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Writings > Short Story > Love

Gabriel and Adora

Previous short story:
Conscience
Next short story:
The Standing Ovation

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Hi ya lovely people,

Forgive me for the lame title, it has somehow turned into bad habit to write something WITHOUT a beginning title now...:( I really regret this fact.

This is a spin-off from my 9-part long prose titled Unabridged Memoir published here, so I apologize if I confuse you with the myriad of characters and the weird names or terms you may encounter from the very beginning. This is after all a prose written under the fantasy genre (sub of love) so I beg that you should begin the journey into my little world with open mind and heart. And comments will be loved.

Till then,

Iasa.

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An Unabridged Tale Spin-Off


     ‘A man dreamt and worked to put his name down in history, to be remembered, revered, but I am a man of such polar opposite to this. I long to live a normal life; tranquil and fulfilling. I long to grow up, work on a land, harvest, marry a girl I love, have children, watch them grow, watch them marry their loved ones and watch my grandchildren grow. Such was my dream. It is a normal dream of a normal man from a normal village, working as a normal farmer or hunter. But destiny was crueller.


     But I am a man dictated by destiny to have a not very ordinary life, a life so far contradict from my dream as an ordinary. I am a man living an extraordinary life, answering to my blood father’s extraordinary dream, which, in the end, brought me untoward an extraordinary frontier no child of humble birth such as I am would ever dream of. A man may feel jealousy toward me; they may call it good fortune. But unto me it had brought about burdens unknown to them.


     And that had changed me so, until, one day, I am blessed by God, with a saviour that entered my life so unconventionally, marking the fated encounter with a weeklong flu which took me out of my duty effectively.


     I was a king verged at despair, hanging pitifully through bitterness, and this fated encounter had healed my soul, and thus freed me of my burden.


     This saviour, she came in the form of a lady. A fine lady of noble birth yet so carefree, she again mercilessly taught me the meaning to be alive. And this tale is dedicated to her, my missus, my loving angel, my saviour, the loved Adora Luisa.


     May you always be in God’s kind grace.’

 


    It was late autumn, and the weather had begun to inch further and further into winter. The trees had their leaves coloured gold, red, and russet, the hue rich with the dying season, a sight magnificent to behold. I used to find autumn here in the capital, especially the palace ground deeply enchanting, magical, but here in my adult life, everything had turned sombre. I managed to find even the tiniest mistake in nature; bitter at the imperfection, whilst in my younger days perfection was something that intrigued me endlessly.


     That year marked my twenty-two years sitting on the throne. I am nearing my late thirties, no longer young. Days come and go and my life had revolved around court, training field, meeting rooms, the upper society and it had began to bore me endlessly. I have completely forgotten the joy of just being alive, nothing could entice me into looking at beauty, no matter how magnificent that was, or how intricate it was. Everything looked the same. As I said earlier, everything had turned sombre, and I knew, my heart was growing stale. I was suffering a silent sickness no one could ever relate to, except maybe Seth Frederich, who had begged that I took days off to go travelling and see the world. I would agree, but the documents cluttered on my table will take me away again and the idea would see abandon without initiate. He again inferred that I should get a lover, a wife, but I do not agree with him. A lover cannot be pursued, it must come naturally. That was how I thought it should be. So ruefully he said I might do well to find a concubine, for love and intercourse had proven to be able to cure one’s battered soul but of course, I ignored him all the same. I was a man without lust, without the need of women. I do not need an heir; this crown was not for passing to my own blood. When the time comes it will go directly to my brother Harriel, and Harriel’s son, and his son’s son.


     This, of course, was spoken in great detail and concern by the court members, their wives, their children and their cousin. It used to annoy me, for it sounded like a gossip, but as the years pass by, I merely let them be, choosing to quietly listen instead of commenting. Of course, my being without a missus for over twenty-two years of ruling had kept the hoping flame alive. Nobles without fail tried to introduce their daughters, sisters, cousins or nieces to me, as candidate for wife. Some even said they were willing to be my lover, sexual hinting that never succeeded. It was a wonder at the length they went through to marry their female family members to me when they know one day I will step down and again be just a normal man. Seth Frederich and I, together we had inferred this may have something to do with my appointment as the Archduke of Montgomery and Aratolia quite recently, a peerage rank only second to the kinghood. Montgomery was the piece of land in which contained within it my birth village, while Aratolia was a region in Norath, father’s kingdom, whose lord had left no suitable heir to succeed upon his death. This happened some three years ago, and since then the attempt to include me into their respective family had doubled.


     And a year ago, I had begun experiencing sleeping difficulties. It all started when on particular nights, I would wake up in the middle of the night sometimes to nothing, and remained awake from since till the break of dawn. This continued on and on, and the strange part was I never to seem to have problems regarding this, never experienced lack of sleep, lack of energy. But of course, that was just the beginning. As time goes by it was getting more and more difficult for me to enjoy a good night’s sleep. A full year later, I am certain to have lost five out of seven nights of sleep every week. This sounded fine to me in the beginning, as I would head down to my office settle some work during my sleepless nights, but when fatigue began visiting, it was surely not a good sign. The palace doctors and pharmacists had all expressed their concern. They prescribed me herbs, medicine, holistic healing approach and such, but things somehow did not improve. One day, everything simply grew out of hand, when I collapsed during an internal meeting, unconscious for an hour. The palace was thrown into an uproar and Harriel nagged at me for refusing to listen to anyone, to any advice. Effectively that night he forbade me from joining the party to welcome the Royal Envoy from Dimask, a neighbour kingdom who had arrived on a diplomatic visit earlier. I told Harriel how ridiculous it will be for a king to be absent at a party he had thrown for his guest and he told me it will be even more ridiculous if a host collapsed of exhaustion while entertaining his guests. Needless to say, I followed in Seth Frederich’s suggestion that I, for once, should listen to the young man, resulting in me missing the party. I was put under house arrest, unable to leave my room, until comes midnight. The guard that was assigned to watch my door was unusually lacking, he fell asleep while on duty. In normal days I would have scolded him, but after half a day being held prisoner by my own brother, I felt obliged to thank this fellow by letting him off, turning a blind eye to his unbecoming attention to his duty.


     The moon was especially bright and I was compelled to take a walk in the private garden of the palace, reserved exclusively for the use of the royal family and their honoured guests. The air, cold, and the breeze slightly stronger than normal, and the garden-keeper had somehow turned off most of the lights in the garden. It was odd, but I did not really mind, because that way the moon’s beautiful silver rays will be free to demonstrate its real beauty. I was greeted by the fishes in the pond, their pearl-white scales glowing marvellously under the silver rays. It felt strangely tranquil to be there on the bridge that spanned across the glittering body of water, the wind blowing into my face. I realized as of then that I had never felt this calm since a few years back, a feeling I had forgotten. For a further few minutes I just stood there gazing into the water, doing nothing, feeling the breeze and just simply breathing, taking in the sweet-smelling air, the hints of decaying, dying woods that travelled together with the breeze. It was strangely nostalgic and I remained there, thinking about the past, when a commotion caught my attention. I saw a figure draped in clothes, soft flowing fabric flapping behind that particular figure running toward me, behind that figure another two figure that seemed to be shouting, telling the escaping figure to cease running. I decided not to jump into the ruckus, knowing how they would stop as soon as they saw me on that bridge, but for some strange reason, they didn’t, and continued to give chase. It was a split second panic when the chased figure rushed onto the bridge, toward me, and effortlessly pushed me into the freezing pond. It was only then the escaping figure stopped, and turned to look at whatever that had fallen into the pond, and that was the first moment when I saw her face;


     Oval face with midnight dark hair that tumbled down her shoulder like pieces of fine black silk...which shone bluish black by the kiss of the moon’s silver ray. Our eyes met for a second, but when the shouts of her pursuer woke us out of our little room, she continued her little escape attempt, disappearing into the outer garden quite quickly. The two pursuer stopped, and was horrified when they saw me soaked up to my neck in the pond, my mantel now a limp layer of outer skin  that stuck to my shoulders, so heavy that I decidedly left it in the pond when the two pursuer helped me out. The two apologized for failing to catch her, what they called intruder, when she was found sneaking around the Gardenia Iternitë – the Garden of Eternity, which was, ironically my mother, the Queen Freiya’s tomb. Although the two keepers kept bowing their head in apology, little did I listen to their plea, as I dizzily excused myself. I did not remember much of the matter that followed next, except that a series of pain that invaded the side of my body and the sound of someone’s scream. Everything was blank to me from since.


     Needless to say, falling into a pond at the end of autumn could not possibly bring me good fortune. Owing to what the doctors described as ‘a weakened state’, I easily contracted viral flu that would take me out of my office for over a month. But it was also along this line that I finally regained some of my strength, a bit of ability to enjoy sleep. A week after falling into the pond, a day after I was pronounced well enough to take visitors, the Duke of Jezebel, the head of the Royal Envoy of the Dimastia Kingdom visited me at my quarters with his niece in tow. He introduced his niece to me, the Lady Adora Luisa Simmonel, of whom I recognized as the very girl who pushed me into the lake. The meeting was awkward, for the duke was thoroughly unnerved by what she had done, especially so when it had taken her a week to inform him of the deed she had pulled off on me. Pushing a king into a pond was a serious offense, and we sat through her uncle’s preaching for nearly an hour, during which she remained stiff and meek. I could not help but look at her intentionally. She seemed different than the running girl I encountered a week earlier. Here in front of me she wore a depressed, guilty face; where else the one I had encountered earlier seemed mischievous, lively, with strong characteristic underlying her gazes. Nonetheless I was intrigued, and had decided to find out for myself, so I asked the uncle to remove himself from my side so I could speak to her personally, promising him to ‘punish’ her accordingly. The lady reacted this with an extremely troubled gasp, while her uncle gave me a mortified look. In return I gave them my best indifference, emotionless face, to which the Duke obediently left the room by the escort of the chamber’s servant without failing to demonstrate his troubled self every five second along the journey to exit the room we were in. Much later into our acquaintanceship I discovered that he had feared that I would order a beheading or death of any form for her behaviour, which of course, was untrue. The only punishment I gave her was conversation, as I forced truth out of her and she obliged while feeling puzzled. More or less, I could still remember the conversation we shared.


     “Look at me, Lady Adora,” I said that first because from the start she had hidden her face from my sight by keeping her stares down, not once that our eyes met. Even with that much coaxing she refused me, “or do you prefer an order?” I said, feeling irresistibly wanting to make use of my power as king. To my gladness, it worked in such a way that she quickly looked up, face aghast, finally letting me see her face. The first time I saw her face, I remember thinking, what an unconventional beauty! Her face was oval, fair and flawless and her hair amazingly dark, they were black. Black, of course, was rare, for in this region fair features were aplenty, especially among ladies. This merely heightened my interest in her.


     And her eyes; her eyes were a pair of remarkable jewels of dual-colour. They were green on the outer rings, emerald and brilliant, which gradually became yellow around the pupil, casting about a curious kind of beauty. They were attentive and clever but also with plenty of fear.


     “I’m sorry, Your Highness, I didn’t know you are the king!” she stammered suddenly, which shocked me instead of pleasing me, as she threw herself onto the floor and bowed her head at my feet. “And I didn’t mean to trespass into the Gardenia Iternitë, into your mother’s tomb! I was merely fascinated by the tale of Queen Freiya, I thought I’ll have a look...”


     “Lady Adora, please raise your head,”


     “You may behead me,” she said, voice laden with guilty, head still on the floor, body moved into a curve which signifies bowing, “If that is what you truly wish.”


     “Don’t be silly. Do you really think I’ll kill someone just because she accidentally push me into a pond?” I found myself pointing out, which I realized managed to gather quite some attention from the chamber servants who could not resist glancing at us. The lady was still in her ridiculous bowing pose, I felt like laughing. But the scene in which she was deeply taken by her imagination was far more hilarious, I decided to remain serious for a little bit more. “And politically speaking, it will be unwise to have you beheaded. I do not want to bring about any form of distress between our nations.”


     “...are you teasing me, my lord?” she asked suddenly, which sounded well out of place. She had raised her face slightly, peaking at me, it seems. She had on her a look of determination, a sort of fire I rarely came across in any girl when they were faced at me. When she saw that our eyes had somehow found ways to each other, she returned at her bow and hid her face again. I thought, what intriguing little lady. She must have another side to her rather than this useless worship.


     “Why would I tease you in matter such as this?” I managed to ask. It was getting harder to converse with her bowing her head like that, so I asked her to look up, which she again ignored.


     “Because, my lord, Dimestia is but a weaker country when faced against your own. We are the one who would be at a disadvantage if political chaos shall befall us.”


     What an unbelievable lady, I thought. And it was equally hard to believe that she had just described her country quite humbly, or well, maybe a bit too humbly, it felt rather uncomfortable for me to face that. Although in a sense it was true, but countries and its ruling family should be proud with whatever they are. The way I look at it, the lady had a streak of haughtiness running in her blood, a characteristic not unusual for a member of a Royal Hall. Someone must have tempered with her judgement and gave her this weird sense of responsibility, even asking for her beheading when that person knew what she did to me.


     “Raise your head, Lady Adora,” I asked again, which she dutifully ignored again. Of course, this annoyed my, and in one loud sigh I stood up, walked to her and said to her, “Fine, since you refuse to, I will take the liberty to sit on the floor, here,” I said, as I lower myself onto the floor and sat with a plop near her, which thoroughly acquired her attention as she jumped away from her bow and stared at me in disbelief. She was not alone, though. The chamber-servants jumped the moment I land on the floor, but I shushed them with a wave of hand.


     “My lord, you must not...!”


     “Why not? I used to play on the dirt earth when I was very young,” I managed to say, and she looked at me in disbelief, unsure of what to do with me. There was a brief silence when she forcibly said her mind out, her face betraying her voice.


     “But you are a king,”


     “I am a man before I am a king,” I said again, and she stared at me for the longest time, no longer in her awkward position of a bow. I smiled at her, hand out my hand and asked if I may introduce myself. She awkwardly gave her hand and I took it gratefully. Finally, someone who would look at me with a face other than reverence and this brought upon a major comfort.


     “Lady Simmonel, I am Gabriel Phillip Admarith-Noel,” I said and she nodded her eyes wide with disbelief. Of course, I understand thoroughly the reason behind her latest disbelief, but refused to make notice of it.


     “Adora Luisa, second daughter of Lord Simmonel, Marquise of Barough,” she said slowly and unsurely, as she bowed her head. “It is my pleasure to meet you,” she paused, unsure how to address me since I did not introduce myself as the king, “Lord...King?”


     I laughed, and she was stumped. I thought it was an adorable expression for her to have, but I have decided not to tease her anymore, so I told her; “I would prefer if you would call me by my name,”


     “Archduke of Montgomery and Aratolia,”


     “My name is not Montgomery or Aratolia,”


     “...Archduke Admarith Noel,”


     “My name is Gabriel,”


     She was silent for a moment, looked at me confusedly and bowed her head again and said, in her faintest voice as if not wanting to let whatever she said travel any further than the both of us, “Lord Gabriel,” and immediately soon I could feel an odd smile spreading on my lips. She still looked at me with her confused face, but I was satisfied, and decided it was worth it. This smile, as I would realize moments later, was the first genuine smile I ever had in over years, and had lasted the whole day. It ruffled my soul, and made me feel warm again. Finally the colours of the world had returned to me.


     “Well, Lady Adora. That was not as bad, now, was it? Welcome to Revelia, my lady,” I said, as I bow down to kiss the back of her hand, sealing the awkward introduction completely. I did not know how exactly she felt that moment, but her hands were warm and her face was dotted with fine blush. I would never forget her face as of that moment. They were my first memory of her in her most beautiful appearance, and it was also then I decided that I may have fallen in love with her.


    But of course, I was not wrong.

 


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The end

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Previous short story:
Conscience
Next short story:
The Standing Ovation
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Iasa

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