Blogophilia 1.11 – Krill Part 1
It’s time again for Blogophilia. This week (and next’s) will be a little different, with more prompts than usual. First of all, we get a point for meet and greet, so:
Greetings! My name is Joleene (though really, I go by Jo most of the time. I like it better. Joleene sounds very stiff and formal. Jo sounds a bit tougher and good natured.) What to say about me? I live in Iowa…um…I’m married…um…yeah that’s all pretty boring. This makes me think of Babylon 5 when the Vorlons ask “Who are you?” Everyone answers with the mundane things like that, but that’s not what they’re looking for. I don’t think they ever make it clear what they ARE looking for in an answer. But summing one’s self up is hard. If I have to do it in one sentence it would be: I’ll say I’m an artist who writes because I’m too lazy to draw.
Wasn’t that fun?
- Name something you do at 11 AM – ordered an early lunch
- Name something used in planning a casino heist – secret meetings
- Integrate a line from the movie “Ocean’s Eleven” – Been practicing that speech, haven’t you
- Incorporate a song title from the group Eleventyseven – inside out
- Use a quote from The Bard’s 11th Play – Woe, destruction, ruin, and decay; the worst is death, and death will have his day
- Incorporate the “Ides of March” in your blog
Krill wiped the blood from his eyes and surveyed the damage. Dead and injured were scattered up and down the corridor. The alarm bells, that had screamed for so long, clanged to a stop, dropping the citadel into silence.
“You’re still alive.”
Krill turned to see Migina wipe a gory blade on her pants before she jammed it into its sheath. Her dark hair was pulled back in a long braid, but a few wisps escaped, flecked in the blood of her enemies. Or maybe her allies.
“I see you survived as well,” Krill replied grimly. Though he was glad to see she was all right, the bodies sapped his would-be joy. Among the dead were friends and acquaintances who’d been on both sides of the revolt.
The word felt wrong; impossible. That his fellows could do such a thing…
“Did you see her?” Migina asked.
The emphasis she put on the word could mean only one vampiress: Kateesha. She was the one who’d led the revolt, who had manipulated fellow guards into fighting against The Guild. Krill had heard the whispers for weeks, rumors that something was coming, that Kateesha had big plans, but he hadn’t believed them. If they were true, then Malick would know. As the oldest vampire in the citadel, the head of the High Council, and the most powerful, he would sense such a revolt and stop it before it could begin. Malick could never be taken by surprise.
Or so Krill had thought. Now, he wasn’t so sure.
He nodded his head. “I watched her kill Douglas. Hopefully someone got her.”
“They didn’t. She, and many of her followers, escaped.” Migina glared at nothing, as if Kateesha could feel her fury through the miles.
Krill wiped his bloody hands on his trousers, then regretted it immediately. The stain would be impossible to get out. The attack had come before dawn. There hadn’t been time to change into his uniform, so it was his personal clothing he’d just ruined. “How did they get away?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t see it, only heard that that was why it ended.” She motioned to a group of guards gathering further down the hall, at the foot of the stairs. “Those who were on the upper level may know more.”
He nodded and made his way to the group. Their conversation was agitated, angry, excited, so many emotions mixed together. Krill was momentarily glad that his dream stealer abilities were limited in favor of other talents. He couldn’t imagine being forced to rifle through so much at once.
“…Malick let them go,” one of the guards said. “I swear! I saw it.”
“But why would he?” Another asked. They fell to taking over one another, but Krill knew the answer: because it was Kateesha, and Kateesha was Malick’s favorite. Apparently so much so that butchering her own kind wasn’t enough for her to fall from favor.
He didn’t stay for the conversation, instead headed upstairs in search of an Executioner. The upper corridor was similar to the one below; scattered bodies, damaged furniture. In the entryway the chandelier had been knocked to the floor and lay in field of shattered crystals and broken candles.
Beldren stood next to the mess, poking it with the toe of his boot. The medallion around his neck was the badge of his station; one of the vampires Krill was looking for.
“Excuse me, sir.” Krill saluted as Beldren looked up. “What are our orders?”
“Hell if I know.” The Executioner sent a crystal bouncing across the floor where it landed in a puddle of congealing blood. He sighed then snapped straight. “Do you have anything to report?”
“Report?” Krill hesitated uncertainly. “I don’t…”
“During the battle,” Beldren snapped. “Did you see or hear anything unusual?”
“Excuse me, sir, but the incident itself was unusual. Kateesha and her followers attacked-”
“I’m well aware of that. What I meant was…never mind. I doubt Malick will want to pursue them, anyway. You can go.”
“Yes, sir.” Krill saluted and hurried away before Beldren could change his mind. He wasn’t sure what the Executioner had been fishing for, maybe some hint about where Kateesha and her rebels had gone, or perhaps some clue as to their motives. If it was the latter, that was easy to guess. Everyone knew about Kateesha’s ambition, her desire to be queen of the chaos.
Krill looked for Migina on the lower floor, but didn’t see her. Let her find out her orders on her own. He needed a drink, to change and bathe, and try to make sense of the carnage he’d witnessed.
The battle had started before sundown, but now night had spread outside, and vampires were moving in the lower levels, starting their day despite the ruckus. He stopped off at the next to bottom floor where the vampire’s equivalent of a restaurant was just opening. The waiter took one look at him and balked. “What’s going on? I heard the alarms.”
Krill didn’t feel like explaining it, instead he ordered an early lunch, drank it in two gulps, and left for his own floor. Half finished, this would one day be the second story from the bottom, but for now it was the bottom most and housed living quarters for the guards, the Executioners, and even the high council members. Krill could feel their presence, the heaviness of their years and power, and happily turned the other direction. He wound down corridors, some not yet wallpapered, to his own door. Inside was a single room with a box, a desk, and a wardrobe. He bypassed those to grab his uniform from the chair, and then hurried back to the corridor to the shared bathroom. The indoor plumbing was relatively new. Collection tanks sat above ground, disguised as part of the grain elevators many outbuildings, and water ran down the pipes, pulled by gravity. It was a fascinating system, but it meant there was only so much water to be had, and he intended to make sure he got some of it.
The shared bathroom was only six doors down and had a sink, tub, and stool inside. He quickly locked the door and turned the water on, watching as it flowed out. Though the tub was large, there was a painted line only a few inches from the bottom that marked the maximum water level they were allowed. Though there was no one to enforce it, there was always the threat that guards might be posted if the rules were disobeyed, and being surrounded by mind readers, someone would know if you did.
The water reached the line. Krill shut it off, then stripped, looking sadly at the crimson stains. He’d turn it over to the laundry, but they had a no guarantee policy when it came to blood. Of course, even if the stain didn’t come out, they’d still expect to be paid.
He climbed into the tub and leaned back against the cold porcelain. Behind closed eyelids, he saw the battle again, saw Kateesha storm down the corridor, blades swinging, dark eyes wild with excitement as they peered out from her crimson splattered face. He could almost feel her joy as she zinged past, and then she was gone, moving deeper into the fray, shouting commands to her followers.
He’d heard the rumors rumbling under the surface for some time, whispers of secret meetings, of nefarious plots. He’d ignored the stories. In a citadel rife with mind readers, how could it be true? Unless the mind readers were allowing those not-so-secret meetings to take place. Unless Malick, the head of the Guild and the most powerful of all had known and let it continue.
He did let them go, Krill thought uncomfortably. At the end of the fight, Malick had appeared, his white hair gleaming, and ordered a stop to it all. But instead of demanding the rebel’s capture, he let them go, his laughter rolling down the hallway like an ocean’s eleven waves. Perhaps Malick had known. Perhaps he hadn’t thought she’d really go through with it.
Or perhaps he knew she would.
The last thought was the worst. That he would sacrifice them willingly, and for what? Amusement? It was a chilling thought.
It wasn’t as if Kateesha’s predilections weren’t well known. She’d left The Guild once, twenty-five years ago, wasn’t it? Yes, the figures seemed correct. She’d stayed gone for only two years, with a death sentence hanging over her head, then returned. Krill had been guarding the audience chamber that day. Kateesha had thrown open the double doors and sauntered down the red carpet towards the High Council’s thrones. Celandine, one of the council, had stood, her pale face taut with fury. She raised a hand and opened her mouth, no doubt to order Kateesha’s arrest and murder. Before the words could find her lips, Malick had also stood, his arms outstretched.
“So you return, my daughter! And what contrite words do you bring with you?”
Kateesha had dropped at his feet, her head bowed. “I beg your forgiveness father. I disobeyed your orders with my overindulgence and have seen the error of my ways.” She turned long lashed eyes up to him. “The last two years have been lonely and dark, cast from your presence. The world has been inside out, and I wish to make it right, to return to you; to serve you as I used to.”
Celandine shook with rage, but Malick only chuckled. “You have been practicing that speech, haven’t you, my child? Yes, I can see that you have. As for your contrition, I sense that, too, though not for the reason you name. Perhaps if I told you that your brother Jorick is no longer one of us, your penance would dissolve?”
Kateesha didn’t so much as flinch. “I have heard he’s gone into hiding after the death of his wife.”
“SO he has,” Malick agreed. “Do you still wish to rejoin us?”
Celandine had cut in, her hands balled into fists. “I cannot condone this! Kateesha was given a sentence of death for repeatedly disobeying orders! That she is alive is an impending disaster. To allow her to return to her position would be a catastrophe!”
“And should we hand out death, even to the contrite? She has seen the error of her ways, dear Celandine. If we are not willing to forgive, how can we expect to last the weary ages of immortality? Will not the burden of our bitterness overwhelm and destroy us? No, forgiveness is necessary for all, and even more so for us. As the head of the council, I extend that forgiveness to this child who has lost her way. Perhaps without the distraction of her brother, she will better be able to contain herself this time.”
Contain. A million and one things had proven that assumption wrong, none more powerfully than tonight’s rebellion.
Pounding at the bathroom door forced Krill away from memories. Reluctantly, he finished scrubbing, then dried and dressed. He let himself out past the que at the door and headed back to his room to drop off his clothes. Oddly, the door was ajar. He entered cautiously, but there was no one there. Unless… he lunged at his sleeping box, but there was no one inside. Only a folded piece of paper.
He opened it to find beautiful, slanting writing that said only:
Woe, destruction, ruin, and decay; the worst is death, and death will have his day. Be wary always.
Krill blinked at the missive. He recognized the first line. Wasn’t it from a Shakespeare play? The one about the Ides of March and the Roman? No. Not that one, but it was from one of the plays. He was sure of that much. What he wasn’t sure of, was why someone had written it to him. Was it a threat? From who? And most importantly, why?
- waves (in blog) 2. stormy seas 3. adventure 4. high seas 5. Ocean voyage 6. impending disaster (in blog) 7. on the rocks 8. crashing waves 9. storm tossed 10. shipwreck
Picture contributor: Linda