Friday, May 31, 2013

A Tale of Two Kings -- Part #3

            Roderic staggered only slightly as he followed his escort through the corridors.  As always, it seemed that the sun rose too early over the palace of Ara’keim.  Even more annoying was his father’s unexpected summons, which came before that sun had a chance to rise.  He would have certainly preferred more time, at least to properly nurse this headache and the soreness he felt.  All were a well earned gift from last evening’s festivities.  Parts of which had been more enjoyable than others. 

Between the abundance of drink, and chance encounter gone wrong, he couldn’t say which contributed to his discomfort more.  Though at the suggestion of the one that got away, the pretty flower he had found later in the night, did help to dull the pain of the bruises he had received.  Thinking of Anne sent a fresh spike of pain drilling through his skull.  That encounter could possibly have gone better.

            She looked beautiful last night.

When had that happened?  How long had it been?  Roderic winced at the memory of how quickly a candle's flame once took that hair, and the following hate that burned in a young girl’s eyes.  It was still there, and could I have acted anymore, the fool?

            “Did my father say what this was about?”  He called out to the tall lean man who had awakened him, and was now leading him to an unknown destination and fate.  Well it wasn’t exactly unknown.  Roderic had spent his youth with Zareth, exploring every inch of this palace and the surrounding city.

            “I’m certain that I do not know,” he responded with the same even tone he had used when answering the last several times.  Roderic knew the monotone voice wouldn’t change a single pitch or vary the response to much, if asked again.  Merric was his father’s personal servant, loyal as a dog, and devoid of what most would call a personality.  He would only say what he was told to say, and nothing more.  Still, it didn’t hurt to try, and it was likely the only amusement Roderic would get this morning.

            “So you’re certain?” Roderic prodded, curling a half smile.

            “Quite,” Merric replied.

            “Really… I guess, quite, is pretty certain.”


            Roderic got nothing more, though he did ask a few more times just out of spite.  Their route meandered on through the palace.  Wherever they were going, it was not a direct path to their destination.  This could only mean that his father wanted him in a specific place at a precise time.  It was that, or he had taken into account that Roderic, would need time to walk off the effects of his––less desirable behaviors.

            After an hour of walking in circles, Merric glance back at him.  If Roderic hadn’t known better he would have believed the man was amused, but that would require an actual emotion.  No, he was just assessing Roderic’s state.  Shortly they came to a stop in front of the King’s audience chamber.  It was not the usual place his father chose to chew him out.  This time however he had no idea what he had done.  At least he wasn’t certain of what his father may have learned he had done.  His best guess circled around the incident with princess Anne’s guards last night.  He and Zareth had only sent three to the infirmary wing.  It was hardly a thing that would raise his ire.

            “You may enter,” Merric stated, turning to face him.

            Roderic stepped forward, putting them only a few inches apart.  He looked the other up and down, chewing on the words he wanted to say.  Roderic’s best curses would be wasted on this man.  Merric never flinched.  Even now the taller man just stared straight ahead, not meeting Roderic’s eyes. 

            “You do know that we’ve made seven passes of this door, while you’ve led me about this morning,” Roderic stated.

            Merric suddenly blinked.  Then oddly out of character, he looked down and met Roderic’s stare.

            “We had time for eight more,” Merric replied.  “The need did not seem necessary.  Do you disagree?”

            Roderic’s mouth opened but then close.  He would swallow that particular curse too, and save it for one who could at least appreciate it.  Instead he raised a hand to Merric’s shoulder and brushed some imaginary dust from it.  With a crooked smile he turned toward the door.  From the corner of his eye, he saw Merric wave the signal.  Two guards stepped in and opened the double doors as Roderic approached. 

            He stepped into the audience chamber, and saw his father sitting with two others.  When the doors closed behind him, his father turned his direction and stood.  Roderic instantly knew this was not going to be good.  Absent from his father’s lips, was the scowl he had expected, the scowl that most of their meetings usually demanded.  The King instead gave him the grandest of smiles.  It was not a fatherly smile for a beloved son, and if he had seen that one, he would know his death was imminent.  No, this particular smile, Roderic had seen many times. 

It said, “I am King Tiber Arcanius, and you will perform a service to my kingdom.”  That service usually got more than a few men killed, especially the one who received that smile.

At that moment the two guests stood, and Roderic knew for certain that he was in trouble.  The visitors wore floor length coats, of a colorfully multi-patterned design.  If only they had been gleemen for his upcoming Naming Day, he might have felt a little better, but they weren’t.  The long pointed ears and the eyes of glowing silver said but one thing.


The Elves had not come to Ara’Keim for over three generations.  In the histories it spoke of the times they did come, and those times had always been the worst.  His father eagerly waved him forward.  To Roderic’s credit, he did not vomit, but his headache screamed louder than ever, and he sorely wanted a drink.

End of Part #3
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Come back soon for Part #4

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Tale of Two Kings - Part #2

She took a calming breath to gather her focus.  There were few things in this world that bothered her, and these two men were high among them.  Annabelle Lenore look upon each with a disapproving manner.  Her personal guards had skillfully pinned them both to the ground.  She had first taken notice of them back in the King’s ballroom, and they her.  Foolishly, they thought to follow a princess into a place they should not have ventured.  Annabelle's visit had allowed her this private wing in the palace as her residence.  Uninvited visitors could expect to be detained at the very least.  The more persistent could expect to have their rather fair looking faces, pressed unflatteringly against the obsidian stone floor.

“And what do we have here?” she asked, letting her annoyance flow through her voice.  The feeling did not lessen when the darker haired one managed to raise his head.  His lips were curled into a smile that he must have thought special.  It only made her want to put her sharp heel to the side of his head.

“You don’t speak,” she said, raising a hand in a gesture of silence.  Annabelle turned instead to his auburn haired companion.  “You will speak.”  

This one was smiling now.  Her eyes narrowed and her lips pursed tightly as she glance back at the first one.  The damn fools must have practiced long on that clever smile.  It may have worked on the chambermaids, but it held no sway with her.  Sure they were both fair enough to look at.  However, they had the grace, charm, and subtlety of a stumbling child.  Both had made that impression very well when they practically fell over each other, when simply crossing ballroom. 

“I’m waiting for a response,” she nodded toward her guard.  He gave the auburn haired man’s arm a little twist.  Annabelle was pleased when the clever smile faded.  The man had bit down hard on what she thought was going to be a very colorful curse.

“My lady,” he grunted, as her guard gave his arm another small twist. “My lady…  I believe there has been a misunderstanding.  We simply caught sight of your beauty from afar.  Out of pure admiration, we wished only for a closer view of your radiance.”

“My beauty?” Annabelle asked sounding unimpressed.  “Such a compliment, and yet, I believe this one boasts with a silver tongue he does not possess.”  She nodded for her guards to torque each man’s arm again.  Surprising to her was that neither cried out.  The soldiers her father trained were very good at inflicting pain.

“Tell me,” she said after a moment’s consideration.  “Was it only my beauty you sought?  Am I but a pretty flower for you to gaze upon?  I would assume that you seek more than beauty.  For in time, the simple beauty of any flower shall wilt, and wither.  Maybe I possess other attributes that might interest you?”

“I… uh, well certainly,” the auburn hair man stumbled.  The silver tongue was failing.   Now he only had that clever smile to fall back on.  It did not seem so clever to her this time.

Annabelle sighed.

“If truly, it is only beauty that you seek,” she said bitterly, “might I suggest you try the royal gardens.  There you will find plenty of beautiful flowers gaze upon, and pluck.”

Annabelle turned.  Then hesitating, she looked back down at the two men.

“Then again, I wouldn’t suggest that either,” she cautioned.  “The king takes much pride in those gardens.  It might be a shame if one or both of you lost a hand.”

Each man flashed a smile at her, but not the clever one this time.  It said they knew something that she did not.

“Don’t worry,” the one with the auburn hair said.  “I doubt that he will take my hand.”

“I wouldn’t be so certain, Roderic Arcanius,” Annabelle said his name without flinching.  She enjoyed the surprise that painted their faces.

“You know who I am?” Roderic asked. 

Annabelle made a small nod and the guards released the two men.

“How can one be invited to a party and not know the name of their host,” she stated.  “You are the Prince of Days… heir to the Throne of Light, future King of the Twelve Kingdoms, Protector of the Gateway, and Guardian of the Covenant.” Annabelle recited the titles with as much exaggerated pomp as she could manage, and did not crack a smile.  Roderic's dumfounded look was satisfying to her, and she turned to the other and sniffed lightly.

“You would be Zareth Wren, the Prince of Nights, Heir to the Twilight Throne, and the future position of Lord General to the King of Days.” 

            The idiot had the nerve to bow and her frown did not seem to discourage him.

            “My lady,” Roderic said.  “It seems that you have us at a disadvantage.”

            “Like most men, you are born that way,” Annabelle said.  For a second she chewed on the sour taste at the tip of her tongue, but continued.  “It is a sad state of affairs when the King’s son does not know his own guests.  Especially one who’s hair he once set on fire while the governess wasn’t watching.”

            She saw something dawn in Roderic’s eyes.


            Annabelle tilted her head slightly with a frown for Roderic.

            “So you do remember me,” she stated.  “Should I be pleased that some memory of me still exists in your muddled thoughts?”

            “It has been a long time,” Roderic said.  He seemed to fumble with his words.  The silver had completely left his tongue.

            “Not long enough,” she shot back, and turned a sharp eye toward Zareth who held what seemed to be a perpetual smirk.

            “And what of you?” she asked.

            “Oh…” he began and the smirk twisted back to that annoyingly clever smile.  “I remember you quite well Anne.”

            “I expected as much,” she sneered.  “You were always the smarter and more inventive of my tormentors.  Always ready with the cruelest of tricks.”

            “Anne,” Roderic hastily said.  “We were all children back then, and children do stupid things.  I admit that we probably did more stupid thing than most, but that’s in the past.  Time changes people.  Let us show you that we have changed.  Perhaps we can start again.”

            Her teeth ground together with every word Roderic spoke.  There was sincerity in his voice, but then he tried that stupid smile on her again.

            “Change…?” Annabelle wetted her lips.  “Roderic, you speak as if the reputation of you both hadn’t preceded you into this meeting.  Your stories and acts of depravity are well known.  Even if they weren’t, you should know quite well that my feelings for the two of you have been well earned.”

            Roderic started to open his mouth, but she cut him off.

            “This conversation is over.”  

Annabelle nodded to her guards.  There had been two but now they had become eight.  They stepped forward behind the two men.

“See them out,” she paused and her eyes narrowed at the two.  “Be certain that they haven’t broken anything when they trip and fall down the stairs.”  Annabelle then smiled at them both.  “Have a pleasant evening Roderic, and you, Zareth.  I hope you both find your pretty flowers to gaze upon.”

Annabelle turned and walked away, ignoring protests and the sounds of fighting at her back.  She thought only of tomorrow night, when she would be away from this place.  Hopefully another ten years could pass before she had to see either of those men again.

Thank you for your visit. 

I hope you enjoyed this segment.

Come back next week for part 3.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Tale of Two Kings

On a field of lies and truths, the two men stood.  Two kings, who for reasons equal and unequal, have come to this place.  For years they had long sparred with only words.  Now with hearts filled with anger, sadness, and betrayal, they would do so with steel.  This would be their end, but to start a story, one must do so at the beginning.

(Some time ago)

In the court of their fathers, the two men stood.  The Prince of Days watched his rival with careful eyes.  The Prince of Nights only smiled in return. 

Oh... He was going to be trouble.

“I saw her first, Roderic,” the Prince of Nights stated.

“Once again you are mistaken, Zareth,” Roderic responded sharply.  “You only saw that beauty after I pointed her out for you.”

“Pointing is not a legal claim, in this kingdom or any other,” Zareth retorted.  “Besides… She’s too good for you.”

“Too good for the Prince of Days?”  Roderic straightened his stance for the slight.  “My title stands me equal to yours.”

“Equal titles do not make for equal men, my friend,” Zareth jabbed at him again.  He then turned, flashing Roderic another smile, and made his way across the ballroom toward the prize.

Roderic however was not about to concede so easily.  Though Zareth had made the first move, he was far from winning.  
*This is just the beginning.  Visit again and you may find there is more to this story.
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Saturday, May 4, 2013

May the 4th be with you!

Corrupting the Next Generation


When said in the wrong context, this sounds like a very bad thing.  When said in the proper context though, and with the proper audience, it can be a beautiful thing.  What am I talking about you might say, or some may have already left, and aren’t asking anything.  For those four… three of you who are still here, I will explain. 

This is basically a sci-fi story.  Particularly one that started with Star Wars:  A New Hope, The Empire Strikes back, and Return of the Jedi.  The last aired in 1983, and I see someone else leaving the room and there were two.  Okay… fast forward 16 years and my niece Abby, was born.  Guess who got to babysit… a lot?  There was lots of walking, cradling, and rocking back and forth.  You know… typical baby stuff.  Little things that become almost a ritual to keep them calm, and to ward off the demons that would occasionally enter their bodies. 

Actually, she was a very good child.  What ritural I found worked the best though, was to pop in the old VHS tapes of Star Wars.  (Note for the younger of you:  VHS was the DVD of my earlier days.  They are a just a little more rectangle and boxy.)  Every time I watched my niece, we would sit down and throw in one of the Star Wars movies.  Even at such a young age, she loved them.  She was still learning to talk but you could ask her a simple question like, “Who is Darth Vader?”  Then in a very soft and quiet voice, she responded, “He’s a bad man.” 

I can tell you that it's a very proud moment, when you realize that you've passed something you love on to the next generation.  It also did not end there.  She has since watch every episode of Stargate SG1, Atlantis, and Universe.  She knows Doctors 9 to 11, and watched the old and new BSG, and the old Buck Rogers series.  She has read every Harry Potter book, and seen every movie.  Now she is reading “Heir to the Empire” for the first time.  I just hope she's enjoying it.
Now, for the one who still remains in the room and is probably heading for the door.  Have a Happy Star Wars day, and May the 4th be with you. 
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