The Solune Prince: Chapter 19

The Solune Prince

Novella 1

Chapter 19: [Untitled]

[Author’s Note: It’s been six months, did you miss me? Or perhaps Chloe Rhye? Haha]

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Chloe stood and sort of tumble-pranced down the throne steps to at equal footing with her parents. They stood and discussed the details of the trip.

Eventually, Chloe asked, “…But should not some leader be taken with us?”

Her mother replied, “We are sending a prince, are we not?”

“Kent?”

“No, you!”

“Ah…I will be sent…as the leader?”

The King said, “This is your expedition, is it not?”

“But…”

“And further,” her mother added, “was it not you who assembled this team of individuals?”

Her father said, “Yes, you have capabilities beyond what you may suppose. The journey will be difficult, but your years as royalty, and your capabilities demonstrated thus far will sustain you through it.”

They stood for a few moments and Chloe considered her position. Doubt crept into her mind, and though it did not grip her, it did concern her. She said, “And yet…I have only ever left the kingdom once.”

“Is it not the role of a leader to take advantage of the talent and experience of her troops?” Gwenhime said, a little fervently.

“Ah—”

“To put it a little more universally,” said the King, “ It is appropriate for a leader to utilize and perhaps even lean on the abilities of his or her followers. Kent, for example, is your brother, someone you know and trust, and he has been, even lived outside the kingdom.”

“And so…” Chloe mumbled, “So…ah, so I can ask for help from my followers?”

“And you should.”

“Would, ha, would this not make me appear weak in their eyes?” Her gaze flicked for a moment to her mother, and then back.

“No,” the King replied, “rather, it will demonstrate that you value them and their ability.”

“Chloe, doubtful, paused and looked to her mother again, this time, for confirmation.

Gwenhime said, “Everyone has a place in an army. Commanders command, swordsmen cut, agents scout or even assassinate. Leaders lead. While we should be capable of all things, it is not necessary that we be superior in them except for that which is our role: to lead.”

“Hmm…” Chloe bit her lip.

There was a silence as Chloe thought about and consolidated the information. Then, the conversation continued on to more mundane and particular topics regarding the expedition.

 

Chloe sat on her bed. It was morning and she had dressed for the arena, but she just sat, swinging her feet. She glanced at her bedside table, at the notebook she had placed there. The cover read, in her own handwriting, What Little We Know about the Lussa. She breathed, stood up, and went downstairs.

 

Siren, a man interested in complementary food of any sort, had headed to the castle’s cafeteria.

Alexandre was already there and already eating. Siren understood how a cafeteria worked, and had no issues getting food. He looked around at all the tables filled with guards and then awkwardly sat across from Alexandre.

They ate in silence for a while, and then Alexandre asked, “So, what do you think of this whole arena business?”

Siren shook his head. “I’m not so sure. I am not so great a fighter.”

“Do you have any experience?”

“Not really.”

“You might be in trouble.”

“Well…if Lilllith doesn’t let me go, I want to tell you something.”

Alexandre shrugged, and returned to her food.

Chloe sat down next to them, and Siren gave up on the conversation. He asked Chloe what she thought of the whole arena business, and if she was worried.

“Ah, well, I have seen combat before.”

“Oh, right, during the Legendary Event or whatever, right?”

“Yes. Since then my mother has been keeping my skills attuned. It should not be too bad.”

Siren frowned. He finished eating and went out to the arena ahead of them.

 

True to the King’s words, there was a section of the field just outside the city with benches arranged around it in a large circle. Chloe marvelled as they approached the flattened grounds and the bustling crowd.

The area in front of the castle was maintained for the purpose of sporting, but usually she didn’t pay much attention to such events. She tended to stay indoors and study.

“Ah, it’s been years since I have seen something like this…”

“I used to play in this field as a kid,” Alexandre stated, “Finch and Artus and Alice and I. Time moves very fast. Too fast.”

Chloe looked at her sidelong as they walked. Alexandre didn’t usually say anything so personal.

“I remember. You were one of the children then? I used to see you. It is very rare that children, even in groups, play outside the city walls.”

Alexandre nodded. A moment passed, and then she stopped walking.

Chloe stopped too. “What is it?”

“What—I remember you too, the Prince with her books.”

“Yes?”

“No.” Alexandre turned, “No no. You can’t be the same person, that was,” she counted in her mind, “seven or so years ago.”

Chloe studied Alexandre’s features, unable to get a read; she didn’t know her well enough. She faltered, “Ah, yes?”

“No!” Alexandre grabbed her own head, “No, this…how can you’ve just exited adolescence for seven years? It is not possible. You look like you could be younger than me, but when I was a child you looked…exactly the same.”

Chloe shook her head. It is not complicated. Chloe moved Alex’s hand away and placed her palm on the woman’s forehead, pushing hair away. She took a breath, and gathered her contractions. “It’s okay Alexandre. This is not a secret. I can explain it to you in detail if you wish.” She could see Alexandre calming. “But right now is not the time. We have an ambassador to impress upon.”

Chloe let go of her head. Alexandre wondered if this is how Ammelia felt when they had encountered each other in the office.

Chloe saw Alexandre rub her eyes. The pair started walking again.

And yet, here we are again.

Next Chapter: The Arena Part1>>
Table of Contents
<<Chapter 18: Jagged Assembly III

Daniel Triumph.

Wraith Hail (Artifact Edition)

The Demo Tapes Part 2 – Wraith Hail.

To anyone who has read one of the two previous uploads of “Wraith Hail,” please note that this version of the story is quite different.

Due to WordPress’s frustratingly limited formatting options, I should inform you of one thing: the italicized numbers are markers for the endnotes. Scroll down to the bottom to see them.

The more of you that I inspect,

The more of me I see reflect.

And when my excuses were perfect,

Realized I was an object.

I’m in this, here, a room, I have a dictionary I have a bed.

You own with food, water, estate,

And you, your story, takes a twist, the bed is red.

 

Tell me, what was I to you?

I’m a scholar, I know the words.

I just…don’t remember, let jog my mind; open the book:


Concubine

Con”cu*bine (?), n. [F., fr. L. concubinacon- + cubare to lie down,concumbere to lie together, akin to E. cubit.]

  1. A woman who cohabits with a man without being his wife; a paramour.
  2. A wife of inferior condition; a lawful wife, but not united to the man by the usual ceremonies, and of inferior condition. Such were Hagar and Keturah, the concubines of Abraham; and such concubines were allowed by the Roman laws. Their children were not heirs of their father.

It’s funny, isn’t it?

They used to tell me…know your place.

This isn’t my place, is it?

It’s only yours. It is Orion. His name is Orion.

There is a pile of papers and books in the corner,

Near my mother;

She is insane.

“Gasoline was too expensive!” She sings, “I got kerosene! Ah, look! It doesn’t smoke as much, how lovely.” 

I watch the fire. I’ll die here, impure; my mind, inflamed. How many of my friends; they call it monogamy, but if you’re not a wife, you’re…concubine.

Let it burn me, mother Hail. The grandfather clock strikes twenty minutes afire.

“Come now, don’t be retarded, look, it’s your man, calling in the hall!”

The flames are silent. They drift into the vents. The room is stone, it’s stone, it’s stone, it’s…the tapestry, a gift from my mother, catches fire, then the rug, just let me die.

“Come, Alexandre, darling, listen!”

The fire, I am a kēmist by training. Kerosene, it is a flammable liquid, the vapours can explode.

The air in the room ignites, a cold burst of red and yellow and orange and painful and mother help me

Engaged in crime I grasp my throat

Enraged my mind starts to smoke

Enforce a mental overload

Angry again, angry again, angry—

HELP ME

Come dear, “she says,” I am disoriented, my bed is singed, but it didn’t catch. But the rug is finding its way to me. I’m dead.

“Come on, you can do it!”

I see her beckon. I hear from the hall, calls for his life. He doesn’t call for me. Useless man. All the servants are out, he is alone, but for me.

“Let the wicked burn! My love, we have work to do here yet! Can’t you see them? They dance with the flames, the wicked, still, look! I am to join them, but my lovely, you still need taking care of, don’t you?”

You can always trust a madman—if she’s your mother.

I stand up, the bed catches, finally, sharing a moment of heat and lust with the rug. I don’t see smoke, but I cough anyway.

“Look!” he enters the room, my mother is still not helping, she’s helping, look, I look, I look, I loo-

“Hey, kiddo,” I say to him, I say to Orion.

Orion, my owner, looks at me, he’s frightened, paralyzed. He; I feel now, that my resentment was misplaced. He scans the books, on fire. I take the dictionary from the smoldering bed and add it to the pyre and then laugh as my mother does; the saccharine laugh of our family.

“Nice of you to join us, what’s burning? Did the vents do their job?” I stride to the window and open it. The flames feed on the oxygen, the atmosphere, my life.

“Everything! There was a burst in every ventilated room—”

I hated him, so I took him and threw him out the window, save them from the flames, I called to him, about the others long gone.

Then, my mother and I, we left the building and let it die, die instead of me, I’m more important. I’m more important.


Endnotes

1 The first two lines are identical to the first two lines of “Angry Again” by Megadeth. Song lyrics, notorious for being aggressively guarded by record companies, almost never make it into published work. Thus, this piece can never be officially released.

2 The dictionary used is the anachronistic Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language, revised 1913 edition; chosen to avoid copyrights—despite the use of copyrighted lyrics both before and after it. A fifteenth or sixteenth century dictionary would have been more period-appropriate.

3 Seeming anachronisms, while potentially setting-permissible, should be removed to supress reader speculation. When allowed to remain, they can undermine the legitimacy of the text.

4 The Greek (Romanized)a spelling of chemist is used due to the context of the piece. This should be changed to chemist to maintain the pretence of legitimacy in the text.

5 The four lines before “HELP ME” is nearly the entire chorus of “Angry Again;” the song that opened the piece. This further undermines the text, and enforces its unpublishability.

a First coined 1605, from chemist +‎ -ry. From chemist, chymist, from Latin alchimista, from Arabic اَلْكِيمِيَاء‎ (al-kīmiyāʾ), from article اَل‎ (al-) + Ancient Greek χυμεία (khumeía, “art of alloying metals”), from χύμα (khúma, “fluid”), from χυμός (khumós, “juice”), from χέω (khéō, “I pour”). (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/chemistry).i

i Sourced from the creative commons, to avoid conflicts of legitimacy.



Daniel Triumph.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXLY1Svth-w

Ryann and Chloe Deliberate on Kings

Or simply, “On Kings.” Formatted like a classical dialogue.

Ryann: Yes, ultimately we’re in a struggle for control of the City-State. There have always been plots against the throne, both external and internal, from enemies of the monarch and from family.

Chloe: From family?

Ryann: From those cousins and siblings and so on who sought to challenge the line of heirs, or to usurp, or even kill for it.

Chloe: Prince Ryann, I am not certain I will be of much help on this subject. I am not very familiar with these sorts of challenges to the monarchy.

Ryann: Are you not yourself of royal lineage? I’m surprised you do not now of these issues. They are as old as the establishment of the Kingdom itself! Is this somehow not a problem in your own Lands?

Chloe: No, not a very great or common problem.

Ryann: I have my doubts. Perhaps I can jog your memory and your learning?

Chloe: Continue.

Ryann: Has your Kingdom ever had plots against it? Against the throne, specifically from within.

Chloe: Of course we have had wars, but internally, problems have been very limited. Most have been lost to the archives; lost to time. The only recent conflict I can think of would be the Cult of Bones.

Ryann: Cult of Bones?

Chloe: They were a group that opposed the King. They accused him of putting human bones inside the mortar of the kingdom’s perimeter wall.

Ryann: Quite a strange accusation!

Chloe: Yes. They were a little strange, and then later a little radical. But again, I believe this falls outside of our discussion. The cult did not seek the throne at all, rather they took issue with the King personally.

Ryann: Does no one in your Kingdom seek power? I find this hard to believe.

Chloe: Ryann, our cultures are quite different. My family, the royal family, is respected of course, but not necessarily revered. Many of the kingdom’s decisions are not made by the King; they are made by other powers beneath him.
____I will not go too deep into the Solune monarchy system at the moment, but I think it is enough to say that from our perspective, ruling the kingdom is not quite as grand as it is here. Authority is quite divided, and as a result we benefit from heightened specialization and efficiency. Monarchic delegation is thus a taxing act of delegation and holding the burdens of the state. I believe ruling is commonly seen more as an encumbrance than a prize to war over.

Ryann: Truly? This is quite strange to me. Does no one question the King? Challenge his power or laws?

Chloe: By most, he is seen as just, even wise. Others see him as benign, or perhaps through resigned eyes. More frequently, issue is taken up against those who delegate below him—often it is others who hold duty to the nation.

Ryann: I see. We need not dwell. Tell me, what of the family ties? Does no one within the family ever fight for the throne? Or maybe sabotage or assassinate heirs to ensure succession?

Chloe: I must repeat; I doubt I can be of much help on this subject. As with the rest of the citizens, my family, too, is not particularly interested in taking my father’s place. There was…my eldest brother, who wanted to succeed long before the King stepped down. What happened I will keep private, but my brother is now outside the kingdom.

Ryann: Was he not the rightful heir though, being the eldest?

Chloe: He…was, ah, I think. But the eldest no long takes the crown by default in our lands.

Ryann: Oh! How wonderful! That isn’t the case here either!

Chloe: Oh no? How is succession decided then?

Ryann: Simply this: of the king’s children, the citizens vote who they would like to have as their next ruler. There are a lot of other regulations, but that’s the underlying principal. It reduces opposition from the citizens, as they have a hand in the matter, and it helps reduce familial strife, since the heir is unknown until the ceremony of succession. This was put in place a few generations ago, and I believe it has been quite effective.

Chloe: So, why is the Lussa City currently between rulers then? Should the city not vote and solve this issue?

Ryann: It is not so simple. I told you there are other laws, well, one of the most important is that all the heirs must be present for the ceremony; for the vote.

Chloe: Ah, and your sister is missing.

Ryann: Yes, any deaths or absentees have to be thoroughly investigated, or else the whole point of the system is undermined. Ideally the heir is decided long before the death of the current king. But tell me, how is it, if not by primogeniture, that you pass the crown?

Chloe: Our system is far simpler than yours. The King decides who the heir is. That is all.

Ryann: Really? That’s quite arbitrary. And, suppose the king dies before choosing? What then?

Chloe: He has chosen already, but it is kept secret for many of the reasons that your kingdom votes, but especially to prevent jealousy among his children.

Ryann: Secret?

Chloe: He tells a handful of people, including his spouse. Like you, I think we should avoid tangential specifics.

Ryann: Fair. Now, have you never had a bad king? One who would then choose a successor who was even worse?

Chloe: …I suppose I cannot dance around this much longer. There has never been a successor to our throne.

Ryann: You must be speaking in hyperbole. How could that be true? How could your Kingdom never change hands since its founding? Either your king is some ancient man, or your Kingdom is very young!

Chloe: My father…led the people to the land we have now. He conquered, he built the walls, he assembled the government. This is likely why he is so uncontested as a ruler. It was he who, as you said, founded the kingdom.

Ryann: He can’t be…centuries old?

Chloe: Perhaps I will explain it to you another time. But you can see now, why I have been insisting that my kingdom is not a good model to compare against.

Ryann: Yes! Now I understand! Why haven’t you said this before? Is this another secret that your monarchy keeps?

Chloe: Not a secret, just not spoken of much. The people, I believe, can tell that my father is the same King; the same King that always was.

Ryann: And you, his daughter, you must be like him to! You must tell me!

Chloe: No, I need not tell you anything. We live a few lifetimes longer than usual, that is all.

Ryann: But how! Immortality! How? Alkemia?

Chloe: No! We…we have investigated it. It is enough for now to say that, for my father anyway, it is some sort of…it is in the same class as a birth defect; an abnormality. It has to do with his mixed blood.

Ryann: Blood?

Chloe: An unusual and perfect mixture.

Ryann: So you aren’t the same then?

Chloe: I am…similar.

Ryann: Some other time then.

Chloe: Perhaps. For now, if you wish, we can discuss the dynamics of a state whose central leadership is missing.

Ryann: Or whose leadership has never changed!

Daniel Triumph.

Wrote this over a few days. This is a second draft. I hope it wasn’t too dry.

This dialogue covers some of the core conflicts of novel-in-maybe-progress, The Solune Prince. I’ve got a few chapters of the first draft up, you can read it for free. Or, you could read something shorter. Or not.

You might notice some issues with the capitalization of “Kingdom” “State” and “King.” If you look closely, you’ll notice that different characters capitalize or don’t capitalize consistently. They line up with the emphasis and ideology of their respective kingdoms.

Shade the Past

In the shade, stand, of my life,
I used to run but no more
I had teeth. Given weapons
To turn against their owners.
I used to.

In the shade, little room, like a cage
Walls of stone, window, light filters in,
And I avoid it, sit, don’t strain
My eyes. I don’t want to see.
I don’t.

In the shade, standing, look, through leaves,
Cross the grounds, a visitor, for the owner.
No, not for me, no, go away, no, wait
Who is this, woman, dressed grandly,
Steps off the path, toward me.
Can I hide

From the shade, look, I recognize,
Saved her life, escape in the night.
Why is she here? How did she find me?
“Why hello there young lady,
is the property owner in?”
Nod to her, and then, “Mother?”
I strain.

She smiles.
Finger to lips, leans in, whispers,
“Returning a favour.” Gives a sacchrine laugh.
Steps back. I reach out. “Wait.”
She takes my hand. The past echos in.
And then, “We have a bit of business to get to.”

Daniel Triumph.

Part of the vaguely connected stories of Alexandre Dirge. I haven’t ironed all the details but Dirge’s Second Operation would precede this piece, and Wraith Hail would follow it.

P.S.: This piece was released a day late from the regular Thursday schedule. Sorry about that, it’s exam season :[

Wraith Hail

The more of you that I inspect,

The more of me I see reflect (Dave Mustaine 1995).

But when I went to see what’s what,

I looked around, I was a slut.

I’m in this, here, a room, I have a dictionary I have a bed.

You bought me too, paid food and drink,

Oh ho, your story takes a twist, the bed is red.

Tell me, what was I to you?

I’m a scholar, I know the words.

I just…don’t remember, let jog my mind; open the book:

Definition of concubine in English:

concubine
NOUN
historical 

1. (in polygamous societies) a woman who lives with a man but has lower status than his wife or wives.

Example sentences

1. ‘Abraham ended up with a wife and a concubine, Jacob with two wives and two concubines.’

2. ‘Do they mean to train girls to becoming rich people’s wives or concubines?’

3. ‘Round about were the remains of two 20-year-old women (wives or concubines?), two 40-year-old men, and a dog.’

1.1 archaic A mistress.

Origin
Middle English: from Old French, from Latin concubina, from con- ‘with’ + cubare ‘to lie’.

It’s funny, isn’t it?

They used to tell me to…know my place.

This isn’t my place, is it?

It’s only yours. It is Orion. his name is Orion.

There is a pile of papers and books in the corner,

Near my mother,

She is insane.

“Gasoline was too expensive!” She sings, “I got kerosene~, ah, look! It doesn’t smoke as much! How lovely!”

I watch the fire. I’ll die here, impure. How many of my friends; they call it monogamy, but if you’re not a wife, you’re…concubine.

Let it burn me, mother Hail. The grandfather clock on the wall strikes twenty minutes of fire.

“Come now, don’t be retarded, look, it’s your man, calling in the hall!”

The flames are silent. They drift into the vents. The room is stone, it’s stone, it’s stone, it’s…the tapestry, a gift from mom, catches fire, then the rug, just let me die.

“Come, Alexandre, darling, listen!”

The fire, I am a kēmist by training, kerosene, “it is a flammable liquid and the vapors can explode.”

The air in the room ignites, a cold burst of red and yellow and orange and painful and mother help me

Engaged in crime I grasp my throat
Enraged my mind starts to smoke
Enforce a mental overload
Angry again, angry again, angry (Dave Mustaine 1995)—

HELP ME

Come dear, “she says,” I am disoriented, my bed is singed, but it didn’t catch. The rug is finding its way to me though. I’m dead.

“Come on, you can do it!”

I see her beckon. I hear from the hall, calls for his life. He doesn’t call for me, the trash man. All the servants are out, he is alone, but for me.

“Let the wicked burn in hell, my love, we have work to do here yet! Can’t you see them? They dance with the flames, the wicked, still, look! I want to join them, but my lovely, you still need taking care of, don’t you?”

You can always trust a schizophrenic; if she’s your mother.

I stand up, the bed catches, finally, sharing a moment of heat and lust with the rug. I don’t see smoke, but I cough anyway.

“Look!” he enters the room, my mother is still not helping, she’s helping, look, I look, I look, I loo-

“Hey, kiddo,” I say to him, I say to Orion.

Orion, my owner, looks at me, he’s frightened, paralyzed. He; I feel now, that my resentment was misplaced. He scans the books, on fire. I take the dictionary from the smoldering bed and add it to hell pyre (Zelos Wilder 2003), and laugh as my mother does; the saccharin laugh of our family.

“Nice of you to join us, what’s burning, did the vents do their job?” I stride to the window and open it. The flames feed on the oxygen, the atmosphere, my life.

“Everything! There was a burst in every ventilated room—”

I hated him, so I took him and threw him out the window, save them from the flames, I called.

Then, my mother and I, we left the building and let it die, die instead of me, I’m more important. I’m more important.

Daniel Triumph.

Due to an immense amount of stress, this week is a repost of something I posted a while back. This is a repost of a piece I published earlier, but this time it isn’t split into two pieces. I’ve been meaning to put this up as one piece anyway, so here we go.

This is a piece that happens a few years after Dirge’s Second Operation, which is also worth checking out.