Chapter 2: Magic & Mischief
“My Lowd!” a servant called out. “I bwing thee a message!”
Sora was in the middle of his morning rounds inside the halls of the palace’s outer circle. He turned and greeted the messenger with a smile. “Jabril! G’mor to you.”
Jabril’s teal eyes regarded Sora’s cheerfully under a mop of apricot hair parted down the center. His pale, white skin highlighted the freckles strewn across his plump face “G’mowa my Lowd. Say you, is this ill timing?
“Nay, was just on my way to breakfast. Come, let us walk.”
Jabril wasn’t the smartest man, but he was loyal and humble. Jabril would give his life for the crown. Sora could see this, and he had an utmost respect and appreciation for such devotion.
A few moments of silence passed as they made their way toward the dining hall. Sora looked at Jabril and raised an eyebrow. “The message?”
“Oh! Yes, why of couwse. My apologies. I actually have two messages for you, my Lowd.”
“Jabril, how many times must I tell you that you can refer to me by my given name? Just because I’m king, doesn’t mean you must call me Lord.” Sora smiled.
“Oh, fowgive me! It’s just when I sewved your father, he would’ve had my head on a silver platter if I didn’t addwess him pwoperly.”
Sora laughed. “I’m not my father. You are mad if you think I would behead you for something so insignificant. You’re a good man, Jabril - a friend, I say true, and no friend of mine will refer to me as such.”
Jabril’s droopy eyes lit up brighter than the morning sun that beamed through the large palace windows. “Why thank you, M’low-” Jabril quickly slapped his forehead. “Sowa, thank you deeply. An honor, I say twue.”
Sora patted Jabril’s back as they turned off the outer circle. The two went up a flight of stairs, and into another corridor that led to the dining hall.
Living in Providence together, they knew each other quite well. Azrael had disapproved of his son communicating with lowborn, like those the likes of Jabril. Sora despised such snobbery; disliked his royal lifestyle. He saw people for what they were and enjoyed the company of the lowborns far more than the royals who seemed to always walk around with their heads up their asses. “So . . . the messages?” he inquired.
“Yes, yes! The messages. Let’s see.” Jabril’s lowbrow puckered as he scrambled through his sling bag and pulled out two parchments. One was sealed with hot wax; the Vaer emblem, the seal of the highborn, was branded on it. The other message was rolled up, and slid tightly into a jeweled, polished stone ring.
“How’s your reading, Jabril, say true?” Sora asked.
“It’s impwooved, my Lowd, but I still have pwoblems.”
Sora dropped his gaze as Jabril said “lord,” but didn’t chide him; he knew it wouldn’t do any good anyway. This wasn’t the first or last time he and Jabril would have this discussion. “Say you, give it a go? Try and read them to me?”
“Yes, my Lowd. Wight away, wight away!” Jabril opened and unrolled the letter with the wax seal first. “It’s fwom the council, your majesty.”
“Go on, then.”
He cleared his throat. “Hail, thy Gwace. The council would infowm you that the ceww-ee-mony is in the final sta-ges of pwep-aaaw-aation.”
Sora held out a hand for the letter, waving his fingers in a hand it over gesture.
Jabril lowered his head. “Truwy sowwy, my Lowd, I said I wasn’t the best weader.”
“Quite fine, Jabril, you tried. All is well.”
They stopped in front of the dining hall and Sora began to read.
Hail, thy Grace.
The Council would inform you that the ceremony is in the final stages of its preparation. We would meet with you at duskrise to discuss your thoughts on some things we have prepared for you wedding.
Long live thee,
Saael of the Council.
“Next,” the King said.
Jabril handed Sora the rolled parchment held by the ring.
Sora removed the ring, stuck it into a pocket of his dark cloaked raiment, and began to read.
Hail Sora, King of Eden,
Oi, yer majesty. It has been a long time since I’ve heard from ye. I write to tell ye that something of utmost import has come up. Make arrangements to come visit me in Dymoria as soon as ye can. Please do not falter, me Lord. I anxiously await yer arrival.
P.S. I heard ye is getting hitched! Ye sly bollywocker. Ye may have already found her something, but on behalf of the Grim, we would like to present the soon-to-be with a ring. Made of Balamite, it is! The strongest stone this side of Eden. Dear ole Nutsayk spent a week whittling and polishing the damned thing. His hands have more blisters than his ill cock. Heh, Heh. He sends his warmest regards.
Well be ye, me boy. Me King.
Yer old pal, Törbjorn of the Grim
Sora stood grinning at the second message. He hadn’t seen his old pal Törb for a great many moons. Törbjorn had always been close with the royal family. His son Craetys even served as the captain of the royal army and was one of the king’s hands. Sora would often ask to visit and spent a good bit of his raising in North Eden with the Grim in the ancient mountains of Dymoria. Törbjorn loved Sora’s company, and treated him as one of his own, being the father figure that Sora never really had.
Sora turned to his messenger who was anxiously awaiting order. “Jabril, send word to the council that I will be absent from this night’s meeting. Tell them at duskrise I ride to Dymoria of North Eden. Something important has come up, and I am going to see an old friend, and if they have any further questions about the wedding, to meet with Anastasia.”
“Yes, of couwse, my Lowd! Wight away!” Jabril sniffed and wiped his nose with the sleeve of his tunic. He turned and took off running back toward the outer circle. He got tangled and tripped over his own stumpy legs, falling onto his sling bag. The letters that didn’t fly out were crushed and crumpled.
His cheeks flushed red with embarrassment. “Oh dear! What have you done, Jabwil. What have you done?!”
Sora held back his laughter, and helped the clumsy messenger gather his mail.
Jabril stood, dusted the sleeves of his maroon tunic, and checked the contents of his bag. “Lowd Sowa, I-I apologize. I say twue! I got in too big of-what is wwong with myself. Gods, why must I be so caweless. I just can’t-′
“-seem to undewstand, why I can’t-.”
“-do anything wight. The mail is wuined!”
The short and pudgy messenger quieted, his penitent eyes met with Sora’s. “I’m sowwy, your majesty. Fowgive me, I beg.”
Sora laid a hand across Jabril’s shoulder and handed him his letters. “Calm down, Jabril,” he laughed, “It was an accident. Collect your things and continue on your way.”
“Yes, thank you my Sowa-I mean my S-My-my Lowd! Thank you!”
Sora nodded and watched Jabril start down the stairs. His stomach rumbled. He turned and pressed against the enormous gold trimmed, ivory doors of the dining hall, and stopped when he heard a yell and several muffled oomphs.
Sora knew immediately what had happened and shook his head. “Jabril, are you okay?” he called.
Through the corridor, the messenger’s moaning voice echoed, “I’m fine, my Lowd. The stairs awe just mowa slick than I wemember, say twue!”
Sora smiled and continued into the dining hall. It was time for breakfast.