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The days that followed Kijus’s departure were rather surreal. The family simply didn’t function the same. Brija was distant, studying the journal full of information Kijus wrote for her like it was a holy book full of salvation. Roi and Jon were having their problems due to Roi taking the training of Silver far more seriously than their relationship. Roi was never present, always gone with Silver. It may have been for the best though. Father had taken his antics to a newer extreme.
It was the thursday, two days after Kijus had left the upper ring. I went to the middle lounge of the citadel, simply to get something to eat. My father was sitting in a sectional receiving oral sex from some slave girl he bought. It wasn’t out of the normal for him to do this but to do it blatantly in the open… in our home where all could see? Something wasn’t right about him. He had become foreign to us all.
It caught me by surprise, his gall. It’s like he lost all respect for his marriage. Just as I stood, jaw hanging from shock, mother came down the stairs. As soon as she saw this detesting act, she turned and went back up the stairs. I left too, heading out of the palace completely. Just to think of how this made my mother feel just made me wish I had to courage to confront my father. The man was just as wicked as they come.
I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I just knew I couldn’t bare to be in the house after seeing such an act from my father. It was late in the evening with virtually not a single thing to be done. If days like this were going to be common, then Kijus would be dearly missed. I went to the stables, hoping there was something there to do. Rejon’s stall was empty, being the only one on the north end of the stable due to his temperament. I just missed seeing him there.
At least Bazahra was here though. She often spent her days circling high above the upper ring, damn near invisible due to her metallic plumage and translucent wings. I remember seeing how Kijus would rub her down and speak to her in Illsian. She’d respond back in some comical way, often surprising him with her level of intellect.
All of this pondering simply became a little too much for me. I went back into the palace, careful to take the rear stairway, not wanting to see my the disgusting father. I entered my room, ready to unwind. Looking at my sectional pieces, I remembering when Kijus and I spent nights up having conversations.
Going through the confusing maze which was my room, I grabbed a pair of night johns and walked through my archive. To my surprise, Bazahra was perched on the mantle of the great window, grooming herself.
“Hey girl!” I said. She looked at me, not knowing English. I sighed as I walked over to the pouch on her back. Opening it, I was hopeful there was a letter to be found… nothing. It was discouraging to say the least. It meant that Kijus hadn’t written me and it’s been close to three days now. I even put pen and paper in Bazahra’s back pouch because I knew she wouldn’t be allowed to get it in the brothels. Now that I think about it, could Bazahra even sneak her way into the brothels? If not, the sanctity of this mission was utterly doomed. I’d need to bail Kijus out immediately. That place was too horrible for someone of Kijus’s intellect to be allowed to sit and simply fester within.
Continuing through the archive to the bath suite, I ran me some bath water. I made sure it was nice and hot as I poured coconut powder into it. The rushing water began to foam, the sweet smell of coconut filling the walls of the bath suite with it’s glorious scent. I stripped out of my clothes, and climbed into the bath tub. I slid down into the scalding water, hoping the heat would allow me to unwind, relax like steam on wrinkled fabric.
“Richard?” I heard a voice call out. I leaned up, it was Roi. He entered from his side of the bath suite. He came over, surprised that I decided to take a bath for a change, “I didn’t know you still take bath’s.”
“I don’t but…”
“Move over!” He said, stripping off his clothes. He hopped into the massive tub, instantly unwinding upon feeling the soothing heat, “I need this…”
“Something wrong?” I asked.
“Yeah,” Roi said, “Jon broke up with me.” It caught me by surprise.
“What, why?” I asked, startled.
“I finally found something that means more to me than ya know, sex and it isn’t him. It’s falconry. I can do that for all eternity and be happy. He got tired of following me around while I trained Silver….gave me a fucking ultimatum. I can see if he would have said ‘sorry, but I just can’t do it anymore. I see you care for your raptor dearly so I think we need to break it off.’ No, instead he was like , ‘I see you and your little bird spend more time together than we do. I’m tired of having to compete with it…it’s either him or me!’ It pissed me off so bad, I chose Silver.” Roi sighed.
“So you ready for this breakfast tomorrow? We got to make it since Ankara bayan escort it’s friday…” Roi asked.
“I don’t give a fuck man…”
“What? Why?” Roi asked.
“Dad just is becoming something I detest. He was sodomizing a slave’s face in plain sight, amongst servants, amongst palace noblemen, amongst us children and amongst his wife…our..fucking…MOTHER!” I hissed. Even Roi was disgusted.
“Well, we need to be at the breakfast tomorrow. We don’t need him drawing suspicions over us. He also might say some…things that may be important.” Roi hinted.
“You definitely have a point.” I sighed, “So later tomorrow, what do you want to do?”
“I want to lure course Silver because it’s been a long time since I’ve done that. Then after that, you can show me the ropes to the tournament fling games.” Roi suggested.
“Sounds like a busy day… That’s what I need to clear my fucking mind.” I sighed, resting my head on the rim of the tub.
“I know right…” Roi responded, doing the same.
The next day had arrived. We woke up nice and early, both entering the bath suite simultaneously. Roi went straight to the mirror, looking at his hair.
“You don’t think I look creepy with this much hair?” He asked.
“Of course you look creepy… But what’s wrong, you finally want to cut it?” I responded.
“Yeah, it’s about time I cut it.” He sighed, pulling a thin pair of scissors from the drawer. He reached for the rack, grabbing a towel. The skilled boy began snipping his hair, cutting in defined layers. The hair, dropped to the towel to make sure the mess was minimal. He then left a thin long bang that seamlessly went from the layers of hair he had left on his head. The cut looked pretty damn awesome!
“You know you’re a bad brother when you forget that your only brother has amazing barber skills.” I chuckled.
“I hadn’t cut my hair in a year… Things also have been so crazy I’m not surprised you forgot.” He smiled. He rolled up the towel and tossed it to his side of the bathroom. He stood looking in the mirror, obviously a lot on his mind. He parted the asymmetrical bang down the middle, grabbing a bottle of setting conditioners.
“What’s bothering you brother?” I asked.
“Sometimes, I just think about my past and… You know, I grew my hair out to hide behind it… It was like a security blanket and what I could shield myself with whenever I got hurt, rejected or anything… It was all because of that night a few years ago,” He said, still haunted by his childhood memories, “When…he touched… I just don’t know man. It feels like even with this…cutting my hair, in a style I like it’s not good enough. I’ll still be that boy that got touched by his father’s best nobleman. Nothing is good enough to escape from it…Not even this hair change. It feels like the only ounce of security I once had…is gone.” He massaged the milky conditioner into his hair.
“Is that why you kept it longer in the front?” I asked. He stood there, thinking on it.
“I guess so.” He responded, looking down at his scissors.
“Well, I’m your brother. I’m not here to ridicule you or judge you over your past. I know I haven’t been much of a brother in the past but I’m trying with all my might now and whatever hardships you are facing now, we’ll face them together.” I said, hoping to reassure him.
“Yeah,” Roi said, drawn to tears, “It’s kind of nice having someone to talk to!” He embraced me in a tight hug, balling intensely.
I felt terrible. I had no idea my brother’s past had such a hold on him. He tried opressing it for so long but now, for some reason he had gained the strength to face it. Though I was glad to see him growing past his issues, I wondered where this strength came from because he surely needed to share it! It was beyond invigorating to witness this! I wasn’t much of a spiritual person but there was something, a definitive change in Roi. It radiated off of him like light off of a polished falchion.
“So, you never had anyone to talk to?” I asked him.
“No, one day I told father and he beat me senseless. I’ve been scared to open up to anyone ever since. In fact the nobleman even confirmed he did those things to me and father still came after me, as if I’ve brought dishonor to him. For a long time I thought I did something wrong, cursed my existence but didn’t have the strength to kill myself…”
“Strength?” I interrupted, halting our embrace simply to make eye contact with him, “There is no strength in suicide, only weakness! Killing yourself is never the solution to your emotional torment and I want you to remember that! Never, ever again dare contemplate taking your own life! You are a strong boy, Roi too gifted to let this world get inside your head and bring you down! Kijus! He’s a prime example of someone of unparalleled strength.”
“I know… When you told me what he was doing and why he was doing it, the lengths he went to to get to doing it, I began modeling Escort bayan Ankara myself after him. The fact that he was going to go about it alone, has went through so much torment and turmoil as a child alone, just on an entirely different magnitude than what I experienced…. Yes, his strength is what drives me! If he can be so driven as to save his sister, I can be so driven as to get over my past and stop hiding behind it….” He said.
It was quite the epiphany. I turned to brush my teeth and wash my face, the whole way thinking about Kijus’s affect on us both. Kijus was the driving force behind Roi’s new found confidence. If Roi could completely come out his shell, become more sociable and less of a recluse, then it’d be my turn. I’d step up to the plate and get rid of my father. That man means this place no good and I already knew that he was going to do something to ruin us all.
Roi and I got ready, dressing up for a casual day of horseback riding and raptor training. We left our rooms at the exact same time. As we walked down the hall to the stairs, we couldn’t help but stare at Kijus’s old guest room. We had gotten so used to him being there, we halfway expected his door to swing open and his beautiful face and long flowing hair to stun us both.
We continued down the hall, to the balcony, taking our respective seats at the brunch table. The Easterner servants stood with their massive fans, blowing away any insect not strong enough to fight off the gentle breeze. Brija came out just after us, instantly looking at where Kijus used to sit. She sighed, taking a seat next to me.
“Hey.” I said, smiling at her. She reached over to hug me before looking at Roi in shocked.
“You cut your hair?” She asked.
“Yeah…wanted to do something different.” He said, retreating into himself. The other noblemen took their seats at the table, all silent as usual. Three rare visitors came to the table…my old entourage: Snare, Miles and Robin….
I couldn’t say I was excited to see them…in fact, I didn’t want them here at the table at all. They eyed me confrontationally but no words were said. A few minutes later, mother came through the door, smiling taking her seat. As she sat down, I saw glimpses of treacherous hate through her soft honey eyes. She looked at everyone with a warm grin.
“Good day to you all. I hope all are having a blessed day…” She said. We nodded in acknowledgement.
Lastly the emperor came, taking his throne with such a pretentious grin.
“I hope everyone’s having a glorious morning because I know I am…” The King said, as he took his seat. He grabbed my mother’s hand. She gave him a fearsome glare before bowing her head. It was very noticeable, Everyone catching it. He then grabbed his noblest man’s hand, Roi giving an eyeroll as well. The tension at this table was charged and heated.
Everyone held hands as prayers were said. We soon were eating…silently but, still eating nonetheless, all except my mother. She just sat there, obviously far more angered than she was willing to lead on. Pa looked at us as he cut through his omelet, smiling.
“How are you boys this morning?” He asked. Roi and I looked at each other, unsure what way this would turn.
“I’m fine…” Roi responded.
“…Me too.” I finally said back.
“So…” He said as he put a bit of the omelet in his mouth, “Heard from Kijus?” I shook my head, being…truthful.
“See, I know you know where he is. I know he’s still in this city because Kijus wouldn’t leave his his two most prized possessions behind. I’m going to find him…and kill him.”
“It’s funny.” I began.
“What?” The king asked, startled by my response.
“You wanted him to be your raptor trainor, tried to keep him confined here but the extent of his work caused him to have to commonly leave the border to fetch supplies. Either way, you were prohibiting him from doing the job you so instilled and forced upon him.” I said.
“You don’t get it do you? My word is what goes, and if I tell him or anyone for that matter what to do, they will do it! His disobeyal of my word will cause him to be made a clean example of. Doyle, I want scent hounds all over the city… Go to his room, and fetch his rags. Let the dogs get familiar with his scent and wherever he is, bring him back… alive though.”
Doyle, the emperor’s noblest man got up from his seat, bowing before entering the palace. Several other noblemen, further down the table got up as well, following him.
“What are you going to do now? There’s only going to be a matter of time before we find him.” Pa said.
“What happened to you?” Brija asked. All eyes fell upon her as she slammed the journal shut, starring at father in shock, “You…you weren’t this man a year ago… You weren’t this out to prove yourself, to show your prowess as a ruler…Have you forgotten?”
“No what happened to you?” Pa interrupted, “I remember you being a respectful little girl who knew Bayan escort Ankara place.” Brija exchanged heated glares with him for several intense seconds. She picked up her journal and walked away.
“I’ve had my fill.” She hissed.
“Brija!” Mother called out. She looked at both Roi and I, “Go get her!”
By no chance did mother want us to bring her back. She wanted us to leave the table just for our own sanctity We did so, catching up with the teary eyed girl.
“You ok?” I asked.
“Yeah but…” She began, unable to find the right words.
“Dude, they are going after Kijus in a full on man hunt. You think they’ll find him?” Roi asked.
“No but we got to give Mercury a heads up… It’s early, he’s still home! We need to go!” I said.
“How? We can’t sneak out of here! They have the entire upper ring on lock.” Roi countered.
“There’s another way…” I said, “Come on!” I led, them around the front entrance of the palace and we made our way to the cellar.
The cellar was filled with automated pins which rotated casks of wine by numerous levers. Roi looked at me in confusion.
“Why’d you lead us here?” He asked.
“This is how Kijus got out…” I responded. I walked to the northward rear wall and cranked a lever for the cask. Instead of the flat pin rotating to move the cask. It rotated revealing a secret tunnel. “Hurry, it closes back in a few seconds.” I rushed them forward, following after them.
The long brick corridor was dark but I knew it thoroughly. These service tunnels lead to secret passages under the stable, the aviary, the homes of the noblest chaps on the north end of the upper ring and to the middle ring. The middle ring was where we were trying to get to. I led them for several miles until we had to climb up through the catacombs. It was a strange place. For so many dead to be stocked here, it had no odor.
“What is this place?” Brija asked.
“It’s a catacomb.” I answered.
“A who?” She asked.
“It’s a place where they stock the dead.” Roi said. Brija looked at us both in horror.
“Why are we down here?!” She asked, stopping in her tracks. The girl was utterly mortified.
“We’re exiting through the mausoleum in the middle of the Jule District.” I said, to her.
“So we’re going through a graveyard?” She asked.
“Yeah,” I said grabbing her arm, “Come on!”
We continued on, ascending a huge flight of stairs. We entered the mausoleum, dead bodies on the concrete slabs as far as the eye could see. Light rained in from the rafter windows in the most unsettling way. I got bad feelings in this portion of the masque. None of us wanted to linger in the mausoleum for long. We exited, glad to see daylight again. We stood in the graveyard, tombstones going on for miles.
“Come on!” I said, leading them south.
“I thought we were going to the Bolt district.” Roi noted.
“There’s a stable… We wouldn’t make it in time. We need horses.” I said.
The stable was maybe a horsing field away from our current location. It was a five minute run. We reached the cemetery stables. The only horses they had were black plowing horses, big slow horses with a very low top speed. However, their top speeds were nearly twice that of any human and despite their mass, were extremely agile and great jumpers. I picked up one of the saddles, throwing it onto the back of a horse.
“Wait you’re just going to steal them?” Brija asked.
“Hell yeah!” I said. Roi grabbed a saddle, putting it on another horse. Brija just looked on, completely lost.
“What?” I asked.
“I don’t know anything about horses!” She said.
“Ugh, come on…” I sighed, tightening the strange saddle to the horses midsection. I reached for Brija, “Put your foot in the holes.” She climbed up, full of uncertainty.
“Scoot back.” I said, hopping on just in front of her, “Roi open the doors!”
“Ok he said,” Running towards the front of the stable. He pulled the latch up and rolled the door back. He then ran to his horse, hopping on it. We galloped out, heading northeast to the Bolt district. We hopped over the eastern fence of the masque, entering the city. We continued our path, reaching the central circuit. Brija was wrapped tightly around my waist as the two plowing horses galloped at full tilt. We were probably barely touching thirty miles an hour but the girl had never ridden a horse before. This was the fastest she had ever moved.
A few minutes later, we reached the Bolt district, detouring to reach the rear. We leapt over the Ion Subdivision fencing and dashed across Black Pastures. Swooping just in front of us was, Bazahra, followed by Silver. She began to circle around the slow moving horses, swooping low and high as she battled with the wind. Something wasn’t right.
We reached Mercury’s apartment, tying our horses on his outward post. Upon opening his stable door, I was shocked to see two black stags there. Mercury turned to us in surprise. He held a journal in his hand, the same leather journals Kijus was notorious for writing.
“Yes?” Mercury asked.
“I’m so sorry to bother you but you may be in trouble…” I warned. He looked on completely lost.
“Why?” He asked, rather defensively.
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