“… There is fire in your eyes, Oh King. Rule over us with fire in your eyes …”
The enchanted Kingdom of Maultron housed many ancient traditions. These traditions were held proudly by the citizens through a history that had spanned for centuries. They were a kingdom of rich ancestry; born of warriors, princes and princesses, loyalty, courage and above all else, love.
A peaceful existence was the order of the day during that time, consequently any activity such as the coronation of a new king was sure to create a frenzy that had the single young ladies chatter and dream of the next strong man to take the reins.
It was time for another circle, a new age of youthful regal infusion to the realm. Maultron was ripe and her flower was about to blossom again like the coming of dawn heralding the rising of a new sun, a new day and for the people, a new King.
As dawn fell solemnly upon its inhabitants, the magnificence of the capital radiated even more on this day. The birds chirped happily from lush evergreen trees, singing happy tunes to rouse them all from their slumber. The kingdom woke up with a new hope and insurmountable anticipation – or so it seemed to the droves of dignitaries sent by other allied kingdoms which surrounded Maultron like hills to a valley.
But that in no way was a reflection of the military might and span of influence these other kingdoms had over Maultron for it was the most prestigious and respected land on the famous Glass Sea, a brilliant body of crystal clear water that surrounded the durable rocks these kingdoms were built on. The Glass Sea separated the other kingdoms from Maultron, which sat regally, a true cynosure to behold.
Coronation day was a day which promised to be like no other. So much significance surrounded it, so much so that the best cloaks would be adorned and the best cutlery unwrapped after so many years. This certainly was the dawn of a new age for Maultron.
However only the citizens of the capital exhibited any form of excitement. For a day as heavily anticipated as this, the natives of the other elite regions of Maultron were surprisingly unperturbed.
To the east of the kingdom, was the region of Thorne, where wild horses fed on ample bramble bush, undisturbed by the unseen buzz in the air. Thorne was a region where the sun rose hence the famous rhetoric; the region of the rising sun. It was a land known for its serenity and natural beauty, a resort themed region and a marvel to behold, always happy to welcome tourists and guests.
The women of Brenna, the region in the west of the kingdom, made their way to the village’s life giving stream quietly to collect their daily supply of living water, as they would any other morning. The life giving stream had become Brenna’s icon, a symbol of hope to all who needed succor and replenishment, making the region a land of promise, amongst the other elite regions.
To its south was the region of Or, a land of warriors of history, full of rich heritage, more interested in the continuous victory of Maultron than much else. On this day, Or’s men were mostly still asleep, sprawled in the midst of drunken women after another night of loud music and too much to drink. The Army of the kingdom was forged from the strength of the men of Or. It was a land known for training soldiers and warriors for battle and conquest all year long.
The Bradorians could not care less about the impending activities of the much awaited day. All they knew was luxury and fine living, thanks to an abundant supply of precious metals and gemstones in their terrain which rested slightly north. They were the most respected of all the regions. Their pride made them speak strangely. Any visitor to the capital with an accent characteristic of people from Brador was immediately seen as influential.
To the far north sat the prehistoric region of Trinity, with such tales told by matrons to their wards on cold stormy nights. Trinity lay covered in ice and cold. The region stayed frozen all year long and its people happily fared and went about their daily lives quite normally, as if it were just another day in the summer.
Sleighton’s delegation of legislators was already prepared for the trip to the capital. As the kingdom’s administrative region, a region just a stone throw from the capital, they were always ready for any important political activity. This made them the perfect neighbors to the capital as they were more interested in the development of Maultron than any other regions. It was no wonder the kingdom depended on their wisdom and incisive decision making skills.
The coronation was to take place in Maultron’s capital city, the Principality of Urkel. Urkel had spent months preparing for the once in a life time event. The principality housed the palace, the home of the king of Maultron and his two sons. It was also home to the officials of the king’s cabinet, the elaborate ancestral temple and Maultron’s highly esteemed school of the gifted. The capital’s jurisdiction extended to all regions of Maultron, a web of sub delegation.
Seven flaming arrows flew in unison from the rooftops of the heavily fortified palace situated proudly in the kingdom’s capital, the Principality of Urkel.
At the peak of the bell tower, an Imperial Guard blew the trumpet seven times while his second in command struck the bell seven times as well.
Alana rolled her eyes. What the palace’s fascination with the number seven was, she would never understand. She was the last maiden amongst the seven who were to move in perfect formation from the fountain of youth to the throne room of the palace, holding white bowls of oil and dressed in strips of white cloth from head to foot.
“Chinda, remind me again why we studied for seven months to go on a fifteen minute walk through the palace simply to anoint the general? Honestly Maultron’s ancient customs disturb me!” She whispered to the young lady in front of her, her best friend.
“Alana shut up for five minutes would you? This is serious! Nothing about you is honourable. I still do not understand how you were chosen for the walk of purity. And you should refer to the prince as the Warrior Heir, he isn’t just a general. But you already knew that did you not?” Chinda whispered holding the bowl of oil like her life depended on it, as the ladies silently walked.
Every eye regarded them in envy and admiration as they walked through the elaborately stoned floors of the capital city, bare feet and barely dressed. This was the single most important ritual in all the kingdom; the pre-coronation rite of the future king. To be chosen as one of the seven ladies to participate in the walk of purity was an honour parents wished for their unborn virgins.
“I’m just saying I do not understand why we need to be so scantily clad and walk all the way to the Palace, lustful eyes ogling at us and randy bastards eating us in their minds! And we call this a walk of purity! Who is getting purified here? We, the maidens? Or the general? Or the slutty men of Urkel?” Alana asked again, a little more indignantly. Chinda tried hard not to giggle. Alana could be such a handful sometimes.
“That general would be your future king. So pay him a little more respect. I don’t know what the matter with you is. We spend seven months in training for today and you do not ask a single question in class. The day of the rite arrives and suddenly you’ve become a young scholar. Don’t try to put me in trouble Alana. You may be the only one of us who has wings but you’re certainly not better than us. And you better don’t think you can’t get punished because you are fully winged so early.” Chinda reminded her.
Alana fell silent. She absolutely disliked it when her best friend or anyone else for that matter referred to her as a show off because of her wings. A year ago, on the morning of her seventeenth birthday she woke up to find herself wrapped in the most beautiful white wings she had ever seen.
Her parents and younger brother, Claw, were amazed. No one in their family, as far as they could remember, had been winged. Having wings meant a great deal to the people of Maultron. It signified automatic admission into the King’s Imperial Navy, Maultron’s fiercest defenders and the greatest group of trained soldiers the neighbouring kingdoms on the Glass Sea had ever seen.
The Navy consisted of the Nautics and the Valkyrie. The Nautics were the men of great strength, skill and foresight who trained for years to command the magnificent fleet of ships the Navy was known for. They were purebreds with the ability to survive both on water and land, an ability which made them lethal and feared by warriors of other kingdoms.
The Valkyrie were the winged women that flew above the ships as they sailed on anyone of the king’s missions. Their ability to fly and perfect eyesight gave them the advantage to take stock of incoming fleet of enemy ships and sabotage their voyage from above. This combination made the Imperial Navy the most feared in the entire division of elite kingdoms. Because the Nautics and the Valkyrie worked together for most of their lives, a large number of them ended up marrying and reproducing their kind over and over again.
Alana was a trouble maker and a rebel at home and in school. She knew what having wings meant but it never crossed her mind that she would ever be permitted to join the Valkyrie. In fact it had come as a surprise to her when she had been handpicked for the walk of purity. Serious demands of responsibility just never came her way and she did not need to be told why.
When Alana’s foot eventually touched the smooth marble floor of the throne room, she sighed. “Thank goodness this is almost over.” She thought.
The seven maidens all knelt, still in a straight line, the bowls of oil on the ground before them, the host of important men that had crowded the room watching keenly. Alana could not help wondering why women were not permitted into this sacred gathering. It just did not rub her up the right way.
The Monsignor, a man Alana thought should have died many years ago but probably was still alive because he would not stop drinking from the fountain of youth, stood in front of the first maiden, Daranne. The king sat comfortably on his throne while his first son, General Thaddeus, sat on an elaborate expensive looking carpet, bare chested and dashingly handsome, prepared for his pre-coronation.
“Purify yourselves as these maidens have done. Today a king is born!” The Monsignor said. His voice sounded like a thousand rushing waters. Alana was not impressed.
That was their cue. Daranne stood and walked over to the prince pouring the contents of her bowl over his head.
“Wisdom.” She said. The second lady followed in her footsteps repeating the process. “Knowledge.”
Alana stretched out her wings to their full length and everyone gasped as she flew across the hall and landed softly in front of the Prince. “Strength.” She said, pouring the oil over his head.
“Purify yourselves as these maidens have done. Today a king is born.” The Monsignor repeated.
The prince stood and turned to bow before his father, the king. He then bowed before the crowd, and proceeded to kneel.
“Today General Thaddeus Hermann Tride, the Prince of Maultron and Warrior Heir Apparent shall henceforth be known to this court as King Thaddeus Hermann Tride, the Supreme; son of King Denton Harcourt Tride, the Imperial; ruler of all free people of Maultron and its elite regions.” The Monsignor announced.
“All hail the king!” The people chorused and cheered happily. The maidens remained kneeling in perfect formation, while the men celebrated. They would not leave until ordered to. Alana closed her eyes. “I’m starving. Can we get something to eat now?” She whispered to Chinda. Chinda shook her head at her and laughed. “You’re something else Alana.” She said. The general’s eyes suddenly fell on Alana.
“You! Winged one.” He called. Her heart stopped for a few minutes as she realized he was communicating with her telepathically. No one could hear him speak but her. His voice was being directly broadcast in her mind. The powers he had imbued within him were astonishing.
“Meet me at the temple steps tonight at eight.” He commanded. Alana bowed low. “And do not tell a soul.” He said again. “Yes, Your Majesty.” She said, wondering what in heaven’s name the future king wanted from her.