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05 January 2013 @ 08:23 am
FIC: The Windmines of Bora Bora - 11/11 - Epilogue  
Author: Osiris Brackhaus
Story Title: The Windmines of Bora Bora
Part: 11/11
Rating: R
Configuration: /
Warnings: slavery, despair, previous rape and torture mentioned, off-screen rape, frequent and graphic violence
Word Count: 1.300/36.000
Setting: 'Phoenix Empire' verse, see Phoenix Empire Timeline & Index
Characters: Ivan, Smelly
Summary: A short while after the events on Bora Bora, Princess Anita finds some maids chatting in the linen closet...

Note: Don't miss your chance to have a say on where the story continues - there a poll up on Beryll's journal!

“Oh my god, isn’t he gorgeous?” A young woman’s voice, hushed but brimming with excitement.

“And he’s from Yaiciz, can you imagine? Hasn’t he got the cutest frown?” Another woman’s voice, just as fluttering.

“They say here he was a gangboss. A real criminal.” This girl spoke shyly, her blush almost audible.

“Well, I sure as hell wouldn’t present him to my parents.”

“Of course not. Your mother might just swipe him for herself!”

All three women broke into half-suppressed laughter, the sound echoing eerily through the high corridors of the ducal palace of Yaiciz.

Princess Anita felt her left eyelid twitch.

What were those twats thinking? Gossiping during their shifts? Right in the ducal palace? How could they dare to be so disrespectful?! Those girls should be on their knees with gratitude for being allowed to serve the Duke and his family!

Another bout of girlish giggles broke out of the storage room, finally snapping Princess Anita’s last nerve.

“What the hell?!” Barging into the room like a vengeful goddess, Anita’s voice was a low, furious growl. “What is this impertinence?”

Inside the small storage room full of linens, the three servant girls turned around and almost died of shock on the spot. Their faces as white as their starched pinafores, they huddles together, the oldest one protectively pushing the younger ones behind her.

Scanning them swiftly, Anita almost bared her teeth with disgust. None of the girls wore collars, so a swift, wordless whipping was out of the question. Oh, how she hated commoners. First thing she would do as Duchess would be to completely abolish that silly notion of citizen rights, pointless and cumbersome as it was.

At least the girls looked appropriately frightened, she found.

“You have shamed this house your are working for,” she hissed through her teeth. “You will not be paid for this day.”

“Yes, Highness,” the oldest girl replied meekly, her head bowed to give as little offense as possible. “We are humbled by your leniency.”

Anita only snarled something unintelligible in reply. What had those girls been thinking? That she wouldn’t notice? Did they really think her that stupid? She was almost about to leave the linen storage again as she noticed something odd.

“What are you hiding?!” Anita barked, her hand grabbing the arm of one of the servant girls as fast as a striking snake and with just about as much mercy. “Give me that!”

With a startled yelp of pain, the girl surrendered what she had been hiding behind her back. A magazine, Anita found with mild fascination, a cheap, colorful magazine. Looking at the cover, she felt her bile rise again. A ‘Quest Log’, of all things. The primary imperial propaganda tool, extolling the virtues of those well-groomed Phoenix Knights, their retinue and their silly little adventures in all detail, saturating the minds of the common populace with the ridiculous idea that the Emperor actually cared for each and every one of his subjects.

“Really, a Quest Log?” she asked, her voice dripping with condescension. “Wasn’t there any decent propaganda of your own rulers to be found?”

For a second, the girls looked at her without comprehension.

“But Highness,” the youngest girl finally asked, “isn’t this a great day for Yaiciz? After all, it’s the first time that...”

“The first time that what?” Anita snapped at the girl who seemed to have swallowed her tongue all of a sudden. These imbecile commoners couldn’t even speak straight! “Speak, girl, or I’ll whip it out of you!”

“Sir - Sir Yaden has picked a squire, Princess,” the girl stammered, her hands crunching the fabric of her pinafore in her lap. “And it’s someone from Yaiciz! Isn’t that a great honor?”

“How great an honor can it be if I wasn’t informed?” Anita spat.

But her curiosity had been triggered, and she searched the magazine cover for clues. A Phoenix Squire from Yaiciz? Why hadn’t she been consulted? After all, she was one of the strongest psions on the planet, and easily the best fighter. The Emperor should feel honored if she even considered his request. But then again, the Emperor probably was too afraid to have someone with real power around him, someone who didn’t just do press conferences and movie premieres on his behalf. But what did she care? It was his loss, after all.

“There’s a centerfold poster of him in the magazine,” the youngest servant girl volunteered in a completely misguided attempt of smoothing things over. “I am sure he’ll bring great honor to our planet.”

“Yeah, right.” Anita grumbled. “Right after he’s done licking the Emperor’s boots.”

Mildly amused at the mental image, Anita thumbed through the magazine until she got to the middle and flipped out the folded poster to have a look at that quaint tool that was now ‘representing’ her planet in the name of the Emperor. The poster showed a young man wearing ridiculous red leather pants and basically nothing else, wielding two flame-wreathed sabers in a completely impractical stance, staring right at her with a cocky grin.

She was just about to say something patronizing as suddenly, her world seemed to tilt and fall out from under her.

Because, almost hidden underneath that cocky smile of his, the squire wore her brother’s face.

Her slave brother, that embarrassing failure who had fainted from trying to light a candle flame. The one she had personally seen off to the mines, never to return again. The one person she had been sure she’d definitely seen the last of.

“Who gave you this?” she barked, her voice almost breaking, shocking the servant girls even more. “Who DARED to do this?”

“We bought it, Highness.” It was the elder girl who tried to answer for the others. “I’ve bought it from the news stand right across the street from the main entrance, Princess, during lunchbreak -”

But Anita didn’t listen any longer.

The magazine still in her hand, she rushed out of the room, a cloud of angry white sparks trailing behind her.

How was this possible? Nobody ever returned from the mines! And why were they claiming Ivan was a psion now? Could he have escaped and aligned himself with the Emperor? Was he planning a coup?

Ivan was much too stupid for all this, she decided, so somebody else had to be behind this. Did the Emperor already feel Anita breathing down his neck? Or was someone else trying to have a puppet Duke at the ready for when they made a move? But why the hell did they make it publicly they had Ivan?

Thoughts were racing in Anita’s head as she rushed through the palace. She didn’t even notice that she left burning footprints on the polished stone floor, licking flames in pink and lavender. Her body was giving off heat so intense that the air shivered around her, and where her fingers touched the magazine, the paper was already trailing fine tendrils of smoke.

Finally, she reached the balcony above the main entrance and almost ran towards the balustrade. Across the street, she could see the newsstand the servant girl had been talking about, just a hole in the wall between a café and a jeweler.

A part of her was still hoping that this was all a joke, a nasty hoax initiated by someone she could just burn at the stake for his lack of respect.

But even from up here, she could see a whole pile of magazines resting on the counter just like the one she was holding in her hand. And almost everyone bought at least one copy, congratulating each other on the great publicity for the planet this news spelled.

The image of everyone on the planet laughing at her behind her back for failing to get rid of her retarded brother burned the last bit of decorum out of her. Like an explosion, the air around her suddenly superheated, a giant plume of pink and lavender flames rising to the sky. The magazine didn’t even have time to catch fire, it just combusted in a bright flash leaving nothing behind but glimmering white ash.

“IVAN!” she yelled at the top of her lungs, not caring whether anyone saw her or not. “I’m gonna kill you, you rotten bastard! Hear me? I’M GONNA KILL YOU!”


The End

spirit_dol61spirit_dol61 on January 24th, 2013 10:47 pm (UTC)
Yaden's discovery of Ivan's family heritage
Lord Yaden is not a fool. I think, neither are his superiors. While he is distracted, as he has come home to be reunited with his fiance, the PR team has begun their advertising campaign about Ivan. I think that is going to be the undoing of Ivan's secret to his Lord ...those who knew him before, beyond just his sister, will certainly recognize him before too long. How will Lord Yaden react to his squire then?
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on January 25th, 2013 08:09 am (UTC)
Re: Yaden's discovery of Ivan's family heritage
You are right, Ivan is taking quite a risk here not telling Yaden up front what's lurking in his past. But there's two factors playing in his favor:
A) Most people who knew him won't recognize him, because he definitely isn't a shy boy or a frightenend, angry pet any more.
B) Those who DO recognize him will probably not make their knowledge public - would you speak up, reminding a Phoenix Knight that you raped his Squire or sold him into slavery in the very first place?

Rest assured, we are going to keep this revelation for the worst possible moment. ^^

Thanks for commenting!