Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Delusional Doom Ides Of March Blogfest

Thank you to the illustrious Hart Johnson over at Confessions of a Watery Tart for hosting this Delusional Doom --- Ides of March Blogfest. Make sure you visit the other ill-fated stories of death-becomes-them. I just love the buttons for this blogfest. But of course I would. See above and below.

To set this scene up, in the second book of my Caenus trilogy, Caenus marries Kalliste and they've just returned home from the wedding. Kranos is announcing the news, but someone in the royal court has other plans.

            Long rectangular wooden tables dissected the cavernous reception hall built for small intimate gatherings of fifty people or less.  Silver wine goblets sat innocently at the top edges of the plates on the exquisitely set tables.  Invited guests slowly strolled into the room and mingled with one another while picking from the grape and fig platters that had been placed in random intervals along the length of the table.
           General Nikios paced in a corner, silently wondering about his own destiny.  He had hoped that Kranos would name him king for now, knowing that when Caenus was old enough, Caenus would assume rule. If I were king, he schemed, perhaps I could have the prince exiled and rule with absolute power. Perhaps send him on a modern wild fleece quest.
            Nautical mastermind, Akaikos, certainly desired the royal scepter and crown, however he knew that being the youngest of the generals, his chances would never look as good as they did right now. He had absolutely no desire to go to Samos, but how could he stage a coup… and whom would he recruit to support him?
            Diokles’s mind wandered, as he mingled through the crowd, thinking of what life would be like were he king. To be sure, Nikios topped the queue. How, then could he possibly create the necessary vacancy to take a more advantageous position in this royal race?

            Kranos and Alexis welcomed all guests into the hall.  Golan, finally feeling like his old self again after the long trip, had finally arrived. He approached and embraced first Caenus then Kalliste before turning the corner to enter the hall and embrace Alexis and Kranos. 
            A buzz permeated the hall. The air, filled with the scintillating aroma of roasted lamb and wine, crackled with such a high level of excitement and energy that no one saw the hand that grabbed Kranos’ wine goblet and slipped a poisonous concoction into it.
            Guests continued to enter the hall and locate their seating assignments. Once everyone was seated and ready for the reception to begin, Kranos stood from his throne of a seat at the middle of the table, directly beside Alexis. All chatter fell to the ground as the still muscular king stood.
            “Tonight we honor two great young men,” Kranos echoed through the silence.
            From his position toward the middle of the table, Golan turned and shot a look of pride toward Caenus who was sitting at one long end of the table.  The generals, seated together at the other end, each looked nervously at one another, trying to figure out who the second guest of honor would be.
            “These two men have shown both courage and valor in trying times, and have proven loyalty and allegiance to the kingdom of Iolkos,” Kranos continued.
            Golan next looked sidelong at each of the generals, who sat with their wives. He felt that surely the good king had something of import to say of one of the generals. He never suspected that the second guest of honor was in fact himself.  Caenus looked with dreamy admiration at his own beautiful new wife, who beamed with radiance.
            “To Iolkos!” Kranos said, lifting his goblet toward the rafters.
            “To Iolkos!” the guests roared back, echoing off the stone walls.
            “Take now your goblets in hand.  If they are not already filled with fine Samian wine, a gift from the esteemed royal family of Samos, let them now be filled.  For tonight, shall we first honor my son, Caenus…”
            Caenus stood as applause rang out, filling the hall to the rafters.
            “… And, to his wonderful new wife, Kalliste, the Princess of the Kingdom of Samos…”
            Applause continued to roar as she then rose to her feet, waving to all. 
            “…A marriage of empires, no doubt, but a marriage of hearts, first and foremost. Raise your goblets now until their bases are high in the air,” Kranos bellowed proudly, lifting his goblet and consuming the whole of its contents.
            When the roar subsided, Kranos continued, “Now… for the other great man I wish to honor this night.  Remember, I said that I wished to honor two great young men…”
            Caenus and Kalliste both replaced their seats, clasping one another’s hands tightly. The generals looked at one another with sidelong glances. Akaikos then shifted his gaze to Golan, still unsure of the direction Kranos would take.  Caenus also looked at Golan with a supportive smile then up at the generals, for he was not quite certain of whom his father would speak next.  Caenus wondered whether his father would speak of Golan’s bravery on the Aegean, or name a general to succeed as king.
            “I have taken on anotherrrr…” Kranos spoke slowly, slurring a bit, and taking a deep breath. “I have takennn…” Clearing his throat, he paused and then tried to continue. Kranos began feeling queasy and weak. Then his stomach felt as if it was being eaten out from the inside. Kranos clutched his stomach and, again tried to continue through the pain.
            “I have taken onnn anotherrr s-s-s…” That was all Kranos managed to get out before he crumpled to the floor, his crown clanking as it tumbled from his head.