OAC English/Archetypes March 4 2002 Polished piece # Once upon a time in a wondrous land far, far away, there was a mighty king named Lorne and his angelic queen Sophia , who ruled over a vast and fertile empire. This was the time of wizards, witches and dragons. In this magical and enchanting epoch there was much to fear and question. This king however, was a strong and trustworthy leader whom his people adored and trusted with their very lives. He protected his followers with a grand army whose troops were by far the best trained and equipped in all the land. The soldiers were all tough battle hardened men, toned into lean powerful athletes like well oiled machines. Their hammered bronze armor shone like the morning sun, striking an all encompassing reaction of fear and awe in any foe who dared challenge them. No other army would dare take on the king and his forces for fear of eminent annihilation.
The reputation of this army was well known throughout the land. King Lorne ruled for many years with his beautiful queen and devoted subjects, having only minor tribulations to deal with. The kingdom thrived and the wealth of the people became momentous, exceeding any that had been amassed in the history of the royal bloodlines, dating back some 300 years. There was no poverty in this fair and just society, those who were less fortunate than others were helped by those who had found prosperous ventures and had wealth to spare. The king and his queen had a large family which brought the cold lifeless nature of the castle to life with the laughter and squeals of delight from the six little princes and princesses as they played with as much vigor and enthusiasm as their father ruled the land in which they lived. When the king was not attending to royal matters he loved to sit in the castle gardens watching his beloved children play as only care free children do. He would also join in and play their game of tag, hide and seek and mock battles between good and evil. " My word, Daniel, you seem to sprout several inches every time I see you! You will make a fine soldier one of these days." his middle son began to glow with pride at the approval of his father. He had three sons and three daughters which all carried the strength, both physical and emotional, of their devoted and doting parents. "oh Lorne, my love, what have we done to deserve such a wonderful life filled with so much joy and happiness. I could care less about the wealth, my family and my health is all my soul needs to remain content for the rest of my mortal days in this world." Lorne placed his thickly muscled arm on his queens delicate shoulders and drew her close to his own body, his sprits electrified with the undying love and desire for this woman whom he had fallen head over heels in love with the first moment he laid his eyes her.
One lovely spring morn, a royal messenger came racing into the court yard as white as ghost. He carried with him news that would send shockwaves of fear and panic through the lives of all people who lived in the kingdom. A true battle between good and evil was about to be forged and the outcome would forever change the lives of all who lay in its destructive path. A mighty foreign army had traveled across the vast blue ocean to invade the empire and claim its immeasurable wealth as their own. This army had numbers that far exceeded that of the kings armies and it had been said that these warriors were fierce and brave, fighting to the death for any cause. The royal armies of the king were also fierce and brave, however, they had not faced an army that was so closely matched to their own power and might. The king began to plan how he would defend his kingdom against this mass of barbarians who threatened the peaceful, wondrous lives that the people of this land come to cherish so intensely. As the messenger told the king the details of this impending threat, the usual golden sand tone of his face faded to a sickly gray and his brow furrowed with unease as he contemplated the true threat of this impending invasion. He then hurried away calling for the immediate gathering of the war council to plan their strategy. The king was up for three days and nights working to coordinate his forces to provide the best defenses for the empire. The invaders were expected to enter the boundaries of the empire within a week, this being little time to allow for the proper organization and dispersion of troops. With foreign armies there is much to question, such as what style of weapons will they use, how will they attack, what are their strengths and weaknesses and countless others. The planning went on and on and on, yet all knew there was only so much that they could do, the real indication of how this battle would play out would be drawn out in blood at the first meeting of these two determined forces. The king finally returned to grand library in the family wing of the castle. There he sat in his large leather arm chair worn by his frame after years of using it for sorting out his deepest and most crucial thoughts. Sophie entered the room carrying a steaming mug of tea to warm his troubled being. "Sophie, I have arranged for you and the children to leave at first light to travel to the north face fort at the edge of the territory, the best defended fortress of the empire. There you will stay until this dilemma is resolved." Sophie opened her mouth to protest but Lorne quickly spoke, cutting her off. "See here, I will not risk the lives of my own family. You and the children are my heart and soul, the very reason for my existence, you must go. I beg you not challenge me on this, please my love, just do as I ask and do not question me." Sophie lowered her eyes to the smooth marble floor, polished to the resemblance of cut crystal. "All this wealth, material things, simple possessions, these are the reasons why these outsiders are coming to destroy our empire and threaten the lives of our people. I just don't understand, Lorne." Sophie knew by the way Lorne was acting, he was unsure about his ability to defeat this new threat. As much as she wanted to stay with the man she loved, she knew that her and the children would only serve as a weakness in a time when he would need all the strength he could muster. If the opposing army got a hold of her or any of the children, Lorne could not bear the thought of harm coming any of them and would fold his power. The time of change had come about and only time would tell what the outcome would be.
The castle seemed once again cold and lifeless without the royal families presence. This lack of love and happiness did not help the kings troubled mind in his state of anguish. The enemy would soon be upon them, they were expected to enter the far southern point of the territory at any moment. The king had placed scouts, riding the fastest horses of the royal stables at all possible points of entrance. They would immediately race to the king at the first sight of the enemy.
The king sat alone in the court yard when the messenger came racing along the cobble stone road. The time had come for battle and the king rose from his chair to dawn his ceremonial battle gear and face this already detested foe, little did he know his life would never be the same.
The king was accurate in his fears of not having the strength he needed to overcome this commanding force that swept through the kingdom like hell fire and left little untouched by their violent acts of raping, murdering and pillaging with no remorse. The king found the pain and fear being reaped on his people unbearable to witness. There was little he could do in the face of such evil. Suddenly without warning the commander of the opposing came to the king with a condition to end the conflict. The general of the army set up a meeting with Lorne to discuss the issue. He was a tall lean man with long black hair styled in many small braids tied with multi colored ribbons. " your majesty, I dislike war and conflict as much as you do. The nature of my people demands such extreme measures to ensure their survival. We do not posses a home territory, rather we move from place to place living of those we come across. We just recently experienced a period of extreme need and poverty. When we heard of your empires prosperity, we decided to migrate here and live off your peoples wealth. It sounds terrible, I know, but this is how we survive. I understand how painful it must be for you to witness this happening so I have come to offer terms of ending this conflict." Lorne lowered his head in utter pain and regret, his once mighty heart was now a mere shadow of its former self. He knew he must agree to whatever conditions his enemy offered in order to stop the war. "alright, I am ready to hear what you have to say." he said, the strain and hardship was obvious in the tone of his voice.
" my army will withdraw from the central region of the empire and live on the fertile delta to the far east. We will remain there for a few years until we are ready to move on. I give you my solemn word there will be no more violence between our people as long as you adhere to the following: you will renounce your title as king and all imperial duties, power and influence. I know this may seem a rather deep-seated and extreme, but I must ensure that you will not come against us In the future seeking revenge. I will control the territory between here and the north face fort where your family is currently living. I will make no attempt to harm them and I will give you my word as a father and a husband that they will remain safe and well cared for. So , will you agree, king?" the king's heart welled up inside his chest, he could feel the bitter tears of true defeat burning his eyes, but he would not let them fall. He was a man, a strong man that would never allow an enemy to see how they had crushed his spirit and torn apart all that he had ever known, leaving only emptiness, despair and want for the love of his family. He looked up to meet the eyes of the man who had destroyed his life. It took lonre all the remaining threads of sanity and reason not to reach for his hidden dagger and pierce the heart of the one who had torn his from his chest and stomped upon it like a broken toy, no longer of any use. He then thought of his family and what would become of them if he killed him, he dismissed this idea and tried to regain a train of sane and rational thought. The royal scribe wrote up the conditions and the two men signed their names at the bottom. The truce was singed, all was official. The king now faced many years of solitude, left only with his sorrow as company.
They passed slowly and seemed to drag on endlessly but they came to an end. When Lorne heard of the final migration of the nomadic people who had lived off of his lands for the past six and a half years, he once again felt like a living being and his soul regained the spark of life and vigor with the thought of being with his dear wife and beautiful children. He fetched a horse from his stable and headed north for the fort where his family awaited anxiously for his return. The ride took four days and three nights. He stopped only when the threat of exhaustion and thirst threatened to take the life of his horse. Finally as the dawn broke on the fifth day of his journey he saw the fort begin it rise before him. The sight ignited a passion so deep inside him he could not contain his emotion as he willed his stallion into one last burst of energy, the animal, sensing the urgency and passion that drove the man that rode high and proud on his back. The king felt the life that had drained so readily from his mind and body flood back into him as the cool wind, wet with the spray of the ocean, fell upon his face blending with the tears of joy streaming down his face. As he arrived at the main gates, they swung open to allow his entrance. Sophia was already running across the court yard to meet Lorne and as he saw her, he leapt for the saddle and ran towards her, the anticipation of her touch electrified him and as they meet in full embrace their souls became one again and the love that they knew would never die enveloped them once more and this time, as they gazed longingly into each others eyes, they came to an understanding in that moment of such ecstasy and elation, they would never allow this love to be torn apart again, ever, as long as they were both living in this world. Love this true, pure, and undying could never fall in the face of adversity and it never did. Even in heaven their love would be known and admired for its wholesomeness and unconditional devotion.