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The Twenty-Fifth of Tal, Sixteen Seventy-Four

Given half a chance I would kill the Pagri, burn them clear through for this insult. Rend and tear, I would remove them from all existence given half a chance for what they ‘request’. More like blackmail if you ask me. And Uncle has agreed to it! That man! That pig! If it would amount to anything I would anoint a knife with the venom concealed half forgotten among my perfumes and unguents. The Pagri have asked that I play a role in the ritual they would perform to rouse their ocean spirit and quell and kill the fire-born god they roused during winter.

I shall play the part of the virgin sacrifice drowned and whose death knell wakes the long sleeping god-spirit. Uncle could not refuse them, to do so would be to acknowledge a stain on my virtue. I have never enjoyed politics, I find it to be a dance created by bored consorts at court looking for some form of entertainment. Like cousin Roman who is Lord Consort to Lord Lyon, a very nice but severe woman; I would rather not have her in my house but I really must invite her and her house for the winter solstice, she has invited Uncle and I for the harvest in a two months time.

I have seen copies of the letters Roman sent to Lord Maes last winter and they were quite provocative. While I do despise politics that does not mean that I do not know how to play the game. Getting copies was easy to be honest, I merely asked Lord Lyon for copies of the letters and of cousin Roman’s demeanor leading up to the rendezvous under the guise of asking to know the signs for when I have my own consort. She was quite amenable and sent them right away. Cousin Roman was locked up in one of their more distant estates for months as a punishment, foolish man.

The servants came dressed in full livery. I had thought that to be shocking, it is very infrequently that our servants are bedecked as such, the less formal uniform is easier and much quicker to don in the early hours. I was escorted to my rooms and quickly stripped without even the thinnest veil of modesty as a Pagri Chieftain and Uncle discussed the ritual.

My palms were painted in the deep amber hues of fire and the soles of my feet painted with a dark primal blue which slowly spiraled up my legs becoming light as it rose. I was anointed with oils and pigments and cloaked in somber perfumes. It was at that moment that two of the Pagri tribesmen pulled me to the floor, the usually plush carpet rough against my nakedness. The Pagri priest whom I had ignored until then rose and maneuvered himself above me, he wore a rough blindfold over his eyes. He chanted in the harsh Pagri tongue, of which I know little, I was held pinioned through the process by the two tribesmen; I would rip out their eyes given half a chance for this injustice. The Pagri will burn for this insult if I have to embody this fire spirit itself.

With the blind priest’s ritual finished I was dressed in a white tunic provided by the Pagri, it was surprisingly unsoiled and very soft. I was just relieved to have some form of shield between myself and the wolfish eyes of the Pagri. A coronet of budding flowers in an array of colours was placed on my brow, feathers worked into my short hair, and a belt of glittering ribbons girded my waist. A woman entered the room with hair of burning copper, she ignored the men and pulled me aside. She muttered quietly in a foreign tongue, much to quiet for me to heed, and began to paint my face like an Alazian whore with paint on my lips and kohl limning my eyes.

It was then, while this sorceress woman of paint and powder hid my true face behind a veil of cosmetics, that uncle mentioned the escaped prisoner. The man who assaulted me, I still bear the bruises, I flinched at his name and the woman smeared kohl across my forehead which started the whole process again. Foolish woman, it took long enough the first time.

Simple Assault, Attempted Rape, Attempted Coercion, Assault of a Lord Heir, Interference in the Affairs of a Noble House, Treason, and, finally, Attempted Line Theft. The charges laid against that man, the latter three charges are enough to call for his death. Hell, the charge of Attempted Line Theft is enough to call for his life and appropriate reparations from his family, in blood. It is almost assured that they attempted to pay a wergild. Mind you wergild is not completely legal anymore, it hasn’t been for centuries, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the family attempted to pay one to save their own skin.

The charges were an exaggeration at best; I mean, Line Theft, really? That isn’t even possibly, is it? He is not of the Gentry. It matters not. I would not care to dwell. Duty calls. I must greet my people in this thin gossamer tunic and crowned with flowers like a fairy queen.

The Fairy Court hides beneath the waves if one were to look there. A child’s tale one would think.

Alazian – Pronounced Ah-LAY-gin, they are a nation/ethnicity from the deserts far to the south.

Wergild – Also known as “man price”, was a value placed on every being and piece of property. If property was stolen, or someone was injured or killed, the guilty person would have to pay weregild as restitution to the victim’s family or to the owner of the property.