Unnormal Normalcy

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Short Story Saturday

Time for another edition of Short Story Saturday! This time we have the first part of a short series I wrote for my creative writing class a few years ago. In it, you will find some characters who are major players in Vows (though I eased up on their strict adherence to tradition in the novel). Enjoy!

 

Saga of an Outcast; Part I

The room was darkening with the setting sun, and the flames from wall-mounted torches danced eerily in the Grand King’s office. Grand King Deandre was pacing before the darkening window, his hands clenched in tight fists that swung dangerously as he moved. The torchlight made his tight jaw and scowling brows more frighteningly defined. Second King Shelton stood watching him, fingering his nearly non-existent beard as thoughts moved rapidly through his mind the way they always did. Queens Xiao and Yvona were standing beside each other, hands over their mouths. Yvona was crying.

It was young Prince Evant that all the fuss was over. He stood, arms crossed, as his brown eyes followed his father’s movements. No matter what any of them said or did, he was not going to give in. It didn’t matter to him that he was still only eleven years old, or that he was attempting to sever tradition. His happiness was what he valued.

Deandre stopped pacing to turn his tall, powerful frame to his son, locking his brown eyes upon him. “Tell me how you came to this conclusion,” he demanded.

Evant didn’t fall under the intended intimidation. “I won’t follow the traditional customs of marriage,” he replied levelly, “because I don’t understand how it is right to do so.”

“What do you mean it isn’t right?” his father demanded. “The people of Phelin have followed this tradition since the first royal family took power three hundred years ago! No member of the royal family can rightfully refuse this tradition!”

The prince was beginning to feel annoyed. “I refuse,” he declared.

“You are a Phelin prince!” Deandre bellowed. “You will not refuse!”

“I already have!” Evant snapped.

The Grand King took a great step forward, hands outstretched as if to grab the boy. Xiao grasped Yvona’s arm so violently that both their bodies swayed a moment before they stood perfectly still, wide eyes fixed upon their family before them. Shelton acted swiftly, jumping into Deandre’s path before any harm could be done.

“Don’t touch him,” he warned, gripping the other man’s wrist. “Be sane.”

Evant swallowed hard, for the first time losing his nerve. Deandre had never acted so threateningly towards him before.

Deandre took one look at the Second King’s lavender eyes and turned away. He went to sit by the window, a look of anger still plastered to his aging face. Shelton glanced over at the wives, who were still holding each other in fear. “I think Evant should be allowed the right to speak,” he said, “without any of us interrupting.”

It took a moment for Evant to remember what was going on, but as he watched the rest of his parents sit, he felt his old determination slowly trickling back to him. He sat down on a cushioned wooden chair and thought over what he would say.

“Speak,” Deandre ordered him.

Evant built up his confidence and began, “I do not wish to take part in the traditional marriage custom. I don’t think it right, in my own opinion, to take two wives and a husband. I don’t believe it possible for me to love three equally.”

“We do,” Deandre replied sharply.

“For the most part,” Shelton added in a grumble.

The Grand King’s eyes flashed to him, but the Second King merely shrugged. “Then what do you intend?” Deandre demanded of his son, looking back at him.

Evant stared straight into those brown eyes identical to his own. “I intend to marry only one person, the first man or woman I find I love.”

Deandre made a sound that was something of a snarl and rose again to his feet. He would have gone for Evant if only Shelton and Xiao hadn’t grabbed his violet robes. “You must follow the tradition!” he yelled, straining against the hold and causing Yvona to put a protective arm around their boy. “You’re a prince of Phelin!”

“But I’m not the heir!” Evant yelled right back. “Wildas is! And even if he dies I won’t take his place!”

“If your bothers could hear you say such things! You are much too young to make a declaration such as this!” his father argued.

The prince rose to his feet in protest. “I am not!”

Deandre glared at him. “This sin is punishable by death,” he reminded him. “By choosing this, you have chosen to be hanged.”

Xiao and Shelton jumped in front of him, both pressing their hands to his chest. The Grand King struggled to push them away, but though his body was more massive than his two tall and thin spouses, they easily held him back from attempting to reach Evant again.

“Don’t you dare put your son to the death!” Xiao hissed at him while Shelton continued to tell their husband to relax.

“Deandre!” Yvona called, raising her voice over the others as Evant sat shocked beside her. “If you take his life from him I refuse to remain your wife.”

They all looked at her, wide-eyed.

“If he dies under your control, I leave,” she went on. “No matter how I love you, I cannot tolerate a man who kills his son for choices he makes. Shelton and Xiao may be able to forgive, but I cannot.”

“If you must be rid of him,” Shelton added suddenly and quietly, “banish him from the country. Please, allow him to live.”

Deandre locked eyes on his son, now nearly trembling. “All right,” he responded. “Evant, you are to pack what you can carry. This is your last night in the castle of the royal family of Phelin.”

With slightly shaking legs the prince got up and left the room. For a moment he considered begging for forgiveness and agreeing to his father’s demands, but he knew he couldn’t bring that show of weakness to himself.

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March 12, 2011 - Posted by | Short Story Saturday, Vows From Darkness

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