Make Belief Studios ~

March 8, 2008

chapter 06

Filed under: 02, Gilded Providence, Story, WIP — Tags: , , , , — Saturday @ 12:58 pm

The repetition of opening and closing the over sized doors was giving me quite a headache. It’s no wonder the king schemed so much to get out of this job, it was only about half an hour in but the endless quibbles of the peasants made it seem like an eternity.

Most of the complaints were about the legal tenderizing of gumdrops which I learned was a recent change. Apparently when Prince was still a prince, he was quite spoiled by his fun-loving father. They regularly had theme days where all of the castle staff, soldiers included, were forced to wear animal ear and tail attachments, or whatever other strange costume idea the prince could come up with, with their standard uniforms. Also, apparently the prince was big into magic tricks. So nearly every night there was a party which featured a new magician of some sort and various servants were made to fall victim to the prince’s own practicing of the art. However, the thing was, with the king, all of Prince’s desires were contained within the castle, now that the previous king had passed on, Prince was free to manipulate the kingdom as he pleased.

Of course there was some resistance, but thanks to Prince’s royal adviser, Dragged, whom thinks that any kind of exercising of authority is beneficial to a young king, no one could complain very loudly for very long. After a couple royal guards were exiled to a tropical island which sole inhabitants were a palm tree and a rather large colony of fire ants, the rest of the castle forces quickly obliged to the young kings demands and enforced them upon the rest of the kingdom.

Luckily the kingdom is very spaced out and includes a wide range of conflicting cultures, so in reality, the king’s influence didn’t fall much farther than the city where the castle was in. This also explains why people like me who originate from small villages on the outskirts of the kingdom don’t know much about what goes on near the capital region. Anyway, Maraulen did her best to keep both the king and his adviser in check, but as Prince’s personal caretaker she had a wide range of responsibilities throughout the castle and no one else had the authority to keep the two permanently under surveillance.

Well, it was an educational half hour to say the least. I frequently required Maraulen’s advice in just convincing the people to go back go their lives and not complain about the frivolous things. After all, it’s not like Prince’s ideas were terribly cruel, they were just terribly ridiculous. Fortunately, due to the wide range of cultures who pass through the capitol, a ban couldn’t be placed on other currencies. So most people were satisfied once they heard that they could ignore gumdrops and head to the bank for real gold. They’d just have to do more conversions come tax time.

In addition to quickly becoming intolerable, with the exit of the fish-man the job had become quite boring. Apparently all the interesting people were travelers who didn’t have time to come to the castle and complain about the weirdness going on in the city. Rivoulin was the rare foreign celebrity appearance which I thought, and honestly hoped, would not happen twice on the same day. However, rotten odds seem to have no effect on me.

The latest person to enter the court came with a trio of supporters. They all had tanned, sun-kissed skin and long black hair decorated with various beads and clips. All four stood solemnly, wearing various animal skins and even parts.

One, which was half the size of the others, had heavy fur boots with bird talons sewn onto the front, the claws hanging over his toes. There was also a tall girl who wore a dress of reptile skins wrapped tight to her body. They were dry and made crinkling and rustling noises the rare time she moved. The third was a very big, strong looking man who was shirtless and showed off a thick necklace which hugged his collar. It had tied to it various kinds of long teeth which extended down most of his torso and a couple of smaller ones which jutted off behind his head. The last, whom the three seemed to gravitate to, was the largest and was dressed in a long leather robe. Upon his head, like a hat, he wore the face of a boar and long tinted red, peacock-like feathers extended from it, flowing down his back.

“It’s the Indians.” Maraulen leaned over and whispered to me. Prince was leaning against her shoulder, nearly falling asleep.
“You mean natives.” I corrected.
“What? No,” Maraulen said with a confused look. “We were here first, the Indians migrated up from the south of the river. Now they farm ostriches in the prairies to the east.”
Gah! I told mom and dad homeschooling was useless!
“We have beheld a great disturbance,” the big guy with the headdress started. “We must speak to the true king, not this girl.”

The young king was pretty famous, so most people recognized right away that I wasn’t the official wearer of the crown. Most didn’t mind though, this was the right castle and the crown was legit, so what was there to complain about?

“It’s alright, Chief,” Maraulen called as she supported Prince’s resting head with her palms and popped out from behind the thrones. “By order of the king, this girl is legitimate royalty, for now. And the king and I are behind here anyway.” The chief gave a stern nod of approval. He and Maraulen seem to be familiar with each other.

“A great rain cloud was seen flying in fear of the forest,” the small indian stepped forward and said meagerly.
“We seeked out the cloud and found that it did not contain rain. It was filled with Black Widow Wasps,” the strong man with the teeth barked. I heard Prince stir behind me, things must of finally been becoming more interesting for him.

My own interest perked up a bit more as well. Obviously this was the same swarm which Tremarch destroyed the hive of in his forest. I wondered what concern the Indians had for it. Then again, they were pretty dangerous animals, I doubted anybody would feel good about them flying loose.

“The forest is under your jurisdiction, is it not?” Chief continued, “did you not know the bees were dwelling there?”
I hesitated as I thought about what the chief could of meant by this. The Indian woman finally stepped forward with a swift rustle from her dress.
“We could not be in good moral conscience if we did not come and check to make sure that no Royal Honey was gathered.”
“But of course we gathered it,” I finally interrupted. “Tremarch and I collected it ourselves!” I proudly held up the little container that was dangling by its leather cord beneath my shirt.

The group of Indians collectively released a disturbed gasp. I scowled and chewed the corner of my bottom lip, thinking about the situation, then I became aware of the icy coldness growing behind me. I cautiously turned around in my seat to look back. Maraulen was twitching oddly with bitter expression on her face while a wicked grin was spread across Prince’s.

“We must consult the great skyfish for further instruction.” The lady stated as the Indians recollected themselves and turned towards the doors and exited the room.

Something had gone wrong, but I didn’t quite understand why. A very cold quiet had filled the room and the line of soldiers all seemed to stare at me. Prince had stepped out from behind the thrones and calmly retrieved his crown from my head.

My hour’s not up yet!

Once the crown was firmly placed back on the king’s head, he hissed through his teeth in a vicious smile,
“Execute her!”
“What? Why?! Maraulen?” I turned toward Maraulen and her bitter expression fell into an expression of pity. She braced her forehead with a clasped hand and just shook her head.
“I told you you couldn’t flash that thing around.”
I stood dumbfounded as a small group of soldiers came, picked me up by my arms, and dragged me away.

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