The King of the EastEdit
In the Land of Elvinia
All over the kingdom of Elvinia, people had been warned and were anticipating it almost religiously. The day they had announced it, all of Elvinia was alive and buzzing with the news. Even their forest-dwelling cousins, the Tulla, had been informed, and they were usually oblivious to the goings-on of the Kingdom.
King Syrami had known for quite some time and even Roczorhod the gardener—probably the dullest in the land—knew. King Syrami and his wife, Queen Anukka had announced to all of Elvinia the coming of their princess child.
Eliista Raakel, the ruler of the Tulla, had even gone to palace once, accompanied by Riikeli and Jompaal, two of his guardians. He had come bearing gifts of gold, and a delicate perfume in a lavishly ornate crystal decanter.
“Kanalai,” the Eliista said to the queen upon his arrival, bowing with a deep grace.
“Kanalai pohjista,” Queen Anukka replied respectfully, taking the crystal decanter from the tiny, incandescent-seeming man. She tentatively placed a hand on the growing bump beneath her breast.
“Na, paajela juvirsam lai poikkel setja?”
The queen took a slight moment to count on her fingers, and said finally; “Kaulaman mohti nala.”
“Tu tomppel, Syrami—pohjela tai sittisjamiik en tija?” the Eliista asked with a bawdy smile showing evidently on his face. That made Syrami cast a surprised, flinty look at the small man, who threw a sly grin at him. Anukka’s face grew rather crimson.
“I take it something is being discussed that I’m being left out of?” Syrami piped in a mildly offended tone.
“Nothing too personal, Syrami, old boy,” Raakel chortled, keeping that same vulgar smile.
This princess would be the first born to the Royal family in years—forty years to be exact, and Queen Anukka was of course proud of this. She was surrounded by boys, and even though she loved her sons dearly, she always wanted to have a daughter. She wanted a princess that she could finally relate to, to nurture, to make into the queen she would one day become.
King Syrami also wanted a princess to bring out a calmer side in their family. He had been the proud father of three boys. He loved them all, but as was the nature of Elvin boys, it was hard to keep track of them. As the middle child, Syrregain was always getting into all sorts of trouble, and he always caused it with his brother Terronen. He was the youngest, and usually got out of the blame—for now.
Letorry was the oldest and never bothered to try and stop them. He was always wrapped up in his books and his writing. Letorry was set to become a writer one day. He would spin tales of fantastic beasts and gods and knights. He would create fantastic imagery through his words. Even his parents were stunned by what he could write.
Yet being a knight was not a thing King Syrami could get Letorry to even try. So he simply let his son do what he wanted to with his life, despite the King’s disappointment.
“Why don’t you want to be a knight Letorry?” Terronen had asked him one day, as he found Letorry poring over a large book. That day, he was keeping busy reading about the creations of the Gods. It was mainly about two opposing forces that have been at war for years, behind the scenes of history. Usually the two came in the forms of swords. Letorry found it sort of hackneyed, but it was a good read anyway.
“I just don’t,” was the absent-minded reply.
“But why don’t you?” Terronen kept asking.
“Terronen,” Letorry said shortly in a warning tone, shoving his bookmark between the pages.
“Leave him alone Terronen,” Syrregain interrupted suddenly from his place on a nearby chair. “Let the woman-boy stay with his books. We’re going to be real men and become knights.”
Letorry, being the reserved person he was, said nothing while Syrregain stood there smirking. It was at least a minute before he finally walked away, chanting “woman-boy”. And Terronen followed—blindly like a sheep.
They were to name their daughter Lorena, although King Syrami wanted to name her Tarja. Queen Anukka was against the name Tarja; it reminded her too much of her sister Tarja that died in a fire the year before.
“I don’t want to care for a ghost, Syrami,” she had stated with a tear in her eye. Being a Tulla Elvin, she believed in the myth that ghosts would occupy a child that has the same name as it if that person—specifically, a relative—died within a year. Tarja Vattiksi had died only ten months before their princess was to be born and she did not want a demonic baby.
So, they decided on Lorena, after Syrami’s sister. She had died four months ago, but he never told Anukka. And by her birth when they were to announce the child’s name to the nation, Anukka would definitely faint.
Many months passed, and spring was coming about. It was nearly time since the moment of conception for Anukka to give birth.
That day nine months later, she was seating delicately on an airy balcony. She loved to watch the breeze bring in the delicate leaves of the suomatti tree. They were white and looked almost like blossoms. She believed that if she could catch them, her baby would be a healthy and happy child.
Sitting on the balcony, she stood against the breeze with her hands out. She smiled as she felt a few of them become caught in her arms, and the fact that her daughter would be born in spring.
Syrregain walked past the balcony.
“What are you doing mother?” he asked skeptically. Her Tulla ways always confused Syrregain but he never questioned her.
“Catching the goddess-hair,” Anukka replied. Suomatti meant ‘hair of the goddess’ in Elvin, and that was what the indigenous natives referred to it as.
“I never really get what that does,” Syrregain snorted.
“Well—” she started, and then gasped. She doubled over in pain, clutching her enormous belly.
“It’s the baby!” she gasped, short of breath. “Syrregain, it’s the baby!”
Syrregain started to panic. He took his mother’s hand and tried to lift her. He struggled and watched her cry in pain as Letorry came rushing by.
“Syrregain, what are you doing!” Letorry cried angrily. He rushed to his mother and lifted her, with ease.
“I-she...I d—I don’t know?!” Syrregain babbled, and watched as Letorry effortlessly lifted his mother back into the castle. Her puffy red face was swollen with tears as she struggled against the baby trying to push out.
Within moments, Letorry, Syrregain and Queen Anukka were all in the upper tower where the whole of Elvinia can be seen. Queen Anukka had started to calm down but was still obviously in pain.
“What in Hell’s name are you waiting for you idiot!” Letorry shouted at his brother. “Get father and Luna here!” Syrregain obeyed him, despite previously insulting him.
Queen Anukka lay on her bed, barely moving. Her breathing was becoming sharper and shorter.
“Anukka?” King Syrami called into the room, dragging the midwife Luna by the arm.
“Now, your Highness...” Luna said in an assuring tone, and walked over to her. Letorry decided he did not need to see anything, and left the room, taking Syrregain who was still gawking in disbelief.
Letorry closed the door behind him, and left Luna to her business.
By the time Syrregain was awake, it was nearly eleven at night. When he looked out the window, he could see a massive amount of people waiting outside the tower. They all held torches that illuminated the night sky and a section of the tower.
He sat up in his chair, wrapping his arms around his legs, and his knees to his chin. He hoped for all the world that he did not ever have to hear the gruesome sounds he had been hearing for the past eight hours before drifting off into a disturbed sleep.
And even then, Syrregain hoped that he would not ever find himself sitting, jarred from sleep by that horrible, nightmarish wail of a dying child’s scream from the darkness.
Letorry and Terronen were still asleep beside him. He shook them both awake.
“Letorry,” he whispered as if he treaded thin ice; “ there’s no more sounds in the room.”
“They must be done,” he mumbled sleepily, opening the door.
Queen Anukka slept on the bed, with a happy, assured smile on her face. The fatigued King Syrami sat in his chair, barely awake. Beside him was the midwife Luna, holding a bundle in her arms. The three princes walked into the room, eager to see their new sister.
“What does she look like?” Terronen asked the midwife. Luna’s face looked clouded and downcast.
“Your father will be so disappointed,” she mumbled. Letorry and Syrregain looked at each other awkwardly, and then looked at their barely-conscious father. His eyelids were heavy and partially hidden beneath his gray-blond hair.
“Why would he be disappointed?” Syrregain asked the midwife. Luna sighed once more.
“Say hello to your new brother,” Luna sighed dejectedly, holding the child out to them. They gasped in awe as they first laid eyes on the sleeping child. His hair was blond and slightly tangled. Syrregain sighed. He believed his new brother looked like the embodiment of new life. He was beautiful.
“All of Elvinia is waiting,“ Luna whispered to them. “Tell them the baby’s name.”
“They wanted to name her Lorena...” Letorry sighed as he took his new brother in his arms, walking over to the balcony of the tower.
Letorry gazed at the kingdom’s people, all gathered together in front of him. They expected their princess eagerly—they expected the newborn babe that would grow into their future queen. Letorry sighed once again, and took a deep breath.
“People of Elvinia!” he shouted, his deep voice booming like thunder across the fields. “You have all been expecting your princess Lorena for months now! This night, she has been born!”
The people broke into a great applause and cheer—one that had been waiting months to be set free. Letorry nearly was blown back by the sheer force of their cheers. He sucked in his breath sharply, and stepped forward once more.
“You expected the child that would become your princess, and one day, your queen!”
Letorry could have swallowed his own words, as he said next:
“Your princess will not arrive.”
A wave of gasping made its way across the people. Confused gasping and concerned mumbles rippled throughout the people.
“I present to you your prince!”
He held the sleeping babe up to the clear black sky. Letorry realized then he needed to give the child a name. He stared up at his brother whom he held to the sky and presented to the people of Elvinia.
The gasping vanished and was soon replaced by vigorous cheering. There was the massive, thunderous sound of thousands clapping. Letorry clutched Garril closer to himself.
He suddenly felt very invigorated. These people—his people—were cheering for a little babe not even a day old he held close to himself. This child was his brother—the child who would become king after Terronen, Syrregain and he had passed.
Letorry heard stirring behind him.
“Prince Garril?” King Syrami asked in an almost hurt tone, and Letorry knew his father would be let down again.