Red and Black

by Helen

Back in her quarters, she takes the armour off, piece by battered piece, wincing as each one reveals half-healed welts and new bruises. She feels tired. She feels old.

What was it Doctor Holtz said? –another two decades, maybe three? She's been in the Broken Guard more than half her life, now. What will another fifteen years do to her? Will she be like Dominic Laird, crippled and missing an eye but still straight-backed and strong to the last? Or will she end up like one of those veteran-heroes, shambling wrecks in the corners of the Guard taverns, twisted in body and broken in mind, the young men not quite daring to meet their eyes?

She remembers the sick feeling as she watched, from a long distance, as her right hand raised the knife and cut Jonathan's ear off. And later, what she didn't say to Holtz. An opportunity to abdicate responsibility for the rest of this sordid mess? Certainly, Doctor. I'd rather watch the horrors of the Shattered Plain than have any more part in it. Her left hand reaching out to free Suriel's bonds, big sister Suri, the clever one, the quiet one, giggling like a child and conjuring glass from thin air. And what did you do? You drew your sword. You drew on your own fucking sister, you treacherous fool.

Her hands twitch in parallel and crawl towards the fresh packet of Vainglory she found waiting for her when she arrived back at the Embassy. She glares and fights them down. You promised your father. She has a headache. The mirror over her desk starts warping and bending…

Suddenly a noise breaks her concentration; footsteps on the staircase. Laughter that she recognises, a man and a woman. In a flash, she realises that the rest of the diplomatic staff must be thinking that Lord Vitale has been playing with the local girls while his new wife's away, and a foolish smile lights her face.

She doesn't bother to wipe it off as she leaps up and out of the door, and goes to meet her family.

misc/fiction/redandblack.txt · Last modified: 2011/04/05 19:23 by osj01
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