Word Count → 352 ::
Some secrets were best kept close to the chest. It was not wise to play one's whole hand in any game -- and in many ways, Merik believed that his situation closely resembled one. The shipwreck, it was merely the beginning of a challenge designed by the Gods themselves. They wished to prove his worth. The terms were simple: if Merik could return to Thebes, the empire was rightfully his. He would earn it, rather than inherit it from an ailing father. Sure, it took some serious mental gymnastics to reach that point, but Merik accepted these divine terms. The same ambition that pushed him further than any prior emissary still burned in his chest. He would return to Thebes.
But that would be for another time. First, there were things to be done. What Merik felt most important was surrounding himself with those he could trust -- those who would aid him not for his wealth, but for his divine mission. Therefore, his birthright and status would have to remain a closely guarded secret. Among Sapient, other Luperci were not in short supply, so Merik made it his first order of business to get to know the locals.
How he was supposed to do that, he was not sure. He had never had to seek interaction before. It mostly came to him, but things were different now. Merik left his traveling cloak hanging from a hook in the room that he claimed for himself upstairs. The garments he wore were odd by western standards, but among his own, his garb was commonplace among the nobility. Most of his fur remained exposed, but he was covered where it counted. The fabric was colorful and bright, and beaded in turquoise and black. Clasped with gold. Valuable.
Down the stairs, he moved though an empty great hall and turned right into a hallway. There was a door and it was shut, but after fidgeting with the knob, Merik found that it was not locked. He then pushed the door open and found a dimly lit chamber with a bar running through the room's length.