It’s Writing Prompt Wednesday! Remember, I don’t edit these, except to fix spelling mistakes as I make them, so they’re about as surprising to me as they are to you!
This one is from a first line generator at-
He wanted her job, and it would be easy enough to discredit her
After all, she was one of the Sisters of Borvil, with marks of her service to Death fresh on her skin. Her lineage was a secret that Kano knew, but the King did not.
Kano put on his finest clothes, clothes almost worthy of a king’s secretary, before his wife called him to the door for a kiss.
“Kano,” she said. “Good luck today. I’ll make an offering for your luck.”
“Thank you, wife. It should be easy enough to win this one, even without the help of the gods.”
“Then I’ll make the offering for Cara, that she will be happy in the afterlife and looking over her mama and papa.”
Kano met the steward in one of the many receiving chambers.
“I’m here about the king’s secretary,” Kano started.
“You’ve come to pay your respects? To conduct business? To beg her favor?”
“I’ve come to replace her.”
The steward looked at Kano through his thick grey lashes. “Is she ill?”
“Perhaps,” Kano said. “I would like to see the king about this matter.”
“The king is a busy man.”
Kano waited. And waited. He waited past lunch and past the evening meal, until finally the king walked by, with only a brief glance, flanked by the queen and his secretary.
The steward followed them into the chamber, a guard keeping his eye on Kano.
Kano could hear nothing of what happened in the chamber, but the steward returned.
“You may enter.”
Kano went through the open door and seemed to see a smirk on the steward’s face as he passed.
The chamber was not well-lit, a red candle burned in each corner shedding only enough light to see the figure standing in the middle of the room.
“I came to see the king,” Kano announced.
The voice that answered seemed to crawl through his ears and invade his head, snaking around his brain uncomfortably. “You see me.”
Kano tried to shake the horrible voice out of his head. He cleared his throat and pulled his shoulders back. “I’ve come to see the king.”
The voice was back in his head, an awful snake slithering around. “You see me. What business do you have with the king?”
A headache was forming behind his eyes, the kind of headache he got from caged unicorns, a magical defense against his impurity. He shivered, cursing himself for it. She was a bastard’s bastard, a lesser creature and a Sister of Borvil, he was an honest man from a good household. He straightened again and moved loser to her. The smell of burning wax surrounded him, a comforting smell, and he clung to it. “I would like to speak with the king about my business, not with you.”
When the voice returned, the warm, comforting smell of candles was gone, replaced by a distant sour smell. “You would like the king, yet you have me. I know your intention, Kano, and you know mine. Leave here, leave here now or never leave here.”
Kano’s legs twitched, ready to take him away, but he forced them to move closer. The secretary’s hood obscured her face as he approached, the thick, dark velvet gleaming in the dim candle light. When he was almost near enough to touch her, a wall of smell and feeling held him back. He smelled death, tasted it, felt it prickle his skin like electricity. “You are a buschi, a bastard’s bastard and not fit to clean up after the king’s horses, let alone to pen his notes and care for his secrets.”
“And you are?” the whisper in his head challenged.
“I am- I am the son of a noble merchant and of a- of a line of-“
The secretary moved toward him now, so slowly she hardly appeared to move. Beyond the wall of death was something much worse, a sweet beautiful smell- a smell that he had loved and longed for every day for three years. A smell he and his wife had cuddled up with for a few short years before Cara was lost. The smell of Cara, sweet little Cara with her rosy cheeks and sparkling blue eyes.
When the voice in his head spoke, it wasn’t the horrible voice that squeezed his brain and writhed in his head- it was Cara.
“A line of what, Papa?”
Tears sprouted from Kano’s eyes, his face twisted in pain. “You witch. How are you dong this?”
The secretary’s face didn’t move when Cara’s voice spoke. He could see only her chin and lips, a fat, puckered scar cutting through both.
“Do what Papa? Papa being mean!” Cara’s voice said.
Kano trembled, he could almost see Cara pouting at him with her perfect little mouth, her disapproval clear in her blue eyes. Why are you leaving me, Papa? Papa being mean!
He’d given in to the little girl, taken her to work and a captive beast had crushed her when she got close. Tiny Cara, broken so quickly.
This wasn’t Cara. Cara was dead. This was a witch. A death-worshiping witch who would destroy the kingdom if she was allowed such intimate access to the king.
“Your highness!” Kano shouted, desperate to get the attention of the king. He opened his mouth to shout again but the secretary’s mouth covered his. She warm velvet, the smell of death, the candle wax all invaded his nostrils and danced in his brain, rolling seductively with the awful voice.
“Kano, don’t yell. Don’t fight me, Kano. You cannot win. I was thrown into the service of death at birth, I am a buschi, a nightmare creature, and I will not allow you to take away my chance to do good. I will destroy you and it will torture your wife. Leave now and be alive or be noble and die. It’s no matter to me what you choose.”
Kano felt his knees weaken, he started to pull away, to leave and go back to his job in the stables with the creatures that hated him, with his fragile wife who made daily offerings and prayers to the gods who had betrayed them, to the reminder of his dead little Cara.
“No,” he said, pushing her away and reaching for his dagger.
“As you wish,” the secretary said, pushing her hood back to reveal her scarred face and her empty eye sockets. Her mouth opened for the first time since Kano had entered the room and light exploded out from it, surrounding him, crawling into him, filling him with a hopeless, painful joy.
The buschi picked her new jewel up from the ground, a dazzling sapphire, and slipped it into the lining of her cloak. She replaced her hood and went to the kings inner chamber. She would send the jewel to Kano’s widow in the morning, with a note scrawled on the cheapest parchment she could find. She wished the widow well, but with no one to care for, and no one to care for her, the secretary knew that once the sapphire was sold and the money spent, the widow would have few options. Her selfish husband had known that, and left her to her fate, anyhow.
“Sylphie,” the king said. “Who was the visitor? Anything important?”
“No, sire,” the secretary said in a sweet, musical voice. “It was no one important at all.”
This one kind of developed into some interesting things. Buschi was inspired by the idea that a Nosferatu was the illegitimate child of illegitimate children, but I didn’t quite flesh out what a buschi is or does. Or a sister of Borvil. But I like it, in all its sloppy glory!