[Mock-Fiction] V - Fures Misericordiam

Note: Please read the Formal Notice movella. It should be on the list on the right hand side.

Aye. Tis me again.

Cover by Secrets Unfold

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52. 50 – Closure

“Dodge!” Mariqah barked, “Parry! Block! Good lad!”

 

The air was cold in Normandy, the ringing of steel coming to an end, as Mariqah slapped Michael’s back – happy that he’d learned some mastery in swordsmanship, “Good job, Mike,” she said smiling, “Sit down, have a drink,” she gestured for him to go off and then barked, “Next!”

Leonardo came up.

“Ah, Leo,” said Mariqah, sheathing her sword and walking up to him, “let me see your neck.”
Leonardo raised his head, as Mariqah clamped a hand on his chin, examining the scar that ran end to end, “Looks fully healed. If that scar had a good story, it would have made a fine legend,” she smiled, “Don’t worry, though. We all have our share of Stupid Scars. That’s what we call ‘em here, by the way. Or Cut-Ups.”
 

“Stupid Scars?” asked Michael, “What’s yours?”

Mariqah gave him a look.

“Sorry,” he said, “I didn’t mean to speak out of turn.”

Mariqah paused, and then let the mistake drop, “My most epic scar has the most stupid story,” she laughed, showing her calf that bore a pale white scar that ran the length of her limb. Her students came closer to have a look, “It looks like I got it from being run over by a cart, but I actually got it from trippin’ over in a blacksmiths,” she snorted, “Some o; the lads’ll never let me forget that incident. I can’t remember a day I laughed and cried more,” she snorted, as the other laughed, “It’s a good story for another day though. Come on, Leo. Show me, if your fully recovered.”

 

Leonardo stood ready in a defensive stance, prepared to attack, just when someone called out: “Mariqah!”

“Oh, damn it!” Mariqah cursed, “What now?”

“You shouldn’t be exerting yourself,” said Khadir coming up, “You’ll open up your wound again.”

Exerting?” said Mariqah, irritated, “I never should’ve made you learn English! I’m fine, Khadir! And there’s nothing else to do. Mary’s with the wet-nurse and I’m… nursing my other kids!”

“A few… visitors have arrived.”

“Visitors?” Mariqah straightened, “Who?”

“Come.”

“Psht, no,” she said, “If they want to see me, they should come to me.”
“They’ve come all the way from–”

“Yes, yes, they came from outer-space, and are probably worn out and tired, and dying from thirst and hunger. But, chances are, they’re sitting on horses waiting to be entertained.”

“Mariqah…”

“I’m not coming! I’ve a class to teach. If they want me to come, they’ll have to wait.”

 

* * * * *

 

“My, my, Seth,” said Mariqah, yawning as she walked into the mess hall, her class dismissed and wiping her hands on an oil cloth, “Fancy seeing you again, and so soon,” she regarded his entourage, “I trust your not here to knock my walls down. We all know how that played out the last time.”

“No,” said Seth, visibly forcing a laugh, “no, just here for a visit.”

Mariqah sat opposite him, “So. How fares your Empire?”

“You’ve heard, have you?”

“Please. I heard before it happened. And, although I don’t hold allegiance to any ‘king’ under any circumstance – it is good see you in one piece, Emperor,” she paused, “Did… did you discover the truth in what I told you?”

Seth sighed a little, “That, I did.”

“And what has become of Gavroche and his faction?”
“They’ve been made ministers and my advisers. I promise, to you and to him, that I will try to fix the circumstances and ills that my father and brother have wrought on Britain. And, of course, elsewhere in the Empire.”

“Good.”

 

“My… proposal. It still stands,” said Seth.
“Is that what you came for?”

“Yes.”
“Then my answer also stands.”

“You’re not making this easy for me.”

“Not making what easy for you?”

“Ruling! An Empire!”

“I have my responsibilities, Seth. We’ve discussed this before, and I’ve no intention of repeating that discussion before your frilled pansies,” she paused a moment, thinking, “However… perhaps I can make you a secondary offer?”

“…I’m listening.”
“She’s much like myself, only slightly more psychotic. She’ll fit in fine with your family and sit well with the Empire, her genealogy is good. And she could probably fight with you ‘til you lying flat on your back.”
 

“Hey, Rogue,” said Myra coming up behind Mariqah, “What’s new?”

Mariqah turned, shaking her head, “Speak of the Devil…”
“Sorry, what?”

“Myra…” Mariqah looked at Seth, “H-a-ve you met Seth?”

 

* * * * *

 

At the close of Myra and Seth’s wedding (which took place only a week or so after their meeting, within the precincts of Normandy), Mariqah was both happy and sad to see Myra go. She would be permitted to visit the compound whenever she wanted, so there was still that. It also secured a generous ten years of peace between Normandy and the Empire – although, Mariqah guaranteed that wars elsewhere didn’t count. As she sat down to read through some papers, Khadir approached her again, with another visitor.

 

“What do you want?” she said, looking at the visitor with narrowed eyes.

The visitor looked unhindered by Mariqah’s greeting, “You know what I’m here for.”

“If it’s that, then leave. Tonight.”
“How could you have come to London and not given us a look-over, eh?”

“How? I have shame and dignity, that’s how.”

“Your own family, Fa–”

“You are not my family,” Mariqah snapped, “And I am not that person who you were going to call.”

“Oh, it’s your exotic name, is it? Fine, Midnight Rogue, come home!”

“I am home,” Mariqah stood up, and turned to leave.

 

“We’re family! We have rights on you!”

“Family?” said Mariqah angrily, “You are family? We were cousins, Soniya! We were near as damn it to sisters! But as soon as my mum kicked the bucket, you turned on us – like we weren’t even blood any more. You all did. Your mum did it, her brother did it, her mother did it. And you, you did it!”

“Oh, is that so? And fixing your dad up with his young wife was no form of cruelty on your brothers and sisters, now, was it?”

“Shut your gob! That’s all your ever thought about, all you ever paid mind to! Your stupid, ducking traditions and customs! You don’t know what my father went through. In fact, you don’t know what I was going through! You think I feel good? About having to set up my own father with my step-mum? Shouldn’t that have been your job? Or your mum’s? Or her brother’s? But you all were so reluctant to fill the gap that my mother left behind! Duck! Fill a gap! It wouldn’t have needed to be filled, if you hadn’t abandoned us when we needed you all the most!” Mariqah panted in fury, “But remarriage is such a crime to you all. You left an eighteen-year-old to mother a house of six! What was she supposed to do?”

 

Soniya pouted, “Oh, so now your justifying a crime that even you can’t call right! She was supposed to stay and look after her brothers and sisters! Be patient until she could seek out some good means of work and kindly husband! That’s what she was supposed to do! Not romp around with a thousand soldiers!”

“I’m not justifying it! I regret it! I regret it everyday,” Mariqah held the wall to steady herself, “and I’ll never forgive myself for it. But my life’s changed now, and I won’t leave it. Not to go back to that slimy little whole of vipers that I called a family. And nothing you say will change my mind. And romp around? Is your opinion so low of me?”
“We were so close! You said so yourself–”

Get out!” Mariqah barked, “I told you. I am not that person any more. I’m not the naïve little girl that used to hang on your every word. She’s dead. You killed her,” Mariqah walked away, having nothing left to say.

 

“No,” said Soniya, “She killed herself. She ran away from home and killed herself. Then a monster stood in her place, in her likeness, and goes around destroying the world.”

Mariqah gulped down a very different emotion and said, “I’ve nothing left to say to you. Just go. Or stay, and be ridiculed by me until I eventually kill you.”

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