Saturday, July 2, 2016
Pre-release Sample- Callisto, The Moon
It rises in a chaotic mist, escaping the confines of a metal chamber the second the liquid it originates from is poured from the entrapping kettle.
Red in color and hot to touch.
The flavor is classic. Rich, and full. Perfect for any occasion.
Black tea is poured into two tea cups, one painted with a blue splash of water color, and the other red.
Light reflects from the liquid. It gives the red of the tea an almost orange-ish hue at it's center where white light bounces off of it.
The surface is steady, peaceful, unmoving. That changes when a cube of sugar is dropped into the blue tea cup. This creates ripples that spread out until inevitably hitting the porcelain edge and being forced to bounce back toward the center. The sugar immediately disintegrates in the red liquid, losing it's cubic shape. Honey. Rich. Sweet. It's poured into the black tea to pool at the bottom of the cup.
Again, the surface manages to restore balance.
And still, the vapors rise. The heat rises.
Callisto lifts a small glass spoon and slides it into Jupiter's morning cup of tea. He swirls it. This creates light clang after clang, the noise quiet and repetitive.
Jupiter watches this process from the small, twin sized bed in the moon's chambers. She was ashamed to say she'd taken over the small room after the morning prior, but Callisto didn't seem to mind.
At least her room was bigger, he had told her the night prior before leaving to make home in Jupiter's own chambers.
Callisto taps the stirring spoon twice against the china, then sets it down on the tray taking up the entirety of the room's miniature nightstand/dresser. His eyes dart up to Jupiter, who's holding a large pillow against her chest, before he struggles to push her tea cup and saucer any closer to her.
“You don't have to kneel on the floor, you know...” Jupiter whispers against the pillow.
Her hair is down. It's tangled itself from her recent lack of self care. The red strands fall messily down her nightgown covered back. This gown, of sorts, is far less decorative than the ones she wears in public. Instead of vibrant, eye catching colors and designs, it's simple. Plain. It's not meant to be seen.
Callisto smiles at the tea. “I'm afraid this is a moon's quarter's, Miss Jupiter.” He raises a brow as he looks pointedly around them. The room is truly tiny. In fact, his back is pressed against the wall that sports the small, automatic pocket door for an exit. Jupiter's bed, even, is forced to press up against three of the room's walls, the exception being the one Callisto connects with. The wall at the foot of Jupiter's bed holds the only window in the room. It's not much, but Jupiter will take it over her own cage of a room any day. Brow still raised, Callisto smiles to Jupiter. “The options aren't exactly vast.”
Jupiter's line of sight falls downcast, then she moves a hand to pat what little space is left on the small bed. It's an offering, an invitation.
Callisto pinches a smile and stands. He doesn't have to take so much as half a step before he reaches the mattress and takes a seat. Wordlessly, he reaches over to pick Jupiter's tea cup off of the nightstand. Dark, red eyes stare at Callisto's hands as they wrap around the heated china. They're off colored, particularly the fingers of his left hand and wrist. Splotches are darker than the rest of his skin- what little can be seen of it from over the confines of his white, suffocating uniform, that is. Burns. They're burns he's left untreated. Burns from having caught her when Farge knocked her off balance. Burns from when she'd simply been startled. From when she'd momentarily lost control.
Callisto raises Jupiter's cup and saucer out to her. “Here.” He smiles. “I know how you get without your morning tea.”
Jupiter releases her grip on the pillow and straightens her back. Without making eye contact, she takes the offering from Callisto, careful not to touch his skin. “Thank you...” She whispers.
Callisto gives a weak nod in response and reaches for his own tea. He takes a sip. It's bitter, plain. Just how he likes it. Nothing fancy, just... organic flavor.
He lifts the cup to his lips to take another drink. As he does so, he looks around the room until his eyes catch on the window. Outside of it is the inside of the manner. One can see little more than glass walkways and the ground lobby. Callisto's throat makes a disapproving humm. His brows furrow. Pulling the cup from his lips, he muses, “Who would possibly want a view of that?”
Cup raised to her own lips, Jupiter smiles around the rim. It fades fast, however, when Callisto turns away from the window and goes back to looking over the rest of what should have been his room.
Jupiter and Callisto walk through the halls of the manner, only stopping once they've reached the small room Loi had used the day prior for his interrogations. Murder. There had been a murder just one day ago, and yet here they were... dancing through hoops to find another useless council. A council that cares more about their own benefit than finding a ruthless killer. Callisto sighs and extends the purple council candidate jacket he had folded over his arm out to Jupiter. “If you get cold.” He prompts. He'd been trying to get her to take it all morning. It was a mandatory uniform, not optional.
“I'd sooner freeze to death.”
Callisto barks out a laugh that jolts his body forward. Nervously, he composes himself and looks around for any other planets. He's afraid. Afraid of being caught with a personality, a mind of his own. Moons were supposed to be loyal servants, not people. Just yesterday he'd been reminded of that. Just yesterday he'd been stripped of the humanity the creator blessed him with, and in return given the order to blend in. To act like a moon, a servant. Not a human being.
At the hall's emptiness, he nods through a smile and straightens out. “Understood.”
Jupiter nods back, and turns to face the room for first trial.
“Oh, and Miss Jupiter?” Callisto calls.
She turns her head to the side, but doesn't actually look at Callisto when he says, “Give them your worst.” Jupiter darts her eyes up to Callisto. There's a promise within them. “Absolutely.”
The door slides open.
Light filters in through the hall, illuminating the room Loi and Eldred are sitting in. They look tired, exhausted. They've been here since first trial started the night prior. “Miss Jupiter. Please, take a seat.” Loi instructs. His voice is calm, if not a little shaky. He clears his throat. “Then we shall begin.”
Jupiter nods and walks up to the table in the room. The door closes automatically behind her. Again, the room is darkened. The only light now emits dully from behind Loi. She takes a seat and smooths out the wrinkles in her dark red gown. Loi sits across from her and Eldred, the two seated directly beside one another with their backs to the door. “Welcome to first trial.” Loi greets with a tired smile. “How do you feel?”
“Disinterested...” She mutters with a dart of deep red eyes around the room.
Eldred cracks a smile. Loi releases a long breath and leans back in his seat. “Miss Jupiter, what is important to you? Anything?”
Staring passively at the ground, Jupiter asks, “Excuse me?”
Loi smiles. It's full this time. “What do you care about above all else?”
Jupiter's eyes dart to Loi's. “Freedom.”
There's a beat of silence in the room, then Loi asks, “Really? Above all else? There's nothing or no one you care more about?” Jupiter's line of sight takes an uncomfortable pitfall to the ground. She doesn't have to respond. He knows the answer. “What would you do... if the most important thing in the whole universe was taken from you?”
“Priorities change throughout time.”
Her eyes are wandering the room as she says this, incapable of anchoring on any one sight. Loi bites his lip and nods. “I suppose. But right now, what would you do?”
There's no response.
“Do you even know?”
“Of course I know.” She responds. “It's happened before.”