February 25, 2017
Bron had traveled quite a distance by then. The rage at his clan still burned deep in his heart and he never hesitated to unleash that anger. Creatures died as he swung his great ax. He used every part of them but more out of necessity than saving the environment. He thrilled at the new challenges each animal presented. His blood surged with each kill and sometimes he lost a day or two pursuing a target that temporarily got away. He did not care, the Witch had sent him in a direction. There was no true time limit.
Prey beasts became boring. There are only so many ways to skin a deer. Bears were more fun. Sometimes he would drop his great ax and just wrestle one of them. Finishing a bear off with his bare hands was difficult but satisfying. It felt like more of a fair fight, not that it mattered. He even got the drop on an owlbear once. The battle had been a close one but Bron had been victorious and he had consumed the beast as he healed the next two days.
By chance, he stumbled onto a robbery one day. He had not expected it. Neither had the robbers or the young woman standing on the roof of the carriage that was getting robbed. She had clearly noticed Bron first and her expression confused the robbers for the moment.
“Monster!” The woman shouted. Her eyes went wide as she turned completely away from the robbers.
She fired a bolt from her crossbow and Bron barely managed to get his arm up to block the shot. The sting of the bolt pissed Bron off. He lunged for the carriage in a blind rage but the robbers were already there in the way with their swords. They were actually defending the carriage they were trying to rob. The robbers put up a good fight. It was three against one but Bron barely felt their blows. The last robber died as Bron brought his ax down onto her neck. He thought about taking the head as a trophy but she just was not good enough to keep.
He looked up at the woman whose hands were shaking as she tried to load the crossbow. Bron slapped the crossbow aside and started to climb the carriage. She did not even run. In some ways, Bron respected that. It did not stop him from putting his hands around her neck. She made a little noise as he started to squeeze.
As he strangled her, he heard nothing but silence at first. Then he heard whimpering from inside. He looked to the woman’s right and saw the body of a slain ranger. The girl he was strangling was dressed as nobility. A mistake had been made. There were no warriors left here. He let go of her neck with a grunt. She gasped and turned a little less blue.
“No challenge,” Bron grumbled and jumped down from the carriage.
“You certainly get messy,” The witch said as she stepped from behind the carriage. Bron could still not see her face.
“None of this blood is mine,” Bron said. The remark was matter of fact and brief as ever.
“I imagine that’s true,” She said. “You have carved yourself a little path. How are you feeling?”
“I want more challenge,” Bron said. He stared hard at the dark shadow beneath the Witch’s hood.
“Patience,” The witch said. The word brought a growl from Bron’s throat. “Head to Neverwinter. The challenge you seek want starts there.”
“What do I want with a city?” Bron asked. He had born in the wild. He had never even been in a city before.
“Go and find out. Unless you think I am just smoke and mirrors,” The Witch said with a smile.
“What’s a mirror?” Bron said without a hint of humor in his voice.
The Witch laughed and slowly faded away.
February 18, 2017
I am currently working at a paralegal internship and soon I will get undoubtedly get a job in the legal field. This got me thinking about where I might have ended up if things had gone differently. Of course, they have gone differently in the past, leading to my rather eclectic list of former jobs. But I started to think about my favorite television shows and movies and the jobs fictional characters have. What if I could have any job even a fictional one? Here is a list of the top 11 fictional jobs I might want.
11. Grim Reaper
(Dead Like Me)
In the world of Dead Like Me, dead people who are not ready to pass on can be chosen to act as reapers which is way more peaceful than you would expect. With a simple touch, a reaper takes a person’s soul just before they die. Doing so makes sure that the person feels no pain when they die which helps with their transition to the next step. One of the cool things would be that I would suddenly be in a peer group that included a mish mash of different people from very different time periods. So, I could hang out with a young hippie from the sixties along with an ex-thug from the twenties. It would be a very rewarding job. Everybody has to die someday and, in the world of Dead Like Me, people are destined to die at a specific time and place. So, without any reason to think I could prevent death, I would want to make that experience as comfortable as possible. If possible, I would want to be assigned to the accidents and misfortunes department like the characters of Dead Like Me. The big downsides are that I would never see or talk to my friends and family again and I would have to die to get hired. Those are huge downsides.
10. Stargate Program Researcher
(From Stargate SG-1)
One of my favorite aspects of watching Stargate SG-1 is watching the team encounter new worlds with new cultures and civilizations. In the movie and on the television show, I admired Daniel Jackson because he was using years of study to help unravel ancient mysteries that had to do with both peaceful and hostile aliens. I would love to work with a lower priority SG team so I could get off Earth and explore the ruins of alien cultures that influenced cultures back on my home planet. Of course, things are bound to get dangerous with the Goa’uld and other hazards but that would be a risk that I could live with in order to do such important work. Of course, I do not know how well I would do in a military system. Daniel Jackson was afforded certain freedoms and exceptions that I feel I would not receive as Jackson was one of the first people to crack the stargate technology. I think I would learn to adapt but obviously, it would not be my first choice.
(From Harry Potter)
While I am much more interested in defending people than prosecuting people these days, I do recognize the importance of law enforcement. In the world of the Potterverse, Aurors are basically a magical version of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They use magic and their wits to track criminals who are abusing magical abilities or using forbidden spells. I feel like an Auror book or movie should be in the making. Fantastic Beasts broached the subject but it was only the B-plot but the theme in Harry Potter was that authority is not to be trusted. I think I would be a great investigator but I have already read too many mystery books and movies. The Aurors in America seemed pretty uniform but they were also given a lot of leeway in the way they investigated crimes. In England, I would have been a Ravenclaw but here in America, those qualities would carry over. I would know the spells I needed to defend myself and disable fleeing or combative criminals. It would be a dangerous job but I would think with proper training I could manage things. One might be afraid of a Voldemort or Grindelwald situation but those situations seem to be few and far between for the wizarding world.
8. Jurassic World Tour Guide
Jurassic World exists 22 years after everything originally went to crap in the first movie/book. It is a pristine theme park where you can observe a lot of dinosaurs in realistic settings with little to no danger. These behemoths are kept at bay by state of the art technology and qualified professionals. The only reason that goes badly is the reason it always went badly: somebody gets greedy. If that had not happened, the park was an efficient machine that was more nature preserve than zoo although there was plenty of allusions to zoos and aquariums. There is also the issue that the things in the park are not real dinosaurs. They are featherless hybrid creations but if I was watching their T-Rex in action, I would not really care. The awesome power of these creatures would be so interesting to be around all the time. Watching people’s faces as they see one for the first time would be amazing. Learning everything I could about them so that I could explain to park visitors would be pretty cool too. Even working perfectly, there is plenty of risk working at Jurrasic World but I guess I would hope that the technology and safeguards would work.
7. Theme Park Writer
I love writing. I could not keep myself from writing if I tried. When I do not write, it just floods my imagination especially when I am trying to sleep. Westworld is a theme park where robots are programmed to carry out live action roleplay with human park guests. If the guest wants to be a good guy, there are bad guys to kill and people to save. If the guest wants to be a bad guy, there are good guys to kill and dastardly crimes to commit in a safe environment. There are technicians who work on the robots but there are also writers and designers who make the storylines. I would love to spend my time doing that. Taking the same characters and repurposing them for slightly different stories would be so much fun. Of course, there are the dangers of the robots gaining sentience but that would not really be my problem unless they came after me. There are some ethical concerns but really, as far as I would know, the robots are just fancy animatronics in cowboy clothes. It would give me a chance to write stories with good guys or bad guys in the lead role.
(From Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
In the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, magic is real and has been unleashed in the world. There are demons, vampires and other nasty things that are more than ready to prey on human beings. Magical warrior women (and girls) known as “slayers” are tapped to fight these creatures. Of course, suddenly becoming a supernaturally strong is not enough to fight evil successfully. Knowledge is power and these slayers are backed up by “watchers” who teach the slayer about fighting the undead. Watchers are usually bookish types, the Q and M to a slayer’s Bond. Among other things, I have been the bookish type. I love to research things and read up on things to arm myself against the world. In this scenario, I would be using that passion to examine eldritch threats to the human populace. I would be helping to guide a young woman in combat, usually without having to do any of the fighting. The only problem I would have is that I would be largely helpless if my charge was killed. Of course, I could study magic to negate some of my relative physical weakness.
5. Space Cowboy/Smuggler
The crew of the Serenity spaceship takes a lot of less than savory jobs on the very outskirts of civilization. Of course, they take a lot of the riskier jobs because they do not want to run into the Alliance for two big reasons. If I was serving on a different ship, we would probably not be taking jobs that were quite that dangerous. Sure, there would still be rough jobs and there are always Reavers out there but there should not be dangerous black ops operatives or as many sketchy jobs. I am not inexperienced with firearms (which I would hope not to use). The job also seems like it would include a lot of downtime between jobs. When you pick up a load of cattle and have to fly it to another planet, there’s some rest time between destinations. Of course, there would always be the risk of being arrested by the Alliance but they are pretty corrupt. It would only be the worst offenses that we could not pay our way out of.
4. Mystery Shack Employee
(From Gravity Falls)
Gravity Falls is a little town in Oregon where strange things are happening. There is also an extradimensional tear and a lot to do with what appear to be Old Ones. Did I mention that this is an all ages show? The show follows a brother and sister who are twins who are staying with their Grunkle Stan for the summer. Stan owns and operates a tourist trap called the Mystery Shack which is kind of a museum of the weird. Some of the exhibits are real but most of them are not. Every day would be an exercise in both creating art projects and writing imaginary lore about supernatural creatures. I would have to keep customers safe from the real supernatural creatures and objects in town but that would be fun. Reading the journals would be all I did during lulls when I was not selling cheap trinkets to visitors. The residents of Gravity Falls are pretty dumb but are also kindhearted so it would be a pretty pleasant place to live.
3. Dal Riata Bartender
(From Lost Girl)
I have worked in the service industry before although it was only for a few months as a summer job just before college. It was often a long day of working on your feet with only the hope of enough pay to handle your commitments. However, most people were nice enough and those who were not eventually left and you usually did not need to deal with them again for a while if ever. The people watching was very interesting as I saw tables with all sorts of compositions. The regulars were often the nicest people I could meet and I also felt supremely satisfied at the end of a good day’s work. The Dal Riata is a bar exclusively for faekind in the world of Lost Girl. It is a way station where those with faerie blood can stop in and rest and relax without having to hide what they are. If you think that faeries are all glitter and sparkles, you would be wrong. Faekind is often incredibly dangerous even with powers meant to be beneficial to humankind. However, the reason I would want this job is because the Dal Riata is basically Switzerland. It is the one zone in town where fighting amongst the Dark and the Light is forbidden. So, I would get to meet all sorts of interesting creatures while being protected by an ancient truce. Of course, that would mean I would have powers of my own but that is just an additional bonus.
2. Muppet Crewmember
(From the Muppet Show)
If you look back far enough in this blog, you will know that I used to work in professional theater. I still have an undying love for the theater even if I have moved on professionally. The atmosphere backstage is controlled craziness. It may look crazy but everybody knows where they are supposed to be and they have practiced every minute over and over. Of course, the Muppet Show is more of a vaudeville show which has more elements of improvisation and chaos. The show almost never goes as planned except when it does. While there are definitely a lot of interruptions, huge expensive-looking musical numbers often go off without a hitch. In addition, the show continues to book hugely popular human celebrities even with a reputation for those guests getting abused. We do not see a lot of crewmembers beyond Scooter, Gladys and Kermit as many performers double as crewmembers and vice versa. However, I would love to be a crewmember on The Muppet Show. First, I would be a muppet which means I would be nigh impossible to kill. Second, I would get to work with really cool celebrities and my coworkers would be absolutely insane in the best ways.
(From The Librarians)
Having recently watched The Librarians, I was totally jazzed about the main characters of the show. That is actually the show that gave me the idea for this list. A couple years ago, as I was spending days putting up campaign signs, I was told that my great memory for details especially of literature and film would serve me well in a new profession. I briefly considered studying to become a librarian. Of course, this show is about Librarians who travel the world and collect magical artifacts and save the day. They do so by using research and intelligence, two things I love to use. To be in the field and put the details of legend, mathematics and art history to practical use would be amazingly fun. Of course, every adventure has the possibility of incredible danger but I would have the satisfaction of knowing that I am saving the world on the regular. Also, I get to hang out with Santa Claus and see and experience the wonder of magic.
February 13, 2017
I have been part of a gaming group for a while now. If you look to the right of this post, you should see the story archives and you can check out all of the tabletop roleplaying game characters I have made so far in various games. It is the nerdiest thing I have done which is saying a lot because I have attended Magfest and studied Star Trek starship blueprints. I really enjoy the camaraderie of making a story together. We have a great group full of funny and smart people and every session has great story twists. When I first started with them, I bit off more than I could chew with my first character. I created a face man character who would be a negotiator and while I can write that character, I found it hard to actual bring him to life. It was my trial by fire and I almost quit entirely because of it.
Pretty close to my disastrous first try at tabletop gaming.
Since then, I have created a soldier, a mechanic, a detective and a doctor. Lately, I have created a pretty vicious barbarian. I was thinking about my character creation process and I thought I would write a little about it because it is a really fun process. First, I read through the backstory and the setting of whatever campaign we are heading into. Everybody running a game so far has been really good about providing a good starting point for creating a character. Some of them were homebrewed and some of them were written by game companies but all of them provided all of the necessary background info. Plunging into a setting written by somebody else is really fun as I think of what position I want to take in it.
Both Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar informed the movement and look of Bron in my mind.
For me, a character usually starts when some image sparks in my mind. Often, that image will give me the feeling of the character and maybe a mental movie. This is actually really similar to how my flash fiction on this site works. When I was reading the player’s handbook for fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons, I was thinking about the origins of a half-orc barbarian. I thought about how tough it would be to grow up in a tribe where you were different from everybody else. I thought about how my character would have to fight every day to prove his physical superiority just to survive. That brought up the image in my head of Roman Reigns. A while back he had a catchphrase of “One vs. All” which really resonated with where I wanted the character to go. In his origin, Bron literally takes on several members of his former tribe alone without standing down. He will not give up especially when he has been enraged.
Sorry headphones user.
When I was filling out the alignment section of the character sheet, I got tripped up on the fact that orcs are inherently evil and half-orcs feel the call of the orc’s evil god in their blood. The phrase “I do what I want” popped into my head. I knew I would be joining a team of adventurers but my character had been nearly killed by the last team he had been a part of. I thought of Braun Strowman stating that instead of being on Team Raw, he was on Team Strowman. My character may be working alongside do-gooders but he is really looking for a good challenge. On any given day, he has bad intentions but those bad intentions are often focused on bad guys rather than good guys.
I turned this guy into an engineer and a drug addict. Fun!
Finally, it was time to figure out a name for the new character. For some reason, I got roundly mocked for naming my first tabletop gaming character Lionel which was the name of a guy I had known previously. My second character had the more generic name of James Garen. About that time, I participated in a forum version of D&D and created a character named Sabin which started a new tradition. Sabin was named after Chris Sabin, a veteran pro-wrestler (who got his stage name from the Final Fantast character). Phillip Brooks was named after the real name of CM Punk, a character who inspired his creation. Dean Wyatt was named after Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt, foreshadowing the character’s mental illness. Felix Graham is an exception as his name was created from a Harry Potter potion and the hero of the King’s Quest games. I returned to the tradition by naming my new Barbarian Bron.
I’m sure the party is going to get along well.
Of course, the final part of character creation is getting through the first session. As Mike Tyson said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” This is relevant both figuratively and literally for each character I have created. I can post character biographies or short stories on my blog all I want but at the end of the day, my character needs to integrate into the larger collaborative story. I left Bron’s origin open-ended because I was not sure how he would meet up with the heroes. When I arrived, the Dungeon Master gave me the idea that Bron was a bouncer at the tavern which was the starting point of the adventure. This subtly altered how I saw the character which sparked more ideas. In addition, Bron is now working alongside people who annoy the crap out of him. More than that, he is fighting alongside a cleric who actively hates him for what he is. Only time will tell if Bron will snap and actually fight with his so-called comrades or maybe he will grow to respect them somewhat.
February 11, 2017
The Baron Dran and his men had come into town one gray morning. Hendry was just a boy then and he did not understand at first that there was a new law in town. He did not immediately see the bad signs but he saw that his parents were worried. The Baron had a very nice house built as his headquarters but he and his men spent most of their time in the local tavern, The Green Lady. There was plenty of grumbling early on, but nobody dared to raise a hand to stop them. When they sent word summoning Hendry to their impromptu court at the Green Lady, he could see in his parent’s faces that they did not want him to go. They did not speak out and so Hendry had to go.
Hendry was surprised that the Baron was not much older than himself. He tried to keep the surprise off of his face but he was not sure if he managed it. The smoke was thick in the place so perhaps they could not see anyway.
“What is your name, boy?” The Baron asked. His voice was arrogant, made more so by the closeness of their age and his choice of words.
“Hendrick, sir,” Hendry said.
“You’re a farmer’s son, right?” The Baron asked. He was not even really looking at Hendry which was incredibly annoying but Hendry kept his mouth shut about it.
“I am proud to be a farmer’s son, sir,” Hendry replied.
“Not anymore,” the Baron said. He gestured and one of his men held out a shovel toward Hendrick. Hendrick grasped it and pulled it close with growing confusion. “You are now a gravedigger. I have a feeling that this village will need one before I am through.”
Hendry’s eyes went wide at the implications of that statement but Dran’s men were already pushing him out of the tavern. Their laughter shook him to his core.
* * *
“Why would you do such a thing?!” Karina yelled as she shoved things into a pack.
“The Baron’s men killed my brother. I had to dig his grave! Those men had it coming,” Hendry replied. He was still holding the bloody sword he had seized. He had seen red and before he even knew what he was doing, he had murdered two of Dran’s men. He was still breathing hard even as he watched Karina pack. The two men had started to push him around and he had just snapped and stolen one of their swords. He lashed out, slashing them to pieces in a moment.
“We have to get you away from here,” Karina said.
“I can’t leave,” Hendry said. He dropped the sword and it clattered on the floor.
“They will kill you if they catch you,” Karina said. “I will watch out for the rest of your family. I promise.” Karina was a good ranger and the best archer that Hendry knew.
“I cannot let him rule here any further,” Hendry said.
“What are you going to do? Wave your shovel at him?” Karina asked. “You got lucky with those two earlier.”
Hendry sighed. “I guess you’re right.”
“Come on, I have the best place to send you.”
* * *
Hendry stepped out of the barracks of the Battle Arts Academy. He breathed in the fresh air, as he hoisted the pack on his back onto the horse that would take him from that place. He slid a shovel into a loop he had tied onto the saddle. It was two years since he had left his village behind. He heard footsteps from behind him.
“You and that shovel,” Caleb said. “It sat by your bed for the last two years.”
“Just a reminder of the past,” Hendry said with a smile. “A reminder that I will not suffer a bully.”
“Hero type,” Caleb said with a smile. “I guess you will be out there fighting the good fight now?”
“Yes. It is time for me to move on,” Hendry said. “I will keep improving and one day I will make things right.”
“Whatever that means. I’ll miss you.”
“You are a great friend, Caleb. I promise we’ll see each other again,” Hendry said.
“We’d better,” Caleb said with a laugh. “You owe me after that last game of liar’s dice.”
“Hopefully you’ve forgotten by the time we see each other again,” Hendry said. He held his hand out to possibly his best friend in the world. Unless, of course, Karina was still alive somewhere. There was little news of the state of his village. The last he had heard, the Baron had been forced to flee by an errant group of adventurers. He felt a little cheated at his chance for revenge. Caleb shook his hand and brought him back to the present and Hendry smiled awkwardly.
“I’m sure I’ll never forget. Until we meet again.”
“Until we meet again.” Hendry climbed up onto the horse and started down the road toward an uncertain future.
February 6, 2017
I’m currently wearing a pussy hat. I know that I try to keep politics from this blog but I have been pretty outspoken on one issue: Equal Rights. Of course, I do not think that equal rights are a political issue. I believe it is something that we have been striving for and also something we should have had a long time ago. Of course, we still lack equal rights for all people. It is a simple concept and yet it gets complicated by heavy emotions and innate prejudices. I am not immune, of course.
I can never experience what it is like to be a woman. For that matter, I can never experience what it is like to be a person of color, gay or trans or a whole host of The Other. I cannot begin to guess what their life is like. All I know is from the stories I hear and the articles I read. As I have discussed, my eyes have been opening just a little bit. They open more and more as I soak in the world around me. I am learning to be less naive but also less cynical. But now I see all the injustice in the world and I cannot unsee it. It unsettles me and that is one of the reasons I feel the need to seek positivity and not anger lately.
What is bothering me lately is the division that has formed. We are so divided over everything that it has become hard to talk about the issues. For instance, it is hard to find anyone who disagrees that women should have equal rights. The problem is that people opposed to the Women’s March do not believe that the inequality exists. They believe in this country. They believe in the status quo. They believe that when the law says we are equal then we are equal. They believe what they are told. Whatever they believe, inequality is not something they believe in.
So to those people, marchers and activists are whiners or troublemakers. To people who supported the march, the people against it are racist or sexist. There are a lot of racist and sexist people still alive in this world but I do not believe there are as many as we think. I think there are a lot of good people who just do not have the exposure or the experience that would open their eyes. They call that privilege. They are privileged to not have been as exposed to all that hate. I envy them but I wish they would believe like I do.
And what if the inequality did not exist? Is marching in all the continents of the world for the rights of women a bad thing? I think it is a positive thing. That is why I supported my mom marching in DC.
February 4, 2017
Celeste rose from her bed like a waterfall in reverse, suddenly and with great force. She could have waited for her lady in waiting to arrive and pull back the curtains but she could not lay still anymore. She could also not have slept any later because today was the day. She paced back and forth next to the bed and then changed her path to travel more of the room. She was getting perilously close to the crown. She did not want to be there and she crossed away from it. She looked in the mirror and saw her own fiercely purple eyes looking back at her. They were a mark of royalty and now that mark was calling her to action.
The door opened and Agatha floated into the room like a seed on the wind but she stopped short when she saw that Princess Celeste was already up. She turned her gaze to the floor and hurried to the windows and swept the curtains back and tied them as quickly as she could manage.
“My apologies, your highness,” Agatha said with a quick curtsey, “I had not realized you had already risen.” Agatha’s family was born and bred to attend royalty and the apology tumbled easily from her mouth.
“Nonsense, Agatha,” Celeste said with a bright smile. “You had no earthly idea that I would rise so early especially since I feel I never got to sleep in the first place. I am glad you are here, though. I need your help dressing so we can start this day.”
Agatha smiled and watched her princess for a moment. “I suppose we should take our time to make sure we get it right, then?”
“And make everybody wait?” Celeste asked with a guilty expression.
“You are the princess and today you will be queen. I believe they are required to wait for you.”
“You are remarkably clever, Agatha,” Celeste said with a happy smile on her face. “I believe we can move at a more leisurely pace for the time being.”
Agatha smiled and helped to remove Celeste’s pajamas carefully. She folded them up and set them on the bed of some of the fairy attendants to tend to along with making the bed. She pushed the princess gently toward the bathroom, a luxury even in Cammaratta. A lever brought magically heated water to spray out of a hole in the ancient yet polished castle wall. Celeste let the water cascade over her, reaching up to run fingers through her dark black hair to make sure it got rinsed out. She felt better just being in the shower and she shot a smile at Agatha who was quietly monitoring the magic forces in the royal apartment to make sure everything was tightly controlled and running smoothly. Agatha smiled back, she loved working for the Princess of Altiria just as her mother enjoyed working for the Queen.
The water stopped flowing and Agatha was waiting with a large towel and it felt so soft as it wrapped around her. They stayed like that for a moment before Agatha vigorously dried her hair. The familiar action made them both grin and Celeste dutifully marched to the mirror so that Agatha could brush her hair carefully. They slipped her most beautiful dress over her head and Agatha went to work tying all the ribbons that kept the dress in perfect position. The dress was absolute replica of one her grandmother had worn for a portrait sitting at the Grand Festival Cammarata. It was therefore fitting that Princess Celeste would wear it at one of the highlights of this year’s Grand Festival.
Agatha started the arduous process of braiding, tying and placing clips in Celeste’s hair. Celeste stood patiently as this was a regular occurrence since she was a little girl. Princesses had to look their best. Of course, Celeste was an uncrowned Princess until her sixteenth birthday. That day was today and the crown was sitting on the other side of the room where it had sat since soon after her birth. It was a reminder of her duty. A duty that terrified her. The last few months she had lived in terror of the weight of that crown but today was the day and fate could not be avoided.
It was not that she wanted her freedom. She knew all the good she could do for her people as a crowned princess of Altiria. She wanted to use the crown to protect and help the people who depended on her. She just also did not want to fail. She was terrified of letting her family, her ancestors and her whole country down. It scared her but there was no choice now.
“Do you want to talk about it, Princess?” Agatha asked.
Celeste sighed and shook her head. “I believe we have exhausted that subject, Agatha. I am trying to be excited about today.”
“Of course, Princess,” Agatha said. She bowed her head slightly. “I am here for you in all things and I think you will do great things.” She smiled and Celeste nodded and smiled back.
The sound of heavy boots on stone came from out in the hallway and the door burst open. Agatha’s fingers were already moving intricately to prepare defensive wards even while Celeste’s eyes widened at the intrusion. Surprise turned to indignity when they saw who it was. It was one of the Seven Swords of Altiria, the highest tier of both the royal guard and they came from every branch of the military. In particular, this was Daria who was one of the best with a sword around. She looked concerned.
“Sword Daria! You should not burst into my royal chambers! The very idea!” Celeste said. Her face was red with anger and embarrassment.
Daria bowed at the waist. She was usually very curt and cold with people but she was nothing but friendly and respectful with the royals. “Apologies, there is an issue that you must address, your highness.”
“What? But I was just about to have a coronation.” Celeste said. This was confusing to be sure.
“We cannot have the coronation,” Daria said.
“And why not?” Celeste said with alarm and disappointment.
“The King and Queen are missing, your highness. They must be found.”
Celeste’s mind reeled as she worried about what might have happened to her parents. They would never miss their daughter’s coronation on purpose. Something horrible or horribly important must have happened. She was betting on the former since the Seven Swords obviously did not know what happened. Celeste took a deep breath and closed her eyes. When she opened her eyes, she had the beginning of a plan.
“Assemble the Seven Swords and my father’s advisory board in the war room. I will be there shortly and we will begin to coordinate the search. Agatha?” Celeste said as she turned toward Agatha.
“Yes, your highness?”
“Bring me my crown.”