Posts Tagged ‘Cammaratta’

Princess Celeste

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.”

Death Dealer

September 10, 2016

Sann looked out over the crowd and idly wondered how many of them were guilty. Walking through the marketplace just being eaten by their sins. They might not even realize they were being consumed. They might walk around without a care in the world that their morality was forfeit. Then there were the ones with the shifty eyes and crooked, wary smiles. The obviously guilty. So obvious that even they realized and shrank away from sight when you looked directly at them. They were the easy ones.

Of course, the whole marketplace was guilty. The whole marketplace was guilty because everybody was guilty. Everybody born under the sun was guilty of something. The King had once stated that this belief is what made Sann a great executioner. No hesitation, no remorse. The King’s tone had not indicated that this was a positive trait. Sann had to agree with the King on that point. If he executed every last person in the world, Sann would have to execute himself last. Of course, he would do so without hesitation.

It was the third day of the Grand Festival in Cammaratta and Sann was bored already. He had no heart for festivities and so he only wanted to remain on duty during the festival. Unfortunately, during the Cammaratta Grand Festival, there was a moratorium on executions. Not that there were many executions in a normal day but having guaranteed none was torture. There was no difference between being given a vacation and being forbidden from doing his job. No death was a big thing to ask for Sann. He did not hunger to kill but it gave his life structure.

So, Sann was sitting in a high place at Cammaratta’s largest marketplace. He scanned the crowd for the visibly guilty. The place was teeming with citizens of Cammaratta and other places in Altiria and many travelers from outside Altiria’s borders. He had to see their crime before he could punish them. No killing was allowed but bodily injuries could be very instructive. For that, Sann carried a long bow. In fact, it was close to double the length of a normal longbow. Its distance was unparalleled. For a more personal touch, he had a broad scimitar he had gotten imported from the southern continent. It could be very brutal and just the sight of it dropped crime rates.

Of course, there were always exceptions to every rule. One of those exceptions was illegally grasping an apple off of cart some distance away. There was obvious intent to steal. Before the man could pivot his feet to run, Sann had drawn back his bow. He let the arrow fly and watched and he watched the arrow hit the man’s hand, just missing the apple. The shrill, wounded cry he let out was thanks enough for Sann doing his duty. He watched the man sink to the ground. Two little field mouse guards scurried across the marketplace to retrieve the prisoner. Sann smiled proudly as the crowd acted with nervous dread and horror.

Sann turned to grab another arrow from the bucket behind him but froze instead. There were two stern-looking guards standing very close behind him. Too close.

“Stand away,” Sann barked, “that was a clean strike! My target will live. For now.” He added the last as an afterthought.

“We’re here on behalf of the throne. Collect your things and come with us.” The blond one said.

“Not unless I am given a good reason,” Sann said and moved to reach for another arrow anyway.

“The crown has a job for you.” The red-haired woman said.

“A job, you say? That is more interesting,” Sann said with a tiny smirk. “Fine. Lead on.” Sann picked up his weapons and started to follow the guards, noticing they kept their distance from him.

The two guards were silent as they walked toward the palace. They could remain silent but they had said so much already. They had been vague in their statements but they had been careful to use the correct pronouns. They had called it the crown and the throne which were meaningless terms. They referred to inanimate objects and not people. Those words could mean anyone with authority from the King all the way down to the smallest sniveling official. Sann normally only took his orders from the King and nobody used euphemisms instead of referring to the King. Most people felt that orders from the King were an honor and would never stop using that word. Something was strange and Sann wanted to find out what it was before refusing these new orders.

He wondered what had happened to the King.  If he was dead, perhaps he had been murdered.  Killing the King was the worst crime in the land.  The idea excited Sann almost far too much.  His heart began to beat faster at the thought of somebody guilty of regicide.  The crime would potentially make that person the guiltiest person that Sann had ever been given.  Killing that person or persons would feel better than any he had killed before.  It was an outrageous thought.  The thought brought such pleasure that Sann knew that it must not be true.  The King was merely away on business or incapacitated.  Nothing truly good ever happened to Sann and he guessed that nothing ever would.  He would die, his work of killing all the guilty people would remain unfulfilled.


May 15, 2014

So I’ve been working on creating my own fantasy world for a long while now.  I can’t remember when I started but it was definitely been over a year.  I took some time off from it but I really do want to continue.  As part of the effort to continue the initiative, I wanted to write something just to play in the world a bit.  I don’t know if this a work in progress or just an experiment but I like it.

*                                    *                                *

Allendra rose from her bed and felt every bruise and muscle ache and shuddered but kept going.  Her bedchamber was pitch black which was a blessing this early in the morning.  She drew strength from Aeon and felt the pain of all of that battle damage fade away.  She stretched in the darkness, feeling almost ready to start her day.  This was important as there were schedules to keep and people to see.  When that person was a representative of the throne of Altiria, those schedules became so much more important to keep.

She stepped toward the curtain and threw her arm over her eyes before brushing it aside and stepping into the bright dawn sun streaming through the oculus above her bathroom and wardrobe.  She could hear the city of Cammarata coming alive outside.  By the time she hit the streets, they would be bustling with people.  Allendra thanked Aeon she had been wise enough to select a room far from the noisy Artisans District.  Thankfully she was not too near the Fish Market either.  Here, nestled in the Legal Quarter, it was fairly peaceful.

Of course, the Grand Festival Cammarata would begin soon enough.  That would bring huge crowds, fireworks and plenty of loud music.  That was not her idea of a good time and she hoped that she would be assigned a mission during the three weeks of the celebration.  Allendra must have been the only person any realm who would rather be engaged in a life or death battle than be in town for the Grand Festival.

She stretched in the sunlight and heard several pops from her back but it felt oh so good.  She stepped into the bath and a chill ran from her foot all the way up her body.  She overcame that voice in her head that said it was too cold and quickly sank into the water.  That voice in her head very loudly protested again that it was too cold but it was definitely waking her up.  She took a breath and ducked her head under the water.  She fought discomfort to keep her head submerged and then surfaced with a huge gasp.

She climbed from the bath and happily dripped water everywhere, all over the stonework of the floor.  Her mother had hated that and part of being an adult was doing things to spite your parents, right?  She grabbed a cloth and carefully dried off her body before drying her hair.  She tossed the cloth aside and fully intended to pick it up later.  She ran her fingers through her hair and felt that was good enough.  She was not some debutante out to impress the gentry at the castle.

As she started to dress, Allendra thought about what the Crown could possibly want from her.  She held no special allegiance in her heart for the crown.  At least, no more allegiance than any citizen owed.  Like all those of her order, she cared only about doing the right thing.  There were people out there who needed protecting and that was Allendra’s calling.  She had no skills for politics or preaching but Aeon had granted her the strength and speed to do well in battle.  She had trained for it all of her life and she was damned good at beating up bad guys.  She was good at killing them too if it was needed.

She pulled the last strap tight on her armor and thought about whether or not to bring her helmet too.  She usually only brought her helmet when she knew things would go very badly.  She would be shocked if things went that badly at  what was supposed to be just a meeting.  She decided to leave the helmet where it was.  Instead, she carefully arranged her hair and clipped it into place with four silver clips.  The hair clips had bee a gift from a wealthy woman that Allendra had rescued a year ago.  Allendra had tried to refuse but the woman had insisted and now Allendra had grown attached to them.

She pulled her boots on and headed out the door, firmly shutting it so that she could lock the door.  She placed the key in her pouch and hung it around her neck and slipped it down into her armor.  She did not own much to steal but she trusted the thieves of Cammaratta would steal it all before she returned.  Lock designing was a pastime in the city which only made the city’s lockpicks the best in the world.  The lock would not stop them but perhaps it would persuade them to look elsewhere.  At least her lack of possessions would make them feel stupid upon spending the time picking the lock.

As for the more common footpads around the city, Allendra did not fear them in the slightest.  A disciple of Aeon was never without a weapon.  At age fifteen, Allendra had undergone a lengthy set of trials and ceremonies that basically separated a portion of her soul.  That shard of her soul had been forged into a great sword.  That sword now floated invisible behind her back, ready to be grasped at a moment’s notice.  She could never be separated from this weapon and it was the weapon she primarily fought with.

That was enough preparation.  It was time to step out and see who the Crown wanted her to fight now.

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