Notes: I have no idea if this came out right or not. This one turned out to be harder than I thought. There are MAJOR spoilers in this fic.


Calintz should have seen it coming. He should have, could have, and would have if he had eyes on the back of his head or the ability to predict the future. Except that he had neither, and even if he did, he wasn't all seeing and all knowing. He couldn't have known anything about what had just happened.

Reith, or rather, Queen Amilla was dead, having sacrificed herself to save everyone else from dying thanks to the actions of . Calintz's longtime best friend, Hugo, also know as Agreian. Or rather, Neikan, or whatever name suited his purpose at the time. The only person Calintz could relate to now was Orha, and even then, they weren't exactly friends. Not after being enemies for so long. He just didn't know what to think now. Hell, his real name wasn't even Calintz, and the thought that his name was used for someone else's intricate ambition sickened him.

Friendship was a double-edged sword, Calintz remembered someone saying. It created trust, a willingness to share deep secrets if friendship was just as deep, a desire to give each other gifts. Like, say, that bracelet which made it all the easier for Agreian, Neikan, or whatever the hell his name was, to start spinning webs that held the world. Or, better yet, if the friendship a turn towards more romantic ideas, one's body.

Just thinking of how his former best friend kissed him, explored his body, fucked him while whispering words that no longer had any meaning, just sickened Calintz. How much could Agreian have learned over the landscape of skin made things even worse. The human heart, after all, could be seen and used as a map which pointed out directions to wherever the reader wanted to go. He couldn't remember everything he said to Agreian, but he remembered revealing a lot more of himself than he would have if he had been able to predict the future.

Calintz, or rather, Agreian, or whathefuckever sat against a sturdy oak tree well away from the area where treachery showed his handsome face. He knew that all the regrets in the world would have solved nothing. He wished could take back all the times he confided in his best friend all he wanted, but knew damned well that he couldn't.

That's not reality, Calintz. One day, you will know what reality is.

"Yea, I'll know alright," Calintz whispered as he remembered Agreian's words. "The reality is that the more I think about it, the more everything was right there in front of me. If I just looked more carefully."

Agreian often encouraged Calintz and the Tears of Blood to look for certain, important artifacts. Oh, he'd take care of the battlefield. Oh, he's wounded, but he can still make strategies that would help the Tears of Blood. Yea, help find those very important items. Sometimes they spoke over spheres, other times they spoke face to face. Either way, Calintz never wanted to disappoint his General best friend, or worry him in any way. No, of course not.

The occasional look on Agreian's face should have been a tip off. How he'd sometimes look away when saying something, or how his eyes would narrow after something Calintz or Mistress Ladrinne, Agreian's or rather, Calintz's, or whoever's mother said. Names, names, names. Hugo, Agreian, Neikan, Calintz, whatthefuckever. At least Ladrinne was who she said she was, except she wasn't Agreian's mother. No, she was Calintz's, and she now slumbered in healing rooms while her mind may never fully recover.

Spider webs defined perfection, especially since they often begun with the simplest of acts. In Calintz's case, the web started when he gave his bracelet to Hugo, or Agreian, or fuckititdoesn'tmatteranymore. Perfect. Simply claim to be the long lost son of a High Priestess, become general, maintain best friends status, extract secrets between bedsheets, keep enemies even closer, and achieve goal. Simple as it gets.

Calintz banged the tree with the back of his head. No, not so simple. He couldn't even begin to think of how he could have pulled the same scheme because he knew that he wouldn't have been able to. His former best friend, rival, and occasional lover trumped him in every way. Everything Calintz said, everything he did, everything that could be considered his played right into Agreian's hands one way or another.

Leaves from the branches, nice green ones full of life. He looked at the lines on them and noted the intricacy of what is usually considered just a leaf. Calintz sighed with the realization that even if he did know everything about HugoAgreianNeikanWhoever, he wouldn't have been able to prove it. Everyone and their mother knew that he and the General were best friends, and who would they believe anyway? Another contest that Calintz would lose, and he had a feeling that Agreian knew it.

When he leaned back against the tree, he felt a knife almost cut his hip. He took it out of its sheath, realizing that it once belonged to Hugo. A gift exchange. Give a knife in exchange for the tiny link that began it all. Calintz gripped the hilt, grit his teeth, and wanted to throw it away, far away.

"You can have it back!" Calintz growled.

As soon as he said those words, he realized that the knife could be a link of its own. Knives were often used to cut through webs of manipulation, deceit, and betrayal. Some knives stabbed in the front, while others stabbed in the back. Agreian spent years doing the latter, but Calintz decided to stab in a more honest way.

One day, you will know what reality is.

Calintz remembered Agreian's narrowed eyes when he spoke those words, how he looked away, and how he suddenly grabbed Calintz, took him, fucked him, extracted everything necessary for a grand design.

"You were right," Calintz said, standing up in front of the mighty oak. "I know what reality is." He put the knife back in its sheath. "Someone is going to pay!"