Darklaw – Episode 69

SOMEHOW, KAMI FOUND her way out of the city before Rook could speak to Avestine. The guards swore no one had passed, and when Avestine came looking for Rook because she was looking for Kami, he told her of their conversation.

Avestine paced about the kitchen where servants worked baking bread. She had found Rook sitting at a work table drinking with one of the cooks, a voluptuous woman with the largest breasts Avestine had ever seen. Avestine had taken a long appreciative look at her fleshly proportions before dismissing her back to her oven, and after a brief smile for Rook’s predictability, Avestine eyed him sternly. “Why didn’t you stop her?”

He had risen to his feet. “What could I do?”

“You should have told me.”

“She said she was going to tell you.”

“Tell me? Did you think that was appropriate, for one of my Essanti to tell me what she was going to do? Your duty isn’t to her but to me.”

“Of course, Your Grace. I believed she would tell you.”

She had sensed how much it hurt Kami to live surrounded by buildings and people when she desired open spaces, trees, sky, and her mindless creatures. Avestine was willing to accept Kami’s need without ever understanding it. She loved her reckless spirit, but she couldn’t understand why Kami insisted on running away. There were proper ways to do things. Compromises to make and rules to observe.

“She lives in two worlds,” Rook said. “She’ll be back. She’ll miss this one after a time. She thinks her life is her own. She’ll learn.”

Avestine wondered why any young woman would prefer the dangerous anarchy of the wilderness to the comfort of a queen’s bed.

Rook responded to her thoughts, “She lives under a compulsion.”

“Yes, like any Essanti, but she belongs to me. Like you, she should be here with me. Like you, she should worship me, but she worships the damn trees.” Avestine continued to pace. “You’re going to bring her back.”

“Not if she doesn’t want to come back.”

Avestine couldn’t believe what she was hearing.

“Surely, you can see that.”

Avestine erupted. “What I see is a pigshit Essanti whining like a whore. You’ll bring her back because I told you to. You’ll find a way because I told you to. Would you like to argue with me some more? Maybe you’re beginning to think like Kami and wish to run off and fuck trees? If you want her idea of freedom, I’ll have your balls honeyed and strapped to the giant oak in the garden, where you can spend the day in the company of a colony of ants instead of fondling some servant’s big tits.”

Rook winced.

“I can barely tolerate her infantile fits, but at least she has a cunt. You don’t think I’m going to put up with the same shit from you, do you? Do you?”

“Of course not, Your Grace, but what if she sends another bestial army against us?”

“That madness was caused by my brother, not me. Reason with her. Threaten. Whatever it takes. She belongs here with me, and she knows it or she wouldn’t have snuck off. You have a fugitive to find. Take a ship. You know she’s gone to Agate Bay. When you’ve brought her back, you can begin training Wald. Now, tell me, you shit-eating pile of dog vomit, do you have a problem obeying me?”

Both of Rook’s eyebrows rose. “Of course not, Your Grace.”

“We all have duties, even Kami, whether she believes it or not. Mine…” She sighed and wiped sweat from her brow. “…is to start a war.”

Published in Darklaw |
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