ASTC: Providence, (2016-05-20)

Of the Ten Miracles ascribed to Alerich–Caster of Night, The Ascended Prince of Alzeida, etc etc–two of them occurred before he was ever born, five were done by his sisters, and one was an accident that had nothing to do whatsoever with the legendary royal siblings but which benefited the kingdom greatly, anyway.

The remaining two Miracles had less to do with Alerich’s simultaneous rise to godhood and abdication of the throne and more with the fact that First Sorceress Czeni had threatened to start two separate wars if people didn’t stop asking her about her nonexistent betrothals to various people.

Perhaps it’s for the best that time has worn away those details, smoothed and polished the incidents into a gleaming jewel of myth rather than a somewhat embarrassing blemish in the kingdom’s history. Because in the actual story?

No one came out of it looking at all miraculous or divine.

Time passes and so does life, days turning to nights and babies growing and aging. There is not much that can withstand this flow, and even then it is as if they are stone being slowly eroded away rather than fleeting, fallen leaves washing down stream.

Alerich sleeps and dreams and sees all that has been and all that will be–

except, as always, for

–until he is abruptly awoken by Czeni, looming over him, majestic and oh so furious.

“The imperial ambassador is here,” she says, glaring at his rumpled appearance with soul withering displeasure.

“I thought that wasn’t until the end of the week,” he asks more than says, as if he has any hope of arguing.

“It is the end of the week,” Czeni bites out, ripping away his blanket before striding over to his wardrobe. He has an attendant for this, but he probably sent him away–the boy has yet to figure out when to ignore orders to fulfill his duties. Alerich doesn’t blame him: disobeying royalty used to mean immediate execution. Thankfully, his sisters managed to kill the False Queen and regain their family’s throne.

“Vaseika and Raehani are both away, and the last time Kenadia was in the same room as an imperial delegation they actually pissed themselves in fear,” Czeni reminds him, laying out his most formal robes–the itchy purple ones that make it difficult to breathe much less move–before she casts a monitoring spell at him with a silent jab of her hand. For now it chirps harmlessly on his shoulder, but no doubt if he takes too long it will start shrieking at unholy volumes.

“But that ended up in a better trade agreement for us,” Alerich says, trying to make the point as non-combative as possible, while he wriggles into the robes. It’s as terrible as he remembers.

“Yes,” Czeni agrees, smiling sharply at the victory, before scrunching her face in distaste, “Still, it’s the principle of the thing; it’s so undignified. Also, we shouldn’t use that tactic too often, it’ll lose it’s effect.” She draws near in order to help him with the sash, her touches both familiar and practical as if he were nothing more than a horse that needed to be saddled. Once she’s done with the knot, she steps away to admire her work; he holds his arms in their voluminous sleeves to aid that.

“You can admit it,” he says with a grin, “You became First Sorceress just so you could bully royalty into doing what you want.”

“No,” she scoffs, “I’m First Sorceress because except for you four idiots, I’m the strongest magician in the kingdom.”

The funny thing is, once–when they were children, of course, before the False Queen had ever entered Alzeida–Alerich and Czeni were arranged to be married. It was a good match: the only son of the Alzeida’s Royal Family and the First Sorcerer’s daughter who, even at the tender age of four, had already shown signs of immense magical potential.

And they liked each other well enough, which was to say, they were the only children their age within the castle–Alerich’s older sisters years older and already beginning their training. They only fought over small things like the last piece of cake or whose turn it was to feed the kindly, old training mare an apple and thus experience the ticklish, grateful snuffling in return. They were friends and, in time, they probably would have had a good marriage–one built on a foundation trust, if not love.

But fate had a different future in mind for them.

~

A/N: some more original fic because hooray original fic

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