Monday, March 23, 2020

Star Talker: Part 30: The Shara

Selima

If I had once compared Rha’han to Apis, I was sorely mistaken when I laid eyes upon the Shara of Klothar. The man at the head of the room was a veritable giant. Even with the distance between us, I had to lift my head slightly to look him in the eyes. He was thickly muscled like the soldiers that had captured me, more so than I might have expected of a monarch. As Rha’han had claimed, he resembled Rha’han greatly, although his braids were longer and peppered with silver. His horns were the same as Rha’han, only thicker and longer. Golden rings with huge gems adorned his horns and golden beads were woven into his hair and his beard. He wore a long garnet tunic that ended below his knees, embellished with silver and gold embroidery, the trim encrusted with small gems. All four of his biceps bore the same coiled cuff that Rha’han wore and each of his hands wore a number of golden rings.

For the briefest of moments, I met his eyes. I had thought Rha’han’s eyes golden, but his were the color of molten metal and just as bright. The kohl around his eyes made them even brighter, seeming to peer into my soul with the intensity of his gaze. His face bore the lines of age, but he didn’t feel old. With what I now knew of Rha’han’s age, I imagined he was probably in his sixties, but nothing about him was frail.

He had the look of a warrior. A belt of thick gold chain was slung around his waist with links the size of my fist. At each hip was a long sheath of gleaming leather with jeweled hilts glittering in the light of the room. They looked like they might be long daggers in his hands, but in mine they would be short swords. The richness of the hilts spoke of decorative purpose, but I had little doubt they would be as lethal as the more utilitarian models I had seen on the soldiers.

I held his gaze and drifted forward, away from Rha’han to half way between him and the Shara and dipped into a deep curtsy, dropping my gaze to the floor. I waited there in silence. I could feel a dozen sets of eyes on me. It felt like an eternity before the sound of his heavy boots began to make their way toward me. My thighs strained to maintain the bend, but it was one of the customs I remembered from my childhood training, so I waited. Finally, he gently touched me on the shoulder and I rose. He was so close, I had to tilt my head all the way back to look at him. My head didn’t even reach his chest. I was about eye level with his belly. After a moment of towering over me, he backed up a step or two and spoke.

“I am Amrach Malikar of the Horned Crown, Shara of the Klotharan Empire.”

I curtsied again, a short dip, before rising again. “I am Selima Fouad of Centauri Prime, official interpreter for the Centauri Bassir mission.”

The Shara narrowed his eyes slightly and studied me for a brief moment. “Yes, I keep getting told about this mission, but I had not heard of it before this week. Which is why you’re here, my lady. It seems my own people insist on keeping things from me. Authorizing secret research expeditions without my consent. You will give me the answers I seek.” 

I frowned. “I am confused. I would not think the ruler of an empire would be personally conducting interrogations.”

Amrach smiled, looking me up and down and arching a regal brow. “You are correct. Normally I would leave such matters to my soldiers, but you are a...special...case. There is something about you that causes my family to disobey me, and I am curious to know what that is.”

He made toward a relatively small table and gestured toward the seat nearest me. “If you’ll have a seat, my lady. Rha’han, you may sit there, but you will not interfere with the discussion. Understood?”

Rha’han nodded and took the designated seat. “Yes, Sire.”   


Wicked Wednesday

1 comment:

  1. Oh this might just get totally interesting. Am still thoroughly enjoying your story!

    Rebel xox

    ReplyDelete