Tuin returned to his personal room with a sigh, the doors firmly banging shutbehind him. He paid no attention to the various tapestries and vases dotted around the vast room and headed straight for the cabinet at the far end in which resided his collection of rare and expensive drinks. A small movement out of the corner of his eye caused him to turn. He was not alone.

"How did you get in here?" he demanded, shocked at this obvious breach of security.

"Wisdom, dear brother, wisdom." This statement confused the ageing man.

"I have no brother."

"Ah, Tuin. Such a closed mind, as always." Tuin paused. "Cast your mind back, brother." The older man frowned as he searched deep within his mind. A small, distant memory that had been buried long ago quivered in front of his eyes. A face. The intruder's face. His own grey eyes. The image of a youthful and handsome boy blended with the well-built man that stood before him.

"Impossible," he whispered, the reality sinking in. The boy had been so innocent. The feeling of self-disgust shuddered through him. The intruder swept his long black locks out of his eyes and stood up from the large chair where he was perched. As he drew a long sword from a scabbard that hung down his back, Tuin gave a disbelieving gasp.

"The Caster! The Caster's stars foretold of brotherly deception!"

"And the Caster's mother's stars foretold of mine." Tuin's eyes almost bulged from his skull as his brother advanced, deadly weapon held aloft.

"I killed you," he whimpered, throwing his arms up to protect himself. His grinning attacker suddenly thrust the sword forwards, but stopped short of his chest. Now backed against the cold stone wall of his own fortress, Tuin stared in horrified fascination as the glinting sword tip danced in a series of intricate patterns, only a hair's breadth away from his face. It halted again, aimed directly above his heart. Its wielder smiled a little at the cringing man, who then looked curiously at the face of his brother. It was a network of scars; long healed and silvery. They criss-crossed his cheeks and drew lines along his strong jaw and forehead, marks of a vicious attack many many years ago.

"You killed me?" he asked, bemused, bringing the sword back to hang by his side. He traced the scars with a long finger.

"Brother, I-"

"I have no brother." This truly puzzled the cowering man. He dropped his arms and held his palms out, inquiring for an explanation.

"I don't understand." The younger man abruptly lunged forwards, the sword driving its way deep into Tuin's chest. Blood, scarlet and hot, welled and gushed. The dying Tuin fell to his knees, then collapsed onto his side. He scrabbled at the lethal weapon, mumbling and begging. His voice became weaker and weaker, and he slowly stopped pulling at the exquisitely-carved pommel, now smeared with red. He gasped for breath. His eyelids flickered. The growing pool around him trickled through the dirt. His murderer crouched and spoke bitterly into his ear, "I killed you."

He stood again and with a powerful wrench, removed the sword from its sheath of bone and flesh. He wiped it on the inside of his flowing cloak until it gleamed like his scars. His hand lovingly traveled down its entire length to join his other hand on the leather-bound hilt.

An echoing voice floated around his head.


"The King is dead," he announced to the empty room.

"Come home." Silvamann relaxed his body, sword returned to its scabbard. He took a small white feather from a pouch that hung from his belt and held it high above his head. He gently let it go. As it drifted down in front of his face he blew on it with a delicate, even breath and closed his grey eyes. He faded away, leaving an overdressed corpse, with a white feather, steadily turning crimson.

Feathers and Swords was originally just a beginning I wrote when inspiration came to me. I am unsure whether or not to actually do anything with it, i.e write further chapters. Please let me know what you think of it!

XxX Nurgette