(The necro story)I don't want to be shown the flat of the blade and told it's harmless. I want to see how sharp the razor edge really is.
The bed curtains draped the supine figure on the bed in comfortable shadow. The familiar smell of death and decay set the household on edge by sheer anticipation. Grandfather was dying but only he was sure of what that might entail.
Tyrrae sat on the stool beside the bed. She still wished to keep him informed of the family’s daily life, and her nightly visits were ignored by her parents. Tonight she was later than usual, and Grandfather was eager to hear all.
“Tell me of the Ceremony, child,” he rasped. “What do you think of your Betrothed?”
Tyrrae recalled the slim well-muscled youth in the incense filled chamber. “He is pleasing enough as far as looks go. Darque comes from a good family closer to the Queen than our own. Yet, we are known for more Power from the Godhead, so it is a good alliance for both families, and better than most secondborns. As to what I can think of him further, only time can say. We had little time to speak, and none alone.”
He shifted in his equivalent of a nod, recalling his own Ceremony decades before. “I barely got to see your Grandmother. They did not allow us to even speak, and veils were required.”
Tyrrrae recalled the formal introduction with the long lines of the family trees being recited by the hired Heralds. There was careful scrutiny between parents and heralds for no interlockings- this should be the first union between these two Houses, and would hopefully allow the founding of a new House. In Grandfather’s day, the bride and groom would have stripped veils from their faces only upon the announcement of their full names. Tyrrae and Darque had only moved in a graceful controlled bow with impassive faces. He had sworn first, by moon and spidersilk, pricking his finger on the sacred knife and smearing the blood across her forehead. And she too had sworn- that they should soon marry and uniting their Houses in blood, wiping her own smear of blood across his forehead. Then, for a delicious moment, they sucked delicately on the wounds of each other’s fingers, and Tyrrae caught a glimpse of things yet to come. Perhaps it would not all be bad to become an adult, and move into her own household, with this man Darque.
Grandfather interrupted her reverie. “When does the wedding occur?”
“Oh,” she smoothed down her robe and shifted her weight on the stool. “In two months at the next full moon. It is to be in the Rock Temple.”
“It would have better portents to be married at moondark,” the old man grumbled.
Tyrrae nodded. “I tried to speak with Mother about it, but she had read the bones. She will not be changed. She then reminded me of my usual visit to you, and has gone off into the tunnels. Father is seeing to arrangements, but dares not balk her.”
Grandfather laughed. “It is typical of them. But they have left the most important work to you. And six weeks is not much time.”
“What do you mean? I can do nothing for planning the wedding. It’s not like I do not know what I shall wear or who shall attend. Custom demands I be naked except a veil, and the Houses will declare the guest list. All I must do is remain secluded until I leave this House.”
Grandfather patted her arm with his withered hand. “You forget, my dear, what you shall bring to your new House. Power. And it is time for you to learn how it should be wielded.”
She brushed off his hand in dismissal. “I can already command any of the household servants at will. And Mother has promised me Jokna and Hrok, over my sister’s objections.”
He chuckled again, which turned into a coughing fit.
Tyrrae waited patiently for him to finish.
“How will you create others? Or defend yourself? My dear, you need to learn all of this Power that you have.”
“I have had my lessons at school…”
He cut her off impatiently. “The stuff you learn at school even your father can do! No, that is but a baseline to learn upon.”
“To truly learn anything more, I need to have a Grimoire, and that belongs to Lize, as firstborn. It is her right, and I may not touch it.”
“Aye, she may have your mother’s Grimoire. But who said that was the only Book Bound in Black Leather in the family?” He coughed and smiled at her astonishment. He reached under his pillow and pulled out a book bound in dark leather with silver embossing. He traced the word T’Nyl fondly one last time before handing it over. “Here,” he said. “I obviously do not need it anymore. This was my grimoire, given to me by my grandmother. The direct line of books is always entailed. But I may give my book where I see fit. You may, given time, wish to copy it for your secondborn.” And he smiled even brighter.
Tyrrae cradled the book protectively. To have her own Grimoire was more than she had hoped. It was still warm from hiding in his bedclothes, and she wondered how close it had come to being found by anyone else. As it was not entailed, it could have been claimed by anyone- even by one of the servants! She glanced at the skeleton by the door, but that one was Hrok, and could be trusted. She tucked the book into her robe, and said a fairly distracted thank you to Grandfather.
He smiled as he watched her leave. He was old enough now not to care who saw his emotions, and this blessing for his granddaughter greatly pleased him. He settled in to his most comfortable position and waited for her return.