Chapter One

Chapter One

A Chapter by Megan C. Goff

            OSCARINO ULYSSES ELISEUR: A name is a powerful thing to have, is it not? Is it not the first real meaning we acquire in life? Does it not define a man, or a woman? Does it not become us in the end, in the beginning, etched in the mind of our mothers by some angelic, fateful hand, etched on our tombstones long after death takes us in its cold, stark grasp?

            My name means nothing. Let it be the precursor to the image of me in your mind. Let it precede like a banner, an introduction to the words I speak to you. In some cases, it will be a warning. So I ask of you only to prepare yourself, and to listen.

            I was born with a name that may seem odd to you, and perhaps it is. But even if a man changes his name, does it not stay behind him, a shadow, a ghost, a spirit lurking? My mother, by no religious rite, christened me Oscarino Ulysses. Whether or not you approve of it is unimportant to me, because it is as permanent as my face, as much of me as my own body, and there is nothing neither you nor I can do about it.

            I bring you a story that is long and exhausting, but sparkling, like a life well lived. It is the story of my life, it is the story of two, perhaps three, perhaps four or even five royal princes thirsting miserably. Of multiple princes left miserable from their thrones and yearning to leave them. But the name of a prince, much like my own name, is a name that God, much less man, will not simply allow us to toss aside. And if God, or man, throws us from our thrones, it is through either eager blasphemy or a miracle of deliverance that we regain them.

            I bring to you a story, I lay it at your feet, an offering. Neither acceptance nor denial will excite me; it is a choice I give to you. If you choose to accept it, my meager harvest of lives so well preserved, or if you choose to ignore it, to allow it to rot on these pages, pass silently and without complaint, you will leave me smiling. I, a man, no royal prince, no Olympian god, have learned to expect nothing.



            OSCARINO ULYSSES ELISEUR: Jessiah, or Jess as he was called by those who knew him well, awoke that morning still a young boy, to his extreme disappointment. It was a feeling he couldn’t express to anyone. It seemed like no one ever asked. The windows in his room were always left uncovered, so that as soon as the sun rose he would be forced to rise with it.

But the sun burned his eyes in the morning. It was an inconvenience he couldn’t express to anyone. It seemed like no one ever asked.

            For a little child he was alarmingly thin, his blond hair was frizzy and nearly untamable. He wasn’t very tall. His eyes were green with speckles of yellow, and were dull more than they were shining. If anything, he appeared ill. But his sickliness did not seem to alarm anyone. It seemed like no one ever noticed.

            To hear these sad truths about the young boy’s early life it is surprising to hear, certainly, that he was not any poor child, but the only prince his country possessed. His mother, from whom he received his, later to be considered “golden,” and “shining,” blond hair and nearly all of his delicate features, was unreachable truly for the first decade of his life. And his father, from whom he received nothing, not even the burden of kingship, was unreachable truly until the day the old king saw fit to die.

            I wish I could go back again to that morning and tell Jess that I, too, was disappointed he was still a young boy. I wish I could go back again to that morning and gather that small, sickly, pale young child into my arms and let him know, certainly, that he was loved. But there are some things we are not meant to do. There are some people, unfortunately, who from the very moment of their birth are meant to live horribly, painfully, but at least quickly; and Jessiah, sadly, was one of them.

            I saw the prince that morning for the first time. In the few years of his life preceding this meeting I had been away, for reasons I cannot yet tell you, I hope you can understand. I was still young then, though hardly what is considered a “young man.” I had been called to the castle for his mother’s sake, originally, who was just as unwell as her son, though since she had lived a considerable amount of time longer than her child, more people were interested in her plight. As pathetic as this seems it was indeed very true. Jessiah had not lived long enough to be integrated into the lived of those around him. Simply, people found it difficult to care as much for a sad looking child as they did for his glamorous, rich mother. He had nothing to offer them.

            But Jessiah loved his mother intensely. So that morning he sought to find her, but by some stroke of fate he found me. In fact, though it seems conceited to say so, it was the one positive thing to occur in his short life. It was the one thing which never caused him pain. Christine, his mother, could normally be found in her parlor; but she was gone to bed again, saying to me she had another of her infamous headaches, and she could no longer be expected (“By anyone, my God!”) to remain awake. But I stayed in her parlor, thinking, lost in thought, actually, about all that had transpired in my absence, and the reason I went away to begin with. I consider it a sin of mine that I become catatonic quite frequently, so immersed in my own mind that I no longer notice the world around me. But it’s an unbreakable habit.

            Jessiah entered the room, which his mother kept dimly lit, still, obviously, very tired. When I awoke from my reverie I found him standing, the door shut behind him,

looking at me with the utmost look of disgust and disappointment that I, a stranger and a man, should be in his mother’s parlor, alone, at such an hour.

            “Hello,” I said softly, and I could hear him force some low, guttural mocking noise, so like his mother that I could do nothing but smile. “Come here,” I motioned to him, but he only shook his head.

                        “You,” he moved slightly forward, his little hands clenching into fists at his sides, “are not my mother.” It’s so odd to see a child not acting like a child. Jessiah was an old soul; he had a spirit so enormous that, as a young boy, was stifled in his little body. And as he grew older, it grew smaller, until eventually there was nothing left in those wide, dull eyes. It’s something that has never ceased breaking my heart since that morning.

            “Do you know who I am?” I asked.


            “Come here,” I said again, and his little feet shuffled shyly towards me. “My name,” I paused, it always seems to shock people, this ridiculous name of mine, “is Oscarino.” Finally, he smiled, and it made all the difference in his little face. “I am your mother’s brother. Do you know what that means?” He looked down, quickly.

            “It makes you my uncle,” he said. His voice was muffled and coarse. He began to tug on my fingers one by one, amazed they were so much bigger than his own.

            “Yes, good. I’ve never met you before, you know,” I said to him, placing my other hand over his forehead, which was, as I suspected, incredibly warm, if not burning. It terrified me, in a way I think I can never explain. “Can you tell me your name?” Up until this moment it had been incredibly silent in the parlor, in fact so had the entire castle. But it was disrupted as though it had never been. The door my little nephew had entered through was pushed open rather violently.

            “Jessiah!” the voice bellowed, and the master of it rushed in. I knew who it was immediately. “You should be in bed!” Emory Lyle saw me then, the decrepit old doctor, who now burns in Hell, fixed his gaze upon me and smiled. “The queen’s brother,” he said, “how wonderful to see you.” He then took the boy in his arms, and, in a flash, left me alone. I knew then what I had learned years before, and what I chose to forget years later, that whatever that b*****d was doing it was not in my power to stop him.


            I left the castle soon afterwards. Emory Lyle was a dangerous man, in fact I believe he was the devil incarnate, but Illistine needed an heir. As long as my sister had no other children, Jessiah was safe. Or so I believed; but Emory would not make such a mistake again, of that I was certain.

            I still thought about it constantly. It had been ten years at least, as for exact dates I have never had a mind for them. The child stayed in my mind all the time anyway, like a dream I could never forget. But that’s a story for another time. And as much as I feel I do not have the heart to tell you, I know it will eventually have to be told.

            As I walked home that early afternoon, I noticed a small group of young men not four yards from the palace gates. They stood in a circle, all of their feet and faces pointed inward, and closely together, so that not one of their faces could particularly be seen. They spoke, but quietly.They seemed out of place in the city, and I guessed automatically they were boys from the country. The city of Ebonestre is like a city freed from the trees. The forest lies on all sides of it, and in comparison and in reality it is very small. It has always been terrifying for me to think I am so close to be enveloped by this huge mass of green around me.

            As I walked past this odd circle of young men I felt immediately that I had missed something particularly important about them. Their style of dress was one I had seen often, and in fact nearly identical to my fashion as a younger man. They each wore black or gray, which was common, and scarves around their necks were the upper classes would put their flowing white cravats. It seemed like none of them were exactly exceptional in any way. From the outside they each appeared identical. But I couldn’t stop thinking, repeating over and over again in my mind, that only one of them was important.




       OF NO PARTICULAR NARRATOR: The young man, his eyes a pale, translucent blue, narrowed to slits. He looked over his shoulder, and saw the man walking. He knew. The young man, his eyes a pale, translucent blue, did not have to know. The knowledge stuck to his brain like air stuck in his lungs, innately. Without any kind of encouragement. It happened, and he knew, in the same way he took his first breath in the world. He was made to know, his body was made to hold this knowledge in, his brain was made to manipulate it, understand it, control it, the same way he controlled the entourage of young men to each side of him; their bodies made the shape of a circle. There was no reason behind this, other than that it looked natural. It was early afternoon, spring, and cold wasn’t uncommon. The circle was a shape dozens of young men made when they were together, to keep the warmth circulating among them. He knew it didn’t look suspicious. So the words they exchanged between themselves didn’t seem at all like anything but normal, rural speech. The young man, his eyes a pale, translucent blue, knew that the man walking thought so, too. The young man, his eyes a pale, translucent blue, kept his voice low, though it was made for billowing speech. He went over the plan again, thinking, saying out loud without any worry, that these young men he surrounded himself with, in this circular shape, did not have minds as sharp as his, hardly had minds at all, really. But that was precisely why he wanted them.

The plan was simple, really, if they followed it exactly as he had told them, nearly a dozen times, nearly fifty times, NEARLY A HUNDRED TIMES. HE HAD REPEATED THIS PLAN.

And the young man, his eyes a pale, translucent blue, when he was so fueled and so fired by his anger, had eyes that could turn nearly white. But this time they didn’t. But, he had difficulty not screaming, the circle must be kept together. This fog of normalcy, this curtain that hid them, must be kept together. So his voice, so made for billowing, again turned soft, purring, whispering.


            The young man, his eyes a pale, translucent blue, recited the plan again.


      OF NO PARTICULAR NARRATOR:  It began slowly. In fact, it began naturally. The prince must have a tutor; he had gone long enough not learning. He had gone long enough not being taught. As sickly as Jessiah was it became necessary that he begin to grow, mentally at least.

            The king himself, hitherto so uninteresting and indifferent to the prince (in fact he had ceased to be interested in Jessiah since the day of the prince’s birth, when it was decided he was indeed male), took it upon himself to appoint a teacher. He thought, certainly, if anyone should be responsible for choosing such a person, so intensely important to Jessiah’s development, it should be him. He had called to Ebonestre nearly a dozen men, young and old, noble and otherwise, but had yet to make his decision.

            Auguste Lafollette was frustrated.

            At the forefront of his frustration was the fact that whenever he looked at his son, he felt disgusted. That the singular heir to the kingdom of his illustrious forefathers should be so weak and so small. He looked at his wife, and his frustration doubled. She was beautiful, but it seemed she could never recover from any kind of sickness in any reasonable amount of time. Sickness pervaded him. And if there was one thing he despised, it was sickness.

            So the search continued.

            He walked the corridors of his palace, eyes coated over with the desire for sleep he wasn’t getting, peace he was failing to find, and disappointment. Occasionally he would stop, for no good reason, in the middle of a hallway, and contemplate his despair, his indecision, his inability to succeed.

            The young man appeared in front of him suddenly. Truly, he had been oblivious, thinking of nothing in particular. He had stopped in the middle of the hall, again.

            “My king,” said the young man, his voice of a low pitch, but beautiful, strong. He made an elaborate bow, his curtains of shimmering long, long black hair falling in front of him. It obscured his face.

            “Rise, my child,” the king said, smiling. The young man stood up with an immense grace. His hair fell back over his shoulders immediately, perfectly, as if it were a living thing that feared its master’s reproach.

            The king thought at once that this young man was the very standard of control.

            “Tell us your name,” the king asked politely, still smiling.

            “Crawford,” the young man answered, not moving, not anxiously, but in a way that was overwhelmingly confident. “Nathanial Crawford.”

            “Good,” the king was radiant, in fact he thought, perhaps, that he was dreaming. Nathanial Crawford stood in front of him, a man of, the king guessed, barely twenty, but possessing an air of self-control and grace few men next to never accomplished in their lifetimes. He was at least six feet tall, and very thin. His face was full of angles and sharp bones, his skin was white. His hair was nearly as long as any woman’s, and twice as beautiful. It could be considered nothing but black. And he dressed in all black, all but the handfuls of white lace around his throat and wrists.

            The king admired him, intensely.

            “Accompany us, Mr. Crawford,” the king said to him, “to see the prince.”

            Nathanial Crawford smiled ever so slightly, but behind the king’s back.

            The way he moved was indescribably graceful. He walked with his hands behind his back, which was not horribly straight, but not lax.

            The king never looked behind himself; he felt if he addressed Mr. Crawford in this way he would vanish, and leave the king feeling more like a failure and much more vulnerable than ever before.

            Jessiah looked at the creature with shock in his eyes. He had never before seen anything like it. It was of an immense height, like the towers of the castle, he thought. It was both very dark and very light in color, with stark contrasts, and no subtle differences. At first glancing at it the creature seemed smooth, ageless, unreal.

            But he admired it, immediately.

            Jessiah smiled, a crooked, uneven smile which made his father recoil in something like pain. And shame.

            “Jessiah,” the king said hesitantly, as if Nathanial were a secret he wanted to keep only to himself, “you know you must begin lessons soon,” Jessiah looked away from Nathanial only for a moment to look into his father’s eyes, and then he looked directly back. “This is Mr. Crawford,” Jessiah smiled again, this time the king thought it a little more tolerable, “he will be your teacher.”

            Jessiah held his hands over his mouth in excitement, a trait the Auguste realized immediately as something he learned from his mother, and the king entered a state akin to grief. 

         OF NO PARTICULAR NARRATOR: The little girl looked at him with sad eyes. The foyer was dimly lit, as it always was, but Antony could see the flush of her cheeks and the little bits of brightness in her eyes. She knew what no one else did, and he had told no one, not even her. It frightened him slightly. He was a cousin to her, from another branch of the family, and for as long as he could remember she had been appearing at the castle, from her infancy, ‘til then. She was betrothed to another one of his cousins. But it would be years before they were married.

            He had suspicions, but did not know that while the little girl was looking at him with her sad, bright eyes, what she was really trying to communicate to him was that she loved him, as much as her little heart could, as much as she was able. Her name was Aurelia, which he always thought was an overdone name, and silly, really. He thought she was spoiled. He did not like her.

            Aurelia felt in her heart that soon he would be leaving, and she did not want him to. She felt in her heart that he was hurting, that he was in pain, from his mother’s illness, which they tried to hide from her, but that she knew, and from the responsibility of the crown that would, probably one day soon, be his. She knew much more than they thought she knew. She understood much more than they believed she could. But she was not about to let them know this. She hid her intelligence like a dagger up her sleeve, and she yearned for the day when she might pull it out and put it to their throats. They being everyone, practically, but Antony, of course. She knew her future was nothing to look forward to; her betrothed was named Landon, and he was a prince in a kingdom far away. She had met him once, and while they were near the same age she did not know him, and she did not love him the way she loved Antony.

            She thought, maybe, that she loved Antony only for his age, and if he was as young as her or Landon he would be nothing exceptional. But she didn’t think of this much, because she knew it was the truth. She did not like to face the truth.

            Her future would be nothing, really; it would be nothing that had not happened before, to dozens of women before her, to her own mother and older sisters. It would a life that had been led millions of times, and by millions of ladies other than the one she would grow to become. But she felt in her heart that she did not have much of a choice. She would grow up and be married; she would grow up and bear children; she would grow up and die. And that would be all. And, really, nothing would come of it. And her life would be nothing worth talking about.

            She knew this might be the last time she saw Antony Romagne. She would be going back home that day, and this last glance in the foyer would be the end of it.

            But she knew, somewhere deep in her heart, almost too deep for her to know, that it would not be.


            She smiled.



           OF NO PARTICULAR NARRATOR: “I never hoped to do it, really. But I felt it necessary. I knew it had to be done. From the moment I conceived the idea I knew it had to be done, it was necessary, but I hoped never to do it. But I wanted to, I needed to, it was exactly what I wanted. To leave my father, to leave the life forged for me through the blood of my mother, the blood of my ancestors. I never hoped to live that life; I never hoped to be that person. I hoped never to become my father. God, I did not.” He said the words with his voice crippling under the weight of them. And as he looked into the large, black eyes of the man he told them to, he felt immediately he was right in saying them. But what was the man’s name? He had said it when they first met, but Antony, so exhausted, had honestly forgotten. He said it when they had first met, when Antony awoke to find himself face to face with the strange, ethereal man, so far away from home and so lost.

            Oscarino Eliseur. That was it.

            “God, I did not,” he continued.

            “Of course you did not,” The man…Oscarino replied, with a bit of sarcasm. Which made Antony, despite all his attempts to keep it hidden, a little annoyed. When he was tired his self-control was nearly nonexistent.

            “I remember the day before I did it,” he kept on, “I remember I stood and looked at myself in the mirror for hours.” Oscarino Eliseur flinched at this, as if it was an unnatural thing to do. But if anything was unnatural, Antony thought to himself, though he was sure it showed through his eyes, it was how the man looked. Oscarino Eliseur, first of all, he thought, was the silliest excuse for a name he had ever heard; he did not know if he believed it was the man’s real name at all. When he was tired he became unrealistically paranoid. The man looked unreal. His hair was cut to just below his chin, and curved under there, parted on the right side, and it seemed like it was made of silk. Antony thought maybe it was a wig, and stopped himself multiple times from trying to pull it from the man’s head. Oh yes, his hair was white-blond. More on the white side of the spectrum than the blond side, Antony thought to himself. Though he did not know it his scrutinizing of the stranger showed directly through his own eyes, which occasionally narrowed when he thought things like this. The man had a smooth face, huge, wide eyes, which were black. Not dark brown. Not dark anything. They were black. Black as Antony’s own hair. His nose was long, thin, but it fit the small frame of his face. He wore glasses that were circular in shape, and wide in size.

            “Explain that to me, please,” Eliseur asked; if Antony were not so critical of the man, he would have said Oscarino seemed especially engrossed. And Oscarino truly was. He wanted sincerely to know every aspect of Antony’s life.


            “Explain to me why you stared at yourself in-“

            “Oh,” Antony interrupted. “I don’t know.”

            He recalled the day in his mind as if it were a dream. The halls in his home were always kept very dimly lit, especially in the summer, which was the season it happened to be. At the most ten candles lined the longest of the halls. He remembered the mirror, with its huge, gold-gilded edges and filigree. He had always thought it was beautiful. Antony looked at himself. His hair was long, coming a little below his shoulders, and was black, straight, but thick. Straight wasn’t even accurate to describe it. It was slick. It was shining. He was tall, slim, but his shoulders were set widely apart; his eyes were dark brown, not black, like the man’s. They were narrow, and always it seemed as if they had something lining them, like kohl. Even as a child his eyes had appeared this way. His face was angular. His lips were thin. It was not difficult to say that Antony Romagne was handsome. He was young, twenty-five at the most. But he was troubled.

            “Certainly there was a reason why,” Oscarino said. Outside the fishermen had decided the best of the day was over, and were leaving. The windows of the bar were filled with images of the men leaving, their visages as varied and interesting as the creatures they had caught. But Oscarino had found Antony even more interesting. Antony was deep in his own thoughts.

            “I did not want to see my mother die.” Antony recalled the day again. Or the night. He wasn’t sure during his sphere of time his mother had fallen so ill. But he knew she was dying. He knew she was going to die for at least a week before that; he felt it in his soul. “But I needed to see her die. I needed to see her die so I would know it was time for me to leave.”

            “Explain that to me,” Oscarino asked. Antony was suddenly silent. He glared at Oscarino, but after only a moment of looking into the vastness of his black eyes he was no longer angry.

            “My father had never done anything to help her. My father had allowed her to die. My father did not try to save her. Never even once.” Antony recalled the day again. Or the night. It was night when he left. He had brought nothing with him, not any clothes except those he wore, which, really, revealed of his wealthy background, and not to his advantage. As handsome as he appeared in them, there were desperate men in the world, and he had encountered them many times before Oscarino had found him, more desperate than any of those men, nearly dead and barely breathing in one of the alleyways in Ebonestre. Antony left the castle in which he had been raised, and in which his ancestors had incessantly lived, in the night. And without any regret. He remembered the noise of his heart beating. Yes, the noise, like a drum, like an endless, Indian beat. And the forest was as black as anything. It was terrifying. But he felt righteous, and his righteousness fueled him, it carried him where the drum of his heart would only hinder him. And Antony escaped his fate.

            “Certainly there was a reason you left your kingdom behind.” Oscarino asked again.

            “It was never my kingdom,” the words came from his thin lips slowly, but they came nonetheless. And Oscarino smiled.

            “It was your father’s,” Oscarino whispered.

            “It was my father’s,” Antony said.



            ANTONY ROMAGNE: I came into luck. Few men are as lucky as I happen to be. I came to know Oscarino, who saved the pitiful thing my life had become, and, like Christ, bestowed upon me a new one, much more glistening than the last. Oscarino is Christ, the shepherd who draws us all together, all of us useless and lost creatures, and gives us protection. The only thing he asks in return is that we satisfy his curiousity. Yes, yes. I could tell you many things. I could tell you that he is dignified, he is calm, he is unchanging; all of these are true. But Oscarino Ulysses is of all things a curious man. And the questions he does not ask you with words he will ask you with the look in his eyes.

            I came to live with Oscarino, in my opinion, because I had many stories to tell. I remember that afternoon, in the house that we had, that he and Priscilla had then. He and Priscilla and Emily, I cannot forget her. The house was on the outskirts of Ebonestre, before the forests. It was beautiful. I find it hard to describe now, two stories, made of limestone. In Ebonestre, it would be called fashionable. In my country, it would be called luxurious. Oscarino and his sister, the queen, did not come from money. They came from the country. They were not nobility. Their family was not rich,

            Oh, the accomplishments a woman’s beauty can give to her. I would have never believed it could nearly give a woman a kingdom.

            Emily, his wife, asked no questions. She loved him so intensely and so without reproach. She loved him as if it kept her alive. She was a lovely woman. I can’t describe her. She was a lovely woman.

            And Priscilla, their daughter and only child. My wife, with her face like some mythical goddess and her beautiful black hair which she wore in braids. She accepted me as if she had known me for thousands of years, as if she had been waiting for millions. I asked for her hand after a month, expecting a marriage that would never truly exist, a life we could never truly have.


         OF NO PARTICULAR NARRATOR: Nathanial could feel Jessiah’s eyes constantly watching him. But this didn’t seem to disturb him. It did not appear to bother him that, while Jessiah was in his presence, which was nearly always, the prince acted like a young girl. Jessiah could not seem to look him in the eyes, nor could he speak when Nathanial was looking directly at him. These traits that Jessiah displayed which so infuriated his father, were invisible to Nathanial.

            Jessiah sought to be like his tutor in every possible way. He sought to imitate his easy grace. He sought to imitate the look in Nathanial’s eyes, which could be described as haughty, but which Jessiah thought was breathtaking. Jessiah saw the way women, his mother’s ladies, the noblewomen at court, looked at Nathanial as if the sight of him made them drunk, and they certainly acted like it did.       

            It seemed to be this way with every woman, except for his mother. Unknown to anyone, Christine planned out her day so that she would never come in contact with Nathanial. The moments that she did, Jessiah running around their ankles, so dependent and pitiful, her wide eyes filled with a sorrow the prince could not comprehend, and she would turn and leave, Nathanial smiling with that easy grace Jessiah so admired.

            In the area of teaching, Nathanial was indeed skilled, however cruel of a teacher he would sometimes appear to be. And he could be merciless early on in their time together, when Jessiah was not accustomed to it. He would wear his shimmering black hair in a long braid over his left shoulder, and it would happen occasionally that he would wear glasses, in the same style and manner that reminded the prince, somewhere deep in his memory, of his uncle Oscarino. Jessiah came to realize these things meant nothing short of perfection would be expected from him on the days they occurred. They become synonymous with Nathanial’s impatience, which seemed to fluctuate as the years progressed. Jessiah was never sure what days he would be held to an even higher, even more impeccable standard.

            But it happened some days that Nathanial would forget altogether his regular intolerance for mistakes. He would drift away to a place where Jessiah’s slack writing and faulty arithmetic could not reach him, and was irrelevant. These days Nathanial would wear his dark hair tumbling well below his shoulders, barely brushed; he would sit beside Jessiah, paying no attention. His eyes would be somewhere else, and Jessiah would stare into the bright blue of them with an innocent wondering, a curiousity, and a sorrow as to what his teacher was thinking or dreaming of, and how perfectly beautiful it must be to command his attention so fully. And without even noticing his stares, Nathanial would rise suddenly, and cross the room with a lethargic, strange, almost sleepwalking manner to look out of Jessiah’s great, uncovered windows, as if he were searching for a memory, or a dream.

            But these days did not happen often.

            Jessiah watched Nathanial in a way which seemed to say he had never before seen a man. And he never had seen a man like Nathanial, so full of lust and power, so full of truth and fearlessness. He was glorious, he was exceptional; where all others were foolish, Nathanial was composed of grace. Where all others had failed Jessiah, he trusted Nathanial, and really he had no idea why. It was unquestionable, it was illogical to wonder. The thing was to know, to simply be aware, that he, that Nathanial, was going to succeed. And that was the way it was.

            Nathanial’s confidence stunned him to the point of silence. Nathanial’s entrance into a room was something akin in reverence to the second coming of Christ, and conduct towards him was like etiquette towards a high priest. To know him was not necessarily to love him, but to admire him, to give him a piece of yourself incoherently.

            Jessiah watched the way he moved. His posture wasn’t perfect, as Jessiah had been trained, but he didn’t slouch. It was just enough to show that he was separate, that he was not royalty. And, in Jessiah’s eyes, that made him better.

            Jessiah wasn’t sure how they came to be in the library, but they were there, for a reason, most likely, that only his teacher knew. They were alone. The library was huge, and the air was stagnant, all the curtains closed, all the windows locked. From behind the wall of his black hair he turned to Jessiah and spoke,

            “You don’t remember, do you?” his voice was low, a whisper, but deep, and it rattled Jessiah’s ears the same as a high-pitched scream.

            Jessiah didn’t understand. Remember what? He had no idea. “No,” he replied softly, confused. Nathanial smiled, folded his arms, and looked away. And for a moment, Jessiah thought he had been a disappointment in some way, and panic began to flutter in his heart like love. “I don’t understand.”

            Nathanial looked at the prince mockingly.

            “You don’t understand?” Nathanial stood, smiling.

            Nathanial thought about it as little as possible, but more often than not it seeped into his thoughts like a dream he could not forget. A dream, really, he did not want to forget, because he was still trying very hard to make sense of it.

            “Do I disappoint you?” Jessiah leapt to follow him, his mind a hurricane of fear, like a living nightmare that he should ever disappoint such an amazing man, such an amazing creature.

            Suddenly Nathanial stopped, his long white fingers clasping the door handle, and with heavy eyes turned to Jessiah he said softly,

            “No, my prince, it fits perfectly,” and left.



           OF NO PARTICULAR NARRATOR: The doctor sat up thinking, the fireplace in front of him crackling. He had to do something about it. He thought of the prince, and wasn’t filled with dread, but rather annoyance. That b*****d, the queen’s brother, had filled his head with such ridiculous ideas.

            And the man knew too much. If there was one possibility Emory feared it was a change in the status quo that he himself did not ordain. He had to do something about it. He had wanted to, when this had first began, but the queen had talked him out of it. But with the queen as distant as she was now, she would not know anything of it, or even care.

            The doctor smiled, briefly.

            He realized that the answer had been in front of him all along.


           OF NO PARTICULAR NARRATOR: Alexander watched his mother with wide, wide eyes. He could hear the phlegm rattling in his lungs, but he didn’t know what it was. It was the way he breathed. He thought everyone’s body made this strange, bouncing sound. He saw the way she braided her golden hair with tense, strong hands, never allowing a single strand to escape her grip. The way she would stare back at him from the mirror, and without words they communicated their love.

            Alexander watched his mother with wide, wide eyes. She looked into the mirror sternly at her own face, touching it as if she could change its features, mistakes her son could never possibly see. He felt he could watch her endlessly, but he waited, the sound in his lungs increasing from his anxiety, for the moment when she would rise from her seat before the mirror, and come to kneel before him. And when this moment came he felt as if he would die from the happiness of it, as if he could not survive the joy of knowing she loved him more than any other boy in the world. 

© 2012 Megan C. Goff

Author's Note

Megan C. Goff
The names preceding the passages indicate the name of the character narrating the respective passage. If there is no name, but instead, "OF NO PARTICULAR NARRATOR," preceding, then it can be safely inferred there is, literally, no narrator but the author.

My Review

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Featured Review

The intro is very strong and lures the reader right in. I love that there is a narrator speaking, which you don't see often, but definitely brings that special something to your writing. Great start, and your characterization was solid, and kept me reading. :D

Posted 9 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


To be honest, at first I thought this was going to be a rather long and painful chapter to read. But the moment I started, I got drawn into the story. It's just amazing! So descriptive and rich in terms of story, and also very professionally written.
I can honestly say that it would be a shame not to see this book published at the end.

Posted 9 Years Ago

I am not speaking about other reviewers! But apparently I can talk you plain and give my opinion as what a normal guy of my age will feel! I start reading it bas the name was great Leviathan!! The great dragon! But personally I read and found your narrator intro and unnecessary similar things lead me stop reading!! Why this! I asked the opinion with my friend he said the same! Always remember Fiction is a dream and people read it for enjoying not for thinking! Sorry for hard words! But I m doing it for your good! As your plot is awesome, you have powerful script! Great words! Just Superb! But your intervention in story will kill the fiction unless you are quite experinced in it! I am telling you this from my own experience!! Still you have great scope! Do it! IT is your game! Also inviting you to criticise my work!!! Have good writing!

Posted 9 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

The intro is very strong and lures the reader right in. I love that there is a narrator speaking, which you don't see often, but definitely brings that special something to your writing. Great start, and your characterization was solid, and kept me reading. :D

Posted 9 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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3 Reviews
Added on April 17, 2012
Last Updated on April 17, 2012
Tags: royalty, betrayal, fantasy, kingdoms, kings and queens


Megan C. Goff
Megan C. Goff

Sevierville, TN

My name is Megan Christene Goff. [Insert cliche]. [Insert cliche]. [Inset cliche]? [Insert cliche]!!! more..