Another story involving the character from last week’s Friday Flash, and for pretty much the same reasons. I am exploring events in his past life in shorter stories. He’s a little older in this one.
Raucous laughter bounced around the private, finely wrought chamber. His mother’s chamber.
Father’s presence here was sacrilegious.
“Calmly, my prince.” His undine touched his presence.
Vari looked at her and nodded. Even here, in this desert oasis, far from the sea, she maintained her energy. Strong, his undine.
Father grunted; a woman’s voice, crying out in pleasure. His sister’s voice.
He fisted his hands on his white cotton trousers. She was not aware, he knew, not in control of herself. Couldn’t be, considering the drugs he poured into her dinner wine.
Vari wished Father was dead. Wished he was a year older, old enough to present at dinner and maybe prevent this. He wasn’t and he’d discovered this night’s entertainment too late.
She cried out again; another deeper, groan. The priest, defiling his oaths.
His undine rubbed his knee and pointed to the edge of the gilded wood screen. Vari nodded and crawled to the end.
Soon, soon. They weren’t so lost that would miss the sight of him if he appeared from the behind the screen. Or miss the feel of magic if he dared to use any.
Vari couldn’t see his sister clearly and didn’t know whether to be grateful or worried. Her feet dangled over Father’s shoulders. The priest, purple and black robes on the floor, crouched above her upper body. Their elementals, salamanders, were nowhere in sight. Likely did not want to see their masters engaged in such depraved behavior.
A crystal decanter, glasses and a plate of figs and the brown spicy sauce covered the small bedside table.
Vari glanced at his undine, signaled, and lifted his end of the screen. She lifted the other, and together, they moved it two feet forward, angled toward the table.
Three steps to the crystal decanter. The priest shifted and Vari quickly hid himself behind the screen.
“Your Grracee? Do you feeel someone -” Father’s slurred words trailed off even as my sister screamed like an enraged cat.
Couldn’t wait anymore. He’d already waited too long.
He removed a slender wooden jar from his belt, unscrewed it and poured some of the fine white powder onto the metal lid. Two steps forward and one to the side. He blew the powder at Father and the priest. His undine directed the powder with a spray of gentle breeze; the powder settled on bare, sweaty skin. Thank fully, not his sister’s, as she was covered by them.
A risk, this powder. It was addictive but Father already used it regularly. But Father preferred the liquid form, diluted with juice, and this was purer. Vari didn’t know if the priest used it, but he wouldn’t be surprised.
He walked backwards, carefully, hid behind the screen and waited.
When he looked again, five heartbeats later, they were both unconscious on the bed. His sister still whimpered, still cried out softly.
Vari shoved Father aside; he fell to the floor with a thump. The priest hit his head hard on the bed’s wooden posts. Vari pictured bashing Father’s head on the floor, but regretfully decided there was no time.
She blinked amber eyes at him, her hair a golden halo on the pillow. “Vari?”
“Yes.” Vari grabbed a robe from the back for a chair and helped her put it on. Even drugged, she was too tidy to drop her clothes on the floor.
Fingers touched him and he realized, for the first time, how much he hated Father. “Vari, what -”
“Come now.” He grabbed hold of her wandering hands and hurried her into the servant’s room. It contained the servant’s door, separate from the main entrance in the sitting room. He was lucky Father had enough sense to banish all the servants from his suite before bringing Shirn there in such state.
“Don’t feel well,” said Shirn.
He glanced worriedly at her. Her dusky skin was pale. “We need to go to your rooms, Shirn, where you can rest.”
He yanked open the door to the servant’s entrance. It was dark, narrow and the wood roughly finished. Vari reached on the floor for the lamp he’d left when he came this back and lit it. “Inside.”
She stumbled behind him; he wrapped an arm around her waist to steady her.
His undine closed the door behind them, the handed him a clay water jar. He should have thought of that.
He propped Shirn against the wall, than held the jar to her lips. “Drink, Shirn. Please.”
Most of it dribbled down her face.
“A little further, Shirn, please, just a little more.” Coaxing and tugging, he moved her down the servant’s hallway, and prayed he’d arranged everything properly.
Halfway to her room, she swayed and collapsed in his arms.
When they finally encountered the courtiers, he laughed and made a joke about too much wine.
It was dawn when he got her to her rooms. Vari watched her sleep and prayed for the day he could help Father die.
- Friday Flash: A Test (storytreasury.wordpress.com)