“Why do I have to wear these, again,” Falrir asked, as if he really didn’t expect an answer, as his attendant kept fussing with his many armlets and wristlets and bracelets that were on display, in addition to the vines and floral display that was his male dryad heritage, sprouting like a crown or headdress from his head and hair.
The young man was human in appearance, sans the exotic growth of the tree vines and floral buds from the sides of his head, which was usual in male dryads of this world. He was a nearly six foot tall, and his skin was pale and perfect. He was lean and fit, and his warm brown hair that fell past his shoulders, free and loose, and framed his curious eyes – that strange right green and left blue eye.
The attendant that was with him, Merryl, was now finished with his arms and headvines, and was now brushing his skin with some sort of oil, using his fingers, and gently rubbing in the salve. It smelled of cloves and honey and grass clippings.
He sometimes wondered, perhaps uncharitably, that maybe Merryl liked him a little bit too much, to be always doing things like that. But the twenty something Meryl had never stepped out of line or given any notion that this was anything but a sworn duty. He was a member of the Royal Order of The Arbor, and he was something akin to a Knight Attendant in rank. Falrir had never had reason to question his loyalty to him, or the Royal family.
Meryl wore a simple linen robe of brown and green material, with a white tree pattern in full bloom on its left side. It was belted at the waist with a leather strap, and buckled with a wooden carved disk, bound in silver. He looked to be in his mid-to-late 20s – mature but not overly so, young but not without some experience. He had shoulder-length red and brown hair, as if either nature (or his hair-stylist) had taken it upon themselves to dye every-other strand of his hair one color or the other. It was a lush mane, and it gave the young man a very exotic appearance. He was half-elven, as the gentle swoop of his pointed ears showed as they poked out of the mass of multi-hued locks. He had a lithe and athletic physique, and was about the same height as Falrir. He wore sandals of brown leather, and his nails, both finger and toe, were painted an autumnal red.
“Your Majesty, you have to present yourself in the best possible light. Your public expects you to look the part of a monarch-to-be, and that’s what we’re going to make you look like.” Meryl replied finally after completing the infusion of the warm and fragrant oil. The tattoos that had been inked into his skin, part of his “coming of age” as the crown prince, gently accented his lean, athletic physique. Falrir held out his arms, “Check me over – are you all done now?”
Meryl gave him a dubious look, but then nodded. “Yes, milord, Indeed I am finished.”
They were in a chamber in the Ancient Tree Palace, that was called the Autumn Retreat, and the browns and reds and oranges were prevalent there. The plant life in the room was strangely fragrant and infused each breath.
There were objects in the room hanging from the cieling- these certain objects were positioned in places of either honor or necessity, as if they had been placed there of a purpose. There was the great orange lantern hanging, golden laced and brass bound, that floated above the blooming flowers from Chellorn Province – the flowers that could heal just about any wound. The lantern hovered there above them, giving off no light that could be seen, but there was a warmth about it.
Meryl looked into the dryad’s face, wondering if he needed to apply any makeup to the teenager, but decided Falrir’s natural complexion was more than perfect, and he didn’t want to ‘oversell’ the boy, and make him a total fop. That would be worse than the gentle pretty way he was already seen. He thought the snake-bite piercings sent a naughty message, but then, who was he to criticize the young royal’s choice?
“I think that’s about it, unless you prefer to wear some other kilt or a light robe, perhaps? The sleeveless sheer green one would look excellent, would it not? “ Meryl was just trying to be thorough, and perhaps protect Falrir from catching his death from a draft. But with a wan smile and the shake of his head, sending a sigh of brown hair sliding against his flawless pale skin, the dryad Prince said, “No, I’ll just wear what I am wearing- the kilt. No shoes, not shirt. I hope I can still get breakfast served.“
Falrir stood from his chair. The room didn’t have a lot in the way of amenities, but it did have really good lighting, as Meryl said, for ‘doing him up’ in the mornings.
The young dryad strode over to a floating lantern-like creation that hovered on its own. The Prince sat in a chair next to the stone plinth beneath the floating lantern, and placed a palm on the orange squat shape. As he slid into the seat, and rested his elbow on the plinth with his right hand, his palm glowed like it there was a very bright lite shining through his flesh.
“You shouldn’t do that, your Highness! “ Meryl said, before he realized what was coming out of his mouth. He had reached his hands halfway to the young royal before he realized what he was doing, and stopped himself.
Falrir gave him an amused look, and shook his head. “I do this every morning, when you’re not looking. It’s a ritual. Father showed me. I am .. communing .. with the tree spirits in the area, and they grant me the extra blessings of the Arbor Nation. This lantern is but one of many…”
Meryl nodded and gulped, “I know, highness.. I know! But too much of a good thing could.. Could.. “
“Could what, “ the young monarch-in-waiting asked, an eyebrow arched, as he continued the contact, but rested his chin negligently on his propped up arm.
“It could cause you to .. err.. Bloom. You know.. Down THERE.” Meryl glanced down at the front of Falrir’s kilt, and then back up to his eyes, as if that were all he needed to convey. Meryl was blushing furiously at the suggestion he had just made, and Falrir’s grin spread, larger. “It’s not like I need much encouragement in that area, as it is, Meryl. I am a teenager, afterall. “
Meryl swallowed at the brash nature of the young Dryad’s cheeky attitude, and just laced his fingers together and held his hands down at his waist. “I am just saying, your highness, that .. you have an appearance in a few minutes.. “
“By the way, Meryl.. I know you tend this area of the fortress .. how do you know what contact with the lantern will do? “ Falrir gave the attendant knight a long steady look.
Meryl gulped and swallowed, before he red-faced said, “You.. don’t really want to know the answer to that, do you, Lord Falrir? “
“Actually, I do. I wonder if you partake of the family .. essence .. from time to time?” Falrir was giving the young handsome half-elf a long knowing stare.
‘It is my duty, Falrir… to know what everything in this wing of the fortress is capable of. I’ve been trained from young adulthood in the ways of both the mystical, mechanical, and the mundane of the palace, and this is no exception. “
Falrir knew this already, but he also knew there had been a rather naughty secret ceremony between the monarch and his knights, in some occasions, where they had to know the more intricate and delicate features of the Dryadic magics that infused both the Monarchy and the Palace itself. The land was one with the king, and the king was one with the land. And that power was shared with the Knights Protectorate Arborialis.
“It’s ok Meryl,” Falrir said, as he stood, his lean frame looking even more majestic now that he’d touched the essence lantern. His head-dress vines seemed even more robust, and the flowers that intertwined and grew there seemed more vibrant and full, The fragrance they gave off was quite invigorating.
As the two started to move to the door of the chamber, Falrir reached down and adjusted the leather kilt at his hips. The kilt had a slit up one side, almost to the young prince’s hip, revealing a long athletic thigh and leg, with each stride as it slipped inside and outside of the fabric.
Meryl couldn’t help but watch the amazing young man as he moved towards the hallway, and swallow. “It’s really a beautiful thing, your highness, knowing you’ll be the one taking the throne in the next 40 years. We couldn’t be in better hands.”
Falrir glanced back over his shoulder at the Knight, and shook his head again, “You are a strange man, Meryl. But thank you for saying that. Still, my father isn’t out of the Monarchy yet. So please, let’s not color the future with omens that don’t need to be stirred up. I’d hate to come into my own sooner than dictated by custom. “
Meryl sighed and shook his head, “That wasn’t .. “
“Don’t worry about it, Meryl,” Falrir said, with a grin, and waved the elvish man ahead of him. “Now, go in there, and announce me to the court, so I can get some breakfast. I’m starved. “
They strode into a chamber full of the family, the extended family, and the allied nobles and houses and courtiers. And they all looked to the crown prince, as he was announced by the Knight. They all were impressed, or jealous, or smugly satisfied that they were going to make a meal out of the young prince soon.
But Falrir looked out to that mass of politics and greed, lust and desire, and he just had to have faith that he was what the Kingdom needed. He needed to just reach out and touch faith, like he did with the Essence Lantern, that this was what he was meant to do. Where he was meant to be, and that he was meant to rule. This was just a step to get there.
Patience and Faith.
And good people at your side.
That’s what his father had taught him. He nodded towards the King – his father – across the chamber, and then strode over, and sat down at the tall man’s side.
His father was much larger than Falrir, and muscular, bearded with a neatly trimmed brown beard, but dressed in a similar, but slightly more conservative manner, with a brown and green tunic of soft linen, in addition to his leather kilt. But his eyes were the same, and his head-dress of vines was the same, perhaps just a smidge bigger and fuller.
The King, Falnar Epsis Moncaln, leaned over and gave his son a kiss on the forehead, and squeezed his shoulder, “You’re late, but you look really good, my son. “
“Have faith, Dad.. I won’t let you down. Now. Let’s eat, I’m starving. “
Story by: Dehrynn Shepherd
Bracelets- -DRDA- Wasteland Bangles (Crossroads)
[White~Widow] Wonder (TLC)
ROQUAI sparrow 2 (Store)