Thursday, January 2, 2014

[fiction] The Prince and the Astrologer

Once, there dwelt upon a mighty mountain the Prince of Riluji’itai, Scion of Warriors, who held court in his beautiful Garden of Terrors, for he so loved the bright and colorful flowers which hungered for more than mere soil and sun.

For you see, the palace proper had been abandoned for ages, as the mourning of the doleful spectres of the Void haunted its halls, and the Prince greatly feared the company and wailing of the spectres on days of the full moon.

He so greatly feared them that he forbade their very mention by his lavishly dressed courtiers, save those who wished to quickly satisfy the garden’s unpleasant appetites.

But the flowers had thus been well-nourished indeed, whenever careless tongues wagged and incautious slips made, and the bright blossoms and pale violet leaves were most lovely indeed in the palid noontide light of the seven crimson suns of Altuun.

And so it happened that the Prince consulted his court astrologer, the only one of his officials to show the discretion to avoid his wrath, that he may know of the impending doom of his realm, his race, and finally, himself, for he had consigned many an otherwise able statesman to the fate of the pale violet leaves and bright blossoms.

“O Seer of the Stars and Seven Suns, tell me what I must know, for my kingdom dies a little more with each passing moon, and the cacophony of wailing from the palace vexes me greatly, even in this, the most lovely of gardens.”

The sage bowed his twin heads, scaly features wrinkled with age and brow furrowed in concentration as he pondered his response to the mad Prince, whose days, as those of his kingdom and species itself, were surely numbered.

The blotched suns shown wanly and cried silently overhead as the prince awaited his answer, nervously tapping his third hoof with growing impatience against the garden walkway.

The bells in the haunted palace tolled in mourning as the parching light of the blemished suns seemed ever more oppressive with each passing second.

Then the astrologer spoke, knowing that the unforgiving heavens had pronounced their sentence upon both his Prince and their once glorious and living world.

“My Prince, Lord of Riluji’itai, and Protector of Avaruuk by the Parched Seas of Noon… The suns and the dying stars have spoken, judgment has been rendered, and the cosmic cycle shall be fulfilled… There is nothing left to do, so let us end our sorrow, and with our passing usher in a new cycle, we who remain alone of all our species.”

The hungry garden rustled in the arid breeze, the flowers swayed and leaves writhed in anticipation as the prince and his only living advisor faced each other, looked about them, and went, tentacle and tentacle into the waiting and ravenous heart of the garden to meet their end, to join the company of the spectres and find solace in the Void.

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