zaterdag 13 december 2014
Stone : PROLOGUE
The story of Tom Varsen and the Stone Dynasty. A story full of adventures with wizards, witches, knights and some ordinary people, who, after all, aren't so ordinary.
Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere
To offend a low person is like throwing a stone in the mud and getting splashed.
Indian musician, writer, philosopher 1882-1927
The old man looked with glazed eyes in front of him. He was dressed in a simple but solid green velvet knickerbockers and a brown leather vest decorated with brocade on the neck and arms. On his feet, he had half-length boots which were on first sight very old, but still not worn out. Below the vest, there was a stylish white shirt with on the collar, two red letters embroidered: C.S.
The hair of the man they called Conrad Stone, was white and thinned out by the years. You could also count his old age in the countless wrinkles of his weathered face. The brown color of skin was grayish now, but it witnessed of a long life out-of-doors under a scorching sun.
At his waist, he carried a sword with an impressive hilt. Gold and silver were woven over the handle and the middle of it displayed a big gemstone which reflected the scarce light of the candles in the colors of the rainbow.
He knew his time had come. He had the privilege of enjoying many years for better and for worse. King Conrad couldn’t complain. He had stayed healthy for the greater part of his life. He had also been blessed with many friendships and a good woman.
Five years ago, he lost his life companion, Lady Liliane. A short and callous disease took her from him. Alas, she had not given him a child. Now he felt as a lonely person without her, a broken old man who would be glad if death would take him too, the sooner and the better.
Not that he was sick. Not at all, but his life was tied to the prophecies. He had lived well, but he wouldn’t escape his destiny. King Conrad thought about the century-old words the prophet Diana ever had written.
The tenth of the King Dynasty who shall live in the age of the Dragons will be a good king and he will be loved and praised by his subjects. Richness and health will accrue to him. A tender and loyal woman will accompany this king during his life and make him happy. All this the king will possess, but his wife will not bring forth an heir to the throne in his life. She will proceed him to death and he will follow her after five years of sorrow.
As King Conrad grew older and being the tenth in the Stone line, he started to believe more and more in the prophecy. Being a young prince, the prophecies were grafted onto him. Nonetheless, his teachers and the Masters had pointed at the inevitability of the outcome of those words, he didn’t really believe these prophecies as a young man. Alas, as predicted there came no heir, despite the efforts he and his wife were making.
His wife had passed away five years ago. Would the prophecy become true in full? He almost hoped it, because then he would be united with his sweet Liliane. On the other hand, he left his kingdom without a successor. It was painful to know there wasn’t a good follow up with his family.
The law required if there were no descendants in the line of the king, there would be chosen by the first born children of an older brother or sister of the king. If they had no children, with the next in the dynasty of the Stone family. If the successor was not of age, his father or mother would take the reign till the heir-apparent became of age. In case there were no successors to these persons, the oldest nephew or cousin would take over the sceptre. In this way, there would always be a young pretender to the throne instead of an older one who could die shortly by old age.
Unfortunately, the next in line was the oldest and grown-up son of his brother Harald. Regrettably, he was a good-for-nothing and an inveterate womanizer. He also had a lot of friends and sympathizers in the Brotherhood of the Black Wizards, a society of sorcerers who weren’t very popular among the inhabitants of the nation. Charles Stone was not made of the material that served to make kings or rulers. The king had complete contempt for the oldest child of his brother Harald.
Conrad knew what the Black Wizards were capable of. He had, seized by despair and sorrow, turned to them too. They told him they could help him, to let him talk to Lady Liliane beyond the limits of death. He just had to give them some of his blood and a string of hair or a tooth of his late wife. King Conrad suspected he would do more harm than good and Liliane would have disapproved any manner to cheat on death. So he declined them though in his heart he felt the pain because he would never see or hear his beloved wife. Conrad wouldn’t indulge in the sneaky ways of this dubious Brotherhood of the Black Wizards.
He rotated the Kings Ring around his finger. King Conrad had received it from his father Bartelomeus when he ascended the throne. It was a just a gem, not really pretty. The ring was connected with the throne as now other pageantry and right on the kinghood. With a sigh, he removed him from his index finger and with a loaded pace he hurried to the castle well which servants used to fetch fresh water. It was the only way he knew to secure the future of his kingdom. A calculated risk to deny the throne to Charles. Without the ring, no lawful King, so it was written in the laws. Maybe the surroundings of the pretender to the throne would find something to avoid this and even take the power, but the people also had the power and knew the laws as well as the nobility. Even if it was only on paper, the Council of the People had to approve when the successor wasn’t the son of King Conrad.
Arrived at the well, the old king took a deep breath. With a weary gesture, he let fall the little jewel in the well. The underground river would carry him away. He hoped far, so far that nobody of his family would find it. If someone, other than the rightful pretender found him, even then he would not be able to carry him on his finger. It was common knowledge that someone who didn’t fit the title of King would be subjected to a heavy allergy. The hand would color red and it would itch, far more than a healing burning wound. Eventually, the allergy would spread over the whole body of this person.
Conrad knew of another prophecy in the books of the prophet Diana and hoped this would also come true as the one about his kingdom.
The ring will search his bearer outside the family. He or she who has the right to shove him around his finger will be able to wear him on his hand without pain and discomfort. The ring will find his King, even if he is on the other side of this world.
Above all King Conrad now believed in the prophecies. It was his only hope. With a last effort, he mounted the many stairs of the castle on the way to his chamber and his bed, where he would take a rest.
Wish and prophecy became true. King Conrad Stone didn’t wake up anymore.
© Rudi J.P Lejaeghere 08/12/2014