Ithuriel: Inception (Chapter One)

Presenting original fantasy fiction from Robert Roach, this prose series features sword and soul hero Ithuriel in adventures placed in fantasy lands.

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King Telamahn's imperial platform is the centerpiece for this half of the spacious chamber's entirety. Ithuriel eases a bit more out of his hiding place -- behind large vases at this level's back wall. Though concerned that the room's inhabitants might discover him, Ithuriel soon realizes that this concern is misplaced.

The vengeful warrior squints -- partially in disbelief -- at the royal dais.

This important architectural feature is at the bottom level's midpoint. It is 20-feet wide. The dais -- a kinda/sorta circular platform is surrounded by three slopes that curve around this stage. The inclines rise from the lowest floor's level to the dais's top level. The monarch's stage is the same height as the room's middle level. Four ramps lead up & down from this mainly circular mid-level to the lower level's floor -- a great staging area in the larger chamber's center. Audiences coming to address Kahnuri's leader gather herein.

The dais' walls' rocky-but-smooth texture resembles this area's floor. All of these ramps are uniformly beige & tan -- a seemingly speckled marbling style. This pattern is the same pattern in the rest of the massive chamber's floor, though a bit darker. This is the realm's royal platform -- the site & the seat of Kahnuri's ruler.

A series of columns rings the throne room's upper level. Similar to the castle's other architectural particulars, the buttresses seem like a mix between plant life & stone. It's as if tubers or thick vines have been transformed into marble, vertical pillars. The posts also have striations. The columns' olive green tone is intermingled with highlights. Rings & caps that encircle the posts' bottoms & tops complete these design details.

The upper level, the chamber's largest & widest portion, is straight on three sides -- one of these sides being flat against the structure's exterior wall. This abutting rear wall -- at the room's top plane -- leads out to the chamber's veranda. This side of the chamber has rectangular portals -- all of these leading out of the throne room & onto the patios.

This area's fourth side is semi-circular -- an arc. The aforementioned 13 pillars both decorate the room & help to hold up the nigh-transparent footpaths. Four posts on the left & four posts on the right -- paralleling the room's lower & middle "flat" sides. The last five columns -- opposite the chamber's back wall -- stretch into an arc. Like the mid-level, the upper level has four semi-circular ramps that allow up-&-down access to the chamber's 2nd tier.

At this moment, six large, rectangular mirrors are in the compartment's main staging area for audiences visiting the king. The looking glasses "reflect" the pandemonium going on in other Nigritian capitals. Two servants flank each mirror. Though five of the mirrors reveal absolute chaos, one of the mirrors -- the one being held by the crown princess's pretty personal servant, Uana & another helper -- is blank & black.

A handful of Ayana's wealthy supporters are in this lower level, sipping wine & giggling as they observe the mirrors' violent activity. Two of Ayana's mercs mill about this area. One of these men is close to the secret doorway in the lower level's alcove. Decorative plants, other details & the partiers' mindless revelry continue to obscure Ithuriel from the joyous inhabitants.

Though Ithuriel is well aware of the carousers, his eyes are fixed on the royal platform's catastrophe.

Tragically, King Telamahn is strewn across the throne's dais, surrounded by a wide pool of his own blood.

Half a dozen dead regal guardsmen & guardswomen are also scattered throughout the grand chamber & in the abutting plazas -- & on both sides of the rivulet. Just like the assassinated guards in the ready room downstairs, these soldiers wear distinctive armor & uniforms -- that identify the slain sentinels as part of the king's personal guard.

In addition to this massacre & the executed warriors' bodies being spread throughout the chamber, there are well-apportioned tables, overflowing with food & beverages all over this space. Though most of the festivities' food & beverage have been placed in the abutting plazas, 13 well apportioned tables are on the lower & middle levels. Platters of fruit, finger foods, other delicacies & goblets of wine rest on these tabletops, from which this clearly amused, well-dressed throng is eating. It's as if the group gathered herein is fondly enjoying a macabre, catered party in the midst of this evil & bloody chaos.

Princess Ayana is the throne room's central figure. She's a tall, fit & gorgeous woman. The crown princess's bearing is the epitome of "royal." Her attire is tailored to fit her to the "T" & showcase her curves. Ayana's hair & sparse make-up highlight her attractive face. Nonetheless, there's something nefarious about the young woman's countenance that is off-putting.

Ayana's ten personal guards -- Kahnuri warriors who markedly are not wearing traditional Kahnuri martial armor nor the royal guards' uniforms -- flank a well-dressed group surrounding her. The new ruler's guardsmen wear blue-tinted armor that gives a subtle nod to designs worn by Sandeh soldiers.

The imperial lady's "visitors" are laughing amongst themselves & enjoying this bash. Throughout the room, others in Ayana's coterie of private bodyguards & foreign soldiers populate the chamber. Additionally, there are other, regular Kahnuri soldiers' bodies strewn all over.

The people surrounding Ayana are about a score of "elites." Another 40 or so pepper the plazas & the royal chamber. Kanta is standing at her side. As de facto leader of Kahnuri's noble assemblage, Kanta has been working together with Ayana for the past year-&-a half for this night. For this glorious moment. Though the true & ultimate leader of this continent-wide set of coups remains veiled, disgruntled royals have been his tool. With this hidden master in charge, the elites & power-hungry military throughout The Nigritia have chosen this night for their revolt. In Kahnuri, Kanta & these select houses have amassed the funds used to pay for this mercenary army.

The Nigritia's monarchal/republic governmental structures have ranged from extremely draconian -- such Sandeh, to an imperial state -- such as Kahnuri. Though the realm's queens, kings & regal houses once held total rule, this socio-political reality has undergone centuries of adjustment. This change has been extremely accelerated in the past 50 years by the continent's cultural change. The Kahnuri monarchy is no longer one-family rule; it has become a country highly influenced by royal lineage's benevolent guidance.

These various sovereign rulers & houses simultaneously had an epiphany -- an epiphany to voluntarily share power & push all the countries' social & political phases forward. As these "houses" -- leaders of this generation, who grew up being treated almost as deities -- grow older & have gradually/willingly handed over more of their power, schisms have developed.

King Telamahn had followed his father's example -- as had the other leaders -- & continued this continent-wide work of social improvement.

These societal changes have been appreciated & applauded by most of the continent's populace. But within each of these countries, a very small-but-volatile minority prefers the old pattern. For many, there has been comfort in having a single ruler to whom one might look for answers. Self-Responsibility is demanding. Plus, there's always been comfort in the old enmities & warfare -- a pride & predictability. This is not only true amid the assemblage considered "average citizens." Amongst the Nigritia's royalty, ruling classes & politicians, small-but-significant fissures are expanding.

Nonetheless, the kings & queens running these entities who, like Telamahn, are moving their individual countries & the continent's majority toward an egalitarian existence, have made a serious miscalculation. They have presumed that everyone -- sooner-or-later -- would understand & appreciate their collective effort. These are monarchs who had lived through horrific strife & warfare. Warfare that had drained their budgets & killed their subjects.

These leaders knew that by changing this emphasis -- from "subject" to "fellow citizen" -- the entire continent, & perhaps the world, would greatly benefit.

However, despite these lofty goals, this group of wise women & men completely overlooked the one place where dissent against their plans was potentially most potent. Most lethal.

By and large, this dissent has come from within the leaders' immediate families.

By looking at Ayana's blood-stained hands, it's evident from whom King Telamahn's "dissent" has come. 

Ithuriel story elements are the sole property of Robert Roach/Hometown Productions ©2020

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Words and illustrations by Robert Roach