10 November 2011

Councils and Storms*

  -Before you read what is below I will let you in on a little something. The characters and story you see written below you aren't like my other fictional escape characters and stories. This story is only a chapter to something much greater. These characters hold a special place in my heart, some more so than others, but what writer doesn't have favorites? I hope you enjoy what you are about to read.- 

        Your Royal Elven Highness, Queen Lyla,
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I feel the pressing urge to write to you explaining the horrible cause for my ordering of the kidnapping your youngest child. It has been brought to my attention that during the rescue of Prisoner Jamion of Calaprinia your services were rendered in his aide. I ask that you return the murderous traitor in trade for your daughter. If you choose to not return Jamion yet exile him from your realm with the written promise to myself that you will never render him aide for as long as he lives nor his children or grandchildren I will return you your daughter a defiled daughter. If you choose to keep him safe I will be forced by newly written law to behead her and not give her proper burial.
In case you wonder what the law is. It is written in the Punishment for Treason Vol. 2, page 658, paragraph 2. It states: Any man or woman who does not comply with the wishes of Nordian Royalty in matters concerning national security hence forfeit the right to life and of a proper burial. Any barters or negotiations in which Nordian Royalty allows his subject(s) to enter into will be done smoothly and within the realm of Nordian Royalty’s wishes and commands.
I expect a messenger on my doorstep with either Jamion in custody or a written compliance to exile Jamion from your realm within two weeks time. That is when I fetch for your daughters return to Nord and consequences taken whether they be simple exchange, defile and return, or the capital punishment for treason against Royal Majesty King Nord.

x. His Royal Majesty King Nord

“He’s brought nothing, but war and its horrible death to our doorstep. You’d think he’d be more of a help than a burden to our people. It was through our doing that he was rescued in the first place.” Darrian, the elven general’s eldest son and member of the Half Elven War Council spoke out against Jamion at the weekly meeting in Her Majesty’s chamber.

“How could you be so unfair, Darrian you appall me. Is he not the man searching for my sister at this very moment,” Love said lashing back.

Queen Lyla sat at the end of the table listening to the heated debates spreading like wildfire across her table.

“Like I said earlier, Princess. If not for Jamion she would have never been taken like this. You don’t kidnap royalty unless the ransom is royal itself.”

“So you would give into the demands of this sickening note Nord sent to us.” She scowled waving the oil stained parchment that was Nord’s letter.

“Better Jamion’s blood be on my hands then that of Princess Leah. Can you, her very sister, not see that? You’re a blind fool if you can’t.”

“How dare you speak to me-” Love calmed herself. “I love my sister far more than the lot of your brothers and father could ever love this entire tribe. Kingdom. Realm even. I trust in Jamion and his team. Is Dalia not the descendant of King Edward the very brother to our Queen Eve. Our two people belong together in harmony. And after all these thousands of years you wish to tear it in half and throw it all away. King Paua would turn in his grave.”

“Then let him turn,” The general interrupted the princess’s history lesson. “Let the dust that was once his body toss and turn until it is pure flesh and blood once again.” He paused, rubbing his head. “You must understand Your Highness that the life of one elven princess is worth a thousand King’s of Calaprinia. And technically the country does not exist. So Jamion and Dalia are naught but the Royal family that managed to lose a five thousand year old kingdom in the blink of an eye.”

Master Mage Longmire interrupted, “Now general that’s not fair to say. They were attacked on two fronts and fought relentlessly for years before the loss of the war, which was stolen from them a year after the treaty had been signed. Now as for the business of the present,” Longmire continued addressing Lyla, “Your Highness. I have spent sleepless nights trying to sight Jamion with far vision. Ever since they entered the sea storm I have not been able to watch him. I believe he may be a dead man at sea. Yet even if he is alive how can we contact him. So the real problem here is to get Nord to hand over the princess without the knowledge or whereabouts of Jamion.”

Lyla pushed her chair back and stood up slamming her balled fist onto the table, sending bits of golden dust flying from the table and slowly resettling. “Master Mage you tell me you can’t find Jamion and you think he is dead. Yet your far vision hasn’t been able to spot my daughter since the night you so graciously came from the Pearl City. What was that, three days after her capture? So do you think she is dead?”

“No your Majesty, I do not,” Longmire admitted. Even though his blood was pure elven, he respected the queen.

“Then can you honestly tell me and my council that you think Jamion is dead, because your vision fails you yet again. Is it possible that Jamion is in the same area as my daughter and away from your line of sight?”

“Yes Ma’am. That is a possibility, but a human out of my reach is not likely either, they‘re far easier to reach. Your Majesty we should tell King Nord that Jamion left that night out of guilt. Shame.”

Love looked at the Master Mage rolled her eyes and blew out a long steady breath. “And what will we tell him when she returns and he finds out Jamion and the others are out looking for her? What then sir?”

“We simply say we had not the slightest idea of the man’s intentions.”

“No!” shouted the queen. “I am no liar not even to my enemies. Giving Jamion up to Nord is out of the question.” She grabbed her ink and a piece of parchment. She scribbled for a few seconds, folded the paper and tossed it to the general. “Take that to the damned fool.”

Ronald read the letter aloud: “This is war you ignorant fool.” He shook his head. “Your Majesty, must we resort to such a temper when the life of our princess, your youngest daughter, is at stake.”

“He kidnapped my child for heaven’s sake! Yes, I will be blunt with the man!” She sat in her chair, rested her arms on the table and sighed. “Have that message delivered immediately. Spare no time telling Nord just how we stand.”

We,” shouted the general. “I will not have more of my men lost to this foolish, pointless war.”

We will do as our queen orders, general. Or do I need to find another person to lead my men into battle. For Leah’s life, do as I tell you and I’ll not hear another word of disagreement from any of my staff do you understand me.” The queen was harsh, harsher than anybody, even her closest subjects, had ever heard her before.

As the members of the Military Council and the master mage exited, Love walked to her mother’s seat to comfort her. “Mother, Leah will be safe. I know it in my heart Jamion will not rest before she is found and safe. Every morning he grows closer to finding her. I know it.”
Queen Lyla
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“I just hope you’re right, dear.” A tear rolled down her face. “I love her so, very much. I love you all. It was hard enough to lose a husband and then have your brother join that school in Aurora City and I’ll be damned before I see my children pass before I do. Damned,” she finished in a whisper, a shallow cry almost. Regaining her composure she said, “Do those blasted fools who lead my men into battle not see that Nord is trying to rip us apart. Never in the history of our people have I heard or known an elf with such fragile ties and bonds. Could you imagine what our Great King would think of this blasphemy?”

“No mother I cannot. And I will not even allow you to think of inviting Great King Asher into this mess.”

“Oh Love, we will see. He may be our only hope. Can you be off to your business now?  I wish to sleep, dear.”

“Yes mother,” Love said, her hand slowly relieving her mother’s forearm as she backed away, nearly in tears as well.

She walked briskly to her room in the tower. Leah’s room was just to the right of hers. It usually was bright with pink and yellow fairies floating about everywhere. Not now. No, it was dark and plagued with quiet, dark emptiness.

As she walked past her sister’s room she felt the warmth of her sister’s embrace, though she knew it wasn’t there. There was nothing there and had been for over a month now.

She entered her own room. Rascal, her pet chipmunk, stood on his hind legs over her head board. “What trouble have you been into today Rascal? Giving the girls a run for their nuts I suppose.” She laughed, knowing the animal hadn’t the slightest idea what she’d said. But, besides Leah, he was her best friend.

She sat at her desk; Rascal joined her cuddled on her thigh. “I’ll show that damned Longmire a thing or two about the far-sight of the third vision, Rascal.” She took a dried sunflower petal and crushed it with a petal of dried dragonscale, a flower that bloomed only at night and only on islands that floated with their tops above the great sea and their bottoms beneath it.

She put the dried mix of flowers onto a saucer and added a drop of liquid that was from a mix of one cup water and one of her own tears. She used her index finger to stir the mix together. What she wanted to see most is what she would see if the watched party was either willing or unaware of the magic. In this case it was probably both.

“Jamion,” she spoke out loud to herself and Rascal, “Let me see you.” She dipped her finger into the dry leafy mix and licked it, swallowing. Her face cringed at the taste. She closed her eyes and concentrated on Jamion.

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He sat high in a crow’s nest on a tall ship welcoming the salty sea air as they pushed north into dangerous waters. A storm was on the northern horizon. This storm would bring snow, hail and fifty foot high waves. It would test them, but it stood between the ship and Leah so that was the route they’d take.
An unexpected sight for the crew, Farra emerged from the water and circled the boat a few times and then flew north and a bit eastward as if she were leading them. It puzzled Love as to why Leah and Farra weren’t together, but she accepted it. No journey was without obstacles along the way.
Tony and Paul were at the helm arguing playfully about who should take the helm. The whole world would know by the looks of them that Paul was bred for such a task and that Tony hadn’t the slightest idea for life at sea. Zack held onto a mast at the head of the ship and looked north towards his secret love, Leah.

It had been two days of clear sailing since they left the tropical islands behind. They sailed fast. The winds were with them and Frollin had the anchor chain in his mouth pulling the boat as fast as he could to get to Leah.

Another day passed and rain began to drizzle on and off. Another day it began to get noticeably colder, the sky greyed and a steady rain saw them properly wet. On the last morning of the trip to the Arctic Circle a storm broke.

It was wild. No ordinary sailor would dare try these waters in this storm, but these weren’t ordinary sailors. They were tried and true, tested through, blood spilling pirates who everyday had to prove their weight against a man a third their own size. They didn’t just weather the storm, they welcomed it, challenging it head on. And they did so beautifully. As if the storm were naught but a sneaky gust of strong wind on a clear day.

Then it began to hail. They stayed their posts, most of them bruised and bloodied. Punishment for fighting fifty foot swells in a hail storm, but it was how they earned their keep. It was how they proved to one another that they belonged in this brother hood. Paul and Captain Rummy stayed in the elements shouting orders and steering the helm.

Tony had his eyes glued to the window amazed at the pride and joy these low-lifers had in sailing and overcoming Mother Nature herself. Every pirate knew that’s where a true treasure was buried, in the eye of the storm.

Zack cupped his mug of tea in both hands to stay warm. The expression on his face was dull, lifeless. But it wasn’t the weather, no. He had been like this since they set out to find Leah from the tropical island.

Concerned Jamion finally broke the silent lid on the topic. “What’s been bothering you so much lately, friend?”

“Oh me,” Zack replied after a few seconds. “It’s nothing. Getting old is all.”

“You’re three months younger than I am, we’re not old. We’re forty. So really, what’s bugging you?”

“Can you leave it be?” Zack finished his cup and filled it to the brim with rum seized from the other side of the world. He took a swig. It burnt as it went down his throat, but he liked it and liked the way he’d feel after the cup was finished and dry.

“No,” Jamion said firmly, “I will not let it go.” He calmed his speech. “You’re a member of my team, I need you on your toes and I don’t need you to fret. And I‘m your friend you can tell me what’s bothering you.”

“Ah, James. You think I won’t be swifter than a hawk on the kill, do you?” He said rhetorically. “After all we’ve been through together. Fifteen years of fighting side by side, imagine it’d been longer if you didn’t go and get yourself imprisoned. Tell you what James that rescuing you I did last year weren’t the only missions I worked out over the last five years. I didn’t go and forget how to fight.”

“I never thought you had friend, wouldn’t dare imply such a thing. Honestly I believe I know what’s bothering you, what with all the gallivanting you’ve been doing with her this last year. I’m not blind, just wanted to hear it from your own mouth.”

Tony looked back from rain battered window. “Her? What’s this talk?”

Jamion looked at his little brother. Thirty five years old and still just as nosy as the day he was born. “You mind taking off for a bit let us talk in private.”

His mouth dropped and head cocked. “You want me to go out there in that? Three waves have washed clear over the deck and they’ve all came from different directions. How in the hell would you expect me to survive that.” 

“Hold on to something. I was asking you to walk downstairs, Tony. Don’t want to go and explain to Sara how I let you die in a storm.” He snapped his elbow straight and pointed to the hatch in the floorboard leading to the winery.

“Oh go and get drunk. Tell me when I’m allowed back in… Y’majesty,” He added jokingly.

“Look,” Zack sighed as the word came out. “Just because Tony’s not in here, doesn’t mean I’m gonna spill my guts to you.”

He wanted to. He desperately wanted to tell his best friend about the feelings he had towards the elven queen’s youngest daughter. But there was that law, that stupid law: No Half Elf of half human and half elf will reproduce with any other race whether it be human or elf or dwarf; we will forever maintain are balance of half elf half human. He remembered the law to the tee. It went on to say something such as: our race will allow any mix of half elf and half human that is newly come to join are happy and blessed people… But that wasn’t the important part, it was the first part that concerned him.

“If it’s Leah that has turned your eyes to stars you could bring her home. That law only applies within the elven realm. You could bring her to Calaprinia.” Jamion threw an educated guess into the air.

“You know me to well Ja-” They were tossed from the seats when the ship was abruptly forced directly on its side. Everything that was not tied down or locked in a cupboard fell from one side of the cabin to the other. Tony yelled from the ‘liquor locker’ as they had grown to call it.

“Man overboard!” A voice called from outside.

“It’s the helmsman!” Another yelled.

Another powerful wave smashed into the front of the boat. The mast holding the crow’s nest cracked in half, splintering horribly. The crow’s nest fell forward slicing jaggedly through a sail. It crashed hard onto the deck splintering where it had landed. Wooden shrapnel flew in various directions. Still the pirates fought mercilessly against all odds.

When the ship became somewhat stable and Jamion was able to stand upright again he put a hand on Zack’s shoulder. “Go check on Tony, Paul’s overboard.” Jamion burst out into the wild weather. He ran to Bootless Bill a strapping young pirate who was always barefoot. “Which way is Paul?”

“He flew off the port side. I’d imagine he’s gone and dead to the storm-” another wave crashed onto the deck.

Captain Rummy shouted orders as he took over the helm. It was dark. Rain and hail showered the icy seas and the ship along with it mercilessly. Lightning bolted out from the sky above. Thunder roared tirelessly.

Frollin, where are you? Jamion asked as he ran portside and jumped into the icy cold water below. Before he was halfway down the side of the ship a wave caught him midair and threw him into the side of the boat.

We’re above the clouds where it’s sunny. There was no reply. Frollin looked at Farra and they dove. Lightning crashed into the bodies of the beasts sending sparks flying off of them. As soon as they were through the clouds Frollin and Farra saw the two bodies floating in the sea.

Farra dove towards a frightened Paul. Frollin dove towards Jamion who appeared lifeless and sinking, being tossed in the storm like a rag doll. At this time Jamion and the ship had separated by more than a quarter mile. Paul was even further. A wave hit Frollin in the back as he dove with wings by his side. Even the powerful dragon was pushed helplessly into the roaring waters.

After regaining himself Frollin looked around the icy water for his rider. There he was just coming to. Jamion kicked up towards oxygen. The waves continued to keep him under the water. Frollin dodged iceberg after iceberg until he finally came under Jamion and secured him in the saddle.

A rush of warmth overtook him. He was breathing. He now shared vision with his dragon and searched for Paul. They flew above the water still searching until they saw Farra floating in the water clenching onto a body.

Love sat in her bedroom viewing this terrible sight in her mind. She spoke words of the ancient elven tongue, magical words. Rascal Jumped from her thigh and ran under her bed. The mirror in her room turned to water and drenched her desk. The flame from her candles blew in all different directions. Thunder roared and a bolt of lightning shot from candle to candle.

The sky began to clear. Waves calmed. The temperature rose. Dumfounded, yet accepting Jamion flew in towards the unconscious Farra and Paul. With both talons extended Frollin Picked the duo up. Frollin sat Farra and Paul above the helm, an area not destroyed by the storm.

The ragged group of pirates cheered at the return of good weather and the brave Jamion and Paul. Even Rummy found himself shouting “Hoorays” and clapping.

Paul stood and ran to the unconscious Farra’s face. “Don’t die. Leah will have my head if she finds out you died saving me.”

Jamion jumped from Frollin to the helm’s deck. He touched Farra and she stirred.

“Oye, thank the gods,” Paul sighed. “She’s hurt, she might need to lay here a while, but she’s gonna come around.” He looked into one of her silver eyes. “Thank you.”

As the sun shined down on the crew they continued north while fixing the deck. They tossed unusable wood into the ocean below and lowered the torn sail. It was their sail. The jagged line ripped through the body of their mermaid.

Tony had gotten a horrible knot on his head from a bottle of gin that flew across the liquor locker. He sat upright when his brother entered the cabin. “Heard you nearly drowned trying to save Paul.”

“Probably more of a foolish decision then anything. I just jumped over board and got smashed into the side of the ship.” Jamion poured four glasses of scotch for his team from a bottle that survived the terrible storm.

“Much obliged,” Paul said, his thick northern accent breaking through as he took the glass from Jamion. “Don’t suppose someone was watching after us do you. I mean the way that storm just stopped was beyond miraculous. Those clouds extended further than the eye could see in any direction.”

Zack sat in a wooden chair with wheels on the legs. He rolled himself back and forth. “Maybe. We’ve gotten lucky in the past, but never like that. I never saw a storm that big in my entire life. What do you make of it James?”

“Can’t rightfully say. Either the gods have finally taken a liking towards us or there’s a mage somewhere who likes us. I sometimes think it’d be nice to conjure something out of nothing. Lucky bastards.”

The four continued to talk the day away until night fell and they let sleep take their bodies over.

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