by TS Caladan
House Mire or “North Station” in Ausland was one more great unknown in the foggy, lost past of Joga. Who built it and how was it constructed in such a brutal land? Monoliths, almost the size of the White Castle’s building blocks, composed this northern fortress (more than a castle). A massive wall of the largest tree trunks imaginable surrounded another enigma in stone. Why? No other House was this well protected. North Station appeared like a fort made by Giants. Doors, rooms, archways were many times larger than they should have been for normal humans. Oddly named: “House Mire” shared the same characteristics as the Tarsis White Castle. Many were certain that prehistoric Giants had built them, while the other castles (less impressive) were known to have been produced by slave-labor.
The monstrously large doors of the Station were opened to any northern traveler. Inside they were warmed, fed and assisted every way possible by a mixture of kind mongols and other officials in charge of the House. The Station was considered a “democracy,” without any king or elites of supreme power.
B’rain was a very, very old High Priest of Froconis. The Highest Priest. He had experienced 313 years, which included long forgotten wars between the first Houses and much more. He was the spiritual leader, a real magician, and only political ruler of the Froconans at this time. B’rain was lucid, clear and alert. He was a beautiful man on the inside, as were nearly all of the strange natives, unknown to the rest of the world. He was a healthy man in every way, except his physical appearance, because of the long life he’d lived. He looked terrible. He locked himself up in the tallest castle tower. He was the “wise man of the mountain.” Younger Froconans climbed the 111 stairs of the tall tower, simply to hear words of wisdom from the highly-respected, elder sage. He was beloved by his people for his council, knowledge and good advice.
B’rain inherited the leadership of Tarsis with the bizarre deaths of both rulers: Pax M’ara and her husband, W’ir Den. These were the caring parents of little Prince C’Mero. The young boy was the true ruler of Froconis. But at 7 years of age, he was only a “leader in training.” B’rain delegated his Wild Lords to teach the Prince everything they could. The High Priest did the same. As far as affairs of state, and dealing with the Khalaari, B’rain was in charge of House Tarsis and made the important decisions.
War seemed inevitable.
When the eldest priest was alone in the tower, he looked around again to make sure he was by himself. He entered the White Room of the White Castle. Very slowly, he sat in the special wooden chair he designed.
The entity waited, behind the blue curtain.
B’rain’s withered, marred, thin hand shook with anticipation. It grasp hold of the wooden lever he’d commissioned. He pulled it, the same as he’d done 3571 times before…
The curtain that was the horizontal Glass-oval came together, rather than a curtain that separated. Another Magic Mirror was in plain view. It seemed like it was manufactured from a sheer fabric and not made of glass at all. There existed two mythic Mirrors from prehistoric times. The Mirror encompassed or lovingly possessed the entire White Room. When the lever was pulled, a royal Blue Room came together with the curtains. The priest smiled a familiar smile. The image in the large, oval Mirror also smiled. But the reflection was not of an old, wrinkled, bald man of little strength. It was a young, vibrant, very much ALIVE, B’rain! He was in a tight, form-fitted, warrior uniform, the same as what he wore in the Great War ages ago. The sleek attire contained no metal and showed off his muscular physique. The strong, dark-skinned man had long, straight, black hair. The handsome image was from a time when the man was not so wise, and never could have imagined his future-self as an ultimate sorcerer and mystic. Or the one man in charge of House Tarsis. B’rain was a “ladies’ man” with a hundred conquest of barmaids, women of the court (other kingdoms), as well as a slew of town whores. He only had a reverse image of those days, days of “Glory and Greatness.” He had very sharp, and very fond memories. There were other memories as well, experiences of “battlefields and bedrooms.” Such supreme delights and extreme horrors. The Mirror’s reflection looked like it could have bounced off walls, jumped in leaps and bounds and ran like lightning. The young warrior only matched the slow and shaken movements of the ancient man.
B’rain’s big smile dissolved. He asked the entity a serious question: “Why should the Lords go to war, Rael? I know how crucial war in 20 years is to the Khalaari. But today? Are we testing the new bombs? Are the Worms testing new weapons? I feel there is much more to it than us simply defending ourselves against attack. What is this new conflict all about? Rael. I am greatly confused,” expressed the old man and the young warrior in the Mirror.
The blue entity had not spoken a word in 85 years. It immediately communicated to B’rain in pictures:
Invasion and attack of Barronatta’s forces! The new military, a “golden army,” was viewed with fantastic weapons, based on the black powder, but very different than the bombs the natives developed. The Ruling House possessed huge numbers of guns, rifles, cannons and huge numbers of infantry soldiers. They had strong shields and long knives. Rockets were readied and fired at the Froconans, clearly seen in the soft Glass. In seven days, the Wolf will march on the Lamb. Wild Lord fighters were powerful and well prepared. They did not have the numbers to defeat the Ruling House. A 100 fighters with grenades were seen slaughtered by 2000 soldiers with metallic“boom” weapons.
The priest saw enough. Silent Rael ended the images of the near future. With this true information, he had to decide, make a decision. He cried. The psychic called to his “teacher.” B’rain, former killer and lover, made the decision. No magic was involved. He’d send his troops on a long trek before the coming battle. They’d move with the swiftness of a panther and the strength of a lion. They’d silently climb the escarpment at night. They’d hide outside Mire Castle at the right time, and wait…
…And when 2000 soldiers of the Golden Army marched completely outside of castle walls, Tarsis explosive grenades would rain upon them. A surprise attack, before the surprise attack. Their wave must be met with a counter-wave or the consequences for the “People of the Khalaari” would be extremely dire. If Barronatta forces were permitted a devastating victory against their prime nemesis, then next time, all the armies of Barronatta lesser Houses as well as those loyal to First Family will overrun Froconan jungles. Losses of our peaceful people would be incalculable. House Tarsis might never recover if Nebo’s invaders were left unchallenged. Thoughts swirled inside the sanity of the priest.
B’rain’s decision was the correct one. He had to kill to save lives. Nothing seemed to have changed in 300 years~
Inside the expanded, highly equipped, laboratory of Sir Adrian, the boy in bright green viewed the smartest people in the Barronsland. They’d worked for the King before. Not as any kind of mystics, but as very intelligent advisors. This “council of 9,” from ages 24 to 71, now functioned as lab assistants to Adrian.
Ade didn’t see an old “friend” who entered the lab as he bent down and checked one more cage of male rats. The boy scratched his head and lifted an arm. When he did…
Silvereen tickled him, right in the arm pit.
The assistant that held the cage had no idea of the joke. He laughed a little also.
Adrian turned and couldn’t believe his eyes. Well. This moment had to happen. “You bastard.”
“Ha! Ade! You are more correct than you’ll ever know. You look taller; have you grown an inch?”
“You got shorter. How is that even possible?”
“Haa,” Silver Lord exhaled a laugh.
“Say! Nice cape! I like it, Sil.”
“You do? Good. I’ll get a pink one for you, you Royal-Gender-Bender. So!”
When the lab assistant laughed again, Silvereen got upset:
The tiny child [of the Devil] burned a deadly stare up into the poor guy’s eyes and demanded: “LEAVE!”
The man did, instantly.
The powerful Silver Lord, only 4 foot/2 inches, shouted to others in the lab: “ALL OF YOU!” He pointed at them and scared the smart people silly. It was the small, black cape on a total monster that did it. Silvereen screamed: “…Get out now! GO! Or I will EAT YOU! I will eat all of you!” The hell-spawn’s eyes and expression on his mad face made them run out…
In a few seconds, the boys were alone in a big lab (with a lot of things larger than they were).
Silver relaxed, unscrewed his devil-face and smiled at Ade, sweetly. “Ha, HA. Nice act, huh? People will believe anything, my old friend, eh? And. And those loonies are the best the realm has, ha. Fuck them and fuck the priesthood! Hey. I was saying, SO…”
Adrian put his hands on his hips and got angry. “I should toss YOU the hell out of here, fucker!”
“Language. Oh…the rats…”
“Yeah, bitch-twat…the rats,” stated Adrian, firmly. “I was this close…old friend.”
“Thought you believed in fate?”
“Oh.” Green Wizard was dumbfounded for a second.
Silver declared: “You knew you weren’t going to die…”
“Yeah. And you knew I knew…”
“And here we are,” the caped Lord concluded.
“What did you do? You gave red wizard’s Mirror to the King? You think that was wise? Why didn’t you keep it for yourself? Holding onto the Power? Ever think of that?”
“I did. Then I realized it would be the icing on the cake. I could have everything, by giving it all away.”
“Yeah, like your political scheme, eh? The King bought it. Still surprised you didn’t keep the Glass: what frightening strength in veritas, the Truth. No?”
Silvereen confessed, “I got exactly what I needed from it. I grilled it to the maximum before I let it go. Oh, man! What I know now of what will happen would…amaze even you. No one would believe the world we live in…or what it was…or…”
“Tell me, dark wizard. What do you know? You know I read faces, too. I’ll know if you’re lying…”
Then a caretaker (cleaner) walked into the room and looked for places to finish the job he started earlier.
Silver shifted back into a demon and screamed: “Leave us!”
The ‘help’ ran out of the lab with a bit of a limp.
Even Adrian laughed.
Silver’s face changed to a mask of a cute kid and expressed a wide, confident smile. “Ah, boy. I was shocked to see your plan at work. It was wild. You were so right. I think of all the new ‘weapons’ at Nebo’s disposal, yours was the ultimate Bomb, huh? The future…”
“You saw it, like Myaa did? Tomorrow’s cities, technologies? Flying vehicles?”
“More than that. The new world you forged with a simple elixir could be…could be beyond all of that, Ade. What an invisible control-mechanism you created. Extraordinary. No one would believe it.”
“Really?” The blonde understood Sil spoke the truth: The future was inevitable and unchangeable.
The boys decided to sit. They moved to the most comfortable chairs in the lab and sat down…
Silver stretched back and lifted his short legs onto the table. He understood he could say a hundred things to shock his old friend. He opened with: “You and Myaa will live together and be very, very happy. I even saw your children, ha! They were funny-looking, ha, ha.”
“Children?” Ade was astounded. He felt it was true. He vaguely knew they’d been together long ago, in a time of “battlefields and bedrooms.”
Silvereen confessed: “Sure. I checked back-histories of all of us. Yesterdays. In the present, we’ve talked of other ages, the Great War. But we’ve never focused clearly, viewed reliable pictures, memories? True?”
“Certainly true, foggy recollections at best. You’ve seen the Great War? You know what it was really about, Sil?”
“You wouldn’t believe me. Told you: I put the Glass through the ‘grinder’ before I gave it up. How’d you like to know about your wife, er, I mean, Miss Myaa?”
“Wife? Huh. Ah. Maybe? Seriously. What about her?”
“Uh. Our fraudulent mystic-orphan. I know what happened to her parents. How she was made homeless, and why, eh?”
“Is it significant? Interesting story?” Adrian asked.
“Truth-Mirror showed me scenes of a thousand years ago. Fantastic! Now I know what ‘People of the Khalaari’ means. You wouldn’t, oh, I said that…”
“Huh? Myaa’s parents, you said? They’d be my in-laws, yes? Ha.”
“They were the most powerful, demonic entities that had ever walked the Earth, during the War. Super Magicians…”
“Wait. Lord Silver. Myaa, our Myaa…the product of evil demons? She…”
“I know. A sales-lady without a stitch of magic in any of her pretty bones. Her parents turned against a greater evil, a Super Master that had ruled Darkness of a far larger dimension. They redeemed their eternal souls by attacking the Master at the end and turning the tide of the War. They paid with their lives. Instead of a mighty magician of an offspring and true Power and light for the future… A daughter was born to the Wizards who was absolutely powerless. Weak. Cursed. Bloody normal. No greatness and tremendous fate for ‘seer’ Myaa in Castle Mire…merely the life of a plain, peasant girl, on her own, who had to struggle to survive.”
Ade expressed, “It explains her need to shine, doesn’t it, Sil?”
“I guess it does,” the caped child said. “There’s much, much more I could tell you. But for now, I won’t, aye?”
Then. Green Lord saw something unfamiliar, something Silvereen pulled out of his pocket. “What is that, what are you doing there?”
Boy in black, calmly, casually, went through a procedure as if he’d done it a hundred times before. “This? Oh. It’s going to be a very popular Bomb for the King. It will be all the rage in the years to come for peasants and yahoos. I know it, I’ve seen it…” Sil twiddled his small fingers around a strip of paper and some organic material. “I will call it just what they call it in future…” He completed the task of ‘rolling’ and ‘licking.’ “Here. It’s a cigarette.”
The confused head of the royal laboratory examined the soft, white cylinder from all angles. He replied, “Sounds male and female. Now what do I do with it?”
“You ignite it like barons, dukes, duchesses and you do to your pipes, filled with hemp, old boy…”
“Oh. This is smoked? Brilliant. What a delivery system you’ve invented. I have to try hemp this way. I want more of these papers…”
Silvereen got to his feet, grabbed a large match from his pocket and raised it skyward with a sly smile. He struck it against a metal bolt in the table and lit the ‘cigarette.’ “Do not take in a large inhale, only a little one, or you’ll cough,” Sil warned.
The cigarette burned on one end. Ade took in a small puff of smoke.
Sil instructed: “Don’t take it deep or hold it in, like you do…”
Adrian did what he was told.
“Blow it out of your lungs quickly, just taste the aroma in your mouth.”
Ade did not cough with the small amount he inhaled. The boy was mystified. This was a popular Bomb in the future? Another royal weapon? He asked his comrade: “What ails does this cure? What’s it do?”
“It’s not like your hemp. In fact, it’s the…”
Green Lord sucked on the cigarette again and took in a bit more. When he expelled the smoke from his mouth in a short time, he stated, “Hm. Different. It’s good,” was Ade’s initial reaction.
“No. It’s not, Adrian,” Silver said seriously.
“Like what you will devise for the water-supply, like the whiskey given the commoners with the royal seal of approval on them. This is not for elites, my boy. It’s what we give the dirty hordes, the stupid masses. Don’t keep doing it, my friend.” Silvereen was sincere and Ade knew it perfectly well.
“Oh?” (cough, cough).
General Janus was summoned to the royal library in House Barronatta, late on the eve of battle.
Fires burned brightly, as did hundreds of candles in the large room.
King Nebo sat in his hard chair, directly in front of his Magic Mirror, the one that had the carved, wooden frame around it. The tyrant was more used to the reflected, naked monster in the Glass.
The General entered the library. He declared:
“As you’ve ordered, M’Lord. How may I be of service to…your Majesty. Again…”
Nebo was quick and responded: “Again? I sense a tone in your word, General…”
“I meant no disrespect, sire.”
“Are you tired of your job, General of the strongest army? What if I replaced you, Jan? With a younger, stronger, ‘super-soldier’ to lead my forces against my enemies?”
The man replied, appropriately, without much feelings: “If that is your command, my King?”
Nebo changed the subject to other matters. “Come here, General. Stand in front of the Mirror.”
Janus did so, his first real look into the Glass.
The King ordered, “Describe my reflection you see…”
“Describe it! What do I look like?”
The General hesitated and obeyed. “Your Majesty. You look well. You are sitting in your comfortable chair. Your appearance is…ah, a bit, apprehensive…ah…”
“You see no difference in the Glass from my usual appearance?”
“No, sire. Should I?”
“Of course not, General.” The weary King expelled a sigh. “Merely testing your eyes, eh?”
“I thought this concerned tomorrow’s march on Froconis?”
“I’ve been so busy with other things, the invasion hasn’t been of any prime concern. Nothing can stand against us, the new weapons and armadas from our war-factories. Why bother to…?”
General Janus was puzzled. The overconfident King put no thoughts into the invasion? Strange. Did he possess even a shred of compassion for thousands of soldiers that would gladly die for him? Probably not. Possibly, he’d been busy with the little Princess? Janus wondered.
Nebo gazed again into the Mirror. He saw a hideous monster that sat with its General at its side.
“How do you believe you will die, General?”
Janus expressed an automatic, honest answer: “I hope to die with honor on the battlefield, sire. I hope to die in service to my King…M’Lord.”
“Another question: How do you believe I will die?”
“It’s a simple question, General. Who do you imagine will kill me?”
“I would not conceive of such a thing…”
“Oh, really?” Nebo rubbed his chin.
“My men will shield you and your Family, the best we can, sire. Till our dying breath.”
“Of course, you would. One thing more to ask you, Jan. Honestly…”
“What is the word from those of the court, the barons, the ladies, the dukes, even yahoos in towns? The mad King’s mirror; he’s under a magic spell? Yes, yes? Those who know of the girl’s mirror and my obsession with it: What do they say about me and it, General?”
Before Janus answered, the King, once more, emphasized…
“Please remember, soldier, and burn this into your mindless mind. I’ll have you burned at the stake if I discover you have ever lied to me.”
A cold dagger went through the General’s entire being. Every horror he’d witnessed over the years was nothing compared to the ‘monster’ he knew sat in front of him. Maniacal Power stood on the throne and the General was frightened of it.
Janus expelled the pure truth as he understood it: “I’ve only heard whispers from priests and courtesans. They think it is a bewitched Glass, even after the seer’s exorcism. I presume it’s been because you’ve spent such time with it and, ah…”
“Spit it out, General,” the old King demanded.
“…And neglected the war-effort, a real war, tomorrow’s attack and even the baby, Elizabeth…”
“Good! Honesty. I need your honesty in the many trials my Family will endure in future. Yes, you are loyal. I need you. I do thank you, and your armies. You see, I believe some of the mystics’ powers have rubbed off on me, ha. Eh?”
The General listened closely.
Nebo stated as fact: “I know some events to come. Do not worry, Jan. We will defeat the black horde tomorrow. I have no doubts. And. As far as the Princess goes, my utter pride and joy, (smiled) she will also do very well in life.”
Janus reflected the King’s smile with one of his own. He thought the meeting with the King went well.
“You may leave, my FIST. Prepare the men for invasion. We will not die, tomorrow.”
“Very good, my King.” Janus bowed.
Before the soldier left, the Sovereign asked a final question: “Oh. Ah, er. Jan? Have you ever heard legends or, or, fanciful stories of a sword, magically, changed into a mirror? General?”
“I have not, sire.”
Minutes later, the Monarch received another visitor by way of a secret door to the library. It opened with the smallest touch. In front of the King stood one of his spies, a black one.
Nebo smiled, raised his arms, but did not embrace the tall, thin man with dark skin. “Enter. Enter.” The Sovereign was always pleased to greet his valuable slave. “You’re a good man, Dirtwig. I say, returned, have you? Yes. I must hear your report, Dirtwig. Your secret assignment, ah, ha! Just in time, with our attack hours away. The Fates brought you back home to us, safe and sound. Yes, boy. I knew you’d return. What marvelous timing…Dirtwig.”
The King never failed to ‘rub it in,’ and gave it to him, any chance he could. “Dirtwig” was once a Froconan child of nobility from the hills under Mount Tarsis. As a young boy, he was captured on one particular “raid” in lowlands of jungle territory. He became the royal “pet,” “fool,” a favorite “play-toy,” passed around from one perverted baron to another, from one sick duchess to another. Whatever the royal whim, Dirtwig had to perform. Years passed. Barronattas trained the boy to be one of them. Seeds of “mind-control” had already been practiced and exercised by the First Family’s priesthood some time ago.
The Barronattas’ pet got his nickname because of his hairstyle when he was first captured. It amused the men. Their suggestion to the King was accepted. At one point, the boy’s head was shaved and he had to wear, literally, a dirt-wig. The boy never used his real name (W’iran) ever again. Every mention of the royal nickname brought back the trauma of years of abuse. Why did W’iran never rebel? Why did the child never escape the House on top of the escarpment? Why did he submit to the tortures, ridicule and cruel sex of not only the royal men, but the royal women as well? The answer was: He was raised on scraps of what the royals ate. He was raised as a “dog” and ate in their cold, dark dungeons. He did what they asked and commanded. He understood it made them feel better about themselves, confirmed their superiority?
The Council of 9 advisors believed Dirtwig could be used as an assassin or spy in the days ahead. He was the perfect, controlled agent to infiltrate enemy territory. The theory was recently tested on the young, black man. He dressed like a Froconan; he wandered through thick, hot jungles that brought back vague passed images he couldn’t remember. Now. The agent returned from jungle “roads.” What did the spy observe?
The King sat down on his hard chair while the young man stood tall in front of Nebo. The Glass was covered. “Speak! I know you talk well. Talk now, boy. Janus should be here. Oh, dear. I’m, I’m sure I can remember, and…”
Dirtwig stated clearly, in the King’s English, “Sire. I…”
“Spit it out, boy! Like you’ve done before. Ha, heh.” Nebo laughed at his joke.
“I fear you will not believe what I’ve seen. I fear you will think I’ve been bewitched. Sire…” Dirtwig slightly bowed. He was as honest as he could, under the circumstances.
“Never fear, good man, Dirtwig. You know not to lie to your King, eh? Speak of our enemy! What did you see on the roads?”
“I, ah…” He almost laughed. Then he told the truth. “Your Majesty. I saw your enemies…FLY…”
“Wot? They had future flying crafts (the King had seen in the magic Glass)?”
“No, Sire. The Wild Lords. I witnessed three, three that flew passed me while I was well-hidden. I clearly observed a flying Fraconan in strange strips of clothing…I swear…”
“Wot you mean? Natives have the power to fly? Their Magic did this?” Nebo barely believed the young man’s words. His Mirror never displayed such sights.
“I saw…a man, one of the fighters, about, about, I would say 20 feet in the air, over the ground. He was on all fours, horizontally, like, like…he held onto a thing that was not there, sire. I swear it’s true. A minute later, another passed by. Another Lord, a different fighter, in the same position. It happened one more time a few minutes later: a flying man that moved above jungle roads. Three of them. They flew through passages with ease, my King. Later, I made it home, without being harmed by animals. I-I must be under a witch’s spell…for me…to see what I’ve seen. My Lord.” Dirtwig fully bowed this time. That was his report on the eve of war.
The confused King was unsure what he’d say to General Janus. Then he thought he’d gain clarity with his precious Glass. Of course, it would have the answers. He dismissed his dark spy and dog: “Return to your cage, Dirtwig.” Nebo pointed at the opened doorway. He knew the native would do as commanded.
Minutes later, King Nebo was in place and the monster in the Mirror asked the Glass a question: “The natives…my enemy. Do they now have the ability to fly like birds, my Mirror? Are they going to attack from the air?”
“No, my Great and Powerful Master. You never have to worry of a Froconan air-attack. And yet, what W’iran observed was exactly the truth. Lords fly through unnatural passages in the thick brush, but will never invade the escarpment that way. Rest assured, my Master. You and the Princess will live many more days…”
He breathed better. He sighed with relief. It was what the King needed to hear. He was exhausted. He had to get some sleep before the big battle. Right there, on the hard chair, Nebo closed his eyes and soon…
The monster fell asleep.
When the Sun rose the next day, the royal military prepared, readied itself and armed itself with guns, rifles and cannons. The New Army of nearly 3000 men moved with the confidence that they could destroy anything that stood in their way.
The great doors of House Barronatta were opened. From lower levels of Mire Castle, the Golden Military assembled. When all was in order, General Janus gave the command. His troops proudly paraded through front gates and marched in a southeastern direction from the royal hill.
Crowds cheered, from workers to higher-elevated courtesans. Waters from the Golden River continued to be pumped up the incline, as they’ve functioned over a hundred of years, and dropped into the bay [artificial waterfall]. It was a bright, glorious day for war.
The King, alone, from a high tower, watched the spectacle below with fascination. He cheered the sheer power as large cannons on carts were rolled down the hill, behind a few thousand of his infantry that gleamed in the Sun.
Then, the unthinkable occurred…
His Majesty and others that cheered the army’s march from various windows in towers were grossly appalled at the next sights that entered their view:
EXPLOSIONS! More explosions and still more explosions!
Royals first assumed that malfunctions happened: the gunpowder the forces carried were accidentally discharged, over and over again. That was not the case. Once the gold warriors were fully outside of castle walls, they were viciously attacked by the enemy. Hidden among thickets of vegetation, trees and underbrush, were Wild Lords. Bombs were thrown against cannon-carts, shields and kegs of gunpowder…
Within minutes, the Golden Army was decimated. No hand-to-hand combat, no bows and arrows, no swords or spears. The few guns and rifles that were fired at natives had little effect. More Froconans approached from all sides. Smaller explosives were launched at closer range from the first lobs of great destruction. The bloodied, broken army was soon defeated by natives dressed in rags.
Cries were heard from windows of the aristocrats. Nightmare visions in front of them shook them to their cores. They went from hailing the mighty soldiers to screaming in utter terror at what their eyes beheld.
In the end, dozens of dark Lords walked over the carnage they caused and took no pleasure in all the blood and death. Body parts, shattered/golden armor, strewn/metallic weapons, downed horses, smoke and debris, were all that were left of the “strongest army in the world.”
The natives did not kill everyone they encountered, as they walked over the bodies, as their enemy would have. The Lords made sure the victory was secured. Barronatta soldiers, the ones left alive, just stared up and into the eyes of the enemy. Guns and rifles could have fired final shots, but did not. The few soldiers that remained, dropped their weapons. Natives were poised to toss more bombs, but did not. Instead. They left. The Lords returned to the deep jungles of Tarsis. None of the Froconans, now or later, relished the victory. There were no celebrations. People of the Khalaari were disgusted by what they had to do.
In the aftermath of the “First War,” there were phenomenal casualties. Men had lost arms and legs and were permanently scarred, physically and emotionally. Physicians of the court did their best to aid and heal the soldiers with limited means. Less than 300 troops survived what was called a “war,” but were never the same. It was not even a battle; it was a slaughter.
One of the survivors was the leader of the troops. General Janus lived and was brought before his King. He wished he’d have discharged his weapon at the end of the battle and been killed in the process. Now he knelt and awaited death…
“Leave us! No. Wait!” Nebo ordered a squadron of guards who brought the General into the throne room and acted as if Janus was a prisoner. He was. He had to pay for his sins and failures.
Before the guards left, the King directed: “Give me your sword, soldier! What do you call it? All-star? Heh. With your very own sword.”
The former General gave up the trusted weapon in front of his men, in front of their swords and spears at his back. “Aleister,” he corrected his King. Janus hated the King. He hated his power, the capability to do absolutely anything and get away with it for many decades. He despised the constant reminders that he could be beheaded. Like Nebo was God? He’d seen too much ruthlessness of those in charge of “keeping the peace.” From the very top of Mire Castle, down to corrupt/local sheriffs in all the Barronsland, there was little mercy, compassion or goodness extended to the poor and unfortunate. He knew he was a good man, way down inside, despite what he’d done as part of the military. In his heart, he prayed for forgiveness. He clearly understood that it was far too late.
Now it was time for Janus to face the consequences for the defeat of the Golden Army. He was the one responsible. Previously. He’d fantasized of being the one who’d slay King Nebo. There would be such celebrations in towns and villages of the empire, among the common folk, the yahoos. He’d be a big hero over much of the Islands. But, it seemed the King would kill him. Jan didn’t care anymore.
Nebo grabbed the famous sword that had destroyed so many in his name. He held it high over the head of the man. He told the guards: “Now go. I don’t want you to witness what I must do. GO!”
The soldiers turned and departed…
When they were gone, the King had a change of “heart.” Rather, it was a change of mind. Ah! How could I prolong his torture? The King thought: Quick pain, bloody death minutes later was too good for him. Ha, ha! AH! I know. Nebo smiled and asked: “General! How would you like to remain a General and for me to spare your miserable, small, dark life of nothingness?”
Janus hesitated. He really didn’t care. He realized the King wanted to save him, now, so he encouraged the Monarch with the words: “Yes. Yes, your Majesty. Very much, your grace.”
“Ah, then, Jan. You may rise to your feet, trooper. You will remain military leader as we rebuild another army and navy, for another day, aye? I’ve seen it, soldier.”
A smile nearly formed on the man’s face.
“However. Jan. You do understand there MUST be punishment, yes? And others must see that a strict blow was dealt to you, right? You will not die or lose an eye or an arm or a leg, I can assure you. We’ll have to see, eh? Come up with something…that you must sacrifice…”
“Yes, yes.” The King lowered the sharp sword. “A vision is clearly in my mind, General. Doesn’t ‘General’ sound good to you, my friend?”
“Indeed,” Janus expressed. The King never used the term “friend” before. A small smile appeared on the man’s weathered face.
A wide smile materialized on the Monarch’s brilliant face. “Here’s what I want you to do. I’ll keep your blade for awhile. I want you to seek Primas, not Pias. I need the royal physician…Primas.”
“I know where the Doctor’s office is, sire.”
“Of course, you do. Escort him here, please. Ha, ha, ha.” A strange twinkle was in the King’s eye. He laughed at his new thoughts. Could it be possible? “…You can do that for your King, can’t you, Jan?”
“Certainly, sire. And I humbly thank you for your mercies and kindness, your grace. I will live up to your faith in…”
“Enough! Go get the Doctor, General. Make sure you return with Primas. Do as I command, yes?”
The old soldier replied, “Yes, my King.” Janus hurried out to retrieve the main physician to the court.
When all was still, except for a bright fire in the fireplace and subtle movements of candle wicks…
Nebo, suddenly, from a “true” Seat of Power on the Islands, laughed hysterically! He couldn’t control himself at the delicious and extremely evil thoughts in his head. “Haaaaa, ha, ha! HA!! Ah!”
Days later, after First War, and after a weakened Barronsland rebuilt itself a bit, not-threatened…
His Majesty, the King (Nebonezzar), “Whose name shall forever live as Protector of the Joga Empire,” commanded a grand celebration in Mire Castle’s largest and highest ballroom. The affair was a “must-attend” for every duke and duchess and baron and baroness in the entire Barronsland. Every Barronatta-bloodline attended the royal gala. Messages sent to each of the Houses in the Barronsland stated a theme for the celebration: “Life and the continuation of the First Family.” The Hierarchy or top levels of the Monarchy gathered in the prestigious ballroom.
The ‘word of the court’ was: Brave soldiers, thousands of loyal troopers, were savagely massacred in a “unsporting” fashion, never given a chance to defend themselves. The big party was to honor the fallen dead and to celebrate the living who had survived.
Dukes and duchesses that had charge over “towns” (districts, originally: settlements) Princeport, Auricstone, Dukane, Tara and Carmoor were at the “Life” ball. Barons and baronesses who maintained smaller “villages” of Denimar, Pol, Oelle, Bellestros, Karnoor, Panameer and Kali attended, without question. As well as their prime relatives, satellite bloodlines of the First Family were there. Every court “rep” from lesser Barronatta Houses arrived in full regalia. Sheriffs were not invited.
Everyone was in a gay, happy mood. The majority of younger wards and ladies, in colorful costumes of the court, danced furiously to the best musicians and singers in the Barronsland. Elders cheered and remembered better days. Beautiful women, dancers, songs, royal wine and Meads, finest foods, the best of everything was presented and consumed at the “Life” festival.
Later in the evening, the King announced a new leader for a new army in the future. His new ‘Fist.’ [The ceremony had occurred often in the past]. Old Janus remained a general. But the young man who will replace him and motivate the military in tomorrow’s new world will be:
Commander Krowly. He was a fresh breed of slick, sure generals, potential admirals in a promised and very potent new Army. The tall, muscular man was one of the few people in the entire realm who was bald. (Many elders were bald. It was unthinkable or not done by youths because hair had always meant: strength). Krowly was a different kind of person, a vanguard, a bright “turk,” the perfect “golem” or “super-soldier” required for the modern military. A much-expanded Army that will include a Navy and also an Air-Force.
Commander Krowly took over the inspirational speech from the aged King…without a missed beat:
“…Honored dukes and barons and special ladies at their side. I thank King Nebonezzar for his confidence in me. I know I must earn the trust of the greatest Commander the Joga Islands will ever know!”
The crowd burst into rounds of thanks with: “Long live the Barronattas! Long live the Barronattas!” When the loud cheers of exuberance settled down to a minimum…
The Commander relayed the words of the King: “The ball will end at midnight, I am sorry to inform lords and ladies of the court. (boos and groans) The Barronattas thank you for your service, patronage and participation in the “Life Festival.” We hope this good fortune will remain in our hearts and within our minds…just how thankful everyone should be. We have been spared what could have been the total destruction of all our Houses. Thank God. Thank God in Heaven and thank our King that this did not happen…”
More cheers rang out from drunk and semi-drunk people of the upper class.
“In three minutes, the festival will be over and you must clear the main ballroom. I’ve only now been told by the King that we will have a yearly festival of ‘magic and lights’ on this day, to remember the First War and how fortunate we are to have survived. The War to End All Wars. I promise you, Lords and Ladies of the court, we will be even stronger, tomorrow, with advanced weapons and improved technology! The dawn of a new day, for a safer/cleaner/better future for our children and those that will follow us. I promise you: we will never know defeat! Thank you once again, ladies and gentlemen, as well as all the courtesans and servants that made this party possible…Oh. Yes. Blood-relatives of the Royal Family, please remain in the ballroom, after the others have gone. King Nebo has a delightful surprise for only the Family! Only those related to the Barronattas will receive the special gifts.”
A raucous, colorful, core-crowd cheered for some ‘gift’ the Sovereign planned to bestow upon them. No doubt, a bonus or souvenir-package to remember the occasion of the grand ball.
A half hour had passed…
First Family members and their direct families were assembled, just as the King ordered. Many were excited and wondered what the royal “gift” could be. Barronattas and their immediate offspring numbered 48. They were instructed to take seats in the numerous balconies that surrounded the big ballroom.
Commander Krowly’s last words to the relatives were: “The game is to find the seats with a ‘spiral’ marked on them. Look under the seats and you’ll find your own, personal, hand-weapon. You merely pull the small lever to fire the GUN. Make your shouts count, people! You only get one shot this evening!”
The royal crowd of lesser Houses (castles) were thrilled. Each will have one of those little weapons for the hand, people had talked about. They were overjoyed.
“Oh, it’s a game!”
“I’ll have mine first!”
The small mob took to the stairs, quickly. Some of the baronesses were the first ones to the balcony seats.
A few minutes had passed…
His Majesty made sure he left the ballroom and was accompanied by Commander Krowly. Other court officials conducted the ceremonies or the next events to come…
Two court officials slowly pushed a cloaked “thing,” a chair with wheels that laid under a dark blanket. It moved; a person was beneath the cloth, wheeled to the center of the ballroom. The wheels squeaked and creaked as the drunken crowd got more agitated at the anticipation.
Tension built and it dawned on the royals what this part of the “show” was about. They laughed with glee. A few pointed their weapons at the “thing.” Then more pointed at the living target.
The officials gave it a final push. One pulled the tarp off and they quickly got out of the way.
The target for regal aristocrats was:
DIRTWIG! The slave and royal ‘hound’ was bound and gagged to the wheelchair. His face, head and neck were painted white, as to make a better ‘bullseye.’ He finally protested and wanted to escape~
Dukes, duchesses, barons and baronesses laughed and were extremely delighted. They knew the fool, clown, pet, tool, puppet, dog and sexual servant to the “high and mighty.” He’d been gang-fucked. Many had fucked him and shot their load down his throat. He only served the First Family and bloody friends for their food scraps. He reported exactly what he saw in his jungle homeland. For his faithful service toward the empire, this was his final reward.
The colorful crowd in make-up, white/powdered wigs, tight stockings and other bright dresses of high sophistication, fashion and positions in the ‘order,’ shouted their last, sharp, verbal barbs of hatred toward the enemy. They blamed, and were meant to blame, the slave for the slaughter of hundreds of light-skinned, golden soldiers. He was to blame: Dirtwig. All took part in a mass-execution, so they felt better and proved even they had done something for the war-effort, against the wicked-heathen, soulless enemies. No one knew or cared that Dirtwig’s name was W’iran and that his royal bloodlines ran deeper than theirs.
First shots were fired!
More loud, small “booms” of gunpowder rang out and echoed in the highest ballroom of the empire. Most of the metallic balls missed, with fuzzy shooters more than 50 feet away from the target. Forty-seven shots were fired (one miss-fired) and a quarter of them struck the poor, helpless man. Blood and parts of him burst out of him. The human or thing that remained tied in the chair was only a blood-drenched pulp. The young man was dead and a life of horror came to an end, without mercy.
The crowd couldn’t have been happier. It was a night to remember. They pretended and continued and pointed the guns at family members. But their 1-shots had been spent. Fun and games were over.
A high official announced that the King will return for a final announcement.
In a moment, King Nebo and the young Commander returned to center stage. They acted casual, as if nothing dramatic or unusual had happened. They passed the wheelchair with the corpse.
Nebo clapped his hands and addressed his Family of lesser castles. The colorful crowd barely heard, but definitely heard him say:
“Yes, yes, good friends and family of the court. I am very pleased you enjoyed tonight’s festivities of our annual “Life” celebration…But…”
When the King’s “but” hit the ballroom air, 48 spoiled aristocrats became silent, instantly. Joyous jubilation from killing an enemy and having a good ole, splendid time…transitioned into paranoid fear. What the bloody hell was the (“mad”) King going to say and decree next? They all felt it. Like children who did something very, very naughty…and now, might have to pay for their sins?
“You all have flourished in my name. Your power as Barronatta is an awesome sword! You all wield it and you pay no price to me, for all I have given you…”
The Duke of Oelle, an armory Lord, spoke up and responded, “Price? Your Majesty! Each House pays its yearly tribute according to signed and sanctioned covenants. We receive a large percentage of monies from sheriffs and tax collectors. Accountants check everything and all Houses have always paid our…rent, in essence, for the great privilege to be part of your major House, M’Lord. What debt do we owe the High Court?”
“Yes,” confused others expressed along with rumbling and whispers.
“What price, your Majesty?”
“You want us to pay more?”
The Commander raised his strong hand. He lifted a long, sharp sword that once belonged to General Janus…
The colorful crowd hushed to silence.
King Nebo said: “There will a new tax imposed on you that has nothing to do with money…”
“…We fucking print money. We don’t need money!”
Pias and Doctor Primas stood next to each other. The Doctor asked the old priest in a whisper: “Do you ever remember the King using the F-word?”
Pias’ response was, “Never. Not even in private.”
Primas only expressed, “Strange days.”
Nebo informed the royals: “We need you…to…”
Total silence was broken by…
The King, when he declared: “SACRIFICE. Sacrifice something else, other than wealth, gems, gold, that sort of thing. To prove your loyalty, once and for all, to, to judge, as in a test, whether you are deserving of my blood and my name, eh?”
The Duke of Dukane stated: “Sire. What specifically…my King? I’m sure we all would like to know…”
The King laughed a laugh of knowledge and demonic power. “We, ah…we’ll leave it up to the individual. Whatever they choose to give up, sacrifice, for our holy cause? First-born, an old grandma who will soon die, anyway? You can shoot them with the new guns; the weapons are yours to keep. Projectiles are another matter, and will be distributed by my soldiers. If you prefer to not murder, then, by all means…a body part will do, or something from your wives…”
Gasps were heard.
“You cannot be serious, M’Lord?”
Nebo sharply shouted: “Who said that?!”
Krowly pointed and said, “The Duke from Tara, sire.”
The King noted that particular “Lord” and replied: “Oh, but I am. I really don’t know why I still have you around? What good are you all? Stinking up the palace! Maybe a few days of rat-catching might put you in your place, remind you exactly who the Boss is…or much worse, eh? You know, Commander? Our pretty dungeons have been oh so empty, lately. Wouldn’t you say, Commander?”
Krowly responded with: “I’m sure we could store the lot of them there, sire.”
They both smirked with supreme power over people they held in their cold hands.
Nebo stated, “I’m sure you understand that a small sacrifice should be imposed to members of our high club, as to insure the loyalty I require, aye? Or, I’m sure that you will see it…in time. Yes? My Lords and Ladies?”
Baron Astly from Panameer, knelt down on one knee and valiantly stated, “Anything you command, my God.”
The King smiled wide. White brows lifted higher and his old eyes enlarged. He had such thoughts of Darkness, such wickedness and devilry spun around inside his mind. Where did they come from?
Commander Krowly was impressed. He understood the magical and scientific intentions of the King. Nebo had predicted that the two of them, in future, would “merge.” He could already hear the Monarch’s negative thoughts inside his head and feel the power. Krowly placed his hand on his new sword and watched the frightened crowd as they cowered in fear.
Six months passed…
The scene was the royal nursery. In the room were only head Doctor Primas, head priest Pias, the King, of course, and the green wizard of Science: Sir Adrian. He’d grown another inch.
“Phenomenal,” the Doctor gasped at what he witnessed within the royal crib.
The priest was also overwhelmed. “Amazing. Your science is extraordinary magic, young Lord. Who would ever believe your blue potion would succeed? Thank the mice, ha. A miracle, sire.”
King Nebo remained in frozen silence. A million happy thoughts orbited his mind. He gazed into the golden crib where small Elizabeth 1 had lived for 6 months. The child was beautiful.
Primas and Pias hadn’t seen the ‘Princess’ in all that time, not until today.
The King absolutely knew, because of the Mirror, that the Doctor and Priest will hold their tongue about the sex-change. Also. The Big Lie will eventually be taken as fact and shown as fact.
Handmaidens, ladies-in-waiting and courtesans who cared for, nursed and governed the little ‘girl,’ were all put to death. Every lady that handled the newborn with such tenderness and their families were murdered by armed guards. Masses were controlled by State puppeteers above them, who were also controlled by forces above them. Social magicians, the ‘word of the court’ (news postings) and fears from those in-the-know, who had to support the Big Lie, would make the impossible, possible. Slowly. The empire will believe authorities had falsely reported a princess, when it was really a prince all along.
Inside the shiny crib was a small boy and not a small girl. Liz had all the features of a very young male, except for a penis. Adrian could not grow the girl a cock. The child’s hair was cut short, in the style of a boy. Arms and legs, although similar to a young girl’s physique, were distinctly male. It was a boy with a pussy-twat.
The proud King finally spoke after a big sigh: “Haaw. Heh, heh. I have to practice using my pronouns correctly. He looked at everyone and declared: “It’s an end to an era. And possibly an end to a Great War, a bigger one than before? Now. ‘Elizabeth’ is no more. If I ever hear the name uttered, I will have the person’s head eaten! Is that clear?”
It was very clear.
The Sovereign laughed a little. “Ha, ha. She’ll be raised as a boy. She’ll never know what was done, eh? Ah. We need a name. My…ah, I mean…I will create a new name for the one that will lead us securely into tomorrow and another millennium. And his name shall be…”
The other three in the room heard:
“…Victor. The boy’s name is Victor,” King Nebonezzar declared as fact. We have a Prince in the House, a new Barronatta. The best of us. The best of us,” the King stated in severe seriousness. His tears were real. He had to leave the room.
The others had never seen an extremely emotional King, not this kind of warm/wonderful emotions.
The Doctor asked his burning question, “And this was entirely done because you were able to discover and extract, what did you call it, dear boy?”
Pias repeated the new word, “Hormones.”
“The Prince, now, had been given injections since her birth, is that right? You keep pumping the body with extracts of the opposite sex and they eventually resemble the opposite sex? Fantastic. It’s like the idea is from another world. Incredible.”
“Yes, Doctor. I knew the results, and how I arrived at them, would interest you.”
Pias interjected: “Yes. Another world, an unnatural world. Abominable.” The priest’s words went unheard.
“Every two weeks, you said? In the thigh region would do, is that correct?”
Adrian replied, with a charming smile, “Yes, Doctor.”
The priest asked the boy, “As she, HE, grows…what do you intend telling him why he must keep injecting himself with needles?”
“Yes, Sir Adrian. What do we tell the Prince?”
“I’ve thought about that,” the 11-year old informed the adults. “Vitamins.”
The men looked at each other. The Doctor asked Adrian, “What are vitamins?”
He laughed. “Medicine, nutrition, the perfect food, the dosage will cure your ills, and make you feel good. A panacea. Whatever you think best, Doctor. Prescribe it, insist for health reasons that the boy must take his official shot to stay vital and strong. Something exclusive, a potion from a scientist no yahoo would ever have access to. Did you know if a patient believes a medicine will work, it will actually work, even if it’s only salt solution? [no reply] Anyway. Say it’s a witch’s potion, I don’t care. Just make sure the boy is trained to take it twice a month and he shouldn’t revert back…”
“Revert back?” the old priest exclaimed.
Doctor Primas asked, “You’re telling us, if, if, say, for some reason, the Prince stops taking the hormones at some point in his life…he’d return to looking like a female?”
“Yes indeed, gentlemen. I figure you could even change genders after puberty, if one keeps taking the drug. But if done early on, the illusion can certainly be maintained for decades. I imagine in old age, the body will then show strong signs of a lifetime of drug abuse. Then the original sex or features of the other sex would probably surface. If the secret is kept between us, we could continue the charade for a long time. Ha. Hail, King Victor.” The boy smiled with pride.
“Hail, King Victor,” Pias echoed.
The Doctor wondered, “And the process works the same with small boys or young boys? Your pink serum alters them to girls, is that right?”
“Yes. Marvelous, isn’t it? We can now turn girls into boys and boys into girls. What ultimate ACTORS they would be on stage, aye?” Adrian was thrilled about his work and what he could do with it in future. He felt great success. He wanted to share this moment. He had an odd life. There weren’t many people who were close to the boy-genius. Not at all. It was now that his thoughts and feelings turned to Myaa. A future wife, or was it in a passed life? I wish I knew: Is she doing well?
[END OF ACT 2]
~ I would enjoy hearing your thoughts of my story, so far. This will probably be my 10th published book, entitled: ‘The New Men and the New World.’
Send the beginning around to people who have followed “Thrones,” parts 1 & 2. They might enjoy the magical world I’m creating~ thanks.
Tray Samuel Caladan.