The Solune Prince: [Workshop I]

A couple things before the piece starts. You can skip ahead if you just want to get to the narrative.

First: This is a lightly edited sort of experiment. This piece projects itself into a much later chapter of The Solune Prince. Short background, the general concept is sort of a “coming of age” story for Chloe Rhye, and right now, in Novella 1, Chloe is in her own kingdom, but here she’s already at her destination: The Lussa City.

So, this should be interesting in general, but also interesting to readers of my serial novel. (Which you can check out here.)

It’s from my Creative Writing workshop, so it’s part of an exercise, which was: write the same piece using two different styles. This is marked with the (1) and (2).

Second: The next chapter of The Solune Prince will be up later today. This is not a “replacement” for it like the IOU from last week. Due to a somewhat stressful existence last week (both mentally and physically), as well as the late-term deadlock of university assignments, I’ll be writing the chapter on the day of its release. So, basically as you’re reading this.

Now, we shouldn’t have to worry about quality control for the following reasons: a) I’ve handwritten this chapter already. The major problem is really that I decided I had to change a few things, and so about 75% of that chapter had to be moved ahead in the story to some completely different parallel-universe chapter. Then b) I do have a decent idea of how I want this chapter to go, and what sort of changes I need to make to continue the story as intended, but also modify the sort-of mess it became. Essentially, I need to rewrite.

I’ll have to elaborate on all that in a full post later but for now I’ll put it like this: There are a few key points I want to re-arrange, some stuff I need to rework, and some stuff that will likely have to go altogether. Thus, chapters 17-19, which have all been handwritten, will need to be redone. (Re-handwritten, and then typed.)

Not a big problem, in fact it’s sort of a relief, as I’m extracting myself out of a sort of narrative hole, and then taking a better grasp of the story. For now, enjoy this projection into the future, and we’ll see whether this, too, get’s changed when the time comes.

(1)        It was yesterday. We were spraying, as usual. I admit we were spray painting. Look, I know the law and we had the permits. Show them the permits. We had the right to be there.

If I were less ethical, I could have blamed the other guys. In fact, I could have abandoned them and ran. But I am a man of Noah, and I know the law; at least I know that part. This happens a lot. Police usually don’t know anything, they just don’t. Luckily for us, I do.

‘Hey! You can’t be markin’ up that wall like that! Is that another one of them canted x-shapes? It’s you lot then, markin’ up the town! You best give all that up and come in with us.’

I heard them shouting, so I came, I ran. But, man, my peers are so…so good at fumbling up tense situations. Good thing I know the urban sprint. Hop, skip, run up the walls, onto the trash, swing off the window bars, slide down the side, skid ‘round the corner, man. Nice.

“You best leave my team alone. We’re here on business.” That’s what I said. Business. Usually stops them. But they didn’t even hear! Looks like the ‘prince’ over there already had it down, but damn! She was talking the wrong law! Where is she from?

She said, ‘No, this isn’t public property, it’s without your jurisdiction, unless you get a formal complaint. Look, he  has our papers, this is a job. What about you? Do you have your papers? Was there a complaint? Any warrant for you being here?”

Oh man, that’s not how things work here missy! After that, well, whew, violence man. We didn’t even move, but missy dismantled everyone for us. No sweat.

(2)        The litigator moved on to a different witness. “And you, you were there, my lord?”

‘As a bystander. I only saw the second part.’

“Please describe what you saw.”

‘Haha. Missy, that’s miss Chloe Rhye, fifth Prince of the Solune. They don’t have the honorific “princess” where she comes from. What a people, the Solune. She dismantled your three officers in seconds. Truly admirable—from a tactical perspective.

‘The draw of her weapon became the first attack, a cut across the chestplate of your first man. She flicked back the instant she’d made her hit; truly, a trained movement. Her weapon was back out before it could be seized—she slid into tierce with little effort.’

“Could you please limit the technical—”

‘That’s a point-up guard. She followed tierce up with a four, and then another four—’

“Please, the—”

‘—That’s an underhand thrust that ends in an upward sweep. Your men are so slow that she could hit with four twice before having to go back into a carte. And Chloe didn’t even bother moving onto the later cycles, although maybe she doesn’t know them. Regardless, she held carte and just kicked the poor man to the ground.

‘The rest fell likewise; engage stance on the secondary officer, (she has a terrific engage), into a one, into prime parry stance, smack the tertiary officer with a two, up to…I really wish she would protect her sword arm, but no, she slides back into engage carte, beats the secondary officer’s pikesword out of his hand, a smack to the face with the off hand, and then, no guard whatsoever, she grips her sabre two-hand (a very bad idea), and hits an oncoming attack from the tertiary. And then, lo! Kicks officer three to the ground as well! To my great pleasure, she cycled back to a carte, and then a prime hanging guard before sheathing. You may now understand why it is she prefers the military sabre to the officer’s one.’

“…You seem almost pleased about what occurred here.”

‘Truly; I trained her in the sabre.’ At this, the first witness laughed. ‘Further, as royal emissary, Prince Rhye, I believe, is subject to diplomatic immunity. Why she was with these vagrants is beyond my knowledge, however, she should answer to the Lussa royalty, not the law. I assume that you have contacted Prince Ryann?’

There was a short discussion among the court, and then recess was called.

You can see it was a bit of fun, an exercise in style.

Here’s a link to The Solune Prince (again), just in case you have an interest in the story, or Chloe as a character. She’s also a side character in the current draft of Alice and Finch, which you can find here.

See you later today, hopefully, or later than that. You can subscribe if you want, or follow my facebook, which is mostly auto-updates from this page anyway. I mostly chat and stuff on twitter, and my instagram has some cool visual arts and other ramblings.

Anyway, thanks for reading, I’ll be here every week lol. (And also later on today.)
Daniel Triumph.

The Solune Prince: Jagged Assembly A

The Solune Prince

Novella 1

Chapter 16: Jagged Assembly A

She walked throu
gh the hall to the
inside the room,
inside awake, s
he had a plan
s she did not know,
it did not take, s
he did not know, wha
t she would say, wha
t she would do, she w
as away

____And she went
anyway, went wher
e she wanted
wanted to be
____And she went
anyway, went wher
e she wanted to stay.

Daniel Triumph.

Table of Contents

The Solune Prince: Modesty

The Solune Prince

Novella 1

Chapter 15: Modesty

 

Chloe continued her descent to the basement, leaving her mother alone in second floor library to worry.

 

Alexandre Dirge walked into the throne room and immediately noticed Astore standing in the dark.

She said, “You would lurk?”

Astore frowned. No untitled citizen had ever entered the throne room before the King.

“Who are you?” he asked. He was far more suspicious of the Riley people, and Alexandre, besides her height, was surely a Riley.

His thoughts were like this: he figured that as a Riley himself, he had some sort of insight into the general temperament of his people. He knew that they were far more likely than the noble Solune to be depraved. Something in the blood, he assumed. He was not an exception, of course, which was why he made for such a good agent of the crown. His depravity, tempered by devotion to the King, became a strength, and he used it against all the law-breaking people in the nation. The ability to predict and counter those who lacked such unified devotion, Astore figured, was what made him different.

Meanwhile, Alexandre simply stared at him and said nothing. She studied his face and judged it a valid measure of his personality. She watched as he came to realize that he had lost the short interaction. A law-abiding citizen was not obligated to justify her presence in the throne room. It was their right to attend royal council meetings.

 

Chloe felt a queasy feeling and frowned a knowing frown. She didn’t finish her breakfast, instead leaving it and running up the flights to her room.

She took a few supplies from her wardrobe and ran to her personal bathroom. (The private bath was, of course, a gift for her coming to adulthood.) She closed the door behind her, and cleaned herself, and sort of writhed as well. There will always be at least this one thing I cannot control.

 

“What of the purebloods?”

“What of them?”

“Certainly, if their…food presents itself, ready to eat, would they not partake of it?”

“I will give Chloe her sword. And I will warn Kent.”

“Hold! Is not Chloe’s sword…”

“It is one of the Royal swords. If she is to face our ancient enemy on the road to even greater conflict on the Underside, love, why shouldn’t she have our blessing and the nation’s honor?”

“Hmmp. Fine.” Gwenhime shrugged to her husband, barring the bedchamber as they entered it. “Now, we’ve yet three hours. Come!”

 

“Oh, we have with us an early bird?”

“Of course, Miss.” Astore nodded, straightening up and stepping out of the dark corner of the throne room.

“Not you, it’s your job to be early. And Astore, I am a knight, you would call me Sir, not Miss.”

“Of course!”

“Now shut yourself, boy, I would speak to the maiden.”

Alexandre blushed. Maiden…

“Yes, ah…” Alexandre had never seen this woman before, but she looked very much like a tall Riley, with the exception of her blondeness. Her skin was different though, it looke…thicker, or perhaps a shade darker. Not the sickly colour we Riley share. She looks…silvery, almost porcelain. How beautiful, I wish I had skin like that instead of this…soggy existence I am cursed to live in.

“No!” Lilllith’s shout brought Chloe back to existence. “No ‘ah’! Talk straight, lass!”

Lass? I’m twenty-one!

“What do you want!” Alex burst, “Who are you anyway?”

She stopped. Uh on. I…I have no control. Didn’t this woman just declare herself a knight, and here I shouted at her? What will happen to me? Can she punish me I wonder? What sort of power do Knights hold? Wait, who is she? Where did she come from, I wonder?

As her mind raced, Lilllith froze, only for an instant. Then, she smiled. “Is this how you speak to those in positions of power, I wonder?”

Chapter 16: Jagged Assembly I>>
Table of Contents
<<Chapter 14

Daniel Triumph.

The Solune Prince: Alexandre’s Desolation; and; Chloe, Herself, I

The Solune Prince

Novella 1

Chapter 14: Alexandre’s Desolation; and; Chloe, Herself, I

Author’s Note: 

 

Chloe dreamed of the distant past.

 

Alexandre Jutt was not a morning person, which was exactly why she woke up early. Her theory was that it would allow her to be as awake as everyone else was by lunch time, and also allow her to experience her peak thinking hours at some time near sunset instead of long after it. Sadly, her Riley biology worked against this goal, but such things were sacrificed in the name of a university education. Maybe I’ll go nocturnal once I graduate to make up for all the strain.

Alexandre was very pleased (a rare emotion for her) to find that the castle was not locked. Since the wall had opened, it seemed that the castle’s foyer had become a full-time public square, instead of just a daytime square.

“It almost never closes now.”

Alexandre’s head snapped up, almost aggressively.

“Oh sorry,” the tall, handsome Solune guard smiled at her through perfect teeth.

She searched for an excuse to stare at his effeminate features, so she took him by his blue eyes and said, “So you just stand out here, by the doors, alone…all the time? What’s that like?”

“Hah, ah, no,” the guard said. Alexandre stared at his blonde hair. She wondered how often he got it cut. Clearly he waited months. “I’m actually covering for someone else. The guards are assembling the arena.”

The nice youngish man pointed past her, and Alexandre turned around and noticed for the first time what was happening in the field in front of the castle, just outside the city.

“Oh.” Are these preparations for us? For Chloe’s team?

“So I’m left here, mostly to direct any of the guards who don’t know the task for today.”

“Oh.”

“Are you, per chance, Alexandre Dirge?”

If she was younger, she may have exclaimed; if only in an effort to appear a little more helpless. By now, she knew that it did not take long for information to travel across the guard, and so her face remained stone.

“Nice to see you. Natasha has told me a lot,” the guard continued.

“Wha?” Natasha was the guard Captain-Commander. It was unusual for any random guard to speak with her, especially about other citizens. She looked to his shoulder to check his ribbon. “You—you’re…Vinth!”

“Ah, yeah?”

He’s the Captain of the Castle’s guard!

Alexandre blushed deeply and noticeably. The effect was made worse by her pale complexion, and so she closed her eyes and breathed.

She said, “I must be going.”

I suppose that pretty, successful, and young-looking men are exactly my type. Hmm… I wonder what he is doing right now. Where has he gone… Alexandre entered the castle and let her loneliness wash over her. She began to empathize with the habits of the foolish young maidens that would scout around the barracks after hours to see the strapping young guards.

I have to stop swooning so much. Maybe even act my age once in a while. She laughed not unlike her mother: at nothing in particular, and with an edge of schizophrenic madness. She wiped the blushing from her face and started to act her age, at least in the moment. Jutt looked around the foyer. The throne room, she knew, was straight ahead.

She entered. The room was black—she was four hours early. Alexandre was well aware of this, however, and she intended simply to wait it out.

What she had not expected was that there would be someone else already there in the room with her.

 

Chloe, as usual, woke up about an hour after the sun. In her sleep, she was more sensitive to heat changes than the light, but she still let a line of sun through her heavy curtains. She had accidentally closed them a few times, but to her surprise it hadn’t mattered much; she had woken up as usual. Chloe assumed that her body was simply used to waking up at a certain time after doing as much for centuries. She put on loose clothing; fighting clothes, and then headed downstairs, intending to go to the armoury.

The castle had two sets of stairs, one inside each of the north-facing corner towers. The more commonly used one was on the northwest side. It had wide steps all the way up to the second floor. At the top and behind a locked door was an extra set of steps that went up to the third floor, where the bedchambers were, closed off from the public. Chloe preferred the less commonly used “armoury steps.” The staircase was thinner and had more landings due to being built under newer code. The new construction laws pleased her greatly because they quite considerably reduced the amount of bruising she got from falling down stairs.

On her way down, she spotted her mother through the second floor entryway. Gwenhime was apparently wandering aimfully around the halls, and, Chloe presumed, likely deep in thought. Chloe looked at the stairs and then back to her mother, and decided not to worry about it. She glanced back one last time and, as if on cue, her mother snapped out of her daze, or perhaps simply changed its nature, and caught her by the eyes, and called out.

“Chloe…”

Chloe stopped. Gwenhime’s manner was uncanny, and it took Chloe a few moments of associative thinking to figure out what her mother’s intonation reminded her of. It was the intimate cry of a woman to her lover; she had never heard her mother make such a cry, it was indecent. Indecent just like the woman I heard it from…my aunt. I should probably go—and yet, what…what is she intending?

Gwenhime turned away and Chloe, following her own masculine and feminine intuitions. Accept all information, be not wilfully ignorant. Act without fear all situations for which you have the strength to overcome any anomaly. She was led to one of her small libraries.

When they were inside the room, Gwenhime closed the door behind them and locked it.

“Venus…”

Chloe didn’t understand, “Who?”

“Your uncle…the unmarried one…”

“What?” Chloe’s uncle was not called Venus, and he was married.

“Always…” Gwenhime’s face was flushed, and Chloe finally realized that she was not lusting, but rather, experiencing intense emotional frustration; a form of thought. “Always do I think…always threatened…I am…quite neurotic.”

Chloe stepped forward and took her mother’s hand, leading the shorter woman to the one and only reading chair in the small, shelf-lined room. She tentatively tried to sit on the floor, and then tripped, landing in a semi-seated position. I guess I’ve succeeded, then?

Gwenhime caught her breath and continued, looking down at her daughter.

“Yes, ah, your uncle; the dangerous one. Venus is but a title. His name is something else, of course, but you will hear him referred to only as Venus. He is something of an underground power, and he is centred on the Underside. That is why you must know, you must know that he—” She turned red again, and mouthed nonsense.

“He—!” Chloe grasped at her mother’s thought, “He is likely involved in all this, is not he?!”

Gwenhime frowned, nodded, and regained her neutral tones. “If you encounter him, hesitate not to call on us, your kin, for aid.”

“Okay. If things get too intense, I will call on you.”

“No! If you even so much as hear his name, you must send to me a message. A verbal one preferably; such communications can not be allowed to be intercepted!”

“Ah…” Chloe started and then stopped. She studied her Gwenhime’s face for information and realized that this was one of those times where her mother would only get more serious, more intense, and more severe until Chloe agreed.

“Okay. I agree.”

Gwenhime nodded, took the only dust-free tome from the little reading table next to her seat, and gave it to Chloe.

“And your brother too! I will inform him and his woman.” She raised her arms in exaltation.

Chloe took a breath. It was all starting to come together in her mind. Obviously Venus has kidnapped (or killed!) the heir. Thus, when we get to the Underside, if we catch word of him, we should follow whatever paths we have and track him down. She nearly thought her way to all the flaws in her plan when Gwenhime spoke again.

“Before you leave for the Underside, remind me and I will teach you how to use the gift of the Condor.”

Chloe’s eyes widened. She dropped her book and fell back, catching herself with her right arm and leaning on it for support.

“What? Now? I thought you said you would wait until I was an adult and—oh no. Mother, I cannot! I cannot handle all this about my uncle, and I have to leave home, and then…This is far too much at once, mother!”

The ex-Warlord smiled, then stood and helped her daughter up. She took the young woman by the shoulders, and looked up into her youthful eyes.

“Too much is the only correct amount for the Rhye family.”

Chapter 15: Modesty>>
Table of Contents
<<Chapter 13

Daniel Triumph.

The Solune Prince: Lilllith I

The Solune Prince

Novella 1

Chapter 13: Lilllith I

Author’s Note: >:3

They arrived at the castle as the guard were lighting the lamps for nightfall. Chloe tried to see if she could spy Alice, but she didn’t even see any guards that she recognised.

They met not in the throne room, but in the awkwardly-placed banquet hall. When they entered the castle, Astore led Chloe through the foyer and to the left. There were two sets of doors on the left wall. Chloe knew that the first one led to the armoury and also to the Royal archives, and the other one opened on a long corridor that led south, in between the throne room and the armoury. That was the door they went through.

Chloe opened the door, and Astore slipped past. They went down the hallway to the large room inconveniently placed in the back corner of the first floor.

“When did she get here?” Chloe called ahead.

Astore slowed. “Maybe an hour now.”

They reached the door. Chloe asked, “Has supper started?”

“It should have. The king told me that he would start shortly after dark, so…”

“So we will not be…too late.”

“Allow me.” Astore stepped ahead and opened the door for her.

Lilllith watched as Chloe strode into the hall. Astore entered behind, dressed formally in his grey, modestly decorated guard’s uniform. The blue pinwheel of the Solune kingdom was displayed on his right shoulder.

Chloe, however, was dressed in her day clothes; a loose-fitting white chlamys with a knee-length tunic underneath. She was the only one other than her mother who was wearing anything so loose fitting. She scanned the room as she walked to the seat across from her mother.

The seating arrangement seemed to amuse the King, though he did his best to hide it. Gwenhime had been placed between the King on her right, and the woman Chloe knew to be Lilllith on her left. Gwenhime, much unlike her husband, did nothing to hide her emotions. It was clear that she did not enjoy the company of her guest.

So I am to sit…with Kent on my left, and then Natasha on the end; and Senica on my right—oh no…And, ah, I guess Astore is on the far end?

Chloe did not sit yet. She first drank in all the presences around her. She almost had to; to mentally map out the people in the room in order to calm her anxieties.

And on the other side is…Alice on the end, across from Kent? Then my father, then mom right here across from me, and, ah, Lilllith, and… Is this a child? Who is this youth? Did Lilllith bring him? She must have.

Finally, Chloe moved and sat down. Astore sat after her, a curiosity on his part. He’s being very formal. Chloe and Lilllith examined each other. Lilllith looked very much like what Chloe had come to expect from a Lussa; that is, essentially a tall Riley. Black hair, pale skin, and sickly features to go along with it all. Lilllith lived up to the expectation except for her bright platinum-blonde hair. Apart from that, she was quite old, forty perhaps, and at the zenith of her beauty.

As Chloe sat, the King stood and exited the room, returning shortly after with the waiters and the food. He himself carried only a bottle of red syrups. She filled everyone’s glasses as the food was passed around.

When Chloe saw what was served, she began to squirm. Senica, being Senica, noticed. She said quietly, “What’s wrong?”

Chloe continued to fidget, organizing an explanation as she did so. “Ah, this is, it’s ah…this is a very traditional dish.”

They stopped talking as they were served, as not to be overheard. When everything was set, thanks was given to the Past and for the Future, and then the room began eating.

Senica turned her head and said, “Your mother looks far less grumpy than usual.”

Kent, who, sensitive to his fiancée’s voice, had heard, laughed. He said, “Oh, that isn’t about the food per say, Niccy—I mean Senica.” He blushed and lowered his voice, craning in. “Rather, she’s waiting for Lilllith to taste it.”

“Why?”

Chloe began, “Traditional Solune food consists of fairy bitter meat and…” she trailed off, as she had lost the attention of everyone—including herself. They had all turned their attention to Lilllith to see how she was going to react. Chloe became pensive, but Gwenhime nearly overflowed with suppressed anticipatory laughter.

Lilllith took the utensils; the spoon and fingerspear, and ate some of the meat. Her face froze in an ambivalent expression. She proceeded to chew, and swallow. Gwenhime sighed, and she, as well as the rest of the room also began eating (except for the King, who was far too polite to gawk).

She proceeded to eat about half of the main course very quickly, and then moved on to the side dishes for the rest of the meal.

The King, surprised and also unwilling to let his wife have the first word, said, “What do you think of the meat?”

Lilllith made a subtle movement that only Chloe and Senica recognised as a reflex gag. She rather smoothly said, “You are a bold man, King Rhye. We do not serve foreigners such alkaline dishes before they have acquired the taste where I come from. It is very fortunate that the Lussa use this sort of seasoning as well. Tell me, what is your motive?”

“It was a diplomatic decision.” He said flatly. Gwenhime, finding this to be extremely hilarious, let out a pitched giggle. The King continued, “Every second you are here doing official matters, you will be tested by me. You are the ambassador of another realm. You can expect to be treated as such.”

Lilllith smiled and moved wisps of her hair from her face. “Good. And what of any other time? As I sleep or tour the city, or speak to you and your family informally? When I am not engaged in official matters, how am I to be treated?”

King Rhye was impressed by how quickly she found the gap in his words. “You will be treated as any other foreign guest.”

“Very well. Then you would treat me better than the Emperor of the Djeb!” At this she, laughed, and to everyone’s surprise, so did Senica. The two women cut their mirth short and shared a look for a moment. Senica flushed and frantically looked at her food.

“So,” Lilllith continued, “let us discuss wherefore I have come. Which of you are to return with me to aid the Lussa City?”

Chloe said “—” nothing.

“It is to be my daughter,” said the King.

Lilllith smiled. “Nothing like a diplomatic woman, and a skilled man, as the old saying goes.” Chloe had never heard that saying. “Which is it?”

“Who,” Gwenhime corrected.

Lilllith sneered.

“It is, ah, it is I…” Chloe failed.

Lilllith examined her a fourth time and then emptied her cup. “Interesting. Let us rest. Set up an arena for the morrow. I would test the physical capabilities of the Lussa City’s new guests.”

The King nodded and ordered the servants in waiting to do as the ambassador bid. They nodded formally, almost curtly, and then exited.

“How hospitable,” said Lilllith.

“This is how the Royal workers acknowledge their tasks. It is efficient,” Gwenhime stated.

The King cut them off before anything happened. “They are to be subject to your whim, within limit.”

“Of course. I too am subject to limit.”

Only Gwenhime heard the touch of resentment in the woman’s voice. She sighed. Lilllith reminded her of herself when she was young and stupid.

Chapter 14>>
(Alexandre’s Desolation; and; Chloe, Herself, 1)

Table of Contents
<<Chapter 12

Daniel Triumph.