Nathan K

Nathan

The Prince of Poyais

Poyais is a beautiful Caribbean nation, dense with rolling hills, lush forests, and sun-sore beaches, with the bluest water on our planet.  It has an engrossing history, full of heroes and saviors, kings and empires. The people of Poyais are polite, with a healthy fascination and respect for Europeans. Their marvelous cities open their gates to any who would seek refuge.  It just so happens that in the year of our Lord 1820, their ruler, King George Frederic Augustus, named a Scotsman, Gregor MacGregor, as Cazique, or prince, of the wondrous nation. He has since returned to England to allow purchase of Poyaisian property. There’s only one problem:

Poyais never existed.

Gregor MacGregor was a Scottish mercenary who meant to trick all of England into believing and investing in Poyais. The reality is this: the Mosquito King, George Frederic Augustus, had granted Gregor MacGregor 12,500 square miles of Caribbean territory. He decided to create the country of Poyais, as well as forge constitutions, a parliament, banking and finance systems. He went so far as to invent titles and ranks in their fictional army, complete with uniforms and a coat of arms. Known as one of the greatest con schemes in history, Gregor MacGregor was never fully acquitted for his crimes. He was tried and one associate was acquitted, and later in life he moved to Venezuela, but for someone who fooled all of England, he was largely forgotten about.


Ending

A sea of trees;

Green, brown,

Speckled and spotted with gaps and shadows

Interrupted

By patches of orange and red

Engulfing structures and roads whole.

A building;

Square,

Red-roofed.

Old, too.

Standing out starkly against the earthen backdrop

The wash of forest green around it.

A hallway.

Brown, wooden.

Painted.

Ornate, with carvings and busts,

Sofas with embellished arms

Studs and flowers.

A man.

Coughing, gagging, choking, bleeding.

Dying.

Sagged into a couch, his life

Dripping

Out of his stomach and into his hand.

All his life ended here.

Those long years

Breathing, eating, sleeping.

Concluded.

His breath ragged,

Puke dribbling down his chin.

Drifting through consciousness.

A drop of blood.

Small, red, gleaming, sparkling, splashing into the carpet.

Decades of experience and wisdom

Reduced

To a stain on a rug.

He didn’t remember death.

Had no final stand,

No pre-mortuary surge of energy,

He did not rise to his feet

And curse the cruel gods that gave him this fate.

He did not go out with a bang.

He sank.

He slipped, faded.

He vanished.

He returned to nothing.


He Watched

From the hill, he watched.

He watched the sun descend from on high to the horizon, watched as it crashed into the earth. He saw its colors shift and flicker from white to yellow, from orange to red. He watched the sun as it melted into the backdrop of the universe, forgotten until remembered in the dawn. It was slow, but it fell all the same.

He watched the clouds vanish, saw them dissipate into black nothingness, their place to be taken by hundreds of thousands of them. Those small black diamonds, scattered across the sky as the pink melted away to red, to blue, to black, as some unknown force painted the sky another color.

For a long time, he watched.

Then, the shadows came. From in between the trees, black and twisted, their unknowable figures unfolding and dancing among the roots and the grass. Their arms, too long and too short, raised up to praise the night. He watched them, yes, but they watched him all the same.

Then came the riders. Hundreds of them, their lances and spears forming a wall of death for the shadows. The earth trembled under their hooves and the sky quivered as they beat down the sod and grass. Their swords were drawn, the white steel gleaming, shining among the stars. They were not afraid, not on the surface. On the surface, they were armored. They had shields, swords, horses, bows, experience and strategy, how could they lose to some shadows of the woods?

But it wouldn’t be enough.

They met in the middle. Some fell to the riders, some to the shadows, but they fell all the same. They fell for hours, and he watched. The riders died, in the end. They thought their mounts, their numbers, their skill, surely their king, could stop the shadows, but, all the same, they fell.

Then, and only then, came the dawn.

The sun’s morning glow trickled through the trees like a stream through roots. The leaves painted a black and yellow speckled coat onto the ground as the shadows fled back to their glens and woods. The blood soaked into the soil, their corpses, too, soaked in as well, and in a hundred years, they were gone. Their struggle forgotten to story and song, but their story was told nonetheless. At night, the shadows fall, and darkness engulfs the planet, and every morning, the light returns. Every day, their song is sung by the muses of the universe, and there are none who do not hear it.


A King of Steel and Blood

With a shriek

That bounced from the

Walls, the ceiling, the floor,

The hinges

Twisted and broke.

The doors fell flat.

Dust flooded across the hall.

The ram hit the ground.

The Guards swarmed the door

But were overwhelmed.

 

His boots clattered.

Against the stone

The torchlight

Shuddered

As he passed.

The King of Steel and Blood.

A man

Of Sword and Hide

The old king stood.

“Take it, I won’t fight.”

He said.

And fell onto his sword.

Free.

 

And so,

The King of Steel and Blood,

Climbed the throne.

And so,

His brother’s knife plunged

Into his back.

 

The blood of betrayal

Dripped

And stained

And soaked

Into the chair

And so,

The King of Steel and Blood

Reduced

To a man

Of Once and Gone.

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