Zamu walked down the artificial garden with artificial flowers and leaves made from Shandar technology. Fabricated birds flitted across his vision and he smiled,their chirps and the sound of their wings lending him peace as he felt his body relax. He had been in Tuli's residence for two days now and the prince had not summoned him. He shrugged. He was enjoying his life here but somehow, a nagging feeling tugged within for he knew that it would soon fall apart and there would be a price that he may not be able to pay. He heard footsteps behind him and turned swiftly only to see Resi walking up to him, beaming. She looked even more beautiful than before, wearing a long gown that hugged her full figure, her brown eyes glittering with playfulness and health, her full lips, painted black to compliment her dark skin were turned up in a smile. She wore slippers that seemed to be made of gold and on her neck was a pendant infused with blue Flatlight. "I've been looking for you. You've been e
Idem rode into his brother's fortress, his eyes darting around, unconsciously analysing the defenses as he had done a thousand times before. He felt anger and irritation sit in his chest like a lead weight and he grit his teeth, supressing the anger that rose in him, familiar, warm, like.an old friend. An old, dangerous friend. He jumped down from his horse and started walking, hands clasped behind him. The soldiers shied away from him, their eyes nailed to the floor. He saw a shadow cover his own and he looked up to see an abnormally large eagle. It glided down, transforming fluidly into a human, into Tuli. The handsome man landed lightly on his feet and walked up to Idem."Ah brother, what a delightful surprise. I must say, your presence in my fortress was not expected in the least." He winked and walked forward to accept a long robe from one of his female slaves. He wore it and turned to look at Idem whose face showed none of his anger and frustration."Would you like to come insid
The streets were littered with rankers buying and selling. There was the merchant displaying his wares that ranged from perfumes to exotic animals. The entire marketplace was a confusing but fascinating mixture of haggling and argument. Zamu heard it from far and it comforted him a little. Rankers were just above commoners and with sufficient wealth, a commoner could become a ranker. They were mainly made up of merchants, scholars and successful entertainers. A silence fell on the market as the Tije rode in. Many scurried out of their way, avoiding eye contact. A woman was too slow and she fell down in confusion and cried out, covering her face with her hands. The Tije ignored her and continued moving as she lay down, frozen with fear. In the distance, he could see the three towers that were called 'okwute'; a name from old tongue. They finally left the markets after a while and rode on a few miles of emptiness before they came to the massive walls made of black iron in order to be r
Zamu cracked open the shell of the landcrab and scooped out the meaty flesh within. He put it in a can he had picked up and did the same for the dozen other creatures he had found. Resi stood over the fire she had made, staring at it as if something deeply interesting lurked within. She had been silent since they left the reservations. Not just the silence that comes with the absence of noise but a deeper one that came with the shock of the mind. Zamu picked the can and dropped it on the fire, adding a little bit of the water he had stolen from a soldier's belt. He walked over to Resi and tried to hold her but she stiffened as he touched her and he sighed, turning back to sit on a stone beside the fire, picking a stick to poke at the meat inside the can. His mind wandered to the first dives into darkness, to the times when he woke with the taste of blood in his mouth and a weariness that was deep and overwhelming. He thought of the times when he would find himself naked, far from the
Idem rode through the vast wastelands, seeing nothing but brown sand stretching into the horizon. Samza and his guard of Tije rode on both his sides and the harsh winds blew into his eyes. His mouth was covered with black cloth, against the harshness of the weather. He squinted, shielding his eyes as he looked from side to side, scowling. Father once said that the world was once littered with trees and flowers, a beautiful blend of color he called it. Now those gardens were few and extremely precious, guarded by specially trained soldiers led by a few viners tutored for that task. He felt the muscles of his powerful,black horse writhe beneath him as it thundered across the Sandy plains. He reached the western reservation by nightfall,seeing the vast blanket of Atu, stench and poverty stretched across the landscape like a blanket. A blanket of hopeless frustration. He rode into the reservations with his guards and he could see the people hurry from their path,eyes lowered in fear, occ
Idem moved towards the large, iron door, his hands held behind his back, his head bowed. He felt the depression hover around him as it often did, fouling his thoughts and soiling his mood. He nodded to the two guards that stood beside the door and the door opened without any visible force applied. He walked in and saw Tuli, standing atop a small platform, staring into nothing. The man often did that. Sometimes Idem wondered if any of his father's offsprings were sane. Tuli was not tall and he could not be truthfully said to be short either. He had soft, feminine eyes and full lips and he had smooth, light brown skin with defined muscles underneath them. He was almost beautiful. He wore a black, silk, sleeveless shirt, displaying the tattoo on his shoulder; a bird in flight and he wore large trousers that tapered together at the ankles. His brown hair was thick and curly and spread above his head. From here, Idem could smell the soft oils and perfumes he used. He turned to Idem and smi
Zamu looked up at the deep purple sky. It was night time already and he folded his sleeves that had fallen as he worked. He wiped the sweat that dripped from his brow as he heard the whistle for the end of his labor for that day. He stood straight, stretching his tall, lean, dark body and he shook his head, clearing the fatigue and dizziness that clouded it. He picked up his worn leather bag and started walking home. None of the men there spoke to him. He never replied and with time, they seemed to understand. He walked up the hill and into the reservation. The place where the lowliest of commoners resided. The stench hit him like a pungent wall, the mixture of body fluids, excrement and large hills of refuse blew into his nose, causing him to screw up his rough, pimple filled face. He spat and increased his pace. He walked past all of the 'Atu'.The Atu was the sort of buildings that was allowed in the reservation. They were like domes made of rock and clay. He walked to a small on
Idem grimaced as a darkness covered his vision for a time and a weakness enveloped him but he stood perfectly still, his head raised in defiance. The men stood shaking but none of them cried out. They would be killed if they did. Weakness was not tolerated among the Tije. The darkness left Idem's sight and he saw, seated on a skillfully carved ivory throne, the emperor. He wore black silk trousers, his massively muscled body unclad, covered with tattoos. His beard was braided and bits of cowries were intertwined in them. He had fierce, almost glowing red eyes and his face was calm and unmarked. He was sorrounded by cursed guards. It was rare for a commoner to be born cursed but the emperor went to great lengths to gather them and transformed them into his guards though he could not extend their lives as he could with his cursed sons. Idem felt a wave of nausea smash into him and he felt his consciousness stretch, accommodating another, causing him to wince as he tightened his fist.