Trifecta: Uneasy Lies the Head
A clatter sounded from the other end of the room, cutting through the din. Callie’s head jerked. One of the other servants had dropped a charger of roast pig spectacularly on the floor. She turned back to the table and filled another goblet. These Atan loved their wine.
She brushed a sleeve. Murmuring an apology, she withdrew. She wasn’t at all sure they understood her, but it hardly mattered. She kept her head down, and they ignored her. She was happy to be nothing.
The duke sat at the head table by the guest of honor. He was uneasy in his cousin’s seat, so newly come to him. It was a very different gathering than the ones the old duke had used to have, these minor nobles in ill-fitting Atani robes bowing and scraping and laughing too loudly. But he had fought, and so was gone. It made her face flush with shame, but in her memories of that day, the horror of the children’s execution was overwhelmed by her relief at being left alive.
The duke’s wife, white-faced, sat erect next to him. Her smile was brittle and her movements tight and sharp. Everyone knew why. She had been a votary of Amala. For anyone else, that would have meant an execution, but her life had been spared… for now. Spared on condition of her husband’s obedience, his cooperation with their new overlords. Callie wondered if the duchess felt the same way she did: kneeling before their altar, thinking she was damned, damned for betraying her faith.
The Primate, newly arrived from overseas, sat nearby, his forearms resting lightly on the table. He was short, stocky, pale, and he coiled in the chair like a snake. Callie shivered. She was the littlest, the tiniest mouse. There was bigger game under his eye.
The duke raised his glass in a shaking hand. “To our glorious lord, the Dawn Emperor!” The desperate roar of voices assaulted her ear, and she turned away.
Welcome to this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge! This week’s prompt calls for 33 to 333 words on the third definition of the word UNEASY (adj.):
1: causing physical or mental discomfort
2: not easy : difficult
3: marked by lack of ease : awkward, embarrassed <gave an uneasy laugh>
Thanks for reading!