Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Red As Any Blood--Part 25

Pell glanced over the platter at his guest. "So, what do you think?  Aren't the flavors exquisite?"  He cut another slice of the pale flesh and chewed it delicately.

Ryke gave a quick nod, even if he felt that the meal he was being served tasted rather like slightly rangy beef.  Pell was a man of Precieuse, that strange twin city of Joyeuse--indeed, a nobleman by Precieuse's own strange standards.  And that made him a very proud man, who it was very important to stay on the good side of.  "Excellent," Ryke managed.  "Excellent."

Pell smiled at Ryke.  "Very good.  I knew you would enjoy this meal, Ryke.  You are a fellow aethsete, cast adrift in this cruel and barren world."  He gave a lofty sigh.  "Ahhh, cruel, cruel world.  I feel it does not deserve me, but there it is.  And my exile in this place..."  He clicked his tongue.  "Most unfair.  Most unfair. Do you realize these savages don't hunt these beasts, but them swim around their harbor, next to their ships?"

Ryke nodded again.  "What do they call them again?"

"Dolphins, I believe," said Pell, taking another bite.

Ryke gave a cough.  "So... about my news..."

"Terrible, terrible," said Pell, holding back tears.  "To think, such treachery and factionalism could take place amongst the Prince's Men!  Oh, what dear, dear Amfortas would say to that!"  He sniffled.  "I hear such terrible things back on the continent.  What a world.  What a world."

"Indeed, sir," said Ryke.  "If you would but give me your viceregal seal of approval to handle matters..."

"Of course, Ryke," said Pell.  "Of course! Are we not in this together?"  He gave an emphatic nod. "We most certainly are.  Why men of good taste must act in concert, for the good of the world!  That is what the Prince's Men is about!  Or should be."  He sighed.  "Frankly Amfortas has let some truly awful riff-raff in of late."  He glanced at Ryke.  "Now--come--come!  Finish your dolphin!"

Ryke forced on a smile, and swallowed another slice.

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