong and yet slender like his mistress, the stallion wore no bit or saddle, merely a halter for leading and a pair of saddle bags hung across his hindquarters and held by a series of straps across the chest and body.

Mei-Ling began to croon to Thunder in her lilting native language as she opened the stall door.  Thunder whickered at her and walked forward without having to be lead.

“Marvelous beast,” commented Tyrion.  “But tell me how are we to ride him without bit or saddle?”

“Thunder has been trained to not need a bit, and I have been trained to not need a saddle,” Mei-Ling replied, stroking the stallion’s neck.  “It makes leaving an area quickly and unnoticed much easier.”

She turned to Tyrion, her face and voice carefully neutral.  “Forgive me my lord, but as Thunder bears no saddle you will need to ride in front of me.  Would you like me to fetch you a mounting block or expedite our leave taking by assisting you up here without witnesses?”

Tyrion was momentarily taken aback by her offer.  Few people cared enough to be considerate about his pride outside of his station.  But here, alone, and after offering a complete stranger her life, this strange woman seemed to be careful and considerate of him.  He was not used to such considerations, but was far too schooled in court and diplomacy to let any surprise show.

Not letting her see his inner speculations, Tyrion responded gravely.  “I will graciously suffer your assistance once Sister for I want to be rid of this place as swiftly as possible.”

Mei-Ling nodded and kept her features schooled to neutrality as Tyrion raised his arms for her to lift him up to Thunder’s back.  Once he was settled comfortably she swung herself up behind him and nickered to Thunder as she nudged him gently with her knees.

Thunder carried them out of the stable and the trio headed for the castle main gate unhindered by the guards watching their every step towards a much resented freedom.  Tyrion’s gaze remained fixed ahead, his bearing every inch the proper Lannister lord while the eyes of Mei-Ling never stopped their steady roaming as she watched carefully for any signs of resistance.

None hindered them, and soon they were on the steep, rocky road leading down from the castle and away from the Eyrie.  Mei-Ling clucked to Thunder and the horse broke into a smooth, steady trot down the road, bearing his quiet mistress and her brooding guest away from the cold stone walls.

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