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[Orig '12] Wish 02-03

More of this, while I have a moment. To be honest, Wish is very hard to summarize which is why you get a blurb about whatever character is next on the chopping block. My icons are character pics I drew in 2004.

Summary: All Sabél Najya wants is to inherit the Diamond Flake Estate and grow orchards of Xakkiya's Devotion. One fateful day, he meets the god for whom the fruit is named and is given a gift. However, he doesn't know what that gift is, or what it does, or why Xakkiya has any interest in him at all. When destiny and what Sabél wants become at odds, Sabél really wishes he had thought to ask.


©: Ken Black, all rights reserved.
Warnings: The kiss in this chapter is not meant to be sexual in any way. He's merely overwhelmed with godly power and I swear it's important later.
Thank you TJ.

Chapter 2: Xakkiya’s Devotion

Micah Peynizhad sat quietly on a bed much too tall for him. His legs dangled two feet from the floor. The bed also bore the mark of a Fruitful Tree Colony artisan, as did the bureau in the corner and the chest at the foot of the bed. They weren’t as nice as the ones Clover DragonSlayer had crafted for him, but they would do. This room had more color than any of the other ones he’d seen. The carpeting was gold, almost the very same shade as sand. The couch beside the window was upholstered in a deep blue. The thick drapes were a blood hued red. Hanging from the four posts about his bed were the same colors in sheer fabric forming a canopy. At the moment, the excess material was tied back to the posts.

He was freshly bathed and dressed in a long cream nightshirt. A servant had put socks on his feet; claimed it was to prevent a chill, whatever that meant. On the bed beside him was the bag his mother had left. The clothes he’d been wearing on the journey had been taken some place to be washed, not that they needed it. He hoped they would return soon. Micah didn’t know when his Emma would come back and he wanted to be prepared without her having to say so. Besides, the cloak belonged to Carai, and he would need to return it before too long. Keeping things that belonged to someone else was just rude.

He’d been told he would meet his father soon.

Micah didn’t know how he felt about that.

Emma had never mentioned him having a dad. He’d never asked. There were too many words in that particular question that he was forbidden to utter. As far as fathers went, he knew people had them. As a matter of fact his only friend, Carai, had two. Once when Carai’s family had come over for dinner his friend had generously said he would lend Micah one of his dads whenever he or his mother needed one. Emma had choked on her drink. The taller of Carai’s dads had laughed, while the shorter shot him a sour look. Micah thought it would be a bad thing to borrow after that, and never took Carai up on his offer. It wasn’t as though he’d ever had the inclination to do so anyway; he had an Emma, he didn’t need a Padma too.

His stomach rumbled, irritated with its emptiness. Micah patted it apologetically. He’d tried to eat the food the kitchen staff had liberally given him but it hadn’t tasted right. The food was either too thick or too creamy. The flavor was bland and he hadn’t known how to ask for seasoning without saying Forbidden Words. The staff was nice enough but they weren’t as smart as Emma. They didn’t understand what he was saying; they always required him to explain.

He almost absently riffled through the bag beside him. Emma had hastily packed it a week ago. Micah hadn’t understood exactly what was going on then. The headman for the Pietersite Tribe of Jihinistad had said they would disband for a period of ten years. As far as he could tell, that meant the tribe was going to break up and wander in the desert without the safety of numbers. Micah didn’t know why. He only knew that Emma had woken him up early — before even the sun rose — the day after the announcement. She had grabbed the bag currently in his hand and shoved clothing into it, and then taken their stash of genie from its hidden compartment under her bed. Emma had saved up a lot of money, this she placed into the bag too.

Micah took one genie from the pouch and examined it. It was a clear circular coin with three feathers embossed on one side in intricate detail. The other side read Jihinistad engraved in someone’s elaborate scrawl. The candlelight glittered within it. Emma would need the money. She always said things were expensive beyond their country’s borders.

When they had stepped outside of their tent Micah had witnessed the other tents in their community being dismantled and stored away quickly on carts or people. One of Carai’s Padmas had approached them and after a quick exchange, Ariana had taken Micah’s hand and led them from their hastily disappearing village. He’d looked behind him once to see Carai’s sandy brown head emerging from one of the only remaining tents. Carai had waved to him, perhaps a little sadly. Micah had waved back.

There was an obligatory knock on his door before it opened. Micah shoved the coin back into the bag and let it fall to the floor as a tall blond man walked in. There seemed to be a lot of those in this country, Micah absently thought. The man’s clothing consisted of a tunic and slacks but Micah could see that the fabric was expensive. It shimmered in the light almost as well as the coin had. His square jaw line was clearly defined, his nose a little too long but well made for his face. His eyes were green too, just like Sabél’s.

“Hi,” he said. Somehow the nervous tremor in his voice put Micah at ease.

“Hi,” the boy returned.

† ♦ †

Onuya North’s Accord! Tym Najya breathed upon first sight of the child. He was so tiny. Ariana had said he was seven; he looked maybe four or five. However, Tym knew the age given to be correct. Seven years ago before today had been the last time he’d seen Ariana S. Peynizhad. After that night she’d vanished back into the desert from whence she’d come without a good-bye. Tym couldn’t blame her for that.

He looked nothing like either of them. Ariana had said that her mother had praised him as being the spitting image of Ariana’s father when he’d been a child. Tym didn’t even want to hazard a guess of how many years ago that was, but he did marvel that the boy’s grandmother could remember that far back.

“Is it all right if we have a little talk?” he asked and the kid nodded. His orange eyes were very wide. Tym took a seat beside him on the bed. He offered a smile. Micah blinked at him. “Right,” Tym sighed. It was a little disconcerting attempting to speak with a child who probably wouldn’t say much. Ariana had warned him of that, at least; she had said that he of all people should understand why. Tym was at a loss on how to deal with the boy. Sabél had never acted that way; he’d been downright inquisitive in his earlier years and always getting into trouble.

There was no easy way to start, Tym realized. “My great-great grandfather, knew your . . .” he paused, trying to think of one of the Peyirzhan words for mother. “Emma.”

The boy’s face brightened. “Emma . . . is?”

Tym shook his head, confused. Emma is, he wondered. Emma is what? He didn’t know what to tell Micah. He didn’t want those trusting bright orange eyes to dim by his actions. “How about you let me explain first, and then we’ll get to that all right?” The kid nodded and Tym was relieved. He looked at the door instead of the child as he spoke. “Your Emma used to come here to Diamond Flake a lot. When my great-great grandfather met her she was already a grown up; and when I met her she was still grown up, but she looked just like she does today.” Tym looked down at the child to see if he understood any of what he was saying. He seemed to.

Tym’s eyes returned to the door. “When I was your age, I always said that one day I was going to band with your Emma, and she would smile kindly at me. When I was old enough to ask her though, she politely declined, saying I should ask somebody much younger than her. She left and because of that I ended up marrying the woman I’m with now. Her name is LyAnne. You’ll get to meet her soon. She’s a nice lady but sometimes she gets . . .” He dwindled off as he glanced at the child, unnerved by his stillness. If Micah didn’t blink Tym would have thought it a red-headed corpse gazing up at him.

“Your Emma returned one night when I was very angry with my Onban. I was very sad when I saw your Emma, and I wasn’t thinking correctly. Sometimes when you’re really sad you can’t . . .”

“Help . . . but . . . let other things know,” Micah interrupted quietly, mimicking the words from a story Ariana had sung to Tym a long time ago. Tym couldn’t stop himself from staring at Micah, speechless. In the child’s orange eyes he saw understanding. The color was wrong, but it was the same look Ariana had given him later that night, understanding mixed in with a little pity.

“That’s exactly right,” Tym managed to say. “I said words you should never say around your Emma; you know what those Words are don’t you?” The little boy nodded once succinctly. Tym couldn’t keep the miserable frown from his face. He remembered the look of utter betrayal Ariana had shot him vividly. She’d moved as though some master puppeteer had attached her to strings. Her walk towards him had been unnatural, the arms thrown around his neck, wooden. She’d kissed him with her crystalline eyes damning him. But he hadn’t been able to take it back.

Micah Peynizhad was Sequence of Consequence seven years in the making. Only Xakkiya South knew what more his one night of indulgence would cause.

With an effort he summoned a smile for the child still watching him. “Because I said what I did then, I get to call you . . .” he sighed. Tym didn’t know the Peyirzhan word for son. “Because of that I’m your Pa . . . Pa . . .”

Padma,” Micah supplied. He didn’t seem phased by it, accepted it with a decorum most children wouldn’t have been able to muster.

“Yes, that’s exactly right.”

Emma . . . is?”

That question again. Tym’s jaw clenched. He didn’t know how to answer it, or what the kid was trying to ask him. He wished Ariana had stayed long enough to explain some of the things Micah might say instead of cryptically imparting, ‘he’s not stupid, he just doesn’t know.’ Doesn’t know what? Doesn’t know she wouldn’t be coming back? Tym blinked, feeling amazingly dense. If he was seven years old in a strange place of course he’d want to know where his mother was. Micah had been brought up in Peyirzha amongst the Djinn, but he was half-Human; and he ‘wasn’t stupid, he just didn’t know.’

Tym suddenly realized what Ariana had been explaining to him earlier; Micah didn’t know the Law of Specifics and he didn’t know the Guidelines.

When one took that into effect ‘Emma is?’ easily translated to ‘Where is Emma’ or the even more specific ‘Can you tell me where my Emma is?’ Tym placed a hand on the child’s burning hair.

“Your Emma had to go away.”

“Oh,” Micah answered and bit his bottom lip to stop it from trembling. For the first time he turned away from the man he now knew to be his missing Padma and looked at the floor.

† ♦ †

Sabél woke to the whistle of the wind around him, snowflakes gently clinging to his eyelashes. He smiled. As it were, he was outside in the orchard of Xakkiya’s Devotion wrapped in a blanket of Rainbow Streams origin. His cheeks were a little numb, but his body was warm and cozy. The only place not carpeted in many inches of snow was the circle around his body.

He’d snuck out sometime last night, possibly more true to say very early this morning. As soon as he’d heard the wind increase in pace, he’d climbed out of bed and dressed as quietly as he could. Outside of his window he could see the flurries dancing in swirls and the only thing he could think of was to come to the orchards. He loved the outdoors. He loved the land that would one day be his. And nothing made Sabél happier than roaming the fields in his backyard.

Undoubtedly, Xakkiya South had no use for the peaceful country of Najort. Akren to the North, wrought with civil war and border conflict with Mintz on the West coast, was probably more to his forte. But Najort was where Davidya East had danced, and all knew it was the country closest to the South’s true heart. Xakkiya’s Devotion had been calling to him; it had bid Sabél come watch as the Southern god once again proved his love by causing the fruit to ripen.

The blanket was raised to his cheeks and held there. Sabél’s eyes flew open in alarm. No one was supposed to know where he was. The harvesters and any other sane man in his father’s employ knew better than to come out during a snowstorm and wander through any field no matter how close it was to shelter. Xakkiya South’s blizzards were not for the faint of heart, and far too many people were discovered frozen to death everyday a mere twenty paces from their destination; there was no telling how many people weren’t found. And now he had to add a kidnapper to the list of hazardous things in the wild. What was worse was that this probably person-snatcher had the perfect excuse of that very same storm to cover Sabél’s disappearance.

But somehow none of those thoughts mattered when Sabél’s green eyes met antiquated white. There was no iris, there was no pupil, there wasn’t anything except that white that seemed to be seeing past his body and staring into his soul. The face was unnaturally smooth, unnaturally shaped, though Sabél couldn’t say what made it unnatural, only that it was. There were no wrinkles. Even his mother had wrinkles though she would likely pop his mouth if she ever caught him saying such a thing about her. But he wasn’t thinking of his mother and her wrinkles or lack thereof, he was supposed to be concentrating on a face that was wrinkle-free but old. Old in ways that Sabél didn’t understand, old. Old in ways that this guy had likely seen Vai Breathing and lived to tell about it, old. Old in ways that when Sabél himself was hunched over a cane with hands as papery as a moth’s wing, in comparison with this man before him, Sabél would still be considered young, old. Old in ways that were antique and yet new, old.

Sabél’s thoughts were rambling.

He recognized rambling when he did it. He was fond of doing it actually. It was just one of those habits that he was incapable of controlling and so had learned to love it instead because then he wouldn’t feel like a fool for having rambled in the event he did ramble, which wasn’t improbable considering who his mother was. He’d missed the point yet again, Sabél knew. And his eyes had dried out from his body forgetting to do an involuntary action like blinking, because he was just so shocked to see someone in this orchard in the middle of a snowstorm that only he should have been crazy enough to be out in.

Sabél blinked.

Aged eyes still stared into him. Chin length, wavy, corn-silk blond hair didn’t flow with the wind. He was draped in fabrics of gray and light blue. That was the only way Sabél could think to describe the outfit. It wasn’t as though this man was dressed; the cloth just seemed to cling to him because he wanted it to. That had to be violating countless laws of physics of various Realms, but Sabél didn’t know enough about other worlds to say that for certain. The hands holding the blanket to his cheeks were gentle. They were hands that had seen the sun more often than Najort allowed; caramel in color, generously littered in scars that tracked up his arms. There was a smile on that unnaturally handsome and yet delicate face.

Sabél was reminded of a rumor he’d heard among the hired hands of a mysterious figure that wandered through the orchard always just out of focus to Human eyes. There was also talk of a harvester that would claim to be new every season, and would work for a day, sun up to sunset. As soon as the sun touched the horizon the worker would inexplicably disappear leaving only his basket of Devotion.

“You know who I am. Do you not.” It wasn’t a question. The voice was melodious. There was no breath when by all means Sabél should have seen wispy clouds floating from that well-formed mouth before the wind snatched it away. The child supposed if clothing didn’t behave the way it should, and wrinkles didn’t show where they should, then apparently breathing was optional.

But Sabél did nod, for he did know to whom he was speaking. It was the missing harvester, a Vaisyn in the flesh. “You’re Xakkiya South,” he whispered and was relieved when his breath materialized in the short distance between their faces.

“You have come out here to these orchards loyally every year since you were three years old. Even in the midst of my worst storms, you did not ever think to turn back,” Xakkiya South stated. He held Sabél’s eyes and the child was positively transfixed. “For your faithfulness I will give it to you,” the Southern god murmured as his face grew nearer, “. . . I will give you my Devotion.”

Sabél's eyes widened upon the first touch of Xakkiya's lips. They were cold, so cold, however, his lips didn't numb under the pressure upon them. He wasn't chilled to his core as one would think a Vaisyn of the cold would do with a kiss. By complete contradiction, his lips felt as though they'd been struck by lightning, when by all means he should be experiencing frostbite because the lips, those perfect lips, were cold, so cold. They were cold in ways that explained why Xakkiya's breath wasn't visible, cold. Condensation formed from heat and a cooler temperature mixing, and there was no heat to Xakkiya's body. But if that were truly the case then why did Sabél's body ignite under those lips? Because those lips were burning cold. Onuya North’s Accord! They were like flaming ice.

Dazed green eyes drifted closed. Xakkiya's hands were at his cheeks. Xakkiya's lips were at his lips. Xakkiya's tongue was nudging his mouth open. Xakkiya was taking his Breath away . . . and Xakkiya's glacial Breath was in his lungs to replace it.  Sabél rocked forward unconsciously wanting more. His hands tangled in the blue and gray cloth that didn’t obey simple laws, and he whimpered.

Being Kissed by a Vaisyn was what happened to the all the great heroes in the many stories he'd heard. One couldn't go on a great quest without the blessings of some deity; one would be doomed to failure if they ignored that vital step, after all. And Sabél now knew through personal experience that one did indeed feel blessed after kissing a god. Sabél wasn't going on a pilgrimage, not even close, but yet he felt as though he'd danced a two step over every square inch of land available in the Realm of Onoker. His tummy felt weird, his body tingled.

Then the Southern god slowly released his lips. Sabél's eyes flew open in disappointment. He watched as the god of the South slowly returned to the exact same position in which he'd originally squatted — but he didn't squat exactly because Vaisyn Xakkiya South would never do anything as ungraceful as that word implied.

The Southern god offered a rueful smile. "Sometimes even a blessing from a god will seem like a curse, Sabél Najya."

The child barely refrained from saying ‘curse me anytime.’ He’d never kissed anyone before that moment; kissing was disgusting and unmanly after all. Girls were infected with the cooties and boys were dirty. Cooties, dirt, and Sabél just didn’t mix. But Xakkiya South wasn’t a girl, and he wasn’t a boy in the sense Sabél meant boy, and cooties and dirt likely bowed in the face of his magnificence and scurried to cling to someone else. Kissing Xakkiya South was . . . nice, Sabél supposed was a way to categorize what had just happened to him. How do you describe a kiss? Is it nice because you wouldn’t mind doing it again or is it nice because somebody decided that they would like to kiss you out of all the other available people in the world? Understanding these things was completely beyond his capacity.

Xakkiya South was standing and the cloth still within Sabél’s fingers rearranged itself so that it suddenly wasn’t. Sabél was left to wonder if he’d ever touched the Southern god’s garments. Whatever material adorned Xakkiya’s body was made so that it wouldn’t leave a lasting impression. It was like air, as though he’d just held actual wind in the palms of his hands. Did Xakkiya even realize he wore it or was it a concession to modesty? Perhaps it was to cover the many scars crisscrossing his body because the boy didn’t think they ended with what he’d glimpsed on those muscular arms.

Standing, Sabél could note that Xakkiya South wasn’t very tall. Everyone likely imagined him to be bigger on this side of the country; they were notorious for producing tall and blond people . . . usually. But height wasn’t what you noticed about Xakkiya South, it was his presence. That alone made him not quite as tiny in stature as he would otherwise be immediately noted for. A more fashion conscientious person would likely bask over the clothing that wasn’t quite clothing, and a warrior would likely recognize and respect Xakkiya as another warrior. But Sabél was a child that had just been kissed by god and he couldn’t help feeling just a little cheated that the god in question was shorter than his dad.

The tree above them didn’t seem to share his disappointment. Xakkiya South had lifted a deified hand and Sabél couldn’t say if the tree had bent a branch to accommodate him or shrunk lower into the earth, but in either case the result was the same. A small slate gray lump of unripe Devotion lowered itself into the outstretched palm. Xakkiya held the fruit to his lips and blew his frosty breath onto it. Before Sabél’s eyes, the apple changed from unappealing gray to the ripe glistening white that it would become in a few short weeks.

“Remember Sabél Najya, this orchard will only bloom for you.”

Xakkiya South offered his Devotion and Sabél Najya grasped it with both hands.

† ♦ †

“Davidya East’s Peace, Sabél, are you stupid or something?”

The child’s eyes twitched as he marveled at how his friend, Desmond Jorna, could make even Davidya’s name sound like an expletive.

“Would you quit playing around and open your eyes already. I know you’re awake now,” this part was delivered on an exasperated sigh. “I mean, East’s Peace, man, the gods know you’ve kept me waiting long enough. It’s been three days. I was worried, you know?”

That got Sabél’s eyes opened. He winced at the light, but after his vision cleared he found Desmond peering at him. And to his credit, for all that his tone was snappish; Sabél had to admit his friend really did look worried. “Three days?” Sabél croaked. What was wrong with his voice?

“Yeah, dummy. Here I was happy that I’d managed to convince my parents to let me come over a few weeks earlier than usual. And during a break in the storm I had them bring me. But just imagine how I felt as we’re rolling up your way too long driveway to see you come wandering out of the wood-work looking as pale as death? Do you think I feel pleasant when I see these things? I mean, East’s Peace, man, I know you love the outdoors but don’t you know better than to go gallivanting around when you’re sick?”

“Sick?” he wondered aloud. Sabél had been remarkably healthy, or so he’d thought, until yester-- four days ago. He vaguely recalled someone saying something to the affect that indeed he hadn’t been well. But there was no way that that kid could have known such a thing. He had to have been talking about Sabél’s lighter skin tone in comparison to his own. Sabél raised his right hand to his forehead and complained loudly when he clocked himself in the head. “What the . . .” he trailed off as he looked at his hand; ripe Xakkiya’s Devotion glimmered in the candlelight.

Desmond ignored the sick question in favor of commenting on the fruit. “East’s Peace, man, nobody even bothered to ask where you got that from. I mean, come on, who else could have saved you right? And when we tried to take it from you, you like, wouldn’t let go or something. ‘Cause I mean, Peace, man, you were like, dead on your feet man. You weren’t even Breathing.” Desmond had a habit of gesturing wildly when he got excited about a subject. Sabél watched in amusement even as he listened to every word the other boy said. “And then, like, Peace man, after we got you inside and your mother saw you like that and then the Devotion, she like, FLIPPED man. I kid you not, man. I mean Sweet Peace, she was slapping herself man, I swear. She said she was going to go get some blankets or something and I followed her thinking I could help, ‘cause you were like, a CORPSE, man, and it was creeping me out. But then like, she entered a room and went berserk on herself, man. I swear she was like yelling, ‘get a hold of yourself’ slap ‘get a hold of yourself’ SLAP! And I was like whooooaaa; this lady is psycho, man. No offense meant and all that.”

Sabél nodded, he often thought the same thing, and it would be wrong to get angry with Desmond for having those exact conclusions. “So what happened next?”

“Man, we like, got you up here and your dad like, called a Fruitful Tree Colony healer. Peace, I swear Nomads are freaky man. Sorry I left you alone while she treated you but she had like, carrots, Peace man, CARROTS growing with her hair and I was like, no thank you, man. I mean, I realize she was supposed to be great because she is an all-natural healer but that was a little too . . . I don’t know . . . ORGANIC for me, man.”

Sabél nodded his understanding again. Desmond Jorna hadn’t been born in Najort, or even on the continent of Kernantz. While his parents were originally from this country they’d migrated to Langua on the continent of Onarch. Onarch wasn’t known for being frequented by Nomads or really any other race aside from Human. Claiming Langua was too hot, the Jorna family had moved back to their native land four years ago. Desmond fit right in physically when it came to looks in Najort; he was tow-headed, with deep gray eyes, and his round cheeks were liberally sprinkled with freckles. He was a year and a half older than Sabél, and he spoke in the Languan vernacular which included use of the words, ‘Peace’, ‘man’, ‘like’, and ‘or something’ used quite frequently.

“And then?” Sabél prompted.

“Oh yeah. We like, get you all taken care of and what not and your mom was like, freaking out again. Sweet Peace, she was like, ‘we have got to have a Xakkiyan Monk here, we have to pray and thank the South for saving Sabél’s life’ and stuff like that. And we were like, Peace woman there’s still a storm going on out there. But she sent a servant anyway, and that person died. So she sent another one and that one came back like, yesterday or something with two monks, and they’ve been praying and lighting incense and chanting and crap ever since.” Desmond looked pointedly at the apple within Sabél’s hand. “Are you going to eat that?”

“Yes,” Sabél hissed without malice. It was a gift from Xakkiya after all. It was fuzzy exactly what had transpired between them, but he did vividly recall kissing the Southern god; kissing him and liking it.

There was a tentative knock on his door. Desmond glanced at him once and then rose from his seat by the bed to answer it. Sabél turned his head to the entrance and just managed to catch fiery red hair in his sight before Desmond’s body blocked his view.

A hesitantly asked, “S-Sabél . . . okay?” reached his ears, and then Sabél watched his room door swing shut without a reply given. Desmond turned back to face him.

“Peace, I don’t know who he is but I swear that kid is stupid,” Desmond commented with an irritated expression on his face.

“Micah?” Sabél queried. That wasn’t the impression he’d gotten from the tiny redhead.

“Peace man, you call him whatever you want but I’m sticking with retarded.”

† ♦ †

Micah jumped as the door closed in his face, the sound echoing down the hall. He stared at the obstruction as his brows knit together and he expelled a huff of agitated breath. That had been just plain rude. Didn’t that kid’s Emma teach him any home training? Micah would never be able to get away with something like that and had not ever tried for fear that his Emma would find out.

He’d been trying to see Sabél for the last three days and had had very little luck in the matter. During his talk with Tym — that was the name his Padma was permitting him to use — he’d discovered that Sabél was also Tym’s child, and that made them brothers if he wasn’t mistaken about the mechanics. Micah was still depressed over his Emma departing without giving a proper goodbye, or even a reason, or even an answer to the question of if she would return, but gaining a brother as nice as Sabél had seemed was encouraging. Micah didn’t think that Sabél knew of their relationship and he’d wanted to tell him.

Sabél had been missing the next morning though, then found, healed and sleeping ever since. He’d asked Smithyrs to show him where Sabél’s room was located; but every time he’d tried to go in the blond with the freckles would answer, look at Micah as though he’d smelled something foul, and then close the portal in his face without saying a word.

“Peace man, you call him whatever you want but I’m sticking with retarded,” floated through the door. Micah could feel his eyes burning intensely and immediately closed them. He looked down as he took calming breaths. He did not like this particular friend of Sabél’s one bit. Even so, nothing good ever came from the Djinn losing their temper and at least one of them needed to behave as though they knew better.

Retarded, Micah thought and squeezed his eyelids together even more firmly. All the children in the Peynix Tribe had said the same thing. Carai’s family being the only exception, the adults had all looked down at him with the same generic smiles because they didn’t want to offend his Emma. But Micah could tell that they would have preferred that he wander into the desert and not return. They’d told their children that he was just special in a tone dripping with condescension. He wasn’t retarded if he could figure out that ‘special’ meant different and different was apparently bad. He didn’t know what he was doing or saying wrong, but his Emma had said he was a good boy for it and even someone as prestigious as the Dragonslayer had said the same thing.

Micah turned back the way he’d come, keeping his head bowed and his stinging eyes closed. His head ached. What had he done that so many didn’t like him just upon sight of him? He could handle it if someone would just tell him, but nobody ever did. He admitted that not everyone was like that. Carai and his Padmas weren’t but they’d migrated from the Onyx Tribe to the Peynix Tribe and so didn’t know that they were supposed to treat him like he was ‘special’. His Padma had turned out to be a man with an easy personality and Sabél had been so kind to him when they had only just met. Micah didn’t mean to be greedy or ungrateful but those were pitifully few numbers. Here he was trying to be optimistic in this new place surrounded by snow, but he was still being shut out from someone’s life. It wasn’t fair because Micah wanted to be the one to tell Sabél that they were brothers and couldn’t. It meant a lot to him to claim their relation because there wasn’t anybody else that he could call simba or be simba to in all the Realms floating in Vai’s Breath.

Walking with his eyes riveted toward the floor, it was only inevitable that he run in to something with the way his day was going. “Watch it you little shit, can’t you see I’m praying?” a woman growled. She hadn’t been paying too much attention to what she was doing either; otherwise there was no possible way that she would have missed his fiery presence coming down the pristine hall. Her blonde hair was maintaining a severe chignon that made her handsome face look tight. She was dressed in a formal gray gown, and holding incense. He didn’t need to look up to see that her eyes, whatever color, were spitting unadulterated malice on his red head.

Micah kept his head low. His eyes still tingled and he didn’t want people to hate him any more than they did because of an accident. “S-S-Sorry . . .” he began to stutter.


Micah was not expecting to be roughly shoved into obedience. And perhaps the woman hadn’t been aware that such force was hardly needed for a person of his size. The stone wall displayed the only amount of compassion that rock could as his forehead ricocheted off it; none. He hit the floor mercifully unconscious.

† ♦ †

LyAnne Najya moved briskly down the hall, she did not stomp, for a lady never stomped. She had not cussed, for a lady would never do such a thing either. She would not do anything to disgrace her family while Xakkiyan monks were staying in her home and teaching her how to properly thank the South Vaisyn for saving her only child. She was not going to be angry today. She wouldn’t think of that woman who needed no name — LyAnne could not believe Tym had placed her parasite in her old room. She stopped mid-step, her fingers clamped around the incense. She shook with rage. With a force of will she continued down the hall and did not look behind her.

LyAnne opened her son’s door without knocking and waved the incense around before entering. “The monks said I should probably purify the air in here too,” she said by way of explanation. Her eyes swept Sabél’s room. It was always neat even without the servants’ cleaning. The walls were white, the carpet was white, and the only thing saving the room from sterility was the deep green colored furniture and colorful tapestries of heroes and fairytales hanging from the wall. Sabél sat propped up on pillows in his large bed as he watched her come in. His friend Desmond had craned his neck around to see who it was, a smile on his lips; he didn’t quite turn all the way around before his face fell.

“Peace, man, I don’t want to stand in the way of the reunion or something,” he hastily said. He stood from the chair and bowed to her. “Lady Najya, thank you for allowing me to stay in your fine home once again.” Desmond all but ran from the room.

Before LyAnne could comment, her only child was smiling at her pleasantly. “Hello Mother,” Sabél greeted, his voice was hoarse. His green eyes were a bit glassy, and his long pale brown hair lay around him in tangles.

“Ah, my darling, you look a mess,” LyAnne stated softly. She placed the incense on the nightstand by the bed and moved to the dresser to pick up a fine bone brush. She sat on the bed. “Turn a bit dear; let me fix your hair.” Sabél did as told. Truth be revealed, LyAnne had wanted a daughter and not a son, but she couldn’t complain too loudly about that. Having a son had made her a Najya when Tym may have accidentally overlooked her naivety of that time, and taken some other gold-digging harlot that had slept with him for his money and not the man with the sad green eyes instead. Her touch was gentle as she dragged the brush through her son’s hair.

“You really shouldn’t do such worrisome things to me, Sabél,” she sighed. “You should be a little more conscientious of your position.” Her words were becoming clipped and bitter but the touch remained the same. “You aren’t an only child anymore; you can’t make mistakes like this again.”

“What do you mean; you don’t have any more kids?”

I,” she stressed, “don’t have any more, that’s true. But your father does, and he lives here now . . .”

“You mean Micah?” Sabél wondered.

“I don’t give a damn what you call him!” LyAnne snapped. It was amazing how her tone could be at such contrast with her hands. “The fact of the matter is, as much as it pains me to say this, I was not your father’s first choice when it came to banding, and if you think that you are still the favorite child you may guess again. That woman and that creature she bore has more right to this place than we do, and there’s a very good chance that you’ll be out of the inheritance for Diamond Flake. Remember, that child is a threat at all times.”

“Micah’s my brother.” Sabél almost smiled at the thought, but then processed the rest of what his mother had said. “Micah can take Diamond Flake away from me,” he whispered.

LyAnne watched with satisfaction as Sabél’s hands clenched in the white sheet.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 7th, 2012 01:51 pm (UTC)
Ohhh.....I want to slap the h e double hockey sticks out of Lyanne. My word does she have any redeeming qualities? No let me be fair, she tries to be a good mother. Anyway the kiss does make me wonder if Sabel will now be the God of....Winter? ( Sorry I haven't quite gotten the names down yet.
I feel so bad for Micah because people use his ignorance for a reason to label him other and just didn't take the time to learn about him at all. The priestess, whom I am guessing is the one who shoved him should be cursed or something at the very least.
I hope Sabel takes his mother's words with a dose of salt.

Now enough of my rambling. Constructively I am a bit disappointed by the point of view changes. Disappointed actually may not be the right word but personally for me the shifts in perspectives needed to either be longer, restricted to two or less or maybe even have their own chapters. The reason being that in my head I was still pondering the ramifications of one point of view as I ran directly into another issue in the story. Though to give credit where it is due for this chapter the transitions were well done and surprisingly smooth. They fit cohertly and logically together. This is shaping up well and the descriptions are still lovely.

(If I overstepped any boundaries just let me know this was just my personal feelings on it.)
Jul. 7th, 2012 06:16 pm (UTC)
I want to slap the h e double hockey sticks out of Lyanne

*laughs* Never heard it put that way before. But yeah, LyAnne seems to inspire that feeling in everyone. Usually, I write about good, kind, understanding mother figures, but a neurotic one is . . . interesting. That 'priestess' was just LyAnne performing the 'Thank You Rites'. She's . . . she's — yeah. I have no excuse for her. More about Sabel and Xakkiya to be revealed and all that. It's kind of complicated. And Micah, well, I tend to torture those I like the most. Poor kid.

Constructively, you're saying to break up chapters to be a bit smaller and limit perspective changes to two if there must be more than one, right? Okay, that's doable. Chapters are relatively new to this story and I was just going by word count and related content. But if you're saying I'm putting the breaks in the wrong spot and it's screwing with coherency and cohesiveness, then that's definitely something to look at.

(Don't worry about overstepping bounds; I really appreciate this comment. You pointed out a possible flaw in the design, and you gave your reasons for that opinion — to me, that is the right way to do a critique. So. Thank you!)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )