Swollen nodes hanging like fruit beneath arms, boils seeping water and blood, noses, fingers, and toes black with infection. The Black Plague wasn’t interested in giving up its freedom. It loved traveling on ships and dancing through seaports. Finally, they’d captured the plague breath from a man whose blood was passing through his skin as they pressed a tin cup against his lips. He thought he was getting water. Instead, he gave his life. The bottle was white, but not pure, for in light it showed streaks yellowed with phlegm. Strict precautions were taken as the plague had held up a shipment of fine horses from the Batavia Valley and the Bless-Cursed had been displeased to wait. Suga and Rizla only used it when they wanted a hamlet or small town swept clean for temporary use.
Envy ripe in a green bottle, it came from a woman in love with a man who loved another more. Every look, every gesture, every smile–had she received less? The other more? Obsessed with never enough, screeching at perceived slights, they’d bound her with the silken cords she’d kept for her lover and stabbed her in the heart. The spirit had found its new home, rising to the top to measure her bottle against the rest. Able to enter both women and men, Damazda had done well for them, breaking up strong families, weakening lthe strong with obsessive thoughts.
Purple was for pride, and they’d flown over the large waters to find a prince filled with arrogance. The rules he put upon himself were strict but broken gladly, for he delighted in tormenting his whipping boy. On the day the boy had been caned to death before the court, the young prince had breathed a sigh of relief and said, “I cannot err.” Those were his last words for the purple bottle handed to him by the unfamiliar cupbearer was not filled with wine but with emptiness, and sucked the life out of him. The whipping boy’s spirit had long fled. Arrogance caused suffering great and small, because those infected with it had to come first. Rights were squashed, voices stilled. Loosing the purple bottle in a court setting set up sudden in-fighting. Deadly cliques.
Orange was vulgar: frenzied boisterousness, ear-splitting screams, chaos. Let loose upon an otherwise peaceful column of soldiers led to women and children being raped in the fields, their cries unheard above the laughter. Country fairs turned into melees, knives were drawn amidst loud boasts and bragging. Chaos abounded, and in the morning, the simple folk, having returned to their former selves, wept over the dead and wondered how. The spirit was mostly sent to the flesh houses, where tongues were loose late at night. Before it was allowed to rest, Rizla and Suga squeezed out every tidbit of worth.
The black bottle was death and had never been opened. It was the most polite, being content to wait.
The blue bottle, vacant for so many years, had been fashioned for those who had loved and been loved deeply, but had betrayed. Arguably, the most dangerous spirit of all. And inside it now, sat the spirit of Bridon of the Blue Stone, weeping.