Chapter Eighty-Five: ‘Thy ancestral blood...’
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Marcos moved through the gallery with slow wonder. Elaborate artwork filled the chamber, huge paintings framed in brass and steel. Each one depicted some historical event, only a couple of which he recognized, but Shenado was more than happy to answer his questions. To his eyes, the reaper was an eagle with a white tail and splotched brown-gray body. She would have looked like a normal animal, if not for the smoldering black eyes.
He stopped in front of a particularly violent image. In it, two men in shimmering red armor clashed against a roomful of opponents. Spears of ice filled the scene, skewering ten men in golden armor and coloring the walls with their blood.
“Whoa,” said Marcos. “What’s this one?”
‘Read the title at the bottom,’ said Shenado.
“Umm... ‘The Redwater Twins Declare Independence.’ Oh!”
‘Do you see the man in the back? The one wearing a crown?’
He searched among the carnage. “Yeah.”
‘He was the first and last ‘Rain King,’ sent by the Mohssian Emperor of the time to rule over all the Rainlords. He was seen as nothing more than a pawn, but nonetheless, he made many unreasonable demands, which led to what we see here.’
“What kind of unreasonable demands?”
‘Taxes, for one. Poverty was already a difficult issue when he arrived, and he only made it worse. And there was also the not-so-small matter of trying to take multiple wives, which wasn’t a tradition that the Rainlords appreciated, especially because many of the women he pursued were Rainlords themselves. The final straw was an eight-year-old by the name of Nereida Redwater. Girls often married extremely young in those days, but even then, eight was outrageous. Nor did it help matters that the so-called Rain King was already in his forties.’
‘Nereida’s father was Lluc Redwater.’
“Oh, I definitely know who he is.”
‘I should hope so. He and his brother were probably the most famous Rainlords who have ever lived.’
Marcos looked at the painting another time. Lluc and Marcelo Redwater were the two men at the heart of it, the conductors of this immortalized bloodbath.