The Phoneix King

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a small piece of a story I've been writing for some time. I thought it would be interesting to see if anyone enjoyed it.

This story centers around a very powerful kingdom called Aeon, and her King.

The King has accomplished much and is still a young men. Infact he's accomplished everything a King could want in a life time. He's beloved by his citizens and idealized as a Legend. He's started to wonder what would happen if he just left and sought his life else where.

Submitted: April 27, 2011

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Submitted: April 27, 2011

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Leila frowned as she looked down and studied her boots. The once expensive and fashionable boots were worn and showed small signs of age. Her dress was elegant and flowing as was the style but anyone with an eye could see that it was fringed at the edges and slightly unkempt. She knew that at first appearance she was the Queen that she was but anything more than a passing glance would give her away as nothing more than what she really was, desperate. These were only a small portion of the thoughts that had plagued and tormented at her since she had set out for Aeon. She was a young woman barely twenty-five and here she was nothing more than a high class beggar going to a foreign land to practice her new found profession.  She was reminded over her position as her royal carriage made its way down the stone road. Each bump, stop, start, and jolt told Leila again and again that her that her back was sore and stiff from the month of constant traveling.
Leila was shaken from her thoughts as the captain of her guard rode up next to her carriage window. The man looked as tired and shaken as she but they both knew it simply didn’t matter. “Queen Rah’mah the Aeon Royal Palace has just come into view.”
“Glad to hear it Captain, we will be arriving shortly I take it?” She asked frowning at the condition of her boots again.
“Not shortly my Queen, You may want to take a look at this.” His voice sounded strange almost as if it was in disbelief. The carriage was suddenly called to a halt and the Queen’s door was opened revealing the stone road beyond.
Frustrated suddenly with yet another delay she stepped out looking for the Captain he would be a good target at which to focus her poor mood. Something strange caught her eye in the west just as her feet touched the stone roadway.  She looked towards the west at a massive shape which could be described as an awkward looking mountain, and then a sudden strangely depressing realization hit her. That mountain was no mountain but the Aeon Royal Palace and before it stretched the capital city of Aeon for which the kingdom was named. Red and orange banners of the royal phoenix hung dramatically from the palisades and high walls. It was made entirely of a fine white stone and at that moment the sun was setting behind it crested near the top giving it an amazing effect. She coughed and let out a surprised gasp it matched those around her who were now all staring in silence at the palace, she had been holding her breath. Leila said nothing and just climbed back into her carriage closing her eyes as her stomach suddenly twisted into tight knots. The palace may be in view but they were still some time away from it that had been the Captain’s meaning.
What could she have said, what had she honestly expected. Aeon was currently the most powerful human kingdom in existence for that matter its strength and power was challenging even the ancient legendary kingdoms of the histories. It was led by the Phoenix King the single most powerful man in existence. Hailed a genius and a visionary he had rebuilt Aeon from the brink of collapse in only eighteen short years. Even more amazing was that he had taken the throne at the age of only six years old, he had been a good king from the start. Of course his palace would be massive a physical representation of his power and the kingdom’s strength and wealth.
A look of contempt covered Leila’s face as she thought back to her husband King Rah’mah. She was the third wife of King Lyman Rah’mah taken as a young lady only twenty years old at the time of their wedding. She had been his third wife because his previous wives had failed to bear him any children. She too had been unable to become pregnant but it was clear at that point it was not the fault of his wives. King Lyman Rah’mah had been an arrogant self important man that had cared only for his legacy and what the histories would say about him. As such he attacked Aeon two years ago marching five thousand of their best soldiers over the board into Aeon’s west region his goal had been simple, prestige. Barely a thousand of their soldiers returned two weeks later, demoralized and utterly defeated they have been inside of Aeon’s territory for only three days before they came against two of the famous Aeonion Legions. It had been rumored that each of the legions was over ten thousand strong but her late husband had laughed at this chalking it up to rumors and fantasy. The surviving soldiers had reported being confronted with two of the Legions each over thirty thousand strong. They had immediately been surrounded and several attempts had been made by both of the legions to convince them to surrender. Out of fear of King Rah’mah they had fought anyway and been utterly destroyed within just a few hours. The remaining amount had been spared and escorted back to the border. The wounded and sick were cared for by one of the legions medical groups and sent back a few months later, they had been in better shape than when they left.
Leila thought of that conflict with some interest, other than her husband’s obvious failure and ignorance she witness something she had only heard about. Honor. The Aeonion legions had fought honorably they had cared for the enemy wounded and made sure they had crossed the border back into Rah’mah safely. They had even buried the Rah’mah dead in organized, mostly marked graves just over the border in Rah’mah territory. She had inspected this large graveyard now years old upon this very trip stopping to witness the compassion shown by the Aeonion legions. It was true that not all of the graves had been marked but most had been with names and ranks also a caravan of carts had been sent to the capital containing the weapons and valuable possessions the soldiers had had when they died. The caravan had with them a royal Aeonion messenger baring the crest of the Phoenix King the message of course was for King Rah’mah.
Her husband had never bothered to tell her what was contained in that message but she had gotten lucky and read it during a moment of unique opportunity.  It had been very simple in nature and had been surprisingly short. It was the day that she had come to understand her husband’s tragic folly and to fear the Phoenix King.
 
 
 
“Honorable King Rah’mah,
I do not intend to retaliate now or in the future for the unfortunate attack on Aeonion lands.
I know not why you attacked Aeon. If you feel you have valid reasons for this attack I would hear them eagerly. If such reasons exist I will address them personally and attempt to relieve you immediately of such strong grievances. 
Be warned that I will not tolerate any further aggressive actions of any kind.  If any such actions directly or indirectly occur against Aeon lands or even a single Aeonion citizen from the kingdom of Rah’mah, I will hold you personally responsible.
Aeonion legions will march to your capital completely destroying all opposition in their path. You will witness as your crown and position is given in public ceremony to your strongest rival. You will witness as your entire royal house is stripped of its power, wealth, land and titles. You will witness as any immediate heirs to your crown are executed. You will be publically and painfully tortured as long as your constitution allows. You will then be publically stoned to death to be administered by the remaining survivors of the small village your soldiers destroyed without warning or mercy. Your remains will be burned and buried in a remote and insignificant unmarked grave.
I believe this puts us at a very clear understanding. I hope from this moment on we can live as neighbors and enjoy a long prosperous period of uninterrupted peace.
King Alexander Phoenix.”
 
Leila shuttered when she remembered the message. The Phoenix King had been so absolute in his intentions so unrelenting in his words. Her husband never said another word or whisper about attacking Aeon. In fact she had learned later that he had pulled his western garrison twenty miles away from the border to ensure that nothing happened by accident. However as promised in the letter Aeon never retaliated for the attack in even the slightest it was a strange feeling as if they had simply been, spared. She would have been executed of course an immediate heir to the crown, so the letter was as much a threat to her as anyone but still she saw something else in it. She saw direction, compassion, understanding, absolution and above all honor she knew that the Phoenix King was honorable. She saw more leadership and direction in those few words then her husband had decreed during the entirety of his reign. It was that very letter and those underlying qualities that had caused her to take this trip.
Her husband had died, in a drunken rage he had injured himself and allowed the wound to feaster. The fool had denied his attendants saying he was more than strong enough to survive such a small wound. He was dead within just a few weeks giving in to the fever. With no heir to take his place and his house in disarray over the death she had inherited the crown of an equally diseased and feverish kingdom.  The people were starving, the harvest had been poor this season and the rest of the kingdoms were ignoring or shunning them. The very fear of getting in bad favor with Aeon had caused all of them to stop openly trading with them and offering any support at all. Aeons had done nothing but repel their invasion but it seems with that act her husband had managed to destroy the kingdom of Rah’mah. The once proud kingdom was now the black sheep of kingdoms and painful expensive was taken to avoid them. Leila realized quickly how inadequate a ruler her husband had really been. He had no food stores for relief to such a poor harvest, the treasury was not only empty but in debt. The poor state of the kingdom along with the death of her husband had quickly incited rebellion from the lower class all the way to the nobility.
No other kingdoms would hear her pleas and that left her with only two options. Allow her kingdom to consume itself and possibly go into years of famine and war. This meant the crown would be forcefully taken from her and she would either be executed or imprisoned for the rest of her life. The second option was to seek aid from Aeon the very kingdom her husband had attacked. She would have to beg and grovel she was sure but aid from Aeon simply had to be ensured she had no other choice. The idea of groveling before the Phoenix King made her uneasy. She had never been a prideful person in fact quite the opposite so the idea of pride never came into it, she was just uneasy. Like everyone she had heard the rumors about him. Though often the rumors contradicted themselves but still real information about him was nearly impossible to obtain. Aeon was always the topic of conversation not it’s fantastical Phoenix King she was going to have to learn everything first hand, if he would even have her.
It was dark before they reached the Aeonion palace and when they did Leila didn’t even bother looking out of the window. She had at first and saw high splendid walls all well kept and made of fine material. The more she saw the more she realized how powerful Aeon really was and how in comparison weak her kingdom was. She has seen citizens out and about in the capital city they looked for lack of a better word happy. Rah’mah’s citizens looked hungry and miserable yet here they were jolly, safe and well fed allowed to seek their way in the world without worry. The difference she had finally realized was night and day and because of this she couldn’t even compare her own kingdom to Aeon the difference in level was that extreme. As before the captain rode beside her carriage window dragging her away from her internal thoughts.
“My Queen, we have arrived.” His voice was hesitant as if he was unsure of what to do. Leila was about to respond when the door to her carriage was opened again and staring at her was a young lady with sharp green eyes; she was smiling and bowing politely.
“Queen Rah’mah we are honored to receive you.” The young lady moved to allow her to step down and kept her bow. Leila looked past her and saw a towering mammoth of a men dressed in the colors of the Aeon royal guard. He did not smile but did bow the overall effect was confusing her. Was this some sort of trap or game why she was being treated so respectfully, she had expected anything but this kind of treatment? She hesitantly stepped down and gathered her wits the palace courtyard itself was easily three times larger than her home castle. It was bustling with activity, she saw that her caravan had come to a complete stop and was simply sitting unaware of what to do. At least a thousand royal guards were present in the courtyard standing in a massive formation only fifty feet away. They were still and silent all bowed slightly in her direction showing their respect. She was suddenly overwhelmed at the scene and before she could do anything further, the young lady spoke to her again.
“Your majesty, space has been set aside and prepared for you and your party. If it is your will your horses will be sent to our stables to be fed and cared for until they are required. Your carriage and wagons will be unloaded, cared for and stored as well. Your belongings will be moved into the palace into the quarters that have been prepared for you. However we do require that other than your personal guard all of your armed soldiers wait for you in the barracks to the south, outside of the palace walls which has also been prepared for them. Quarters inside of the palace have also been prepared for your servants and attendants we will ensure they are all comfortable and able to attend your needs.” The young lady spoke clearly and politely, Leila was only able to nod. This small nod started a storm of activity and in only twenty minutes it was as if her caravan had never existed. She was glad they were so prepared to receive them her traveling companions were exhausted and nervous it would be good if they got the chance to rest.
After Leila was able to compose herself she found the courage to speak. “May I ask who you are?” She said in a polite tone. She needed to get her bearings this was all new unfamiliar territory.
“My name is Celine Roan. I am one of King Alexander’s Wings.” She answered quickly still smiling.
“Wings?” Leila must not have heard her correctly.
“Wing is my title, your majesty. It means I am one of his personal aids. My sister and I were chosen very recently to replace the previous Wing Edmond Fitz.” Leila thought for a moment Edmond was a name known well even in her kingdom. He had been the right hand of the King and wielded the all of the power of the King’s position.
“You speak in for the King and see that his will is done in all things, as once did Edmond?” She said more asking herself then Celine.
“Correct your majesty,” Celine answered with a genuine smile.
“As you can imagine, I wish to speak with him as soon as possible.” Leila said finally getting to her point.
“Of course, King Alexander has already informed me that he will eagerly grant your appointment tomorrow afternoon. In the interim he has asked me to see that you are comfortable until that time.” She gestured towards what could only be described as the main grand entrance to the palace. Towering double doors made of iron and hardwood looked back at her they were easily ten times her height and wide enough to fit ten oxen through without touching the sides. Leila started walking, Celine fell in beside her just behind it was a position of respect when walking beside royalty. “We took the liberty of preparing a late meal for you, should you be hungry.”
Leila was about to turn down the meal but her stomach was growling and the thought of more trail rations was not appealing. “Yes, I would like to eat something. You’ll see to it that my party is also fed?”
“Of course your majesty, as our guests rest assured your needs will be met.” Leila was surprised when the massive doors opened easily allowing her access to the palace. The main hall was massive, artistically decorated and alive with vibrant colors of reds, oranges and blacks. Leila could hardly take her eyes of the scene. The torch light and obviously magically lit chandeliers give the effect of swirling fire on the walls and rooms. Leila caught herself holding her breath again and exhaled slowly to make sure that it wasn’t so obvious she was utterly overwhelmed. 
Atop the massive red carpeted double stair cases was another woman Celine’s age dressed in similar fashion. She was bowing as the Queen made the climb up the large stair case. “Queen Rah’mah may I present my sister Wing Seela Roan.” The girls did not look alike for the most part except they both had the same sharp, emerald green eyes. Leila would have described both of them as exceedingly beautiful, vibrant young ladies. It was why they had been picked as personal aids to the King they were obviously in place to meet all of his needs. Leila frowned her husband had been similar bedding every women he could use his title to get undressed, it was sad to know that this was happening here as well.
“Queen Rah’mah it’s an honor to meet you, we have prepared quarters in the west wing for you. Your personal items and luggage have already been delivered and unpacked.” Seela smiled at her and Leila had to admire one thing, they were excellent hosts.
Leila was starting to notice something strange on her walk through the palace however and it was starting to frustrate her. Everywhere she saw art, tapestries, paintings, stunning architecture and even the floor tiles were made from a stunning gray marble. The art was tasteful and serene in most cases she got the feeling of artistic decor and genuine effort put into the things she saw, not once had it felt out of place or over powering. She saw depictions of animals, especially the phoenix, landscape tapestries and other sorts, as well as statues of all sorts of things; she had not once however seen a likeness of King Alexander. Her own palace by comparison was radically different a likeness of her husband in one form or another was in nearly every room and was usually the focal point of that room. She was escorted to the dining room, in the center of which stood a massive table that held more than fifty chairs. The large oak table was beautiful in its own right giving off decades of character and use. The room was large, well lit and decorated in similar fashion to the rest of the palace. At the end of the table opposite where the King would sit she guessed a spot had been prepared for her. This too was amazing; a feast had been prepared for her. She saw fruits and vegetables that were long out of season. She smelled roasted game birds and bread that were still steaming hot and fresh from the oven. She also saw exotic dishes she didn’t recognize but smelled wonderful all the same; and the wine was dark and rich. She found herself feeling slightly out of place with the lavish attention, did they not know she was a ruler at her last straw very close to losing her position and her crown?
Seela invited her to sit and she did, immediately several servants began filling varies plates and her cup. They did so all with a smile as if they were content in this work after her plates were full of amazing looking food they took several steps back the four of them standing against the wall in silence. Seela and Celine stood behind her chair hands in front of them eyes forward patient looks on their face. “I’m sure that the two of you have better things to do then attend to me, I’m sure someone else could show me to my room after I eat.” She said quietly suddenly feeling uncomfortable again.
“Your majesty, King Alexander has instructed us to see to your needs and to ensure that you are comfortable and that those needs are met.” Celine said bowing slightly to her.
“They won’t go against anything he says,” Leila thought to herself. “He must be quiet fearsome to compel such fear and obedience in his servants and subjects.” Leila ate the exquisite food and it took a lot of her will power to eat like a lady slowly in small bites. She risked a glance over to Seela and to Celine who only smiled back at her and bowed, sighing she faced forward again. “Perhaps they have been given instructions to not leave my side to watch me and inform the King on my actions.” Leila also kept this thought to herself. There was no reason why she couldn’t attempt to get information from them in the same manner.
“I have to say I am greatly impressed with the palace and its operations.” She watched as the two girls smiled. “So you are both Wings in title, that’s interesting.”
Celine answered her, “It’s a title that grew with King Alexander’s reign. Because of his public given title of The Phoenix King those close to him also inherited such titles. For example the hero’s of Aeon and other great leaders have inherited the title Talon, referencing of course the Talons of the Phoenix.
Leila set back, to think that he had become a legend during his own life time and so young as well. She had to find out more had to find out what kind of man he personal was it had been her experience that rumors about leaders were normally not entirely true. “How long have the two of you been in his service?”
“We have been slowly taking over Edmond’s responsibilities over the past few months. So that the transition of his leaving was very smooth and almost unnoticeable on how the palace is runs from day to day. We became the King’s official wings only two days ago. Edmond left yesterday morning for a quieter live in the west of the kingdom.”  Seela spoke this time it was strange as if Leila was talking to one person with two mouths.
“Only a few days then, how has the King handled the transition?” Leila smiled waiting to catch just the slightest hint of unease.
“Your majesty our interaction with him has been very minimal we have been preparing for your arrival for the last few weeks. We have barely spent any time with him at all.” Celine answered.
That meant of course that they couldn’t really answer her questions so as far as information she really wasn’t going to get any about him. She decided on a different route, “Do you know why I’m here?” she asked putting her hands in her lap.
“Of course, your majesty,” Celine answered with a smile.
“Your kingdom has fallen on very difficult times. Your harvest was much less than required. Your people have begun to starve and suffer. As a result they have broken out into rebellion which will inevitably lead to civil war. All of these things are a result of your husband the late King Rah’mah’s inability to govern his kingdom. You’ve come to seek aid from Aeon to resolve the situation without being over thrown, imprisoned or killed. You’ve come to us because the other kingdoms have turned down your request flatly for fear of gaining bad favor with Aeon.” Leila couldn’t help but gasp, they knew everything, everything that was going on. She tried to regain her composure.
“This is correct I’m afraid. Do you think that King Alexander will hear my pleas?” She asked quietly feeling her stomach flip in on itself.
“The King has already granted your audience he will hear your situation.” Seela answered this time.
“However, his thoughts and future actions on the subject are unknown to us.” Celine spoke this time waving for the servants to take away the Queen’s food.  Neither of them appeared to be having more than a pleasant conversation.
“What do the two of you think of a ruler of a country that has openly attacked you coming and seeking aid?” She asked unable to contain her deepest fear any longer.
“We know that it was your husband that attacked Aeon, and whatever his reasons for this they were not yours. Our information suggests that he attacked us against the advice of his advisors and his military leaders. So you can hardly be blamed for the attack even indirectly it simply wouldn’t make sense.” Seela said quietly as she had another cup of wine brought to her.
“I see.” Leila was quiet for a long moment.
“In that case I would like to rest, could someone show me to the quarters you have for me?” She said as politely as she could. It was obvious that a great deal of accurate information was being feed to Aeon. There was no doubt that spies and informs were a dime a dozen inside of her kingdom at this point.
“Of course your majesty,” Celine answered bowing waiting for Leila to stand. She was led through the palace on a surprisingly long walk until they reached the west wing of the palace. Before them stood another set of large double doors with four royal guards standing quietly next to them as well as several children between the ages of ten and fifteen. 
“These are your quarters, guards and runners have been assigned to you. Should you need anything all you have to do is inform one of the runners and they will see to it that your request reaches the right ears.” Seela smiled and rubbed one of the smaller girls on the head lovely, the girl only smiled back curtseying at Leila.
Leila bowed to the two of them, thanked them for their hospitality and went inside. She found the most beautiful series of rooms she had ever seen. A bed that could only be described as magical, it was large and waiting for her. A roaring fire was lit in each room warding away the cold and for a moment Leila fully understood what comfort and luxury really meant.

END OF PART ONE


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