Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Wednesday Snippet - Bow your heads and proffer your thanks

I didn't get as much writing done as I'd have liked last week, but I think as the story heads into the third act and I have to start tying all these plot threads together, that's a little inevitable. Still! The good news to take from that is that I am heading into the third act, which means the end is slowly creeping into sight. Huzzahs!

Thorn steered the cart to the centre of the square, which was quickly filling up. Speculative murmurs filled the air and she tried to tune into those rather than think about the pyres. By the time the bells fell silent, the square was packed, and Lola had to stand up in the cart to get a good look at the cathedral doors. As much as it meant looking at the pyres too, it seemed if some announcement was going to be made, the announcer would come through the doors.

A creak behind her told her Rags had joined her on the cart, and a few seconds later he shoved his way in next to her, his musty feathers masking the smell of the pyres a little. He cawed excitedly, earning himself glares from Oriax and Thorn.

Lola was so focused on the cathedral doors that she missed the movement above them until Rags cawed again, ruffling his wings and drawing her attention up to a wide balcony. The railing was draped in thick swathes of gold cloth, emblazoned with an image that put her in mind of a mutant centaur. Thorn let out a long, low whistle when he saw it.

"That is the crest of the Shining Emperor," he told her.

Lola's blood ran cold. When the balcony doors flew open, she started violently, heart shooting into her throat. The creature that emerged was a short, four-armed demon with skin that glittered like diamond dust in the sun. He shuffled to the rail and threw his arms out wide. A hush fell over the gathered crowd, rich with anticipation.

"Citizens!" he cried out, voice unexpectedly deep. "Bow your heads and proffer your thanks, for a great day has dawned! We are gathered here this morning to celebrate a great union, one that will bring joy to the hearts of all loyal citizens. I give you the Fourth Prince of Gehenna and the Shining Duchess!"

He stepped aside, making way for the tall, dramatic couple who swept out onto the balcony. The crowd erupted into cheers at the sight of them. Lola barely heard them. The sound of her own hammering heartbeat drowned out every sound and the only thing that mattered, the only thing that existed for her was Tristesse, standing high on that balcony, so close and so utterly out of reach.

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