Shaylen and Bellandria – Part Two

Returning to the town, there was a great garden at the centre where pious people used to go and pray. However, a witch had crafted several statues and placed them all about the garden. These statues were enchanted and whispered to everyone who entered the garden things they did not wish to hear. The garden that had once been the spring rejuvenating the spirits of the people was now no longer visited, even by the gardeners. The garden had become over grown and full of weeds.

Shaylen took his party into the gardens and he ordered them to help him to pull the statues down and removed them from the garden. But soon the statues started whispering to him and his companions saying spiteful sounding words they did not want to hear.

“You are unworthy of your rank!”

“Your father has always been disappointed in you; he will never be pleased with you!”

“You are hideously ugly, and although you say you do not care, you actually do!”

“You are a party to the queen’s cruelty, an accomplice to all her crimes!”

“You’re a filthy whore with no standards! You are so pathetic that you have slept with a homeless man for but a crust of bread!”

“Your husband has been cheating on you for years; he does not love you anymore!”

“You are an idiot and don’t know what’s good for you!”

“You are weak and lack the will to be a better person and so you drink too much because you are too lazy to sort out your real problems!”

“You are only fat because you won’t control how much you eat!”

On and on the statues whispered into the ears of his companions until they could not stand it any longer. Distressed and demoralised they started deserting the prince one by one. Eventually only Shaylen was left behind to endure the whispering off all the statues.

Continue reading “Shaylen and Bellandria – Part Two”

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Shaylen and Bellandria – Part One

Lady Envira was ambitious and longed to rule the kingdom so she courted the young king and successfully seduced him. Once queen, she thought she could rule but her husband proved more difficult to control as time went on. She was clever and popular with the nobles and sought a way to depose her husband. The nobles were supportive but only on the condition that she had a male heir. The queen feigned her love for the king until she became with child.

Queen Envira gave birth to a healthy boy, thus securing the succession. Realising her good fortune, she seized the opportunity to depose her husband, the king. Once divorced, disgraced, and cast out into the wilderness beyond the kingdom, the king could no longer thwart the queen’s ambitions. Envira ruled as Queen Regent until her son, Shaylen came of age and demanded his father’s crown.

Fearing that she might lose her power through a conspiracy, she curtailed the freedoms of all in the land and was both hasty and cruel in her punishments. She lived every day on the throne fearing it would be snatched out from underneath her and although she held the reins of power through her son, no one posed more threat to her than her son.
The queen loved her son, but she loved power even more. She never wanted her son to come of age and usurp her position on the throne. She gave directions that her son must be raised entirely by women of the softest and most agreeable nature. Furthermore, he was never to struggle for anything that he wanted. Everything was to be made simple and effortless for him.

“Smother my dear boy with the softest down of motherly charity. Let him never know want, heartache, or despair. Never criticise his ideas nor discomfort his temper,” the queen ordered. Continue reading “Shaylen and Bellandria – Part One”

The Devil’s Touch

All my life I knew that I was different to everyone else. People would ask me how I knew they were near me and all I could express was that I just knew it. I could even let people know when doors opened or closed, when others were home or not, or if someone was walking or running behind a wall, and all without seeing them. The adults speculated that I had the second sight, while the children preferred to spread rumours that I had the devil’s touch. The adults informed us that this was nonsense and that no one had had the devil’s touch in generations, however, I could see in the faces of some adults the echo of genuine concern from generations passed. The children believed that I had the devil’s touch because I could also make the lights turn on or off without touching the wall panels. No one could see how I did this, and at the time I didn’t understand either. No one could point out to me what I was doing. I was a source of wonder and fear for everyone around me, yet I was still a small boy and my unusual abilities hadn’t gotten me into trouble yet.

My life was still relatively normal until when I was fourteen I woke up with the realisation that someone was breaking into my bedroom. I made the lights come on without touching the wall panels in my usual way and there standing in my room was a woman in a thick black jacket, she’d obviously smashed in my window to get into my room for the glass was so freshly broken it hadn’t started to melt into the floor as it typically did when broken. She signalled to me that she knew that I was the boy with the devil’s touch. Feeling that I had to reply to her, as she was an adult, I signalled back that she was correct. She unbuttoned her coat and it slid from her naked body. She was the picture of mature womanhood in full bloom. However, I was only fourteen and found her terrifying. She saw the fear in my eyes but signalled for me to keep still because she just wanted to lie in bed with me. Continue reading “The Devil’s Touch”

The Fool of Imbrick

The village of Imbrick was perched far on the northern shore. The forest to the south of the village was so thick that from above it looked as though the village was being engulfed and eaten by a giant dark green slug. The forest was infested with packs of wolves and so the locals rarely ventured down the road through the forest, and instead they traded with the odd fishing boat that passed by. The villagers were often out of touch with developments in the towns and cities far to the south and so it caused great excitement when each year a priest would visit the village to bless and preach to the villagers and give them news of the events affecting the rest of the nation.

One evening a strange man cloaked in the tattered robes of a cleric stumbled into the village. His flesh had been scratched and ripped so the villagers took him in and tended to his wounds. The strange man pretended to be asleep while the villagers around him discussed who he could be. The blacksmith argued that because of his robes he must be the priest who came to visit them each year. The milk maid pointed to the torn garments and proclaimed that they were too small to be a man’s. The village was divided and did not know which to believe. The strange man hearing this awoke the next day and introduced himself to the villagers as the replacement priest sent to visit them each year about this time. He said that he had been attacked by a wolf and most of his robes torn away from him. Continue reading “The Fool of Imbrick”

The Monk – Part 34

Laneg was sitting in a small rectangular and heavily insulated room with a large pair of television screens dominating one of the long walls. There was a semicircular table arranged in front of the screens with space for four people to sit at. On one of the screens was the logo of the Salvati order and on the other was the face of a wise eyed woman in her mid fifties massaging her temples thoughtfully. There was a knock at the door and in hobbled Suvarin on her crutches and Kent trying in earnest to be so helpful to her that he was almost a hindrance. The woman on the screen opened her eyes and two brilliant sapphire blue eyes seemed to glitter at them.

Kent placed one hand just below his left shoulder and bowed respectfully towards the woman on the screen, Suvarin did the same but she made the gesture towards Laneg

“Honoured by your presence Priestess,” said Kent, “Allow me the honour of introducing you to my friend Suvarin. Suvarin allow me to introduce priestess Catherine Harking of the second order.

“Honoured to meet you priestess,” responded Suvarin

Catherine Harking surveyed the three people sitting in the conference room gravely and waited until all attention was focused on her image on the video screen before talking.
Continue reading “The Monk – Part 34”

The Monk – Part 31

The conversation with Kent regarding the first revelation was exciting Oriana. She decided that instead of heading directly home from the library she would take a detour through the park and thus allow herself the leisure of reflection. Profound questions echoed through her mind as she walked through the forest.

“Why is there something instead of nothing? What caused the first event? Why can’t logic answer this question? Why are the laws of physics the way they are?  The laws of physics never change even if our descriptions of them do: so does this mean that we can have some moral certainty too? Is this universe the creation of a demiurge? What is that which we call God? Is honesty the only way of getting closer to God? What prevents me from being honest?”

The more the thoughts tumbled through her mind the more she found herself thinking that there was something, even if her mind’s eye was too far away to ever see it clearly, there was something. Something which Kent called God, and did she, Oriana the atheist, suppose that she might have been convinced that God really existed? Albeit not like the being she had had described to her many times before but a being that existed just on the boundary of her capacity to imagine? Continue reading “The Monk – Part 31”

The Monk – Part 30

When Roman Laneg turned fifty four years of age both his parents had died: First his mother went, then his father followed her to the grave four weeks later. Although he had once been married and had two sons, he had not seen his ex-wife and children since his youngest son had turned eighteen three years earlier. Laneg was alone in the world without any family or meaningful connections. While he was a surgeon, and had accumulated much money, his life felt empty and joyless. Bored with watching television alone every night he set to visit his local church in the hopes of finding a meaning to his existence outside his job. Not finding it there he tried other churches, a new age group, and even a community of atheists. Yet after a year of looking for a purpose and place to belong he felt no better than how he had when he first started. His life while comfortable lacked any meaning, and he found the various ideologies of these different groups entirely insufficient to answer his need.

One night at the hospital he had just finished his shift when he saw something that he hadn’t seen before: a medical doctor and a nurse having an argument about the diagnosis of a patient. The nurse was young, she looked to be least than twenty years old yet she was the calmer one in the argument trying to make her case rationally for why the doctor should order a specific blood test. While the doctor twice her age was gesticulating and talking over her with a raised voice and flushed cheeks. Normally no nurse that young would dare contradict a doctor, much less do so with such an insistent rational manner. Seeing that this nurse was in serious danger of being disciplined Laneg decided as the most senior physician present to intervene and restore peace. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 30”