|Lawful And Lawless
Author: Happy Mask Salesgirl PM
Chapter 18, oh my! Does court and clan know when to hold 'em, and when to fold 'em? Still with a forum full of Nu Mou lovins. Reviews, plz? We hartz u long time. :BRated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Romance - Chapters: 18 - Words: 37,556 - Reviews: 35 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 11-29-06 - Published: 03-09-04 - id: 1765364
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The cover of the ageless tome was ever a lovely, frustrating puzzle, pieced of many polished woods and a single blue gem. With the barest brush of a smoke-furred finger it spun apart, spiralling above the yellowed pages and about the smooth sapphire round like a constellation circling a world in miniature. Heh...good analogy, that. He would write that one in his memoirs.
"Ezel...you cannot possibly."
"Who says? The royals? That collar you wear takes on new meaning, Babus."
The other flinched, color rising beneath the beaten gold band to the fine ivory fur of his cheeks. "I say. The laws are needed, Ezel...and you are needed to help the Judges enforce them."
He lowered a finger to touch the lone carved triangle floating nearest the pages.
His low chuckle faded as he met Babus's stare. The flashing blue challenged him with warrior's resolve, but Babus's narrow shoulders and muzzle trembled, barely guarded. Damn it. "Then, I will be missed. I am flattered to no end."
"...Ezel...it will be to your end. There is no prison for traitors. Please..."
To the blue stone itself, now...gently pushing downward through the first two rings of dark wood.
"Ah, indeed...for traitors they can catch." Holding out his palm, a card slowly rotated into existence from the emptiness above it. "We've spent too much time arguing long before this. They will not change. Whether my leaving tightens the noose on their neck or cuts it is up to them."
Babus turned from his own defiant eyes. Doubly damned. "Can you seriously say yet they will not hang? That they SHOULDN'T? The lives of Ivalice are not the Prince's playthings...or his security blanket."
The pages turned rapidly in response as his memories did, fluttering to the beat of his pulse.
"They are yours, then? The Judges cannot say what is just and injust, but you can?"
"Oh, even I'm not THAT modest. Neither of us, Babus. Let freedom reign while we play our game of cards."
"Chaos. Ivalice will become as the Jagds. You would cost lives for court and clan. You cannot judge the Prince so, Ezel. You cannot possibly understand..."
"Better me than a mob with pitchforks, no?"
Pages sketched over with strange language and studies of humans in foreign garb stopped the flow, as he felt his heart catch.
"I cannot let you give them that chance."
The whitened knuckles gripping the heavy staff were no hollow threat. Babus Swain was as much an oddity to the Nu Mou as Ezel himself was...skilled more in physical conflict than magical. The stitches that rejoined his ears to his skull after a brutal encounter with a Panther were the only scars visible to testify...but there were many more, a crisscrossed history of pain only the healers and Ezel had ever seen or soothed.
Ezel reached out with his free hand to caress along one of those beautiful, wounded ears, and Babus tensed with a breath, though Ezel knew he could not truly feel the touch."Come with me, Babus. If you want to be a slave...be mine, as I am yours."
"...I am no one's slave, Ezel."
A faint smile as the pages glowed white fire within.
"Good answer. Don't forget it."
The card exploded with light from his other pawhand, and Babus cried out in surprise, blinded eyes squeezing shut.
The inticate cover slowly sank back together, the magic committed.
"Two can play this game as well, Highness."
A smirk, now.
"Luckily for you."