Not far away, in the section of town built in the days of King Revel, lost in the maze of cobbled streets and tall, narrow buildings with only a hair’s breath between, a man and a woman replayed the actions in the Great Throne Room through a precious glass ball.
The room was situated above a shop which hung a freshly painted sign labelled APOTHOCARY and decorated with lavish visuals: dancing teeth, warts flying from a nose, and a detailed projection of a male problem solved. The sign hadn’t been fastened properly and banged against the postern in the rising wind.
Indoors, the sound didn’t register. There was much noise in this part of town. At night, the sounds only grew more intense; the chattering of rats, the indistinguishable howls of children and hungry cats, or footsteps followed by a gurgle and thud. The occupants of the room never noticed. None of it mattered. Suffering meant nothing to Rizla the Red Witch or the eunuch, Suga.
The woman, a dark, sensuous woman, took the globe from the table and gently laid it on the thickly carpeted floor. She lay belly down, her nose nearly touching the glass. With a long sheath of a nail, she tapped. Within, the fat, crimson robed man continued to shout and gesticulate across the dais, while a King and a silver haired man read a scroll. A giant of a man knelt before them.
The sound of her nail, however, disturbed her companion’s concentration and the enormously fat eunuch with slitted eyes and folds of skin, moved from the globe and studied the woman. A naked hunger was in his face which he normally kept hid, but after the events of tonight, Suga didn’t know when he’d see her again.
And he loved watching Rizla. Normally when she was like this, pared down to her closest self and devoid of disguises, his eyes never left her. Though he was a eunuch (he’d given his stones to the Tuel rather than his life), he couldn’t stop the thoughts that came to his head. The hint of pleasures that caused both excitement and unease, yet they couldn’t be stopped.
A feral nature lurked beneath her beautiful face; a twisted spirt clothes in magnificent skin. He’d been with Rizla longer than three spans of a natural lifetime and knew her nature. He knew her flawless body as well for Rizla wasn’t modest, often she walked about nude. He’d never seen her shape-change; her shape-changing was known only to her. The process took place behind three panels of interlocking teak wood carved with intertwining elephants.
Sometimes, he’d touch her skin. A skin so soft it seemed fluid, a smooth water of underskin. Sometimes, when she paced with anxiety or plotted through the night, it was his hands that put her to sleep. Strong, capable hands that unknotted her muscles. He was always careful not to touch the scar. When she purred with delight he imagined he held a leopardess, held in stasis before the kill.
Now, he watched as she tapped the glass ball, wondering if she would be tense tonight.