…when the Black Shion turned, mid-note, and called over to them too. For the first time, he looked directly at Zy.

The Black Shion had an attractive face, although in a rather frightening way. It was quite a brooding face: though youthful, it had a kind of nimbus of violence around it. There was a langorous power in the man: it was indicative of – well, something: Zy wasn’t sure – but something – that the nose had evidently been broken at some earlier point in this young man’s life, and yet that added to his good looks, rather than detracted from them.

It was a shocking face to look into: Zy, at least, felt a sudden charge, an electricity. The boy was confused: he was also delighted. There was brutality, pugilism, aggression in the Black Shion’s face: there was a knowledge of power, power experienced and power exerted – a simple, boxer’s power – it was a dangerous face. But there was something pure and innocent about it, too, something fervid, zealous.

Sai, it was an exciting face: you felt alive when his attention was turned on you, felt an agitation in your emotions, like dry autumn leaves being stirred up in a swirling breeze. And yes, there was fear in the excitement – but fear of what? Fear that something – almost anything – might happen. Fear of violence, yes – but something else, more complicated. Fear of violence – but also, fear that the violence might be exciting. And even – really? – a half desire that the man would act violently. Deeper still, bound up with this, there was an ambiguity about the source of the fear, an aspect to the face, the way the man looked at you, an unsettling quality to the glance: brutality, innocence – danger. But what was more dangerous – the brutality, or the innocence; or did the real danger lie in a mixture of the two?…

The eyes. The eyes were a deep green, they had new leaves in them, and sunlight. They shone, even now, when bloodshot and dazed, there was a light in them. The eyelids were heavy, sleepy. There was a dreamy look to the eyes. And they were glancing, now, directly at Zysoshin.
He felt, in the course of an age-long instant, a kind of rapture. There was a peculiar intimacy about the way the Black Shion looked at you, an invitation. You suddenly felt free, except the freedom was tied up with this man: in order to experience freedom, you had to be in his company, and to follow him, to do what he asked.

Almost immediately, Zy began laughing. He couldn’t help himself. As he laughed, the Black Shion’s eyes widened under their drooping lids, and he smiled as he sang. It all took place in seconds. He nodded at Zy as if he, the deranged young lord, understood: they were together. There was glamour in this: Zy felt it almost unbearably. Then, in a moment, the eyes danced away, and moved to Early…


 orientate | Shion, meaning, literally, “great one”, from the Gonfi Shi (“high”, “great”, “superb”), and On (“one”, “first”): the title, “Lord”, used for the sons of noble clans


Excerpt from Mask [i], Volume 9 of Dustless

Dustless | Volume 9

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