Outer Flower, 41

Death of Ondred

“Fool,” he uttered, as if calling Elymas by name.

It would do no good to strike the old man for by now the pain he was feeling was greater than any blow he could administer. Elymas thought of another torment.

“I poisoned William as well. Much more effectively, I might add. The King is dead.” He repeated, loving the fact that the hollowed eyes were on him again. Elymas smoothed the sleeves of his robe. “Laveth is a peasant and the babe is not fully weaned. For all practical purposes, I rule.”

Unable to move his head, Ondred blinked — three times. “Nooo,” he breathed.

The old man’s mind was still resisting, but soon death would conquer his flesh. Elymas decided to tell him the greatest secret of all.

“I am the true Axis, and now is my time. Soon I will make the flower bloom again and drink the immortal nectar. Unlike you,” he gave a harsh laugh. “I will never die.”

Death was imminent; the old man was making wet, bubbling sounds. Ondred opened his eyes one last time, and with the clarity of those about to pass into the Deep, uttered “fool” as though he were calling Elymas by name.

This time the Earth Skyll did snap and struck Ondred full force. The blow had no effect; he’d struck the face of a corpse.

He’d left the room immediately and gone to his own chamber where he’d rung for a servant to bring him two bottles of Frennin White. The vintage was royal, normally not served except at the King’s bidding, but the servant, a wizened old man by the name of Thrace, didn’t so much as raise an eyebrow. He merely returned, a short time later, with two bottles and one glass on a silver tray. He’d not forgotten the chalice.

Now Elymas sat in the Great Throne Room, having come to the quiet to gather his thoughts. The fact that he was sitting in the King’s seat while the King lay upstairs dead was an irony he fully appreciated. He began to chuckle, then belly-laugh, then his voice suddenly bellowed in fear and outrage. An image began to form on the wall to his right, an image made of light and shadows, terrifying to see, a picture so detailed it could only have been drawn by a master hand.

A man was swinging in the wind, a man with a thickened sole. The scones, lending their light, flickered beneath, in a place where their flames shouldn’t go.

The man’s neck was broken, the head flopped in an unseen wind with an almost comical effect.

That man was him.

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