The Mechanoid Mystery part 1

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story that I am working on that takes place in the war of the gods series

Submitted: July 16, 2019

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Submitted: July 16, 2019

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The Mechanoid Mystery

A Story From the War of the Gods Series

Princess Ellen walked down the long hall heading to the throne room, she was expected to be present at her father's funeral. The king had been murdered, but this was kept secret by the queen and her most trusted advisers. No one else knew, not even Ellen, how her father the king had died everyone was told that he had died in his sleep peacefully. The nobles gossiped and rumors were spread about the king's sudden death but the truth eluded the masses.


Though it was a warm sunny day outside the castle to Ellen it seemed that it was a cold and gloomy day within the walls that were threatening to close in on her. Her blue almond shaped eyes were red and rimmed with tears that she refused to shed. She wore a formal black dress that her servant girl had helped her put on and her long brown hair was tied into a tight bun.


Her personal guard only six years older than herself walked beside her. He was already nearly seven foot tall and towered above the young princess by almost three feet. His red and black armor shone in the dimmed ever lamps of the castle, his red hair was cropped short and he proudly sported a the start of a beard which one day he hoped would hang down to his chestplate.


He was proud that the young princess walked with such solemn purpose as he escorted her. He thought to himself about how she seemed mature beyond her years. Though he was still young he was fully armored not to mention he had just earned his new laser edged long sword that now dangled from his belt.  His very presence helped ensure the princess's safety in these dark times for the Starblade family.


They neared the gold plated double oaken doors that led to the throne room and Ellen suddenly stopped without warning. Alex, her guard, stood silently beside her as the two armored honor guards raised their long pikes clearing the way for the princess to pass. Ellen did not make any move to continue as she fidgeted clasping tightly to the cloth she had used earlier to wipe away her tears.


“Princess,” Alex said gently.


“I know,” Ellen replied answering the guards unspoken question.


“Yes, princess,” Alex said smiling through his own sorrow trying to comfort the young princess.


Ellen wiped her eyes and made a show of straightening her dress as she steeled herself to enter the throne room. Dread filled her young soul for once she entered she knew that her father would truly be dead to her and never would she see her father smile or have a chance to walk the gardens with him again. Ellen took a deep breath trying to steady her whirling emotions that threatened to overwhelm her.


The princess stepped forward, one of the honor guards opened one of the heavy oaken doors so she could pass unhindered. The princess walked forth in a haze entering into the room that held her fathers body so the mourners could come and pay their respects. The large hall was abuzz with activity but all was a blur to the young girl except the man that had loomed so large in her small world.


The ever lamps were off only candles, hundreds of candles lit the room it seemed brighter than ever in her teary eyed view. The incense that filled the air did not help as it mixed with the candle smoke it making her light headed. Alex placed a steadying hand on the small princess helping her through the sea of nobles and dignitaries as she headed to where her mother sat beside the kings body.


As they neared she could see that her father wore his finest clothes which were red and inlaid with gold, his shield emblazoned with the tree of life stood upright at the end of the pedestal that bore his cold lifeless form. His hands laid across his chest clasping the fabled Starblade the sword that had given her family's lineage their name. Unknown to Ellen it was also known as the godslayer but this was whispered quietly among those that knew the histories of the worlds and the gods.


She choked back sobs that threatened to burst forth as Alex guided her to a seat next to her mother. Eltria the queen wore a long black gown that hid her slender form and her emotionless face was hidden beneath a veil.  Arael the high priest of Ishtar was decked out in his finest robes, an overly large amulet hung from his neck that held twelve squares and withing the squares was twelve semiprecious gems. He shewed away any noble that approached the queen his crystal blue eyes narrowing when anyone lingered to long. Arael also offered the blessing of the mother goddess to any who so desired.


Ellen did not notice the many nobles vying for positions closest to the king. She did not hear the conversations where they were already maneuvering and sealing alliances in preparation for the power plays that would soon engulf the Ishtarian kingdom.  Eltria, the queen, did and she made a mental list of all those that brought dishonor to her husband's funeral for their only concern was what opportunities they could use for their personal advantage. She no longer shed any tears for the anger that whelmed up from within as she watched and listened had burnt them away.


Ellen tried not to stare at her father who seemed so small now as the two honor guards both over six foot stood at attention to either side. She studied the guards resolute stance, their stoic marble statue like appearance, their flame red hair and shiny red and black armor. She looked around the room, she looked at anything to keep from looking at her father and then she noticed a lone figure kneeling at the foot of the pedestal on which her father laid.


Why had she not noticed him before, she wondered, she looked closer she knew who he was but she had never seen him without his armor in all of her twelve short years. The man was the captain of her father's personal guard which was made up of the twelve finest warriors of the pack. He was an older man but his muscular frame held back many that would dare challenge him. He wore a simple white tunic, black leather pants and shoes. If it wasn't for his flame red hair, braided beard and the fact that he stood well over seven feet he could have passed for a commoner, a beast man as the royals called them.


The royals and nobles also known as first bloods were the ruling class of the Ishtarian people. The warriors called the pack brothers were bred solely for battle and strength. While they held an honored position they still were not equal to the first bloods and held no official titles beyond military rank. The beast men though was an enigma to Ellen they looked much like the first bloods but their lineage was not pure. While the royals and nobles all had almond eyes, slender forms and brown hair the beast men had many varying features. Some, she had seen, might have almond eyes while others had strange oval eyes similar to the pack and many other features were different from one to another. Some were tall, short, muscular, thin or even fat and even their hair varied from blond and red to browns and black.


While the many castle servants were beast men Ellen had never thought to ask why they all appeared so different from one another. They were commoners, she was a royal, it made little difference to her. Now though she wondered why Drake the greatest warrior in her father's service, the captain of the elite guard, belittled and shamed himself in such a way. In this moment of her greatest sorrow she wondered what it was that truly made one noble, a warrior or a commoner what truly was the difference.


She half listened as the priest began the funeral ceremonies as she watched this one lone warrior kneel before her father the king, this man that had once also been her father's closest friend and confidant. He did not cry, he did not move just simply continued to kneel there silently. She watched and in a moment of clarity she remembered the voices of the nobles from earlier. They did not pay respect to the king but were only concerned with their own positions and what would happen now with the king's death. Before her though was one man that truly mourned her fathers passing, she looked up and in the rear of the room she noticed several commoners gathered together. They cried and comforted each other, they were not allowed to enter the sitting area but they remained standing in the farthest corner mourning her father's passing.


She wondered what it all meant as noble after noble came forward giving empty platitudes to her father's life, to her father's kingdom, to what would one day be her kingdom. Her tears like her mother's were gone but for different reasons, the funeral finally finished and the nobles and dignitaries began to leave. Alex left Ellen's side chasing off the few first bloods that remained hoping to get a moment to speak with the queen. Eltria dismissed the high priest and only the two honor guards, Drake and Alex remained. The commoners that lingered went unnoticed and unacknowledged as Eltria finally approached her husband taking his cold hand in her own.


Eltria pulled back her veil revealing her tear streaked face as she finally let go of her determination of not shedding tears before the nobles. She knew they would encircle her and her family like sharks to blood if they sensed any weakness. Now though with them gone she wept openly, Drake stood and walked over to his queen, his friend placing a comforting hand upon her shoulder. He stood silently as her emotions crashed through the wall that had kept them pent up, Drake steadied her keeping her from falling as waves of tears poured forth.
Ellen started to go to her mother but Alex reached out grasping her arm restraining her. She began to rebuke her guard's insolence but when turned to rebuke him she saw the tears he let flow freely for her mother's pain, she stopped. Her young twelve year old world was quickly collapsing around her being turned upside down. Not only was her father gone, the foundation of her world, but the veil of childhood innocence was being lifted as she saw the world with new eyes.


She watched her mother bend forward kissing her husband on the forehead. Eltria whispered something but Ellen could not hear the words that passed from her mother's lips. Then to her surprise her mother fell into Drake's arms as he leaned down to comfort her. Alex released his grip on Ellen and she for a moment was once again that child running to her mother sobs racking her small frame.


Her mother broke away from Drake's hold  reaching out she hugged her daughter pulling her close choking back her own tears as she said, “It will be ok, dear, your father is with Ishtar now. He will await us there.”


Ellen looked up into her mother's crystal blue eyes, they shone with life with determination even though they glistened with tears that threatened to once again rain down her cheeks. Her mother's crystal blue eyes were unlike most of the first bloods for they marked her not only as the queen but as a high priestess. It was these eyes that Ellen would remember throughout the rest of her days, not her father's cold lifeless form but the eyes of her mother, the fire of life.


Eltria reached down wiping away Ellen's tears, kissing her on the top of her head and said, “go, tell your father your goodbyes.”


Ellen felt as if she had no more tears as she approached her father, she dare not reach out and touch him. She feared she would never again remember her fathers warm touch, his laughter, his eyes alight with happiness if she touched the cold body before her. She stood there looking at him no tears fell as she heard his voice in her heart, she was determined to never forget and to keep her memories of him alive no matter how many years laid before her.


“My lady,” she heard Drake's deep voice say speaking to her mother.


“Yes it is time,” Eltria said firmly. Ellen even thought she heard a hint of anger in her mother's voice but it was gone when she spoke again saying, “come, my dear, it is time for us to go and for your father to be laid to rest.”


“Yes mother,” Ellen said her voice cracking she felt so small and childish as she walked with her mother holding her hand.


They stopped at the doors and her mother turned to Drake saying, “I trust you will see to things.”


“Yes my lady,” Ellen heard him reply his deep voice firm and unwavering.


“Come dear,” Eltria said leading her daughter out of the throne room heading to her room.


Alex followed behind the queen and princess as Drake disappeared down the opposite hall.


When they arrived at Ellen's room Eltria turned and said to Alex, “go check her rooms make sure they are empty.”


“Yes my queen,” Alex answered slightly confused by the strange command.


“And you will watch over my daughter tonight,” Eltria said firmly.


“Yes my queen,” Alex said turning to enter the room.
After Alex returned and reported that no one was in the room Eltria said to her daughter, “Have a good night, my dear.”


“But mother can't I stay with you tonight,” Ellen said though she felt like a child after she said the words.
“No my dear there are things I must attend to,” Eltria said giving her daughter a smile, “Alex will be here if you need anything.”


Ellen pouted for a moment but she didn't want to say anything more that would be childlike so she said, “I could help.”


“I know you could, my dear, maybe later after you get some sleep.”


“I don't need any sleep,” Ellen said defiantly.


“I will come back shortly, my dear, and check on you then maybe you can help me.”


Ellen knew she was not going to win saying, “yes mother,” as adult like as she could though it still sounded to her as if she was whining.


Her mother smiled and said, “ my dear, you are growing up before my very eyes, your father would be proud.”


Ellen beamed smiling through her sadness she dared not say anything further as she opened the door to her room.


After Ellen had closed the door the queen turned to Alex and said, “no one is to enter this room not even servants and I will be posting a guard outside her windows too.”


“Yes my queen,” Alex said.


After Eltria had departed Alex wondered what was going on why was the queen so insistent on her daughter being guarded. Alex had never seen the queen worried about her daughters safety in the castle before. He pondered could it be something to do with the kings death, no it couldn't be, he reassured himself. She was just distraught after loosing her husband without warning. His mind wandered again, without warning, he repeated to himself then asked himself just how did the king die. He did not like that thought and tried to banish it but he could not get rid of the uneasy feeling that now gripped him.


Several hours passed night fell and was half passed when the queen returned. She asked Alex how her daughter was and if anyone was seen in the hall.


“No my queen,” he answered, “and the princess is fine, she sleeps.”


“Thank you Alex,” the queen said using his name for the second time that night. She turned pulling tight her thick robes that covered her gossamer gown keeping the chill night air that seeped through the castle floors and walls at bay.


He could not help but think something strange was going on, he had never seen the queen act this way in his eighteen years. The night, for him, passed ever so slowly.
 


© Copyright 2019 Stephen Casner. All rights reserved.

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