Snippet Sunday: Satiating the Appetites
Welcome to Snippet Sunday on PP.net! Today’s excerpt comes from the project alternately referred to as Rudabet and Queendom, neither of which are titles so much as identifiers. Anyhoo – this is from a chapter deep into Part One featuring one my favorite characters, Abeterus. He’s a naughty man. There are adult themes in the following snippet. Consider yourself warned.
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A pair of exquisite young women, one with brilliant red hair and a second with hair as dark as jet, busied themselves at his table, setting out a feast for his supper. The delectable scents of roast duck and spicy tomato bisque wafted across the table to him and he sighed in pleasure.
A fruitful day had given way to what he hoped would be a fruitful night. There was food enough for two or three; fresh, dark bread with herbed butter, a wedge of horrible-smelling but delicious soft cheese, a mix of roasted winter vegetables, cubed and salted, the piping hot soup and of course, the duck. Abeterus was tempted to call the red-head back, to connect the freckles upon her flesh with his tongue and to spend himself, tangled in that vivid mane. He refrained and instead, dug into the food with relish.
He had been called to a war council at noon and been privy to all manner of preparations for the coming attack upon Baidra. Despite his status, General Abeterus had remained mostly silent during the long discussion. He had endured tedious objections from old, done men who lacked the spine to return to the battlefield; worse than them were the young men who should have been eager to grab glory but instead, whined about leaving their wives’ beds or the distance or the weather. Who waged a war in Winter, anyway, they had cried, bleating like sheep, the Campaign could wait until Spring or Summer. To his surprise, the Emperor had been most insistant that they conquer Baidra as soon as possible. He had mentioned the possibility of naming his bastard son, Iaokobas, as a governor once the island belong to the Empire. No one objected, least of all Abeterus who had suggested the idea to Lelivia, but from the expressions upon some of the other generals, not all of them appreciated the idea. After the debacle that Laravor’s eldest bastard had caused a decade ago, the thought of any of the Emperor’s bastards with any sort of power was worrisome.
Arescovar was dead now, but he was only first of seven known bastards. Oriola, the simpering, spineless beauty, had been the second born and was her father’s spitting image. Lelivia had kept the girl close when she was young, but married her off as soon as she flowered. Iaokobas was mere months older than Laravor’s eldest legitimate son, and seemed a decent sort, but he had only been granted short visits at court by his sickly, over-protective mother. There was another girl after Iaokobas, Giaoxa, who was black-eyed and comely, but she and Alektos had been caught in a compromising position two years ago, and she had been married off immediately. Abeterus was not convinced that Giaoxa’s toddler, Fuarius, was sired by her sudden husband and not by her half-brother, but he supposed it mattered little. Neither Giaoxa, nor her son, would ever sit the Imperial throne.
A fourth bastard was called Palinos, and was Giaoxa’s full sibling. He was a handsome youth, but callow. Fifth was another girl, too young to marry, and last, a young boy whose mother had given him the preposterously presumptuous name of Laravon, as if he were a legitimate child who deserved the familial moniker.
Abeterus chewed thoughtfully on a greasy mouthful of duck, wiping a dribble from his chin, and concluded that his plans were in motion and for all intents and purposes, managing quite well. His eyes flickered toward the door. Soon, Laravor would be abroad again with a long, perilous campaign ahead of him. There would be no lack of opportunities for an assassin’s blade to find his back, for a drop of poison in his wine, to smother him with one of the fine, silk-covered pillows on his featherbed. For one blissful moment, Abeterus imagined he were the one holding that downy violet pillow, the fringe spilling through his fingers as he gripped it in fists gone white from the exertion. Then he took another bite of his supper and sat back in his chair, licking his fingertips.
He would have to resign himself to allowing a cat’s paw to relish the actual deed, instead spending the next twenty years of his life ravishing the Emperor’s beautiful blonde widow. It was a worthwhile trade-off.
With a frown, Abeterus cast a gaze at the window and watched the setting sun linger in the western sky. It was getting late and his expected guest was increasingly tardy. Suddenly the dinner he had so eagerly devoured turned to a brick in his belly and Abeterus pushed his chair away from the table. What could be the delay? Had they been discovered? Was the conspiracy over before it even began?
A soft knock sounded on the door and the General motioned for the meek little slave boy to open the door. A tall figure stepped through the door, enveloped by a plain brown cloak of roughspun. Abeterus took immediate note of the silver-shot leather boots and loose-fitting red silk trousers peeking out from beneath the cape and shook his head.
“You’ve a lot to learn, boy.”
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Whew! Who has a lot to learn? A co-conspirator is about to be revealed! I’m actually very excited to get back to work on this piece. The full outline is complete and more than half of the first draft is done as well. So, what do you think? Comments, questions, suggestions, requests? Let me hear it below!
Love & Rainbows,