Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Osiris 1-11 - E. J. Swift

"Two weeks later and here she was. From the alcove, she watched the guests circulate, half eavesdropping on their conversations. The whispers made her angry. Axel had been whispered about for too long. Adelaide’s mother had chosen her candles and arranged them in small clusters on every table. Even grouped together like that, the flames they emitted seemed frail. Viviana sat at the head of one table as if she were holding court, but the glass at her elbow was untouched and she displayed no interest in conversation. A pocket-sized version of the photograph eventually designated inappropriate lay on the table in front of her. From the briefest of glimpses, Adelaide knew that this had been taken some years back. The directness of Axel’s gaze was a shocking memory. A curious mix of people had come. There were a few wild cards—she noticed Zadiyyah Sobek, head of the electronics corporation, chatting to one of the family Tellers—but most were her father’s crowd, either politicians or other venerated family members. They had split into cliques. The Dumays, of Veerdeland extract, occupied one corner. The Ngozis, descendants of the Pan-Afrikan Solar Corporation, whispered in another. Adelaide’s father and brothers worked the rooms, careful to acknowledge every guest. The Rechnovs traced their own roots to the Sino-Siberian Federation. At its conception, the City of Osiris had attracted the world’s most brilliant minds, rich and poor, from the northern hemisphere to the south. Looking at the assembled congregation, Adelaide felt that there was little evidence of that intellect visible today, and particularly amongst the Councillors. With their upright carriage and pinched expressions, they were easy to spot. Some of them wore the formal session surcoat over their suits, the sweeping garments giving them the appearance of doleful bats doused in cherry juice. Linus and Dmitri had already established themselves within the illustrious hallmark of the Council Chambers. Linus’s personal mission was to convert his sister. He liked to dangle words like future and ramifications under Adelaide’s nose, fish on a hook she never bit. As a Rechnov, even a renounced fourth gen one, Adelaide retained the respect, prominence, and wealth afforded all of Osiris’s founders: this was her inheritance. But she had her own name now. Adelaide Mystik. She had her own set, too. They were known as the Haze. A few of them were here, distinguishable by their roving butterfly wariness and adherence to fashion. Beneath cloche hats, the girls’ lips were matte in red or mulberry. Their diamond-patterned legs shifted as they tested standing in one spot, then another. The boys, usually so at ease, loitered self-consciously amongst the Council members and founding families. Adelaide saw Jannike, one of her oldest friends, bend over to say something to her mother. Viviana did not glance up. A smattering of reporters completed the parade. Some of the krill journalists had attempted to glam up their shabby hemlines with a belted coat or a hat, but nothing could disguise their insidious manner. Perhaps it was the proximity of these conflicting factions as much as the event itself that produced such an air of uncertainty. A Councillor bumped into a socialite and both parties blushed and fell silent, alarmed by the prospect of conversation. Under other circumstances, Adelaide might have found the interaction comical. Her part had been clearly appointed." 4 out of 5