The door opened, and the stranger stepped inside. He crossed the threshold with confidence, scattering the partygoers in the entrance like a fall wind through a pile of dry leaves. He was Riven the Angel, and he was in his element.
“Riven? My goodness, Riven!” The countess was a corpulent woman, having gotten fat on her husband’s landholdings and many evenings of caviar and foie gras. She wormed her way through the throng and clamped a beringed and sweaty hand onto Riven’s forearm. He smiled, a tight line with only the slightest hint of amusement at its corners.
“My dear Countess Hindela,” Riven said, tipping his head into a curt bow but pinioning the countess with his coal-black eyes. “How are you this fine evening? You appear to have worked yourself into quite a lather! Where are your servants with their feathers to fan your luminous flesh?” His long ebony fingers slid over her grip, deftly pried it loose, and brought the greasy hand to his lips for a perfunctory kiss. One of her massive gems clicked dangerously against his teeth.
“Oh, Riven. You know how I simply despise the peasant hired help. Even the thought of them cooling me makes my skin crawl. You must have your fan with you? Favor me, would you?” She batted her eyelashes at him, and he felt his stomach turn.
“As much as I would love to attend to you, dear countess, I am on urgent business and must press forward through this rabble you’ve collected. Perhaps our paths will cross again this night, and I will deign to flutter my fan at you.” He stepped back, allowing a servant laden with heavy glass mugs to pass between them.
“Insufferable cow,” he muttered as he slipped through the crowd. He spied his quarry then, leaning against a second-floor banister and entertaining a bevy of young women.
2014.12.22 – 2023.07.24