|. (sharaf) wrote in caeleste,|
@ 2011-01-17 20:29:00
|Entry tags:||adward sharaf, petra fortis|
what they saw (petra)
She draped flowers around his neck.
It was difficult to tell that there'd been a fight. Someone had thrown down sawdust to clean up what little blood there was. He could see narrow choked lines of it. As though it had been pushed about by some of those flat brooms they used on marble and stone. As though. He knew it as well as he'd have known if he'd watched it happen. Then one of those pretty temple dedicates with the straw hair had come out, sponge and bucket in hand, for the work of scrubbing what did not sweep. No one wanted a temple and a tavern to have anything in common, did they? This worked so well in the tavern that it was bound to make its way to the temple. They were not bloodless things, either of them. They were the places where life happened.
One of the dedicates had swept by him, thin waist easily fitting into the crook of his arm as she slung a string of flowers around his neck and kissed both of his cheeks.
Well, festivals were liberal times, here. He could hardly scold her for being beautiful.
There were men carousing in groups of ten, twelve and more. All of them had flagons clutched firmly in hand. Pressing a thumb down on a switch lifted the lid and allowed you to drink. The better to keep the ale inside while you spilled from stall to stall or performance to performance. Most were loosely dressed. Open shirts of white and green and blue. No coats. Trousers that stopped at the knees. Soft shoes. A few wore masks, but it was not their way around these parts, unless they were into something truly interesting. Sharaf had met a traveling performer who refused to make love unless she wore a mask. He'd agreed, of course, because one did not say no to hips like that.
"Ho there, friend!"
Tattered brown coat, with a pair of holes and more than one scuff mark. Bleary, red-rimmed eyes. Musssed hair. He had the look of a pickpocket or a ne'er-do-well about him. Sharaf resolved that he was going to beat this man's face into the ground if any of his pockets felt lighter.
"I," Sharaf replies darkly. "Am not your friend."
"Nevertheless, perhaps you would like-"
"I would not."
He fended off the drunk with a gentle shove.
Horns were not popular instruments at this time of year, or in this part of Perava. They played string instruments. Many musicians took the dry air and the constant threat of brittle, breaking strings as a kind of challenge. Wax and oiled paper were most frequently used to keep them from experiencing any trouble. Beeswax in particular was greatly prized. He'd arrested a fellow for picking wax out of his ear and selling it as pure, after mixing it with a touch of honey. Incredible what worked and what did not. So there he was, listening to at least five different songs, and trying not to nurse the bruises that kept him walking at a slower pace. He should not have been about at all. He should have been resting.
Petra must still have been asleep.
It was a constant source of amazement for him, Petra's inability to let anything register with her. If she almost died, Petra was angry because someone thought ill of her. Possibly thought ill of her. There was nothing about her that shouted out her ability to be mature or understanding. And yet, for an instant last night, he'd remembered what it was that he saw in her. Stubborn and clever in her own way. Not wise but still knowledgeable. Not particularly kind but thoughtful in a way. Sharaf shook his damned fool head before he could give her another compliment she didn't deserve. Anyone had good qualities. He'd seen murdering psychopaths show concern for their mothers. It was something that most admired.
It was also rotten to its core.
All of which led him to his most important and also least easily answered question. Why was he still here? All of their leads had gone cold save talking to the son, but Sharaf thought he had a reasonable idea of what the son would say. If that was his only lead, would he investigate it? All this series of thoughts could do for him is reveal the depths of his hypocrisy. Often, as a young man, he'd dreamed of being able to arrest one of ob's new family members for something. Anything. A crime, no matter how meaningless it was. Yet when the suspected was someone whose bed he had shared, and whose company he still enjoyed? Now he wanted no part of it.
What would Rath say, if he could see Sharaf now?
So as the sun was coming up, and orange light was slipping through the high bars of the place, Sharaf returned with his coat half-undone and no shirt underneath. Over one arm, tucked into the crook of his elbow and hanging at his side, was a wicker basket loaded with fruit. You could not often find apples. He'd bought two, despite the expense, because if he'd been forced to share one with Petra he might have grown quite cross. What he found was an unnatural quiet. Yet Petra was still there, staring at nothing and waiting with a pensive face.
"Bad dream?" Sharaf asked glibly, snatching one of the apples from his basket. "Or maybe you're trying to figure out why I was in all of them?"