Monday, March 23, 2015

City of Curses: Yorani's Ball 1

Here's part 1 of a new short story, about Yorani Cruxi Ama'Ka, a very old witch and wealthy woman whose boring ball gets upended...

Part 2 | Part 3

"Ugh."  I hoped the wine would make the boredom go away.  Instead, I remembered how it never agreed with me anymore.  Oh to be young and able to drink again.  To really drink, to swallow and gulp, not this prim and proper sipping non sense.

"Grandmother I don't understand why you still go to these things, if you find them so boring."  Durrig gave me a pitying look.  Poor boy goes to the university, you would think they might've taught him something.  Still doesn't know how to control his mouth.

"It isn't like I have a choice, Durrig."  I put the wine on the table.  "Why does the Banker insist on such cheap wine?  At least get something exotic, like what the Spice Khan serves."

Durrig sighed.  "Grandmother-"

"I have to make the regular appearances, Durrig."  I put a hand on Adanya.  My feline familiar let out a purr.  She was bored too.  Poor thing.  Fifty years together and we still never differed on the opinions of parties.  I wonder if the long-furred blue-and-black cat missed being able to party like the young debutantes too.  "Can't afford to not be invited.  Have to say my greetings to all the old money, check on who is doing what- besides, I also have to see what young debutantes you've decided to chase after."

Durrig's cheeks blushed red at that.  "Tha-that's-"

"Oh c'mon."  I put an elbow on the table.  "I've seen more than a few fetching young ladies here.  Don't you want to share that old Sabizi charm, eh?"

Durrig got up from his seat.  "Um- I'll go refill our drinks I think."

I gazed down at my mostly full wine glass.  The boy didn't even bother to pause before fleeing.  I tried not to groan.  More boredom to grind me into dust.

"Adanya, why did I give up adventuring again?  At least the catacombs were never this... this..."

"Chokingly prissy?"  She supplied.  She let out a yawn.

"I suppose."  I looked around the ball room.  A dozen older aristocrats sat at tables like me.  The wealthy and powerful, all probably tired and half-asleep.  The young folk all were mingling, chattering out of their own kind of boredom.  "I do hope something happens."

"At least a new band is about to play,"  Adanya observed.  "Perhaps something not-so-blah?"

I patted the old familiar with one of my wrinkled hands.  A scar on one knuckle reminded me of a fight with a zombie so long ago it must've happened to someone else.  When did wrinkles come?  When did it become painful to comtemplate standing up?

I looked up at the stage Adanya had mentioned.  A quartet had set up.  They started to play, very soft and beautiful music.  It stirred me, I felt the hurts of being old fade for a moment.  Then she walked onto the stage.  Ah.  The Banker skipped on paying the right kind of price for wine, but had obviously paid a heavier price.  The Voice stepped onto the stage and I wondered how much the Banker had to pay for it.

She wouldn't ask for money.  Whatever she had asked for, the Banker paid it.  A heavy cost, perhaps some union leader had been let free or maybe the Voice talked the Banker to donating to some charity.  Whatever it was, it made me smile.  One thing to make this abominable boring ball interesting could be done with anything, even if it was just a single song sung by the Voice.

Adanya and I both got to our feet.  It hurt, and things popped that always surprised could pop, but I stood up anyway.  The Voice began to sing the first word of the song.  I could see Durrig on the otherside of the room, his arms around a young lady in red.  Good.  The music did what I couldn't do about his libido.

Of course things were going along just fine.  That way I never suspected that the photographer would've exploded.  Screams followed the spray of blood and flashing light.