Josha’s Last Night of Freedom

Based on a FB group I started to get people writing. There are weekly exercises, and this was the first one. The goal was to write about a support character without ever bringing a protagonist into the story. This helps flesh out a support character. Some people have actually caused their support character to change based on this. Josha will never change, though. Here is Josha, the mentor of Kessem in Drowning the Sands of G’desh.

Josha bit into the cork in his vial and yanked it out, the pleasant thrum of the glass reverberating. Red liquid sloshed about in the alchemist’s bottle and he took a swig. The red dripped down his chin and he wiped it with the back of his white tunic. It slowly made its way down the bottle as well, leaving sediment.

Hamed laughed and grabbed for one of the other vials with the same color liquid. He took out the cork and also took a gulp, sighing in delight at the drink. Abram was apprehensive and said, “Alchemist, how can we trust this? What will it do to us?” Abram was the youngest at twelve, but the three usually got along. Either way, their destinies were intertwined and they would need to learn to work together. It galled Josha to no end that the snot nosed child followed them around so often.

However, Hamed was always in good spirits, and he responded, “What it’ll do to you is get you good and drunk so you can actually have some fun.” Hamed was to be the Sultan when his father passed, which was likely soon enough. He was still a teen, a couple years younger than Josha, but he was the last son and his father emphasized a desire to have youth on the throne. His brothers, each a great general, seemed to relent to the pressure of father. The one who did not was sent to the front lines to never return.

The bottle looked strange in Abram’s young hand. He analyzed it, swishing it about in the glass bottle, shaking up the ingredients. Josha groaned, “Don’t do that, boy. You’ll destroy the composition.” He swirled his own wine, “You gently swirl. Then check the streaking. That tells you how thick it is. When you open it, let it breathe.”

“You didn’t let it breathe,” he shot back, snarling.

“That’s because I don’t care what it tastes like. I just want to get drunk and do something stupid.” He took another long pull and laughed, lifting the bottle up. He could feel it in him, the thoughts in his head swimming. Internally he gloated at how his judgment was impaired and the rest of the day was out of his control. “Now open your damned bottle before your mom asks you to suck on her for your milk.”

The boy grumbled, but did as he was told, opening the wine bottle and drinking from it. Hamed pushed him to take as deep a drink as possible, then went to finishing half his own bottle. Josha scoffed, “How much you think I made?” His tongue felt numb and his lips moved in ways he didn’t mean. “Take time, Hamed.” Josha had to sit down, and leaned. The concoction was stronger than he planned, but that would do fine enough. “We going to Kazab?”

“Of course. We have some festivities planned, too. Not often we get above ground,” Hamed said, then pulled up his friend.$