The following includes major spoilers for my WIP book series (as it currently stands). I’m sorry, but the boys insisted that this was the only scene that was getting written. So, you’ve been warned.
The breeze sank to the floor as soon as it came through the windows, rolling stubbornly across the length of the room. It was the sort of heat that made it uncomfortable to wear even a threadbare linen tunic, the sort of heat that would have chased Darryn to the creek in happier times, where he could have soaked the tunic in the water without any lack of decorum. Court procedure demanded that he stand still, and they’d dressed him in a borrowed tunic of black velvet, highly unsuitable for the weather but perfectly suited, he was told, for the role of a Justice of the law and prince of a people. It itched besides.
But the shirt, the heat, all this he thought he could bear if it were anyone else standing below the platform.
When Darryn thought about Aidan, Aidan was always large, board of shoulder and boarder of personality, filling a room in ways that few others that Darryn knew could do.
But the boy in front of him now was small, and his red hair seemed a traitor to his otherwise subdued bearing.
Darryn suspected that it was the weight of the personalities that sat tight to either side and behind Darryn. Their disapproval fell heavily on Darryn and must be falling even more heavily on Aidan.
Darryn knew that they wanted him to speak first. They had made him practice what to say. He was glad now that they had. He would be dumb without their script heavy in his throat.
If Aidan looked small, Darryn’s voice sounded smaller. A full name didn’t suit Aidan, not from Darryn. For so long they’d been beyond names. The use of even a given name was like a whip crack in their words, calling the other’s attention. The full name sounded and tasted like the snap of a bone.
Darryn tried again, and the name was a familiar plea, “Aidan.”
Aidan looked up. For a moment, while their eyes met, Darryn saw a flash of familiar fire in the hangdog face. Then Aidan looked away.
The words trembled against Darryn’s lips. “You’ve been called before the council—” No, those were older words, words from their childhood. “Before the court,” Darryn emended, “to answer charges of—” They weren’t really charges. Darryn had seen it. He’d seen what Aidan had done. Darryn’s surety of Aidan’s act made the whole script a lie.
“Aidan, my grandfather’s dead.” Darryn’s voice scratched, but he carried on. “And you killed him.”
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