Abarak 14The duke was drowning in paperwork that his wife chose to neglect. While she was off to hunt some poor innocent forrest creature with a horse, bow and an arrow, he had to deal with things. An order to seek out and train more sorcerers, more soldiers, and whatever else. Always demanding more, as if a war was about to happen. With such armies, they'd be bound to. Orcs, by all guesses. A messenger had brought rumours of a village that had been built too near the lands ridden with them, and which had disappeared without a trace. Houses burnt to the ground, cattle and people slaughtered and eaten. He would have to get the sorcerers more apprentices, he had to send out seekers.
The seekers.. As useless and incompetent as they tended to be, searching through the towns, farmlands, even slave markets, they were his best bet. He did not wish for sorcerers to be bred out like white horses. The thought of the breeding of speaking beings horrified him. He kept no such slaves. If only and
Inger-MariLong ago, I had some stoners as room mates. Well, only one of them was officially my roommate, the others were his friends, but that's besides the point. They were always there, anyway. Four guys and a girl, Inger-Mari. Unwashed blonde hair, loony green eyes, didn't seem to speak english whenever she was high. I didn't understand how that worked, but she seemed to understand english perfectly well, she just answered in Icelandic, Estonian or whatever the hell it was that she spoke.
The guys seemed to keep her around as sort of a novelty, an exotic pet more than a human being and an equal member of the group. They were good people and all, I don't question that, but she didn't really seem to be all there. She tended to always sit on one of the guys' laps or otherwise cuddle one, usually the fat guy for obvious comfort, and just stare at nothing obviously stoned out of her mind. That, or given a pen she was doodling flowers and birds on any free piece of paper available. If I happened to
Abarak 13Slowly, day by day life began to run like a calm river, as fall turned to winter in Brethage. A boy was introduced to the circles of the nobility as Aiden of Cardineal, and ran the streets as Foxtrap-Todd. He learnt how to greet a duke, and how to lie to a guard. He memorised elaborate poems and aphorisms in Nuhaled, and coarse curses and jests in Hardig, both entirely untranslatable to the other tongue. The accent of his father's land slowly disappeared of both, leaving hardly a trace, a fleeting shadow of belonging to anywhere else. He was taught the art of swordplay, and how to punch another boy in order to hurt but not harm. He learnt how not to stand out, how not to make enemies.
He had quickly learnt to sense the patterns of how he could disappear from the Cardineal house undetected. He knew when his mother would feel guilt of neglecting him and decide to order Vernas to educate him, or take him with her to some ball or valued event, and he kindly obeyed. He would tolerate ridicu
Abarak 12The emperor couldn't get used to his pet. For months, the boy had followed him around, always there, always silent. He hadn't had a moment of solitude. He hadn't been able to name it, not a single name he could come up with seemed fit. The court had grown to refer to it as "The Emperor's Dog" or "The Emperor's Shadow" or something equally garish. The beast itself didn't seem to care at all. It didn't seem to care about anything. It didn't speak unless spoken to, and hardly at that. And that silence was not submissive, nor was it rebellious. The boy simply did not care.
It was always dressed in finest silk, precious stones and metals, hair immaculately oiled and curled. It looked strange on such a hunched, fat thing. He couldn't imagine it dressing deliberately, but neither a slave daring to go near enough to dress it.
It never seemed to sleep. It was awake when he laid down to rest, it was awake when he woke up. Of course he could get rid of it if he wanted to, he could even kill it hi