Featured Item: E.V.E DYSTOPIA Chained Roses (Crossroads)
“Why have you summoned me here? “
The words hung heavy in the air, as the Warrior stood inside the Ring of Thorns, before the Marble Throne. His Majesty, King Federlon, was holding the Rose Sceptre in his hands, like a club, perhaps, rather than the device that was. It was the talisman used to bring Ral Pehr from his long sleep in the petals of the Golden Rose.
The Golden Rose had been the mystic symbol of the country since its foundation. But the gigantic mystic flower had been in the court for nearly a millenia, and inside it’s sacred petals, which looked for all intents and purposes, like an actual rose, had served as the sleeping place of Ral Perh. There the Warrior Guardian of the nation had slumbered and the land was at peace. It and the throne had thrived for that time and its people and the land prospered.
But that was not so any longer. The Throne was now in the hands of a man that had come to the throne under unprecedented circumstances. Each of the elder brothers, much beloved of the nation, had met with accidents (some said arranged accidents), before Federlon had taken the throne. The long dead King Albandion, the great Wizard Monarch, and King of the Rose Isles was indeed this man’s ancestorThe First King had established the Marble Throne and the government that helped protect and rule the island nation for centuries, and had even expanded itself to colonize other lands, and the mainland nearby – the once enemy nations of Horndell and Flasikar.
But, any resemblance to the elder King’s bravery and temperment was lost to the current King – Federlon. He was something else. Spoiled brat, war monger, and overall the worst despot that had been seen in the lands since the dark days before the Marble Throne.
The once prosperous neighbors and allies had turned against the King, and had defeated his naval forces and land armies in bloody battles over and over.The once proud nation back was driven back to its island-nation roots. And now the navies of the opposition, the Iron Cross of Liberation, they were calling themselves, had waged this war to the point where Federlon was now desperate enough to delve into legends of the past to win back his empire.
Ral Pehr stood before the throne, inside the circle of thorns – a pattern of thorny roses that was worked upon the floor where the Golden rose stood. The mystic flower that had been cultivated by the ancients, and had empowered Ral Pehr to become a mystic warrior, and infused him with the magic of the land, was awake and had emerged from the protective petals when he was summoned by the King – the one who held the Sceptre of Roses. This was what commanded his obedience.
Ral tilted his head, the long locks of golden blond hair tumbled down the left side of his chest, as he waited for the ritual reply.
“Why do you think I have summoned you, Ral Pehr? We are in need of your power – we are besieged, and in jeopardy of being assaulted on our homeland, and we cannot countenance that. “ The King sounded rather pompous, as if he were addressing a subordinate’s lackey.
Ral Pehr glanced up at the monarch, and purses his full red lips, “That is not the response. Again – Why have you summoned me here? “
The Monarch blinked, his languid brown eyes and pallid complexion grew rosier at the challenge of this strange and beautiful young man that stood before him. He grew perturbed at the insolence, so he stood up from his throne, his figured well hidden inside of voluminous robes of royal blue silk and gold lace and finery. His jewel encrusted fingers, belt, and a crown that was gaudier than the monarchs of the past would have countenanced glittered as he stood and walked towards the Circle of Thorns. The king had a trimmed mop of black hair that dangled past his ears, and a mustache and goatee that were well trimmed. He wasn’t ugly, but his indulgence in wine and too much rich food showed, as did his lack of training.
In contrast, the Ral Pehr was slender and athletic, and had a kilt of stout leather worked with roses and thorns with steel and silver. A sporran with the torq was at his waist, and a stylized version of that symbol was tattooed on his chest and back. His neck held the Necklace of Thorns and his hands and ankles were braceleted with similar bands of thorns. Upon his head sat the Helm of the War Ram. He wore no sandals or shoes, but was barefoot and his skin seemed to glisten with the dew of that giant golden rose that had been his resting place for so long.
“I am your Monarch.. What else is there to say, Ral Pehr? I command you to go forth and use all the powers at your disposal to rid us of the enemy that seeks to destroy our lands. “
Ral Pehr started to step forward, but the Sceptre of Roses still held him in sway, and as he approached he could feel the Monarch’s will flowing through that magical control device. But without the proper words of command, the monarch was just able to keep the Ral Pehr from physically assaulting him. Though he didn’t seem to quite know what to do with it other than hold it and point it.
“Your Majesty, “ Ral began, as the monarch frowned at the insolent way Ral had tried to approach. The 40 something year old Monarch pointed the sceptre at Ral, and made a sweeping gesture, which stopped the warrior in his tracks, and made him put a hand to his face. The Monarch made a second gesture, and Ral stumbled back with a shout, as harsh red gashes seemed to dig into his cheek, like his face had been scratched deep by a large thorn whip.
“AHhhh!“ Ral gasped in distress at the assault. He growled and glared up at the King, who tapped the sceptre in his hands, and smiled like he’d just found out he had a new way to torture a puppie.
“You will go forth and use your powers to protect the Island, my islands! Do whatever it was that, in the past , you were summoned for! I grow impatient with your insolence, and I’ll give you a few more of those nasty gashes on that pretty little body of yours, if you don’t comply- NOW!” He raised the sceptre as if he were going to bring it down on top of Ral’s head.
Ral glared again at the King and pursed his lips.
“Well, why are you still standing there? GO! Or there’s more where that came from!” The King’s fury was growing. He didn’t understand why the Sceptre would do somethings, but not others.
“Because, your highness, there are ritual commands that must be recited before I can leave the Circle of Thorns. If you don’t recite them, I can no more obey your commands, than I could command you. “
He said this as if trying to explain it to a child, his contempt dripping from those words, but the intent was lost on the middle-aged man. He frowned and glanced at the Chamberlain. “Why didn’t you inform me there were ritual words to speak? I thought you just had to hold this damned thing.“
The Chamberlain, a lean man that was about 30, and appeared dressed in a semi-martial tunic of red and black with the crest of the house on his left breast, with long black hair appeared to be almost stoic in his demeanor.
“My King, the tome with all of the command phrases is lost, and we only have the translations from the marble pillars around the Circle of Thorns. However, you do have the Sceptre, and perhaps it can be used to get Ral Pehr to tell you what the command words are?”
“Oh.. nicely thought out, Chamberlain. You can keep your job another day.“ The King smiled as he turned his gaze back to the warrior from the ancient times. “So .. what Say you, Ral Pehr? Tell me how I must command you so I can send you off to deal with this threat?”
Ral Pehr sighed , looking up, his green eye narrowed and his blue eye was hidden on the left side by his golden tresses. He put his hands on his hips and faced the King. “First you must say the Phrase, “Ral Pehr, your orders are – “ and then you speak the orders, and at the end you must follow with , “and so – go forth and bring these things to pass, as you are commanded by the power of the Marble Throne and the Sceptre of Roses. “
The King rolled his eyes and shook his head. “How easy is that? So simple! I would have figured that out in time, but your assistance is appreciated, Ral Pehr. Now..” the monarch grinned with an almost demonic glee, before he continued with , “Ral Pehr, your orders are – to go forth and destroy the threat to the Throne, leaving the blood of the enemy on the roses to nourish them for years to come. So go forth and bring these things to pass, as you are commanded by the power of the Marble Throne and the Sceptre of Roses. “
Ral stepped out of the Circle of Thorns – the ritual magic allowing him now to act. He bowed, and then and started walking towards the side exit out of the throne room, but he stopped at a dining table with copper shimmering plates. He took the food off the plate, apples and grapes, placed them into a bowl, and then faced the king. The king had turned his head away to see if his Chamberlain had anything else he needed to attend to. Ral flung the copper plate like a disc of death, and it whined in the air with his fury, as it sliced through the air, and the hand of King Federlon – the one holding the Sceptre of Roses.
“Aiiieeeee! My hand!” the man screamed, grasping his wrist as blood pumped from the stump, and the Sceptre tumbled down and fell into the Circle of Thorns, along with that crown that tumbled from the monarch’s head. The Monarch stumbled back into his throne moaned in shock and disbelief. Ral Pehr stalked back towards the monarch, climbed the dias the throne sat upon, seized him by his royal robes, and lifted his bulk up like he were a child’s toy.
“Halp! Stop this maniac! Stop him!” Guards raced into the chamber, but seeing the scene, and the Chamberlain held up his hand, the guards all stopped and stood at attention,
The Chamberlain looked on, impassive, and arched an eyebrow, as Ral Pehr took the king into the circle, and over to the giant rose he had been interred in until recently. There was a sound as the giant rose stem whipped out vines of with dagger-sized thrones that wound about the King’s body and shredded into him, and the rose vines lifted Federlon high above the Rose Chamber and the Circle of thorns, and with each spurt or dribble or freshet of blood that drained out of the King’s body, that blood glowed and was absorbed by the mystical plants and the carven runes in the floor that were connected to them. As the King’s eyes looked at Ral Pehr with accusation, as his strength faded, he muttered one last urgent question – “Whyyyy.. Did.. you.. Betray.. Meee?”
Ral Pehr looked up at the dying king, and smiled, “This is what you asked for – to destroy the threat to the throne, leaving the blood of the enemy on the roses to nourish them. I did just that. You are the cause of this nation’s woes. King Albandion left it up to me to see that someone like you – someone unworthy of the throne that tried to abuse his power – would never rule for long. You murdered your brothers, the rightful heirs, and then you were slowly murdering your nation.. And now, I shall lead this nation to peace – for I was the King’s son a thousand years ago, and now I am able to assume the throne. And I will find a new heir, to rule this land after me.“
The glowing of the roses increased, and the flowered petals opened up and swallowed the dying Federlon.
The chamberlain picked up the Sceptre, and the king’s fallen crown, and knelt before Ral, holding the objects up to him. The guards followed suit, kneeling in a circle around Ral.
“Your Majesty.. Please.. How may we serve? “
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Roses- E.V.E DYSTOPIA Chained Roses (Crossroads)