Road of Kings - Draft - by Talkos

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Road of Kings - Draft - by Talkos

Postby Talkos » Wed Jan 30, 2008 6:08 am

This is a story that I'm not sure I would have chosen to do if it hadn't been hammering at the walls of my mind begging to be let out. Anyways, hopefully it's enjoyable so far. Not sure if I should add on or if that makes a good stopping point. As always, feel free to comment or rip apart at will


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I awaken and stretch heartily. The sun beams in through the windows and I contemplate remaining, but no, duty calls, a king's responsibility to his subjects is as binding as their duties to him. So I arise once more, and begin to survey my lands and tenants. The servants have prepared breakfast already, and I partake eagerly, despite being shooed out of the cooking area, in there they continue under the impression that they hold sway, and I leave them to their assumptions, for they are good at what they do, and make a mean meal.
Personal grooming cannot be ignored, and half an hour is spent getting me in a state presentable to my subjects, it would not do at all for them to see me in less than royal shape. It is fortunate that I am a lenient master, the tardiness in opening the doors would have been cause for blood to be spilled, even in some households of my kingdom.
My sister, the Queen without a throne, sniffs at me as I leave. She does not approve, I can tell, she has always believed that one should hold themselves aloof from the needs of their subjects. I disagree, it is good to be out and about, without the handlers and servants, without the gilded cage and bearers. The air is crisp, and it shall soon be a season for curling up and staying in, but for now I am resolved to make the best I can of the day.
On the main street I pass by one of my subjects, the Baron of Pine, he bows to me deeply, his head and back arching with the effort. A big one he is, but he is loyal to me, and will be until he decides otherwise. We exchange pleasantries, and I graciously extend the boon that he's been asking for, to allow him to introduce into court his new noble tenants, young kits from a faraway land. Knowing how keen he's always been on family swayed me, perhaps this will cement our relationship, he has always been nearly independent of me. Only my assistance in helping him rid his location of titans and beasts alike forced him to bow his head to my dominion, which now extended upon all that I surveyed. The path of kings is no easy thing.
Nobles and ladies acknowledge my passing, I share a fresh caught meal with the Lady of Northlake, as fearsome as any I could name, and once my mistress. Today though she is more interested in her exploits of fishes and glory than in any dalliance, alas, but I am patient. She does however offer a quiet rest in a shadowy area of her territory, I accept and we while the day away with short naps and quiet rumblings. Perhaps this visit was not a waste after all.
I take my leave of her too soon, but duty calls as always, and I know I will see her again. For tonight meets the council of lords, and all who wish justice or company will arrive to give respect to the crown, heavy though it rests.

A territory dispute between the Lady of Main and the Lord of Garages, a violation of hunting rights between brothers in the house of K, and a request for passage through our territory by a wanderer. I settle the first two quickly, eager to hear the last, for it is tradition for travelers to pay with stories and wisdom.
“My name is Har Croweater, and I have been many places.” The oldtimer's voice filled the meeting place like thunder, and all around eyes were fixed on the scarred face. “I have traveled to other worlds in the heart of great beasts, and all across the land on these tired feet. Where the folk were giants and the grass rose above your head, and mice were as large as houses, with noses like tails. The giants told me ancient wisdom, for they were feared by all, even the long noses.
“I have gone to the far reaches, far across the sea at the edge of the world, and battled with crabs the size of three folk put together, have drifted on a raft with the native folk to bring up from the depths fish you couldn't imagine. There I learned in the place where the sun rises, how a single butterfly can shake the rocks.
“In the boiling jungles, where winter is summer and summer winter I battled El Gaz, a bandit king who showed only cruelty instead of hospitality. For three days we rolled, cutting and slashing and wrestling until I threw him from the cliffs, to be eaten by the fish he had never learned to catch. I took the crown for a time, until someone suitable came along, for the wanderlust runs deep in me, now ask your questions and I will answer.”
I looked around at the long nose in the council, an emissary and there by courtesy, but he did not seem overly insulted by the stories. I breathed a sigh of relief, they were barbarians with strange ways, they thought themselves contracted into service with their servants for instance, but they were legendary in their ability to fight. And their emissary was an especially big one, if I had to have fought him for the territory as I did his predecessor I'm not sure I would have survived, much less won. But that was in the deep past, and for as long as I live, king shall I be by law and tradition.
“Is it true that there are fish larger than we are?” asked a wide-eyed youngster.
“Yes young sir, big and larger still, large as houses, large as castles. I have seen them in the great oceans, fish large enough to swallow you and I up in a single bite.”
“Have you any children?” asked the Lady of Main, her voice husky with promise.
“Aye lass, and dozens perhaps, and to my knowledge none of them dead in childbirth. Of them I know three became kings in their own right, or at least so I heard by word of mouth.”
“Do you know a place where a folk may still make their own kingdom?” Asked the younger of the brothers of the house of K, apparently their lands having gotten smaller as their feuds got bigger.
“They are all over lad, and it's not hard to find them, as long as your heart is willing to leave the comforts of home. I know a few ripe for the taking by a strong, strapping son like you that I shall pass through on my path, if ye so desire to join on the journey.”
The questions continued as the moon began to rise, and I turned to see the Lady of Northlake, her golden eyes shining as she walked into the circle, carrying an evening snack. We indulged together as the questioning wound to a halt. And it seemed that the long nose emissary was no less impressed than the rest of us, for he led the applause and accolades with a howl that split the air. As I have said before, barbarians. Soon that too died down and all that was left was the introduction of the Baron of Pine's new household.
The Baron sauntered into the circle, eyes glinting in the faint light and grinned. Two shadowy forms detached themselves from the back of the council, these were not young kits, but full grown bruisers, faces and ears already scarred by fights.
“What is the meaning of this Baron?” I exclaim. “I was given to understand you were bringing young members to be introduced into our council, not blooded adults who could introduce themselves.”
“You misunderstand me your highness.” his voice dripped acid and I felt ice in my belly as I realized his intention. “You have grown weak, and old, and I see no kin of yours to take your place if you fall, so for the better of all our lives I ask you to step down.”
“No kin of mine?” I snarl, “My sister stands before you!”
“Not your sister.” He says as she moves out from the circle to stand beside him. “My lady, my Queen.” And now the truth hits, betrayed within and without, there is only one solution to this. I raise my hackles and give my warcry, unsheathing my weapons and moving forward.
On my right the Lady of Northlake brushes her shoulder against mine, her letting me know that she is as much a warrior as any here. And on my left the traveler, Har, had set himself with me, his weapons glittering in the starlight. “We respect the old traditions sir, and know a rat when we see one.” he muttered. Whatever his motivations, I appreciate having the old warrior with me.
The Baron arches his back, and the women hiss as they approach. I yowl once more and leap, claws extended, and the air is filled with cheers, jeers, cries that rend the night. For this is what it sounds like, when the cat king fights.
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Talkos
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