“Sixty linen sheets,” Eurydice le Fidelé placed a check on her list. She nibbled her quill idly, then jotted something down. “Condition--good to fair.”
“Are you really going to review every item on that list?” said Justinian Sigma quietly. “After all--we were only here a few days…”
“Steward’s duty,” replied Eurydice. “If my father were here, he’d be doing it. He isn’t. So I am.” She shrugged. “That’s what it means to be a Fidelé. Especially the Fidelé.”
“So--what happens to your children,” asked Justinian. “I mean they won’t be Fidelés…”
“Of course they will be,” replied Eurydice. “The only way they wouldn’t count would be if I married someone from a more prestigious family than myself, and that won’t happen.”
Justinian nodded. The more he came to know the Lands of Night the more he came to appreciate the strange, subtle differences. The Fidelés spent their lives doing things that in much of the Lands of Light would have marked them as menials--here, they were some strange sort of nobility, right between the Dark Lords and their subjects. A strange sort of nobility, in a strange sort of land. Seven help me, I wish I could I hate these people again. It would make my life so much simpler. Even Malachel’s crime inspired more a sad pity than any real hatred--the pathetic scheme of a pathetic man.
“Well, this is it,” sniffled Morgaine Cthonique, as she ambled into view with Fiordespina Maganza on her arm. “Our last time together for… a while.” To Justinian’s surprise, the Dark Lord was clad in surprisingly simple clothing for once--a plain white gown.
Fiordespina buried her head in Morgaine’s hair. “I shall miss you, my dark enchantress of the netherworld.”
Morgaine wrapped her arms around Fiordespina’s waist. “And I’ll miss you, Despi! Write! Write as often as you can!”
Fiordespina pulled away for a moment. “You know that I will, my glorious cadaver.” Then she leaned forward for a kiss.
When it was over, and Fiordespina had left, Morgaine wiped a tear from her eye. “Are you going to blame that on allergies?” asked Justinian quietly.
Morgaine glanced at him. “I’m starting like you, Sigma. Don’t make me kill you.”
Justinian sighed. “It’s just that while you were preoccupied, quite a bit happened…”
Morgaine shrugged. “Yeah, I know. I don’t care. I mean--you cannot imagine what we were up to. Literally.” She chuckled. “I have a hard time figuring out how she comes up with some of this stuff!”
Justinian sighed. Oh, yes. He really, really wished the world was simple once again.