Familar-Part 4

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4

It was hot. That was the first thing he had noticed when he sat down next to his father. And it smelled of cooking meat and garlic and herbs, a smell not entirely unpleasant. Now he was staring down at the third course of the meal, a large bowl of soup filled with shavings of pork and vegetables, but he could not bring himself to take another bite. The smell was too over powering, and the taste too rich for his liking. He had gotten used to eating the foods of the town, flavourful but yet had a distinct plainness to them that he much preferred to the foods of court.

And someone was saying his name, his real name, Astiel. He looked up, his father was looking at him expectantly, and there was a short, stocky man standing behind his fathers chair. 

“What do you think Astiel?” his father said, his dark stormy eyes, so similar to his brothers, were boring into him, a silent chastising for his inattention. 

Asher was silent for a moment more, forming a polite apology before saying it aloud. 

The short man was looking at him with amusement flashing in his piggish eyes and Asher was relived to see that his father did not seem to be terribly angry, if only slightly irritated at having to repeat himself. 

Asher nodded his approval too his fathers proposal, his opinion was of course inconsequential in the final decision, but his father had always strongly urged his two boys to state there opinions openly, and never allow one to dissuade you once your decision was made. 

‘A good ruler allows advice, a great ruler may never have need of it.’ he would say. Asher did not believe this in entirety. A great ruler must have need of advice for he should not be willing to discount any, no matter their standing among society, and a king would never have an understanding of the lower town, for he lived in wealth all his life. That was why Asher wondered among the people of the kingdom. Again his father was speaking and he turned his attention to the conversation. 

“…I do believe it is the best the for Cieldior right now, it is a menace in the kingdom, and in many of the others as well.” His father was saying. Asher didn’t understand what he was talking about, a menace among the kingdoms? The many kingdoms had been at peace for years, Asher could not remember a time when it was not so. Interested now, he turned away from his now fourth course, a small plate of shaved ginger duck, and toward the king and what he assumed to be a high standing lord of some large land. 

“Yes my lord, I do agree. They have been giving land owners some trouble for quite some time now. It is a source of power that must be soon eradicated and law enforced upon it with an iron fist.”

His father was nodding, his eyes thoughtful, and the man appeared to be pleased with himself. Then his father seemed to have noticed Asher’s interest in the conversation, and he turned toward the other man.

“Perhaps we should continue this conversation later, away from curious ears, and prying eyes. My chambers, perhaps for a drink?” the man nodded politely and made his way back to his seat not to far down the table, just past the varying members of the royal family and court. 

Troubled by the newly arising power in the empire, and his fathers unwillingness to discuss the matter with him, Asher excused himself on the grounds of a head ache, an ailment he was commonly plagued with. That of course didn’t seem to fool his father, who’s keen eyes were likely to see right through a lie such as that, he admitted then to wishing too see his brother, who was ill in bed, before he was to far gone in sleep. 

With a wave of his hand, his father excused him for the night. 

Knowing that he must go see his brother, for the king would check with the nurse on duty to verify in the morning, Asher made his way through the palace, and across the many courtyards to where his brothers rooms lay, far away from his own, and close to the kings, for he himself was only the second priority. 

The door to his brothers room was slightly ajar, and through it he could see a thin pale form sprawled across the bed, head propped up on a pile of pillows, and a grin across his face. 

“Brother” said Asher as he pushed open the door and stepped through. An expression of surprise flashed across Kygo’s face, but his usual easy smile soon reappeared. 

“Astiel!” said Kygo “I’m so glad your here!” Asher smiled at his brother. He looked as if he were about to collapse, but he acted as if Asher had just arrived for tea.   

Still smiling Asher moved closer to the bed, and sat down in the chair. “So Astiel,” said Kygo, a mischeviouse grin spreading across his face. “I’ve been trying to convince Amelia here” he looked toward the small woman standing on the far side of the room. Her face bright red, probably at having to disobey a prince. “To bring me some nice ale” his grin turning into a mock frown “but she won’t do it” he was smiling again “what do you say brother? Would you bring your dear sickly sibling some?” Asher smiled, and chuckled. Of course Kygo knew he would never get the ale, but he seemed to enjoy embarrassing the maid. Asher knew however that it was playful, and harmless. Most all the servants knew Kygo’s sense of humour, and they usually played along. This poor girl however honestly seemed to think that Kygo was a drunk. 

Smiling Asher said “Come now brother, I don’t think the poor thing gets it. Enough” 

Still smiling Kygo turned toward the maid “My annoying brother seems to be right, as is he always. My apologies Amelia, I was only joking with you.”

A forced looking smile appeared on the girl’s face, and she bowed low, her dark hair falling into her face. “Yes your highness, of course. Thank you” 

“No need.” Said Kygo, turning now back toward Asher. “Now brother, why have you come?”

Asher looked toward the floor. He knew his brother hated being when he worried about him, he always said it made him feel far sicker than he really was. Sighing Asher said ” I just well, I wanted to make sure your okay is all. Ingrid mentioned that this attack had been particularly bad. Well you look horrid but you seem alright so I guess that satisfies my concerns.” Asher stopped, rubbing the back of his neck, and shifting his weight in the chair. 

Kygo was frowning now, his lips thin and tight. “I’m fine brother. Really, I’m alright. You need not be worried after me”

Asher sighed “Okay Kygo, whatever you say. Make sure you get some rest alright? Its late already” he turned now toward the girl, Amelia his brother had called her. She was in the far corner of the room, staring at him. When he caught her eye, she looked quickly away, her face turning red again. ” I apologize again for my brothers behaviour Amelia.” Smiling he added “and if he continues to bother you as such, let me know, I’ll be sure to kick his butt for you” 

The poor girl was red as a beet, Asher shot his brother a quick flash of an amused grin, and moved to the door, closing it behind him, then made his way to his rooms, eager to see the white wolf.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

The walk back through the gardens were long, and cold, winter was not harsh as it was up in the mountains, but it helped little that the fabric of his tunic was thin and offered little if any protection against the wind. The moon giving little light, and the many plants and bushes brushing against his arms, Asher made his way in the dark. When he finally reached his rooms he eagerly opened the door, welcoming the heat, in contrast to the cold winds and frozen rain of winter in the capital city. 

Shivering and wet Asher made his way to the bathes. He had no intention of washing again however the hot water would seep the cold out of his bones and, hopefully, prevent a flu. 

He stripped off his new tunic and boots, frowning at the ruined fabric, and slid into the water, sighing as the heat immediately took effect, soothing his frozen toes and fingers. A second later he felt a cold pressure against the back of his neck, then soft fur rubbing against his shoulder as the wolf came around to face him. 

“Hello” said Asher, twisting in the water to look directly at the wolf. 

The wolf cocked it’s head the side. Its blue eyes shining with an emotion Asher could not quite decipher.

Warm finally, Asher stood, running a hand through the length of his black hair, he reached for a towel, and rubbed himself dry before pulling on a pair of thin linen pants and making his way over to his desk. 

Guessing, he was sure, that he would be cold after the long walk from the hall, Ingrid had brought in a pot of steaming tea. He made a mental note to thank her in the morning. 

Pouring himself a cup, Asher made his way to the bed. It had been a long day and really he only wanted to sleep. 

He quickly finished his cup of tea, setting the china cup on the table beside his bed, and blew out the candle. 

Asher settled into the pillow, its soft feather down moving and shifting to accommodate for the weight laid upon it. The wolf had climb onto the bed, and he could feel the heat of its body pressed against his side

Finally, he thought, silence and sleep and peace. He suddenly remembered the money he had made selling the game he had caught. He had to make sure he brought it into town the next he went, he could not of course keep the money. His family had more money then he knew was necessary and many did not. That was another reason he enjoyed hunting. Knowing there was someone who was about to get a full meal off the money he had made. 

Finally he closed his eyes and emptied his mind of all things, picturing only a blank whiteness slowly fading into darkness.

‘Asher’ somebody whispered

He sat up, looking around. He shook his head, he must be hearing things, of course there was no one in his room. He laid back down

‘Asher..’ 

He scrambled to relight his candle, and it took only a moment. The room was alight suddenly with an orangish glow, and it was empty. 

He blew out the candle and laid back down. He was just exhausted, that was all. Closing his eyes he tried again to do the relaxation exercise. 

He fell asleep shortly afterwords. 

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Familiar part~3

Teenage writing

Asher shivered as the blue orbs passed over him. The pup had stopped right in front the the wooded door frame, a shaking racked it’s body, as if it was overly excited about something. Asher and Ingrid approached cautiously, although it was only a pup, its razor sharp teeth and claws could still inflict some serious damage. As Asher drew closer he could see the delicate features the wolf possessed, large almond eyes, and a thin snout carpeted in soft, fine, white silk fur. It could almost be said to be pretty, if it were not a wild beast. Asher stepped closer and the pup launched itself, landing at Asher’s feet. He jumped back, stumbling, and landed hard on his tail bone. He heard a sharp intake of breath from Ingrid, and the sounds of her feet scrambling back toward the garden. But looking at the little white wolf sitting impatiently at his feet he suddenly had the feeling that it would not have hurt him. Waving a hand at Ingrid’s disapproving sounds, and her insists that she go get help, Asher crossed the remaining distance between he and the wolf and held out a hand. The small pup sniffed his fingers eagerly then jumped again, lapping at his hand with a long pink tongue. 

“It’s all right Ingrid” he said, standing between her and the pup, “I will deal with the dog, would you go get me some more tea? And maybe a hot meal? Some rice and beef perhaps?” She nodded but said, “Perhaps a meal isn’t a good idea? You do have the feast later…” She let the sentence carry off, knowing he understood her meaning. 

“Yes Ingrid, I haven’t forgotten. Have them put the beef on the side will you? Bring it here in say half an hour?”

She nodded, and with a wary but curious look at the wolf she trotted off, retrieving the dropped tray and mostly shattered tea set on her way to the kitchens. 

When Ingrid had disappeared around the bend of the garden trail Asher let out a breath he had not even known he was holding, and turned toward the pup who then sat waiting patiently but the door, head tilted to one side. 

“And what shall I do about you?” Asked Asher, staring at it. Blinking lazily the wolf turned and sat facing the door, then looked back toward him expectantly. 

“No” he said “No way, your are not coming in” 

The wolf however did not seem to take his words to heart, even though the intelligence in it’s eyes made Asher think it understood him perfectly. It sounded absurd really. 

Even so the wolf turned toward the door with a determined stare and planted itself in a position as to so it would be able to dash inside quickly no matter which way he opened the door. 

Suppressing an aggravated growl he opened the door wide, allowing the pup inside without a struggle. The white mutt trotted inside, his triumphant gaunt souring Asher’s mood further. 

The animal lopped inside, obviously pleased with it self, and jumped onto the large raised bed matt in the middle of the room. It laid down in the middle looking up from between his paws, it’s blue eyes starling against the dark fabric of the soft linen sheets. 

Asher shook his head and made his way toward the bed, careful not to move so fast as to startle the wolf. To his surprise however, as soon as he had laid down on the edge of the bed, his feet still dangling off the edge, the wolf edged closer, it’s black nose almost touching Asher’s shoulder. It was disconcerting, wild animals were not supposed to behave like this, he thought back to the way the pup had brought the old wolf the hunk of meat, he had not taken notice then, but it was almost as strange as this. 

Perhaps, he thought, it had not always been a wild animal, somebody had maybe taken care of it for a majority of its life, then left it out when it got to big. Or perhaps the wolf had even wandered away, knowing not the way back. 

He shook his head, it didn’t really matter. Sitting up he glanced at the wolf, it had been washed clean of most dirt during its brief swim in the river, and although the wolf did no smell bad, the opposite in fact, as it smelled quiet pleasant, he thought perhaps he should bath the thing if he planned on keeping it. 

Grasping the wolf around the rib cage, to which it made no objection, Asher carried it into the bathing chambers. He himself needed a rather thorough bath after his trek through the wild forests of Beores, and so, stripping and sitting on the rather bloated wooden stool, he began to scrub himself, dumping buckets of warm water over his head ever time he had finished lathering. When he felt he was clean he turned the to the wolf. The animal sat patiently beside him, awaiting it’s turn to be clean, and when Asher moved to dump water over its head the wolf did not growl or shy away as he would have suspected, but rather seemed quiet eager. And so, Asher tipped the bucket of warm soapy water upon it, and began to rub his hands up and down it’s back. Seemingly pleased with the contact, the wolf arched its back upward, pressing its warm body against Asher’s hand. The animal was a mystery, thought Asher, confused by the prospect of a wolf who seemed to have no problem with human contact. Dumbfounded still, Asher decided the wolf had been well enough scrubbed to dump one last bucket of clean water on the animal and be done with it. 

The wolf shook, making it’s snow white hair stand on end. Asher smiled and moved toward a tub that had previously been filled with steaming water, and by the time he climbed in, it was a perfect temperature. 

For a moment he had been afraid the wolf might try to jump in with him, however it seemed content to lay on the tubs edge and watch Asher. 

Asher stared back, he felt strangely close to the animal, and although it seemed illogical to keep such a beast as a pet, seeing as it would grow in size, the thought of sending the thing back out into the wild on it’s own somehow horrified him.

“well” he said, looking away from the wolf, across the room. “I suppose if I’m going to do this the hard way I should give you a name yes?” out of the corner out Asher’s eye, he saw the wolf stir, moving closer to him, and sitting up. When he turned his head, he found himself nose to nose with the animal, its ice like eyes clear as crystal, and boring into his. It was as if the wolf was trying to tell him all about the world. Asher pulled back, startled, and the wolf tilted its head sideways, eyes wide, and ears up. Asher smiled again, amused by the expression on the animals face. He turned his mind back to the task at hand.

“So what should it be, Ido perhaps or maybe Devon?” the wolf made a sound, something akin to a snort of amusement, Asher shook his head, and stood up, dripping and stepped out of the bath. When he was dry enough he put on his clean tunic and went about binding his dark hair, using a this piece of leather, he tied the strands at the back of his head, then sat down on the floor. 

It had been half an hour since he had returned to his room, and he wished Ingrid would hurry up with the tray of food, for he could feel his stomach grumbling. A strange sensation, hunger, he thought, thinking back to the first time he had experienced it. The first time he had snuck out of the castle, he hadn’t thought to bring such a thing as food. It had always just been handed to him, he never had to ask for it, and had never thought of it as an object of rarity among the inhabitants of the lower town, or that he would need money to have it given to him. He had been very young and naive then of course, no older than 8, and had spent his days watching his beloved older brother train and learn. A knock on the door woke Asher from his reverie, he stood and made his way to the door to opened it, knowing he had earlier locked it.

“Sire” said Ingrid, bowing her head. 

“Ingrid” Asher said smiling, and moving aside as too allow her to enter. Asher moved to close the door, and turned to find Ingrid standing dead still staring toward his bed. It took him a minute to think of an object in his rooms that would have her so transfixed, but of course it was the wolf pup.

“It’s alright Ingrid” said Asher, stepping around her, “He’s harmless really. Bring the tray here would you?” The stricken servant nodded, and edged toward the table he had pointed out, always careful not to look away from the wolf, or move any closer than necessary. Laying the tray and a pile of what Asher thought might be robes on the table, Ingrid turned toward him, a look of frightened determination on her face. Before she could start, Asher gave her a warning look, but she ignored his obvious displeasure, as was her wont, and continued on with her chastising.

“Asher, you can not be thinking you will be keeping this animal, it is a wild beast! I am sure it could tear you to pieces in a matter of seconds if it so wished, and what would you father say?” 

“Ingrid” he said slowly, looking at her from the corner of her eye, daring her to continue. “I will keep the animal if it so please me, and further more, it is far from wild and it’s but a pup. As for my father,” he said, looking at her again “He needn’t know about the thing does he?”

Ingrid made an indelicate sound of disapproval as she waved at the pile of linen, “Your robes for tonights feast, freshly washed and pressed.” she said, before turning and walking out, again skirting the edge of the room as too stay as far from the wolf as possible. 

A strange sound came from the wolf, a sound that gave Asher the impression that the wolf was pleased that it had induced such fear in the woman. 

It was only right the human be afraid, wolves are magnificent, fierce creatures. He imagined it saying, that is, if it had the ability to speak. 

Sighing, he picked up the metal tray and carried it over to the bed, setting it on his lap and he settled onto the edge of the bed. With the smell of meat so close, the wolf perked up, inching closer as if it meant to snatch the meat right out of Asher’s hand. Smiling Asher threw a piece of the venetian in the air and the wolf snapped it up hungrily. Setting the rest of the meat on the floor, Asher picked at some of the vegetables as he watched the white pup devour the beef. When he wolf had finished, and Asher felt he was sufficiently full as to not gorge himself on the overly rich food at the feast, he moved to pull on his new robes that his father had obviously had commissioned. He speculated at what the feast was in honour of, what royalties visiting from far away kingdoms as to throw such grandeur. 

He gulped down the remainder of the tea as he finished tying the sash of the robe. The robe was a deep blue colour, almost an indigo, and it had gold piping and rich embroidery up the sleves and on the edges. It was a beautiful outfit to behold, and again he wondered at the purpose of the thing. What could be so importance that his father would spend such money on clothes. 

Shaking his head, Asher tucked his customary dagger into the sash, and after checking quickly in the mirror of polished silver that the dagger would not be visible, he turned toward the wolf. 

What was he to do with it well he was gone, as he would be gone for quite some time. 

Resting his hands on his hips, he looked around the room. His eyes fell on door far at the back of the room. It lead to a small inclosed courtyard, something akin to a yard of a house, but connecting to his rooms alone. It was cold outside, but the courtyard was roofed, and didn’t get much colder than his rooms. Besides, it was a wolf. It had spent the better part of the winter outside, and it was a wild animal, it was meant to survive such weather conditions. 

Decided that this was the best corse of action, Asher walked toward the wolf. He tried herding the animal toward the door, but to no avail. The wolf seemed utterly unintimidated by Asher’s attempts to establish dominance. Well, he thought to himself, at least we know who is the alpha in this relationship. Finally, after a good quarter of an hour he resorted to desperate, foolish and frankly impossible alternative. 

“I need you to go into the courtyard” he said, mentally picture the door as he did so, perhaps, he thought, with all of it’s other strange behaviour, the wolf could understand him. But of course the wolf ignored him completely, it simply laid curled up on his bed, seemingly asleep. 

Finally giving up hope of ever getting it outside Asher conceited that it would be fine inside his rooms. As long as no one decided to venture inside, a servant coming to change the linens, or to set out a tea tray for when he returned.    

Praying silently to whatever god was perhaps listening he wandered once more over to the mirror. He checked again the dagger, and straightened the tunic. There was a flash of white by his feet, and when he looked down the wolf was sitting there, looking at him, it’s big blue eyes flashing. 

“What do you think” he asked, not expecting an answer, but it seemed only appropriate to ask anyhow. The wolf blinked, but Asher got the distinct impression that it approved. 

Smiling at the thought, Asher moved toward the door, dreading the long night ahead of loud voices, and pleasantries and wine.  

A Time When

Teenage writing

20140417-004521.jpg

There was a time not long ago.
A girl I loved
She
Broke my heart

Not again, as I now know
I’ve now accepted
Possibilities
non-existent

A pin in a wall
Caught a string
Now,
That string is loose

The love I had for her
Is gone
That,
Time is over

My broken heart
On the mend
Ready
For new things

Her time has passed
Now time is mine
Gay,
With the flutter of new wings

Familiar~ Part two

Teenage writing, Uncategorized

Despite himself, Asher laughed as he watched the six men scurry away like children who had been scolded. 
“That was cruel” He said, still grinning at his older brother

“And yet, it was still funny to watch them squirm” said Kygo, his large hands splayed across his hips. “Come, lets get you to your rooms so you can clean up before going to see father.” His face suddenly became very serious “Do you have any idea how furious he was when they discovered you had gone?” He asked

Asher flinched, looking off into the distance. “I figured, but I wasn’t gone even a day this time. And it’s not as if I’m the crown prince” Asher said, casting a knowing look in the direction of his brother. But Kygos face had taken on a sad expression. his dark eyes cast in shadows, the knowledge of his illness plain across his face. 

“You may very well be soon enough Astiel” Asher frowned

“Come now brother, don’t say such things. You may not be of the best health, but it is not so bad you cannot live to see your coronation day”

Kygo smiled, casting of the heavy topic, “What? You have no want to be emperor?”

Asher wrinkled his nose “Not particularly, when have you ever known me to aspire to have power? I much prefer the life of a second son thank you” 

Kygo paused in front of his rooms, “I will let father know of your presence, be quick brother” Asher nodded obediently and set of for a change of clothes and a clean face, welcoming the heat of his rooms, and the soft woven fabrics of court.

It wasn’t long before the familiar, motherly face of Ingrid appeared at his door, arms filled with clean clothes, a towel and a tray filled with lavish fruits and bread and cheese. 

Her continuously smiling face creased with worry. 

“Ingrid!” He yelled, rushing to grab the pile of fabric from her. 

“Your highness” she said, placing the tray on a near by table and bowing low from the waist. 

“I am sorry if I worried you Ingrid” he said laying a hand on her thin shoulder before turning on the tray, devouring the fruit. 

“It is not my job to chastise you for running off” she said, her voice betraying no hint of disapproval, but when he looked up her eyes told him he had been right in his guess of her reaction. 

“And I am sorry all the same” said Asher, before striding of to the wash chambers. “I’ll just be a minute, then we can go see my father” 

Ingrid nodded but said nothing. She simply stood where she was, waiting patiently for him to finish.  

Clad in a soft deep blue tunic, fresh leggings and boots and with his face and hair washed and towelled, Asher set out for the throne room, a group of guards trailing him. 

Asher wandered the gardens, walking at a brisk set pace through the chilly spring air, his quickly bound hair blowing in his face. It took but minutes for Asher to reach the large blue doors, their brass handles inlaid with gold. 

As one of the black clad guards pulled open the heavy wooden door Asher clasped his hands behind his back and strode in, doing his best to look princely. 

He caught only a glimpse of the room before dropping to his knees and touching his head to the cold marble floors. His brother standing to the right hand side, behind the throne and his mother sitting in a smaller dark stone chair, her small hand pressed to her mouth with relief at his safety.   

“Rise son” said a deep rumbling voice, its echo booming through the huge hall. 

Asher stood, looking his father straight in the face. “Your Majesty” he said, nodding once. 

“Astiel, Astiel. How many times must we do this? How long before this fancy of yours stops and you realize you are a prince? Not a lowly peasant who must hunt for their food?”

Asher bowed again, from the waist this time “I am sorry father” 

The emperor grunted in response, still shaking his head. The movement making his long, greying beard sway, but despite his age, his black eyes held a certain ageless quality, and yet also a wisdom only acquired by a life times worth of experiences. 

“You may go I suppose, we haven’t much to discuss, I only wished to see you in person and verify your health and well being for myself” the emperor nodded, then as if an after thought added, “and you as well Kygo, I am weary and wish to rest before diner, a feast I hope the two of you will consent to attend” 

Though it had been phrased as a simple request, both the boys knew they had no choice in the matter. They either showed up, dressed in their best robes, or there would be hell to pay. 

Waiting for Kygo to join him, the two backed slowly out of the room in a low bow, then without even having to ask, they headed for the practice fields.
It didn’t take long for the two brothers too reach the compact brown sands of the practice fields, the sounds of clashing steel and wood ringing through the yard. The swords master had spotted them immediately and hurried over, their matching long swords in hand. 

The short man bowed, lifting the weapons above his head. “Your highness’s” he said, shifting on his feet. 

“Swords master Chung” replied Asher smiling broadly, reaching for the weapons and passing one to Kygo. The man nodded, and made to go back to his post along the side lines, but Kygo stopped him. 

“Are there any men that are available to spar?” He asked, thick brows furrowed. 

“Yes of course” said Chung, staring at the prince’s large hand that was resting a top his bicep. Kygo followed his gaze and moved his hand, but Chung still looked nervous at the contact. 

Calling a a large burly man in a black guards uniform over from across the field Chung spoke to him in a hushed voice, then directed him in the direction of Kygo.

“And you, Prince Astiel? Would like a sparring partner as well?” Asked Chung. Asher looked to him in surprise, then down to the ceremonial long sword hanging from his hand. 

“Thats alright!” Said Asher quickly, shaking his head “I’d much to watch thank you.” He added as an after thought. He may be good with a bow, but he hand never so much as even drawn the sword his father hand presented him with at twelve. Handing the sword back to the swords master, Asher took a place against a wall, and settled in to watch his brother practice for a while before starting for the archery field, a place where he could participate in the goings on. 

Staring off into the distant practice field, Asher watched his elder brother spar with a worried expression. His brother wearing only the thin white shift he wore under his tunic, looked un naturally thin for someone who had regular meals and was in a constant stat of training. His cheeks looked sallow, and his muscles remained untoned. Asher shook his head, casting off his worries. He stood and turned toward the archery field, but as soon as his back was turned the field behind him became silent, and then the yelling began. 

Asher spun around, searching the field for the source, but all he could see were a hundred bodies clamouring to get closer to the problem. Dismayed he tried to get closer, and for a second he caught a glimpse of what was happening. All he saw was the convulsing body of a thin boy, his white shift yellow from sand and his once shining boots dirtied from his fit, then the stout form of the royal healer shooing him away, and trying to calm his panic for his brother. 

At last relenting Asher headed for the Archery range, hoping to calm his thoughts. 
No one took a notice to him as he took a place across from a target and began to shoot his arrows, there grey feather fletchings blowing in the wind behind his head. On his 31 arrow his was sure that it would not even hit the target, but at the last minute it seemingly veered and struck the inside of the blue strip, landing directly on the line separating the bulls eyes from the rest of the target. Baffled, Asher stood, marching across the field to retrieve his 31 arrows. Out of those 27 had hit the bulls eye, 28 if you count the one on the line. Confused he yanked them out, shoving them back into his empty quiver. It was as if his aim had spontaneously improved, and under the context of fatigue, which no one questioned, Asher made his way back to his rooms, hoping for food and warm tea before laying down for a good nap before having to attend the feast that evening.  

Taking the long way back, Asher stared at the sky, contemplating how he could convince someone to help him out of the palace again, not anytime soon of course, but near enough in the future he could put his bag of money to use before its contents of copper shillings and and gold coins were discovered by some over curious maid. No doubt the guard he had bribed last time and received a thrashing for his misconduct. Asher flinched, perhaps, he thought, I should seek the boy out and thank, and apologize to him, for he had only been a boy, no more than two years older than he himself was. 

In his walking trace Asher walked into Ingrid, almost knocking over the tea tray in her arms. Ingrid shot him a look, something a kin to amusement and a look that told him he must watch his steps and his path for he will hurt himself or another, and all without a word. Asher smiled at her, the same smile he had been giving her since he was five and she had started working as his body servant. When he had reached twelve his father had tried to replace her but Asher had refused to allow another to assist him and finally his father had relented. Asher loved her for she had been every much a mother to him as the his real mother had been. Ingrid smiled back softly, and without another word, the pair continued on to his rooms. 

Asher had drifted again, and so it took a minute to register the fact that the tea tray was falling, and with lighting fast reflexes he managed to catch it, only one cup escaping and falling to the ground, it’s fine walls breaking into five pieces. 

“Ingrid what-” started Asher, but stopped as he followed her gaze, pacing back and forth in front of his door was a white wolf pup. As if feeling his gaze, the pup stopped, looking at him with those ice blue eyes. 

The Darkness

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The darkness that surronded her was suffocating, it was the kind of darkness that consumed your whole being, your whole self, devouring you until there was nothng left but a shell. It took away her knowloadge of the world, of where she was or what she was doing, and it was unyeilding in it’s task, solid. And yet liquid, always changing, always moving, never the same, and yet never diffrent.  She could have been in the darkness for mer seconds, or days or years. There was no concept of time here. 

Then, there was light. Bright, blinding light that came in waves, pushing away the darkness, and wafting over her until the darkness was gone. And in this light, came a figure. 

Long and dark and slim, the figure reached out for her, expertly grasping her being in it’s long fingers and pulling her into the light. At first she struggled, she did not want to go. Although she had not liked the darkness she knew somehow that the light was worse, there was something waiting for her on the otherside, all the things she had done, those horrible acts. She did jot want to go back. And so she pulled, back toward that horrible darkness.

The figure was whispering something now,

“You need not have the same life, or be the same person” it whispered, and it’s voice startled her, it was lighteter than she had thought. 

“All the things you have done, and the person you were does not matter. You may start anew, as you wish to be. Come now.”

And so she let her self slip into the light. Coming back to the world. 

***

Something tickled at the back of her mind. It felt like something important and horrible she was forgeting. But perhaps, she thought, it is something She did not want to remember. And so she let it be, that tickle at the back of her mind, and continued on with her life as it was, as, at least she thought, it had always been. 

Familiar

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The forest surrounding him was harsh and cold. The bare trees showing no sign of the coming spring and the ground still layered in a thick blanket of ice and snow. The sun in the sky was directly overhead, but the moon could still be seen on the far horizon if you were to stand at the edge of the cliff and look out across the valley. Asher stood half hidden behind a tree, bow strung and aimed at a large doe who was grazing in the clearing. He released the stone arrow missing the animal by a hair breadth. Startled the deer moved to the other edge of the clearing, taking cover behind the tall brush. Asher restrung his bow and took aim again, this time sure he could get the clear kill shot that presented itself. A loud growl rang through the forest, and the deer took flight deeper into the trees, deeper than even he dared follow. He looked around for the source of the sound. Staring directly at him from across the clearing was what appeared to be a grizzly old wolf, its already grey fur laced with silver and its black eyes blue with cataracts. Asher stomped to the tree with his arrow imbedded in the bark. “You damed dog, that was the only game for miles!” He pulled the arrow out with a grunt and checked the fletching before shoving it back into his quiver slung across his back. 

A small yelp came from behind the old wolf. Asher started, tensing, but what appeared behind the old wolf was only a small grey pup covered in what looked like blood and had a small lump of meat hanging from his mouth. The pup dropped the meat in front of the elder then looked toward Asher with what surprise, as if he had just noticed the other being present in the forest. The wolfs eyes where a startling blue, so pale they had the semblance of an icicle handing from a hut. The old wolf bent his head and picked up the meat then turned away, walking into the forest without a sound. Asher expected the small one to follow but it hadn’t moved. It sat on the thin bed of pine needles and simply watched him, never blinking. Asher stared back for what felt like hours before finally turning back towards the path that would lead him home. 

He followed the faint game trail that lead toward the bottom of the mountain range, moving as fast as the bramble would allow. He had a ways to go yet, and he was unsure of the time as the dense net of trees above allowed only the faintest light into the forest of the Beores. When he came near the bottom of the mountain, and he could hear the stream rattling over the rocks, he turned, trekking directly down the mountain toward the nearest ford. 

The stream was thin there, it’s width reaching no more then ten feet across, and its water levels low for early spring. At the bottom of the mountain grass was visible peaking through the powdery snow, and buds were beginning to appear on trees, he could even hear the occasional bird song ring through the forest.

As he reached the middle of the road he paused to look back into the forest, saying goodbye to the quiet solitude it provided. Pulling out the last of his bread and cheese he began to eat before continuing his walk home. A loud splash sounded from behind him, making him turn his toward the sound. Splashing in the shallows on the bank was a startlingly white wolf pup, looking new washed from his cold bath. Confused Asher took a step closer, as if aware of his gaze the pup stopped what it was doing, turned and sat on it haunches looking directly at him. He saw then the colour of it’s eyes, blue. It was the same one he’d seen deep in the Beores. He stared at it. The stupid animal had followed him all the way down the mountain. 

“Go!” he yelled at it, waving a hand toward the forest. “Shoo!” It only stared at him, head cocked to the right. But of course it was just an animal, it couldn’t understand him. Shaking his head he kicked his dropped bread over the side and into the water before returning to his trek. Splashes sounded as the pup found his way out of the water, his newly white fur sparkling in the sun. Let it follow, it didn’t really matter to him, he just hoped it could find it way back again. 

From here he could see the city, beyond miles of fields empty of any farmers. Was his birth city, its glorious buildings sparkling in the sun light, and in the middle was the palace. He sighed and looked down to his right where the pup had taken his place. It was already watching him with an intense curiosity. He got the feeling then that the wolf could see his thoughts and he shivered at the prospect. Turning back to the road, he began to walk, dreading his return home. 
As he neared the gates he realized that the wolf pup had disappeared, choosing to return home rather then approach the city. The guards at the gates nodded to him but had been far to busy placing bets to really have a good look at him. He released a breath when they where behind him, and turned to follow the wall until he reach the plaza. No one payed him a moments notice as he made his way through the city, their gazes passed by him without pause and the few who took notice at all smiled pleasantly then turned their attentions back to the tasks at hand. 

The anonymity pleased him and he passed through the city without a word. 

Someone called his name and he flinched turning toward the sound. The man behind him was large and burly, looking as fierce as a bear but a large grin had spread across his scarred face. 

“Ho Asher!” He said “What do you have for me this time?” The big man eyed his pack eagerly, as Asher usually came back from a hunt with multiple game. 

Asher grinned at him, thankful it had only been the butcher. “Ho Horst! I haven’t much, game is hard to come by this time of year, but lets take this to your shop.” The large butcher nodded complacently and started toward the small building dome the street. 

“Your tellin’ me!” said the butcher “My shops been empty a costumers all day!” The butcher continued on for the next ten minutes, obviously pleased at the company and the chance to do some business. Asher watched the burly man from the corner of his eye, carful to keep a smile on his face. 

They soon reach the small shop and Asher wrinkled his nose at the smell of death that emanated from the place. It’s not as if the rest of the city had a particularly pleasant smell. In fact a good deal of the time it smelled of urine, however this was worse. Breathing through his mouth, he went in, waiting by the counter as Horst went in through the back. 

“Alright!” He said “let’s a see what you’ve managed to scrape up!” Asher nodded, pulling his pack on the counter and opening it to show the assortment of small animals. 

“Hmm, good bunch you’ve got here! Expertly skinned and cleaned as usual!” Asher smiled at the compliment. It wasn’t often be was rewarded with one as such. 

“How much?” He asked, nodding toward the pile. 

“Well these are some good sized animals for small game, so I’d say..” He paused deliberating “I’d say perhaps 50 lugels? ”

Asher nodded “Ok, done” Horst frowned 

“You never haggle, takes all the fun out of it!” 

Asher smiled at him “Sorry” 

The big man sighed, but shook his head “No need to apologize, it just seems odd is all” 

This time Asher frowned “How so?” He asked “The prices you name are more then reasonable, why would I want to haggle a higher price for the meats?”

“Well yes, I suppose thats true, but everyone haggles, no matter if the prince is fair or not”

Asher put a hand on the back of his neck, the small hairs under his cap tickling the ends of his fingers. “Interesting. I will still however accept this price for today”

“Of course” Horst said, nodding. “I would expect nothing else” he paused for a moment watching him. Asher fidgeted under the gaze. “The way you talk sometimes boy, I would swear your on of the royals themselves, but” he shook his head “thats ridiculous of course.” 

Asher stared at him silent, then forced a laugh, “Yes, ridiculous.” 

Still shaking his head Horst handed Asher the bag of coins before raising a hand to wave goodbye. “I’ll see you soon then?” 

Asher flinched, thinking of how he had snuck out. “I do not think so. I am sure my parents will be furious” Horst looked surprised at this. 

“What, they didn’t know you left?” Asher shook his head in shame, concentrating on tying the bag to his belt and tucking it under the thick folds of his tunic.  

“Huntings not their favourite of my pass times, and its not as though we’re not well enough off without it. I simply enjoy it” Horst nodded. 

“Understandable enough. Until next time then!” 

Asher nodded and left the shop, slipping back into the shadows and made his way home, the thought of seeing his father weighing heavily on his mind. 

Finally he had reached home, his modest clothing covered in dirt and his face hidden behinds mounds of fur to ward off the the cold, he slunk in the shadows of the service gate. A young maid looked up at him, meeting his eyes and it took but a moment before she darted off in the opposite direction, and with the weight of his pack he could not move fast enough to stop her. In minutes he was surrounded by guards and house servants, all ushering him toward his father. 

“Enough!” rang a sharp commanding voice from a boy he could not see, but sight was not needed for he recognized it immediately. 

The men around him parted instantly, allowing the boy to see Asher in all his fur clad, mud caked glory. 

Asher bowed low, his eyes never leaving the dark ones of the boy-man in front of him. “Your highness” he said.

The boy in front of him looked relaxed, a lazy smile had spread across his face, and his dark hair had fallen into his eyes where is had come out of it ties. He looked as though he was trying to suppress a laugh. 

“Brother” he said looking him up and down “What a mess, you mustn’t go before the emperor like this!”

As it Happens

Teenage writing

I stand back stage, looking out upon a crowd so large that I feel dizzy. I shake my head, and look down to the front row where Jack sits fiddling with the end of his tie, he always did hate them, so tight and restricting.
Perhaps he felt me watching because he looked up then and gave me a toothy grin. A grin that spoke volumes to my nervous soul.
Then a man walked out to the centre stage where the microphone sat.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I am fortunate to introduce Wesley Simmons, a retired law professor from Phoenix.
“Now, as you know he did not fly all the way from Arizona to give a lecture in pre-law, but a proposition on how to reduce bullying in schools. He proposes we begin holding mandatory GSA, Gay Straight alliance, meetings in all schools. Not only will it create a more safe environment for LGBT youth in our schools, but will also give straight students a place to be themselves. Perhaps in the process it will lower all bullying rates. Not just that of LGBT youth.
“Anyway, before I give his whole presentation away, Wes Simmons!”
I climb onto the stage and begin to speak, but the only thing I could focus on was the day my life changed forever, some 60 odd years ago.

***

It had happened. I thought this over and over again, staring down at an empty piece of paper, pen in hand. But what was I to do about it? There had been no point in to trying to be civil, have a conversation, he was disgusted with me; I suppose I could have tried pleading, but I doubt it would have helped the situation much. I had no other choice then to wait and let him make his own decision about whether or not to ruin my life. Whether or not to let me loose my family, my job, everything I had worked for. The 1950’s was no place for a man like me.
I had wanted so badly to trust him enough to know that he could never do it, never be the one to have me thrown into jail, and be beaten and disgraced. The way he had looked at me though, hate in those hazel eyes.

I could remember it as sharply as if it where a film playing on a screen over and over again, unable to ever turn it off. Doomed for eternity to see the complete and total disgust on his face, as he stood there with the piece of paper in his hand, my loopy script covering it’s front and back.
His face falling as he read through it’s words, and my confusion as I saw his reactions. I had not known what the paper had been, had not known the words I had written years ago, not known that I had left them there. And that I had asked him to read through my work, and pick out his favourites for I had gotten a spot in the weekly news for a column.
I dropped the pen onto the counter and stood up, starting towards the door, then changing my mind. I should most certainly leave him to choose on his own. My presence would not have improved his opinion, in fact ruin it completely.
It had happened, as I had known it eventually had to, but I hadn’t known what to do about anything. So I sat right back down on the floor, putting my face in my hands, and feeling the wet tears pool themselves in my palms. I couldn’t loose him, the boy I had spent years figuring out, and the man who I had fallen for so completely. I tried to remember the days before he had found out, about me, and what I am.
Years ago, a green park, we had sat with coffee in hand, and listened to a violinist play on a street corner. The absolute contentment in my friend’s face, and the peace in his eyes. Music had given him peace.
Only weeks ago we had sat in this very apartment and I had listened to him play, and the joy and passion I had seen as his bow ripped across the strings of the delicate instrument.
A couple days ago his laughter ringing through my small, cluttered apartment as he had read some of my more juvenile poems.
And only hours ago, that damed piece of paper, with my scrawlings and my secrets plain for him to see. Plain for me to see how much he had come to hate me in those few precious seconds. And why shouldn’t he have hated me? I hated me, for what I am, and for what I craved. I had hated myself for the things that I had wished, and had wished of him.
But self hatred and seeing him, the only one who had ever even remotely understood me, seeing the plain disgust painted across his face. Those hatreds are two very, very different creatures.
I had begged him not to give me away, but he never once glanced at me, just rushed out the door.
And then I heard a small tap on that very same door, so I dragged myself up of the floor, and pushed my legs to walk toward it, and my hand to close around the brass knob, and my arm to twist in open.
There he had stood, in his brown golden glory, and his hands shoved deep into his pockets, and his mop of hair falling into his frowning face.
“I would never” Is all he had said before he pushed his way past me, and flopped onto my couch
“Whats for diner?” He had asked casually, looking back at me, and smiling.
I had simply stared, arms useless by my side, and only upright for the force it would have taken to pull me down was more that I could have mustered at the moment.
His face had fallen, at the sight of seeing me standing there, in total shock.
“Look” he had said, rolling off the couch and walking towards me a couple steps. “I’m sorry. I just couldn’t comprehend the information I was reading alright?” he ran a long fingered hand through his mousy hair. “I was surprised, and a little embarrassed, and I needed time to process.
“I know that, well I was angry, until I got home and realized that you have always been this right? So what is knowledge but power? I’m a reasonable man, and I will be reasonable about the situation, as long as you force none of the… queer habits… on me alright?”
Again I just stared at him, but thinking about his offer all the same. Of course I knew he would never be as comfortable with me as he once had been, but whats a little distance vs never seeing him again?
Slowly I nodded, hesitant and nervous.
“Come now Wesley, let’s head out for a diner eh? That nice little shack down by the water front? On me tonight”
I just nodded again, slipped on my black and white wingtips, tightened my tie round my neck, and headed for the door.
Perhaps we could continue as we had been, queer or not. Perhaps not everyone thought people like me where abominations against god, but just different. Somehow the thought made me relax in my own skin a little, giving me one last hope for humanity 60 years from now.

***

My speech had been short and sweet. Now I simply sat and thought.
Sixtey years ago I was a boy who knew nothing of himself. Lost and confused by the world, and scared the world was lost and confused by him. That humanity would have thrown itself at at me, torches lit, ready to tear me to shreds, devour me. Simply an animal needing to be put down for I was sick and the disease would have spread rapidly had I been set free.
But there was hope for humanity after all, they never found a cure of the sickness they assumed I had, but instead thought that perhaps there was no need to cure it.
And so I bow to you my society, my world, for your gracious forfeit was a noble one.

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Silence

Teenage writing

Lost and forgotten
Or tried.
Pulling like water lapping at the sand.
And trying to pull me under.
Struggling for air,
And to stay above its glistening surface
So like glass
Shattered, and pulling me and pulling.
But oh how it tempts
How beautiful
Beauty of light reflecting its broken glass surface.
But still I struggle for the hardships of air.
____________________________

Did you know?
Oh did you hear?
Did you hear how she cried?
And how she pleaded?
With her calloused palms?
And over inked finger tips?
With her glass eyes?
And china skin?
I often can’t think of anything else
Nothing but that drowning girl,
So much like me.
Can I even remember how I used to be?
Before everything?
Oh so glorified and refined.
With glassy finger tips,
And red lips.
____________________________

No I didn’t hear.
Not this time,
Of the girl,
Or of the glass that was broken.
Or the word that was known.
To everyone.
Maybe she said no
One to many times?
And finally said yes
With regret
In those glass like eyes?
I never really understood that.
But maybe the thought of going alone
without her.
Was to much?
But I am not her
Not yet.
Maybe silence will be better
Than going with a bang.

Broken Bottles&Lilies (Part 1.)

Teenage writing

Broken bottles and lilies
Littering my kitchen
Floor&reminding
Me of everything.
Of everything I’ve endured.
Skin turned to stone,
But still easily broken.
Slat fingertips stained
In ink, and the sound
Of my pencil scratching
On ripped paper and tapping keys.
I tread carefully over the broken bottles.
Afraid of getting cut
Again,
Again, but the lilies
Somehow protect me
From their wrath.
But my stone hide is
Shattered by their
Softness and sickly
Sweet smell.
I can’t stand the smell
Of the beautiful flower
So I throw
And break more bottles.
Only start at the beginning again.

flash fiction: three sentence story

Teenage writing

Two girls sit in their apartment, ready for the fight, packed with their rune covered blades and holy water, there is a sudden crash and a large black daemon emerges through the dust. The smaller of the two girls screams as the daemon rushes them attacking her sister, she watches as the body slumps to the floor with a sick dull crack. Her father comes out of nowhere and grabs her arm, pulling in vain to get her out of the apartment and the bloodcurdling sound of her scream can be heard over 100 more, her beloved sister is dead.