|After the Leap
Author: I.A.Lai PM
A short bridge between several stories, detailing one countries decision to go to war. Will not make sense w/o having read The Leap. M/M.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy - Words: 2,144 - Published: 06-25-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3035808
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
AN: This is set twenty some years after The Leap. Fairly rough, but I don't think it's important enough to get polished up as it's mostly just to experiment with how characters age over extended periods of time, and to explain how the world state got to where it is for some of my other stories.
"Go screw a cow. It'll make the rest of us feel better knowing you got any…unwanted tension out rather than continuing to inflict it upon us," I said with a sigh, glancing down at my hand in feigned boredom while secretly watching the other councilor's face turn a very deep shade of red.
Tyqua's hand clenched my thigh warningly as he leaned forward. "I think now would be an excellent time to take a short recess. We'll meet again in an hour's time."
"Yes, Madahr Tyqua," we said in unison.
Slowly, I escorted him back to our rooms, though in truth I was more a barrier against others pestering him with unnecessary questions and sycophancy. Such had become my lot in life the past three years Tyqua had been voted Madahr—I was fine with that.
We passed the pool my partner had installed, and then through gauzy curtains to our sunroom. Almost immediately, with no eyes but mine to see, he flung the Star Crown aside and sank into a pile of cushions.
I grinned, kneeling to gently peel back the ridiculous layers upon layers of black cloth the Oszoni people expected of a Madahr. As a councilor of sorts myself, I should follow similar protocol. I never would.
Bare skin finally exposed, I crawled around to massage his back and Tyqua moaned in pleasure.
"A little lower meelo." He fell back into our native tongue for which I was grateful. Oszoni had always been too…slippery for my liking.
I complied and he nearly purred. Over the course of twenty some years I had greatly improved my technique.
As I continued, Tqyua spoke. "Can you please not antagonize Yuffenahs so much? We are trying to come to a unanimous decision and you behaving like an ass is not helping."
"But I'm so good at being an ass." Before he could say anything else I quickly leaned over his shoulder to peck his cheek. "And you love it."
I saw a lazy smile appear on his face for only a moment. "Yes—no. We are debating world-changing decisions Taya. We cannot afford to be childish."
"Tyqua…I really don't think a child would have said what I did."
He sighed and shook his head. "You know what I mean."
"Do I?" I leaned in close and tried to look innocent. Probably unsuccessfully.
Chuckling, Tyqua pushed my face away and stretched before falling back. With a snort, I let him use my chest as a pillow, twisting my fingers into his short, wavy hair.
Watching the curtains be moved by a breeze, I whispered, "Don't worry so much meelo. I'm right here."
He grunted and my hand began to play across his face, feeling all the wrinkles and scars. The worry-lines between his brows had deepened almost exponentially since he had become Madahr. It did make him look more handsome in a severe way, but it still troubled me.
I was actually nearly asleep when two soft voices called out, "Uncle Taya, Uncle Ty-ty?"
Trying to hold back a surge of irritation, I replied, "Right here ladies."
Keria and Yotsuin's daughters burst into the room and made the pile of bodies and pillows even larger. The elder, Qauria, was fourteen and the younger, Mia, was probably around nine now if my memory wasn't failing me.
More sedately, Keria walked in holding the hand of my little nephew Reqain. She sat down beside us and pulled Qauria off of me. "Sorry to be interrupting, but we haven't seen you in days and I thought now would be a good time to seize the opportunity."
"That's my girl." I patted her arm. "So how are the ladies doing?"
"Well," Qauria immediately butted in to the conversation, giving a little side smirk to her sister with mouth still hanging open. "Remember how I sent a portfolio out to that school in Merusaia?"
Tyqua sat up. "They accepted you?"
She couldn't maintain her composure and fell into a fit of giggles. "Yes! I'll start next year when I'm a little older. They said my stuff reminded them of Skianus. Skianus!"
My soul sank a moment as I realized that if our meeting turned out the way it seemed to be going, Qauria would never be going to that school. I swallowed the feeling and ruffled her hair. "Best news I've had all day."
Tyqua agreed and kissed here forehead, but not before his eyes met mine. We both knew. Keria also picked up the hidden gestures and her smile became fixed in place. She patted Mia's rump to get her to tell us of her last few days.
"I…nothing as special as Qau's news." Then she described in excruciating detail how all her lessons had been going and I nearly choked in laughter at the child's crush she seemed to have developed for Zanuet. Jaguaryin had told me something was up, but I hadn't quite believed him. Now I did and it was absolutely priceless. I would have to tease the Green sometime in the future…if I remembered.
When she was done I asked, "How is Yotsuin?"
Keria rolled her eyes and pulled Reqain closer to her. "The usual. On a trip somewhere up north, I think it's Lharlolei this time. I swear I see my husband even less than you two."
"Yeah, dad is never home," Mia chirped.
Qauria added. "At least the presents are good. You know what he got me last time? Angel's Tears. Real ones for my ears."
"And they're lovely, but I think it's time your uncles got back to their meeting. Will we see you at evening meal tonight?"
"Likely not, go ahead and eat without us," Tyqua said as he stood with a slight groan. I knew it was because his right knee must be acting up again.
"Very well then." Keria herded the children out the door then paused and came back to us. Standing close, she whispered with a fierce expression. "You already know my opinion on this stupid meeting. But you must let me know the outcome immediately. If what we fear comes to pass, I have to prepare my children for the worst."
I asked, "Then you have a safehouse?"
She smirked. "Why do you think my husband is in Lharlolei?" Then she patted her brother's chest. "Gods be with you, and I hope…"
"Yeah, us too Keria," I said and clamped her shoulder before embracing her. "We've done our best, but it just wasn't good enough. Now all we can do is damage control."
Her eyes searched mine before she leaned up and kissed my cheek. "I know Taya. An uphill battle in a thunderstorm." For a moment I thought her eyes were starting to water before she grinned and moved away. "Now if you'll excuse me, I think I need to start packing."
She left and Tyqua leaned against me before going over to one of the small writing desks and rifling through the drawer. I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach. He had been doing so well.
"Tyqua…it's almost time for us to head back. I really don't think that's such a good idea."
"Just enough to calm myself." He refused to look me in the eye as he raised a trembling arm.
Sighing, I sat next to him and asked, "Keria made it worse didn't she? I should have shooed her off."
"No, it's fine." He breathed a little easier when the packet of crushed leaves came into his hand and he carefully rolled a pinch into a thin cylinder of paper.
After a little searching, he managed to light it and inhaled deeply the fumes that I couldn't stand the smell of. Like rotting flesh. But it calmed him in ways I could not, and for that I was both grateful…and ashamed. Ashamed that I wasn't enough.
A sigh of relief as the smoke swirled past his lips and floated higher and higher, I coughed as a warning, like I always did, and he grimaced. It wasn't long before there wasn't much left and he dropped it in a copper bowl.
"There. I can do this now."
I stood first to haul him up. "You always could."
A small, sad smile twisted up that one side of his face. "No." Then Tyqua began to wrap himself in black and diamonds once again. Before me stood the Madahr of Oszon, not the middle-aged man carrying all the problems of the world.
"If you insist."
When we walked in, the room went quiet. Shafts of light broke through the ornate grating above, and together we strode beneath it to go to the Madahr's throne at the head of the council tables.
I took my place and waited.
Silence, out the corner of my eye as I watched the ethereal image of Tyqua's dark form moving in the patterned shadow. He spread his arms wide and said, "The Black God has ignored our warnings time and time again. Instead of helping us stop the coming Purge, she calls us heathens. We are trying to save the lives of every single soul on this world, and all she desires is destruction.
"I ask you whether you feel it is right for us to back down now. To surrender to her tyrannical rule or fight back against what we know is the path to ruin. The first will bring uneasy peace, though we will have done nothing to even slow the spiral of destruction. The latter will lead to war. A war we do not even know we can win."
Tyqua's head bowed. "But if we do win, there is a possibility, however small, that we can stop the Purge. What do you say to this?"
Under the table I fumbled for his hand, and when I found it I clenched the clammy limb as tight as I could. He squeezed back.
One of the foreigners that had been invited cleared his throat. A strange, pale people the northerners were. This one even had the most bizarre shade of red in his hair. He said, "If it comes to war, Ynala will be with you every step of the way. Our countries may have had their differences in the past, but now is the time to stand together. And with us united, the only major power left for the Black God to utilize will be Sardawn. I believe we have a chance."
"Thank you." Tyqua asked if anyone else wished to speak and then finally the vote was called.
When the stones were counted, our fate had been decided. We would be going to war.
Closing my eyes, I somehow held Tyqua's hand even tighter. What was one more war to add to the pile? Though I had to admit, I might be getting too old to survive the consequences of living through another.
It was either late at night or early in the morning by the time we returned to our room. Tyqua almost fell immediately into a deep sleep and I tried my hardest to bathe without waking him.
Listening to the sounds of snores mixed with the waves crashing against the cliffs far below, I stared up at the ceiling. Ever since the summit had gone so terribly awry last year, we knew it would come to this. Had hoped it wouldn't, but knew.
Shaking my head, I snorted and lay next to Tyqua. I gave a surprised grunt when his arm snaked around my waist and pulled me closer.
"I love you. Don't know if that helps, but I love you," I whispered into his hair.
"It does…I think."
Suddenly he shifted to roll on top of me, pressing lips down hard on my mouth. I snickered and pushed him away. "Really? Now?"
A soft laugh as he lay back down. "No, not really. I felt that I should. Just in case."
"Right…Your breath stinks by the way."
Another laugh, quieter this time. He was beginning to drift off again. "That would be my bad habit."
"I really need to find a way to get you to stop."
"Mmn hmn. Torin guard your dreams."
"You as well meelo."