The Eighth Iconodule
“Do not waste your time drawing steel. In your ignorance, you may hurt the wrong people.”
The carefully folded, immaculately clean paper of the envelope disintegrated in Luciva’s clawed hands, the messenger who had delivered the missive did his best not to stare as her wrists twisted while manipulating the scraps. She took only a half a second to glare at him, and he was gone, dashing down one of Periad’s side streets. She read the letter. She did not bother checking who it was from. The air reeked of conspiracy, which Luciva perceived effortlessly through its smell. Her ability to feel the thoughts of others had faded over time. Now it was just smells. This one smelled like him, but the smell faded as the messenger retreated.
“Luciva,” it read. “I know you fritter away your life in the bottom of our districts, living as you always claimed to, for only smells and tastes, with the occasional bit of blood to appease that dwindling urge. I understand. It dwindled in all of us. Likely for the best while we work through this long wait. That life could be yours up here as well, there is opportunity enough for all that, but I do not write to lure you back to my employ. You are free, or as free as any of us are. My athame is unsullied by our transaction. I write so that you can know that the life you have built is threatened by betrayal.”
She read further, but only looking for a name. Then the paper disintegrated and the Rakshasa stooped from her massive standing height, claws catching the corner of a windowsill. Perhaps it was the nature of a dying world to change the nature of all the things trapped inside it. Especially those who had every reasonable expectation of lasting until the very end. It was incredible insult to be trapped here. She tried to drown thoughts of escape in this latest task.
He had the arrogance to say that she was free.
When her hand removed itself from the sill, there were five deep furrows in the wood.