Blog, Crafts, fiction, Stories, Writing

Feather’s Stories: Negotiations

Hello Everyone!

That’s right, I have another story post for you! It’s inspired by a lot of things, my love for ancient traditions, particularly those of Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, Running Man and basically the little knowledge I possess about Asian Culture. So, what’s it about? I’d say it’s about an unsteady alliance between two kingdoms, and it’s about to fall off that sword’s edge.

Nacima gazed out at the magnificent sight that lay before her. Below, the palace gardens were being tended to by the gardeners and she listened to the gentle swaying leaves of the maple trees that surrounded a large lake, filled with swans, geese and lazy ducks. Closing her eyes, she soaked in the early morning sun, leaning against the balcony’s railings, as the silk robe that was loosely wrapped around her slipped off her shoulders.

“Such beauty I see this morning,” came a distinctly male voice behind her. King Rei watched as Nacima breathed in the summer air, her whole body swaying to the gentle breeze that brushed her skin.

Nacima smiled, pleased. She hadn’t heard him enter her rooms, nor did she feel his presence, but somehow that didn’t bother her. It was in his home she was staying anyway, and she knew he would do whatever he pleased, “Your Majesty, I wasn’t expecting your company until later this afternoon. I am honoured by your presence so early in the morning,” she replied, her eyes still shut with bliss.

Rei chuckled, sending tiny shivers down her spine, which she did well to conceal, “I make it a habit to ensure all my personal guests are well cared for. I take it you enjoy your rooms?”

Like a jungle cat, he silently stalked his way towards her, catching her by surprise when his hands rested on her hips, soothingly stroking the soft material there. Nacima hummed with approval, as she leaned back against him, “Very much so.”

Rei nuzzled against her hair, breathing in the floral scent of her, teasing the skin at her neck with the slightest touch of his lips, “Ah, what a shame, and here I’d hoped you would be more comfortable in my chambers.”

Finally, Nacima opened her eyes, violet flames igniting with passion and ambition, “If I had agreed to that arranged marriage two years ago, perhaps I would have been.” She turned in his embrace to watch him now. Her piercing violet gaze calculating and unpredictable. The warm summer’s morning turned colder now, and Rei fought every fibre of his being not to simply grasp her to him and take her, peace be damned.

“If your father’s enemies hadn’t spread those rumours, perhaps the arrangement wouldn’t have been necessary,” the lightness of the atmosphere, Rei fought hard to keep, all but vanished, and now the two monarchs were locked in a silent battle of wits.

Nacima didn’t back down, and she continued to hold his steady gaze, “Yet you do not deny them.”

Rei didn’t answer, and that was all Nacima needed to slide away from his touch. She rearranged her silk robes, returning to the cool marble interiors of her room, intent on preparing herself for the day. The King on the other hand, remained at the doors of the balcony, watching Nacima’s every move, like a tiger waiting to pounce, “Why should I? They would only give your father cause to attack, and we both know that would not be in the best interest for him.”

Nacima pursed her lips with barely concealed rage, as she tugged on the rope that summoned her maids. With her back to him, she unwrapped her robe, and shrugged it off. Within seconds, two of her handmaidens silently slipped into the room, and helped her dress, “He will only attack, if you give him cause. By keeping your silence, you are only prolonging the inevitable.”

“I will not be a part of your war, Nacima,” Rei’s ire was now beginning to rise. As a man, he admired Nacima’s fastidiousness, her loyalty to her kingdom, and the independence she showed, every time she negotiated a new treaty with him; as a king, her stubbornness vexed him.

When she was once more fully clothed, Nacima turned towards him, with an unreadable expression etched onto her face, “You may not want to be, but you will be. The sea kings will not stop until they conquer every kingdom, from theirs, all the way to the mountains, including yours. You cannot hide from them forever.”

Rei lifted a regal brow, challenging her defeatist point of view, “Perhaps they will listen to reason.”

“I admire your optimism, Your Majesty, but do you think we haven’t already tried that?” she replied, peeved, “My father has done all he can to keep them at bay, but their threats grow every day. It is only a matter of time before they decide to attack.”

Rei schooled his expression, gazing out at the surrounding gardens, as if contemplating an idea, “Perhaps he hasn’t done enough.”

Nacima’s jaw ticked and her anger visibly grew. Taking a furious step towards him, she stood directly beneath him, forcing him to look down at her. Her voice, when it came, was deathly quiet, “Do not imply my father hasn’t done his best. He has even offered me as a gift, but they refused. Believe me, Your Majesty, they do not want peace.”

The King’s face remained impassive, calculating even, to the point where Nacima grew agitated from his lack of response. It was only when her nostrils flared, did he finally speak, his voice as equally quiet as hers, “Like I said, Your Highness, I will not be a part of your war.” With that he strode towards the door, and just as he was about to leave, a thought struck him, and he paused, his eyes fixed on a spot in front of him, “I wonder, perhaps it isn’t a prize they want, but a price. The sea people are notorious for their means of debt collection. Has your father considered that in his calculations?”

Nacima watched, fuming, as the door clicked shut behind him. Her mouth hung open in disbelief, and she stood there replaying his words over and over in her mind, as her handmaids scrambled towards the servant’s door. They knew the look on their mistress’ face. It was not pleasant, and fleeing was the only thing they could do to save their skins.

Well, what do you think? Should I expand on this or do you have any ideas you could add? If you’re a writer too, I’d love to read your interpretations of this little snippet! Leave your tips in the jar below, and we’ll see you soon!

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