Monday, May 16, 2011

Miscorvus: Vetch

Miscorvus: Vetch

Vetch schooled himself not to grimace. It was difficult, but a necessary thing. To grimace in the presence of an Adjunct would be unforgiveable. If he grimaced or made any facial motion in the presence of the Empress...well that would be distinctively worse. He would be lucky if she killed him on the spot.

Still it was difficult not to gape. The empress was more than four hundred years old, Vetch, being only 14 couldn't even understand that number. And yet she looked no more than thirty, a tall, wry and commanding woman. She was a resplendent gown of black coatul leather, short links of silver and gold chain adorned connections in the armor between the spine on her back and her bracers. It gave the look of her having vicious metal wings behind her. She wore a coronet, as he knew was her choice, and low on her hip were a pair of thin, long blades in their sheaths. In all his time as a pageboy, he had never seen either sword naked.

The Empress could be truly terrifying, or could be a stately and shrewed lady. She could be gentle, and soft spoken, or as she was at this moment, of a despairing countenance.

The Empress had risen from the Obsidian Throne, and had addressed the Knight kneeling before the dais. He had done something terrible, dereliction of duty most likely, or perhaps gross incompetence as knights in the Dragon-War were sometimes wont to be. Regardless it would soon not matter so much anyway. The Empress had her left hand clenched, and there was ice in her veins. Though court had more than a thousand souls at that moment, not a sound was heard except the perpetual rush of wind as it played the Citadel. Instead the noontide shadows seemed to lengthen, and even Vetch's cast shadow seemed to dance with a will of its own, though he knew himself to be held shock still.

And in one terrifying calamity it happened, a thousand shadows, figments of motion darted out, detatching themselves from thir owners and attacking the Knight, one Ser Marwyn. He was brave, but he was only a man, and gave a sort of half-formed strangled cry. More of a bark really, and then the shadows consumed him. It was as though each of the thousand knives of motion carried away a sliver of flesh, the image of ants over a piece of cheese in Vetch's mind, yet these were no ants, and that was no cheese. It had been a man. And now, there was naught but a shadow on the floor, as though the body and man had fled, and forgotten to take with him the figment of himself against light, until that too slowly faded away.

Vetch schooled himself not to grimace. Where there had been a man, now there was nothing, and Vetch couldn't even remember what the knight's face had looked like now.