During every meal he stood there watching us, stiff as a post, waiting to attend to us. Asking him to sit and join us would go against years of unspoken tradition. But today I felt bold.
“Saab, join us,” I said loud and clear, pointing
to the empty chair beside me. I think the word
‘join’ may have been a little too inviting. Low tense murmurs broke out around the table as most guests shifted uneasily in their seats. A junior councilman sitting not too far from me flushed red and looked to the senior councilmen to say something. Saab rightly remained perfectly still.
“How dare you insult your own rank of royalty like that, boy?” the junior councilman snapped as he rose to his feet. Wait a minute. Who was this guy? He can’t talk to me like that, right? For all intents and purposes I was part of the royal family.
“Actually, I prefer to stand, Master,” Saab muttered, looking at the junior councilman apprehensively.
“Sit,” I repeated to Saab in a more commanding
fashion with a curt nod.
“You will not sit!” ordered the junior council- man harshly, causing a gasp or two among the other guests. The situation began to catch Uncle Pan’s attention. His dark eyes lifted slowly and heavily from his plate.
“Don’t mind him, Saab,” I chuckled, waving a
hand at the junior councilman.
“Don’t mind me?” the councilman bellowed, his hands now claws facing his chest and his narrowed eyes flickering with anger. “You’d better mind me, damn it!” Everyone looked up at him bewildered, but I wasn’t going to be bullied by some junior councilman. Saab was going to sit, no matter what. The senior councilman and the lanky official rested their backs against their chairs. Though they likely agreed, they were not going to go down with him now that the Mutaro was obviously paying attention.
“Saab, you deserve to sit with us. It’s your right as a human being,” I assured with a nod towards the chair. I was surprised at how cool and collected my words came, especially considering that my heart now raced heavily in response to Uncle’s indecipherable gaze.
“Who are you to talk about this man’s rights?” the junior councilman asked me crossly.
“Saab,” I began calmly, again ignoring the councilman, irking him all the more.
“Hey!” he yelled, slamming his fist hard on the table, causing nearby silverware to bounce in protest. “Are you listening to me, foolish boy? You don’t know the first thing about—”
“Enough!” interrupted Uncle in his rotund voice, the type of voice that commanded a room without having to be raised. Finally. He spoke with comfortable authority whenever addressing people that weren’t me. He nodded at the junior councilman to sit, and the man abruptly obliged with a smirk in my direction. All eyes flew to the head of the table. The Mutaro kept his eyes on me and took a long slow sip of his wine, his brain working mercilessly. After a bite and another slow sip, the Mutaro motioned for Saab to join us at the table, particularly at the seat I’d indicated. I beamed. Saab took his seat and began fixing a plate.
The junior councilman shot up to his feet again. “I will not dine at a table with that…that…goat!” He folded his arms again. Uncle curled a brow up at him.
“Sit down and enjoy your meal,” Uncle exclaimed with good nature in his voice.
“I will not sit,” was the councilman’s calculated
Was he insane? Everyone seemed to look down at their plates simultaneously. The man overtly disobeyed the Mutaro in front of honored guests and did not address him properly. Not a smart idea. The King could have had him killed for banging so brutally on the royal furniture.
“Hear me well,” Uncle began with a strained pleasantness. “Not only will you sit, but you will enjoy the meal with a smile on your face. Do I make myself clear?” The councilman remained standing there for a moment longer, sat down for a minute, then threw down his napkin and left the room without being excused. Uncle raised a hand to hush the worried whispers. “Kiron,” Uncle called to the lanky military official after another bite.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“Have the dungeon boys bring me his ears.”
Title: The Ivory Staff
Author: M. Lachi
Genre: New Adult Fantasy
How was young Samiyah to know that her simple grace, wit, and beauty—exceptional traits given her peasant class—would land her in the middle of a chessboard of high-level political turmoil or that the love that blinds politics, the hate that blinds brotherhood, and the lust that blinds love would flip that chessboard on its side? Rife with passionate dialog, edgy suspense, and epic conflict, this Dark Fairy Tale follows our heroine as she journeys to heal a nation broken by the internal prejudices of class warfare, armed with nothing but stark determination.
M. Lachi is a published author and an award nominated songwriter and composer. Her resume includes features on Oprah Radio, CBS Radio, The CW, Oxygen, and the E! and Style Networks among others. M. Lachi lives in New York City and enjoys reading, composing and catching live performances.
Amazon Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/na97ur7