Trifecta: At Last
“After all, Vahl is almost five, and planning a naming ceremony takes time.” Dahla gestured elegantly with a piece of candied fruit before popping it into her mouth.
Cahlila, expression unchanged, took a sip of wine. A sitting room full of her husband’s other wives might be hell, but it was a form of hell she was accustomed to. She was mildly surprised by Dahla’s latest move, although she shouldn’t have been. A naming ceremony, to designate Dahla’s son as the Emperor’s heir. Of course she was pushing for one, indecently early. Dahla was that sure she’d won. He should have married Dahla first.
Seven years of marriage, three other wives, and four imperial children born to other women, and it turned out that sitting here and pretending that nothing had changed was the hardest thing she’d ever done. Cahlila had been born to court politics, raised to show only what she chose, but her control was gone. She was sure the knowledge of the secret under her ribcage must be blazing from every pore.
It had been too many years, too many digs and slights over her supposed failure as the Emperor’s first wife for openness. She wouldn’t expose herself until she was sure, sure she could keep it. She had told Temash only last week, in the quiet of his bedchamber. He had greeted the news with a mixture of affectionate pleasure and amusement at the upheaval it was going to create. Then he’d kissed her forehead and told her he had always had faith in her. He probably had.
As for this precious thing Cahlila was carrying? Her left hand curled into a fist despite her best efforts. Just let Dahla try to hurt it. Just let her try.
Cahlila relaxed her hand deliberately. “You’re right, Dahla, it’s past time Temash had an heir,” she agreed. She gave Dahla a light smile and turned to address Sala, leaving Dahla to wonder.
This week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge called for 33 to 333 words on the third definition of the word TIME (noun):
3a : an appointed, fixed, or customary moment or hour for something to happen, begin, or end <arrived ahead of time>
b : an opportune or suitable moment <decided it was time to retire> —often used in the phrase about time <about time for a change>
For those who’ve been reading along with Camilia and Raicha, Cahlila is Camilia’s mother and Raicha’s father’s cousin. For a full list of the stories about them, check out the Fiction page. Thanks for reading!