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February 19, 2024

When Fairy Tales Come Alive 23

By Lydia Manx

The seer stood up in the dark circle that he'd drawn to pull from outside the locked room. He'd been stuffed into the room upon his return, and finally he felt better, after speaking with his hell-bound master.

A casual wave around the chamber, and he allowed the haze he'd spelled up to dissipate in the large, now ice cold, room and with the mist gone, the guards stumbled roughly to their feet. They couldn't remember anything about why they'd all fallen to the ground; and not wanting to admit that anything had happened to them, their eyes instead quickly flew to the naked man and saw he was alive -- not a true fact, but they didn't realize it. They actively avoided glancing at each other, and instead complained about the charcoal circle (now broken) near the fireplace, and the burnt wax from the four candles that were still sputtering out on the edges of the black line. They coughed roughly and wondered inside their private thoughts what exactly had just occurred. Nobody spoke a word other than mumbles and grumbles. Their captain would have been more concerned, but that wasn't going to happen any time soon, as he'd had his head permanently removed by the demon possessing the seer.

"You finally ready?" one of the older royal guards snarled at the spawn from evil. The zombie-like seer didn't sneer back, but felt the power from his ruler and the darkness from which he'd been fashioned rapidly pulsing though the dead man's frame he now filled. The previous tenant had been slain, and he was stuffed into the man's corpse mere hours ago. The rotting smell was starting to form a miasma of horror for anyone too close, but given his unclad body, the guards stayed far enough away to avoid the stench; and the sleeping-smoke that the seer had dropped on them clouded their heads.

Nodding, he didn't bother to answer. He'd discovered during the end of his incantations that he was rapidly losing the power to speak. Lack of blood and moisture in his dead form was working against him. He needed to save the few words he had left for the king in the princes' upcoming naming ceremony. To delay having to speak any further words, he coughed. It felt rougher than he'd expected, causing fear to race through him and he jerkily pointed to his throat. The guard closest to him indicated the steel water pitcher and metal goblet with a hand and said, "Go, drink. But hurry. We must go quickly."

Dropping down, the seer snatched up the robe he'd been given earlier and shrugged it over his too-thin frame. Turning his back to the guards, he used the long sleeves to pour some water into the cup. He winced as he drank, trying to keep his lips from searing to the metal. Hell-born and dwellers from the depths of the abyss of darkness had as many issues with metal as did some of the misfits in the realm where he was currently stuck -- it was all nothing like he'd thought it would be, and definitely far more dangerous. Iron and various metals plagued most of the fae and other creatures in the realm, so the pitcher and goblet were nearly cruel, but also a test the kingdom had set up centuries ago. Seers and mystics rarely had such an 'allergy' to metals so it was done to see if there were possible traitors in their midst, or if one of the mystics had been corrupted by another creature that was fae and harmed by such items. Previous seers had lived in the court for years; metals wouldn't bother them.

He knew it was a possible trap, but had no way of not drinking the liquid. He needed the moisture to complete the task. Keeping his face slack, he poured the goblet's contents into his parched mouth while feeling the fire going down his throat. His master had thought of the allergy -- poison actually -- when casting his spirit into the dead seer's corpse, and insulated the corpse's lips from blistering and boils. Not so much the mystic's throat. As tiny bits of metal residue chased the water into his gullet, the flakes instantly were shredding the delicate tissue inside the invaded body. The cost of a goblet of water was extremely painful, but the newly dead seer's face was not noticeable to the guards, and the water temporarily accomplished a small relief for his lack of spit.

Led out of the room by ten of the remaining royal guards, he didn't even bother to glance back, but ducked his head and stayed as far from the men as physically possible. He could tell that a few of them who were closest to him were starting to notice his growing rotting odor, so he kept pace with the guards while avoiding any direct eye contact. The eyes of the decaying corpse vehicle he dragged along would soon be filmed over with white, and the skin on his borrowed body would begin to visibly decay. The haze spell he'd used to send the guards unconscious was rapidly wearing off, and they were starting to sniff audibly and glance at each other accusingly.

Luckily they didn't have far to travel within the royal court. He saw more guards, and many ruffles and golden braids decorating the various men and fae standing stiffly along the corridors, and the demon concluded that they were drawing near to the king and his royal court. They came to a huge doorway that was at least fifteen feet tall.

The doors were open and the large room before them was filled with many living bodies. He avoided glancing around the chamber, but he could feel the expansion of space that was before him tempting him to do unspeakable things. There were warm creatures of many tastes and varieties surrounding his every step into the room. It was all he could do to push down his anger, holding it closely while it was chased by his growing and rather painful hunger.

He needed to complete his master's commands. That was the only reason he didn't launch himself into the masses and feed on them all. A bit of drool pooled on his lower lip, and he ducked his stiffening neck and swiped the dribble off his face with the sleeve of his robe. Nobody had thought to change his garments to more than the robe he'd been given, so he was wearing that and nothing more. Everyone but him was dressed as befitting the royal court. He didn't bother to sneer, but kept walking towards the dais.

With the ten royal guards -- well-known as babysitters of the seers to all the assembled court and the fae spread far and wide -- framing all sides of the seer, he walked proudly into the chamber on the red carpet laden path. Naturally all eyes were drawn to see him. Part of his vanity wished he'd been dressed formally, but the thought of his caged hunger in such a lowly robe was amusing.

As it was, there were many softly-hissed comments on how there was only one remaining prince-namer left from the dozens that had originally joined the court, and he could also hear the low chuckles and casual off-the-cuff comments about the deaths of all the others -- the recent suicides had shocked the court.

The king and queen were seated in the distance on a large raised platform with the two soon-to-be-named princes on either side. After checking out the newly arrived seer, everyone turned to the displayed royals. Naturally the queen's son was to her right on the dais, and the king's bastard on his side to his left. A foot down from the king and queen were a number of people. One of them was the royal mistress -- naturally on the king's side.

The seer bit back a grin at the formality of the display. He pushed down all his hunger and slowly drew closer. Vibrations of hunger, anger and other extreme emotions flooded him as he continued his careful pace -- his desire for carnage was rapidly growing. There was some discordant music in the distance along with all the whispers and hisses from the ones who had been allowed to watch the ceremony. The centuries between such events made attendance by the living crucial to secure their position within the kingdom. There was a well-bejeweled and lushly dressed man standing at the end of the carpet rolled out in the middle of the room.

The royal cleric was fae, and from a family long recognized as both blessed and flawed. Such was the kingdom. Over time, most missteps were forgiven, and at times even considered to be amusing and allowed. Such was the creature currently preening at the end of the carpet. It was no longer red, but now instead, a royal purple and glistening the length of the chamber.

"Hear ye royals, we have a seer coming forth to name the princes. We mark this in our books as an event never before seen." That was true, the king had been the first to have his son and royal bastard presented at the same time. Not to say that there hadn't been others named, but not in a dual event.

The king and queen stood while the cleric sketched a deep bow and disappeared from sight as they walked to the pedestal centered in the platform. The queen nodded to her entourage as the king smiled slightly to his royal concubine. They royally ignored each other's fans and friends. It was the typical move for royals, and it was noticed and silently commented on between fae. Nobody was brave enough to interrupt a ceremony of such stature. Not to say they wouldn't discuss it at length later in the day.

"What say you, royal seer?" The king spoke loudly and his voice resonated in the chamber.

The guards drew back and left the seer standing at the base of the platform. The entire kingdom's elite were in attendance, waiting for the proclamation. The king and queen stared at the thin creature before them, waiting for his words.

A pulse of anger danced on the edges of the chamber as wishes, dreams and stupidity battled for their choice. A crackling of sound and flash of brilliant light in the distance warned of a quickly approaching thunderstorm. The electricity from the passion of the storm danced around the room, causing exclamations of surprise and fear. It fed into the event without any announcements. Times were changing.

"Gather closer and listen to my prophecy." The seer spoke in a soft voice and everyone leaned in towards the royals. A murmur of amusement and some shivers of excited fears ran through the room.

"All of you, hear my words, for the prince on my right shall be called Mastema. "Matt" will be his nickname in the future. It has meaning. Hostility and vengeance are entwined with his world view. And the prince on my left shall be called Barbatos. "Bob" will be his nickname in the future. He is strong and royal to his spirit. Animals are his to call. And for anyone who tries to pulls these royals from their paths, jealousy and evil designs will befall you."

With that, blood spewed from his face with extreme force, and sinew mixed with decayed flesh collapsed before the kingdom, leaving the corpse at the feet of the royals. -- there wasn't anything on the agenda for that in the program! The seer's body wasn't going to be rising any time soon, and the demon who'd been pulling the strings for the corpse had been sucked back into hell and nothingness, something he hadn't been expecting.

Shrieks and screams bounced off the room and the worlds shifted.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2015-03-23
Image(s) © Lydia Manx and Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
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