Harrison & Sylvia, Part One
The king of the Central Kingdom, Kameron Behenna, was sitting down on his golden throne, staring down at the subjects who managed to secure a place for the petitions. The king quickly grew uncomfortable with the silence that had settled upon the chamber after the last petitioner had been dragged away. So, as Kameron released the breath he hadn’t realized he was holding, he leaned towards his attendant and gently tapped on the man’s shoulder. The tall and lanky man leaned in and quietly waited for his lord’s command, something the king had always been insistent upon. He quickly whispered his question into the man’s ear, “Quentin, who’s next?”
The attendant straightened just enough so he could read from his ledger, and whispered back into his king’s ear, “The next man seeks more time to repay his debt to the crown.”
The king shifted his cold and emotionless eyes back upon the milling and uncomfortable crowd as he quietly asked, “Another one?”
“Yes, your highness.” The attendant answered with the barest of nods.
“Very well then, Quentin.” The king answered as he mentally began to curse this day. It was one of the rare days that the king honored the tradition of the old royal family, listening to the needs of some of his people. To make the experience bearable for himself, the king sat before the chosen selected few, wrapped in every bit of opulence his title afforded him. As he examined the faces beyond the ring of guards, Kameron caught sight of a face that refused to look away. But as soon as he noticed it, there was a motion that allowed the face to become lost in the midst of those who were desperate enough to risk coming before him.
He tried to locate the face from within the sea of depressed humanity, but the defiant face was gone. The king shook his head slightly as he brought himself back to his current circumstances. Quentin had arranged for the next man to come to the dais and as he waited for the peasant to approach, he thought about his response to the man’s plea. Then as the king was running his fingers run across his scepter, he realized that he needed more information from his attendant. So, he quickly grabbed Quentin’s shoulder and pulled him back down asking another question as quietly as he could. “How much does this one owe me?”
“More than the last one, sire,” Quentin whispered in answer.
The king released his attendant’s shoulder allowing the man to stand once more. Kameron slumped slightly as he waited for the formalities of this process to be observed. Kameron did not appreciate listening to all the excuses his peasants made attempting to postpone paying the crown what they owed. As he waited for his guards to extricate the next petitioner from the throng, the king’s brow furrowed in frustration and anger from the excuses he had been forced to hear so far. When the next supplicant finally began to emerge from the crowd, the king straightened himself upon his throne. Kameron cared nothing about these excuses or their lives, but he always made sure to portray an air of absolute authority whenever he addressed them.
In stark contrast, the man who slowly approached the dais epitomized the fear he sought to instill in them. The man held one arm, walking with a slight hitch in his gait most likely form some long forgotten injury. As the man struggled to take his place upon the dais, the king pulled Quentin close to him as he asked using the same hushed tone, “Exactly how much does this cripple owe me?”
Quentin understood his lord’s tone, so Quentin answered the question before Kameron grew upset. “Thirty-five gold crowns, sire.”
With frustration beginning to break across the king’s face, he asked his attendant another question. “Do you think he’ll be able to repay his debt no matter how much time I give him?”
“Probably not, sire,” Quentin answered with a subtle shake of his head.