Part 75 – The End of an Era

Three Weddings – Three Nations – Three Hostages – Three Rulers

 

The Kings rotten head still adorned the audience chamber, a morbid trophy that Fendor kept upon display despite the odour. It was just past dawn, a cool dull light flooded the chamber as those of notoriety poured into the room to take their appointed seats. There was an air of anticipation throughout the court, speculation and rumour entertained the guests as they awaited the arrival of Fendor, self proclaimed ruler, having dispatched with the fierce-some Grave…

Black robed priests lead the way for Fendor and his closest aides who seated themselves along a heavy oaken table placed upon the chambers dais.

A silence fell over the audience…

“My People!” Fendor stood, his smile was radiant.

“The times of troubles is at an end, I have sealed a truce which will unite our lands and bring peace to our great nation!”

A triumphant roar echoed through the hall as nobles stood to applaud…

Alleia, seated by Kane’s side, felt sick, yet she clapped with as much enthusiasm she could fake. Her nerves were on edge, for seated to the left of Fendor was Roux, her eldest sister, the former Kings eldest child, had she been male, Roux would already have been coronated. She already ruled the Six Empires owned by the six siblings from behind her husband Bayron – News of his recent death had not been a surprise.

Fendor waited for the crowd to fall silent before continuing.

“Our own lands will be reunited with the Six Empires to the west, the whole family are in support of this union. We will make our Nation Great Again!” His voice rose as his ultimate plot was slowly revealed. The collected elite were riveted, they drank in his words, like they were a fine elixir. “We will be a force to be reckoned with. Treaties have been signed that will ensure peace with the Barbarian tribes in the wastelands!” More cheers followed his proud proclamation.

Upon a cue guards by the main door pulled both doors open simultaneously to reveal a figure stood beyond. A giant of a man, whose frame nearly fitted the doorway, clad in the traditional garb of a Barbarian Lord he stepped forth and stood before those gathered, awaiting his introduction.

“My people… I present to you Lord Darkfire, Brother of the late Grave and the new Lord of the whole tribes. Our Peace has been secured through marriage, the beloved Novana has accepted his proposal.” Murmurs of approval rippled throughout the crowd, and when Novana stepped into the room, clad beautifully in an exotic wedding dress, face alight with adoration, a slight blush flushed her cheeks as she stood by her Husband to be and took his arm, the hall once again erupted into great applaud…

Fendor drank in the triumph like a wolf savouring his kill…

“Further more… Further more…” He needed to call above the roar, Lord Darkfire and Novana took seats assigned for them at the head table, as the nobles settled, awaiting the next proclamation. “I have a second wedding to announce, my trusted Captain, Kane Stone, has assumed command over the Northern Clan Territories, having defeated Lord Pepe Montoto in combat. His marriage to the Princess Alleia secures yet another firm treaty between our lands. We are united! We are Strong! We shall be a Great Nation once again. Our lands are tied in Peace and we shall henceforth  celebrate this day as our ‘Nation Day’!” Fendor had the crowd on their feet once more…

These were all Lords and Ladies, Earls and Dukes… All the rich, the powerful, the elite… All those who gained to prospect from this treaty, widening trade routes, merging empires… This was a treaty forged on greed, on power, on lies…

“Finally!” Fendor smiled widely, “But by no means least… I am proud to announce a third wedding for this day. The noble Princess Roux has agreed to be my bride… Today shall be a day to remember! Three treaties, three nations, three weddings and our coronation!”

There it was… Alleia felt her heart sink… There was Fendor’s ultimate goal… To wed into the Royal Family, to Marry the eldest child and proclaim himself King and Roux Queen by his side… But where was Jago? Where were his children?

The applaud was deafening…

 

***

 

Epilogue

It really was a day to remember, the whole realm was in celebration, the three weddings were publicly observed and there were vast street parties throughout the land…

Happily Ever After settled across the nation… Built on betrayal, murder, kidnapping, black magic and a web of intricate lies. By the end of the day Fendor was King, Roux his Queen… They made a perfect couple…

Yet his bride had one stipulation and that obligation the new King burdened upon Kane… “I don’t care what you do with them, just make sure they are out of public sight… They can not be seen to be alive…” The King barked gruffly, having caught Kane shortly before his departure back to the Clans.

“Why not just kill them as planned?” Kane shrugged.

“Roux wants them alive, yet banished, so I’m banishing them to the Clan Territories with you. Out of this country at least, you only need hold them until she becomes bored with the idea and orders their deaths.” Fendor returned the shrug, dismissive…

“So I am now a babysitter for Royal Hostages?”

“Basically, Yes.” King Fendor said and turned and left.

 

THE END

(of this act)

 

 

Anne Harrison 12.05.17

 

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Part 74

Whispers in the Night…

 

Alleia was initially disturbed from her slumber by the unannounced arrival of a sinister looking Priest, clad in robes, pungent with the stench of fresh blood, he had in his arms such a tiny wriggling babe, clad in a stained swaddling blanket, grizzling hungry. The Priest inexperienced with babies handed the child over with gruff instructions that she was required to nurse the girl until a wet nurse could be sought in the morning. With that he left abruptly, without waiting for any response from Alleia.

Kane and their own son were sound asleep, any earlier conflict between the couple had been resolved through mutual carnal desires, though Alleia hated his secrets and lies, she realised that her silence and obedience to Kane were keeping her alive. He appealed to her, not to ask any questions he could not answer. He begged her not to cause a scene, to remain quiet, to remain loyal. A dedicated mother, a devoted partner, whether this was an act or truth, the lines were blurred, yet she valued her life and vowed to protect her son at any cost.  Even if certain suggestions caused her to feel ill at ease.

Without choice and yet also without hesitation, Alleia took the precious tiny girl to her breast and made sure she fed. Then washed and dressed the babe in fresh warm clothes, over sized but cosy. By then the girl had drifted into a peaceful slumber, however, the magical qualities of newborn were obvious and Alleia could easily guess the true nature of the girl. She burped bubbles which popped into glittery butterflies, her eyes shone with an inner age, tiny flecks of light danced around her brow and Alleia could swear she heard gentle music, like the soft tinkling of unseen bells… The magical butterflies found her own son and danced around his cot, they buzzed and glowed, sensing an unseen connection between the two babies.

***

The second time Alleia was disturbed that night was when, not one or two, but three coaches arrived in the early hours, clattering along the cobblestones in the courtyard. Shortly afterwards Kane was summoned away by Barbarians, it was at that point she realised that a pair of guards had also been assigned to stand on duty at their quarters. She speculated that these were to guard the babe, yet she could not voice her concerns. Instead Alleia was left watching over the children, aware of the presence at the door and anxious with fear.

Kane was gone for several hours, it was near dawn when he returned, clad in a smart suit, his hair slicked back and tied in a neat ponytail. The clothes looked new or borrowed ill-fitting to his lanky frame, yet Alleia found his image appealing and smiles despite her tiredness. He approached her and drew her to her feet by her arms… “Remember I asked you to at least try to trust me, even if I’m unable to explain my actions?” Alleia nodded, holding his gaze, the door behind them was still open, his words were hushed, spoken softly for her ears alone. A maid entered the room following Kane, in her arms, a beautiful cream dress. “I’m asking you to trust me now, we’re leaving here, leaving the capital, returning to the clans, to our home.” He spoke swiftly, his words filled her with hope and still she feared the consequences what price that such a valuable promise might hold. The dress was a clue. “Fendor wants you dead, he thinks you have served your purpose and outlived your usefulness.” She saw the truth in his eyes at last. “I lied to him, I told him you were pregnant again to save you from execution. He’s paranoid, neurotic, he believes there could be more magic entwined. The lie may have pulled you from the axe-man’s grasp, yet it binds you to me.” He drew a deep breath then. “I have been given the Clan Nations to rule, in his name, I may take my leave upon the morrow, with my family. With my wife. Should you accept me?”

“Why do I get the feeling this appears too good to be true?” Alleia whispered.

“Ooh, there is more, there always is with Fendor and his insane schemes, but I can not tell you that until we are safe at home.”

“More secrets Kane? More lies?”

“I’m sorry.”

“No you’re not, I think you enjoy this game.” Alleia shrugged out of his grasp and approached the maid, taking the dress from her arms and holding it up against her body. It was beautiful and smelt vaguely of fresh jasmine.

“…But I accept…”

 

Anne Harrison 11.05.17

Part 73

A Fate Worse than Death…

 

Novana awoke, yet could not move nor speak. Her body, naked, still laid prone on the cold stone altar. Dried blood caked her skin, felt sticky against her thighs. Her womb was empty, yet the torn gash had healed, there was no pain. Just an empty shallow feeling that consumed her heart with grief, a loss for her girl she never held, the babes fate unknown to her.

She could not move her head, only stare upwards through parched eyes that she barely managed to will to blink to save her foggy sight. The ceiling above her was adorned with strange arcane symbols, painted in black blood, the stench of it mingled with heavy incense caused her to feel light headed.

Fendor returned, she hated him, rage filled her eyes as he leered over her prone body, she felt his hands, warm against her cold flesh. “I am glad you survived the rite.” He purred softly against her ear, tangling his fingers into her hair. “You are going to be a gift, sweet Princess, you are the prize for loyalty. But first we need your obedience.”

He drew a long sacrificial dagger from with the folds of his robes and started to carve an incantation into her chest, carefully, slowly, painfully, cutting each magical sigil that stole her free will and encased her mind into her animated body.

He ended the rite by smearing a cocktail of rancid goats blood, Kol’s blood, herbs and oils into the fresh scars, enclosing the spell and trapping Novana into her mind. She sank into herself, she could still see, could still think freely, yet her body was that of a puppet. Controlled by magic, she moved upon command, she spoke upon command and yet she was firmly caged in her swimming thoughts. Her only hope was that madness might save her from this fate… Yet her only current saving grace was to invent a series of vicious acts to avenge herself upon Fendor. This rage kept her sane, her fury and lust for revenge gave her mental strength to endure anything he could subject her body to.

She was dressed in finery, hair styled, face painted, corset and heels. The dress was stunning ans suited her slender figure elegantly. She felt like a bride…

… and she was …

 

Anne Harrison 11.05.17

The End is Nigh

Kinda…

As my ‘notsoshortshortstory’ reaches into Part 70 and beyond, well beyond my wildest dreams. My humble (initial) short story, which started life as a Work-shopping  piece in Creative Writing class a few years ago now. This silly little tale has taken on a life of its own, with added little twist and turns, by killing the main two characters in the earliest part of the adventure.

I’m now reaching a stage where I can wrap up events to a reasonable conclusion – Currently!

The end of this current stage does not actually signify the end of my tale *I hear you groan* Instead it marks a point where I desire to leap forth in time, which is something I have been itching to do for a while, though I needed to seek a suitable pause, where events would hold steady to time travel 14 years into the future for the characters and plot.

For something I *still* have no intention of taking seriously, my lunchtime scribblings have become something of a fun outlet for creativity, even if it is roughly written, with (mostly) no clear plans and always written straight from my brain to the screen. Occasionally I make a few notes, these I have posted too for amusement, mainly I make the whole thing up off the top of my head. Lead my dreams and daydreams alike, my tale intermixed with bad poetry, crappy painting and some personal musings. My blog is generally my little safe haven of the interweb, I feel content and free to write here and share my quirky characters and random thoughts.

I love to write and I love the fact I have this lovely invisible audience out there, thank you for being there and thank you for reading my silly little ditties.

 

Love, Anne.

09.05.17

Part 72

Ultimatums and Abdication.

 

Jago, the rightful heir and King to the nation, was broken when the dismembered leg of his beloved son was delivered by Barbarian Warriors with demands for his abdication, to relinquish any claim to the throne and to hand himself over as hostage to prevent any retaliation. Failure to comply would result in more of his Son’s body parts being delivered until Kol’s painful slow demise. Their threat to Indigo, was far sinister and too traumatic for a loving Father to comprehend.

The guards awaited Jago’s reply, having been strict instructions to wait a single hour only for his surrender. Giving the heir limited time for the painful decision between his birthright and the life of his children. In his mind there was no choice, he had never anticipated to rule and cared little for the politics and drama from his Mother (The King’s eldest Daughter) and her various bitter siblings… All female, their passion to rule denied from an outdated ‘Male Only’ policy regarding the throne.

“You are a fool and a coward if you dare to give yourself up for the sake of those twins!” His Mother roared in his face, her sympathy for her own Grandchildren non-existent. “You are supposed to be a King! A Ruler!” A ruler does not let parental emotions make them weak!” Her persistent verbal abuse was eating away at the precious time he had to save his children. “If only I had been male!” She spat…

“I will not sacrifice my children for a throne I have no desire to hold.” He replied, causing an astonished collective gasp from the ruling council, who had been watching the outburst with amusement.

“I shall disown and disinherit you, if you DARE to utter such words again.”

The sand in the timer flowed towards the end of time…

The council awaited the decision that could change the fate of their entire nation, His Mother, red faced and fuming, paced in clacking high heels, muttering more insults under her breath… Yet Jago appeared calm, he reached out and laid a hand upon the dismembered limb, still clad in ruined garments and boot. The flesh dead and cold to the touch, the concept that his son would be returned to him bit by bit sickened his very soul.

Without a word he stood and handed himself over to the Barbarian Guards, who bound him tightly to escort away from the council chambers, insults and jeers followed him as he was lead away, the most painful, the most bitter, from his own Mother. Yet he gave himself up to protect his children, allowed himself to be taken hostage.

The sands of time ran out, his reign was never meant to be…

 

Anne Harrison 08.05.17

Part 71

Ataraxia – The Child of Prophecy

 

Born brutally in an arcane ritual, presided over by her sinister Father, clad in robes, whispering chants. Torn from her mothers body weeks prior to her due date Ataraxia’s wails filled the incense heavy air, as she drew her first breaths of life. From the moment of her birth, the tiny babe instantly displayed magical qualities.

Every candle lit for the rite was subsequently extinguished by an unseen force, plunging the room into darkness. Delicate flecks of light danced around the baby, the gaping wound Fendor had inflicted upon Novana’s swollen tummy slowly healed, despite having been left bleeding profusely. Two crows appeared at the high window and called into the night and all Fendor’s dark priests at once complained of a headache.

This was just a taste of the power held within the child, a mere moments old and already instinctively exerting her magical abilities. Fendor held his daughter in his arms, cradled her gently, dismissing his inflicted Priests from the chamber. “You are going to bring me greatness.” He whispered, at that moment instantly loving, hating and fearing the babe he had sired.

Ataraxia gurgled, wriggling, the golden flecks dancing around her head like a halo. The crows had since left, though Fendor expected they had not gone far. Aware that his daughter would need to be cleaned and fed before too long, Fendor decided that maybe Alleia hadn’t quite lived out her usefulness just yet, considering the Princess to be a suitable wet nurse currently until something more permanent could be arranged.

He left Novana, still naked, still laid upon the stone alter, somewhere between life and death, having never held her own newborn. To be dealt with by his priests, once they had recovered. Her fate already decided months ago…

 

Anne Harrison 04.05.17

 

Plot Recap

A (very) brief outline of recent events …

 

On the verge of a fragile peace, Fendor struck betraying and murdering Grave and Kaxa. The Royal Twins, Indigo and Kol are taken hostage, Indigo held within a vile magical trap, sapping her energy and rendering her immobile. Her brother, viciously mutilated, his right leg hacked away from above the knee.

His severed leg was then used in a dark magical ritual, Fendor leading a rite which removed his premature child from Novana’s womb among chanting and twisted runes, the girl Fendor believes to be the reincarnation of The Child of Prophecy.

Kane appears to be in league with Fendor… appears to be… he keeps Alleia and their son close to his side, yet his actions and words display loyalty to Fendor.

 

To Be Continued…

 

Anne Harrison 04.05.17