Thursday, 2 April 2015

B is for... Braith



Blogging From A to Z is a blog challenge where participants post a new item every day (except Sundays), where every item relates to the appropriate letter of the alphabet.  You can find out more over at http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com



Story: The Palace
Rating: 15
Word Count: 578

The sound of Reid’s voice filled the corridor, rich and deep, explaining with infinite patience to yet another guard that he preferred to be called Raven, that Prince Reid was just his official name.





The sound of Reid’s voice filled the corridor, rich and deep, explaining with infinite patience to yet another guard that he preferred to be called Raven, that Prince Reid was just his official name.

It made Braith sick.  Parading the fact that their mother had given him a nickname, that it had stuck despite the years.  Like Braith wasn’t even there.

The guards liked Reid.  He was one of them: a talented swordsman, all storm-tossed curls and ready smile.  Braith was talented too, with a blade and with his tongue, but they dismissed him on sight; he looked too much like the king, their father, like he or they could ever forget.

The guard reassured, though it sounded more like sycophantic scraping to Braith’s practiced ears, Raven murmured pleasantries and strode away.  His footsteps echoed through the high stone halls, dissipating with distance.  It didn’t take long before Braith judged that Reid had left and, more importantly, that the guard hadn’t.

The armoured back barely flinched as the door creaked ajar: young, but not too young, where inexperience would have him whirling on one foot to confront an unexpected member of the family.  Braith allowed himself a small smile.  “I see you’ve met my brother.”

“Yes, my lord.”  The tremor was barely audible.  It took experience to detect.

“Strange, isn’t he?”

The guard said nothing, but his posture relaxed minutely.  He didn’t mean to; he’d be horrified if he’d known it had happened.  Braith had no intention of telling.

“He wants you to call him by his pet name.”  If the guard heard Braith’s bare feet over the tiles as he edged closer he made no sign of it.  “He’s got no understanding of how it works.”

“No, my—wait—yes, my lord!”

How cute; he was fumbling for the correct answer when silence was the only appropriate response.  This one might be more fun than he’d hoped.  “You understand though.  I can see it.”

“Yes, my lord!”  Now there was an answer he could give.

It was too difficult to resist, and Braith had never been one for restraint: the guard flinched away as Braith’s forefinger trailed the length of an errant curl tucked beneath his ear.  “You know,” he said slowly, drawing the words out as his fingers moved up into the unruly mass of hair atop the guard’s head—so like Reid’s, albeit mud instead of midnight; “those guards who know their place have always done well in the ranks.”

If he hesitated, it was well concealed.  “Is there something you wish of me, my lord?”

“In a manner of speaking.”  Braith felt the smile spread unbidden across his lips.

For the first time, the guard turned to face him.  Strictly speaking he should have done this the second Braith had spoken to him, but who was he to argue when events had played out to such perfection?  “I am yours to command, my lord,” he said, and Braith found himself intrigued by the shape of those pretty lips.  All the things they could be put to, and he just bet that they’d experienced none of it before.

“That’s what I like to hear,” he said, hooking his finger into the breastplate to tug him forwards.  For one second, surprised, the guard resisted before remembering his place and stepping forwards.  Crossing the threshold.

And once in Braith’s lair, there was no escape.  No way was he planning on letting such a tasty morsel go untouched.

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