Tale of Two Crowns (Part 2: Halloween Special)
It had been nearly a month since Paizu’s first interaction with Bazur, every day since he could feel the orc watching him from a distance. Could his mother be right? Was there truly a sinister intent masked behind Bazur’s charming yet rugged features.There it was, he could feel those deep eyes on the back of his neck as if they were looking through him. It made his hair stand on end. Paizu closed his book and turned around swiftly, locking his eyes with Bazur who was visibly caught off guard. The elf motioned for the orc to come sit beside him. Bazur hesitantly walked past the Eochaid, pulled up a chair and sat quietly, folding his hands underneath his chin.
“So you took notice?” He said after a moment.
“Would you like to read with me Bazur?” Paizu asked, sliding the book gently in front of him.
Bazur picked up the book and chuckled as he noticed it was in the Orcish dialect. “So you read our tongue?”
“I speak many languages. It’s my duty to be able to communicate with every governing official…” Paizu said grabbing another book from a massive pile that was set before them.
Bazur seemed quite impressed at the statement. “How old are you, if you do not mind my asking.” The prince didn’t remove his eyes from the book.
“17 years, I am not allowed to take power until next year. In which case, my mother will rule until she to give me or a regent power.”
Bazur nodded and began flipping through the book swiftly. “What are you doing with all of these, If you don’t mind my asking?”
“With the gates opened for so long, many questions have arisen about the history of Verra, customs that the elves have lost. I’ve taken it upon myself to rediscover some of them and introduce them back into our race. However, so far I've only found legends, not any useful information.” He said tossing a book at one of the eochaid, who caught it with a single hand and placed it back on the shelf.
“Sire!” A woman’s voice came from above.
Bazur and Paizu both craned their necks upwards. A young empyrean girl with extremely long blonde hair was holding a very large book over the railing above them. She raced down the staircase, over to their table and threw the book onto it between the two.
“Hallow’s Tide!” She said. Paizu opened the book and flipped through the pages stopping when he reached the articles on Hallow's Tide.
"Let's see what we have here. 'Each year on Verra in the autumn, The world as a whole would take time to gather, give offerings to the divines. The children would wander through their villages and cities dressed up in monster costumes, collecting sweet treats. Families would come together and carve faces into pumpkins to ward off any spirits with foul intent'. How did we lose this tradition? It was something the entire world did together..." Paizu moved out of the way, allowing the girl to sit down and read it herself.
"Petra, you keep reading that I'll try to find more on Hallow's Tide. Let's host a festival, see if we can get this tradition back into the world." The prince said wandering off into the hundreds of shelves of books.
"Who are you?" The girl asked, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear and looking over towards Bazur.
"Bazur Ashida, an Envoy of War chieftain Liam of the Ren'Kai."
"The prince, Eh?" She asked, a smirk crossing her face.
"What do you mean?" Bazur asked leaning back, an obviously worried look on his face.
"I'm a librarian, Bazur. Reading romance novels is literally in the job description. I've seen the way you look at him. If this festival does kick off and you have the time, you should tell him how you feel." She suggested closing the book and gently placing it on the massive pile Paizu had created.
"Ha, Isn't it a royals duty to continue a pureblood line? I'm a male and on top of that an Orc, he'd find no benefit in a relationship with me." Bazur argued. Grabbing the pile of books and carrying it for her.
"Tell him anyway. You'll feel better, trust me. Who knows he might just give in." Petra said leading him to a cart.
Bazur nodded and took her advice.
Later that night Paizu had actually gotten a festival together. He was extremely serious about reuniting the eight races in peace. Bazur found him in the center of a crowd with his mother, they were both handing out uncarved pumpkins. Paizu's hair was now raven black instead of its usual platinum blonde and his lips looked as though they were stained with blood. Petra, who was dressed like a werewolf, walked up to Bazur and she too stared at the prince.
"Of course he would be a vampire and it seems the Queen showing off more skin than usual."
"He's so... pretty." Bazur said before gasping that he actually spoke aloud.
"Haha, that he is. When he was younger lots of the Elves here thought he was a girl. But enough about the past..." Petra used all her weight and began to push the massive orc towards the royals. "Talk about your future."
Bazur smiled to the Queen, bowing respectfully before standing in front of Paizu. "Hello, highness"
"Hello, Bazur. Would you like a pumpkin?" Paizu asked, lifting the large fruit from the cart behind him.
The orc chuckled and took the pumpkin and handed it to the family behind him. "No sir, Just here to lend a hand. If that is alright with you and your guard?" He asked looking back at the nearest eochaid who simply stared.
"Of course, it's no problem at all. Right mother?" Makinoji nodded and continued handing out pumpkins herself. occasionally looking around for anyone walking around with alcohol.
After about 20 minutes of handing out pumpkins, the crowd had finally started dying down, giving Bazur time to speak.
"So, Prince Paizu..."
"Yes, Bazur?" the prince replied sitting on the cart, sipping some water that had been left for him by the eochaid.
Bazur took a deep breath and then began to speak. "I know that our meeting was accidental, and I didn't expect this much of it. But I have these strong feelings like I'm being drawn to you and I am unsure how much longer I'll be able to hold them at bay. So I felt inclined to tell you about—"
Before he could react, Paizu had pressed his lips against Bazur's constituting all manner of whispers and smiles and stares. The Queen simply raised a brow, and took a sip of the wine she had 'confiscated'.
"I feel the same..." Paizu looked out towards the crowd and then felt something wet spray against the side of his face.
As he turned he saw an arrow lodged itself through Bazur's heart. Paizu wiped the liquid from his cheek only to notice it was blood. He was frozen for a moment before he left out a scream of absolute horror. He tried to heal Bazur but the Eochaid dragged him and his mother to safety.
“No! Stop! Let me heal him!” Paizu begged, kicked and screamed all the way until he was in the palace’s safe room, where he simply cried.
He went on for hours, his mother sitting there looking rather annoyed. After he was done crying he began punching the door, to get the Eochaid to open it.
Queen Makinoji sat with her ear to the wall, she could hear people screaming about fires and the city being under siege. How could this happen, so close to Artorius's death as well?
"We must flee." The Queen said standing and pressing one of the bricks on the wall, revealing a passageway. "Come now, child." She said, forcefully dragging him into the tunnel.
They walked for a bit before they end up just outside of the castle. Three Eochaid were waiting there with two extra horses.
"Your Highnesses, we must move quickly." Said the smallest one.
"P-pidge?" Paizu asked. He had grown up with a lot of the children preparing to be Eochaid, As it was the ruler's duty to command them.
"The horse, sire." The girl said helping the Queen onto her horse.
Paizu got onto his own horse and they rode, Makinoji questioning the three Eochaid.
"The War Chieftain was supposed to remain here for another week at least, yet he was nowhere to be found. That leads us to believe that the Emperor ordered this assault and demanded that his Chieftain and his men flee before they could be detained for questioning." Pidge informed the queen.
"Those damned orcs, Their only wish is to expand their empire. I should've known before inviting them here." Paizu said under his breath. His mother was right, he had been manipulated and now his people had the pay the price.
They rode until the next morning, ending up at a Vaelune Town. It was the meeting point for all the Empyrean officials in the event of the fall of their capital. Paizu was only here once with his father when he was very little
"Is that little Paizu all grown up?" An old Vaelune man said walking out of the town's gathering building.
"Uncle Hasan!" Paizu said running over and shaking the man's hand.
The sound of gasp prompted all three leaders to whip around. The three Eochaid stood their throats slit. A figure walked out of trees, very thin wire attached to its hands.
"I will rip thy heart from thine chest on this odorous hallow's tide. Thou hath brought this upon thine kind youngling and thou shalt be the last to die as I wipe the Elven races from existence." And with that the figure vanished, separating the Eochaid's heads fully from their bodies.
"What the hell was that?!" Paizu asked terrified.
Makinoji once again grabbed her son by his arm, threw him onto the nearest horse and spoke cold as Ice to Mayor Hasan.
"Abandon this place, The nightmare has only begun." and she rode off as fast as possible.