Thursday, July 9, 2009

79 - This Would Go Very Badly

Next day I did every ceremonial thing I needed to do, my day divided up into almost tenth pieces. I ceased mouthing trivial words of politeness. It was hard to make anything come out of my mouth unless I was enraged. I had no energy for anything but snarling.

Shefenkas was as good as dead. I had helped kill him. I had helped murder the father of my soul by raping him, putting a final nail in what Father had started. His mind was gone. He was dead. I could only weep in the middle of the night, silently.

I hadn’t slept well, though I had no dreams I could recall. It was late and dark and I threw down my pen in disgust. I had given Koren the words he wanted. I had given Tobeas the words he wanted, every reference to the Gods hot coals and scald in my mouth and on my heart. I was full of boiling blackness and went down to First Amitzas’s office. I was forced to knock, since he and Meras were both now locking their doors even while they were inside.

“Spark of the Sun’s Ray?” His voice was calm as ever, but he looked frayed around the edges somehow. I stood there, hating him. He would have been the one torturing Shefenkas at Father’s command. He was the subtle torturer where Meras was more direct, more brutal and more physically damaging.

“I require some of Its books, Imperial Pharmacist.”

He blinked at me a fraction of a second. “If the exalted thinks it approp—“

“—of course I think it appropriate! I wouldn’t be here otherwise.” I stepped into his office without asking and he gave way to me. I had never pushed him so and I could see his discomfort. I sat down in front of his shelves. “I will borrow these from you.” I picked out the first of the poisonous and medicial herbals, an anatomy text, `Torture, Punishment and Execution`` and ‘The Dissection of Nerve Tracks in the Human Body.’ I picked out his knuckle suckers and looked up at him. He tortured Shefenkas. He stood, bland as always. I smiled at him beautifically at him and picked up the first one between thumb and fore-finger. “Perhaps I should borrow these too?”

“As the Spark of the Sun’s Ray wishes.” His voice was perfectly flat, but not as calm. I took the book in both hands and ripped it down the spine, still smiling.

“I think not.” I tore the second one as well. “Nor this one.” I picked up the last one, and with a quick shove and slam, dropped it in the lighting snake’s tank. “I’ll be back for more, later.”

“As the Spark of the Sun’s Ray wishes.” There was the faintest hiss on the end of his sentence, almost an outbreath. That was good. I’d gotten him to show me something. I had an effect on him.

I strolled out with my books, leafing through the anatomy text. I turned down the hall to the Mahid apartments and opened the door to a juniors sleeping room. The four in the room scrambled to attention from their bunks and chairs. “Ah. Mahid.” The most senior turned to me while the rest, improperly dressed of course, stared through the walls.

“Chip of the Effulgent Light?”

I smiled at him again, the twisting blackness coiling in me like a lightning snake in my guts biting and biting me. “I require two young men. It and these others will go and get them. I don’t care where It finds them. I don’t care what caste they are. Go hunting for me.”

“At once, Spark of the Sun’s Ray.” He nodded and the others began scrambling to dress themselves.

“Bring them to the Great Gallery when It finds them.” I strolled out again as they scrambled behind me. My companions waited for me at the top of the stairs. They were no longer allowed in the Mahid sections by my decree. Not a hardship for them. “You all look like water-brained, boring idiots. Get lost until tomorrow.”

I sat down on the edge of the balcony over the Great Gallery with my books. I read the descriptions of various kinds of torment a human being could be subjected to, dispassionately, feeding the dark sickness that coiled in my groin. This kind of excitement must be what Father felt.

I administered a quick slap to my testicles to discourage any kind of arousal and turned a page. Was this possible for a man to survive this? It was horrified fascination that pulled me through the book. I was engrossed so I heard absolutely nothing until a hand... Father’s hand... snatched the book out of my hands.

I started so violently I nearly fell off the banister where I sat, down onto the marble below and the guard attending snatched a handful of clothing to keep me from going over. “My heir!” He was jovial, on the way to the orrery. “How fortuitous!” He looked over the book I’d been studying and laughed. “An excellent choice if one is to use your Mahid effectively! He looked down at me where I now stood, straightening my clothing. “But why are you out here?”

“I sent some young Mahid hunting for me, Illustrious Father.”

"Oh?” Oh, Hayel. He was intrigued. “Hunting for what?”

“A pair of boys... young men... to set against each other.” I’d been going to do something like Math versus Geography again, have them beat each other bloody... perhaps to unconsciousness.

“Ah.” He signalled and a chair was brought for Him to sit next to me. “Then you and I shall wait together, my amendment.”

Inwardly I started laughing, while keeping my face pleasantly schooled. This would go very badly.

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