Tweet of the Day: Mañana, hombre, mañana
Work In Progress. Three little words that can be a bane of any writer’s existence. We are always working on something. We are always on some stage of development. Some works take days, maybe a week or so, others a lifetime. Once in awhile it sees sunlight, or at least parts of it do. They are held up as examples of a finished work yet to come. In that spirit I present to you another scene from my work in progress: Lessons of War-Chapter 1: Homecoming.
The tour ended in Father’s study. I stood in the darkened threshold. Eyes strained to pick up the familiar detail. A dark marble floor polished to a mirror finish. Walls covered in bookshelves that reached to the ceiling. Countless books crammed in every nook and cranny. Father preferred paper over electrons. A solid mahogany desk with the winged sword emblem of House de Haviland carved on the front, stood at the opposite end. The glass ceiling above gave the room the feel of an open air cathedral where stray thoughts flew into the night sky. It was Father’s space, a place unique to him. Now it was a place occupied by stuff: his books/my books, his desk/my desk, and his tall leather backed chair now my chair. A mausoleum as sacrosanct as the cold empty tomb in the castle’s underground crypt that waited for Father’s remains.
I walked up the desk in deliberate steps like an archeologist in an ancient ruin. A hologram appeared before me. The translucent figure had streaks of grey in its beard, a receding hairline and sunken brown eyes.
The recording started, “If you are hearing this….”
“”Oh no dad, god no,” I said out loud to the ghost of a father.
“…then the inevitable has come to pass. You are now Duke of House de Havilland with all the powers and responsibilities that title entails. The destiny of eleven hundred worlds, large and small, is in your hands. I wished you had more time to prepare. It was my wish that a fruitful military career would yield such experience. Alas, it seems that your time is now. Know that your mother and I are proud, oh so very proud, of you. Listen to those close to you, Caras in particular. They will steer you true.” Ghostly eyes tracked my movement around the desk. “I’ve updated this recording with information on the latest information about the status of the galaxy and relevant points of interest.”
The chair creaked under my weight. It smelled of faint cologne and faded childhood memories, of hours spun away on that chair while Father worked. I pressed a button on the projector. It droned on about such things as alliances, enemies, military affairs, economic analyses, and other current events. Useful information I received in a dozen briefings during the past week. I slouched lower in the chair at the rate of a few milliliters per minute.
“Now we come to a touchy but important subject. Your future betrothal,” said the hologram without a hint of irony.
I sprung back up, “Wait, what? Dear lord, no.”
“While there is a long standing tradition in our unions between dukes and commoners we, and by we I mean you-”
“Great I’m being sass by the Ghost of Father’s Past,” I groaned.
“-can not dismiss the possibility of securing our House future through a politically advantageous marriage. As uncomfortable as this subject may be-”
“Is,” I said.
“-it is of the utmost importance that you have an heir as soon as possible,” said Ghost-Father.
“No offense, dad, but matchmaking from beyond the grave is creepy to say the least,” I said to the stars above.
They blinked in absolute ignorance of my discomfort. Then again, balls of incandescent plasma never cared for the egos of the ants that crawled over the surfaces of its rocky satellites.
Ghost-Father continued with his presentation. A collection of CEOs of interplanetary corporations, to Baron or Baroness such and such daughters flashed past sprinkled with a few politically connected celebrities. Then came one Andrea-Marie, Scion of the First House, Lady Elector of the Imperial House (Greater) Kaiser. She wore a white Neo-Rengency dress that laid her pale neck bare. She wore her platinum long hair long, past the small of her back. Her eyes almond shape eyes were sapphire blue. Deep dark blue eyes that shone with an inner fire to rival the brightest of stars. Twin windows to an intense, fierce intellect bathed in deep serenity.
My fingers tingled, my heart raced. She was the first light in a dark ocean of self pity.
Ghost-Father words snapped me back to reality,”On paper, an alliance between our Houses could strengthen our positions. However, and I can not stress this enough son, you must not seek such a union.” Ghost-Father inhaled deeply, “To court her is to court war.”