Author Topic: Alphard and Demeria  (Read 11480 times)

ZeaLitY

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Re: Alphard and Demeria
« Reply #15 on: December 25, 2007, 01:41:46 am »
I hate leaving works unfinished.

Scene Three (final)

Outside the gilded archways, a torrential downpour soaked the floating fields and caused the usually upright boughs to droop in melancholy. Occasionally, the breeze would take a few rogue droplets inside the cream structure, washing upon the face of the woman standing in silence at its entrance. On this day, no birds were visible. The fixture of the archipelago within a pounding thunderstorm was not accidental; the funeral had taken place moments earlier. If the hearts of the Enlightened Ones were sad, then rain would come. Pained faces dispersed in Zeal's corridors and rode the skyways to their homes below, forsaking the morbid palace in a quiet exodus. Perhaps five minutes ago, she had heard the voice of Belthasar making plans and conversing with aides concerning how to interpet new data. The Queen had hidden from the world until the moment of memorial, when she arrived totally obscured in black clothing wearing a veil already soggy with tears. Schala and Janus's faces were exposed, but not spared by the sorrow which pervaded the kingdom. Though she tried to console him, Janus could take no more and fled the scene before the entombment was complete.

An aura of uncertain fear gripped the attendants. Aside from Schala and Janus, there was no sure guess at how the Queen, Gurus, and other officials would react to Alphard's death. The undersea expeditions -- and their promises of untold power linked with a legend from prehistory -- now inspired nothing but regret and concern. It was Alphard who approached the glowing artifact; it was his hand which disappeared in enveloping light; it was his face which assumed the most intent, directed, expressionless look of sincerity ever witnessed before the flame's terrifying, sublime glow vaporized his frame. There would be no effigy or true burial; rather, his formal robes were laid to rest within walls of sealed stone, never to be worn by the foremost of Zeal's lords again. Suddenly, the power and authority of the sky's domain diminished, and Zeal became a hiding retreat from whatever stark, impossibly powerful terror existed beneath the frozen seas below. Zeal was no longer alone as lord over the earth.

The Gurus plotted to exploit that enigma; Demeria harnessed a darker will in opposition. Alphard could have endured the loss of his Queen, though it would have spawned the largest collection of sorrowful poetry in the known world over his process of recovery. Perhaps Queen Zeal could endure the loss of Alphard under normal circumstances. But this was a different case; there was an antagonist at fault, even if a mysterious object. The presence of a villain would breed ambivalence, and that would begat rash action. A flash of Queen Samele's rage had resulted in Demeria's demotion from Seneschal just a day earlier due to the accusation that she could have saved her brother and chose not to try. This incredible leap of logic was proof of coming turbulence. There needed to be an island of stability among the leadership of the kingdom, separated from Samele's coming madness, Dalton's moral bankruptcy, or Schala's passive submission. At that moment, he sobbed with a red face buried in a laced pillow.

"Janus," she announced her presence.

He was unresponsive, preferring to listen to the endless clashing of electricity outside the walls. Demeria had never particularly enjoyed talking to or coercing children.

"I just want you to know that I'm here for you, no matter what happens. Your aunt will always be ready to help, okay?"

Nothing.

"Well, I'll come back later. Just try to get some sleep."

Before taking ten steps down the corridor, she found the blue-robed prince hugging her leg and crying. Using every bit of her stoic training, Demeria managed to keep a steady composure and procured a glass of hot tea from an attendant. The steaming liquid cleared his nose, but did little to dry the tips of his matted sapphire hair, still dripping the clouds' release on ivory bedsheets. Something about the sweet scent and taste of the drink reminded him of Alphard, precipitating an abrupt outburst.

"Mother said...that the Gurus did it and you didn't help and..."

"She's very upset, just like all of us," she began. "When we're sad about something like this, we look for a reason...and when we can't explain it, sometimes we just blame the entire world, and it makes it feel worse. She'll get better; she just needs some time alone."

"...What did he say? Before..." he trailed off.

Janus's young voice was like a knife across the valleys of her mind. 'He didn't say anything', she wanted to exclaim, still privately angry that he had been denied parting words. Some horrible truth rang throughout him, manifested in that cold stare. And then there was nothing left. But he did leave words...

"It happened too fast, Janus," she uttered.

"It's not fair..."

"But he once told me something when I was very sad. He told me..."

How could she pierce that wall of distress? She pulled Janus closer with an arm around his shaking body.

"He told me to never let go of what you hold dear. He said that if you ever loved something, or desired something, or had a noble idea and wanted to make it happen...that you should seize it and see it through to the end. He told me to always believe in myself, and that times were going to get better if you just believe. There's always tomorrow; no matter how bad things are today, you can wake up tomorrow and start anew. Cherish what you love, and fulfill your dreams. Unleash your beautiful will upon the world and make things better. Let everything you do be done with passion and life. If things don't work out as planned, simply laugh and try again."

Janus didn't reply. She felt a rare pang of awkwardness, and wondered if such a spontaneous recall of her brother's speech would be remembered. Alphard had been much better at it, even able to surmount the tension in a younger sibling's advising an elder. But Janus seemed too young, and too distraught to comprehend.

"Well, don't ever hesitate to see me. Schala and I will be here for you. We'll all get through this together. Got it?"

Janus nodded his head. Demeria tucked him in for an evening nap ushered by somniferous showers, and sauntered to her own quarters. Sick of standing, she threw herself onto her bed and buried her tussled, raven hair in soft cushions. Hearing nothing but rain, and alone at least, Demeria wept.

~

Staring out at the open sea, he could only reflect on that time with fondness. The fulcrum of revenge and anger had been buried at last, and the final goal was within his reach. Still incredulous that the sky could beam so brilliantly blue, he traced the meeting of ocean and firmament on the noon horizon. The crisp air refreshingly surged through his nostrils, and the bounty of his foray below stuck to his hand like a lost pet reunited with its master. Perhaps she could be given credit for some of the strength to stand against the darkness, and run with it rather than stand against and be consumed. Once the Black Wind subsided, he floated down from its gale, and life took new meaning. Poignant memories no longer crashed against his eyes every morning at daybreak, and neither did bitterness corrode his spirit. The light of day no longer hurt his eyes, now returned to their original hue.

Expectant, he opened the small sack and thumbed through ancient papers. Taking his seat upon the ever-retreating snow, he unfolded a wrinkled parchment and allowed his eyes to settle on the marks.

I lay my head upon a cushion soft,
And in my clouding sight, a woman forms --
Her slender figure dressed in silken garb,
Her hair slow-fluttering with blue aloft.
I take her hand, and meet her iris warm,
As high we fly into the youthful night,
Ascending frigid peaks in regions far
To meet the darkling morning's purple swath,
Where dreamy Sky caresses and adorns
A sleeping aura with a shroud of stars,
And stirs a gentle lake with fancy's tide.
She hovers near, with moonlit pallor cream;
Within her loving kiss, I dear confide.
Each night, I visit her in endless dreams.

Only his father could write something with such tranquil passion. He smiled at the continuing proof of her words. After that wretched day, she taught him how to hide his burgeoning strength, and reserve his thoughts to stay safe in the turmoil. She instructed him in shadowy arts, and secretly gave him heirlooms siphoned from the room the Queen instructed to be sealed forever. But most importantly, she always held that the sun would once again shine on Zeal, even as the crimson echoes of the seabed threatened to undo the dream of enlightenment. That sunrise had, at last, arrived. The struggle's epitaph had been written; the Great Demon King Magus had no further course in the flow of time. Evolution beckoned, offering the recovery of one more piece of the kingdom's legacy he had been separated from thirty years prior. Across the space of time, she waited. The scathing grudge against their mother had waned; only the joy of his parents, and his beloved, vigilant aunt remained. She had empowered him; now he would fulfill her dream.

Content, he lay the sack down, and organized the relics he had gathered from the submerged ruins into a complex pattern. Each touch of his blushing fingers imparted a charge. In mere minutes, the darkest art of all would commence. It could only happen once, as the singular, rotund object in the center attested. Satisfied with the order, the caped man paused and bared his face to the heavens. There was one remaining element to complete his transformation. Returning his hand to the satchel, he felt the edge of his desire and withdrew it. The golden mask adhered to the contours of his face well, seemingly eager to be worn after years of solitude. Their touch was in it; the warm feeling of all he had held dearly condensed into that shining guise. He looked forward to removing it far into the future in gesture towards his sister, whose surprise would be his joy.

As the sparkling, azure columns shimmered in a circular pattern, he laughed, and stepped through the temporal aperture.

...

Thank you.

...11,997 B.C.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2007, 01:44:19 am by ZeaLitY »

FaustWolf

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Re: Alphard and Demeria
« Reply #16 on: December 25, 2007, 02:13:42 am »
 :shock: Whoah. Extremely well-written, Zeality.

The line:

Janus's young voice was like a knife across the valleys of her mind.

...is incredible. Superb use of psychological imagery right there, IMO. It's been a very long time since I looked at the previous entries, but I'm getting the impression that these are actually snippets of a longer saga?

Damn, now you've inspired me to write some more myself. And the ability to inspire others is the sign of really exceptional talent. Thumbs up!

ZeaLitY

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Re: Alphard and Demeria
« Reply #17 on: December 25, 2007, 02:23:58 am »
Thanks a ton. Yeah, I realized that Alphard and Demeria might become an unfinished work, so tonight I wrote that final segment. It's only a trilogy, but...I've long been interested in the life of King Zeal, and I made sure that there wouldn't be any contradictions with the current Crimson Echoes plot. Right down to the way Alphard perished...

If I could redo something, I'd talk a little more about Zeal daily life and expand on it. Symmetry had a way of doing that well; he described round libraries and memory orbs, and other little things which increased immersion. My stuff was mostly about characters.

Demeria's fate is totally left open. Crono and co. didn't find her, so it's as if something happened after she instructed Janus.

Farkas

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Re: Alphard and Demeria
« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2007, 05:28:05 am »
Dang, I had hoped for more on King Zeal as well.  The ending is still very good none-the-less, though I hadn't expected it.  Again I have to say I love the way you describe the characters and their emotions, very stylistic.  I really do hope you write more on Alphard and Demeria, there's so many things that ending briefly touches on that beg to be expanded upon.  Good show!

kingpingu30

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Re: Alphard and Demeria
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2009, 05:00:35 pm »
I can't believe i've only just discovered this. I'm awestruck. This is beautifully written. This is one great piece of writing. Great work.

ZeaLitY

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Re: Alphard and Demeria
« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2009, 05:44:56 pm »
Thanks.

 :kz

He lives.[

FaustWolf

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Re: Alphard and Demeria
« Reply #21 on: October 08, 2009, 06:26:08 pm »
What's amazing about "Alphard and Demeria" is that it gives the reader such a good look into the mind of King Zeal -- now of Crimson Echoes fame -- before he was exposed to the Frozen Flame and its power. His weary struggle against the Creojeanne family's overbearing traditionalism, and the tension this produced within his marriage, are really poignant. I mean, damn, this guy goes on to create and destroy entire universes in pursuit of goals that are finally, finally within his Frozen Flame-enhanced grasp.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2009, 06:27:50 pm by FaustWolf »

Schala Zeal

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Re: Alphard and Demeria
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2010, 06:48:29 am »
I'm proud of Mother and Father...

:kz
« Last Edit: March 23, 2010, 06:18:08 pm by Princess Schala Zeal »

tushantin

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Re: Alphard and Demeria
« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2011, 10:48:45 am »
Finally! I've finished reading this properly (at work). And dang, I like reading this even better on a printed booklet than on a PC/Netbook screen.

This has certainly been an inspiring (and just as surprising) read! I've never known you were this brilliant a poet, and I'd certainly like to read some more of them from you. Also, more than the story itself I admire your writing. Really beautiful *wipes his tear*! It's a shame someone like me can't get his head around to write something as good as this.

Say, I'm writing a novel and have a tendency of starting chapters Colin Dexter style (which is, a famous, relevant quote just before the chapter's content) and I would like to include a quote from Alphard and Demeria, just because it's awesome and matches the theme of the story. Do I have your permission?  8)

ZeaLitY

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Re: Alphard and Demeria
« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2011, 04:53:56 pm »
Oh, yeah, definitely. It's fun to think that I wrote this before the King Zeal persona in CE had fully evolved. He was still kind of a generic villain back then, as we hadn't written the final chapters.

tushantin

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Re: Alphard and Demeria
« Reply #25 on: March 01, 2011, 11:11:46 am »
Indeed, the best character development springs from properly timed back stories or parallel plots, and we're glad that Alphard and Demeria happened, because without it we wouldn't have the  :kz we know today.

Thanks for the permission! Of course, most likely I'd need to quote you by name, but respecting your privacy/security if you don't like the idea then I've no problems simply mentioning "Line from a short-story, Alphard and Demeria", or something similar.  

ZeaLitY

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Re: Alphard and Demeria
« Reply #26 on: March 01, 2011, 11:49:14 am »
Oh, ZeaLitY's fine.