Hello! As a matter of fact, no fandom has inspired me more than The Dragon Prince.
Happens one week after Saraï's death.
Winter had taken up residence at the castle, just as it had done in all Katolis.
Following the restrictions against the widespread famine and the royal mourning, the intendants had ordered the servants to extinguish all the torches and candles of the halls right after the vespers: the darkness was filling the royal castle for more than five hours when the stomach of the High Prelate Opelie had sung a liturgical choir.
No, it was out of the question for her to eat at this hour, in this week. Had she lost her mind? The magical heat of Titan's heart had barely penetrated the earth's bowels. Fields were not going to recover all their fertility at once. Food would not spill out of the pantry anytime soon. No, by Xadia, one would have to tighten one's belt and observe a strict diet and asceticism. At least for the sake of all the little people who were dying of hunger and cold right in the capital's streets ...
At least out of respect for the deceased queens who had sacrificed themselves for this magic (this odious magic) seven days ago. All the prayers she could have done for the repose of their souls would not have redeemed this fault, she knew it. The mourning of Queen Sarai was scarcely finished. All that was left was the requiem mass of the eighth day.
No, it was out of the question that she would yield to temptation before.
In the corridors to the kitchens, the tapestries and the white stones were gilded on the passage of Opeli's candle-stick, for only a few seconds before returning to darkness.
Curled up in her nightgown, dressed in her slippers and a shawl, the High Prelate Opelie silently articulated prayers. Which of the Sex Magicae Lucis or the Frater Reedem Peccatis Nostris would she recite after her failure to the Path? Was she going to choose gluttony as a subject for her Sunday liturgy on tomorrow? After the minute of silence and the Requiem Mass, of course. Why were humans unable to restrain their temptation? By which game were humans made of clay when the evil was made of steel?
The babouches did not emit any sound by sinking in the carpet of the corridors. That was why Opelie jumped and frowned at the sound of something heavy.
It came from the turn at the end of the corridor, about twenty meters from her. They were steps of unstable, precarious regularity. The foot in the sole that sounded like lead hammered the pavement of stone, ignoring the softness of the red carpet to stagger, against the wall.
As if to answer it, Opelie's heart began to pound in her ribcage. She narrowed her eyes and put her candle in the darkness. Who could wander the castle at this hour? And in such a state, what's more?
The contours of a tall figure rose from the darkness. They were shaving the walls, their hands resting against the stone, but Opelie could not tell if it was more like a desire not to be noticed or to keep the balance. Pitching one foot in front of the other, the individual in trousers, barefoot and mere shirt seemed about to collapse, as if he feared at each step to fall into an abyss.
Lifting her candle, Opelie saw the reflection of a bottle firmly held in the other hand. The priestess's mouth narrowed in disapproval at the sin of gluttony, and apprehension returned. Was this drunkard laughing at the sight of the High Prelate at this hour, in this corridor which left no doubt about her destination? Seeing the scallop narrowly catching up to a candle holder - which miraculously stood on its feet, Opelie was reassured: he could barely see in front of him ...
There he was wavering again, like the flame that Opelie held in her hand. She reached out her arm, opened her mouth, accelerated her pace, he was going to fall, collapse, reap the whole castle by his crying. But he didn't. He pressed his hand against the cold stone and managed to recover in complete silence. The bottle came back to his mouth and Opelie heard the liquid running down his throat, glue, glou, glou ...
She did not dare move, nor speak. Back against the wall, the bottle in one hand, the individual put his hand to his head. As Opelie approached more slowly and hesitantly, the candle revealed that he was unshaven. The sickly pallor of his skin contrasted with the drunkenness he was supposed to be in. She wondered if she should say anything. Even drunk, he would certainly recognize her voice. Otherwise, no law condemned the drunkenness between the walls of Red Cathar, and the individual seemed more lost than ill-intentioned ...
Opelie tightened her shawl around her shoulders and approached the candle. The alcoholic breath was probably going to catch fire, but she had to make this clear in her mind.
The seven days of mourning for a sovereign were undoubtedly going with the impoverishment of rations, rarer outings and dark clothes, besides famine. But no one had seen either King Harrow or the High Magus since the return from their fateful expedition. All the trays cooled in front of the doors of their apartments and left intact for the kitchens. How many valets had she not met in the corridors, pecking at the trays they brought back, the features shared between the luxury enveloping their servile sinuses and the dismay of seeing the two remaining pillars of the kingdom crumble right before their eyes?
Just had his Grace ordered that princes Callum and Ezran should be sent to the manor of Banthere until further orders. About the mage's offspring, no doubt they had joined the princes, but it was the least of Opeli's concerns ...
The Red Cathare Ravenery was crumbling under the letters of condolence, the proposals for a funerary statue for the royal mausoleum, and even - as a matter of disrespect - wedding proposals for King Harrow. All of those went to fire, without any exception. In addition to her liturgical service in the temple, Opelie found herself managing the daily sessions of the High Council, the letters of grievances, the whining of the Superintendent of Finance because the famine was slow to subside, the visits of hospices, the independence drams of the baronets who were trying to take advantage of mourning ... May the elves take away all of them, and Lord Viren, who proved incapable of applying his countless lessons when the realm's stability needed it!
And lord Viren of Alderyn, High Mage and Prime Minister of Katolis, had never been so much incapable than at this moment.
Opelie understood why she had been slow to recognize him. He had always been emaciated, but his prolonged fast had hollowed out even more his face, pale his skin, surrounded his eyes -hidden by his hand, but Opelie guessed them red. The mere half-open shirt, which covered the torso, stained with wine and buttoned across, did not have much to do with the lavish finery of which he usually adorned: silk, velvet, the leather of lamb, gilded embroidery, amethyst brooches, or silver crows. It was well known that the lord of Alderyn spent more money on his finery than all the ladies of the court. It bordered on the bad taste and especially the most ostentatious vanity - without forgetting that ridiculous beard that he persisted in wearing ... and which today was nothing more than a forest of guilt, regret, "mea culpa" and "if only".
Was it on this miserable drunkard's shoulders that the stability of an entire kingdom rested? Was it he who claimed to have given salvation to the people of Duren and Katolis? He, who loudly crowd his humility as a servant of the realm? He, who hadn't even been able to convince their graces to relinquish their foolish expedition and let more experienced soldiers take charge of it? He who, according to the survivors, didn't lift a single finger during the battle against the Magma Titan? He who wanted to left the dead and the wounded behind? He, whose misplaced heroism had cost so much?
How could he let himself go at this point in such dire circumstances? Did he have a shred of dignity? No respect for the memory of the dead ?! Holy Xadia, he did not even wear mourning clothes ... and that odious smell of wine that he gave off, this red which sullied his skirt...
What happened to the young fool who loved history and lore? Was it for that vulgar, tearful specter, that mop, that rag, that junk conjurer, that gargoyle with blood-stained hands sullied with dark magic; was it for him that King Harrow had lost his wife, that Princes Callum, Ezran and Aanya had lost their mothers, was it for this putrefier that the Queens Anouk and Nankâhn of Duren and Saraï of Katolis had died?
How dared he walk into the castle in which her Grace lived? How dared he breathe the same air as her?
That Xadia's dragons had not taken him, instead of their sovereign! How dreadful was fate, that he didn't go to the Sheol instead of them...
And he had not even been able to bring back their bodies ...
Viren released his hand, revealing red eyes. The candle dug even more his features in the dim light of the corridor. He blinked slowly, staggered against the stone wall, clinging to it. He put his hand to his mouth, to his belly. He bent in two. The poor lad. The spectacle, more than the smell, had Opelie sick.
He wiped himself in his sleeve. He caught his breath, panting, swooning like a pig. He saw her, looked at her, recognized her, and the look he gave to the Katolis High Prelate nailed her hands and feet to the wall opposite.
His grey eyes were burning with anger.
His features deformed by rage and wounded pride, Viren's shadow leaned briefly against his own side of the wall, then straightened his long spine as much as his condition allowed. He was huge, definitely.
Crucified, Opelie could not move an inch. In her hand, the candle-stick began to shake. The light and the shadows danced in the corridor. His grey eyes were about to go purple. He was going to articulate abject incantations. Would he sublimate her as he had sublimated thousands of innocent creatures before her for his odious magic? Would he dip his hands in her still fresh blood to cast a spell supposedly indispensable to the salvation of humanity? What ordeal was she going to endure? How was he going to profane her corpse? She managed to move her middle right. Let him try, this monster puffed up with pride, this murderer, this putrefied demon!
She did not say a word. He either.
He refocused himself on the carpet of the corridor, moving away from the walls, his bottle in his hand; a step, two steps, three steps, and, back as straight as possible, resumed his wandering towards the darkness.
The smell of wine floating in its wake saturated the winter cold and clenched Opelie's nostrils.
Should she help him walk? Should she drown him with insults?
No, in both cases he was obviously doing very well on his own.
Opeli found the use of her fingers, her hands, her breath ... She managed to get rid of the stone while the footstep vibrated into her bowels. Her babouches returned to the carpet, and her hands stopped shaking. She was not hungry anymore. The sin of gluttony would have to wait. However, she continued on her way to the kitchens but did not go very far: behind her, there was a thud. She jumped, lifted her candle but did not turn around. Behind, it was darkness, she knew it.
She tightened her shawl around her shoulders - it was so cold that she could barely move and stayed in the middle of the corridor like a statue of salt. Had that idiot fallen, or was Holly Xadia sending her visions?
One step forward, another Opelie did her best not to run at full speed, made four detours and only returned to her pontifical apartments at the break of day.
When she found back her old rival in the pale daylight that was bathing the council table the next day, a few hours after the Requiem for Queen Sarai, there was nothing left of the gargoyle that had haunted the corridors of Red Cathar the day before, except the emaciated features.
No more smell of wine was floating around him; the forest of the chin was cut with as much bad taste as usual; the rich attire had found their place, silk, velvet, black, gold, grey; and his back was as straight as a pilgrim's staff, his hands resting behind him. With the difference that he carried, like all the other members of the court, the Kri'a on the heart. Opelie was entirely reassured when he gave her an oblique glance, the one he deigned to give her when she issued an opinion.
"Finally back among us, Lord Viren?" she taunted him in a less quiet voice than usual.
His grey eyes sparkled. He had not forgotten.
"Indeed," he replied. "Sorry to disappoint you, but you will be left to support my presence for a long time. Mea culpa."
While the other councillors were sketching a polite grin, he cleared his throat and continued:
"The accident of the last eight days was an accident, and as its name suggests, it won't happen ever again. High Prelate Opelie," he added with a suddenly contrite air, "I hope it is not too late to light a candle and observe a minute of silence in memory of ..."
He paused for a brief moment:
"... of our regretted sovereign?"
She looked at him thoughtfully. Was he serious? Was he making fun of her?
"No doubt," he added, "my request seems somewhat misplaced after my attitude of these last da-"
. "Ask his Grace Harrow first," she replied.
Something was annoying her in Viren's habit of always talking about him.
"It seems to me," she added, "that our sire is the most affected by the tragedy, and that you owe him an apology for, let's say, all your errors of recent times."
She superbly ignored the convulsion of her rival's features:
"And you won't forget to pay your respects to the princes when they return from the Banthere Lodge. Yes, both of them," she said, anticipating the comment that would follow.
Although Ezran was a cradle, he was none the less the Crown Prince of the throne of Katolis; as for Callum, the king was not his father, but he was prince consort and her Grace's eldest son.
"Yes, yes. Of course," the high mage bowed with all possible affability. "Be assured that I will."
"Perfect," she exclaimed.
Now that fool was back, she already wanted to burn him.
"I also note that despite all your goodwill, you missed the service this morning. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I regretted your usual snoring, but the least you could have done was to listen to the requiem. Even his Grace has honoured us with his presence."
He had returned to cloister in his apartments as soon as mass was over, and had given no sign of life -the Council was going to have to do without him. Opelie, however, continued to look at Viren:
"It was such a beautiful conclusion to this entire week of grieve." she articulated. "Can you imagine this, Viren? Five full hours of priors and chorus each as beautiful as the next, bathing in a thousand's candles lights. . Our composer has outdone himself, has not he, gentlemen?"
Tense smile from the other ministers:
"Yes, yes, absolutely, the Kyries Eleison was gorgeous."
"Oh? Personally, I had a preference for Dies Irae and Subvenite, despite the regrettable absence of the body, alas."
Opelie thought that the mage was about to slaughter the unfortunate who said these words. All affability gone from his features, the Prime Minister's fingers compulsively gripped the dark magic bag hanging from his belt; this usually brilliant orator was now unable to utter the slightest intelligible word :
"Th-That is to say, High Prelate ... Well, I had an unbearable migraine, and the knell's dro-"
"Never mind," said Opelie. "I'm sure you had an excellent reason not to honour us with your presence this morning, but I hope to be able to count on you for the Mass next week. The theme of the sermon: gluttony. Fazah-Blaze?"
The Superintendent of Finance raised his head, which allowed him to look at something other than his feet.
"The agenda, please."
On the high mage's fine clothes, Opelie had the impression that the Kr'ia was going to stretch up to tear all the finery and the thing he was calling his heart with.
Mea culpa, he said? A grin of contempt imperceptibly twisted Opelie's lips.
Rather Mea maxima culpa.
So since we do not know anything about religion in Katolis, it leaves room for imagination.
For the title, I just wanted to put the well known "Kyries Eleison" in the negative form, to echo Viren's wounded pride. He can't stand the look of disgust and pity that sends him the high prelate he despises so much. He can not stand this look, it makes him sick. He wants pity the least of all.
According to an acquaintance who learns Greek, it says "Kyries met Eleison" which means according to Google Translate "The ladies are pitiful to me" ... A mess.
Well, I listened a lot of Kyries Eleison while I was writing this story. And as "Katolis" it reminds me of "Catholic" I allowed myself to slaughter a lot of Greek and Latin. But K'ria, as I understand it, correct me if I'm wrong, is a tear to the clothes that Jews wear during times of mourning. At the level of the heart, it materializes the pain expressed by the loss of the disappeared.
I don't like Opelie, but it was funny to write her methodically burning Viren. Women knocking off Viren from his high horse is a new genre of porn. Promised, at the next work, he will look badass.
I hope you enjoyed it !