Termina Esplanade - Special Events and Feedback > Dream Splash I - Zeal [2007]

Alphard and Demeria

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Scene One

On a matchless day of clear, azure skies, an Enhasian dreamer lazily awoke in weary satisfaction and stretched ere leaving his soft bed. He walked quietly to the nearest window, seemingly at peace with the infinite horizon after a nebulous dream concerning winged flight. As the fresh bounty of the atmosphere filled his expanding lungs, he abruptly grabbed the panes and shut them with a crisp snap. After covering his silk-laden form, he abruptly sank back into repose, happy at last that the infernal noise leagues above him had been silenced. The others had noticed it too, if not consciously. The air was filled with the sound of fiery streaks and icy cracks, signifying a ferocious, spirited encounter somewhere below Zeal Palace.

A wayward bird observed: the struggle's heart lay several meters below the posterior of the palace, where sheer cliffs marked a sharp descent down a terraced set of gardens. Appearing to hang with no supports midway down the highest, rocky outcropping was a semi-circle stone platform, constructed with peach-gray marble and sealed with the very magic which held the dusty atoms of the archipelago's land masses together. The diameter of the structure opened up to built-in rest and observation halls, sporting tonics and charms reserved for the highest practitioners of the arts. Two such persons now occupied the flat disc, dressed in an array of purple and blue clothing; each were tensely strung in defense stances. Without pause, the male among them made his move, quickly flashing memorized signs to precipitate a blast of water. The slender female opposite his position effortlessly lunged forward, breaking his hand motions and landing a hard punch to his left shoulder. His reeling form slid a short way across the platform, kicking up a thin layer of dust. With sapphire, ebony hair blowing in the breeze, he sat up with half a grin on his face.

"Wha!? What was that for? C'mon, quit that!"

The female smirked, shaking her head while staring through his lighthearted visage. Her longer mane fluttered.

"Complaining again? Just a minute ago, you told me not to hold back!"

"We-heh...well, eheh...You know..."

She walked over, standing triumphantly above him. Instantenously her hand was on his head, ruffling his hair like a child's. Her voice echoed in his ears with a patronizing tone.

"Aww, are you through already? Maybe we should go inside! You're all roughy-wuffy beat up and it's so hot out here. I can't my wittle Alphy-walphy suffer wike this..."

"Gimme a break, sis! Q-quit that, jeez...oh c'mon! I..."

Fighting off laughter, he stood up and hardened his expression. His booming, heroic voice was flawless, save for a tinge of forced delivery.

"I...will not hold back this time."

"You saying you've still got some fight left in 'ya?"

"I was reluctant to use my power against such a poor, defenseless woman, but you leave me no choice..."

Alphard had committed the cardinal sin. In academics, battles, and the arts, mountains of men and women lay in the wake of Demeria's ascendancy to the highest rank of leadership in the Zeal guard. Her figure and height were but the foundation of the terrible wrath she imposed upon her detractors. Peerless talent and drive crowned her profound capability, and the latter seemed to boil in her eyes with sparkles of red. To belittle her as needing rescue was casting one's life into fate's abyss.

"Y-you wanted Darkness, m'lady..." Alphard stammered, struggling to maintain his acting. "Then...taste this! You're a thousand years too early to face the likes of my genius!"

His hands clapped together, slowly undertaking an arcane set of combinations which, even if known among lesser users of the arts, would naught produce the intended effect without undeniable magical prowess. In front of Demeria, her fists clenched, grew a shadowy ball of energy. Black arcs of electricity reached to the stone platform and dazzled the eyes of onlookers from within the enclave. The sunlight upon the man's face seemed to retreat as a shroud of ominous aura covered his body. As his mouth opened to let loose a primal scream, Demeria extended her leg with terrifying speed, kicking the Dark Bomb in midair and sending waves of Darkness energy flying east before harmlessly dissipating.

"Hey, hey!! I was about to release it! Why'd you have to go and do that--"

"Shhh..." she whispered, leaning in close. "There are people watching. I can't let you embarrass yourself with an eency-weency failure of a spell like that, eh?"

Alphard sighed with his trademark grin and looked upward in exasperation.

"Yeh, well...all right," he sighed.

"Sure you're all right? I don't need to carry you, do I?" she giggled.

"Hey, what!? Lay off already!"

"Oh get over yourself, Alphy! You're so tense and off-kilter today. I know tonight is pretty important, but loosen up, will ya?"

Beneath the tiled roof, the two onlookers donned their white Guard masks and resumed their conversation. Each knew that telling Alphard, second child of the royal-branch Simaelsus family and younger brother of Demeria, to relax was essentially telling the sun to rise. Alphard perfectly foiled Demeria's bright ambition, preferring to hide his innate potential with sunlit naps in viridian gardens or in the cheery company of friends, supplemented by tasty concoctions and bounties of exotic fruit. Blind misfortune selected him as one of the joint heirs of his family, but his parents notwithstanding rested well knowing Demeria would push the sky on her own. She would also push around her little brother, struggling to provoke and unlock the tremendous power gifted by his bloodline. Alphard saw few reasons to train in the absence of a kingdom to war on, and slouched on crimson cushions placed around an elegant table. Demeria took her seat, resting her left hand on a glossy crystal orb.

"Oooh, lookin' good..."

She observed as a crude hologram of their sparring appeared, animated by reflective cyan light.

"Well gee, why don't you admire yourself some more? Tch...it's not like you broke a sweat pounding me or anything," Alphard lazily spoke.

"You? Hah, don't worry, no one cares about that. But I've got to be in top form, right?"

"Oh yeah...you Seneschal-ranks have a hard time in life. Oops, did I say hard? I can't remember the last time you actually rode into battle or something. You should try it sometime. Might be more interesting than standing outside the royal hall looking tough."

Alphard laughed at his jest. Demeria declined to dignify his supposition with a response, as Alphard knew very well that only the lowest of those in the Guard were honored with such a thing as sentry shift. The position of Seneschal, or royal executor, held an important duty -- the concurrent practice and refining of the magic arts. Fairy tales and mythic beasts only minimally kept the interest in combat alive, as the Enlightened Ones had long prior begun challenging and bettering themselves in whatever unexplored frontiers of human achievement lay before them. Alphard regarded these concepts with little importance, intending to explore the wonders of existence through personal experience. One such opportunity awaited him that night.

"Speaking of 'royal', how's little miss Princess Samele Creojeanne? You ready for tonight?" she inquired.

Alphard shifted in his seat, his trepidation rising. He had forgotten that he and Demeria were one of the few allowed to attempt usage of a true, living royal's actual name, as rulers were given the "Zeal" surname in all official matters after coronation..

"Yeah, yeah...I'm ready. Got my...attire picked out and everything. I'm gonna be a serious 'presence', if you know what I mean..."

"Oh yeah?"

"I had Bejarl whip up the outfit. It's got gold-trimmed sleeves, a mosaic pattern on one of the robes...but best of all, he's throwing in a mask for my entrance."

Alphard withdrew the golden eye mask, polished expertly enough to inadvertently function as a mirror. The clothes-maker Bejarl designed its curves to precisely fit and accent the contours of his face. Demeria noted her approval.

"And I finally finished that gift..." he trailed off as Demeria's purple eyes flashed with interest.

"You have it? Like, right here? Can I read it?"

"It's no good...she's probably gonna toss it or something."

"Oh, don't be so hard on yourself. Like it matters if it's good or not to me. C'mon, let me see it!"

Alphard exhaled, releasing a worried breath without relief.

"All right, all right. Here..."

He reached into his sarong-like clothing, and withdrew a crumpled sheet of paper adorned with cursive ink. Demeria drew forward, resting her face upon her hands as her elbows found placement upon the table separating them. Alphard stared at his own writing, then half-smiled and began.

A rose unfolds in ardent, crimson shade,
With passion glowing round its verdant peers --
So too, thy blushful cheek doth cloud my eye,
The flow'ry goddess of an arbor'al glade --
The glory chief of nature's pinions dear,
With ease possessing depth and dashing life;
Adorned with loving mind, and temp'rance wise.
But when I met thy iridescent gaze,
My heart forever stood surrendered here --
As dreamers breathless pause ere light sublime,
I knelt before perfection's handsome might;
Familiar felt the boundless skies above,
And rapture came to me from sapphire sight --
My spirit sweetly flew in truest love.

Alphard's eyes drifted to the clouds beyond the columns upholding the shaded sanctuary. Demeria's hand covered a slight blush, and the growing cheer on her face was borne of sincerity. It did little to raise Alphard's dejected outlook; he quickly returned the writing to a pocket within his blue cloth.

"...It sucks, right? I mean, I tried to do this weird nature analogy, comparing her to a rose. As if that hasn't been done before...then I have to skimp on two syllables in the fourth line, and plus "arboral" just sounds weird. It's clunky and awkward. Then I move to her eyes...but do you know how hard it is to describe a person's...mind? Personality, whatever?"

"Yeah?" she encouraged him to continue.

"With physical beauty, it's so easy to talk about skin smoothness, appealing figure, eye color, and just about anything else. But how do you talk about someone's...well, the fact that you're in love with her for who she is? It comes off all corny, as if she's some kind of wise sage, or learned pillar of the community...it's all just cheese."

"You really think so?"

"Well, doesn't it look that way? "Sapphire sight", stuff like that works, but the rest is too vague and weird. She's gonna hate it. I might as well just tell her I like her or something."

"You're hopeless, Alphy."

Demeria scooted next to him as the masked men adjourned for the palace. The silence of nature allowed full attention to her words.

"You have to realize that Semele's going to like this no matter what you say with it, or how bad you think it is. Who in all of Zeal can say right now that she knows someone so taken with and admiring of her that he's willing to idolize her in poetry? It's not like you threw some pretty words on messy paper and called it gold! Get a grip. The effect is totally different when you're the person reading it. Do you think she's gonna care about a hiccuped syllable at the same time she's being compared to the sweetest flower in the world? Or when you talk about her as if her presence is the most illuminating thing you've ever felt in your life?"

A distant glance filled Alphard's face as Demeria grabbed his shoulder.

"You're just worried about it. Don't take it out on yourself! And don't think for one second that Samele won't be the happiest lover in the world once you spring this on her. If only she knew about all the things you've said to me, even! You guys have been great together, and tonight's the best time to really let loose."

"Well...yeah, I guess..."

"Quit acting like a sad sack! It's just not you. I'll tell you a secret. Don't ever, ever let anxiety, regret, guilt, or any other emotions like that distort your self composure or identity. Lesser people have destroyed themselves over anguish of their own device. So tell me: no matter what happens, you're going to the ball tonight, right?"


"So that means the few hours between now and then are pretty much useless. No matter what you do, you're still going to show up and woo her pretty heart. Why beat yourself up? Go have fun or brag or something. Maybe a hundred years from now, some critic's gonna rail your poem. But I'm not saying it's that bad! For now, stop being anxious just live through it! The only thing that matters to her is its sincerity. If it's really from the heart..." Demeria felt it was by watching his eyes.

"I get it, I get it," he uttered. "Jeez, can't you let a guy be dramatic sometimes?"

He laughed at his insecurity, and stood up with the weight of the crumpled poem pressing on his heart. He sauntered over to a nearby counter stocked with grapes and tasty citrus juice, downing a glass with haste before wiping his stained lips with the back of his hand. Demeria smirked at the prospect of a future king with such casual manners, inwardly hoping for it to come true. She knew, but did not dwell on the fact that if Alphard married Princess Samele, they would become the illustrious dual rulers of the kingdom, and she would directly answer to their authority as Seneschal. The thought of that confrontation amused her, as her open personality might run the risk of offending Samele's stringent sensibilities. Alphard seemed not to care, or perhaps Semele merely tolerated him. Alphard's eccentricities were of a warm and friendly nature, unlike the habits of the young man who stepped out of the adjunct atrium.

He was their age, dressed in orange and navy and blue. He kept his long, brown hair in a simple ponytail, but Alphard wished he'd wear it forward to obscure the begrudging look he constantly maintained. The man made brief eye contact and continued walking. Demeria stopped him.

"Well, if it isn't mister Dalton. Out here to practice?"

Her superior status overrode Dalton's bitter mood and distaste for smalltalk. He affirmed, and Demeria suggested to Alphard's horror that the two spar. Dalton was a talented Fire innate, and had risen to captain class in the Zeal Guard with little difficulty. Each addition of power and responsibility seemed to alleviate his grumpiness, but never completely dispelled the man's unsettling disposition. Demeria -- and reluctantly, Alphard -- understood that the Simaelsus family might always have the edge over such a fighter, if only by virtue of Dark arts proficiency -- and that Dalton would have much to prove by defeating one of them. In other cases, Demeria would have to order Dalton to action, but the disheveled grouch easily agreed to her request.

The encounter lasted only a few minutes. Alphard did his best to dodge and roll from Dalton's fireballs, unwilling to exert much offensive effort. His aversion ended as he grew tired, leading to the incantation for the Dark Bomb he attempted on his sister earlier. His relaxed stance was his undoing, as Dalton saw the opening and unleashed a reserve of magical energy he had stored up throughout the skirmish. The force of impact knocked Alphard to his back with a searing pain in his pectorals. The blast was one of Dalton's recent inventions, a novelty which sacrificed outward damage for personal, purely elemental destruction. Demeria leaped to Alphard in a split-second.

"That was excessive, Dalton...control yourself," she warned while checking Alphard's health.

Dalton turned to leave, muttering, "what good is practice unless it emulates the real thing? It isn't a dance...Hmph."

"I'll remember that during my next training regimen," she threatened.

Dalton nearly broke a sweat, but did not miss a step in his morose march beneath the cliffs towards the Skyway returning to the palace.

"Not cool," Alphard muttered.

Alphard rose, and dusted his shoulders. The pain did not linger, though Dalton could have easily crossed the line into real combat if he chose. Demeria walked in front of him, and the two Simaelsuses entered the internal Skyway and rode the light into Zeal Palace's ornate docking station. Alphard consulted the public baths for recuperation and purification. The warm, bubbly water seemed to permeate his skin, soothing his rare nervousness and enticing him to nap. He declined his body's invitation, instead spreading his arms on the cusp of the pool and staring upward, watching the sky through a rectangular opening in the column-held roof. The next few hours passed as a dream; he relished the secret pleasure of dressing up in exquisite clothing, and wore the golden mask with an air of clever mystique. The palace reception began with mirthful fanfare; Samele appeared in gold and blue, her pale, gray eyes colored with unusual life.

Demeria waited in the wings with a crowd of Kajar scientists, eschewing the company of her Guard inferiors for a pleasant vantage of the occasion. Forty-five minutes in and three Cherry Delights later, she spied Alphard and Samele's retreat to a side room. Proud of her little brother's resolve, she wondered if Alph's taste for exuberant, passionate living would increase. At last, he had gained someone to fight for, and experience existence with. If the feeling were anything like her own three years ago, Alphard would live in dreams not unlike the wildest vagaries of Enhasa's somnolence.

...12016 B.C.

What? Does it suck or something?

Lord J Esq:
Honestly, I think people were expecting more beastiality. But that doesn't mean yer fanfic is bad, per se...

Good evening, I am a long-time reader of the site, first time poster in the forum.  I have read what you have so far and all I can say is Wow!  Where did you learn to write like that!?  This story is filled with much emotion and great attention to detail and I could not put it down until I read it through.  Your use of vocabulary is quite inspiring, especially the poem.  The only thing that detracted my attention for a bit was the use of the terms "corny" and "cheese," as it didn't seem fitting.  Everything is building up to a fluttery, romantic anticipation.  I look forward to find out what happens next!

I love it! I can't wait for you to write more. I really like the dialogue and I think it's wonderful. write more soon please?


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