The internet only works when I don’t need it. Such is the way.
Arman had always been early to rise. Even if the morning’s crisp air hadn’t crept into his room, he would wake with the sun. As servants came to him, helping prepare him for the day, guards switched posts in the watchtowers and the kitchen clattered with life as the first meal came together. This had become the normal morning. The men silently went about attaching his armor, both sophisticated and durable, as Arman’s thoughts carried him to distant days.
Or not so distant, as the rebellion outside the castle walls threatened. At this stage, all anyone could think of was the day ahead. He could recall a time when disasters were conceived of as weeks or even months out. How it had been reduced to days, that was the mystery.
“Anything else, milord?” He glanced down at the servant, already certain of his answer. “That shall do for the moment.” With two courteous bows, they left to tend to their responsibilities and he left to his. He would hope that the king would be in the throne room with his advisers, but the odds of that were far less than him being in one of the libraries. For a boy of such ignorance, he certainly enjoyed his readings.
[Copyrighted © August 29 2015, J.M. Blute]
It’s what happens when I have no internet on Friday.
Who in their right mind would elect to ride in such a contraption? Esmé kept a firm grip on the carriage’s frame, stepping out onto the capital’s stone pathway. She still felt the rocking in her legs, which the frigid spring air did nothing to alleviate. At least if the carriage couldn’t give a smooth ride, it was warm in comparison. However, the daylight in the castle’s plaza was an improvement from the dark insides of a carriage. All the same, Esmé was grateful she didn’t have to live in such a place.
“Princess Esmé,” her chief servant greeted her. “Your belongings will be brought to your room. Feel free to explore the castle and meet your peers.” He was fairly young, but he’d earned his position. The true head of staff could not be whisked off another nation’s capital, not even for the destined Queen of Light, but he would not send a fool. Rens was short for a male, only about half a foot taller than Esmé, but efficient and well-dressed. Rumors travelled quickly about him because of his contained demeanor. His blue-white marble eyes met hers, and he blinked. “Please be cautious.”
She smiled, gliding toward the castle. It was elegant but formidable, a towering architecture built to impress while being relatively easy to defend. Some of those particular changes struck her as afterthoughts rather than part of the intended design. “Have I ever been careless?” Rens trailed close behind, dark servants of Light carrying her embroidered luggage bags beyond them and into the castle. “You are new to me, Rens. I will forgive you.” They entered the great hall as servants directed them into the ballroom. He walked as she hovered, her layered dress barely touching the sandstone floors beneath her beaded winter cloak. “This once.”
[Copyrighted © August 22 2015, J.M. Blute]
The rise and fall of the sea, sailors at work, and strange creatures he’d never seen occupied much of his time over the first few days. But at the first harsh wind sweeping the deck as they passed Chathiel, Harun joined his brother below deck, sailors laughing as he left. Even with the layers he wore, that wind was unforgiving. When Mihran spent his time under layered blankets, Harun had lessons on the basic cultures of other kingdoms, the common language of the mainland, and plenty of well-meant advice by mentors and sailors alike.
But this morning, it was no mentor that waited for him or another meal with sailors, but a carriage to take him and his brother to meet their betrothed. His arms tensed beneath the sheets, bracing for cold. They saved the finest of his garments for today for the obvious reasons. This rising discomfort wasn’t like him.
But Harun’s concern about the marriage was for Mihran, not himself. Harun had always handled himself well, regardless of the situation. Yet it seemed like just days ago that Mihran demanded stories not only before bed, but after meals. Garede was known for its skill in combat and across from Harun was its youngest prince, curled up between a pile of long, overstuffed pillows and robes and blankets. He slept as if deaf to the sailors above. Harun breathed deep, earrings jangling as he shook his head.
«Brother,» he spoke in the language of sands, «we’ve arrived. The carriage is waiting.» He paused, waiting for a reaction. Mihran answered with the soft breath of sleep and faint chime of his jewelry. Harun reached to his shoulder and shook his brother gently. Expecting that to fail, he crouched to the sleeping prince’s level and shared the one fact he believed would convince his brother to move. «You may bring the blankets.»
[Copyrighted © August 14 2015, J.M. Blute]
“Don’t,” he warned, moving behind a tissue box. “I’ve felled larger beasts than you unarmed. Do not pick me up.”
She paused, her hand out where he had been standing. His eyes were dark and his stance, guarded. Gossamer wings, barely more than two shimmers, opened and closed as he watched her from his spot on the desk.
“I’m sorry, you’re just so…” He stared up at her, waiting. So small, but as stern as any human adult. She couldn’t help feeling criticized, and she stepped back. At least he didn’t seem mad that she’d snuck into this cottage. “Little. Can you really hurt people?”
“You may find out if you wish,” he answered. Patiently, he hovered to stand on the tissue box. “None survive who can explain the wrath of fae.”
“But my Nana always said fae were wise and kind, loving to help humans in need.” She crouched on a stool a few feet away, but she could make him out by his faint blue glow.
“Some of us, yes.” He walked along the box, gliding down to a locked jewelry box on the far end of the desk. Instead of necklaces and earrings, a variety of small weapons hung inside. “I am not among them.”
[Copyrighted © August 7 2015, J.M. Blute]