by James F

Belric sits cross-legged in the chapel, deep in meditation.

The hatch opens with a heavy thud, and the eyes scan the street anxiously. The nervous guard watches the figure appear out of the thick darkness of a night fog, come up to the door. The figure passes through his letter of invitation and the guard lets him in, directing him across the brightly lit courtyard to the mansion proper.

Helric paces in front of Belric, watching him intently through his empty, burnt-out eye sockets. As Belric twitches, his uncle yells. “Ignore the visions of glass! They are shattered images thrown up by the Light Confused, not True Reality! Focus beyond them, higher! Focus on your other senses!” Helric nods, and the acolyte cracks the whip down again on Belric's slick, bloody, tattered back.

The man enters the main hallway, turning right towards the partly opened door the conversation was coming from. As he pushes on it, he feels it swing open and finds himself facing the impressive bulk of Maximillian Galvin, Luxfrey Family butler. Galvin turns and addresses his two mistresses: “Madams, I believe the messenger you ordered has arrived.”

“Focus on the pain! It consumes you, overtaking these visions of madness and glass!” Nod, crack.

Lady Amabilia inclines her head in his direction. “Ah, excellent. Come in, take a seat. As you know, we need a message taken to the De Courci encampment over by the edge of the Great Forest.” Arbella rises, goes towards the writing desk. “My damn brother recently completed a mission for Her Excellency Rebecca, and when she asked him if he required any favours, he just asked for protection for the Family. Fool. De Mamushi and Belor understood the situation, they asked for much greater honours - to become High Captains, of the Low Guard and of the High Guard. But my idiot brother asked for nothing! The man has no comprehension of politics.” Amabilia smiles. “Luckily, we do.”

“Now focus beyond the pain!” Nod, crack. “It too is a false stimulus, created by the Light Confused!” Nod, crack. “Transcend it! Focus beyond this false realm, this fleshy prison, the whole illusion that is the material world!” Nod, crack.

Arbella nods. “Of course. So we need you to deliver this letter we made Belric write. In it we make our case clearly. If Belor wants to be High Captain, he needs to get married to someone with De Courci blood. He wants to marry Lady Lydia, of course. That would make him heir to the Governorship, make him the second most powerful man in the White City. Our Noble Cousin will not allow that. A nobody from the West, with no true links to our City, in a position where all he need do is kill her in order to take control of this City? No, she would not allow that even if it were not for the rumours about him and his friends. As it is, someone rumoured to be so close to Toquell Velasquez makes an utterly unsuitable heir for her. All the Families would feel too threatened, and her power would be undermined.” “And she cannot allow that, not when her current position is so fragile,” Amabilia adds.

“Focus on the glory of the Light!” Nod, crack. Helric stops pacing, stands in front of Belric with his hands resting on both shoulders. “Now, recite the Seven Statements Luxfridas brought from the North.” Belric looks up, into his uncle's eye sockets. “The Light Indivisible was the Beginning.”

Arbella smiles. “So she will be looking for another match for Belor.”

“The Light Indivisible became Divided.” Helric's sockets are dark no more, now glowing gently.

“Someone minor enough not to give Belor a direct link to the Governorship. But related to her, to justify the High Captaincy.”

“The Light Divided Sought Knowledge of the Light Undivided, became the Light Confused.” The glow from his uncle's eyes now starts to spill out.

“Also, she will be looking to discharge her obligation to Belric. She doesn't want him gaining a hold over her like that. An open debt? She deals in certainties, she'll want it discharged. Or reversed.”

“The Light Confused became the Dreams.” The glow bathes the two of them in Light, as the whip-bearing acolyte steps back and respectfully lowers his head.

“Well. I'm a grand-daughter of the De Courcis, their blood runs in my veins. If he married me, he could be High Captain. And if he married a Luxfrey, her obligation to Belric would be reversed, Belric would owe her a powerful debt.”

“The Darkest Dreams became the Powers and the Realms.” The Light is now shining brightly, and it is with effort that Belric keeps focussed on his uncle.

“So it will make sense to her. And of course it makes sense to us. The problem is will Belor accept it? Possibly, it is a means to an end for him, and a chance for him to become De Courci High Captain. And if he proves himself in that role, well then he would be a suitable candidate for being made her heir. Her heir doesn't have to be her daughter. And his prestige would be all the greater if he got the heirdom in his own right rather than simply through marriage.”

“All is Dream.” The Light is almost unbearable, and Belric can barely make out anything of his uncle through the glare.

“And what can I say? He's kinda handsome, well built and muscular, and he's a visionary leader. When I look into his eyes, see that dark will burning away in there… Mmm. So yes, the marriage wouldn't just be a political one. And I'm sure I could help him to enjoy the marriage, given a night with him…”

“ALL IS LIGHT” Belric yells, as his retinas finally overload and he falls.

He is filled with knowledge, with Light and with purity, he feels it teaching, burning, reshaping, he is everything and nothing, he steps beyond and sees through the Dreams he used to call the World, and then it builds up, reaching higher and higher levels, until he is bigger and lighter and purer and contains more than everything, he sees deep into Dream into other worlds where the inhabitants are equally convinced they are real, and sees totality and the future and the past and the other presents bearing down on him and knows he will never be able to remember even a fragment of this knowledge, but hopes beyond hope to just hold on to a memory of how it feels and then collapses, deep into unconsciousness.

misc/fiction/union.txt · Last modified: 2011/03/31 20:57 by osj01
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