A-Z April Fantasy Flash Fiction, Part 6. Character: Perandes
In the warm, sunset light, I led Arancia through the courtyard, between vivid bushes of blooming roses, each plant bred to perfection by the skilled gardeners. She looked nothing like the beggar girl I had picked off the street earlier today; She walked with pride and grace, her head held high, the queen of the roses in a splendid magenta dress. I knew there flowed no noble blood in her. She was the daughter of a jewel merchant. Nonetheless, I would have mistaken her for a princess.
The king awaited us in the easternmost corner of the courtyard. Surrounded by the sweet, heavy atmosphere of a warm, rose-scented evening, and the fine white silk of his gown, the king resembled a young divinity. Even as he was still a prince, I had often entertained the bemused fantasy that he was perhaps a secret descendant of that powerful race we knew only from ancient legends. He turned around to face us and I bowed deeply before him.
“Thank you, High Ambassador.” His majesty spoke, his voice soft and measured. That was all the attention he graced me with for a while. Seeing Arancia’s graceful curtsey, a delighted glimmer flickered in his expression.
“Dear Lady, I thank you for coming.” He said to her. Their gazes met and intertwined as Arancia bowed her head lower.
“We pray you take no offence if the pleasantries are left for another time. As it happens, the matter is quite of urgent nature.” The king, knowing Arancia’s background, was doing his best to speak clearly, I noted appreciatively. He was still very young, too young by some ill-mannered opinions. The monstrous aggression of the ‘Nairans had forcefully thrust him into his late father’s place.
“Send him in.” The king gestured towards a door, and it promptly swung open. In walked a tall, slender man, dressed in the comparatively simple clothes of a soldier. He carried no weapon, as was proper in the presence of nobility. He first greeted the king, then Arancia, then me, with seperate, somewhat curt bows. Arancia in front of me gasped as she saw his face. It was the man she had revived years ago. I had heard rumours about him, tracked him down in the run-down district of the poor, and persuaded him to follow me to the royal court.
On my prompt, the former thief recalled how he had indeed been hanged that day, but had then awoken in the street, with the little girl Arancia kneeling next to him. The flabbergasted guards, after a few shocked questions, had attempted to arrest him again, but he was easily able to escape them, much to everyone’s astonishment, including his own. He could suddenly run faster than any man, and was stronger than humanly possible, thanks to Arancia’s gift of the returned life. He had decided to use this gift for good, and joined the king’s army. He had since turned away from crime, and had a respectable, if modest, family. The king listened with growing interest. As the man finished his tale, the king looked to me, his authoritative gaze flashing with curiosity.
“High Ambassador, can you confirm these claims? Have you seen the man do what he claims to be capable of?” He asked, raising his hand to his chin, deep in thought.
“No, your majesty, though there are many who have.” I replied.
“Interesting. Highly intriguing are the workings of sorcery, and it seems a formidable being has been created. Formidable, though unfortunately an abomination to humanity.”
The king mustered the man, sinking into his observation, walking around him, each pace a stately, graceful one. I longed to know what thoughts went through his mind, wondered of the world that royalty could see. As he completed the circle, he suddenly called out “Guards!”
The door swung open and three guardsmen, armed with pikes, trooped in.
“Knock him out.”