Photo credit: Iwan Gabovitch
Staring at the game board, Lamantas considered his opponent. The new jayanta’s mistake exposed his eastern flank. Lamantas wished he knew this gruff warrior well enough to predict his reaction to losing. He held his shaking knees, but his stomach still churned. The previous jayanta had beheaded advisors for no worse an offense.
The younger man frowned at the board. Had he seen it?
Lamantas was too old to fake ignorance. His hand flashed out, taking three opposing pieces from the board. There, it was done.
The jayanta’s frown deepened. He hadn’t seen it. His finger traced patterns in the air, his eyes darting over the earlier positions, forward to the next steps.
The guards shifted closer, metal clanking, boots scraping. Lamantas had survived the last ruler. He wondered how much longer his luck would hold.
The jayanta’s deep voice rumbled. “You’ve won.”
Lamantas shrugged, oddly calm. “Perhaps.”
The jayanta laughed. “Well spoken. We start again, then. New game, new lesson.”
The guards relaxed. One even smiled. For the first time in years, Lamantas hoped.
Word count: 175. Written for this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. Thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting, and to Iain Kelly for providing the original photo, below. Click here to read the other stories, and to submit your own.
Photo © Iain Kelly