She Who Thirsts
Talari could not sleep. Her skin itched, her throat was dry. A pulsing pain burned through her slender mechanical limbs. Her finely crafted white fingers weren't shaking at all, despite the dull, aching sensation she felt in them. The dissonance irritated her.
She slowly blinked. Her black eyes stung from the dry air of the flagship's bedchamber. She scratched her back through her shimmering, blood red gown, a trophy from the vaults of a decadent mon-keigh aristocrat's daughter that was sent to the slave pits. The itch did not go away. Worse still, each attempt to soothe it only caused the vexing sensation to spread.
Talari primmed her dry lips. She reached for a crystal pitcher, filled with purified water that was distilled from the ice of a distant maiden world. She poured the water in a glass and greedily drank it empty, then poured another. Her throat felt drier with each glass that she drank. Her mood darkened.
She got up from the bed and paced around the grand bedchamber. Her steps were graceful, measured and sensual, a pleasure even to the most jaded eye. Yet each time her exquisitely crafted feet touched the dark marble floor, all she felt were a thousand incandescent needles slowly thrusting in her flesh.
She walked to the grand mirror that decorated her bedchamber's wall. It was decorated with a golden frame, its carvings representing the glorious victories that she had led her corsairs to. The mirror reflected her cold beauty in all its splendor, her perfectly symmetric face framed by long, silken black hair, her gleaming yellow eyes and full lips making her irresistible, capable of turning green with envy even the most snobbish of High Commorite women. Sycophantic nonsense and lies.
She scratched her cheek, then looked behind her. She was alone in her bedchamber, yet she felt someone's eyes staring at the back of her head. Nonsense, she knew. Her Incubi stood guard day and night. Nobody could get in without them knowing, so she thought.
She stared at her reflection. A wry grin creeped across its face. Talari blinked and took a step back, her gut sinking with dread. Her reflection was unchanged, her ideal face gazing back at her, following her every move and gesture. It was lying.
A sudden, intense fit of anger disfigured her face. Enough with the lies! All the resplendence, her finery, her pristine skin. A mask, a cruel joke, a game of pretend only a fool would fall for. She flung the crystal pitcher the mirror and it shattered with a loud, melodic crash.
She took a mirror's shard and looked at her reflection. Her forehead was cut by a glass splinter, bright red blood trickling down her sunken, pale eyes and her gaunt, parchment thin cheeks. Truth, at last. Truth she hated.
She squeezed the shard in her hand, hid it behind her back and called for a slave to attend her. She needed to taste the lie again.
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