Song: Miriam by Norah Jones.
While not all the lyrics fit, the song -does- set the mood and it was with its tune in mind that I wrote the post, so as always, i encourage you to listen to it.
MiriamThat's such a pretty nameI'm gonna say it whenI make you cry
"Aurelia," the page said, "a message for you."The electress disinterestedly asked who it was from as she flicked her hand out to take the telegram and he name rattled off to her meant nothing, but as soon as she flipped the note open and read its contents her eyes flew wide. "Leave me."
"And I am not to be disturbed until I leave my quarters."
She read the note again and nearly dropped it in surprise. "So the gladiator knows," she managed to muse before she crumpled the paper and tossed it angrily into a nearby furnace. "What does he hope to accomplish there? Retracing his steps will never change the past!" She stormed from one side of the room to the other repeatedly, thundering to herself as she did. "He will always be the pathetic one. He will always fail. She will always die. And if remembering that night rekindles his strength then so be it -- he is already broken. Muscle and mind alone cannot save his soul."
She paused midstep and caught her words in her mouth and echoed them. "If remembering that night rekindles his strength..." Her eyes quivered to the noble bed in her chamber, shrouded in fine linen and with rich silk, just like that bed sh remembered from the night two centuries before. The more Brykon relived the past the more he knew about it and the stronger he would become. Already the colonel had strained the chains Aurelia bound him with and threatened to go feral on her. She could not allow it. She had to be stronger than he, more powerful and dominating over him, for there was no greater victory than to see hope rise in the enemy just to stomp it flat as the insurrection began.
But Aurelia was keenly aware that Brykon was a devious man, not a savage, and derived some great fuel from the intellectual. If that were the case then she should drink from the same fountain. The bed was the catalyst that threw her mind into the same past Brykon saw, though her side was different.
* * * * *
"You know he's wealthier than we are," Huascar, the scholar, said. "If Brykon ever becomes aware of us and our plan he will surely try to end it, and he has the power to do so."
"What makes you say that?" Ambages asked, curious.
"Because look at us!" Huascar said, pointing at the other Peers present. "There are four of us, mere Matoran, skilled in the arts and sciences no doubt but still weaker than whatever he can lob at us. And need I remind you that just last meeting we learned of our fifth member's untimely demise? We can die and we are weak."
"It's also important to point out that Brykon is a powerful patriarch in his own right," Lothar, the doctor, brought forward. "True, his family is small and there are few he can trust, but others will answer any call to arms he makes. Furthermore, his history is one of adventure and derring-do. His familiar strengths aside, he has the advantage of being bold enough to move against us. And I need not point out his unnatural devotion to the old ways. Anything that defiles Mata Nui in his eyes is criminal and he will punish us swiftly if he discovers us."
"He can't discover us," Aurelia proudly blurted.
"But he can," Lothar fired back. "Brykon is a powerful lord and people readily give him information. For now we are safe, but our scheme constantly grows and with it those who will know parts of it. Given time, it is likely he will discover our true colours."
Silence fell upon the conclave as Ambages, the first among equals, debated in his mind. "There was speak at the wedding feast last year that he wished to consummate the marriage..."
"Yes..." Huascar confirmed.
"Then he will have a child."
"I'm afraid I do not follow," Lothar said.
"I think we all know that challenging Brykon directly is suicide. He is strong and he is wise, and even if he were to die his pallbearers would continue to defend him even in death. We cannot kill him. He is a proud man and will not bend easily, but we can break him. Kill what he holds dearest -- his wife -- and his faith will shatter."
"And what of his offspring?"
"We can forge him into a sword we can use. He will give him to his only brother to raise, who we can use to our benefit. In time Brykon will flounder and then rise up against us, but his rage will be his finest downfall."
"That still leaves the matter of his wife," Huascar pondered. "How should we off with her? We don't have assassins we can trust. We don't--"
"I'll do it," Aurelia spoke up.
"You?" Ambages asked, incredulous. "But she knows you well. You are longtime friends."
"And Brykon doesn't know me. That's the point. I know how to get in and abuse her trust -- and I've got the balls to do it."
Ambages held his hands out in admission. "You've got us there. Any objections, anyone?"
There were none.
* * * * *
The night was warmer than usual and Aurelia had ditched her fur coat in the carriage back in the koro. She walked through the thick, green forest with confidence; the sliver of the moon shone down and lit her path well enough for her to do without supplement save her Onu-Matoran eyes, and since she saw everything around her she felt no fear. Even the fact that she was going to murder one of her longest and best friends did not disturb her or frighten her nerves. The knife she chose was stashed in her chest armour, safe and close, and while it was a little uncomfortable she ignored it and instead devoted to being believable.
As she came up to the magnificent, pretty house she still breathed in awe at it -- the thing was gorgeous. The slight lunar glow bounced off the starched marble facade and erupted off in light and made the house ever the more surreal to her sensitive eyes. She wished to have a house as pretty as Brykon's and swore that one day she would grant her own desire. She managed to tear her eyes from it and came up close to the walls; she peered into one window and saw Brykon smoking a pipe in his study, keenly peeling through a book. Miriam always said books were his other love. He wouldn't leave that pastime unless she begged him to, and so Aurelia knew he would stay there long into the night. Still, her eyes bored into the lord's forehead and she pointed her finger at his heart and went "pew!" He had no idea what was coming for him.
She flitted to the other side and saw the master bedroom's lights still flooded out. Miriam tended to stay up long into the nights due to her insomnia that always seemed to kick in when she was alone. Perhaps that was why she loved Brykon so much -- with him her problems all went away. In a way Aurelia was doing her girlfriend a favour; she wouldn't have to suffer from the absolution of her man's life. Things would be better that way. She picked a piece of pumice from the ground and chucked it at the second-story window, and Miriam answered the tick in a heartbeat.
And I'm trying not to hurt you'Cause you might not be that badBut it takes a lot to make me go this mad
"Aurelia!" Miriam almost shrieked.
"Ahhhh, you've caught me!" the Onu-Matoran acted. "But shhh! We mustn't alert the sleeping dragon I have just stole around!"
Miriam chuckled. "You've always been the funny one." Brykon was affectionately called a dragon for his thunderous personality and bravado, much akin to and as mythical as a fearless dragon. It was Miriam's own pick of a nickname and the only one she tolerated for her husband. "Why are you here?"
Aurelia stretched out a bottle of wine. "Girl's night in?" she cooed.
"You're on!" Miriam said quickly. "The side entrance! Race you to it!"
Miriam won hands down and gloated over Aurelia for it. "No fair," the electress said. "You're a toa."
"Yeah, well, someday, if you're good, you can be fast as the wind like me!"
"Someday," Aurelia murmured to herself as Miriam led her back to the bedroom, "but not today."Oh MiriamThat's such a pretty nameAnd I'll keep saying itUntil you die
They drank into the night and emptied the bottle in no time so Miriam had to pull a new one from her reserve, but the toa never once realized between all the chatter and smiles that Aurelia had never finished her own glass from the start. As the hours went on and Miriam grew weary, Aurelia saw that as her sign.
She tossed the two empty bottles out the window and into the dust outside, then coaxed Miriam to the still unruffled bed as if to tuck her in for the night, helping her as she drunkenly stumbled into the big bed -- Miriam never realized until it was too late that she was being placed into her grave. Aurelia gently set her friend down and straightened her body out on the firm mattress.
"Hey, you still have the magic massage touch?" Miriam asked gently.
"You know it. Want one now?"
"Yup!" Miriam said with a pleasant sigh. "Make it as if it were your last."
Aurelia obliged, kneading her friend's shoulders with the skill of a courtesan and watched her drift off. Just as she sensed her friend was on night's door, she said softly, "Miriam?"
"Oh, Miriam." She gently climbed up on the bed next to her friend and looked into her face. Cute, friendly, lively -- just the perfect pal ever since Aurelia arrived on Mata Nui. She could see how easily Brykon fell for her.
She pulled the knife from her bosom and placed the warm edge on Miriam's thin, elegant throat.
Miriam's eyes fluttered open at the metallic sensation and saw her friend's hand precariously close to her chin. "What are you doing?" she asked with a hint of alarm.
Aurelia smiled deceptively. "Miriam."
I'm gonna smile whenI take your lifeMmm, mmm, mmm.
The toa shrieked as loudly as she could in an indecipherable jargon, not begging for mercy but calling for her husband to storm in by her side and save her from the nightmare.
Aurelia pressed the sharp edge into the throat and yanked on it, slicing deep through the artery and ending the shriek with the quickness of a fishing bird.
Without missing a beat she left the bed and flew to the window, then closed it after her and hung onto the sill for one last glimpse into the room. Her dead friend's blood pumped out of her jugular and onto her body and bed like a fountain spray and died down just after Brykon charged into the room to sob, depressed in an instant. Aurelia suddenly understood and appreciated how Ambages truly was a master at understanding people, because true to his prophesy Brykon, once proud and mighty, fell to his knees at one single glimpse of his ex-wife. Aurelia relished the moment, savored the desperation before letting herself down into the dust. She picked up the bottles and skipped away into the hot jungle back to Ta-Koro, her twisted deed done.
Still, she was not ignorant to her action and looked back at the mansion's front doors one last time and narrowed her eyes at the seal that hung just out of reach above the massive entrance with a hint of sadness. After all, the ancestral seat of House Shaddix would never again be that grand.