Clavis loved defiance. Julious had told him to have a series of Sacrea requests reviewed by that morning, when he knew perfectly well that it didn't need to be reviewed until the following afternoon. So, it was only logical to Clavis that he should put it off until it absolutely had to be done.
Besides, it annoyed Lumiale when his subjects moved. That made Clavis a perfect subject – he didn't move unless it was necessary.
Clavis was, at the moment, leaning uncharacteristically on the edge of his desk, holding a tarot card in one hand. Lumiale was perched on the edge of a wooden chair, intent on the canvas in front of him. He had already told Clavis it was to be called "Cimmerian Paradigm", although Clavis could not guess what his friend would do with a painting of him. In the painting, he was bejeweled with droplets of water rather than amethysts; he seemed to be standing in a spray of mist. Real Clavis was surrounded by shadows and purple velvet. Abruptly, Lumiale lifted his brush and looked up at Clavis. "Did you notice… have you seen Julious today?"
"Alas, I haven't had the good fortune to entertain his hallowed presence yet," Clavis said, soft voice dripping with sarcasm.
"It was odd," continued Lumiale. "I saw him in the hall, like he was leaving…"
"Was he followed by his sanguine knight?" Clavis asked, again with cynicism. "They might have been going to play with the ponies."
Lumiale paused to survey his friend. "Are we in a bad mood today?"
"Hopefully you're not, but I am."
Lumiale lowered his eyes to the painting. "I'm sorry to hear it." He dipped his brush into a glass of water and tried to paint. Clavis was gazing at him now, with those unsettling dark eyes.
"You don't like it when I call him that." It was true; Lumiale hated the tone that Clavis sometimes took when speaking of Oscar, when he called him a sycophant and Julious's servant – because the way Oscar treated Julious and the way Lumiale treated Clavis were not so different.
"You ridicule him for having respect for Julious."
A shade of a annoyance crossed Clavis's face. Lumiale changed the subject: "I can't believe it's Dia's birthday. Actually – I can't believe she got here before I did, it seems to other way around." He smiled to himself, trying to picture the Junoesque woman as a sixteen-year-old girl.
Clavis's expression darkened. By some numinous force the office seemed to agree with his mood; it was as if the shadows grew longer and a chill pervaded the air.
Lumiale began to quietly pack up his paints and brushes. "I'm going to leave the canvas here; I don't want to disturb it right now," he said hesitantly. Clavis did not look up, did not reply. "I… I'm going to leave now." Nothing. Lumiale suppressed a sigh and hurried out, leaving fake Clavis and real Clavis alone in the caliginous gloom.