[written] In Service (a tale of the recent war)

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[written] In Service (a tale of the recent war)

Post  Christen M. on Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:30 pm

*** This is a story that can be found in the Elven Race Book. For those who have never seen it, or would like a better vision about the elven brothers, their dynamic, and a glimpse into their natures. ***

In Service


King Anwyn stood with his hands clasped behind his back as he faced the open stained glass window, and looked out over the splendor of his beloved city. The sun gilded the gracefully spiraling buildings and folk a soft gold, and he was pleased. There was no greater beauty in all of the world than could be found here, at the very heart of elvendom. Even the most mean elven child had more intellect and grace, more beauty and poise than the greatest the humans had to offer. His dark green eyes, so deep a color as to be true emerald, studied his folk, and a soft smile pulled at the corners of his generous mouth.

“My King?” Antilious, the king’s vizier and loyal servant prompted a second time. He had given Anwyn an hour since last asking, and would have been happy to give him longer had the matter not been so very pressing. “What say you to the Crown Prince’s request?”

His long, raven black hair swirled about him as he turned to regard Antilious keenly. The King’s features were sharp and arresting, perfect in every way as was fitting and proper for one of his ancient bloodline. “Remind my dear brother that I do not give commands twice. If the human rabble will not bend a knee and acknowledge us as the rightful possessors of that land, and neither will they relocate to a place beyond our borders, then I want their pathetic excuse for a settlement burned to the ground. What matter a few of the wretched folk, anyway? They will replace the loss in a fort year with the rate at which they breed.”

Antilious nodded, but paused thoughtfully. His sea gray eyes held those of the king honestly, and he paused to tuck a braid of his golden hair behind a delicately pointed ear. “Anwyr will not be pleased. You know he has a soft spot for humans.”

The King’s amused smile vanished to be replaced by wintry cold. “I am not in the custom of indulging the Crown Prince’s follies. Anwyr will obey me, or I will have him on treason to the Crown!”

“Yes, milord. I shall relay your order to him at the front with all haste.” The Elder of House Oniel bowed and left his king’s presence.

Anwyr. The king felt a cool anger at the name that was more than his annoyance that his younger brother had dared to ask him to clarify his commands. He turned back toward the open window, letting the cool breeze caress away his anger.

It had been years since the death of his mother and the cataclysm that had claimed her life in the joining of the One Magic. Years, perhaps, but that was not so long to the elvenkin. Not so long at all. And the sting of those first weeks and months remained with him, yet troubled him. He could still hear the voices of those who had called for Anwyr, not himself, to lead the fair folk into the new age. He could still see the adoration on their faces as they spoke of his beauty and bravery, could see the throngs of folk who had gathered to welcome the Prince home when he had returned with his Companions to announce that he had, indeed, found lost Cor’An’Dar.

“Anwyn!” The voice was musical and troubled, laden with emotion. Disgusting.

Anwyr, Crown Prince and youngest son of the late Queen Anvea, stood in his brother’s presence, a look of pain on his beautiful face. He had teleported straight here, distraught and hoping to reason with the king. He was his brother’s opposite in almost every way. His hair was sunlit blonde, pulled back into a long braid to fall to the center of his back. His eyes were a summery blue, deep and expressive. At present, he was girt as for war in silver and blue elven plate male, his helm in the crook of one arm. Like his brother, he was the epitome of elven beauty and grace with his fine features and long pointed ears.

“You cannot mean for me to slaughter them, surly!” His voice was soft, plaintive.

Anwyr loved his brother more than anything else in the world, save for the elven people as a whole. He had always sought to please Anwyn, make him laugh, and honor him. But, they were so very different. Anwyn was the scholar and deep thinker, while Anwyr loved the thrill of discovery. He was more expressive than his older brother, less guarded. All of his life, however, he had tried to earn his brother’s respect, if not his love. When the people had called for him to be king, he had quickly refused, for that place was Anwyn’s by both ability and right. He had never wanted to position, contrary to what he knew to be his brother’s suspicions.

Anwyn refused to turn around and even look at his brother. “Perhaps I was unclear? Or is it that your time among the humans has made your wits as dull as theirs?”

The Prince frowned as if struck. “You know that neither is true, Anwyn. Just as you know that I will obey you unto the ends of the lands, but this is unnecessary slaughter. It does not sit well with me.”

At last the king turned. “Does not sit well with you? Does not sit well with you! Anwyr, they are rats! Vermin that have infested our ancient homelands like a disease! They make war among themselves, and accost what of our folk are about in the world. You are the High Commander of the Elven Army, my right hand! It is your sacred and sworn duty to protect the elven people from all threats! These vermin must be removed, that our lands be made safe and secure!” His voice was imperious.

The prince sighed. “I would die to protect our kin, just as I would give my life in your service, brother mine. I had but hoped for another way, a way that did not mean murdering farmers and children.”

Anwyn came over and placed a hand on his younger brother’s shoulder. Two hundred years stood between them, not so very much really. He schooled his features into a look of kind understanding. “You are House Sil’varin, Crown Prince of the elves. Your choices are never easy ones. I know that if you had your way, you would be out riding to glory and discovery with your loyal band of Companions like knights of old. But, this is a dangerous time for us all, Anwyr. Our enemies will not remain long in the chaos of this post cataclysmic period. Ere long, the humans will look to the grace and beauty of our kingdom, and they will lust for it. They will come and destroy our peaceful lives, make a blood bath of our fair city. They know no other way! You have been among them, you know what they are like!”

Anwyr looked up and into his brother’s eyes. “Many, yes, but not all. There are those of good as well.”

The king smiled indulgently. “Ah, my little brother. Always a one to see the very best in people. It is well, then, that you have me to protect you from yourself. Good there may be in some, perhaps, but their fiery nature is in destruction. They cannot help it. Pity them, but do not love them, Anwyr. That way lies in dire peril.”

For a long time there was silence between them. Anwyr would have done anything for his brother, anything. He loved him very much, wanted nothing more than to earn his respect and trust in return. He had always adored Anwyn, had always seen him as the embodiment of everything that was good and noble in the elvenkin. And so, against his own nature, he had agreed to lead the armies of the elves for the King, where he would have rathered to ride out with his band of companions in search of the lost cities and treasures of the ancient elves. And so, he now rode as to war, reclaiming all that had once been the preview of the elven empire. All for the love of his brother.

With a sigh, he nodded his head. “I will do as you command, though my heart is heavy. I wish there were another way.”

“As do I, my dear Anwyr, as do I. But, we must think always first of the greater good of our folk, for they look to and trust us to see to their care. It is a weighty duty, and one that requires we take actions we find repugnant, but our duty all the same.” He tipped up his brother’s chin so that Anwyr was looking into his dark emerald eyes. “You will not fail me?”

The Crown Prince shook his head sadly, a look of resignation on his beautiful face. “No… I will not fail you.” His voice was soft.

The King smiled and clapped him on the back. “Good, good. Then you will be with haste back to the front?”

He nodded. “By your leave?”

Anwyn gave his brother a half bow. “May the silver light of the stars ever shine upon your path, brother mine.”

“And the sun bright upon your own,” the Prince intoned the ritual parting.

It was not until the Prince was gone that the King’s smile faded. Anwyr was a troublesome and sentimental fool. More than that, he was dangerous. There were many among the Houses and Halls who shared his pet kindness for the lesser races. Those same folk were those who had thought the charismatic and daring Anwyr would have been the best choice for king. Anwyn knew that he had to silence them, could not permit any division or weakness among the elves. Things were finally falling into place, that the Empire might be reborn once more. His mother had been negligent, had allowed the human rabble to infest their lands. But, he would rectify the situation. And he would deal with softhearted Anwyr as well.

If only the fool would be a good boy and get himself killed on the field of battle like some glorious knight of old. It would suit him, and silence those who would see him on the throne in my stead, the King thought darkly. Still, Anwyr would do as he was told. He was so desperate for his brother’s affection that he would not dare disobey, a fact that amused the King even as he arranged to put his little brother in death’s path.

You would give your life in my service, would you, Anwyr? And so you shall… so you shall… The King would permit nothing to stand in the way of the Empire, of the rebirth of the elves into glorious rule over fair Phantara, as was their right, their proper place. Not even his own flesh and blood.
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Christen M.

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