Elder '06: Lessons Learned

Dark glass offered reflected evidence of his foolishness as he stared back at himself. Split lip. Black eye. No bruises on his knuckles. He was not the aggressor---not as such. The instigator, to be sure. Not passive in this monumental mistake. He was catalyst, then victim.

Faulty assumptions and bungled communication. Things here didn't mean what they meant there. He'd forgotten this. A stranger in a foreign land struggling to comprehend and to be understood, failing at both.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. His lips turned upward in a bitter smile. He'd gained much tonight, just not the reward he'd been expecting.

A single kiss. So light as to be almost non-existent. Such a simple thing. On any other day, with anyone else, it might be overlooked, ignored, forgotten. As it was—that kiss, confession of unnatural desire--altered the balance. Changed things irrevocably.

Ezra saluted his reflection, squaring his shoulders before smoothing his brocade jacket. He'd gotten off easy, really. For now. Better to abandon this place, to learn from his mistake, than risk further reprisals.

More caution and discretion would be exercised in the future. He'd received his warning. He would not need another.