i. Being part of the court of the Merchant King is like being a pearl in a strand, a diamond in a tiara, a fork in a noble’s set of golden cutlery. You might be beautiful, shimmering, golden. But in the end you are just an unrecognizable one of many.
ii. The summer palace cover an expanse of 3 loyal galaxies. Millions of minor stars work and live in it. The ones greater enough to be close to the Merchant King without endangering their light, spend the time in permanent revelling. Mornings of frosted stained glass windows, among soft star-embroidered covers. Noons of light thick as honey licked off fingers. Baths in nebulae at sunset. Nights of flowing wine and music. There is no corner of summer palace where music cannot be heard.
iii. The first note only has a flaring symbol on it. “The welcoming amber glow of sunset after the glare of the summer sun.”
iv. The second one is a heartfelt long-winded prose surmising that your radiance coiled around their fingers must feel like holding a necklace that has been warmed against a neck. How kissing you might taste like chilled sherry. It is only the third box you hide the note in that does not crumble in flames.
v. The notes know where to find you. And you just need leave yours on your table for them to have disappeared in the morning. Those nights you dream of incandescent skies.
vi. You still do not know who they are, but you find out things that no one in your sequence should know: How boring the Gold is, why the White spends so much time among the trees of the snowy forest. You keep them, and you share your own secrets.
vii. One morning a the most precious jewel appears pinned to your hair. A red desert planet whose dunes and mountains reflect a thousand shades of your amber light. A note: “We were not sure if you liked red. If you would prefer blue, tell us and we will drown it in oceans.” You are not supposed to own this.
viii. They want to see you tonight. You are not supposed to look at them. They are afraid of what their light might do to you. Still your closed eyelids glitter when they are close to you. They are bring a cup to your lips, and when you drink, you drink fire. You drink a flare, a sentence of love that sits and burns and glows permanently in your throat.
ix. The next day, when you speak with your equals, your words flow like honey and they do as you say.
x. The winter comes and the summer palace goes dark and cold. Stars of all sequences rise against The Merchant King whose word meant nothing. Whose promises were empty. They seek them with blades and rope and poisoned glass. Your lover no longer writes back to you.
xi. You know their name. The planet crumbles between your fingers. The fire in your throat goes cold until it feels like your voice is frosted over. You also know they are no more.
xii. In a faraway place. On another time. Under a different name. Behind a different face. A bottle of wine left on your table after a nightly jest and a bet. And a note: “We were not sure if you liked red.”