"Every Picture Tells A Story"

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A in the year 1278 ther is a betrayal in the Kings court. Passion and lust lead to death. The murderer makes a deal to survive, never knowing where his journey will end.

Submitted: January 22, 2013

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Submitted: January 22, 2013

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  The stillness of the night was broken by the sound of an armored guard unit marching through the castle. The precise footsteps of the Kings men fell together upon the flagstones, the clash of metal on stone echoing from the walls. It was 3 o’clock in the morning. As the 6 men mounted the stairs in unison, the King stood at the bottom of the promenade. Looking up, anger on his face and betrayal in his heart. The flickering candle light from the over head lanterns accentuated his despair.  The year was 1278. King Tobias of the Royal Court of Scotland was the ruler of all the lands in the north country. A normally reasonable man, this betrayal was more than he could bear. His wife, Queen Ardelia Rose, sat in her chamber crying inconsolably.

The men of His Majesty’s Royal guard advanced up the flight quickly, but their movements were heard on the third level by his daughter, Princess Anna and her lover.

Anna’s handmaiden, Trusela May, had confided in the Queen about a tawdry affair the princess was involved in. At 17 years old the princess could not take a lover, let alone a commoner who worked in the royal house. The former was scandalous, the latter was unforgivable. The integrity of the Royal house was at stake, not to mention the Honor of the Kings line. If made public, any break in this formal code of honor would have invalidated the Kings sovereign rule. As such the affair must be ended immediately and both his daughter and her lover punished. Princess Anna would have her face scarred and then she would be banned from the Royal estate, her lover would be executed immediately. 

In her chamber, the Princess had just fallen asleep in the arms of her secret lover. After a particularly active session of carnal pleasure, the two had drifted off for a quick and peaceful nap in the glow of their passion, before the man would slip away to his own room.

 

 

 

 

 

Her lover had access to the Royal house as a member of the Kings court. His position in the court was one of necessity, and some revulsion. He was the Court’s Royal executioner. He went by the name of “Raxton the cruel”. His blade had taken the heads from many of the Kings enemies as well as those from the surrounding kingdom who committed any sort of violation the King found improper.

Their lives were intertwined by sheer chances she approached her 17th birthday. The Princess watched from the tower as four men of the village who had been found guilty of theft from the Royal Forest were put to the blade. Up to that point in time the princess had been shielded from this part of life. She was aware that enemies of the crown and criminals were executed, but she was not permitted to witness the act. It was unbecoming of a young maiden to watch such horrific activities.  On that day she peered from behind a curtain and watched as the men were led, bound by ropes, to the block. As she watched this macabre scene she was struck by the male virtues of the hooded executioner. He was tall and very muscular. The black hood he wore covered his head, exposing only his eyes. He wore no shirt and the sweat of his labor ran from his pores. For his pants he wore a black leather full length leggings. He was an imposing sight, standing still as a statue, the long handled axe head on the ground, the shaft held at mid body. Up on the scaffold he waited for his victims. The block before him had the marks of previous work. Dark stains on the wood told the tale of blood penalty.

As she watched the men move up the stairs to their fate, her passions were stirred. The drama of the scene, the power of the executioner and her own innocence swirled in her head. She found herself breathing deeply, as sexual  excitement spread through her body. Gripping the curtains, curling them around her hands she waited for the first strike.

The oldest of the prisoners was pushed down to his knees and his head lashed to the block. In the crowd his wife called out. The Kings scribe read the charge and the punishment. Stealing the Kings bounty from the forest, a deer. His head the price.

 

 

 

The executioner stepped up to the man, a priest waved a sign of the cross and moved out of the way quickly. Raising the axe above his head and holding it momentarily, sunlight glistening off the blade and sweeping across the tower, he swung. The blow was swift. A thick and solid sound issued forth from the block as the steel found it’s target. The criminals head dropped to the basket below. The body twitched and fell still. The mans wife, now a widow, lay prostrate on the ground, over come by grief.  

The Princess felt a wave of electric shoot across her thighs at the moment of death. The effect was amplified each time one of the prisoners was dispatched. With each movement of his body the Princess became entranced by the executioner. These were new feelings, forbidden feelings, yet she could not stop the desire as it coursed through her.

After the last prisoner was gone, the executioner turned to leave the scaffold. He lifted his mask above his mouth and took a drink of water from a bucket there for that reason. As he downed the water his gaze rose to the tower where he saw the Princess starring down at him. He stood for a moment, looking up without drawing attention to his action. The curtain moved and she was gone. He threw the cup down and left the area.

Down in the changing room of the castle basement he removed the garb and redressed in his own clothing. The Princess, after passing a look to him, fled the tower and made her way to the courtyard where she knew he would be. In a short time she managed to cross his path as he left the castle. As if in slow motion the two looked at each other as they passed. He was taken by her virgin beauty, she with his power. In the days to come they would pass this way many times. On the night they would cross the line and cast their fate they gave into their passions. He, with the knowledge that his actions were not only wrong, but forbidden. She, with her mind fogged by raw desire, resentful of her position.

 

 

 

The affair continued behind the backs of the court for several months, until Trusela May, woke one night to the sounds of passion and went to investigate. Never thinking the Princess would be involved in a love affair she was shocked to see the scene before her. Peering through the dark as they moved in unison Trusela May recognized the man. Her conscious and position made it inevitable that she would tell the Queen of her discovery and thus set in motion the things to come this day.

As the Princess and her man lay sleeping, the sound of the Royal Guard on the stairs woke them. Realizing their situation they jumped from the bed.

“Father” she said, “he has found us out” terror in her voice, the reality of her actions settling in her chest.

Standing at the window, the executioner knew he could not survive the fall.  “You must go” she said, “They will kill you”.

“You must slow them so I can get away”

“What will you do”? She asked, every bit the little girl once again.

“I must strike, you must save yourself if you can” he said to her indifferently. He searched the room, the soldiers approaching only moments away. He saw a large chair and pulled away a large oak leg, smacking it on his hand and measuring it’s weight and potential.

“You can not fight the guard, you must run”

“Don’t be a fool woman I can not jump from the window. When they burst in drop your bed sheets”. She understood. Realizing his situation his true personality was revealed. If the princess confessed and he were captured he was dead. His decision was made in an instant, her love was betrayed just as quickly. He stepped to the bed and swung the oak. Striking her on the left side of her head, her skull cracked like pumpkin and she was gone. Pulling his mask over his face he took a position behind the door.

 

 

 

 

The guards were at the door. The latch was turning. Three floors below the Kings held his breath, the Queen continued to cry. They burst through the door. In the dim light of the room the armored warriors stepped through. The Princess, lay dead the sheets fallen away revealing her naked form. The Guards were caught off balance at this sight and halted, just for a second. Four of them were in the room when he struck the last from behind. The blow from the oak broke the guards neck and he fell forward onto his compatriots. The executioner, well practiced, swung again, in reverse direction, striking the fifth and sixth guards in the face sending them sprawling into the hallway.  It only took an instant and he was away. Sprinting down the corridor and disappearing into the shadows. Making his way quickly down the back stair, listening for reinforcements as he went. As he reached the first level he could hear the additional guards moving up the main stair case.

Stopping in the dark, not breathing, he listened and waited for them to move higher. As he turned to go, King Tobias himself stood before him, sword drawn, pointing at his heart.

“You Raxton? You have betrayed me and the crown”. The sword shaking in his hands. Raxton looked down at the tip of the blade only inches from his chest. The aging Monarch would be no match for the powerful Raxton. In one swift move he turned and took the blade from his King. Round housing his right arm he stopped himself before he struck the man. The King stood stoically, waiting for the death blow. When it did not come, he looked at the Executioner “You should have taken my life now. You have taken my honor and my daughter”. Raxton, turned and ran from the main house.

The king called his guard and instructed them to pursue and execute the intruder. 

Raxton looked out the 1st story window to the court yard below, then jumped. He landed with a thud and ran towards the north end of the complex. Here he hoped to find horses and make his escape. Before he got to the stables he heard the blast of the trumpets summoning the court security. In a moment the entire complex would be swarming with the Kings men.

 

 

 Raxton turned and entered the corner of the “Spiritual Building”. This was the place of the Kings wizard, Baltomere. Opening the door and entering, Raxton looked about and saw all was quiet. He closed the door and latched it tight. Looking from the edge of the window he watched as the search intensified. It was only a matter of time before they came to Baltomere’s lair. Raxton spun on his heels, oak stick in hand and made for the bedroom. As he entered the room he saw the old man asleep in his bed. Quickly he roused him with a jab to the ribs. The old spell caster opened his eyes as the pain of the jab registered.

“Get up old man I need your magic” Raxton said.

Baltomere heard the commotion outside in the courtyard and looked in that direction as though he might call out.

“Be silent wizard, you’re magic is strong but not faster than I can dispatch you”.

Realizing he was out of options the wizard asked the man “what is it you want of me”

“I want a spell to keep me hidden form the King and his men”

“why what have you done”?

“That is not a concern, give me a the spell now or die” raising the oak club and leaving no doubt that the next action would be a crushing blow to the skull, the wizard thought quickly.

“very well, how long should you be unfound”?

“A few hours, a few hours, then I will be gone from here”

Standing from his bed, the wizard looked at the club. Raxton lowered it to his side. “ Why do you wear the mask tonight executioner”?

 

 

 

Ignoring the question, Raxton told him to hurry. “If they find me here you will die with me wizard”.

As he turned towards his chamber, the wizard smiled to himself, “They will not find you tonight, be assured of that”.

Over the next few minutes Raxton made his way back and forth from the chamber to the window. Simultaneously watching the wizard and the guards.

“It is ready, come here” Baltomere called. Raxton went to him.

“Stand there and do not move”. Raxton went to the corner of the room where there were several paintings set about on easels and the floor.

“what  will I feel” Raxton asked.

“Nothing, you will feel nothing, like sleep, you will be at peace. When I recite the words you will awaken”.

“Good, be sure I have a few hours and do not give me away to the guards or I will destroy you” Raxton said menacingly.

“No I will not give you away”. As he said that he blew a handful of powdered potion into Raxton’s face. It covered his death mask and he breathed it in. The wizard spoke an incantation, smoke swirled at his feet and in an instant the mighty Raxton the cruel was transformed from a living breathing man into a life size portrait.

Baltomere leaned in closer to examine his work. The fine detail was breathtaking. The clever spell was perfect. The man was forever imposed on canvas. Smiling and laughing in the painted eyes of the executioner Baltomere  mocked him. “Threaten me will ya, I think it is I who have the real power here. And here you will stay”.

Knowing that this spell would remain in effect for eternity unless the words of the incantation were spoken Baltomere took pleasure in the knowledge that while Raxton could not move or breath while enchanted, he could sense and feel every moment of time as it ticked away.

As he painted the words of the incantation into the lower right hand corner of the canvas Baltomere sneered “Maybe in a hundred years you will learn to respect those more powerful than yourself executioner.

Before he covered the painting with a cloth he smeared black paint across the incantation, marring it and making it unseeable.

He walked to the door of his abode and opened it. Calling out to the guards he asked what it was they were looking for.

“Raxton has killed the princess”! they yelled. Realizing the gravity of that Baltomere called them forward to search his lair. With great respect the kings guard walked through the rooms, finally leaving with the warning to lock his doors, the killer is about.

“Yes, Yes I will” he said as he closed the door and returned to bed, satisfied with himself.

Over the course of time Baltomere thought better of his decision to acquiesce to the executioner, but if he were to come forward now, his actions would be viewed as treachery to the crown. Instead he took the painting  and stored it in a secret cabinet in the attic where it remained for the next 724 years.

 

March 2012, Lyrestown England.

 

Avery Bascombe was a wealthy man, but quite eccentric. A short 5-06” tall , bald head with gray Friar tuck hair cut and horn rimmed glasses, he was an odd looking fellow. A collector of fine art, coins and Medieval relics. He relished the acquisition of new pieces for his collection. Money was no object for Avery. If there was apiece he wanted he would out bid anyone on the floor for it. As it turned out his latest piece was a rare find indeed, but more costly than he ever imagined.

The Auction house listed the painting as a 13th century masterpiece by an unknown Scottish painter. The piece had been found quite by accident in the  Biltersham castle.

 

 

Renovation work on the roof led to the discovery of a trove of items and objects from the 1200’s. They had been stored in a wall cabinet of a building on the property. The cabinet had been designed for secrecy. This was not unusual for buildings of this time period, especially buildings in royal residences. Keeping valuables and sometimes the royals themselves hidden was essential in those turbulent times.

When the room was revealed the current owners of the complex saw more value in modern cash than in 13th century art works and books.

Item # 13459 was a life size oil painting of an executioner. At over 7 feet tall the entire framed piece was quite a mystery. Artists of the time did do works that large, but not normally of executioners. Life size paintings of people were usually reserved for the wealthy and royal, not the killer of the house.

The brooding man in the painting was rippled with muscle. His face covered by a mask. In his hand a large oak club, with an ample amount of staining on it. The opening bid for the piece was high due to it’s age and the fact that it had been untouched since the 13th century. $800,000 was the start.

As the auctioneer read the history of the piece Avery Bascombe decided he had to have it. It would be perfect for his collection.

“It is believed that the painting was done by a previously unknown Medieval artist employed by King Tobias of Scotland or his son King Jeremy of Scotland. There has been no carbon dating, but the history of the estate does reveal some treachery during the reign of King Tobias. His daughter was found murdered in her chambers and it is believed that the royal executioner was the killer. This painting it is theorized was commissioned by King Tobias to serve as a reminder or wanted poster of sorts if you will”. The auctioneer cleared his throat and pushed his glasses back up on his head. “There is not much more than that, familial history does not go into detail on the other particulars of the  incident. Nor does British history reveal the true reason or author of this work.  First bid $800,000 US”

 

 

 

There was some back and forth between Avery and a German buyer, Klaus Guterheave, he too was a collector like Avery, but not as consumed. When the price got to 1.1 Million dollars Avery had his piece. After paying the fees and arranging delivery Avery went home and prepared a place for the painting.

The collection room as he called it was very large, on the second floor of his estate. The walls were stained a dark cherry color. The walls were lit by candles and candle chandeliers. Placed about the room were various pieces from the same time period as the executioner painting. When it arrived it was placed on the center wall. Two large lights had been mounted and filled with yellow bulbs to give the piece a somber scary look. The enhancements worked very well. The room took on an ominous feeling one the executioner was in place.

Avery would walk around the room and imagine himself as a person of great lineage in the 1200’s. He would admire his collection and fancy himself as a great warrior had he lived in that time period. Every time he looked over his works he would stop and stare at the executioner. Standing on a step ladder to reach it’s heights he looked into the eyes. They seemed almost alive. He could see a depth in them.

On this day as he was stepping down the ladder he tripped on the last step and fell forward, hands striking the painting. As he struggled t keep his balance he feel to the right of the ladder and ended up on his knees in front of the painting, hands resting on it.

“I hope I haven’t damaged it” he said as he rubbed his knees. His glasses were hanging to the side of his head. He placed them back in their proper spot and started to get up. As he did he noticed a spot. A small spot in the lower right hand corner of the painting. Odd he hadn’t noticed it before. He took a closer look and it appeared to be a bubble in the paint. Lightly running his finger over the spot, he could feels it’s contours “Yes that’s a bubble all right” he said, fearing the paint would begin to peel. Avery knew the cost of restoring old oil paintings, so he looked closer.

 

He tapped the bubble, ever so lightly, then again. This time a piece of the paint popped off. He sucked in a deep breath “Oh know”! he said, scrambling to his feet. The spot revealed was about a quarter of an inch by a quarter of an inch. Holding his glasses out to the spot he looked and saw…something. Retrieving a magnifying glass he peered at the spot and realized there were words below the bubble. His heart raced. Was this the name of the artist. If it was this could double or triple the value of the work.  Rubbing his hands together he had decide what to do. Get an expert or look himself. What to do what to do.

“I’ll look” he said and peeled away more of the bubble until it was an area about 2 inches by 3 inches. There were clearly words there, they looked like Latin words, but he wasn’t sure Turning up a light in the room Avery Bascombe read the words.

“Exparnay, Delevray cou totem” As he said this he felt a low almost imperceptible rumble along the floor. Like a distant train was passing.

He continued with the second set of words ”Retribe, et disparnem, Gloria”.

After reading that set the low rumble became more pronounced. The painting began to glow! The room shook and smoke began to filter around the base of the painting. Avery took a few steps back and the electric lights in the room flickered and went off. There was a blinding flash and Avery fell to the floor.

As the smoke began to clear he coughed a few times, noticing the rumbling had stopped. The rooms was lit only by the candles now and Avery felt a rush of anxiety. He got up slowly, looking around the room. All appeared to be ok. Nothing damaged. Nothing….. that’s when he saw the painting of the executioner. It was till mounted to the wall but the executioner was no longer in the picture. The canvas was blank. Shaking his head in disbelief he stepped closer. That’s when he heard the breathing. To his right, in the shadows, someone was standing there.

“Who is there” he asked sheepishly “I see you”. Not knowing what to make of this situation Avery began to shudder.

 

 

From the darkness he watched as the executioner, in the flesh steeped forward. Avery’s eyes popped from their sockets. His first tough was that he hit is head when he fell. This could not be real.

“Who are you” the executioner asked, his voice croaking.

“I am Avery Bascombe, owner of this house”

The 700 plus years of entrapment had taken what sanity was left of Raxton. He had not needed to eat or breathe while enchanted an upon the canvas, but he had been aware of every moment of time. Every second that passed for 734 years. In reality Raxton he had gone mad only five years after his captivity began. The ensuing years just warped him completely.

“I don’t understand this” Avery said as Raxton lifted the club. Seeing the red staining on it Avery realized this was his last moment. Closing his eyes he waited. Raxton swung the club hard. It hit Avery Bascombe dead center. His head came apart and splattered the empty canvas. His body toppled over the ladder and flopped to the floor.

Raxton looked around the room. In his madness he had no idea where or when he was. The candle light, the darkness. He ran to the window and looked out at the county side. After a million thoughts ran through his head he made his way out the back door and began a search for understanding in this new world.


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