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God Noise Vol. I: Echo [Expanded Edition]

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Saynab Rākhirah, Empress of the Faifethi, the plane of Sahīleth, and the absolute monarch of her people, stood before the bowing form of a most important guest in her room. Not anyone was given permission to access her personal quarters; to the left of the room's threshold stood Udrah Zholèi, one of her two personal confidants. The woman's keen amber eyes remained fixated on the guest, her body as still as a statue in her sentinel pose.

Turning from her guest's line of vision, Saynab sat in a long and intricate lounge chair, propping her foot up on the plush. "Yūn[1]," she ordered in a tone that echoed in the space.

The guest, a young man whose garb was modest in pale blues and greens, rose to a crouch. He didn't look directly at her, his eyes lowered in respect.

"Yassil Rashi. Do you know why I have summoned you here?" she asked, her voice no longer echoing.

"Yes," he replied. His tone didn't waver nor was it soft with submission.

She idly looked over his form. "Why?"

"You wish for me to carry out a suicide mission, Tenk'ha."

The slightest of smiles formed on her stoic face. "Indeed. You will die after you complete this task. Does this bother you?"

He briefly closed his eyes. "No, Tenk'ha. I've long understood your desire to end my life."

She emitted a soft sound in agreement. "Good. Very good." Her gaze turned to the floor. "I can be a merciful kifu-ha[2], if I wish. In this case, I keep my word; your family will remain untouched and unknown to the faifethi public."

He deeply bowed his head. " Xièni[3], Tenk'ha."

Ignoring his appreciation, she continued, "If you fail this mission, I do not need to tell you what will happen to them. And to you."

"Of course, Tenk'ha."

She closed her eyes, mentally assessing his demeanor. His unwavering voice and disposition told her he truly meant his words. Dare she say he yearned for it to end, the charade he put up as a member of faifethi society?

It meant nothing to her, in the end.

She waved her hand, wordlessly ordering him to leave. He bowed once more, then rose to his feet with his head lowered and took ten steps back before turning away. She watched his back as he left, observing his long dark brown hair, an unusual color for his kind.

Fate itself brought him into her hands. It was a shame she would have to get rid of him...

Her vermilion eyes glanced at a cage atop a small table to her right. It wasn't too obvious, settled in the corner and covered by a cloth that matched the dull gold color of the cage itself. One couldn't see the animal kept within, but she was ever aware of its presence.

Once the man disappeared down the hall visible from where she sat, Udrah slid the door of the room shut, leaving them in silence. The woman then approached, placing her hands behind her back.

"Do you really intend to keep your word, Saynab'ha[4]?" she asked.

Saynab scoffed, almost laughed, and propped her head on her hand while waving her free hand dismissively. "His kind do not earn my word, Udrah. They cannot."

"Shall I prepare to handle his family after his...absence?"

"Ai. Deal with it however you wish." She closed her eyes. "I needn't tell you how."

"Of course, Tenk'ha." She heard material shift, likely from a bow, and then sensed her confidant turn and leave the room.

The moment the door slid shut, she opened her eyes and returned her gaze to the cage. From within, the sound of a frightened mammalian animal met her ears. She narrowed her eyes at it, and that alone cut off the whimper.

Her vermilion gaze glowed despite the light in the room. With an upcurled lip, she softly spat, "Silverbloods."

[1] Rise.

[2] Alternate address for the Tenk'ha, femme.

[3] Thank you.

[4] Designates the Tenk'ha, in this instance.