Chapter Six: Forgotten Kings

Chapter Six: Forgotten Kings

A Chapter by Greystone

"Thine eyes art most exhausted," Murmured the vampire, "So it shall be that you will fall to rest, nigh, here, as my voice fades you shall sleep..."

 

"But I am not tired. I cannot rest."

 

"YoU ArE TiReD, yOu WiLl ReSt." The voice was terrible and rang deep within Mirage's resistance. She WAS tired, no doubt about that, but something in her wanted to keep moving. Some part of her, hidden even to herself, refused to cling onto the voice that 'rung about her head. She had been having nightmeres so horrible, so vivid, so perfectly picturesque, that life retorted to the bright, sun-filled days with nasty, posion-filled nights.

 

Nights where the dreams came true even as Mirage dreamt them, nights that built themselves slowly over the edge of her tolerance. She was close to rising and running, running to somewhere and someone where no one knew of the words 'Stormbringer,' and 'Maelstrom,' and 'Hunter'. Somewhere where there were not nightmeres as she dreamed of, where there were not thoughts that would enter her head and corrupt her carefully won courage.

 

But in her heart-of-hearts she knew this place could not [and never would] exist. That thought was a depressing one, and not long thereafter, Mirage stormbringer was filled to the empty edges of her life's map with doubt. A doubt so strong it wrought mental pain and emotional endurance far beyond what any child had felt until that moment passed, indeed, beyond the pain that is described in the ancient texts of the era. The Stormbringing heiress asked herself of life, of philosophy, of the future, of her family. Of death, of hopelessness, of even dispair.

 

Eventually, even the strongest thoughts must dwindle, and dim, and die away, for even the worst thoughts follow the good thoughts' example. They faded, but Mirage was no longer the innocent maid who Aunt Liae had heard singing in the glen. There were forever to be dark, purple shadows under the eyes of the stormbringer, shadows that would never quite give up the hope that the doubt would return to it so that it might truly recieve some sort of rest. The hope of her eye's shadows were in vain. Forever would she see the emptied eyes of Titus...

 

She stared at the blood-red moon, her bleak eyes a mirror of her disturbed mental interior. Thoughts were whirling around her head as they always did when it was raining, but this was different. This was something else entirely, a feeling beyond feeling itself. Young Mirage saw things that would aid her in days to come, she saw herself grow and live and prosper. She saw in the feeling the spring's bud after the winters' destruction, and the mystery was finally solved.

 

The fangs were sharp as the knife that Arathas bore with him at all times, the knife that bore only a hand holding a shooting star...

 

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Screamed Mirage at the top of her strong, Stormbringing lungs. The destroyed, hunted cry made the creature who had been about to bite her fall back, and disappear. Her eyes flickered to the wind, flowing past the passion-less velvet red curtains. The clean tiles that had been painstakingly cleaned daily for over a century were illuminated faintly by the moon, a streak of white upon the yellow. Mirage pulled her green blanket around herself fearfully, knowing naught what had been sent to get her.

 

Or by who. Or when. Or WHY. The options had been the same very single night since Mirage had arrived, six months past, at the council of the Sharpstar's Citadel. Every Sharpstar member wanted power for themselves, not a maid who they called inexperienced and foolish, blade-happy and YOUNG. Her eyes would flash red when they said that, drawing on some forgotten reserve of power, but it did her little good. Mirage was now thrust whole into a world where words and persuasion, lies and tricks, mattered over brute strength and honesty.

 

The second half of her training was about to begin.

 

***

 

"I can't believe this," snapped Liae, "You're supposed to be DEAD!!!"

 

"Hush, Liae." The first mysterious voice answered, "You know not what tidings I would bring."

 

"Raoul, would you SAY SOMETHING to this fool?" The ancient old man gasped in a way that did not pain his agonizingly slowly closing airways, it was probably meant to be a sigh.

 

"I... no... talk," grunted Raoul, "Nice... my friend..."

 

"Arathas IS your real son, then," Liae intoned softly, "most of us weren't certain."

 

"I am the son of a great and noble man," Arathas answered quietly, then he went on in a louder voice: "what else is it you would ask of me, that I should be summoned here so rudely and without ceremony?"

 

"There is a new starmancer on the loose," Liae retorted, "And we need you to track him." Arathas's bold, powerful laughter shook the glass windows.

 

"That's quite impossible," Arathas proclaimed dramatically, "for I am that starmancer." Silence gathered itself in a bundle, watching like a pack of rabid vultures about to swoop down and capture their prey. Neither Liae nor Raoul (the first stormbringer) replied, waiting for the Hunter to explain.

 

"You see, friends," he began excitdly, sounding more like a twittering bird then the object of Mirage's nightmares, "I have slain a child of Sang Real and stormbringing blood. THAT gave me the same rights as if I'd slain a god, for a demi-god-- which are, as you know, the real identites of Stormbringers-- the right to summon a star. And so, I did. Sirius, you know him, loyal as the shape he bares, was willing to assist me.

 

Being the closest, he gave me great speed and great understanding. How to track, things that a dog," he put special empathsis on the word, "would find valueable. So I was able to figure out, of course, my new capabilites. I've been using them to hunt for quite some time now."

 

"Incredible," answered Liae, Raoul's blue eyes were aglow with an interest he could not express, but he seemed to agree. His calloused hand wrapped around Liae's, "How did you contact Sirius?"

 

"I went to the great mountain of Ivea," said the Hunter, "before I slay Sariel on the mountain side, I smote one of my men and spread the blood in a circle of ceremony... I created an immortal gollum, but offered the soliders' blood in pennance in place of my own. It is that Gollum that now hunts who we seek in form of the Vampirus Apparatus."

 

"Vampi... kill... Stormbringe?" It was almost sad how frail and brutish the first stormbringer sounded after a few hundred years.

"Yes," Arathas promised, bending down to stare at his mentor, "It will."

 

***

 

"I SAY WE FINISH THE JOB ARATHAS STARTED!" Drunken John Stormbringer cried, "MIRAGE KILLED SARIEL, SUSAN, AND MY CHILDREN!" Several men chorused their agreement remarks, most involve profanity.

 

"ORGANIZE A SEARCH PARTY!" Judge Sage called from the far back, "WE MUST STRIKE THIS MURDERER DOWN! WE MARCH ON THE CITADEL TOMMOROROW-- THE AGE OF THE STORMBRINGERS IS NO MORE!" If Mirage were there, she would have felt a dizzying sense of Deja vu.

"DEATH TO THE STORMBRINGERS-- KILL THEM ALL!"

 

***

 

"Please don't sit there and act like you are aware of what you're doing," Talain said to Mirage with a yellow-toothed smirk, "You may hurt something." It was the third day in a row that Mirage had been trying to convince the council she was ready to help, ready to make reports that were considered valid. The child of Sang Real was beginning to hate the technical world in which she was so deeply (and involentarily) emmersed, and today, her temper escaped.

 

"SILENCE!" Boomed the voice of an angered Stormbringer, Mirage's eyes began to glow with a strange red light, "DO YOU THINK YOU DEFY ME FREELY AND WITHOUT JUST PUNISHMENT!? YOUR DAY WILL COME! YOUR DAY WILL COME, AND I SHALL LAUGH AND BE CORDIAL AS I WATCH YOU SLAIN! TO YOU THEN I WILL SAY 'PLEASE DON'T SIT THERE AND ACT LIKE YOU KNOW HOW TO DIE!'" Her laugh was cruel, unabashed, and unmeant. So were her threats.

 

The council was unaware of this.

 

"Perhaps," said Fabien, "You should inform us of what has happened in the countryside of Ivea."

 

***

 

"LET ME IN, YOU VENOMOUS PIGS!" Screamed John, "OR SO HELP US, WE'LL FORCE OUR WAY THROUGH!" The wrought-iron gate remained closed; a strong wind whistled through the elaborate pattern towards the invaders. It blew off tainted helmets and shattered shields, it delayed any action that could have been done to destroy the gate. Even the youngest fires were extinguished, and the area in which they stood seemed a darkened world away.

 

In the council room, the sharpstars spoke, all in battle's grimmest dress. The gleam of armor shone angrily against the flickering torchlight; silver swords banged like rustling leaves against sharply emblazoned shields.

 

"Why are they here?!" a member called [Mirage thought his name was Plyn], "We have done nothing to them!"

 

"I agree," shouted another Sharpstar, Diarm, from the left of Plyn, "The Sharpstar has done ought but our duty these past few months. Even Hector has not strayed from the path, and no one is more fond of the bottle then he!" This brought about a nervous laughter, a myriad of cacophonous laughter that was neither heartfelt nor warranted.

 

"Hush! You shout in fear and in agony when there is no mystery before us!" The remark of Fidelis silenced even the most aged Sharpstars as they guessed his beguiled insinuation.

 

"You have no proof that Mirage is responsible for this, Fidelis!" Fabien shouted over the murmurings of the other Sharpstars, "It could be anyone-- Amalric is more likely then our untried maid!" This brought about more of the nervous laughter, though it was far briefer this time-- Amalric was the name of the raven that the eldest Sharpstar, Tierehl, carried about on his shoulder.

 

"I do not agree," Helmuth rasped, his aged hand clenching his gaudily yellow sword hilt, "The newest member would be far more likely to be in ignorance of the power of her actions. The fact she is untried only farther pushes the validity of the comment, Fabien Odaci. However, I personally find Fidelis to be unfair in this-- For it is I who have so carefully watched over Mirage of SangReal."

 

"I agree with Helmuth!" Leberecht, a young boy with white hair and red eyes, said loudly--"Mirage has the heart for fighting, but she has proved herself a better polotican than half the men in this room!" His small comment brought about [yet another] uproar of disagreement.

 

"Proposterous!" snorted Plyn, "I doubt quite strongly that she could out argue Tierehl."

 

"Aruging," Remarked Leberecht with a dangerous gleam in his eye, "What a valueable diplomatic skill." Tierehl stood from his chair with effort.

 

"Do you have something to say about my diplomatic skills, Boy?"

 

Leberecht opened his mouth to reply, but a new man raised a hand to silence him.

 

"Surely," said the man Mirage knew not, "we will not speak of our newest member with allowing her time to defend herself?" As the Sharpstar argued over this, Mirage hissed the question we are all asking ourselves now in Fabien's ear--

 

"Who is the man who just spoke?"

 

"He is Pantheras, son of the king."

 

"The king? Fabien, this is not the time to play. There has not ever been a king of Aboroae-- Right?"

 

"Yes, Mirage, there has been. Timuir, the first and only king of Aboroae." Ah, the king. Mirage knew of the king, and ran her thoughts over the few straws of memory she had saved. EVERYONE knew the tale of their immortal king.

 

Long ago, there was fighting and chaos among the free lands and people of the Stormbringing Kingdom. The freedom that the people tasted was tainted and tried only by the crimson blood scattered among her soil for the useless conflicts of man's unyielding greed. Othello, Timuir's father, raised a simple farm boy; but his talents easily betrayed his upbringing. Teachers admired him, children feared him, and adults sought his council on matters big and small.

 

He took his nobility at the tip of his fabled sword, Astrophel, and soon had set up the first royal lineage. He took a maiden fair, whose name was Armide, and together they bore their first and only son: Pantheras. As he was borne into the world, the father disappeared into the ravages of the world. As time went on, even the lovely Armide grew shriveled, and she died with a broken heart. Her son grew into a handsome, wise, and kind young prince, one with his father's long dark hair and his mother's piercing cerulean eyes, but his father remained missing.

 

He excelled at his lessons and made monumental progress in philosophy, medicine, and science; but still his father's location remained unknown. There were only wisps of rumors now. The people said that mysterious white birds-- phoenixes that shone with a strange white fire-- carried orders to rare sharpstar members, who in turn relayed them to the others. This was how they ruled.

 

It was said that the king was waiting for some unspoken event that a Seer named Vlador had warned him of.

 

Pantheras' voice cut into her thoughts.

 

"Mirage, defend yourself, so these old fools might yet see some honesty!"

 

"It was no cause of mine," Said Mirage, "that these men should be befouled in the course of what personal anguish that life should have thrust upon them. But our moments for planning are short, we can gossip only after we know our own welfare is provided for." The murmurings and accusing glares stopped as she finished speaking, several gasped at her in sheer awe. The prince only smiled.

 

"So," Tierehl proclaimed with an air of total seriousness, what do you think we should do?"

 

***

 

"I say again," shouted John, "We'll break down the door!" Another wind, and the detailed gates blew open. Several of the men blinked confusedly, but John urged them on. The men stormed into the building, their yells etched in savage joy.

 


As they searched, a single voice echoed everyone's unspoken inquiry:
"Where are they?!"



© 2008 Greystone


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Added on December 23, 2008


Author

Greystone
Greystone

Fort Atkinson, WI



About
I've been writing for about five years. Mostly, I focus on fantasy, although to be honest I've dabbled horribly in Romance, Science Fiction, and modern-day roleplays. I enjoy drawing, painting, wood c.. more..

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