Intermission #4

The Pact

 

Ambition, no matter how carefully planned, can sometimes come with a high price and sometimes that ambition may cross lines, cost lives, divide family and turn best friends into bitter enemies.

Driven by desire a passionate lust to rule, to grasp the ultimate power of The Child of Prophecy. Fendor had killed and betrayed. He had turned against a King he had been loyal to for all of his life. He had faked alcoholism while planning assassinations. He had turned to black magic, got an innocent woman pregnant and then carelessly discarded her for another woman, stealing that child and raising her along side his new son.

A master manipulator who had taken some extreme measures to secure the throne. One such action was a Pact with a hell-spawn Demon many years ago to create this deception and guide him along his path to success.

The Beast with no name was a higher demon, reigning over several realms of chaos, powerful, magnificent, alluring, ancient. He was attracted to Fendor’s desire by his promise to deliver to the demon the Child of Prophecy. It was a high price to pay, the girl would need to be reincarnated into a pure virginal body and handed over to The Beast upon her thirteenth year.

When Fendor and his wife  conceived the boy he had desired and the little girl was a sweet six years old… The beast with no name attended the celebrations at Fenroux Palace.

Clad in a suit of sapphire coloured crushed velvet, tall and hansom, dark hair slicked back and clipped at the nape of his neck, his human persona caused heads to turn among the women (and some men) in the court. His eyes flared with a rich amber light, pupils horizontal, such as a goats. Behind his smile was hidden several rows of sharp needle pointed teeth. Fendor knew as soon as he sighted the stranger among the celebrants who he was as the beast drew closer to bid blessings upon the Prince.

By the crib the petite half sister, Ataraxia stood in a dainty dress, she also knew the true nature of The beast as he stepped forth and shuffled to hide herself behind her Step-Mothers legs, clinging to the layers of her dress, watching the stranger with fear and awe.

“What are you doing here?” Fendor whispered harshly under his breath.

“Your son, he is the final part of our pact.” The Demon reminded Fendor, speaking softly, so only The King could hear his words.

“You said thirteen years, it has been six!” Desperation crept into his tone.

“I am not here to collect any price Your Highness, not for another seven years. I am here with a humble request…” He purred softly.

“What is it?” Fendor spoke urgently.

“I want to name your son, he has breath because of my magic, your bride is well beyond child baring age, my power has granted you your Prince, I want to grant him his name.”

“How will I get my wife to accept that?”

“Not my problem, how you handle your woman is your business Fendor. I merely desire to name the boy.” The Demon handed over lavish gifts, as any other guest.

“What? What is his name to be?” The King graciously accepted the hamper.

“Ataxia.” The Beast replied, glancing at Ataraxia.

The tiny girl hid her face from the goat-like stare of the stranger in blue.

Reluctantly Fendor agreed…

The Beast with no Name bowed low, respectfully to the Royal Family and turned to merge into the celebrations, instantly surrounded by exotic curious ladies drawn to his beauty, giggling behind their fans. The Beast decided he was going to enjoy himself at this party, determined to make the most of his few hours upon the mortal realm…

 

Anne Harrison 24.05.17

 

Intermission #3

The day the Order was Issued…

 

Kane awoke with a start, roughly shaking the images of the nightmare from his mind… The loud hammering at his door was desperately urgent, it was still dark outside and the cat resting at the foot of his bed glared at having her rest disturbed, hopped down and slipped through the open french doors vanishing into the night as Kane pulled on garments in a rush… A thousand thoughts flooded his mind, panic, annoyance and curiosity… He flung open the door to be greeted by a nervous looking maid accompanied by two guards in Regal uniform.

“You are summoned to the Royal Palace.” The taller guard spoke firmly. “At Once.”

“Dad?” A young six year old lad rubbed sleep from his eyes, standing at his doorway down the hall… “What’s happening?”

Kane simply tilted his head to one side and the Guards parted to allow him to attend to the boy. “I need to work.” He knelt by the lad. “You need to guard your sister while I’m away…” Kane glanced at the awaiting soldiers “…You know what to do.” He added. The boy nodded, slipping back into his room silently pondering over the secret command.

***

At Fenroux Palace in the centre of the Capital City, known as the Northern Heart. The streets were filled with celebration and wonder. It was mid-morning by The time Kane arrived from the Clan Territories and the city was buzzing with a party spirit. Queen Roux had given birth to a healthy bright baby boy, a Royal Prince and Heir.

That news alone gave Kane the understanding of his summons, he wasn’t a fool and he knew this day would come. For near seven years he had held, in secret upon his estate three ‘guests’ three legal Royal Heirs who, in all intent and purpose were already dead publicly. They had only survived these last few years in seclusion upon the whim of Queen Roux, who had personally halted the death sentence upon her only son and two grandchildren. Now, with a new Prince born to the legal King… Jago, who should have been ruler, and his twins Kol and Indigo were insignificant. The traditional order of the throne had been manipulated to suit Fendor’s ambition.

Kane was kept waiting, while Nobles and Knights arrived in mass to congratulate the Royal couple and hope for a glimpse of the tiny Prince. Finally it was Lord Darkfire who greeted Kane in a silent side room. The giant barbarian leader eyed Kane distastefully, clad in traditional clan garb, a tan tunic and dark blue kilt, Kane had adopted the ways of the land he ruled instead of dressing like an outsider. To Lord Darkfire the kilt was offensive and he openly mocked the older, yet smaller man. Kane ignored the remarks.

“Are you going to get to the point?” He shrugged off any insult.

“The Order has been Issued…” Lord Darkfire confirmed Kane’s speculations.

“Very well.” Kane stood to leave.

“Where are you going?”

“Home, I have arrangements to make.”

“I shall be accompanying you!”

“Really?”

“Do you think the King trusts a lackey in a dress?”

Kane stepped right up to the Barbarian, standing chest to physically belly, as Lord Darkfire towered over him. “Do you want to try your luck?” Kane spoke softly, hand resting comfortably upon the hilt of his sword.

There was an uncomfortable silence until the larger man simply took a step backwards.

“You know it would have been easier to have simply sent the order with the Royal Guards instead of dragging me all the way here to the palace.” Kane sighed, bored with the waste of time.

Lord Darkfire grinned then half chuckled as he spoke “We needed you away from your home, to make some security arrangements. To ensure you go through with the order without any resistance.”

Kane kept his expression calm, his mind calculating the amount of time it would take to return home and a thousand more racing thoughts, yet he could not afford to dwell on the threat… “Do you doubt my loyalty to The King, one of my oldest, closest friends?” He spoke without hesitation. “I am perfectly aware of my duty when it was issued to me six years ago. My only concern is why it took so long to act?”

“For the Queen to conceive?” The Barbarian let slip what Kane had guessed.

“Ahhh… What do we know about the cycles of a ladies body?!” Kane grinned slapping the barbarian on the arm then… “Shall we go get this nasty business dealt with? I see no purpose in hesitation, it will be dusk by the time we return. We can get this done this day and break open some spiced wine to celebrate the babes birth.”

He marched past Lord Darkfire, causing the larger man to trot along to keep up. He was spluttering details of his orders as they headed to the courtyard and awaiting transportation. Kane was hardly listening, his mind was tumbling over the empty threat that hung in the air and he pondered over what could possibly await him at home…

 

Anne Harrison 24.05.17

Intermission #2

Out in the Wilds

 

“Something has been killing my sheep!” Brynn pursed her lips in a defiant pout as she expressed her concerns to Hera. They were reclined around the fire-pit in the clearing outside Hera’s den, secluded in the wilds of the Deep-Wood Forest. They shared a sweet mead as Brynn continued to recount her drama.

“So I decided to lay in wait, I’m not a bad shot with my cross bow and any beastie, I thought I could ward away. Now wolves I can deal with, naughty wild cats can sometimes take down a sheep, alas tis five of my flock I’ve lost… All slaughtered, all torn apart, viciously gutted. I was thinkin’ me foe to be a bear, but no grizzlies venture this far north. Perplexed I was, sat on guard, cold and sleepy. When I’s hear this frightful cry, like a shrill howl, but laced with more pain than ever a beast could hold in its soul. Even the wolves yelped and fled at the sound. Why, I could hardly hold by bow straight for trembling with utter fear!” Brynn paused to sip her mead.

“Well, Hera, well… when the creature came into sight I was stricken with dread… Twelve foot high I would say and near as wide, black as the depths of the well pit and covered in matted hair… I tried to get a shot off, I screamed, my flock scattered, the beast howled… What can I say Hera… I’ve never been so frightened, t’weren’t natural I’m telling ye!”

Hera refilled the shepherdess’s glass, half amused by Brynn’s dramatic rendition of events… Brynn sipped the mead grateful.

“An idea jumped to mind and I dashed towards the old well, screaming as I ran, the thing blundering after me, I swear I could feel it’s foul breath down me neck… At the last moment I sprang and cleared the mouth of the well in pure desperation… The thing at my heels, tripped, stumbling over the low crumbling bricks and fell with a mighty crash down the old pit, splashing into the stagnant water!” She drained her glass with triumph!

“Is this creature still down the well?” Hera asked bemused…

“Why yes, yes it is, it growled and howled and sobbed. Yet I threw over the old lid and weighted it down with bricks from the old wall. Then I came straight here, I needed to calm my nerves!”

“Shall we go and see what kind of beast you have caught?” The Witch took a burning fagot from the camp fire and, with a very nervous Brynn at her heels, lead the way through the forest to the deserted well, where soft mourning sounds echoed within.

The ladies carefully pulled back the weighted lid to peer within holding the brand aloft to shine into darkness.

Within a man glanced upwards towards the fire light, a large man granted, but no shaggy beast, naked and covered in slime and grime. He trembled, hugging himself…

“I know that face!” Hera gasped, He glanced towards the sound of her voice. A rough beard half obscured his features, but the Lord of the Barbarians was distinctively recognizable.

“Grave? You’re supposed to be dead?”

 

 

Anne Harrison 18.05.17

 

Intermission #1

*Even-longer-not-so-short-short-story*

There hereby follows a series of stand alone chapters, these mark significant events following the Coronation which occur throughout the years between Act 1 and Act 2 (which will be set 14 years hence) 

***

One Year Later…

 

Indigo pushed Kane onto his bed and took the quarter drained bottle of whisky from his blood slick fingers. Resting him backwards against the soft mattress, he shuffled reaching for the bottle, only to have his hand slapped away.

She pinned him down by his shoulders, even though her hands had been washed of all blood the cuffs of her tunic were still stained red. Kane murmured a half-hearted protest, yet Indigo simply pulled the warm furs up around his chin. He was exhausted, still clad in yesterdays clothes, the iron stench unavoidable.

Indigo shared his exhaustion, yet unlike Kane, she had not reached for the bottle so swiftly to cope with the sudden shock. In fact she poured the whisky away, ignoring his slurred insults. He had already drained several beers before turning to something stronger to drown his sorrows. Indigo forcefully ceased his drinking before it took hold and now sat on the edge of the bed.

She brushed his hair from his face, his skin clammy and hot, he simply starred at the empty bottle.

“I hate you.” He mumbled, but made no move against her tender touch.

“No you don’t Kane, you hate fate…” She signed softly.

“Fate didn’t pour away my drink!”

Indigo took his chin firmly in her grasp and tilted his head to face him… “Listen Kane, I shall grant you this moment and this moment only to drown yourself in pity, but in the morning, when you wake up, no matter how sore your head is. You will have to face the truth that you are now a single father, with two young babies to care for. You can not and you will not sink into the bottom of a bottle. For your life  belongs to your children now and your responsibility is to them.”

He blinked rapidly, her words cutting through the drink hazed fog in his mind. She released her grip. “I will help you Kane I am your friend, but I am not going to be a mother to your children and neither will I babysit your drunken ass!” She slapped his forehead.

Kane finally let tears flow.

“You actually loved her didn’t you?” There was honest surprise in her voice.

He simply nodded.

“Yet you never told her?”

Again he nodded.

“You’re an idiot Kane.” She sighed sadly and stood to draw the heavy curtains, shutting the night out and putting an end to a tragic day.

“Get some sleep Kane… But promise me this, do not let a day pass that you fail to express your love for your children. They are going to have to grow up without their Mother, do not deny them your love.”

She turned to leave then, taking the empty bottle with her…

 

 

Anne Harrison 16.05.17