Chapter One, Scene Three (Part One)

“I’d have beat your ass too,” Eelyx laughed between mouthfuls of fried crab noodles. Sylith had invited both of his friends over for dinner. His mother, Neelath, and his father, Duaan, had decided to go for an evening stroll after dinner. Sylith had prepared their meal as a way to curry favor with his parents after that little scene in the market. It wasn’t even a big deal and Sylith was a man fully grown! True, he did live with his parents, but there was nothing for that. There was no shame in it. There were plenty of young adults in Ma’Bagi that still lived with their parents.

One day, Sylith would build his own home and revel in the independence that came with it. The only problem was that it was not customary to leave your parent’s home until you were married, no matter your gender. It made sense. There weren’t enough resources on their little island to warrant that many homes. They could have imported the lumber or the stone, but that was costly and impractical. There was also that secret hope that Sylith wouldn’t live out the rest of his days on Ma’Bagi… That was a foolish hope on his part. It would never happen. Twin-spirits were not permitted to leave, and he was considered a Twin-spirit; so were Eelyx and Abrex.

“Oh, do come off it, Lyx,” Sylith said with a roll of his eyes. He busied himself as his friends ate. The kitchen would not clean its self and his mother had made it very clear that the house was to be spotless upon her return. Sy would not risk incurring her wrath a second time in one day. Scrubbing at the cast iron pan, Sy went on, “You’ve done way worse yourself, Lyx. Need I remind you of the itch-worms you snuck into your sister’s bedding? I’ve never seen you howl so much! Ma’Kaan sure had a field day whipping you from here to Rathvee.” It was his turn to laugh at that; Abrex even started to quip. Eelyx’s eyes shot daggers at Sylith.

“Don’t call him that. He doesn’t deserve a title of respect,” Eelyx grumbled.

“He has passed his training in Bibliomancy, done many a service to the clans; I think your father is well deserving of the title ‘Ma,’ Lyx,” Sylith shot back instantly.

Abrex nodded, “You really shouldn’t be so hard on Father, Lyx. He’s only hard on you because he cares.”

“Bah!” Eelyx spat as he shoved his plate away, “I’ve lost my appetite…”

Sylith noted that Eelyx had already finished his second helping. The boy could eat. Sylith rushed over, emptying the last of the fried noodles onto Eelyx’s plate. “Eat. Don’t give me that look. I know you want it. You can feign hatred for your father all you want, but we both know that you love this dish; AND him. You wouldn’t be so good with that staff of yours if he wasn’t drilling you day in and day out.”

Eelyx stared at Sylith with a begrudging look. He didn’t say anything at all when he reached for the plate and attacked the food with gusto. It was empty again within seconds.

Abrex took the moment to change the subject, “So, Sy! Is your sister excited about her Pilgrimage? Avaaz sure is. Did you hear that she’s going to Shu Muqi as well? I can’t say I’m surprised… Sometimes I think our sisters get along better than we do sometimes.” Abrex giggled at that, he didn’t mean it of course. Everyone in Ma’Bagi knew that there were no better friends than Sylith, Abrex, and Eelyx. He wasn’t far off in his estimation, though. Seraph and Avaaz were only a year apart in age and they had grown up just as closely as the boys had.

“Oh, I’ve heard Avaaz go on at length about her plans. Honestly, between those two girls, there’s enough ambition to unite the Domzi clans under one chief! Knowing Ma’Rosi, she’ll still be Keeper when our sisters’ grandchildren are leaving on Pilgrimage. I swear, that woman is indestructible. I can’t believe she taught our parents. I’ve told my Mom about our lessons and she says they sound exactly the same as when she was learning Bibliomancy as a girl…” Sylith said to the pair as he took Eelyx’s empty plate. Within moments it was cleaned and the dining table was spotless. He brought out a bottle of wine and a box of giggle weed before returning to the table.

 

~

 

Stay tuned for part two coming at you tomorrow night!

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