The woman's lip curled in distaste. The helpless blackbird she had enchanted to sing had brought displeasing news. She paced across the cold stone floor bare-footed, her long hair (the colour of jet) which swished from side to side echoing her anger and her muttered words almost coating the air they touched in black paint with their foulness. It was torture for the poor bird to listen to but he was trapped in his cage, awaiting his next instruction from the woman, who had a curious power over his will.

She stopped.

"Sing again," commanded she.

Against his will, the blackbird repeated his song, incomprehensible to man but perfectly the opposite to the creature he served who only looked like a woman.

The song was one of beauty. The latest destination had been Vittoria Palace, the home of King Peter, Queen Mariana, and their daughter, Princess Violeta. The blackbird sang of magnificent architecture, of stunning gardens, of magical colours that he had seen everywhere.

The woman cared for none of this, waiting impatiently for the part of the song where two lovers shared a sweet kiss upon an iron bench. She heard the description of the couple and screamed in frustration, terrifying the secret witness into silence.

"Daniel!" shouted the woman; but Daniel was no the name of the blackbird. "Daniel! Damnation, where are you, you son of a - "

"Is it really necessary to insult dear Mother, sister?"

The question, interrupting the woman's cursing, was asked calmly by a striking young man who had suddenly appeared in the room, seemingly without using a door. He laid the lady he had mysteriously been holding upon a sofa the colour of mud (which contrasted with her fair, straw-coloured curls) and strode up to his sister, a disturbingly suggestive look in his eyes.

"Who is that?" asked the woman.

"The wife of a tailor," replied Daniel, smiling.

Momentarily forgetting her anger, asked the woman in amusement "A faithful wife?"

"Naturally," answered he.

"And not a widow?" asked the woman, drawing closer to her brother.

"And not a widow."

The woman leaned upwards towards her brother's face and they shared a shockingly passionate kiss.

They smiled at each other as the kiss lost its intensity and ceased.

"What was it you wanted me for, sister?" asked Daniel, his hands resting on her hips.

"Perhaps just your company to drive away the loneliness," said she, in a deceptively innocent voice. Her arms were wound around her brother's neck so that they were inhaling the air the other exhaled.

"My sister, we could not do something together while we have guests," said Daniel, indicating the other lady with his head, as if they had not just shared a sinful kiss, as if his poor victim were not unconscious.

The first woman laughed and her arms returned to her sides where they eased off her brother's hands, though he gripped her tightly before letting go.

"I called you because Prince Robert has asked for the hand of that stupid girl with eyes like amethyst."

"I see," said Daniel, indifferent to her cruelty. "And what do you want me to do?"

"Seduce the girl. Taint her so the prince will no longer want her. I cannot have her ruining my plans."

Daniel smiled approvingly. "A wonderful idea. You always were intelligent, sister."

"Can you see the future, brother?" the woman asked. "It contains a Princess Louisa."

Daniel threw back his head and laughed. Louisa joined him. The laughs were long and cruel. They lasted in the siblings' mind for the entire night. Daniel found himself experiencing greater pleasure as he enjoyed his helpless prey, so satisfying was the delight in doing monstrous things.

The blackbird sobbed in the corner, wishing he could fly free and alert the unsuspecting Violeta.

The End

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