When Henry was gone, Seymour shut the door and stood there for a while, wasting precious time. He wasn’t sure why he had kissed him—it had been an impulsive decision, and he had a horrible suspicion that he would regret it later. All he had accomplished was to raise Henry’s hopes for a relationship that Seymour had absolutely no intention of pursuing. Yes, he liked the mage, but not enough to end his six years of self-imposed chastity for him.
He would have felt he was cheating on Raif.
With a sigh, he turned away from the door and trudged across the room. From his bag, he took a clay jar, which he opened, wrinkling his nose at its strong, curdled smell. He set the jar on a ledge beside the mirror, then stripped off his tunic.
He dipped his hand into the jar and brought it out again, covered in a thick, grey, glue-like substance. This he spread evenly over his face, around his neck, over his collarbone, and upon his hands and wrists. He scrunched up his face, twisted his neck, and balled his fists for maximum wrinkled effect, and waited for it to set. When it had dried, he looked thirty years older.
That done, he closed up the jar, pulled his tunic back on, and retrieved a wig of long, thick grey hair from his bag. He used the drippings around the rim of the jar to seal it in place, and then pulled the rough, aged hair back in a messy braid, making certain that his earrings were hidden. Slaves, as a general rule, did not wear metal piercings.
It was then that he started to shake.
His hands were the first to go, at first merely trembling, then progressing to uncontrollable spasms. He had to sit down for a while, breathing deeply, before pressing onward.
He collected a ragged dress from his bag, dropping it twice in the process, and managed to get it over his head, pulling it on over his regular clothing. By then, the shaking had spread up his arms and was beginning in his legs, too. It was hard to breathe.
When he turned his attention away from it, the shaking subsided a bit. He put fabric down the front of the dress to form a bosom, then regarded himself in the mirror. Good enough.
He packed up his possessions and sat down on the bed, awaiting the arrival of the mages.