Snuffs of dreamdust
Warnings/notes: suggested Settsimaksimin ('Maksim')/Ahzurdan ('Danny Blue', 'Dan'), ooc/oos, three-drabble set.
Disclaimer: The wondrous world of 'Drinker of Souls', 'Blue Magic' and 'A Gathering of Stones' was created by Jo Clayton. These drabbles are about characters introduced in 'Blue Magic'.
written at 10th march 2005, by Misura
He wants it and he craves it and he isn't sure if the world holds enough of it to satisfy him, because it's painfully obvious to him that powerful people always hunger for more, more, more.
The catch is, of course, that since those who have power want more of it and since power, by laws of logic, can be exhausted, depleted like a sack of wine, the possession of power brings attention to oneself. Those who have power are constantly struggling, not merely to keep what they have, yet also to rob others of what little power they possess.
Should he ever gain enough power to feel safe, to be able to say to himself: I am me, and I am mine, only mine, nobody else's, then for sure he'll find himself constantly assaulted. Not safe, never safe.
More power doesn't bring more safety; it brings the opposite. And, naturally, obviously, the reverse, for without power, a man will always find himself a slave to those in power, be they mages or rulers. There is no middle, no position he can stand on and declare: I am no threat, I am here and I stand aside from the rest of the world and you cannot command me.
He envies Settsimaksimin grealy, for his great power and his great safety and, most of all, for his great enjoyment of his life. Power seems like a protective mantle to Maksim, something that hangs around him and floods through his veins and resonates in every word he speaks.
It scares Ahzurdan, a little, and it attracts him, much more.
He has always wanted power, as much as he abhors the thought of possessing it, and likewise, he worships Settsimaksimin, and fears him equally.
(Cause for Celebration)
An experiment has been finished, with success or not is a question to which only their Master knows the answer, since none of them is foolish enough to risk disrupting the joyous mood by making inquiries. Why would they care, anyway?
Settsimaksimin, who has been snappish and snarlish for days and days, has declared that he is done, that it is time to relax somewhat, which means that a selected few will get to accompany Maksim to some tavern, where his gold will buy them enough entertainment for an immodest orgy and enough drink to cause a headache that'll last for a month.
They know this, all of them, as well as they know that Maksim himself will not feel any of the strain at all, will scold them for being weaklings to complain about a hang-over the next morning, when a new idea has already relit the fire that burns inside of him.
It makes no difference. To be chosen by Maksim is an honor and a pleasure, and they'd all murder for it, or worse. Had Maksim been any other, he might have been amused by this, subtly encouraged their competitiveness, like a rich man taking pleasure in seeing two poor men fight over the change he has thrown to them, while the clothing he wears could buy each of them a house and a year's worth of meals. Then again, had Maksim not been Maksim, they would not have adored him as much.
Ahzurdan fidgets in the way of a maiden bride as Maksim strolls by, ostensibly to check on each of his apprentice's progress with the tasks he has set them to. In reality, as everyone knows and holds his breath for, he is here to decide who will be invited to come along with him, and who will remain behind, to lament his fate, and vow to work harder in the future, to prove himself worthy.
Rationally, Ahzurdan thinks there is nothing to Maksim's choices. Laziness is unthinkable among them, not due to Maksim being such a tyrant and slave-driver, but rather due to Maksim not being either.
Naturally, Ahzurdan has always been ruled by his emotions, by feeling and wanting and desiring. Logic has little control over those things, and somehow, he has come to accept that, regardless of the discomfort it causes him.
His stomach seems filled with butterflies for a moment as Maksim halts, breezes past him while declaring his Danny Blue looks too serious and in need of a party.
As the blood rises to his cheeks, Ahzurdan curses Maksim for the power he holds over him, while another part of mind soars and basks in the glow of having managed to please the man he is proud to call his Master, the man who has handed him the keys to his own power and, in doing so, has chained him forevermore.
He does not know where he shall go, where he can hide for someone like Settsimaksimin, who is more powerful than he himself will ever be able to bring himself to be.
All he knows is this pressing need to leave, to run, to leave behind the life he has lived for many years now, learning and practicing, the life that he, undoubtedly, could have lived for many more years yet to come, only has chosen not to, for the sake of ... something he cannot name.
It scares him, at any rate, more than the punishment he expects to receive from Maksim, should he get caught. In truth, it's hard to imagine that he won't, that he has won free of someone who has never sought to chain him, yet bound him tightly by bonds of his own creation.
It scares him more than Maksim himself, who is, from a certain point of view, not a frightening person at all, merely a practical one. And, always, a powerful one. It's, Ahzurdan thinks, why Maksim attracts him so strongly, like a flame beckons to a moth, inviting it oh-so gently to flutter around itself, maybe even warning it to be careful not to get burned.
A flame, however, will still be a flame. Ahzurdan doesn't think he is a moth, precisely, but to be near Maksim makes him feel like one, on one too many an occasion, and so he has started running, not intending to stop until he has no breath left in his lungs, either because he is dead, or because he is finally safe.
Ignoring the sinking feeling that perhaps, he will never be safe, not from Maksim, who has marked him so clearly in his mind, if not his body -never his body-, Ahzurdan hurries onwards, not daring to look back, for fear of what he might see, and what he might do upon seeing what's behind him. Or not do.
x- a beginning -x