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
Stars and moondogsI've never gotten lemons
But they gave me lemonade
You were made of porcelain
Your sparkling hair on a braid
You were so beautiful, your
heart was warm but hands were cold
I got lost on the sidewalks
Mind so young but thoughts so old
You were the moondogs, for we
Were then blasting off to space
There is more of such beauty in
Nature as the human race
You chose me as your leader
So lead you I had to do
Through the mountains and the sea
And the sky so deep and blue
I thought I'd take you to mars
But ended up in Yemen
I know the lemonade, but
Never had a lemon
We'll standHe hasn't been all right
since she learnt how to fly
He was a gruesome sight
And we all knew why
Until one guy stood up
And he said
This is gonna sound bad
This is gonna sound cheesy
Not saying 'don't be sad'
Because life ain't easy
I just want you to know
That we'll stand by your side
Never let you fall down
Until the tears have dried
We won't let you just drown
If one is only one
Then two is thousandfold
When all is said and done
It's just as you were told
Abarak 11Aiden stared out of the window of the study, and Harom sat beside him, map in hand. "And this is where Wolfback joins the Great River between Mount Honh and the south-east plains."
"Which way does the river flow?"
"The what?" "The Wolfback river. Does it flow to north or to south?" The half-elf bit his lip as he did when he was thinking. "To north. All rivers flow towards the sea." Aiden nodded, and for some reason wrote it down. He'd known how to read before, but only Harom had taught him to write. His handwriting had become indistinguishable of his. One or two more hours, or as long as it would take for Harom to grow bored this time. He always did. The man had taught him nearly daily, everything that Vernas refused to teach. His mother seemed to have lost all interest in him upon finding having no aptitude for her profession.
His street clothes - what he'd grown to refer them as - were locked into a wooden box at the bottom of his wardrobe. They'd become worn in the past few we
The numbersYou are driving on the highway at night. You see a hitchhiker, and decide to stop. The young man greets you nervously, and asks for a ride to a nearby city. He seems troubled, and looks like he hasn't slept for weeks. You try to start up a conversation, and he replies politely but makes it clear he doesn't want to talk. You give up and just drive.
At the city you stop to a street corner and he jumps out of the car. "I have no money, but" - he takes off a necklace you hadn't noticed before - "I am number five." He hands you the necklace. It looks old, like one of those victorian pendants with the silhouette-image on the middle, exempt that the silhouette appears to have been scraped off. You look up, and see the young man running off. You shrug at this, just some crackhead you probably shouldn't have let in your car.
You forget about it. Life goes on.
You could never really pinpoint where it all started. You lose your belongings and find them in places they have no reason to be in. Some
Abarak 10He didn't scream, and Harom didn't speak. Only a stern look was shared. He followed the man to the bathroom. "Put your clothes out. You are filthy." He took a boiling cauldron from the room's fireplace and started pouring the water into the tub. The cold water had already been poured in. "Where is mother?" Aiden asked, though he didn't really care to know.
"They'll be back by dawn."
The white man kept glancing at him as he added soap to the water. "And you haven't eaten, have you." Aiden recalled some odd meat pies he and the boys stole from an alehouse, but thought best not to mention it. He laid down his pile of clothes to the floor and hopped to the tub with his sole leg, and sat at its edge. He had had a little mole on the left foot. He didn't know why he remembered that. Harom hummed a song he could have sworn he had heard that day.
"Where are you from?"
The question startled the man. For a moment that was slightly too long to be passing, he stood silent, and eventually gave a bit