Thursday, November 3, 2011
Here is a portion of Chapter one of Chessmen: Dangerous Moves. I hope you enjoy it.
The Queen of planet Chyssia is dead. She died in childbirth while her infant girl survived. The humble and peaceful people of the planet were wrought with grief. The Queen was loved greatly amongst her subjects and her death came as a great shock. Nothing would sooth this pain for some time. Even the proud beauty of their world; the luminous grasses and high red mountains, could offer no comfort or peace.
The Falconer has served proudly as leader of the Royal Guard for two generations. He stood just outside the door with the King, while the Queen labored. When the Chancellor came out to report her death, the Falconer had to catch his King who crumpled toward the floor. As his beloved monarch cried and asked how this could be, it pained him to have no answer. Falconer’s mind raged in turmoil.
He went to the top of the highest spire of the castle, where he took time to think and reflect. This was, to him, the most peaceful place in all the kingdom. He could gaze out upon the beauty of the land and clear his mind. This time, the mind clearing wouldn’t be so easy. There were things that didn’t make sense about the Queen’s death, but Falconer couldn’t put a finger on it. The Chancellor had reported her death as natural from complications in child birth. Despite those findings, he couldn’t shake the feeling that something evil was involved. So he needed to think and think hard. It had now been three days since her death and he felt like the clock was ticking toward some horrible event. He took a deep breath and closed his silvery eyes. He felt the wind course through his ash white hair and press against his chest. Up there, he could let go of everything and just be one with the air and sky. In his mind, he only saw the smile of the Queen and the face of the infant Princess. He breathed deep and hoped for some answer to come to him, but it was only the sound of the wind. His eyes snapped open as he felt a pair of small feet land on his shoulder. Sharp talons rested against thick black cloth but didn’t pierce through. His spirit-mate, Sersi, nudged his right temple with her beak.
“You still fretting?” she said in his mind.
“Yes,” he answered aloud, not even thinking about their psychic bond. He stared out over the countryside.
“It’s a terrible tragedy, I know. But we don’t have any proof of our suspicions. Shouldn’t we concentrate on protecting the ones that are left?”
“Sersi, you are right, as usual. I just needed to clear my head. We should get back down there now.”
She fluttered away from his shoulder, “See you there!” and she dove fast toward the courtyard below. Few creatures anywhere are as fast as a falcon in a dive. Sersi dropped like a missile toward the ground below. In only a second or so, she spread her wings and lightly landed on the head of a statue in the courtyard. She made flying look ridiculously easy. Sersi craned her neck to look up and watch Falconer.
Falconer gazed down at the courtyard, hundreds of feet below and let go of the pole he stood by. He and Sersi were no strangers to heights. For that matter, no one in the castle was. The entire royal palace was built into the high cliffs of the red mountains. It could only be reached by airship. Falconer leaned forward and let his body yield to gravity. Air rushed past as he sped toward the ground head first. His clothes rustled and wind filled his ears. The courtyard below grew quickly in visual size. The rounded stones of the courtyard floor seemed to reach for him as he plummeted. With a few yards before impact he slowed, turned his body and gently landed on his feet.
“Always catching yourself at the last second,” Sersi chuckled.
“It’s good practice for the reflexes,” Falconer replied, “And as I remember, it’s a trick you taught me. Come, let’s go and check on the King.” He held out his left arm and Sersi fluttered down and landed on it.