Silver and Topaz

Silver and Topaz

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“Watch out!” Sheo crowed, dancing through the crowded hall balancing a fancy plate above them. Wobbling above everyone’s heads was a silver platter full of jewellery as the oldest child in the house dodged through the crowd. “Coming through!”

The last one in the way was the youngest, Chevaw. His brows were furrowed and arms crossed, waiting impatiently to get into downstairs bathroom. He didn’t move, and Sheo crashed right into him.

“Chev,” whined the oldest Liapzo, scrambling up and scooping up the precious metal strands and inlaid stones, “Come on, you saw me there!”

Chevaw helped pick up a few earrings that had rolled away, holding them out to their cousin. “You saw me too,” he grumbled, tapping his foot impatiently. “Besides. What’re you doin’ with all that ely?” He drawl was long and lazy, unlike any way the other Liapzo’s talked. Some kind of speech impediment.

Sheo looked down at the silver jewellery. Silver was considered most precious in Sigillea, so it was rather odd to be carting it around like they had. “Laffy wanted it,” they answered finally, deciding not to be snippy with Chevaw and preserve the upbeat atmosphere. “I think they’ve got a date.”

“You think?”

Sheo nodded, holding the platter above their head again. “I think.” Then, they left their cousin there with a puzzled look on his face, heading to the back room. Sheo and Eslafi’s room.

They had shared rooms ever since Chevaw had been born. With four adults, two couples, already living in the four-bedroom house, it left only two bedrooms between three children. There had to be shuffling done when the children’s blood settled; since Chevaw had been the only eva, he got his own room.

With the door plastered with glamours and posters in front of them, Sheo cleared their throat. There had been practice magic put on it, and now the door slipped past your vision if you weren’t careful. The floorboard in front of the door creaked as Sheo shifted their weight from foot to foot, calling through the crack, “I got the goods, esvy!”

The crack widened. A bright yellow eye stared back. “All of them?”

“All of them.”

The door opened. Sheo stepped into their darkened room. The beds were pushed up against the far wall, under the window with the curtains drawn tightly closed, with an overflowing closet to the left and an overstuffed dresser on the right wall. Clothes were strewn about, hanging off of every surface. Underwear clung to the old chandelier, tossed over a shoulder, dampening the mood of the room.

Sheo sighed. “You sure made a mess.” Handing over the platter, they sat on the bed.

“I couldn’t find anything.” Eslafi crossed their arms over an undershirt. It clung to their stockier frame in all the wrong places, accentuating their blocky frame in ways they hated so much. Besides glamours, nothing much could be done about their curves and lack thereof. Tapping their long nails against their cleft chin, they surveyed the jewellery. It belonged to their Mother, Mesma Napold, and their Aunt, Mesma Shiruda. How it had gotten through the crowd without either of them – or their spouses – noticing that was beyond Eslafi. They were grateful all the same. Their own jewellery was all costume jewellery. Their Mesma and Orma’s jewellery? Real ely and real topaz.

Picking up one of the more elaborate pieces, a black and silver choker with topaz the same colour as Eslafi’s eyes embedded in it, they sighed wistfully. If only they could afford such things.

“One day,” said Sheo softly, studying the look on their esvy’s face, “One day we can get our own.”

Setting the piece down, Eslafi nodded. “I know. When we’re famous, right?” Smiling a fake smile, the middle child sat next to their esvy-ki. Their fraternal twin.

Sheo smiled back. “Of course.” Picking up the choker, the taller esva held it up to Eslafi, tilting their head. Humming and hawing for a moment, while Eslafi playfully swatted them away, Sheo said, “Maybe not this one. It’s too fancy for a first date.”

Flushing, sallow skin turning deeper yellow, Eslafi waved them off. “It’s not a first date.”

“Ooh!”

Eslafi gasped and slapped a hand over their mouth. “I didn– I meant that– It was once– We didn’t ev–”

“This is your second date!?”

Eyes with a greenish hue stared into wide golden ones. Then, a nod.

Sheo shrieked with laughter, grabbing a pillow to pummel Eslafi with. “You dirty little–!”

Eslafi laughed too, yanking the pillow from their sibling’s hands to hit them back, cutting their insults off. “You ific,” swore the younger, hopping to their feet with a laugh, just as the door swung open.

“Excuse me?”

The laughter stopped. Sheo and Eslafi shared a horrified look, then turned to the door.

Hands on hips, their Kosir stood in the doorway, unimpressed. His dark hair was pushed back from his face, where he wore a scowl. When met with silence, he repeated himself. “Excuse me?” Semile’s voice was booming, despite his bookish appearance.

Eslafi swallowed and opened their mouth to defend themself, but Sheo cut them off.

“I taught Laffy that one.”

Shaking his head, Semile gestured to his youngest. “You’re grounded tonight.”

“Dach!” Eslafi gaped at their Kosir. “You can’t!”

“I can. You know better than to use that language in the house, Fi.”

“Kosir!” whined Sheo, getting up to hang off of one of his hands childishly. “You can’t ground Laffy!”

“Fine, let’s ask your Mesma.”

“Grounded is fine!” Eslafi said quickly, clamping a hand over Sheo’s mouth before they could make it worse. “Can I go out tomorrow night?” Cranking up the innocence, Eslafi fixed their Kosir with a watery look that could convince even the hardest of hearts to do what they wanted.

Frowning, Semile sighed. “Fine. But if I catch you with a dirty mouth like that again…”

Eslafi threw their arms around Semile, hugging him tight. “Oh, thank you! Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

Their Kosir couldn’t help but smile, ruffling their youngest’s hair affectionately. “Anyway. I came in here to see what the commotion was about. Chevaw says you have a date, Fi?”

The twins shared a look and groaned. Of course, Chevaw had to ruin everything.

Glossary of Terms

Ely – Silver
Eva – Boy/man/male gender
Esva – Nonbinary gender
Esvy – Sibling
Esvy-ki – Sibling born at similar times (Twin)
Mesma – Mother
Kosir – Father
Orma – Aunt
Ific – All-purpose swear. Akin to ‘fuck’.
Dach – No