Amused Authors


A Sharpest Wife, Episode 3: The Ritual of the Sharpest Way by Grayson Cole
November 16, 2008, 3:23 pm
Filed under: fiction, writing | Tags: ,

sharpest-blade1

Last week, we left Ananda to discover her new nature… After her husband Clayan left her with less than a month of marriage between them, she waited patiently to die. Yet when her mother and sisters and priest came to perform last rites, they found her alive and the intense, abiding Hunger of a Sharpest Wife building within her.

 

Read from the beginning here: http://www.graysonreyescole.com/index_files/ASharpestWife.htm

 

 

 

Ananda cooperated with the Ritual of the Sharpest Way. The priest, her doctor, Clayan’s doctor, and the lawmake retrieved her from her home at the first hour of the new day.

 

For nearly a fortnight, they brought her no food or water. The Ritual dictated that they feed her Hunger, not her mind, body, or soul. The four men tied her until she could not move, pressed her until she could not breathe, and cut her until she could not bleed. At the end of each test, they checked her teeth, her hands, and the subtle color of her blood vessels. For two weeks, Ananda abided them with a silent smile.

 

This could have ended days ago.

 

The men needed proof that she could change. Once evidence was recorded, they could be away from her. The way they avoided her gaze, only touched her to perform their duties, briskly moved about the business of testing her, Ananda could tell they wanted to be away from her. She savored the taste and smell of their anxiety.

 

The first discovery of a Sharpest Wife: She need not bite or tear or rend flesh to feed like the men. Nice, but completely unnecessary. All she needed was nearness.

 

And so she grinned when the priest, her doctor, Clayan’s doctor, and the lawmake came to her each morning a little slower, more forgetful, frailer than the day before.

 

Oh, Ananda could change, but she’d only show them when she chose.

 

As she stood, tied to the system of silver pipes and pulleys on what would be her last day there, she felt content. Then a woman came to visit her.

 

Covered in material from throat to floor, only the woman’s arms, hands, and head were exposed. Her eyes glittered. Ananda found her remarkable and wondered at her age. Within her, the Hunger shifted, turning over, like a growl from a sleeping lion. It recognized another beast near, but had not as of yet determined it to be a threat.

 

“The Ritual of Sharpest Way is quite silly,” the woman spoke, coming to stand very close.

 

“Yes,” Ananda agreed.

 

“It was created centuries ago by men who did not understand the nature of a Sharpest Wife. With men, the Hunger torments them, each of them, and drives them crazy with bloodlust. This Ritual would have worked well with one of them. Not so with us. But we cooperate do we not?”

 

“I cooperate to legally inherit all that is due me.”

 

“Yes, we all do. It is a small price to become royalty. A small, harmless deception.” She reached up and stroked a finger over Ananda’s cheek. “But you have been here longer than any other. We know what you are doing.”

 

Ananda raised her chin.

 

“You’re feeding off them and you are toying with them as your own test of your new power and strength.”

 

Ananda said nothing.

 

“We all do it. But none for so long as you.” She took a step back. “We want you to stop.”

 

“Who is we?”

 

The woman inclined her head in belated greeting. “I am Rhadya I represent the Sharpest Wives in this district. We want you to stop.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Our way has worked because the men do not know the extent of our talents. You draw much attention and many questions.”

 

Ananda licked her lips. There was much she did not know.

 

With a wave of her hand. Rhadya released the ties that had never truly bound Ananda. Ananda stepped away from the silver rack. The other woman opened the door and brought the four men in. They were aged and exhausted.

 

Rhadya departed after Ananda showed the witnesses her teeth.

 

And so, almost two weeks after discovering that she would not die, that she would live on as a Sharpest Wife, Ananda was granted deed to all that was Clayan’s and his father’s. Had one of his brothers married a Sharpest Wife, those possessions would already have been forfeit. Ananda would not have inherited them. Though it was rare for more than one Sharpest Wife belonged to a family at a time, the laws were written and thorough. Ananda would have then been granted deed to all that belonged to an uncle or a brother, whichever was next in the line of wealth.

 

She was also offered her selection of the unwed men in the family. She could take up to three of them as a replacement for Clayan. Ananda rejected the tradition.

 

The Hunger had been whispering to her sweetly now for almost two months. It reminded her of the wrong she had been done. It wanted to hunt, for running prey was ever more delectable than caged.  

 

 

Tune in next week, when Ananda begins her hunt for Clayan, her runaway husband.

 

<p>Grayson Reyes-Cole

http://www.graysonreyescole.com

Author of Bright Star

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6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Ah, the thrill of the hunt! I like the direction this story is taking!

Comment by Rita Vetere

He’s got some splainin’ to do!!! *G*

Comment by Lesli Richardson

Very intriguing!

Comment by Charlotte McClain

He *does* have some splain’ to do! And I’m glad you find it intriguing, Charlotte!

Comment by graysonreyescole

This is very intriguing. Looking forward to the next installment. 😀

Comment by Liz Velez

Thank you for stopping in and reading, Liz. I do hope you’ll continue to stop in and read!

–grayson

Comment by graysonreyescole




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