Monday, 17 March 2014

HEROES AND VILLAINS - Part One - The King of Stone

This is the start of a new series called Heroes and Villains that I've started working on.

Wrote the first part after seeing Frozen at the cinema. Been sporadically doing new bits. So I guess Mindsweeper isn't dead.

HEROES AND VILLAINS
I - THE KING OF STONE

To the casual observer, the Stone Kingdom can be a bleak and frightening place. Ancient edifices tower above any visiting human, while golems shuffle around to their daily work in silence. Emotion is not unwelcome, but it is largely ignored. The citizens of this kingdom are just too busy. It is for this reason that I entered the Obsidian Castle with some trepidation.

Worker golems are intimidating enough, but the castle guards are enormous. Eyeless beings capable of freezing men in terror, their razor axes always ready to split skin from bone. I was waved through to my audience with the King of Stone. I am sure I saw one of them smile.

MINDSWEEPER: Thank you, Stone King, for granting us this audience with you.

Stone King: Where is the rest of the audience? Sorry, that was a joke. I am not used to people.

M: It is fine. With all due respect, your Highness, why have we been granted audience with you?

SK: We feel that the Stone Kingdom is unfairly represented in your… I don't know your words very well… literature?

M: That's correct.

SK: Your journal men have been unkind to us. We have been called cold, unfeeling, but we are not monsters. I have even been called a psychosis.

M: A psychopath?

SK: Yes. That word. We are not entirely without emotion, but our focus is absolute.

M: The humans will be interested to hear of this.

SK: I have loved, once.

M: Once?

SK: An ill fated romance with the one called The Hammer Queen. It is a sad story, familiar to my people. It is the origin of the gloom of the Kingdom of Stone.

M: And you wish to tell us more?

SK: In the hope it will bring understanding and harmony between our tribes. Understanding and harmony such as I sought once, long ago, from the Hammer People. The Hammer Queen is a great and powerful ruler, though she is lonely. It was said that no man would be able to withstand her embrace. When visiting me with her Trade Minister, she spoke to me, and told me that she found me intriguing. She spoke highly of your people, and your industries, and pleaded with me to reconsider our mistrust of humans. After the welcoming feast that evening, we danced, and she embraced me. My court fell silent as my stone skin withstood the blows of her hammers, which wrapped around me as we danced. A trade pact was signed and we agreed further talks regarding uniting our territories. Before we were able to complete the matter, I became gravely ill.

Close to death, suspicion fell upon our new friends. Even as she vowed to nurse my shattered heart back to health, I was forced to banish her from my Kingdom.

-A tear fell from the Stone King's face. A single tear, alone, slowly dripped down his cheek, as though reluctant to leave him-

SK: Our wizards were able to keep me alive, though my heart remains in pieces. They charmed me so that I may only cry one tear per year, to limit the damage I would otherwise do to my face. How I wish I could cry out the pain! I have been forbidden access to the Hammer Kingdom. The people fear retribution, yet I seek none. I merely wish to undo the damage done. Please, please tell her I'm sorry.

-The stone King appeared to be in pain, his facial contortion suggesting he was attempting to squeeze out a tear that he knew could not come. Shortly after, I was asked to leave the Castle.

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