By Moonlight, a Dream of Vengeance (HTML Excerpt)
 
The departure room was cold and dark. Rhyne Bakker sat in it and shivered, and was bored. He had nothing to do but wait until the temple acolytes released him, which he was fairly sure they wouldn’t until dawn or maybe moonrise. They had all been very coy with him about it, but he understood nevertheless: it was all about the look of the thing. So he was prepared to be bored and shiver his naked ass off in the cold and the dark, for however long it took, until they came to get him and clothe him in silver ermine and parade him about the temple grounds so that everyone could see that the Hierarch had returned from the Moon.

Then he could get back to the really important thing, which was his plan to assassinate the CEO of Centrixa at the upcoming Four Realms Summit.

Rhyne had been a child when the current CEO had assumed power during a hostile capital takeover. He’d been sent to visit his mother in Selinium; she’d made noises, his father had said, about suing for custody again. “I know you don’t want to go, son, and I’ve been doing my best, but my hands are tied. She gets the courts involved, it’ll wind up in assets seizure and reallocation, maybe permanent. But don’t you worry. A month’ll fly by, and you’ll be home before you know it.”

Rhyne didn’t want a month to fly by. He pretended to hate to go, not for his father’s sake, but because he hoped that if his father refused to send him, the courts would “reallocate” him to his mother’s home permanently. It sounded like it had almost worked. Disappointment sloshed like liquid lead, heavy and sick, at the bottom his stomach.

Then, two weeks later, Centrixa had a new CEO, and Rhyne’s mother was his only living relative.

Rhyne’s mother took him to the temple to mourn and pray. There, the temple acolytes handed out ash-black paper and pens full of a glittering silver ink. He wrote out his prayer in big block letters: I WANT MY DADDY BACK AND THE BAD GUY DEAD AND I’M SORRY. (He did not cry. He had an idea that the Goddess would not find his prayer worthy if he cried.) Then he folded it in thirds, just as the acolytes showed him. They helped him drip silver wax over the join and impress it with the holy lunar seal. “The Hierarch will take everyone’s prayers to the Moon with her when next the Goddess summons her,” his mother told him.

“When will that be?” Rhyne wanted it to be tomorrow. He wanted it to have been yesterday.

“In the Goddess’s own time,” she said, and hugged him.

As it turned out, the Goddess summoned her Hierarch later that year....
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This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for September 2, 2016. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1133 words) from Patreon as an ebook or audiobook depending on their pledge tier.

Cover art incorporates original photography by the author, who finally found a use for that crumpled up arts-n-crafts tissue paper in her bottom desk drawer.
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