Asarel had been shot.
It wasn't fatal, of course. The arrow had hit him just below the hip while they had been standing just off the Fancy Cakes' stoop, and Miss Luisa, Doctor Luisa?, had fixed him up. Castien had no doubt that it was Tel'arar's girl that had done it. They had the arrow shaft, they could prove the fletching matched. What would be the point, though?
Ariava wasn't herself, it was hard to actually blame her for being so irreversibly stupid. Tel'arar was emotionally compromised due to the murder of his mother and the soul of his beloved had been torn out which was why she was so irreversibly stupid. Mister Soth hadn't listened when Castien told him to escort Tel'arar and his woman away from the stoop. Asarel had been shot.
That had been the last straw. Lilliana, the darling kitten, had already practically fired him by hiring someone else to do his job while he had been standing right behind her. Another rogue to do her business. Good for her. She had never listened to him, anyway. Or anyone for that matter. He had been, still was, insulted and hurt. He could hear the echoing laughter of Saellas and Iauron in the back of his mind, mocking him the way they always used to with their annoying, sing-song voices telling him that he'd never be good enough for anything. That he was worthless.
And so he was. Earlier in the evening, he had been angry. So angry that he had resigned from the position he was in with the Duchess. Just quit. When the anger receeded, depression rushed in and filled everything that had been left empty in it's wake. Here he was, laying flat on the cool floor of his room in Threadneedle, cigarette between his lips and enough now-empty bottles of cheap wine to get him to just beyond the point of miserable.
It wasn't working; the alcohol, the cigarettes, drawing. None of it was. Talking to Kharris was going to be moot. She was busy caring for Asarel and Castien could already hear the subtle "I told you so"s that she would never actually say that, not to his face, but she would certainly weave it in to her every word with subtlety. On second thought, she might just outright say it. She had told him so. She had, more or less, warned him. She deserved to be able to say those words.
Talii Flamesurge was an option. What he wouldn't give to just go to her. Be with her. Fall into her arms and lay there for the night. He wouldn't do that, though. That's not who he was. Talli was, on the other hand, a friend to Duchess Whitedawn. That was almost enough to remove her from the option pool. He'd only just met her the night before, besides. But she was nice, and had nearly just as many troubles as he did. The small glimpse of the woman behind the wild-child-facade was just enough to be enthralling. He still wanted to know more.
But... what would it matter if she talked to Lilliana? Maybe she should. Lilliana was probably an utter wreck. She didn’t understand the business, this business, the business she hired him to take care of, no matter how hard anyone tried to explain it to her. Lilliana had no idea what she caused.
That was probably good.
Asarel wanted to “join forces”, as much as assassins did that. Maybe that was the way to go. It was less frustrating when someone pointed at a target and said "Go".