Governing the Seven Worlds was a set of Laws and dictated Etiquette that all Dhaoine, even the ruling caste, were required to adhere to. But with that came certain exceptions.
One Law was that when a Qishir spoke attend to anyone, one was required to kneel and hear the words said Qishir wished to impart upon them. The dictated Etiquette that went hand-in-hand with that Law was that other Qishir, regardless of whether they held more power or greater standing than the one speaking the attend, was, by virtue of not being rude, highly encouraged to listen to that order; however, unlike any other Dhaoine within the Worlds, Qishir were the only ones capable of outright fighting and ignoring the order to attend when spoken by another Qishir, even one of greater power and standing than themselves.
It was rare for such a thing to be done and throughout the intervening eons since that Law and its corresponding Etiquette was penned it had only happened a recorded hundred and five handfuls of times. The reason it was often adhered to was solely because the act of refusing a Qishir’s orders in any form fell under the Law and Etiquette of disobedience and its response of war should the Qishir who spoke attend wish to go to that extreme.
Rhyshladlyn had just become the recorded one hundred and five handfuls and one instance in which one Qishir refused to listen to the spoken attend of another.
“I’m…f-forgive me, my Lord, but I be-believe I mish-heard you,” the courtier stammered, eyes the color of freshly tilled farm soil wide, his shock dropping away to be replaced by fear.
“No, you heard this one correctly,” Rhyshladlyn retorted, standing as he rolled up his copies and began to tuck them into a satchel he had Called in before vanishing it out once it was full. As the second heir to the Sinner Demon throne turned to regard the courtier the orange-amber of his irises began to break past its confines and stain the white sclera beyond as the anger that Rhyshladlyn had banked, held fast to with a control far more powerful than the strength of the untamed oceans and the quaking of the earth, rose back to the surface, bleeding into his voice as it dropped to hover just barely above the line of the subvocal range. “I refuse.”
The courtier blinked owlishly before blurting, “But Qishir Lulphé spoke attend upon you!”
Rhyshladlyn’s laughter was sharp and it screeched like nails on stone as it slithered out and against the walls and across the floor, making those who stood as witnesses in the Records Hall, their shock and fear palpable, shudder as it slid across their skin, leaving welts on unprotected skin.
*Rhys…you must breathe, your voice alone is beginning to do harm to innocents,* Shadiranamen cautioned as she stood up and waved a hand to send the original Scrolls from which they made copies zooming back towards their proper places, Nhulynolyn sending the tomes they had collected to read over the last hour and a half to do the same before they both returned to their incorporeal forms and settled back inside Rhyshladlyn’s body.
While he did not acknowledge his Other verbally, Rhyshladlyn did take a deep breath and let it out slowly so that his power pulled back enough that when next he spoke it did not harm anyone.
“I am aware of what she did,” he paused as he stepped away from his chair, pushing it under the table in an act of courtesy that was ironic considering that his response to the attend order was extraordinarily disrespectful of him. Looking back at the courtier he enunciated slowly and carefully so that there was no mistaking his response this time, “I refuse. I will not attend as she has so politely requested of me as I have other matters of greater importance than exchanging veiled pleasantries with a Qishir who cares far less for the people of the Worlds than she would have others believe.”
The silence that greeted his words was cacophonous but Rhyshladlyn didn’t care. Shaking an errant auburn lock of hair out of his face, Rhyshladlyn made for the doors to the Records Hall intent on leaving. He had a meeting to get to with his mother.
“But no one can refuse an attend order,” the courtier spoke up and while his voice wavered with fear because he no doubt sensed the danger in the way Rhyshladlyn’s body moved with all the force and grace of a predator and a warrior, his sword hilts clearly visible over his shoulders, skin and eyes glowing faintly with the power he had an ever-decreasing control over, he stood fast in the face of the male bearing down upon him, refusing to move. “No one but a–”
“Qishir can refuse an attend,” Rhyshladlyn cut him off, raising an eyebrow in a silent, ‘and your point is?’ as he halted a couple feet from the courtier.
A beat of silence. “But you are not a… you cannot be. You do not have the same taste as Qishir Lulphé and you are a male. There has not been a male Qishir born in…in…” the courtier trailed off as he struggled to recall exactly how long it had been.
“In over ten thousand years, I’m aware,” Rhyshladlyn supplied, smirking when the courtier looked at him as though he were impressed as well as afraid. “And I am masking my true nature because from whence I hail, were it to be made known what I am, I and my family would die.”
That last bit was stretching the truth a bit but not entirely. Rhyshladlyn had no doubt that Anislanzir would kill Azhuri for giving him a son that was a Qishir and thus tainting the second heir and bringing dishonor to his bloodline. Anis and Alaïs would likewise be put to death for there would be no hiding that they had knowledge of what Rhyshladlyn was the second their mother was threatened. Rhyshladlyn himself may not be murdered alongside his mother and siblings because to do so would definitely draw the unwanted attention of any Qishir nearby if not that of the Eighth Qishir herself and that was something Anislanzir simply could not risk so he would do the next best thing: murder all those he loved and make him watch.
“I cannot tell Qishir Lulphé that you denied her attend without a reason, my Lord,” the courtier said in response, trying a different tactic as he clearly had no idea what to say in response to the whole ‘my family will die’ thing.
“She has clairvoyancy, does she not?” Rhyshladlyn asked.
A frown pulled his eyebrows down and twisted his lips as the courtier nodded.
“Then see this, feel this, and tell her my answer will be discerned by her using that ability to extract the memory of it from you,” Rhyshladlyn said before vanishing his clothes and standing bare skinned wearing nothing by his swords sheathed with their straps crisscrossed over his chest. “And let her and all here gathered know that this is what happens when the calls of one’s people go ignored.” And with that Rhyshladlyn dropped his glamours, allowing each scar to become visible, careful to make sure that his god-Marks remained invisible and allowed his true nature as a Qishir to cascade out from him in one single, harmonious note that held for several heartbeats before it dissipated, hidden away again while his scars remained visible.
Screams erupted from those who could see the wing scars on his back and knew what they meant, gasps from those who could see the scarring that ran from the shoulder of his right arm to his wrist, leaving no inch of the skin there unmarred. Vomiting could be heard as others saw the knife scars that bisected his pubic bone, leaving bare lines in the closely trimmed patch of pubic hair that lay above his groin. Two males fainted as they realized that there were whip scars that crossed from one thigh, over his flaccid phallus, and onto the opposite thigh, disappearing in a curl around one hip to end in deep, twisted scars that were made by the flechettes that had been on the end of that whip when they dug into the meat of his buttock, caught, and tugged out chunks of his skin and muscle as they were ripped free again. The courtier himself turned pale when he realized that the discoloration that reached from Rhyshladlyn’s hairline down his forehead, over his right eye, and ended over his cheekbone was thin lines made by rods that had been heated until they were white-hot and pressed against the skin until it sizzled and burned, carefully laid so that his eye was left unaffected. Thousands of other scars from various abuses and tortures littered his body like a sick sort of artwork, carved into his skin and his muscles and down to his bones by the man who called himself Rhyshladlyn’s loving, proud father; scars that left hardly an inch of skin unblemished.
“Do you see now why I refuse her? Because she knew, she knew, what he did to me, the man who fancies himself my sire, and she knew that I am a Qishir as she is and she did nothing.” Rhyshladlyn said, voice quivering around each word, holding a discordant echo to each word as his power swirled around him, vibrating each word so that it held a Truth no one could deny. No answered but then again, no one had to. Their silence, thick and cloying as it was, spoke volumes. With a snap of his fingers, Rhyshladlyn Called his clothes back and was covered again, glamours back in place. Brushing a piece of lint absently off his left shirt sleeve with an air of nonchalance that he did not remotely feel, Rhyshladlyn smiled but it didn’t reach his eyes. “So tell your Qishir, courtier, that I will not attend. Not now, not tomorrow, not a thousand years from now. So long as I breathe, I will forever refuse her. Make sure she knows that as Truth.”
With a glance at one of the large hourglasses that floated at intervals throughout the Hall, he huffed. “Now, if you will excuse me, I have somewhere I must be.” Without another word, he stepped around the stunned courtier and walked out, eyes a maelstrom of shifting clouds of sapphire blue and ice-blue lightning flashes as he fought to keep his head above the tidal wave made of remembered pain and horrors that had fallen over him with the revealing of his scars. Not even the Healers who worked on him after each session with Anislanzir knew the extent of his scarring. No one knew the exact depth of the depravity that Anislanzir had visited upon his second son, no one but Rhyshladlyn and his Others who shared the vivid memories that their kè fought so desperately to forget as he made for the main courtyard where the Lines were tethered.
Not a single guard stopped him along the way despite them having to have known their Qishir had issued an attend upon him; perhaps it was the look on his face that stilled their hands from reaching out to hinder his progress to get the fuck out of there or maybe they felt the distress that he couldn’t swallow down and mask entirely with a false bravado like he usually was capable of doing. Regardless of the reason, Rhyshladlyn passed through the hallways of the Eighth Palace unmolested, every single Dhaoine he came upon moving swiftly out of his path for reasons unbeknownst to him.
He waved a hand jerkily to open the main doors before he even reached them, reaching out with that same hand to take hold of a line the second he caught a breath of fresh air. As he caught a Line and began the journey back towards the Fènwa World and home, a single thought broke through the tide of memories and remembered agony:
If it is the last thing I ever do, I will destroy Anislanzir Faolan Ka’ahne.