Friday, December 21, 2012

Matt of the Lekron

Imagine for a moment that you are seventeen years old and you find out that your biological father is dead and that neither your mom, nor your best friends (one of whom has been missing for a week), nor you are, strictly speaking, human.

Junior year was rough.

-

Once not so long ago, the prince of the Lightning Land came of the age when a man must take a wife. He thought that, because he would be the Lord of Lightning once his father died, he must have a wife both beautiful and obedient, who would never speak against him. For the Prince of Lightning, as well as being handsome and powerful, was arrogant.

Thus he proclaimed that he would take as his wife the most beautiful maiden in the Lightning Land. Many women came forth, but he dismissed them all for their minor imperfections: this one laughed too loudly, that one was plump, one other had poor teeth.

The arrogant prince began to despair of finding a suitable match when, during a storm, he went out onto the palace roof to see one of the maids watching the lightning and rain. Immediately he was entranced. She was beautiful, with long golden hair and a bright smile.

There were, however, two issues: she was low-born, and she was used to making trips across the Drowned Land to the Cities of Glass that appeared there on nights of waning moon.

But once the prince had set eyes on the beautiful maid, he would have no other. He made her promise never to cross the Drowned Land again and she, overwhelmed by her unexpected change of fortune, agreed. They were soon married, and one year later the girl - now Lady of Lightning, since the old Lord had died - bore a son she named Matthew.

For two years, the former maid - she never got used to thinking of herself as Lady Lightning - raised her son, the young prince Matthew, peacefully in the palace as her husband performed his duties as the Lord of Lightning.

But she began to feel restless, and longed for the adventure to be found on the other side of the Drowned Land. Yet she would not go, because she was loyal to her husband, and did not trust to leave her young son in the palace without her.

The Lightning Lord had a sister, Lady Leila, who exercised great influence in the palace. Lady Leila had a son, several years older than Matthew - a violent boy, very powerful, and much encouraged in his violence and power by his mother.

Lady Lightning suspected her sister-in-law sought to have him become the next Lord of Lightning.

However, when the former maid brought her concerns to her husband, he did not heed her: in fact, he became angry. "Do you think, then," he thundered, "that I cannot control even my own sister?"

Hearing his words, Lady Lightning began to doubt herself. Shouldn't she trust in her husband's power? But more time passed, and again her intuition told her: Lady Leila and her son were not to be trusted.

It's just a feeling, she thought.

But then, one day, a maid with whom she was friends came running into her apartments out of breath. "My lady -" she said, "My lady - I've seen Lady Leila speaking with a poisoner! From him she bought three vials!"

"Three vials," repeated Lady Lightning. Her husband. Her. Her son. Though her face was still, her mind was spinning with plans. "Thank you for telling me."

She was loyal to her husband - indeed, it could be said that she loved him - but she could not bear to do nothing when her son was in danger.

After a few days, she sent a footman she knew she could trust across the capital to contact her old friends. She provided one with enough money to rent some rooms across the Drowned Land.

Next, she asked her husband if she could visit her mother, who she said lived in the countryside. He gave his consent thoughtlessly, because she had been obedient to him all their married years. Already he had forgotten her warnings about his sister. And so within three days the former maid left the palace with her young son.

(Her mother had died before she came to work at the palace, and in all that time the Lightning Lord had never thought to ask, or if she'd told him he'd forgotten.)

Instead of doing as she'd told her husband, Lady Lightning and her son Matthew hid with her old friends, then took a boat across the Drowned Land and into the Cities of Glass.

The Lady Lightning found work quickly. Matthew went to a local school, where right away he was admired as the best boy at drawing and at math. He began to forget about his life in the palace, as the pampered son of the Lightning Lord.

Only one thing happened to remind him of his old life. One day, a month after their escape, he came home from school and his mother was home first.

"Mom?" he said.

She folded him into her arms and began to cry. He was confused, so he did what his mom did whenever he cried. He patted her on the back and said, "It's all right, it'll be all right. We're all right." Then, because he couldn't think of anything else, he added, "And I love you." She just cried harder.

There was a letter on the countertop. It read:

"There's been a coup. Lady Leila's son is the new Lord of Lightning."

Matthew's father was dead.

--

This is one of the stories that I'm tossing around in my head for when I finish revising The Utopia Project. I've been thinking about it because it, like the amazing Welcome to Bordertown, is urban fantasy.

Electricity demons, Californian history, and a trombonist main character who's not afraid to shoot for the ledger lines. I look forward to writing this one. In fact, as I leave for vacation today, I'm bringing along this story in my brain.

1 comment:

  1. Hey girl, how are you? long time no speak! i just wanted to tell you to keep on writing, to keep on letting your magic brain do his thing (yes, to me the brain is male, sexist, i know)...see what you did here? i read the beginning of this short story three months ago but i didn't have the time to stop and read it through so i just wished you a happy new year on your end-of-the-year post and said to myself "as soon as i have 10 minutes i'm going to come back and read it". well it's three months later and here i am...way to write a captivating beginning, i still remembered i wanted to read this after all this time! I'm going to be catching up with your posts a little bit this weekend, anyways i hope you are well and still creating amazing stories :) take care! xx

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