Point of Order

“Silence!” Azazel roared one word, and the racket cut off.  He looked across the Council chamber at Qayna.  “Do you abstain, then?” he asked her.

Qayna almost fell from her perch.  Her crow settled slowly on the back of the empty throne and stared at her.  “Me?”

“It’s a trick!” Semyaz howled, and his supporters pounded on the table with their fists and stamped on the floor with their hooves.  “He’s cheating!”

“Point of order!” Belial shrieked.  The voice from the mass of tentacles sounded like metal grinding on metal, but somehow it formed intelligible words.  “All parties present vote.”  Something like a beak, beneath something like a golden eye, shoved its way forward through the tentacles and fixated on Qayna.  “He has done you hurt, woman.”

“All parties present vote,” Bull Head agreed.


“She is the Marked Woman,” Azazel repeated.  “She’s practically one of us.”

“All parties present vote,” Ezeq’el agreed.

They all stared at Qayna.  She stared back, wondering whom she would offend if she said anything.  She didn’t mind the thought of being killed, but she balked at the idea of being trapped in the torture-orgy below.

“Call for a new vote!” Semyaz growled, banging the table again.  “New vote!”

“Point of order,” Ezeq’el said calmly.  “This vote isn’t over until all participants have indicated their vote.”

“New vote!”

“Point of order!”

Azazel smiled.

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