Title: The Rules Of The Game
Series: Radiant Historia
Character/pairing: Selvan, Dias. Sorta preslashy.
Author's note: fic promptly, Radiant Historia, Selvan/Dias, A Game of Thrones. Pre-game. Spoils a lot of the Dias and Selvan storyline.
The black and white merged into shadows in the dim light of the room. The room still smelled faintly of the wine from dinner, the embers, the ashes. Dias usually kept his rooms more well lit, but he had dismissed his maid for the night as soon as the table was cleared.
He held five of Dias's pieces: a knight, a bishop and three pawns. Dias held two pawns of his and a rook he had carelessly placed when distracted by the way Dias was playing with his long blond hair. Through it all, Dias seemed to play with a certain languor, as if his mind were elsewhere. Dias fingered the black chess piece. He thoughtfully traced the top, his graceful fingers lingering for a moment. They were effeminate fingers, unmarred by scars or callouses of a warrior. Selvan had to keep his hands gloved when in polite company. Most women didn't like the sandpaper roughness of his palms, though some had found it something of novelty.
"It's your turn," Selvan reminded him.
"I am still deciding," Dias said. He hummed as he studied the board. It may have looked like Selvan had the upper hand for the moment, but Dias had a habit of turning things to his advantage.
He stroked the lines of his black king.
"Have you ever thought of a world without kings?" Dias said suddenly. He pushed the king over on its side–such a useless piece, so vulnerable, and yet so key to the game.
It was treason, madness. The firelight flickered in Dias's luxurious manor, casting shadows over Dias's beautiful face. Many had underestimated him, during their training years and even now. There was a hard edge to his beauty, like winter, and rough cut crystals. his gaze was intense as he studied him for a reaction.
And yet, Dias had perfectly enunciated the words which had been haunting him for months, perhaps even years. He looked quickly around, and saw nothing but shadows.
"Those are dangerous words to be saying," Selvan said in an undertone. "You could be executed."
"That is exactly my point," Dias said. "A place with insufferable kings and we have to be keeping our voices down in our own manors, lest any servant decide to betray us. But think of a world where we take this excess and remake it. Where there won't be any tyrants like our dear king."
"You mean to make a bid for power?" Selvan asked. He frowned. Granorg was not like Alistel, so easily swayed by whatever word of the prophet. They valued their royal family, the same royal family who defended them. These were what always held him back from such revolutionary thoughts. It was one thing to have a tyrant for a king, but when that tyrant held the entire fabric of the world within his fat, bejeweled fingers, well then such excesses would have to be tolerated.
"Victor has made a fool of his people. It would only be fair that we share the experience with him, don't you think?"
"You've a plan?" Selvan asked.
Dias nodded. He pushed a stray golden curl from his face. There was nothing but ruthlessness in his gaze, now. The formation of a plan. He'd seen this before in successful campaigns where none of the enemy soldiers escaped.
"The king is lonely, and I think I've just the cure. There's a woman down at the local bar who is said to be quite the beauty. She's a complete commoner, though she's apparently honed her skills and aims to be someone's mistress," Dias said. "I was alerted to her by one of my contacts...I found her entirely too coarse and crass for my tastes, but she'd be perfect for our dear, dear king."
Dias preferred the best in all things. He made his servants wear gloves, as to not stain his clothing with their lower-class filth.
"A commoner?" Selvan said. "It's taint the line. The ritual would be halted..."
It dawned over him just what Dias intended. Not merely a joke, to give their king a low-born courtesan as a wife. Something far more perfidious and deeper. Treason. Everything after this would be destroying their country, all the while smiling and pledging fealty to whatever monarch was on the throne.
"You must destroy the rotted foundations before you can rebuild," Dias said quietly. "And the foundations of this country are rotted through and through."
"You wish to become king?" Selvan said.
"No, I have no intention of putting myself on that throne. That's the last thing this country needs, another king. Think of it, Selvan. An ideal country which we ruled," Dias said.
They'd known each other since training days, partnered together in war as they rose in the ranks. He had been his close friend—perhaps his closest, though he'd never let himself linger on that thought too long.
"You're the only one who I can trust with this...who would understand. You must have seen it, the road this country is headed down. King Victor executed his own son," Dias said.
Selvan had known the boy, though only vaguely. Ernst and Eruca were devoted to each other, good children who were all too willing to be sacrificial lambs. Too good for their own good, until the king feared being overthrown.
He imagined a world where those beautiful, blond haired royal children wouldn't have to led off to slaughter, where no king would execute their own progeny. A world like that would be worth any amount of bloodshed it took to create it. Surely the ends would justify the means.
How often had he helped Dias in battle, had they carried out moments of Dias's plans together? There wasn't even a thought of leaving Dias alone to whatever end he had plotted out.
"I don't think I can do this alone," Dias said in a softer, more weary undertone.
He took off his glove and laid his hand palm up on the chessboard, turning pieces over as he did.
"You always had my loyalty," Selvan said. "Now is no different."
Dias laid his slender, soft hand on his.
"Good. Until we make this world of ours a reality, we can only trust each other."
You're all I've ever trusted or trusted in, he thought.
"You'll have to be the one to ask her and help her. She doesn't much care for me, it seems," Dias said.
"She must be jealous of you," Selvan said. She wouldn't be the first woman–or man–to be outshone by Dias's beauty.
Dias gave a wan smile at this. There was always a downward turn, a sardonic edge to his voice, his smiles.
"Then she's intelligent enough to recognize her better when she sees him," Dias said.
But not so bright that she'd recognize a ploy when she saw it.
He took one last glace down to the board and the pieces left in chaos. They had not broken contact in this time. Kings, queens, bishops, rooks, knights and the common rabble that were pawns were scattered about until the pieces were so integrated, one could hardly tell which side was which.
"The king is dead," Selvan began.
"Long live our empire," Dias said.