Odious, the Chess Master

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Some people think that they are smarter than they really are. And sometimes it takes a surprise occurance to assure them that they are not.

Submitted: February 25, 2017

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Submitted: February 25, 2017

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In a place called Dark-Mountains there was a king named Odious Tarlaine. Odious ruled all the cold and high places where no green thing ever grew and his kingdom was easy to define for all one had to do was to look for the lack of vegetation.

All the rulers of the lower levels were happy to leave Odious alone with his frozen world. And aside from the occasional pillaging of a village, and the carrying away of animals, food stuffs, and the inhabitants, they had little complaints. Besides, he was a vicious being, almost demonic some say, so the less they had to do with him the better they felt about it.

In the world of cold places there were three families that controlled much of the power. However, Odious had found out an old and dark secret that the Angelina Family would rather have keep secret and he paid handsomely for the information. Then, of course, he used that secret to keep the Angelina Family sided with him in any matter that he saw fit.

The third family was known as the Justinian Family and they were known to be fare dealing in all matters. They were the only force in the kingdom that held Odious within lawful boundaries regarding the general mountain population. But that was not the case regarding his own people; he was a murderous tyrant to say the least.

Odious loved to show off and to show how smart he was when it came to games of war; the game of Chess was his favorite. 

It was a puzzle to all who had actually done battle, especially the Justinian Family, as to why this King thought that he was such an expert at war; after all, he had never been involved in a real one.

Odious came to power by poisoning his father and framing his mother for the despicable deed; she was hanged shortly thereafter.

The younger brother of Odious, Copulas Tarlaine, fled and took his wife, children, and a fortune in gold and the family jewels with him. His sister and two cousins escaped with them on the same night that Odious was in a drunken stupor, celebrating his rise to power.

Word has it that this twisted King has some very vicious people searching the lower kingdoms with orders to find them and to kill them all; (Little does the King know, the Justinian Family had sent men to leave false clues as to where Copulas Tarlaine and family had traveled. And when those very vicious men reached the land of Gregg they were arrested and put to death for spying.  As for the King's brother and family members, they are safely hidden by the Justinian Family in a remote castle compound in the Bestrode Glaser region.)

Now, --- on with the story.

 

King Odious still thinks that he is a superior war strategist because he has never lost at a game of chess; as if any of his subjects would risk his anger by defeating him.

That is not to say that he doesn't force some to play anyway. In fact, he has started a school with excellent Chess player as instructors. Players that he has played and felt that they played a good game, but still didn't give the game away. Yet, many have fell to the blade of his sword when he thought that they had made a stupid move in an effort to give him the advantage, and allowing him to win.

Yet, there are those in this kingdom who have done war, who have planned battles, and are excellent real world strategists, like Prince Jamal Justinian.

Jamal’s uncle, the Supreme Monarch of the land of the Gregg, was engulfed in a six year war with a neighboring Warlock King and his fanatical followers.

At that time Prince Jamal was young and longed for adventure, so he joined his Uncle's Legions. He soon learned the ways of war and of being a good strategist by listening, watching, and doing.

Prince Jamal was instrumental in the defeat and death of the Warlock King, and earned the title on Excellent General as well.

 

In this land above the tree-lines there is a celebration that takes place every time the two moons become one in the sky over dark castle. This celebration is called, "The Time of Remembrance" and it is cause for all to celebrate the legacy of their ancestors, and the part that they played in the creation of this kingdom.

Odious is not particularly fond of this celebration, probably because of what he did to his parents, but he does like the opportunity to play Chess with someone that he doesn't have to force into a game. So he always hoists a Gala event at his castle, Dark Castle.

Everyone who is anyone in the kingdom attends this event, but not out of respect.

The Angelina Family attends out of fear and the Justinian Family, well; they just come to keep the King in check, so to speak.

 

After much drinking and a ridiculously long and lavish dinner, Odious made a proposition to anyone who could beat him at a game of Chess, "I will give a thousand coins of gold and a thousand coins of silver to whoever can best me at the game I love."

Silence fell over the Great Dining Hall until it was broken be the voice of Jamal Justinian, "I accept, but only if we use the Angelina Family rules.

"That is fine by me," the King said while laughing aloud. "Let the game begin.

Servants scurried about, setting up the board and making the king's favorite chain outfitted with new cushions.

 

The two men played for what seemed to be hours, and then came the decisive blow, figuratively.

King Odious used his queen to check Jamal's king. But for some reason King Odious missed seeing the pathway for Jamal's bishop and Jamal's next obvious move; Odious lost his queen to the bishop.

The King panicked and sacrificed a knight, then two pawns, trying to rid the board of its only remaining Queen, Jamal's Queen. But it was too late, --- Check-Mate.

The game went to Jamal.

"I demand a rematch!" Odious yelled. "Under the Angelina Family rules I am entitled to a rematch. Isn't that right Lord Angelina?" 

Lord Angelina quickly replied, "Yes," without ever consulting his own rule book. He dared not say no.

Then Jamal stated, "Then it will be the game of my choosing and I choose a real battlefield, and actual troops."

"What?" the King yelled, "You can't do that!"

Jamal waved his hand and a peasant rushed forward with a book of the Angelina Family game rules. The peasant bowed and then pointed to a passage that had been hi-lighted by Jamal himself.

After reading the passage the King kicked the peasant to the floor and replied, "Fine, then a real battle it shall be.

What terms shall we set upon?"

"Just as the chess game dictates, but a hundred times more players. We shall both be assigned the same number of players, But Pawns will be replaced with ground troops, Knights with Calvary, Bishops with Archers, and Castles with Catapults," Jamal quickly replied.

Then Odious asked, "And what of the King and Queen, what will replace them?"

Jamal stated, "The Kings will be represented by us, we will make strategy and direct the troops from a high place so that we can see the battle as it unfolds."

Then he continued by stating, "As for the Queen, her primary goal in the game is to protect her King, so she shall be replaced by a dozen of our best warriors who will guard us from sneak attacks all during this exercise."

"Do I pick the battlefield in this exercise or do you?"  Odious questioned.

"There is no rule, but I was thinking that we would ask Lord Angelina to choose the place of battle sense he is more knowledgeable about the high country and its lands.

What do you think, Oh Great King?" Jamal replied.

Seeing the perceived advantage to this scenario, King Odious quickly agreed.

Everyone in the King's Great Hall turned and looked at Lord Angelina, and then silence fell over the whole room.

Lord Angelina rose from his seat and addressed the two, "There is only one place to hold a battle at this time of year. It must be a place without ice and snow, so it must be below the tree-lines. And there is only one place that is permissible below the tree-lines, that is the neutral territory in the Valley of Verlaine. Amassing troops there will not set off any territory wars with the Tree-Lander Empire, nor with the King of the Northern Valleys.

However, there is only one high point and it is a good distance from the battlefield. You both will have to share the outlook."

"Good," King Odious replied, "I would prefer that I can see my opponent, it lessens the opportunity for a knife in the back."

 

On the morning of the battle Odious arrived late, as he usually did. He and his horse was surrounded by twelve other horses, larger horses, being ridden by the King's best warriors. The warriors and horses were all in full battle armor.

As for Odious, he did not dress for war, he dressed for comfort. Riding his favorite Overlain-Mountain Horse; this horse is smaller, swifter, and more agile than most horses of the region. Odious was dressed light too, considering the cold.

The King did not dismount when he arrived; instead, he rode to the overlook point to view the troops in the valley below.

His breath was taken away by the sheer splendor of the sight and of the two opposing forces positioned on opposite sides of the valley's lowest point; they literally covered the hillsides.

Jamal approached and asked, "Are you satisfied, King Odious, with the viewing arrangement?"

"Now that you bring it up, the answer is no. Look there below the tree line, there is a hill that overlooks the battlefield and it is much closer. Isn't it?" the King asked.

"Why Yes, yes it is. You have keen eye King Odious," Jamal replied.

"I will go there to watch and direct my assault, you can stay here if you wish," Odious told Jamal as he called his Commander over to look.

The Commander protested vigorously, "But King Odious, at that close a proximity to the battlefield you would be subject to possible attack by Archers."

"Then I will hold your shield in front of me while am there," the King countered.

The Commander again tried to deter the King from his intention, by saying, "But Sire, we would have to pass through the stand of trees below and that would be a perfect place for an ambush."

"Nonsense," spouted the King, "all the troops are easily seen well below the tree-line. And besides, no-one could have predicted that I would leave this vantage-point, or to pass through those trees, so they could not have planed any such ambush. So as I said, we will go down to the top of that hill to view the battle."

As soon as the King had said those words then he rode down the mountain toward the hill.

The Commander and the rest of the King's warriors could not keep up with the king's swift and lighter horse; they soon lost sight of him when he entered a large stand of trees.

This small forest was an unforeseen barrier for the King's Warriors as well, so it was some time before they emerged from the other side.

Odious was sitting a-top his horse and looking out at the troops when his Commander and the others arrived.

Odious looked at his Commander and said rather lordly, "Let the Game Begin!"

At that moment the Commander made a motion with his left arm and battle-horns sounded, --- but they were the horns of disengagement, not attack.

"What are you doing, Commander? My order was to attack!" The King yelled.

The Commander yelled back, "The game is already over you inexperienced Ass --- and this is Check-Mate in the real world!"

 

King Odious Tarlaine's head fell to the ground, and his body soon after.

 

The warriors below were watching the hilltop for another signal when they saw the beheading. And as the head of King Odious hit the ground both armies let out a cheer the likes that had never been heard in the land before.

Then when the Commander pulled the helmet from his head it was obvious that it was not the Commander, it was Copulas, the younger brother of the King Odious.

Copulas dispatched riders down the hill and into the ranks of the two armies. Shortly thereafter came the call, "The King is dead, long live the King, --- Hale King Copulas!'

 

Well, I could tell you that Jamal was close friends with Copulas and had planned this whole thing ahead of time; but you may have guess that by know.

And I could say that Copulas could not let his parent’s murders go unpunished, it was the only right thing to do.

I could also note that Copulas could not stand seeing the kingdom in the hands of his murderously wicked brother. But not all battles can be won by sheer determination, no, Copulas had to detach the King from his every present and devoted guards.

Yes, everything was planned ahead of time, everything Copulas knew about his brother was used, and Jamal used the simplest form of battle reasoning; cut the head off of the snake first.

Unknown to King Odious, this game actually began on the night that Jamal agreed to play a game of Chess with Odious.

 

You see, Odious was never a good Chess player, he was way too predictable. And by now I'm sure that the reader figured out that The King's Commander and his men were quietly ambushed while in the woods, by archers.

Yes, by dawning their cloths Copulas and his men were able to ride right up to Odious before he had any idea that he was in danger; a tacit not easily done on a Chess Board, but there are no snakes on a Chess Board either.

 

D. Thurmond/JEF  ---  02-25-2017


© Copyright 2018 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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