Hasser was a small man barely standing five foot six but he wore a flamboyant attire, here loose and there clinging, that overcame his physique. Around his torso was a baggy, teal, silk shirt cut away from the right shoulder to reveal a velvet, crimson and gold tunic underneath. It was tucked beneath an exquisitely tooled belt, inlaid with square cut yellow gems with tiny bronze cymbals hanging at regular intervals. Also tied to the belt with a leather bead-strewn chord was a clear ampule of green tinted liquid, poison. Behind the belt was a coral hilted dagger, the coral rough and a deep burgundy color. He wore leather pants the color of bittersweet orange that clung tightly to the shape of his legs and his ankle boots were maroon suede leather. To the Lord of the House Rant’s eyes it was something out of a scribe’s comedy, but among Hasser’s people it was a crier to the public, I am a dangerous learned man.
He sat in a high backed, royal blue, cushioned chat with a redwood frame. It had golden spear heads imprinted on the fabric of the cushions and the legs of the chair were whittled into the shape of spear points. The same as the one sitting opposite him presently occupied by Lord of the House Rant. Master Craftsman Erold had made them as a gift for Rant when he succeeded his father.
Hasser had been given much wine in the past two days since his arrival and he had drank none of it. At first he swirled his index finger in the chilled beverage to feel for the gritty residue of poison or sedative, but now he did it just to occupy his restlessness of which there was no other outward sign. Unknown to the Lord of the House was that priests of the Desi were not permitted to drink if they belonged to the Brotherhood, those of the Fray of course were another matter. The Fray was a “rival” priesthood in Hasser’s home Diya’hum.
The Fray occupied the Imbibers’ Horn, a large island mostly occupied by a single mountain with a vast system of caves and it was the source of a lavish tale or two. In his boredom and annoyance, Lord Rant almost wanted to let his mind wander into the exotic tales of Diya’hum or the Ouvari and their priesthood. He couldn’t though, he had grown impatient these last two days since Hassers’ wagon creaked and rolled to the front of the estate. A colorful canvas covered each wooden wagon, the planks seeming to have natural waves in them, and not the least with a fully grown, iron-caged lion in tow. Colorful streamers and ribbons were tied to the bars of that cage.
The best wine had been poured, the goose down pillows primped, and satin sheets were laid out, yet nothing in the way of progress. On the first day, some hours after their arrival, both Hasser and his escort, one very large very quiet Ouvari named Benjaffe had disappeared. Well not exactly, but he had remained confined to his quarters with Benjaffe at the door not permitting anyone to enter. When asked why the Second Errant, which was Hasser’s title, had isolated himself to his amenities, the rough no doubt soldier only said, “It is the livelihood of every student and priest of the Desi to be as close to the Aram’more as possible, whenever they can. Our trip has been long, and at present Second Errant Hasser has suited himself to the psalms and provers of the Venn-Dire.” Other than these words, the only thing that Lord of the House Rant was able to observe was the illumination coming from beneath the door. An open window, toward which Hasser never ventured, unleashed the strong scent of incense on the courtyard and it hung in the hallway outside the room.
Beneford Andrews is the pen name of Andres A. V. Meza III. He writes fantasy fiction, short scenarios, and is trying out short stories.