Place of Gathering (freewrite fiction #17)

in #fiction2 years ago

The Others gathered at the gate of the old stone house, where princes had died and empires had fallen, where snakes now lay congregated, thriving on the doorstep. They met each other with good cheer, but regarded themselves with wariness. Such a council was both a reason for joy and danger and none had come so far by playing foolish. If someone had to go down during this day, it would not be them, or so each thought.
And the man of lights watched them all, from inside his parked car. He’d arrived before any of them, had sat far enough from the house to watch as they came, one by one. The Empress of Lilies, in her chariot of flowers, rising up from the earth, as if she were made of nothing but dust. And the Master of Silence, old and wizened, shrunk inside his magnificent coat and watching absolutely everything that moved with his beady eyes.
After him, came the King of Pleasure, in his own true ride, a vintage motorcycle painted in fire, with a beautiful woman holding tight at his back and for a moment, the man of lights mistakenly thought her a lover, and perhaps she had been once, but now, she was just the Mistress of Tears, and she stepped off his motorcycle with such grace as the man of lights had never seen before. He watched her moving, with her dark ash hair swaying gently over her narrow back. He watched the Empress of Lilies unfurl a snarl down her way, but the Mistress of Tears did not seem to notice, she merely stepped over a puddle of flowers and stood, in all her splendor, beside the Master of Silence. Her father, as much as such beings had a mother and a father. She bent down gingerly and kissed him on his withered cheek. It was a kiss without any joy, but one infused with the pain of entire generations, one that the old man understood well, for he had fed and fueled that pain as best he’d known how.

The man of lights watched them and couldn’t hold back a frown of disgust. They were all one living, breathing being, they all fed one another and yet insisted on this silly notion that they were separate entities. Finally, he watched the Rider of Anger drive down the mighty hill behind him, with a giant roar, enveloped inside a cloud of dust, so that nothing that came before him could be seen.
But then the cloud cleared and as the dust came to settle once more, the man of lights saw he’d been wrong. The Rider Of Anger had not driven in anything. He’d walked, his steps rattling the whole earth as he went. He, it seemed, was the most powerful of the lot, except that was nothing but a trick of the eye, a charade. They were all equally powerful, all just as much of a danger.

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Last of all came perhaps the most dangerous and the most lone. She walked as a true queen must, her head held high, even though she walked alone, even though the others scorned her. Always an afterthought, she was, and they thought her that much weaker for it. She never planted, she just reaped. Their mistakes and their successes, all their victims, they all found their way to her, in the end. And to him. They would look at him this way too, someday, the man of lights realized. With scorn and malice. And an almost unbridled envy because the queen of lies held the answer to it all, in her scraggy old house, surrounded by spiders and all her little games.
She, too, walked to the house of stone and the man of lights knew she shouldn’t have. He should have driven her. He recalled what the King of Pleasure had told him, that she’d consigned a piece of herself to that car. It was hers more than it had ever been his. Perhaps it would only truly be his when he died, although that would mean handing his own soul over and he wasn’t sure he was prepared to do that. Wasn’t sure there was anything left to give.
After a decent amount of time had passed, he got out of the car and walked his way to the house. It wouldn’t do to drive, after the queen herself had walked barefoot before him. It would seem too much like disrespect and he’d already hurt the queen plenty, he thought.

‘So, what is it?’ the Rider of Anger was saying, his eyes a bright red, the shade of fire, his hands clenched into fists. ‘Why did you call us, Pleasure King? What have we to discuss, by your judgment?’
The King of Pleasure offered a sweet smile in answer, one that could have charmed any man or woman on the earth, but here had little power.
‘Oh, my brother, but I didn’t summon you. He did.’
It was not customary for the Others to discuss the reason of their council beforehand. It had been agreed that should one give the call, the others would come to his aid, wherever they were and regardless what they had been doing.
‘But that’s impossible,’ the Empress of Lilies exclaimed, with a delighted look on her face, as if this was nothing but an exciting change of plans.
The rest, the man of lights noted, said nothing. The Mistress of Tears watched him in silence, beside her father, both their faces carved in stone. They knew it was more than possible, that it had happened and were now waiting for the next piece of the puzzle – why had it happened? And what would this mean for their immediate council?
‘I know, I know, but he asked so nicely,’ the King of Pleasure intoned. ‘And besides, our sister was not going to help him. I was coerced.’
‘You were not coerced,’ the Rider of Anger snapped at him. ‘You just enjoy toying with our time, brother dear. And I’ve lost patience for your games, summoning us here at the whim of some servant.’
‘He is not a servant,’ the queen of lies said quietly, her voice cutting deeper than daggers. ‘He is my chosen successor and you will speak to him accordingly, brother.’
‘Or?’
‘Or I’ll lock you up in one of my rooms until you have lost your mind and nothing remains of the present you but broken shards. My spiders will devour you like the reckless fly you are.’
The queen of lies had always had a way with threats, though she rarely needed to use them. The man of lights couldn’t help the smile from slithering across his face.
The Rider of Anger bared his teeth at her, but said nothing. Unlike her, the Rider did not thrive on words, but actions. He would much sooner bite than threaten.
‘You’ve been called her because there has been a crime. A girl whose soul should have been mine left this realm and wondered into the arms of death unbidden, long before her time. She took her own life after my light fell upon her.’
There was silence, from all. A whispered thought of ‘this should not be’ wafted from one to the next, though none dared speak it aloud.
‘Perhaps your man here’s been cheating you,’ the Empress of Lilies’ shrill voice wondered.
‘My sister, we do not deal in cattle here, he would have no reason to lie to me and furthermore, he would have no need to bring it to me if he did. He brought this to us and now, we must act. We must find whoever’s done this.’
The man of lights noticed something move gently at the edge of his vision. He turned to see the Mistress of Tears, her pale face covered in tears, dabbing at them, more out of habit than out of a real desire to quench them. She lived off the tears as much as he did and he found in himself a sort of kinship toward her.
‘Otherwise all your lives will be disrupted beyond repair.’
Because what would this world be without regret?


to be continued

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This is amazing! You had me from beginning till the end and now I want more! You never cease to amaze me with your writing. Very talented young lady!
So when can we expect the continuation of this? I hope soon...

@tipu curate

I'm really enjoying your stories! For some reason Steemit keeps "unfollowing" you. It seems like every few days I think to myself "I haven't seen a post from Honeydue" so I go to your page, see that I have a few stories to catch up on and have to hit follow again.

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