Farendorm strode along the passage, hit boots hammering out his annoyance. Brixa trotted behind, trying to keep up. Farendorm ignored him and kept going, flexing his right hand, ligaments cracking.
“Master, slow down…” Brixa murmured. “She’ll know you’re angered if you barge in!”
Farendorm whirled so sharply that Brixa collided with him, barking his nose against Farendorm’s sash buckles. He stumbled back, eyes wide.
“You think I am angered?” Farendorm demanded. “You think I should be calm? For THIS?” He brandished his left fist in Brixa’s face.
The domovoi watched it wave inches from his chin and then looked back up, black eyes worried. “Farendorm. My lord, please…”
Farendorm spun without replying and continued down the hall. After a moment he heard Brixa follow. He inhaled angrily and turned the corner to the royal apartments. He slowed, exhaling.
“All right. You’re right, as usual. I’ll be calm, Brixa.”
“Do you wish me to carry –”
“No!” Farendorm shouted. He looked down at his fist. “No,” he said in a softer tone. “No, I will carry it.” He swept forward, leaving the domovoi to follow in his wake.
The guards on either side of the door snapped to attention. “Milord Farendorm,” one said.
“Shall we –” the other started.
“No need,” Farendorm snapped and threw open the door. “Meliskinei!” he shouted.
“Father?” came the startled squawk. “I’m not dressed, Father!”
“Throw a robe on!”
She appeared around the side of her dressing screen and saw him. She saw what he held and her eyes widened. “Father…”
He brandished it at her. “What is this? In the ancestral home of my fathers and mothers, how could you bring such defilement here?”
She stared at him, eyes huge in a delicate face. She would be as beautiful as her mother, he reflected. If he let her live that long.
“But Father!” she wailed. “The iPhone is the best one!”
The best… He nearly crushed the white appliance in his fury. “And the pink…what are these, rhinestones?” he grated.
“That’s the bling, Father! Everyone has them! Sheniliei told me –”
“What of your mother?” he interrupted.
“What is this commotion?”
Farendorm froze. The Queen of Light and Fire moved into view from behind him, eyes flinty. No matter what he’d said to his daughter, he’d had no intention of telling his wife of this.
“Hello, dear,” he said casually, turning to meet her gaze. Her beauty reached out and slapped him, same as always. He smiled.
She blinked. He was not without his own beauty, Farendorm reflected smugly. He used it to full effect now and moved to take his wife in his arms.
“I was merely angered from a council meeting,” he said smoothly, handing the appliance to his daughter behind his back. She took it, eyes wide. He glared and she paled, knowing the argument was not over. “Come, love. I will tell you all about it over breakfast.” With a final glance at his daughter, he steered his wife toward their own apartment, Brixa trotting quietly behind.