Elymas sprawled in the High King’s throne. He could be comfortable if it weren’t for the hardness of the dammed wood. The chair was unyielding, causing his joints to ache. He’d tossed the pillows before sitting, having no desire for William’s poison to creep into his bones, but without the padding, the smooth surface caused him to slide.
A sudden boom shook the castle, knocking him out of the chair. He climbed back up, this time hooking his left leg over the arm of the chair. Another torrential rain, and countless Nawabs drowning in the Bottom. Elymas smiled. After tonight, they no longer mattered. He had the one who mattered and his experiment would be complete. He drank from the bottle to replace the broken goblet and drops spilled down his robe.
The Great Throne Room stretched before him, a vast expanse of shadows whose stillness was broken only by the crackling of fat, tallow candles fitted in the scones. The flames caused a variation of shadows he’d never seen before, shadows that traveled the walls before settling at his feet.
Intrigued by the combinations, Elymas leaned forward. It was like watching sunlight play on a dark pool. Shadows in the shape of leaves spiraled downwards, only to change into minnows that darted back and forth before the throne. He watched as they nipped at the surface of the shadow pool, trying to feed.
The atmosphere seemed charged with something, but he dismissed the sensation at once. Frennin White, the tart, potent wine of Kings, was sliding down his throat and perception was a better word. If he were fanciful (which he was not), he’d say something was in the air, a tension that seemed to push at the edge of everything and would soon break through the surface and spin events of control.
It was the drink.
Elymas chortled. He was the one who’d pushed through, changing the future for Casoria. Tonight he’d poisoned the Warrior King as well as the annoying councilor, Ondred. He’d done it in a burst of rage but the outcome was the same as if he’d been calculating and cold. He’d been angered by William’s willingness to hear the Nawab — what was his name? Milo?— and infuriated by the Whitehair’s announcement of the birth of an Earth Child.
No one would ever replace him.
Elymas drank until his eyes bulged.
The murders had been simple. He’d added ten more drop to the marvelous potion he’d used to alternately sicken and sooth his Monarch over the last few years. Ten drops to the good and the Warrior King, invincible in battle, had passed. Lud Sellum. He’d paid a small fortune for it, buying it from the enormous Dr. Sugallus who operated an Apothocary Shop in Old Town.