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Caging The Dragon [Solo/Plot]

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1Caging The Dragon [Solo/Plot] Empty Caging The Dragon [Solo/Plot] 18/07/14, 12:50 am

Fu Yunling

Fu Yunling

“The bridegroom went in person to meet the bride, the man taking the initiative and not the woman—according to the idea that regulates the relation between the strong and the weak.” – Confucius

Cosmas Nicolo was not the sort of person the Fu clan wanted to be associated with on a personal level, but tolerated due to sheer business needs. This was nothing but business. Business had opened the door for their shame to be repaired and the gold to keep the wheels of commerce moving. The Fu clan could not afford to allow the stain to remain and tarnish their reputation, and so they had sent it away. Yunling had become questionable in her purity and not even her tears and the word of a doctor would save her from the disgrace of her fiancé turning his back on her. He did not want her, not this wife who spoke to foreigners and had not even the sense in her head to charge a huang for a pot of tea.

You disgust me.” The words taste like bleach on her tongue, burn and stick at her throat until she gags and coughs clotted black and scarlet blood over the hand that holds her. She’s dreaming that she’s dying again, dancing in the moonlight with shreds of hours and sakura petal remnants. But then he shakes and shakes and she can’t help but cry even though she tries so hard to have a spine of steel.

They shipped her over land and seas, every fiber of her being aching from the sting of salt and wind against her delicate skin. She had never been so far away from home, and now she must go clear to the other side of the world to bow at the side of a man she had never met. Yunling regretted everything. From one warm hug to a giant’s smile, she regretted the pride of her people as she curled into herself. She didn’t understand it then, took her delight where she could take it and pushed through the silk screen of her palanquin to sing songs of home for the sailors. There was no place for childish joy in the face of Zou’s needs. She was a bird caged anew, and she could only dream of freedom.

Miss Fu? Are you alright?” The voice grits out from a point beyond the reach of smoky time, forces her mind to focus with the will that makes her so deadly and desired by the man child who clutches the chains of her fate in his sweaty palm. There is blood in her mouth because the ring he wore on his hand left an imprint on her face as she bit her cheek. At least she thinks. It’s harder to think now with the crackling whine in her ears. But she covers her mouth with the snap of a fan and her eyes crinkle up at the corners. “This one is fine and thanks thee for thine concern. This one recommends thee returns to one’s duties, yes?

Nicolo met her at the port, all smiles and joy that his precious package had arrived safely from the Zou Empire. She was a little pale of skin and skinnier than he expected, but her teeth were straight and her hips were wide. His purchase would make him a fine wife, with the pleasant upside of firmly entrenching him in the pockets and good graces of the Zou Empire. There was no honor to be found in his mail-order bride, but she was pretty and he would enjoy her all the same. Much more convenient than a prostitute, and already so well trained on proper behavior at his side.

She refused to die like that, the broodmare mother of his flesh and blood, alone but for the wanting and the waiting for something she never had. But there is no choice, not as she discretely covers her face at the reception so that no one sees the bruises around her eyes or that blood that flecks her teeth. Yunling will not enjoy the consummation of this marriage. But until she is wed she is duty bound to blood and clan, and after she is duty bound to her husband. He will lie in her bed once and she will give him a son. Never again.

He raises his glass to toast to his new wife (and she will be his wife when she drinks from that cup), but it is empty when it touches his lips.

She keeps her head bowed and her fingers knotted in her lap and wills herself not to cry. Yunling watches the man who would be her husband rip into a kebab with all the fury of a humpbacked hippopotamus and tries not to gag from the smell. She was raised with manners and class, and this is where she will spend the rest of her life. Hopefully it will be a long one.

He gags. Coughs. Holds his hand to his neck and sprays spittle as he reaches for the now empty wine bottle. She lurches to her feet in a form of quiet distress as he heaves for breath, his hand smacking into her face and sending her to the floor. Cosmas Nicolo chokes to death. And now friendless and so very alone half the world away from her home, Fu Yunling runs for her life. They make slaves out of women like her, and she only has one shot to break out of the gilded bird cage.

And ever so quietly on a clear moonlit night, Fu Yunling vanished into the streets of Reim, never to be heard from again.

[948 words
Exit stage left.]


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