The first chapter – Crows, the wave and a prince
Crows. Tens of crows. They flew about around a tab of a field which, by the looks of it, had long ago been abandoned by both people and gods. The crows spent their lives on this miserable tab of a field and earned their living by fighting with each others for the leftovers of corpses they had been eating for crow generations. The number of corpses had shrunk by the years but still there was enough for crows to feast for long, long time.
Once those corpses had been elves, workers to be accurate, but no one could have known their fates, for in the land of Sondo the people born to be workers were treated both resentfully and casually. One of the crows was eating an eye which once had belonged to a seven year old elven child. You didn’t run into a treat like that every day – almost all the eyes were already eaten.
The field itself was at least depressing. The windows of a house nearby were dusty and inside you could only had seen very thick spider webs. The hoes, shovels and all the other tools were carelessly left all over the field just like the workers had only left for a little drink on a hot day – but had never come back. The gardens nearby were not been taken care of and they had decayed after many winters.
As silent as in a grave – and at least as much of corpses.
But then there happened something odd. Whoever who would have been watching it would probably first had thought that he had gone mad. Suddenly the sky was covered by a massive tidal wave, which’s shadow made all the crows flee the wings flapping. One of the crows quickly deliberated it’s own life and the eye it had been eating and ascertained that the eye weighed less so it dropped the eye and rose to the sky. The wave swept trough the field turning the soil into sticky mud.
But still there happened something even more odd – just like a huge tidal wave in a hinterland wouldn’t have been odd enough. Even more odd was that the wave cleaned all the nearby house’s windows not leaving splashes or algae or anything else living in the sea – you could have clearly seen inside a house and also all the objects and tools in it non-damaged and not rusted. In the end of a little golden chain left on a table there was a nice little clock that suddenly started ticking after the many years of malfunction. No spider webs. Suddenly, in the field, there started to sprout some green stalks you maybe could have recognized to be potatoes, carrots, onions and many more root vegetables – few crows that hadn’t fled far away, snorted loathing.
But the oddest thing ever was that the corpses lain around the field suddenly turned into laughing, dirty elven children that ran about around the field. Some of the corpses turned into sturdy elven men that continued their daily works they had omitted for so long. Some of the corpses turned into beautiful elven women that glanced upon the farm smiling and you could have seen that they did not avoid the hard work. Not a single elf lacked an eye.
All this – the crows, corpses, fields and elves – was lost in a swirling fog and there was a harsh but gentle voice.
“This land is decayed and has drowned in the injustice. It has been destroyed by those who swore to protect it. They have broken the wave. But however, the wave shall always be reaped. If you don’t reap it, it shall do it by itself… by surging.”
Dia woke up from his nightmare panting. “That was some hell of a dream”, he pondered by himself.
He got up from his bed. His hair was silvery as almost all the elven hair was but he had never let them grow freely – he saw no dignity in it. He was as lean as most of the elves were and his eyes were blue; also typical for an elf. But his eyes weren’t quite the same conquering blue as the elven eyes usually were. The color of his eyes was cruel and harsh kind of blue which a careless person very well could have drowned in.
“There’s no bearing in it”, he asserted himself. “The Great sea is so far to the west it can never surge in here like that.” Without himself noticing he shuddered while thinking about his dream.He did not understand.
Chromia, the younger son of emperor Chromia, sat next to the bed of his dieing father, praying for the gods of eastern elves for his brother to show up soon. He didn’t want his father to pass on without seeing his successor for the very last time. Chromia junior also wished by the deepest depth of his heart that he wouldn’t have to do what the traditions demanded the son of an emperor to do when the emperor would be doomed.
Chromia looked similar to his brother Dia by many ways. He was lean and his blue eyes were surrounded by the characteristics almost identical to his brother’s. Not all the same, though, for as the Dia’s face reflected cruelty and pride as the Chromia’s face reflected compassion and pity to the weak.
Finally Dia came to his father’s room looking sweaty and nervous. “So the father’s death is hard to him after all”, Chromia thought warmly as he watched the sweat drops flowing on his brother’s face. “He might still have hope.”
The emperor’s resting room was brightly decorated. The inner walls were covered with gold and on each four wall there was a seal which exhibited a phoenix bird rising from the ashes. There also was a huge chandelier hanging from the distant ceiling painted to seem like night sky. On both eastern and western wall there was a big window so the emperor could see the sun rising and setting. Chromia couldn’t help himself to not shudder when he thought about so many emperors facing their destinies in this very room.
Chromia glanced as his brother crouched closer to his father and whispered few words that only the emperor could have heard.
Chromia wasn’t sure about the time they spent sitting next to their father – several minutes, several hours? Anyway, it felt like an eternity. Finally emperor Chromia senior said with a surprisingly clear voice: “Dia. Dia! Are you ready to release me of my heavy burden as a dynast and an emperor?”
“Yes, I am, father”, Dia replied seeming tense.
“Are you ready to hold on with traditions, to raise yourself above the laws and the people? Are you ready to sacrifice a bit of your people for the sake of the greater bit?” asked Chromia senior affording a fading grimace of pain to his face pale as death itself.
“Yes, I am, father”, Dia answered. His pointy ears stirred a bit.
“In that case, take my blessing and make yourself worthy so you can after your death join me and your ancestors in the palace beyond”, Chromia senior urged. The eastern elves were of course as immortal as all the other elves so you may be wondering why they were so certain of their own death. But the truth is that no elf had ruled Sondo for over hundred years without been assassinated. Actually, it was certain that this dieing emperor right here had been poisoned.
“I will, father”, said Dia bowing humbly to a dieing man.
“And then my son… my son Chromia! Are you with us?” the emperor shrieked.“
Yes, I am, father”, Chromia said and moved himseld closer to his father.
“You have my name, my dear son, and I hope you shall not debase it”, said Chromia senior.
“I never will, father”, said Chromia junior.
“You are not like us others; that is what I have come up with while following your life. You do not enjoy of the same things as all the other eastern elves and you pity the low class citizens”, said the emperor.
“Yes, father.” Chromia pressed his head preparing to take the disappointment and lack of appreciation of his dieing father.
“Although, as an emperor it has been my duty to raise my needs above the people, still I do not wish harm for a single person of my people. You are good and wise, my son. You could never rule a great empire like Sondo but I want you to know that I do appreciate you and your decisions”, said Chromia senior.
Chromia couldn’t believe what he had heard. He had always considered himself as a black sheep of the family but now he received recognition for his divergence.
The emperor understood the silence of his son. “Now, on the last day of my reign of power as an emperor of Sondo I shall hereby pronounce my son, Chromia Durumbas junior, to become the first official presentor of people in my land. Let his quest be the propelling the needs of people as well as he can without interfering the duties of an emperor. This is a new law adjusted by me, emperor Chromia Durumbas, and it shall be written in the chronicles of our government. I wish my successor and his successors to respect it as much as all the other laws”, he pronounced.
Chromia was totally speechless. He got himself a lot more recognition than Dia who got the crown only for a born right. Chromia could see his brother’s anger as he heard the words of their father. Chromia knew perfectly that his brother had already devoted himself to been an emperor and raising himself above everything in a really early age. The final result was that a Dia couldn’t have loathed anything as much as the insignificant crackers that lived in their insignificant fields doing their insignificant work.
“Thank you, father”, Chromia said. Fortunately father hadn’t blessed him too. If he had done it Dia would probably have got so furious that he could have killed his own brother right after the death of his father.
“I have said what I have to say. My son Dia, shall you be my guide on my way out of the miseries of life?” emperor said looking grim.
“Yes, I shall, father”, said Dia almost excited of this mission he would accomplish a moment later.
“Do it… quickly”, the dynast asked humbly but still retained his dignity, not giving in to his feelings. He watched his family’s seal to draw power from it.
“Yes, father”, Dia said and pulled a beautiful, coldly clear sword out of it’s black scabbard. “As many have before you and as also I shall in the future – die… in peace.” he said as he raised his sword above his head.
Chromia senior stared at the seal of Durumbas and suddenly he understood it’s meaning. He acknowledged it’s mockery against him and his family and he felt the shame that the drawers of the seal had felt. He probably would have started laughing hysterically but a cold blade quickly descended upon him and cut the thread of his life absolutely painlessly.
Dia straightened his back and panted. He directed his irreverent glance upon a new, shuddering and weeping presentor of people.
“We will meet after the mourning. After it we shall negotiate about people and their”, he spat the last word out of his mouth in despise. “needs.”