suspend disbelief - have an adventure
An Elven Tale: Balance of Power (Vol. 1)
The Great Hall was
silent. The King sat upon his throne while lords and ladies were ranked in pews
before the dais. Beside the King was a smaller, more delicate throne meant for
his Queen, covered by a thick layer of dust. Unused for almost a century, the
King had decreed it would remain untouched until rightfully claimed by a
spouse. The King had no prospects he chose to pursue. Nevertheless, the palace
servants dusted the throne every few decades. After all, a point is reached
when a tribute to a lost love becomes an unsightly mess.
Leaf looked about him with great
apprehension. He was seated in the centre pew of the first row. He was seated
on the bench reserved for the highest nobles, bravest knights, and the First
Leaf looked at his half-brother seated on
his right. Regent was the son of the King and the first Queen. Regent was also
the heir to the Elvish realms, and the King’s Knight Defender. The title of Knight
Defender, having been recently granted, placed Regent as the highest-ranking
warrior in the court. While not as powerful as some high lords, Regent still
held considerable clout.
Regent was tall, as all elves were, but had
such a drawn frame that it seemed that if a wind blew the skin would be whisked
from his bones. His face was gaunt in appearance, with drawn cheeks and deep
brown eyes that reminded Leaf of bottomless pools filled with murky water.
Regent’s ears were also a little blunt for most elves’ liking. It looked as if
Regent were constantly on the verge of an illness. Despite the fact that he was
whole and capable, he appeared weak and sickly with a waxen pallor and slightly
too greasy hair.
Regent, of course, knew he was despised by
most of the court for both his appearance and his political aspirations.
Instead of trying to conceal his defects, Regent chose to flaunt them. His hair
flowed in thick strands to his shoulders with the sides and bangs tapered away
so as not to block his vision in battle. A large top knot was bound at the back
of his scalp so a heavy mane, like that of a horse, flowed to the centre of his
shoulders. Regent kept his mustache in a thick handle-bar which he waxed daily
to raise the ends into sharp barbs instead of drooping ferns.
Leaf suspected that most human females would
find Regent attractive, even desirable. Indeed, Regent had bedded more than a
few of the slaves without the use of too much compulsion. It caused Leaf some
worries when he had first discovered his brother’s sexual appetites, but as
Regent pointed out: they were slaves; he had every right to use them as he saw
fit, and if there were complications an unfortunate accident was not unheard
of. Regent had also pointed out that it was no concern of Leaf’s what the
By all accounts, Regent was a truly
despicable person. Not necessarily evil, but definitely not nice. Most
suspected Regent’s disagreeable personality was the result of his mother’s
early death. The first Queen had died when Regent was fifteen years old,
considered by elves to be barely out of swaddling. For some reason the King blamed
Regent for her death. Regent was forced to grow up fast, and grow up hard.
While skilled in both sword and sorcery, Regent’s greatest talent lay in the
manipulation of the political strings attached to the various lords. Too late
the King realized he had raised a son that he could not love or trust.
The King's admission of his failure with Regent also
explained his indulgence of Leaf. A decade after the Queen's death the King had
been touring the outskirts of his kingdom. When passing through a village he
spotted a nubile Wood nymph that for one lustful night brought him out of
mourning. Leaf was the result of that passionate night.