Posted Jan.08.17 at 03:00 pm

The room adjacent to the office was a bedroom; it too was dark and cool, lit only by the grey wintery light diffusing through the frosted windows. The heavy door over the fireplace was closed, and smoky curtains were drawn around the bed. It was not a very ornate room, and it did not seem very lived-in, and the Cynn seemed rather small in it.

Sraddi waddled across a large emerald rug that was embroidered with a silvery stylized map of the surrounding country (a thick river which ran across its center, a few towns picked out like stars across the plains, a range of triangle mountains at one side.) The Cynn was donning a long, yellow collared shirt with a sunburst pattern on it, followed by a deep blue wrap skirt with white raindrops.

< The Assembly will depise what I have in mind, > he mused to Sraddi as he did so. < So if I'm to do anything, I'll need to act tonight. Now that it's clear the Archipelagans are complicit in body trafficking, I feel less wary of openly committing to help their refugees. Though I'm sure the Assembly will have none of this, anyway, > he added rather bitterly, now winding a length of simple cream-colored fabric edged with gold over and over his shoulder and torso.

Sraddi hopped up onto the table beside him. < Do not forget your medicine, > she said again.

< Yes, yes, yes, > the Cynn muttered. There was on the table, beside his discarded previous outfit, a massive book and a very small squarish box. This second thing he picked up and opened, taking one of the many very small white pills inside. He tossed it into his mouth, and then bit down on it. Immediately, an icy white fog--or smoke--began to gush out between his teeth.

< There, > he said, and saying that caused the smoke to eddie up around his face. He gave Sraddi a pat and picked up the wide leather belt left on the table.

< Recorded result: white exhalant, > Sraddi remarked, as the Cynn fastened the belt around his waist, over the cream sash, and blew a stream of smoke out of his nostrils like an irritable dragon. < Healthful. Next dose in one full day. >

< All right, > the Cynn said, and reached for the massive book lying on the table.