22 Chapter 14: A Fake Eclipse: Elyeria
I considered it played with the idea in my mind, getting the people to put me in charge of Chrysia, however when the dam breaks and the waters wash Ristikos away I won't be the only one left, I need the people to trust me. I just need to get my name out there and with the Marquess Mother's order to keep me locked up, I wondered how I was going to leave. I wondered how I was going to do that? I wondered whether or not I should go through with it, if I do then I might never see Sheera again. "Marquis!" I call him "I thought we'd be on a first name basis by now" he chuckled
"sorry, Vios, I think we should do something for the people since they're not so fond of your House"
"I'll have someone send them medicine"
"it should be a face they know"
"you think I should go?"
"maybe someone else" I try to find a way to let me leave "someone they didn't try to kill" I smile
"is this a part of your daring escape plan" he smiles
"maybe it is maybe it isn't" I joked "but seriously we have to do something"
"I'll have something ready for you" I walk away knowing that this was the first step against rendering the Ristikos name powerless, I thought about what would happen to Vios, then I remembered the day I killed the terrorist, I'd just have to push someone else into the crowd. I walk away only to bump into someone "oh sorry" I looked up at the man, he was tan and almost reminded me of Davin, I see him look down at my necklace "you're the Kasfi Marquess aren't you,"
"yes, I am, who might you be?" I asked
"Marquis Dahlian, Vios' brother I wondered when I was going to meet you, my brother seems very fond of you"
"I know," I say jokingly, flipping my hair to emphasise it. I think of a way to cut this conversation short "I have to go" I leave the castle and go in the carriage. I dance and tiptoe through what could be either mud or faecal matter. I see the pestilence of the place people were screaming in pain, people see a Ristikos carriage "come out and answer for what you've done!" someone shouts, I the sound of something colliding with the carriage. A cleaner was going to have a bad night. I decide to come out, hoping that nothing collides with me "where's the Marquis?"
"he's not here" I hear murmurs build amongst the crowd "but I am and I hear your cries for help and bring you medicine,"
"your medicine is the reason that my family can't eat for a week"
"they're free of charge, I don't have much but I will come back" I look at their faces "I promise" I knew what words to say so that when they speak of their recovery, they think of me.
"do I have to lie to get my way?"
"don't think of it as lying," Kaalan knelt down in order to be level with me "you know those puzzles that you like?" I nod "imagine that you can put any piece together and leave some out creating a whole new picture, but make sure that the people like the picture, I know you won't be able to do that all the time, but most importantly and you have to do this, make sure that it makes sense" that was my one of my favourite lessons I liked the idea of playing around with words, creating pictures that make people do what I want. This was my first time doing so and I can say that I did well. I see a small emaciated hand poke up from the crowd, "you"
"me?" an old woman said
"no the child behind you" I point to towards the hand, people begin to make way for him "what did you want to ask me?" I give the boy a smile. His cheeks were sunken, what I imagined should've been a bronze skin was starting to turn into a starving grey "are the bad men going to hurt us again?"
"I don't know" I decide not to spare him the truth, I could tell that his childhood ended when he was born and that life had dealt him a bad hand, I could tell that he would be able to handle honesty "but you're strong aren't you" the boy smiled, a smile with broken and yellow teeth but he smiled nonetheless "you can survive it" I hold out my pinky, Chrysians made promises in similar yet such different ways "I promise" he interlocks his pinky with mine. I hand out the medicine, people give their thanks. I felt a lot happier, my smiles were actually genuine, I liked that. I arrived back at the castle.
I walk into the gardens and sit on the bench. I notice that the girl wasn't already there. I sit there and look at the Mudlands. I look at the leaves that have reddened then browned. I stare at the trees which back then were strong and sturdy were now thin and deteriorating. The girl arrives "you've never told me your name" I pointed out
"you don't need to know it"
"but it's only fair"
"I don't care, I'm not risking someone else having too much information, I'm not risking incarceration for the sake of fairness" she stares at the horizon, I start to hear the occasional whisper, from others in the garden "I heard about what you did in The Mudlands"
"okay" I turn my heads towards her "and?"
"that was not one of your missions"
"then what's your reason for doing this?"
"you don't need to know it" I hid my real motivation, that if I find myself in a situation where I can't leave that I will gain some sort of power here, instead I turn to her and smile, a closed mouth one, it was a taunting one, I sit there with the satisfaction that I knew something that the spy didn't. "you missed the eclipse didn't you?" I think about that I couldn't it through the window, I press down my bitterness at the fact that I missed the celestial event, "I believe I had"
"There's a belief in Chrysia that when an eclipse appears the gods flip a coin if it was dark then the Marquis or Marquess is prophesied to become mad and spiral, luckily there was an heir ready to rule this time there won't be"
"What do you mean?"
"We have a contact in the culinary department" she hands a vial with a dark blue substance in it "you give him this and the Marquis will Eclipse, in his increasing madness the dam will be broken and then the Ristikos house will be washed away, you will do this unless you're starting to like being a hostage and making an enemy of a very far-reaching and ever growing people" she looks at me and gives me a thin-lipped smile. I leave the bench, hiding the vial where I once hid my dagger.
I think about it if I follow their instructions then I can go home and save my family at the cost of Vios' mind, maybe even his life, if I don't I'm sentencing those I care about to die, I'm sentencing hundreds of thousands to suffer, I'll be failing them. I made my choice. I go walk through the halls and reach the kitchen. A kitchen boy came to me "Marquess Elyeria, what brings you here?"
"I'm planning a surprise, for the Marquis,"
"maybe you'd like it if we discussed this somewhere else?" his smile seemed fake, unless he became a better actor, he was gonna get himself killed doing this "to keep this surprise under wraps" he leads me to the sink room "do you have the vial?" he asks, he's shaking, maybe this was his first mission "yes, I really hope that you can hep with this surprise" I hand him the vial and walk away "thank you" I run into my bedroom, then it hits me, the guilt. I don't cry I hold it in until I feel nothing, I breathe a sigh of relief that I'm not having a breakdown.
There was another party for the birthday of the man I met earlier Dahlian's birthday. I wear a gold dress this time, I wondered why there were only dresses in there, in Meldavorne there were at least more comfortable options. I leave and enter the Great Hall. I go to the drinks table "your strongest drink, please"
"An Eclipse coming right up"
"Must be trying to forget something"
"the Eclipse is known for its high, I don't think its safe"
"I can handle more than you think"
"I don't doubt that but look over there" he points to a woman, tucked under the table "what happened to her?"
"Nobody knows, she just ended up there" I couldn't help but laugh, the musicians change the song "this is my favourite song" he holds out a hand to request a dance "would you spare a dance for the birthday boy, Scorpion?"
"it'd be an honour" I smile back and dance, I manage to hide my stumbles or he pretended not to notice. Vios wasn't anywhere to be found "where's your brother?"
"the eclipse?" I immediately regret what I said "sorry it's probably none of my business"
"it's fine," he said "and yes, possibly"
"okay" I ruined this entire conversation
"what are your intentions for my brother?" I was slightly surprised, I knew that the question was gonna come but I thought it'd from the Marquess Mother "I like him, but I intend on finding a way home" I decide to be honest, I could tell that he was going to say something "I'm not leading him on, I promise"
"that's not what I'm going to ask"
"Oh, sorry" him and I dance in silence.
I wait on a balcony. I sit on my chair worrying for Vios, "what's this?" he asks, he seems to be more tired "a surprise" I smile at him
"For what?" I try to find the words to answer his question
"For being you" I look at him "you could've just locked me up in a dungeon and then put me in pretty clothes to hide the fact that I'm a hostage, so thank you and don't worry you're not going to be eating the air" I felt a lot more awkward now, a lot guiltier "servants should be here" the sun was setting but the candle was already lit. Vios sits down "how are you?"
"anything new?" I should be good at this "like anything weird, interesting or exciting?"
"No, same old" the kitchen boy came in with someone else, the food was revealed to us, I grab my fork and I'm about to starting eating "wait" I look up at Vios, he seems more panicked than usual
"it's fine" I grab the bronze fork, dig into the meat,
"it's not safe" I was too hungry to care, I bring the fork to my mouth but it gets smacked out of my hand. "I told you it's not safe!" his shout startled me, he's shaking "we're safe" I place my hand on his "nobody wants to hurt us" I smile
"No, you saw the people out there, they were trying to kill me" he gave me a smile, it wasn't warm or caring, it was manic "but you saved me, so I'm trying to save you"
"Taster, come here" a boy he was emaciated with almost grey skin, I remembered him from The Mudlands "I hired him today, it was remarkably easy just went to The Mudlands and got him, it's kind of sad how his family just gave him up, actually it was probably to save him from a life there, so it's not really sad, it's nice isn't it?" he looks at the Taster,
"yes" his voice was timid, it had seemed that colour had returned, he was probably getting more from the taking bites from the plates of others than having his own plate. "go on then do your job, unless you know something that I don't" his smile went from kind to wide-eyed
"No" he takes a bite from my plate, his tips back so he can take a sip from my cup without making contact with me, he moves to the Marquis' food and then does the same. "anything wrong?" he asked
"No, are you okay?" the boy asked
"What's that supposed to mean? Do you think I'm a bad ruler? Are you hiding something from me?" he got and stepped closer to the child, the child cowered, the guards looked at each other with fear in their eyes, I get up "stop you're scaring him!" I pull him away from the child
"What are you in on it?"
"In on what?" I hold his face "there is no danger, nobody can kill you?" I manage to calm him down.
I wake and leave my room to hear signs of struggle "you are under arrest for treason" I see the kitchen boy getting dragged away. I go to the Marquis "What happened?"
"The taster was having nightmares and hallucinations" he said "I should've known, you told me that nothing was wrong and then now the taster is having nightmares, you stupid bitch!" the words stung, my vision got blurry "if I hadn't listened to you then none of this would've happened"
"Say what you feel really then," I said sarcastically I walk away from him.