The Ghost Of Defiance

            She will mark him with the ancient sigil of defiance, and from this we shall know Her purpose.

-- The Detritus of Prucius
Attributed to the Acolytes of Dalgess IV

Muttered in unison as King Prucius died


The court grew silent as a force mightier than any mortal hand thrust open the doors of the throne room. They slammed against the walls, one pushing a scribe to the floor. And wielding such great power, in strode Dalgess IV of House Ettaph.

The aisle of pristine white carpet was left untainted by his feet, as all within the court of His Royal Humility had bare feet, leaving all their gaudy shoes and sandals in the anteroom.

His Royal Humility stood calmly, with a face that took no disrespect at the intrusion, despite the muttering and cursing of the noblemen that lined the ornately sculpted seating.

"I apologize for the interruption, my king. Yet I would be remiss if I did not bring this to your attention immediately."

"Bring what to my attention, Dalg?" asked the King, daring to give no formality.

Dalgess Ettaph approached the silver throne, though he did not bow before his liege. Between these men, there was a casual friendship that would not be broken for the sake of pompousity.

"You hesitate to speak, Dalgess," observed the King. "Does still grief for my brother hold your tongue?"

"What says your brother is dead, Glouste?"

Their audience gasped, for a court magician, though of noble blood and inheritance, had the audacity to address His Royal Humility by his first name, and first name only.

King Glouste smiled. And while his lips parted, his brow converged.

"The young man we found, with the odd rune upon his forehead, who bears such a likeness to King Prucius... where is he?" asked the oneiromancer. "Show me your brother's ghost."

"I will humour you, Dalgess, if you that boy is anything more than a passing resemblance, mayhaps more than a mere bastard progeny."

"My dearest King, you know not what my streetears have heard. There are witnesses who saw him fall from the eclipse, directly in the middle of town square. That's right, he fell into the Fountain of Allneyz just before dusk and nearly drowned, long before anyone reported his likeness."

"Fell from the eclipse? Are you trying to fulfill your own prophecy, Dalgess?"

"My liege, you know me better than that. And I swear it, those were not my words. The Prophecy of the Five came from my mouth, from my tongue, but not from my mind. I have no memory of that night prior to his passing."

"Now you say my brother is indeed dead?"

"No, Your Royal Humility. I merely--"

"Bring in the one who calls himself Aaron!" demanded King Glouste.

"He fell from the eclipsed red sun, not the blue that lights our skies. They say he fell at a speed that nothing of sturdy shape and weight can, as if he passed through the air with the loftiness of a mere feather until he was but a dozen feet above the fountain's central pool."

"Is this heresay, or do you have a reputable witness, Dalgess?"

"The merchant, Huperl of Donreil is among those vouching for the story. All testimony is in agreement, as if they all saw the same occurrence. This is indeed the work of the Gods."

"But of what importance is he to you, Dalgess?"

"Ah, that is what I came to report, Your Royal Humility," spoke Dalgess. "It is widely known that you do not want to wear your brother's crown any longer, and that you accepted it with reluctance in the first place. However, I think Prucius will be king once more."

A red-faced and rotund nobleman stood up and interrupted before the king could respond, "This prophet is but a madman graced with magic, Your Royal Humility!"

Dalgess grimaced, and then withdrew a flat, polished stonelike object from his pocket. Its surface was a glossy black, as of obsidian.

"What is this precious stone you hold before me, Dalgess of Ettaph?" asked the king.

The disgruntled nobleman took his seat.

"My king, I know not in its entirety. I believe it is a stone of scrying, but that does not scry people or places. It is much like a book, though it is a language I cannot decipher. A farmer saw it fall slowly from the eclipsed blue sun, and my spies in the east intercepted it en route for your cousin's palace."

The doors swung slowly open, and guards brought forth a tall, slender youth whose clothes were of too fine a making and whose forehead bore a symbol that was glowing brightly with each beat of his heart.

It curled like a circle but was notched and accented with sharp and curling lines as if the symbol was deadly and serrated, yet sturdy and firm in artistic splendour.

All eyes were on his forehead as the armoured guards dragged him forward as if he were a prisoner.

He did not bother struggling. He just stumbled along with them, trying to avert his eyes from all the people who looked at him with unnatural fear and awe.

"He speaks our tongue, and that of eastern countries," the king told the prophet who stood before his throne.

Dalgess turned towards the captive young man and extended a hand towards him, backside forward and fingers up.

Aaron looked back, unsure of what to make of the gesture.

"Will you not flat my hand?" asked Dalgess.

"Will I what your hand?" answered Aaron, rather than repeating the same gesture so that the back of his hand touched the back of the magician's.

Dalgess turned to face the king, "You see, he is not of this world, or at least not of this land or any neighbouring lands."

"I come from a world where the sun is yellow. Yes, the sun, we have only one in our sky."

"He tells curious nonsense, Dalgess. I will not abdicate to put a foreigner on the throne, even if all Houses voted in support. But I admit, he is the spitting image of a young Prucius."

"I am sixteen years of age, if a year means to me what it does to you, Your Majesty," he said with a gentle bow of his head.

"Majesty? I have never been given such a title, and I am not so deserving of one. Please refer to me as My Royal Humility."

"Very well, my King," replied the terran human.

"Am I your King, boy?"

Aaron stared back into the graying blond hair of King Glouste, and then down at the tired, empty gray eyes. "Where I come from, I have no king. However, we have a queen... sort of. She's not really ours."

"What do you make of this, sun-fallen?" asked Dalgess, as he showed the rectangular black object in his hand.

"It is a device, the complexity of which I can best explain to you as magic, though it is not magic."

Dalgess turned it over in his hand, exposing the flat underside which had writing on it. And across the back was a piece of masking tape upon which the owner had written her name with a black Sharpe: ALISON

"Alison," Aaron read, tracing a finger along the tape. "I know the young woman to whom this belongs."

"Can you also read the words that are scried upon the inner surface, when it is opened?"

"I assume so. May I?"

Dalgess handed Aaron the black object.

"Ugh, I hate Nintendo," he muttered to himself as he turned on the gaming device. He selected the game in the Nintendo Dual-Screen's first slot.

         Fissure of Fate

"This object currently contains a work of fiction titled Fissure of Fate," he told them. "It's like a book, but with pictures, actions and consequences. In fact, it's based on a book. My older brother, Moe, is reading it... wherever he is."

"So you, like the late King Prucius, have an elder brother," pointed out Dalgess. "Can you teach me to read your language?"

"It won't be much use. The energy source of this device is limited."

"I know. I had to recharge it twice, since it fell from the blue sun."


"I just put my finger in this hole at the base of the axel that it folds open by, and cast a small amount of magic."

"Oh," said Aaron, rather dumbfounded. "How resourceful of you."

"And you said it does not run on magic?"

"I must admit, I am not familiar with magic. It does not exist in my world."

"Do not lie to me, I can sense your powers, star-fallen," admonished Dalgess Ettaph.

"As can even I," added King Glouste.

"Even one without training can sense your power when you do not bother to veil it from our minds."

Aaron stuttered, "A-are y-you telling me I'm capable of magic?"

"He puts on a good act, I'll give him that," said the king.

"Teach me magic, and I will teach you, as best I can, to write and read the way my people write and read the language that you speak."

"We have a deal, then, sun-fallen one."

Aaron looked down at the two screens of Alison's Nintendo DS to see a depiction of himself, in a semblance of the throne room, speaking with Dalgess, word for word, as if it were a scene in the game.

The End

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