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Date Posted: 14:01:04 07/04/22 Mon
Author: Comicality
Subject: (Chapter Two)
In reply to: Comicality 's message, "(S) "GFD: King's Order 2"" on 13:57:41 07/04/22 Mon

"GFD: King’s Order 2"


That is what I felt at present.

The actual tearing of destiny’s claws at my chest...trying their best to open it wide and snatch my heart out of its protective casing at the very center of me...leaving my bosom a savagely shredded mess. An empty horror for all to see.

To stand with my back to the shed, eyes closed...created a sense of shame within me for being such a burden to my lifelong hero, my father...was a humiliation in itself. Why would they ask such a thing of him? Why out here? Why now? Have the gods not yet had their fill of laughter and entertainment over our suffering? I am beginning to wonder if there is even a chance that they will ever be satisfied in their sadistic voyeurism of our daily struggles as it is. Strange. I would imagine there would be enough pain to cover the world entire without always leaving that bothersome package of despair at our door, time and time again.

“I wish that I had enough meat to go ‘round for you and your men, Terras. I know the journey out here is a long one...” My father said, moving over to stir his pot. “...But, as you can see...I only have to make meals to fill my own belly these nights.”

“It’s quite alright.” Terras answered. “I’m sure that we’ll find ourselves something fresh to eat, come dawn. Go on. Feast. We’ll take no offense.”

Even with hints of my safety being held at sword’s end...I found myself compelled to peek out, ever so slightly, from around the corner once again. Something about the boy they brought with them was captivating beyond all manner of speech. I had never seen a prince before. Are they all as stunning as he is? I found myself drawn to him, almost immediately. Uncontrollably. However, I felt a slight frown bending my lips downward as my father walked closer to greet him. “Found yourself in a bit of trouble, haven’t you boy?” He smiled.

But the boy raised his chin and held his shoulders back with a privileged scoffing at his lower class. “I am no boy.” He sneered. “I am Prince Solomon Gareth II...and I demand to be addressed as such.”

Such a hard exterior for such a soft boy. Such a cold heart, trapped within the confines of such a warm beauty.

My father bowed his head to him, although mockingly. “Well, ‘Prince Solomon Gareth II’...it appears as though I have been enlisted to watch over you in, what I suspected, is your time of need. Hopefully, you won’t mind tolerating an occasional slip of the tongue, your Majesty. It’s not often that I’m in the presence of such royalty.”

I held my hand over my mouth as I attempted to hold back my boyish laughter before it broke. A task that became more difficult once I realized that the prince was so used to being coddled and pampered that he was hardly able to sense the sarcasm in my father’s greeting.

Satisfied, Solomon told him, “All can be forgiven...so long as it doesn’t become a daily practice.” He turned to his covered wagon and waved his hand to have his guards open the door in order to bring out a series of chests and satchels for him. “I have brought quite a few comforts from home to please me while I am here in this...place. Poor and ragged as it may be. You will fetch them from my carriage and carry them into the house, immediately. I am travel weary, and require complete silence when I sleep. So finish your meal and put out the flame so that I may rest until morning.”

A childish brat with a brazen tongue. As alluring as he was in profile, I found it inexcusable for him to treat my father with so little grace. To say that it was insulting would be a politeness that I doubt he deserved.

“You can leave the boy’s things there beside the carriage. I’ll bring them inside as soon as I’m able.” My father said, and the other soldiers did as they were told. I took another secretive peek around the corner to see what was going on in our front yard, attempting to convince myself that this ‘Prince Solomon’ wasn’t the main focus of my visual infatuation.

Considering the spoiled behavior he has exhibited so far...I had to admit that I felt haunted and ashamed by the power the very look of him had over me. It was as if a spell had been cast over me, and even when I shut my eyes, my soul refused to turn loose the lingering image of the graceful beauty he left lingering behind. Enchanted, was I? And so swiftly as to not have my daily senses warn me of his potential rejection? Foolishness. All of it.

I moved back around the shed again to stand alone in the darkness, clenching my fists as though the physical act of doing so would, in any form or fashion, impact the emotional conflicts burning within me. But I did as my father instructed, and I remained silent and out of sight. It was a practice that I had been trained to use at a moment’s notice, just in case anyone came looking for me after the black death had consumed our particular area of Gareth’s kingdom...and questions were asked about how I was able to survive it. But I can’t say that I’ve ever had to put my hiding skills to any use...until now.

I can still remember the look on that man’s face...when he first came walking through our woods and found me laying, sick, and covered with dirt and swollen boils on my skin. Fatigued, weak...numbering my days as I saw the plague take out entire armies across these lands. Soldiers...poets...artists...philosophers. All equal in the eyes of the equalizer. And yet...this one lone man...this ‘demon’ as this collection of brutes may call him...took it upon himself to find some sense of value. In me. Just a sick child with nothing to offer the world other than my feeble prayers and the occasional boyish grin.

I know that my father had his regrets. He doesn’t speak of them much, but I am not blind to the turmoil he had, and possibly still has in his heart when it came time to allow this older man to give me the gift of eternal life. Even if it meant spending it under the cloak of darkness. My father simply couldn’t stand to see me sick. Wasting away the same way that my mother had. So when an opportunity presented itself from the shadows...what other choice did he have? Save his only son from being consumed by the plague that had taken so much from him up until that point? Or allow me to be bitten? Crossed over into a world void of sunshine...but a world where I could be healed from my ailments and live on. In secrecy, yes...but alive, regardless.

I peeked around the corner of the shed again, ever so carefully. And my eyes got another taste of the prince’s beauty before I found the ability to shake it off and turn away again. I feel such a fool, constantly looking at this brat with craving eyes. He’s done nothing at all to earn my affections, and yet...my heart seems so willing to hand them over and obey his every whim without question. I did not want to favor this ‘Solomon’ boy. I’d rather hate him instead. My deepest ire for his very being seems more appropriate. But I doubt that my common sense had much sway in this inner conversation within me. My emotions have already spoken. And they shout louder than logic and reason could ever hope to resist.

He was beautiful to me. So very beautiful.

Perhaps even more so than Maddox. And it almost seems a blasphemy for me to recognize him as such.

My father sat down on one of the stools that he kept out front of our house, a small table in front of him that he gestured towards his friend Terras to sit and join him while he ate. “So...when you asked me to draw my sword one last time in defense of King Gareth’s heir...how much faith should I put into your word?” My father asked.

“I do not speak for the king, Elyar. I only know that this was a task that he refused to let me handle on my own.” Terras said. Then he looked over at the prince with tired eyes. Lowering his voice, he said, “He can be a handful, this one. So do your best to calm your emotions around him. He is a boy who has never had a proper throttling for his mischievous thoughts and deeds. He’s liable to drive you to madness if you open the gateway to your daily frustrations. But he is King Gareth’s only son. I can only assume that he will take on the wisdom and grace of his father, once he’s reached the appropriate age.” He said. “For now, try to remember that he is only a boy. One with much to learn.”

My father laughed. “You say this as though you have plans to leave him here with me for good.”

“No, Elyar. I wouldn’t put such a curse on your home without expecting such wickedness to come back around and haunt my life as it has yours.” He replied. “I simply want to prepare you for the act of caring for a royal son. We will be back as soon as we can. And you can put all of this bedlam and random wickedness behind you. That is my promise.” Terras seemed to be squirming slightly, but he hid it well. “The king is prepared to make you a very prosperous offer, should you give your talents towards protecting his son.”

“An offer, you say?” He asked.

“He says...he is willing to set your brother, Jarryn, free. With all of his previous crimes erased from the record. No warrant for his recapture will be set against him. King Gareth won’t allow it.”

“And he sees this as a ‘gift’?” My father asked. “A gift for ME, in fact?” He pushed his plate of freshly cooked meat away, and frowned in rejection of the supposed treasure that Terras was claiming to be giving him. “My brother...is a menace. A murderous monster who drew his sword, got a taste for blood, and slaughtered legions of his perceived enemies until the streets were flooded with blood and gore. His trial was just, as I remember it. And not even I could refuse the idea that he needed to be held accountable for his treachery and his wandering away from the man I once knew.”

“I understand this, Elyan. But our king is releasing him as an act of kindness. To possibly begin again, and turn himself into a better man.”

But my father told him, “You’re releasing him because you believe that the savagery with which he wields his swords will help to keep the boy safe. Am I right? Far be it from you to doubt my own skills in these matters.” Terras lowered his gaze, and my father knew his prior statement rang true.

“These are creatures that we know nothing about. Lest you count whispered legends and folklore. I assumed that you could use all the assistance King areth could afford. Includin your brother’s.”

“Jarryn has shed more blood than you can imagine. And...while he was once recognized as my little brother...he no longer has a place here in my homestead. Do you understand? Whatever bad karma he has surrounding him at this point in his life...I have no want for it to befall me and my home. Those I care about. That is not a life I care to support any further.”

Terras said, “I’m afraid that the order has already been given. He is free. Will possibly be here in a day’s travel.” And he patted my father on the shoulder. “These are dark times, my friend. And sometimes...when demons walk among us...it is a blessing to have a demon on your side. He may be able to do the things you refuse to do.”

“I refuse to do them for a reason, Terras.” He replied. “Reasons that I hope you may never know, nor allow to consume you.”

Now bored with the lack of attention, the boy prince spoke up to say, “How long does it take you to polish off a simple plate of meat, forest dweller? Tend to my things. I am fatigued from my travels, and grow tired of waiting for you to fill your belly at my expense. Take my discomfort seriously.” He gave Terras a nasty look. “This is who you would leave me with? A brute with a small fire and a home that looks more like it was meant for cattle and swine than anything worthy of walking on two legs?”

I could feel the insult of his rogue comments burrowing holes right through the center of me, taking hold. Parasites to my greedy infatuation of him that had been developed through his looks alone. The devil is a deceptive one. Hiding so much evil behind the angelic beauty of a spoiled prince.

It took more restraint than you know to keep myself from rushing towards him and pounding him with both fists until he yielded to the reality the he was not too special or privileged to get brutalized as easily as anyone else. Possibly easier.

My father finished off his plate with some leftover bread, and then sucked his fingers dry of the remain juices before wiping his hands on a cloth and getting back up on his feet. “I take it that I should turn my focus to getting this scamp to bed.” He said.

“So, you are accepting the kings order?” Terras asked.

“Reluctantly so...but yes. I swore an oath to protect my king to the death if need be...” Then my father sighed out loud. “...I was merely hoping that it would never come to that. Regardless of the terms...if I continue to draw breath in this world, my oath stands strong. Just make sure that King Gareth is aware of my efforts here. Perhaps, he’ll have more conscience about sending a squadron such as yours to come seeking me out in the future...once this foolishness be done.”

Terras gave my father a proper salute and took his hand to thank him for his services. And soon, the kingsmen were off to return to their homes...and their unwavering war against demons like me.

That’s how they see me, isn’t it? A demon? An abnormality in their limited view of the world. Everything ‘different’ must be wiped out if any man has ambitions of catching a decent night’s rest. How scary the world must seem to them when they deliberately push away from all that they don’t know. You truly have to be a sheep to imagine every other creature as a ravenous wolf. Then again, who has ever taught them any better?

“My things.” Prince Solomon said again. His very tone of voice seemed to be pompous by nature. Perhaps I was wrong about him. Some beauty is best appreciated from a distance. Preferably from a distance where I didn’t have to hear his mouth. “I would like my cases stacked neatly in the corner, with my clothes on top. All except for my reading materials, which I will keep at my bedside. I do like to read before sleep, and I require two candles with which to do so. Not one. But two.” A smirk spread out on my father’s face as he continued, “I will expect a morning offering of eggs and meat when I wake. So begin your fires early.”

Bowing down slightly to look him in the eye, my father told him, “With all due respect...Prince Solomon Gareth II...you’ll be carrying your own fucking bags into this house tonight. You will be stacking them any way that you like. And your morning meal will occur whenever I decide to wake, and not a moment sooner. Do we have an agreement?”

Solomon’s eyes widened with shock and horror, his jaw dropping slightly as he fought to rationalize what was happening to him in that very moment. “You...” He stammered. “How...how dare you?”

“How dare I, indeed?” My father said, causing me to smile from the shadows behind the shed.

“My father will have your HEAD for this! You have no right to treat a true prince this way!”

“Well, your father is not here now, is he?” He put out the fire, and began to walk away from Solomon as he headed back to the house. “There are no ‘princes’ here, boy. Simply those that earn their keep, and those that don’t. The ones that don’t? They sleep outside in the woods with the rest of the animals.” At that moment, there was a bright flash in the sky above us, followed by the dull roar of thunder. The prince, still flabbergasted by his own treatment, looked at his many cases and comforts and then back at my father.

“How am I meant to get my things put where I need them to be?” He asked.

“I presume that you’ll come up with a decent plan in no time at all.” My father smiled. “I suggest you don’t let your thoughts linger for too long a time, though. Looks like rain.” Almost as if on cue, tiny droplets began to fall from the sky. “Take your reading books in first. Water doesn’t bode well for thin pages and ink. Save your clothes for last. Perhaps we can dry them again in the morning.”

“I can’t carry these chests and satchels into the house on my own!!!” He screamed, stomping his foot. “COME BACK HERE!!! How DARE you defy me!!! Turn around! I said, turn around! Face me!”

“You’ve got no one to tattle to out here boy. The longer you shriek, the more energy you spend on your tantrum, the longer and harder it will be to carry your bags into the house.” My father said, and walked right in through the door. I peeked around the shed again to see Solomon angrily fold his arms across his chest and frown until his bottom lip stuck out and his eyes narrowed in pointless rebellion. And it was then that my father opened the door at the back of our home to come and talk to me. “I know you were watching.” He said.

“I thought they were going to leave you to your own ends after all the battles you have fought for them. Why come way out here to curse you with such a burden?” I asked.

“It’s not my duty to question. It is my duty to serve. We will get through this and reinforce my loyalties to the king. Hopefully to the point where he sees no need to burden me with anything else in the future.”

“He wants to butcher me and everyone like me, Father. Can you possibly see the King’s army being swayed to do any different?”

He held my face in his hands, and he said, “To the best of my guesses, Celwyn...perhaps, if I chose to protect that which is most dear to his heart...he will return the favor in kind.” He gave me a kiss on the forehead as the sounds of Solomon angrily kicking his own possessions and grunting with frustration now that he was becoming aware of the fact that his bratty fit wasn’t going to do him any good...the rain beginning to fall down and wet us all...my father lowered his voice to a whisper. “For now, it shames me to put you out of sorts, but I need you to sleep in the underground shed that I built for you out in the woods. Remember to cover all spaces where the daylight make take the opportunity to peek through. I will come for you after the sun has set, and set you out among the trees to stay hidden until the prince goes to sleep.”

I did mumble with aggravation over his plan, but it didn’t seem like we had much of a choice at this point. “He’s a pigheaded royal.” I pouted. “Are you sure that you’ll be able to handle him without the task of it driving you completely mad?”

My father grinned and ruffled my hair with his hand. “I handled you at this age, did I not?” That was hardly the same level of insult, I’m thinking. “Go. And stay out of sight. Understand?”

“I love you, Father.”

“I love you too.” He replied. “Now go. I’ll handle our guest and his demands for the evening. He’ll be broken like a fine stallion by the time I’m done. You’ll see.”

Following his order, I rushed out into the darkest parts of the forest out behind our home...going to spend the rest of the night alone with nothing but my conflicted thoughts to keep me company. But I’ll be coming back once night falls. The prince can go find himself a rocky cliff to hurl himself off of for all I care. The sooner he’s no longer in our midst...the better.

No wonder those of us who dwell in darkness want him dead.

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