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elynross and astolat organized yuletide Madness 2010. I wrote a treat for writingdawn, who requested a Queen's Thief fic with a focus on Irene.

Title: The Heart's Invisible Reaches
Author: voleuse
Fandom: The Queen's Thief [Megan Whalen Turner]
Character: Attolia
Rating: PG
Summary: Wily silence and nothing else has happened.
Notes: Spoilers for A Conspiracy of Kings.



A spy, disguised as a messenger, disguised as a radish merchant delivered the news of Sophos' disappearance. It was coded in between an inventory of radish yields in southern Attolia. It took three moments for her to decipher the message, and she tilted her head to glare at Eugenides, who was taking great pleasure in juggling a handful of radishes himself. "My lord," she said, each consonant crisp for the hall.

"Yes, my queen," he replied, pausing to pop a radish into his mouth. He grimaced, either from the taste or under her glare.

"I dearly hope you aren't responsible for this news." She handed him the scroll and waved the radish merchant away.

Eugenides scanned the numbers, his fingers clenching only briefly at the edges of the parchment. "You can blame me for many things," he quipped, "but never rain upon the radish fields."

Irene eyed him as the next petitioner stepped up, and decided to believe him for now.

*


The council answered to Attolia and Attolis alike, but Eugenides, Irene had discovered, quickly grew restless in the confines of the council room. She suspected the stone walls reminded him too much of god-scattered caverns and dungeons--she still flinched away from that thought--but when she needled him about his hasty exits, he quipped about the perfumed wax the finance minister used in his hair.

They had been, for many weeks, been shuffling through the implications of the new king of Sounis. His ascension boded well for trade, most conceded, but the minister of defense scowled without ending.

"He is young," the defense minister pointed out, "and his advisors will urge him towards the same marriage the previous Sounis sought."

"Eddis," Irene said. "A good match, perhaps."

"It would further strengthen the alliance between our nations," another councillor pointed out. "Attolis--"

"Wherever he is," the captain of the guard interjected.

"--is still quite close with Eddis, is he not?"

Irene inclined her chin to acknowledge the point. "And if she should bear a child?" She folded her hands together precisely. "An heir to both Eddis and Sounis alike?"

A silence fell over the chamber, and the minister of defense sighed gustily in relief.

*


Irene woke when Eugenides slipped into her bedchamber, his robes smelling of pine and incense as he shrugged out of them. His arm slid around her waist as she rolled to face him, and she smiled as he kissed her forehead, then her temple.

"You've been tormenting the border guards again," she observed, tracing circles against his chilled skin.

Eugenides laughed. "They could use a little excitement," he said.

Irene pressed her lips against his collarbone. "Soon enough," she replied, "as you know."

He stirred against her, and she reached up, smoothed the wrinkles of his sudden frown.

"Tomorrow," she said.

"Tomorrow," he agreed. He curved toward her, and she arched to meet him.


###

A/N: Title and summary adapted from A Small Pleasure of Birds (Preghiera Serale) by Ryan Laks. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.

Originally posted here.

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