The young autumn dawn was filled with people bobbing left and right, attending to their business. Pedestrians glisten in the sunlight like golden dew as they slid from place to place. The citizens of Talembraen fluttered here and there as they continue with their chatter and daily dose of morning gossip. Today's event: the rumors of their Prince.
"Is it true?"
"I hear that his room is filled with all the toys in the world."
"I hear that servants fight each other to the death just for his entertainment."
"What a pampered little brat he is."
I did not know that I have been the subject of the recent circulating rumors, though I bear no mind to them, as I was delighting myself with toys embedded with fine jewelry. Cut and polished from pristine quartz and marble, the spiraling Roman columns that held the roof over my luxurious furniture and embroidered tapestry seem to make my quarters resemble more of a palace than a 12 year olds room.
I quickly became bored with his toys, and ordered my servants to make me my favorite meal.
"I want a plate of escargot with red wine to boot. Chop to it! "
What I got instead were two armed guards.
"What are you doing? Stop it!" I piped. But it was too late. Ignoring my wails, the guards swooped down and grabbed their former prince and dragged him by the arm.
"Yeh not suppose to be here." grunted the guard. With a full beard and strong arms, he gave the distinct impression of a temperamental ox.
I still remember the pincers which held me in my place, pinning me like a dead rabbit.
"Stop it! I command you to stop it in the name of Maximillion Noxoustus Lucis, heir to imperial throne of the Holy Talembraen Empire!"
"You are no longer prince. By that logic, you have no authority over us. By that logic, you are also trespassing on royal property." spat the other Royal Guard. Bespectacled and lacking in broad shoulders, he made up for this with an iron grip and a silver tongue.
"On whose orders was it that my birthright was stripped away from me? I demand that you tell me!"
The other guards paused and looked at each other, smirking at each other. Their grins from ear to ear could've only meant a bad sign.
"Yeh know what, yeh little squeal," rasped the bespectacled guard as he kneeled down beside the little boy. His breath was a sharp spike of vinegar and something rotting. "Lemme tell you somethin'. Me personally, I've been wantin' to throw your little wee smug face out of here since the day you were born."
"By God, you've been an annoying little tick on the wall that I really wanted to swat away and now I have the chance to do so." groaned the other guard. He had a surprisingly soft voice for someone of his stature. "Every day, guards tolerate your ignorant drivel and snobbish attitude. All you do is bark orders in the tiny rooms of yours you call a palace. You have no idea of how the outside world works, little boy
"By whose orders what it that my birthright was taken from me!" I shrieked.
"Yeh old man's, Charles Caelum Lucis."
I could still remember the sense of confusion that had gone through me. The fear, anxiety, and curiosity were all emotions I'm too familiar with. They were persistent irritation that pricked me like thorns every day. At that time, I was desperate. Desperate for an answer. Desperate for the truth.
"Why would Father say such a thing? Why would he do this to his own only living son? Why? If I am stripped of my right to the throne, then I demand an audience with His Majes "
"Out yeh go!" heaved the 2 guards.
And with that, the 2 guards heaved me out of the imperial palace and into the streets of the commoners. As I wiped myself clean from the splash of a puddle, I scurried back into the palace. The doors were already sealed shut with a resonating gong. Oh you should've seen me on my knees, scratching at the door like a little puppy, crying out loud for his Father and a Mother that he never knew. How fitting for a 12 year old prince. But it finally dawned upon me. What I have to become. What I have to do. People once said that this morning was to be a bright day with a brighter future. I say that it is to be the calm before the storm.
My name is Maximilian Noxostus Lucis.
Age: 20 Years Old.
My goal in life: to kill my dad and to reclaim my birthright.
◊ ◊ ◊
The prevailing moisture clung to the young man's cheeks like prickly flies on a summer's evening. A swirl of autumn leaves encircle the young man, ensnarling him in a shroud of enigma and beauty. The pale moonlight which illuminated the world below it reveals a tall, pale figure perched on top of a dilapidated church cross.
The tall, pale figure in question appears to be a 20 year old man. Though his swirling raven hair masks his porcelain face, it does not conceal the dead gleam in his eyes that shine from the night sky. Standing over 6'2", it once took considerable effort to crouch on a wooden beam and maintain balance, but he soon mastered the art. Concealed in nothing but a black shroud, Maximilian seems to be one with the clouds from the ground below.
Clicking his hidden blade and clucking his tongue with excitement, his body shivers from the cold, though his mind shivers from something else: excitement. Inhaling opportunity, he prepares himself to take flight. Tonight was his night. Tonight was the night Maximilian would reclaim his birth right and uncover the truth.
How long has it been? How long has it been since I last set foot in these palace walls. O what sweet irony now I set foot not wanted.
And with that, he took his first leap of faith.
Eight years. It has been 8 years since I last set foot hear. I must ascertain the location of my father's chambers; otherwise I'd be making a fool of myself.
Landing on the top of the roof of an Angelic Church, he quickly, quietly, nimbly, subliminally, skipped across rooftop from rooftop, gracing his way towards his destination. Nothing was seen from below, as Maximilian himself was nothing but a shadow melted on the black, night sky. Eyes constantly scanning and feet ever moving, he leaped with sublime precision and accuracy that would make even the most astute gymnastic weep in shame. The guards below the canopy of buildings knew nothing of him. The guards on the rooftops, however, were another thing.
"HEY! YOU, STOP THIS INSTANT!"
A mangy guard was fortunate enough to spot an intruder. Unfortunately, the guard spotted Maximilian.
It's my lucky day
With the bark of an enemy's command and the sheathing of his sword, time was of the essence. Flicking his hidden blade, Maximilian changed direction, leapt 10 feet in the air, pounced on the guard, pinned him on the ground, and began his interrogation:
"Where are King Charles' quarters?" prompt Maximilian in his shrewd, raspy voice.
you are the " gasped the guard. The guard was cut short by the increasing pressure of the hidden blade on his throat. There was a different reason why the guard stopped talking: fear. The porcelain face that once charmed so many women was now contorted into a sinister sneer that made him look lest human.
"Where are King Charles' quarters?" repeated an impatient Maximilian.
"At the very far east end of the royal palace, next to the stables," breathed the guard, panting due to fear. "Now please let me go
I have a famil "
The guard ceased talking due to a ruptured throat.
Standing coldly in front of his fallen prey, Maximilian stood there with all the authority of the world on the tip of his bloodstained blade. The blood which cling to his blade seem to glisten more brighter than usual under the moonlight. Letting out a sigh of relief, Maximilian sheath his blade back into his wrist, and after properly discarded the body, became one with the shadows, and continued onward.
How many men have I slew? Must this unnecessary bloodshed continue? Someday, I'll put an end to all of this. That day has come tonight.
Striding from point to point on the beams which held the stables, he glanced down below to observe the horses. Horse riding has been his favorite pastime, and 8 years outside the palace walls hasn't stopped that one bit. After checking no guards were patrolling the area, Maximilian leaped down from the stable's balcony. Maintaining his stealth, he approaches one of the horses and nuzzles his nostrils.
This is where I belong, galloping away with freedom as my steed, not leaping from rooftop from roof
"HEY! YOU THERE!"
By the time the guards were in the stables, Maximilian was already on top of his father's quarters.
Now I must be sure that this is where father resides. I mustn't be too hasty; else the one whose neck will be sliced will be mine, and not fathers.
He swivels his head to the left, swivels his head to the right, then taking a deep breath, he takes his last leap of faith.
◊ ◊ ◊
Panting in delight, Maximilian manages to pounce on Charles in his own bedroom. The hidden blade which held Charles Caelum Lucis' life seemed to be thirsty for royal blood. The irony of this sparks from its reflection: mirroring an image of a smile of admiration, not fear.
Why is father smiling, and not down on his knees, explaining himself? Is this another one of his cruel jokes he plays on his children?
"You really are my son after all, Maxie-boy!"
And with strength of a lion, Charles heaved his own son across his chambers floor. Flailing like a stitched up ragdoll, Maximilian skidded and tumbled and thudded near the wall. Before he could get up, Charles was already bearing down on him, dominating him with the authority of his kingdom in his eyes and with his sword on his son's throat.
"How come you still fight as if you're in your prime?" sputtered Maximilian, as he struggles to get himself up. "How come you exiled your only living son? Why? I demand ans "
Charles quickly swooped down with grasped his throat, lifting him from the marble floor. Maximilian gasped for breath as his long legs kicked in midair.
"Boy! Have you learned nothing of these past 8 years? You still are the same arrogant little prince as you were from the moment you entered this world. You even resemble yourself in the past thin, small, and weak. You look nothing like me! If you want answers, I suggest that you keep quiet so that you may hear them." growled Charles, leaning close to his only son as their eyes meet each other.
There does lay certain truth towards those words. Maximilian doesn't resemble his Father in any way possible. The angular young man was in polar contrast with his father. With a blonde powdered wig, green eyes, and a broad, muscular build, Charles looked and acted like a king.
Loosening his grip, Charles turned his back and walked away, sheathing his sword, and gazed at the night sky.
"You can start by answering your call as a father and explain to me why you abandoned your duties as a parent." coughed Maximilian, massaging his throat. Charles stopped walking away and turned around to face the son he had once abandoned.
"I did it to protect you." said Charles.
The whole chamber echoed those words. Maximilian blinked. Charles continued.
"My son, not even this palace is safe from harm. Turmoil comes from within the institution from the system itself. Understand that the government will never be perfect as it was created by imperfect beings. You've experienced this yourself."
I don't understand." stammered Maximilian.
"Then let me continue. By now, you're aware that the royal family is competing for the throne. Daily assassinations and betrayals spawn at regularity. Aunts and Uncles killing each other, cousins backstabbing, and siblings hating each other. It sickened me. Your older brother and my very own mother fell dead because of it."
Maximilian just stood there, stunned, oblivious to the outside world. Forgetting his intent to kill, the only thing that mattered to him was the voice of his father.
"I sheltered you as much as I could away from the gratuitous bloodshed and excessive lust of power. You were confined in a room where you know nothing of the outside world, but only the pleasures of this life. But that alone backfired. You were raised pampered, spoiled, and selfish. In preserving your future, I sacrificed my own son, and for that, I'm sorry. That was my first crime."
This is the first time I ever saw Father's face, but more importantly, this is the first time I ever saw Father shed a tear.
"My second crime was me trying to help you." whispered Charles.
"Help me?" inquired Maximilian.
"Yes," replied Charles. "You see, for reasons that are still a mystery 'till this day, someone was able to breach into your room. You would not be standing here if it was not for your own brother's noble sacrifice. He took that knife in the throat for you. Of course, in your own selfishness and oblivious, you didn't even acknowledge or perceive your own brother's bravery. You merely brushed it off and continued playing with your little toys."
Charles sighs and continued. All was silent, save for the humming of the crickets.
"I therefore executed a move that would kill 2 birds with one stone: banishing you from this place while stripping you from your birthright. With you out of the palace, you would be able to experience the outside world and learn how to be a kinder person. But most importantly, you would be far away from the competition for the throne. You would be far away from the killings. That is my second crime. And for that, I'm truly sorry."
This is not making much sense. There are so many loopholes. Loopholes that must can be exploited
"If you wanted to protect me," said Maximilian, thinking before he speaks. "Then why didn't you try to kill the warring family members competing for the throne. Moreover, why did you banish your son? You do realize that I might've not survived outside the palace walls! Has that ever dawned upon you, father? Huh? HUH!" Maximilian's voice was escalating, and there was no stopping him. His breathing became ragged and tattered.
Charles was speechless. Dumbfounded is an understatement to say the least.
"Was the reason you banished me because you wanted to teach you son the realities of this world, or was it because YOU wanted to keep the throne." hissed Maximilian. Venom was pumping through every syllable. "Perhaps your fear has leaded you to believe that one day your own son would overthrow you before your time has come."
"I did it out of lov " spat Charles.
"What you may have done was out of love, but the hard fact remains: you abandoned your only son! Good can come from evil; while evil can be a result of good. You obviously fall in the latter. What kind of sick twisted man does that to his only kid! You sick bastard!"
All was quiet, save for the humming crickets.
Slowly, Charles regained his composure. The tears cease to swell, and the gentle twinkle in his eyes was replaced by a cold, hard, icy stare that once intimidated Maximilian, but no more. Father and son see each other as men, and not as family.
With a snap of Charles' fingers, guards burst from the doors of his quarters and quickly surround Maximilian.
"It seems that we are
at an impasse." drawled Charles slowly, drawing his sword.
"No, we are at an end." finished Maximilian, unsheathing his hidden blade.