Time ground on. Its beat the inescapable rhythm of the world, and everything bowed before it.
For the first time in his short life Richard couldn’t wait to be finished with his lesson. His stylus scratched out a final response in the wax tablet, and Richard raced to hand it in to his teacher. He was gone before the man had even checked the answers. Richard ducked through the bronze studded gate and across the blue tiled courtyard with it’s bubbling pool and sweet jasmine. Finally he was in his mother’s quarters. Suddenly shy he slowed and wondered if he should have washed his feet before the baby’s cry coaxed him forward.
“Richard, come and see.” At his mother’s low voice Richard stepped into the nursery he’d left a short few years ago. Gabriel was seated with his favorite red ball, his eyes large and solemn as their mother sat propped up on pillows. Richard crossed the floor and peered at the bundle his mother held. The small face was red and scrunched and there was a mass of black hair on the tiny head. “Her name is Sen,” Richard’s mother stroked a long delicate finger over the round cheek. “Promise me you will protect her, Richard, it will be your duty to guard your siblings.” The six year old nodded with as much dignity as he could muster eyes sliding over the infants bow of a mouth and across the room to his brother.
Richard blinked slowly as the ringing in his head gradually subsided, and he licked the blood off of his teeth. The barbarian sneered deciding that separating the ten year old girl from her brothers wasn’t worth the trouble of killing them all. Richard tugged Sen behind him again as Gabriel began whispering the secrets he learned and how to gain favor with the Captain of the current barbarian hoard who was desperate for legitimacy. Richard nodded and reached out with his shaking magic to touch the enemies’ mind.
His silken robes displayed the insignia of his fallen and destroyed house as Sen, resplendent in red walked around the matrimonial fire. Only the knowledge that she could rip her new husband limb from limb calmed the fire in his gut. Knowing Gabriel would soon leave to serve as a scribe hurt as well, but they had to appear weak for now. They could not bear suspicion when Sen’s husband died in a few years and his lands followed his widow to the house of her brothers.
Richard watched the high table where the aging warlord grumbled into his cups. The young server, the son of a minor lord, carried a heavy tray. As the lordling reached the warlord Richard reached out twice. To his brother’s mind with a quick thought that it was time and to the server with a graphic and gory image of the boy’s father-dead. The lordling jerked and food and wine spilled over the warlord. Gabriel closed his eyes and flashed the warlord’s discontent into rage. With a roar, the warlord stood and gutted the boy. The hall fell silent as Captains and lords alike looked away from the scene. They’d known the warlord was slipping, but now-now leadership would have to change.
Sen lay bleeding sluggishly on the battlefield. Her power tapped and her strength fading. Richard faught panic as he struggled to keep his mind touching hers refusing to let her slip away. Beside him Gabriel placed a hand on his shoulder and the two brothers threw all their power into their sister. Pain laced through Richard hovering over his side and shoulder where his sister was bleeding out. Gabriel gasped his fingers white on Richard’s shoulder, but Sen-Sen was standing. Dimly Richard could feel her mind brighten as she took up their battle standard and ripped into the enemy troops.
Time ground armies into dust and history into myth. It scoured engravings and truth was shrouded in pretty stories. The oldest of the Trin Empire’s gods quietly closed his book. His long fingered hands went to the chain around his neck and the single jewel that hung from it. Time defeated all things in the end, or so they said.
Very, very late, but I stole the first line from More than 1/2 Mad.