Demiphius, Part 1. A Coronation
- A Coronation
In the southern corner of the room, a candle flickered, an inconsistent beacon of light within the dark abyss. It was late evening, the moon had just risen into the twilight sky. Slightly agape, the window released a subtle draft of air. Upon his wobbly, wooden chair, a young man sat, leaning over his desk. His head, cocked and tilted, his eyes piercing downward, focused intently upon the notes before him. Flustered and anxious, he swept his left hand through his long, black hair. For only a moment, his eyes weren’t burdened by his locks, a sweet release, until they cascaded his vision once more. With a quill in his right hand, he scribbled furiously, not with a moment of hesitation. The brisk air cried, as a gust of wind flowed through the window. His fingers fell still, the young man sat in silence. The dripping wax fell dry, as the dripping candle went to bed. Alone, the young man waited, as the moon said goodnight.
Morning came as the sun yawned, and with its heavy breath, the sky woke up and light encompassed the nation of Myralis. In the southern corner of a familiar room, a pile of notes were almost silent, whispering, quietly, forbidden knowledge among themselves. A familiar young man stood tall, a lanky individual, as he buttoned his shirt. His hair slicked back and greasy in appearance, tied into a loose bun. Atop his head, a jeweled crown, a beauty of topaz. Demiphius, his name as he is called, gathered his notes. With not a moment to wait, his door slammed behind him.
Paintings of elegant men and women watched closely as Demiphius walked, slowly, down the gothic, arched hallway. The hall was dim, illuminated only by an aetherium-lit chandelier, several meters above the distant floor panels. To the close left of his passing, the housemaid swept in silence. Startled by Demiphius, she turned to greet the young man. She lowered her head, extending her palm. Demiphius hesitated, bowing to his servant, before offering his gaze, with a slight smile. The maid blushed, and remained still until Demiphius passed.
Entering the great hall, Demiphius arrived to his audience. In the center of the hall he stood. Briefly, he itched his scalp, before standing firmly, his eyes attentive to the front. His surroundings, familiar, yet oddly foreign.
“Demiphius,” an elder man in a silken white robe, laced in red, declared. “We welcome you.” His gaze pierced into the eyes of the young man, Demiphius, and spoke more words than the holy scriptures of Dankasha. “As you know, the Surato family has ruled over these lands of Myralis for centuries, since the 63rd decade, at the founding of Arrabona. We have overseen the mines and the Aetherium Trade, bringing great wealth to our people. With our great power, has come our great responsibility. We represent the people of Arrabona... all the people of Myralis! Though, most importantly, we represent the Surato family legacy!” He exclaimed, raising himself from his throne by his palms, against the long table. “Demiphius,” the elder spoke silently, returning to his calm demeanor. “The time has come. My boy, your time has come to help fulfill the future of the Surato legacy.”
A wave of heat cascaded down his forehead, as Demiphius gulped. Behind him, the grand doors opened, in a great charade. At the doors entered a tall man in a red gown, decorated with golden laces and precious jewelry. Elegantly, he walked down the aisle, each step thudding firmly, yet with grace, against the carpet below his excellence. He calmly passed Demiphius, before arriving before the elder. He bowed before settling upon his left knee.
“Gallius, we welcome you.” The elder consoled. “Today, on the first day of the fourteenth month, we come together under the grace and will of our almighty lord and savior, Darius. For in spirit, he is with us, listening, to every word I say. I, Altruis Surato, Lord of our wonderful Arrabona, declare this coronation commenced.” Lord Altruis Surato commanded as he took his seat upon the royal throne.
“Let us begin with grace, and honor our lord.” The archpriest stood, bold in his stance. His left arm raised, his palm facing himself. “On this crucial day, come once in a generation, we thank our lord for granting us the privilege to this land. May Faustus stay at bay, as Darius grants us a proper ceremony.”
A dozen, highly decorated, individuals entered through the grand doors, into the great hall. They separated, taking their stand forward their seats on either side of the aisle. Gallius remained still upon his knee, his head bowed. Demiphius stood frozen at the center of the hall, his head held high, eyes locked firmly with the gaze of Lord Surato.
“May I ask that we all raise our hands, lock your gazes upon your palms,” the archpriest requested. All in the audience obeyed, as well as the Lord and his council. Gallius stood, and he, with Demiphius, raised his arm. “With your right hand, please take hold of your danka from your belts. Now, raise it to the back of your wrists.” The archpriest demanded. With all individuals in the room, holding their spiritual blade, the danka, to their wrists, the archpriest continued. “Let us say prayer to our lord.” The archpriest then pressed the tip of his danka against his flesh, slowly piercing it and cutting through the back of his wrist. Everyone in the hall mimicked the archpriest, and as their blood oozed down their forearms, the priest began his prayer. “It is for Darius that we come here, united, on this holy day. For him, we build this kingdom, spreading his reach across the known lands. In his name, we give our reverence. In his name, we suffer! To keep Faustus deep within the Nightscape, we suffer for our lord, our prophet, our king! It is on this day! The people of Arrabona shall give their prayers to Darius, as a new lord has been granted to our town! In the name of Darius and of our new lord, we shall suffer!” The archpriest cried out, as he furiously cut deeper in his flesh, tearing a circle around his wrist.
As the blood gushed down his arm, staining his white robe, the archpriest collapsed. “Come, my lord…” he ushered. A tall figure took a few steps, and loomed over him. “Today, for Darius, for the new lord of Arrabona, I give my life. Come to me, young man.” The figure took a knee before the archpriest, and offered his palm. The archpriest rested his wrist upon the young man’s palm as he passed. His limp body went still, as he bled unto the figure before him.
“Long live Lord Surato.” The elder, Altruis Surato, calmly declared. “Long live Lord Surato!” He then shouted.
“Long live Lord Surato! Long live Lord Surato!” The hall echoed with cries of excitement and reverence, as the new lord was honored.
“Come now, my boy. Give me your palm.” The young man approached Altruis, and gave his hand. Altruis took his danka, cutting his own palm, then the young man’s. The two pressed their palms together, in silence.
“The throne is yours, Gallius.”
Gallius bowed to his father, then turned and bowed to the audience, who bowed in return, their heads held low. He faced Demiphius, and frowned. He bowed, as did Demiphius. Altruis stood, and vacated the throne, his excellence was no more. Gallius smiled toward his father as he passed, with a subtle nod of the head, then he took the throne for himself.
“I do believe, Demiphius, you have some words for your brother. You do, don’t you?” Altruis encouraged, beckoning Demaphius to speak.
Demaphius scrambled as he attempted to gain a proper grasp of his notes, now stained blood red. After a moment of struggle, he spoke. “My esteemed brother, firstborn of Altruis Surato… firstborn… my esteemed brother!” Demiphius stuttered, as he dropped a piece of his notes. Upon regathering, he spoke again. “My esteemed brother, firstborn of Altruis Surato, I salute you. An honorable life you have lived, a great merchant, skilled archer, and loving brother. I would like to say--”
“Leave.” Gallius interrupted Demiphius, and the audience gasped. Fumbling, Demiphius attempted to speak, but couldn’t. “You’re a disgrace, my brother. You have no place in this household. Be gone by dusk.”
Demiphius wanted to cry out in a retort, though he elected to remain silent. He tore his notes, and let them slowly cascade downward. He had vacated the room before they had any hope of merely grazing the floor.
The gaze of the housemaid followed as Demiphius fled.