PRINCE Xandur’s poise was as quiet as the tower chamber where he stood. But his thoughts weren’t anything near stillness.
The Feast of Remembrance was eventually done with. And the protector of Olde Glassfield was back to face himself.
Once again Xandur stared at his reflection in the giant Silvershield that stood against the stonewall.
But the old noble wasn’t only looking at his reflection in that looking glass. He was also looking further into his thoughts.
For in that standing Silvershiled Xandur could see himself. And in his reflective thoughts he could see people’s view of him.
Now old Xandur recalled that peculiar glare. That look on Arstol of Highland North, when they interacted during the feast.
And that smug look was one that stuck to Xandur’s core. Like the outcast badge on a plagued people.
Prince Arstol of the North had left Glassfield’s tidal feast before it ended. He left off just after the solemn assembly.
Indeed, Arstol excused himself when he couldn’t stand it anymore. When he couldn’t stand the adulterations done to the hallowed Book of Ages at the solemn gathering.
And so the North prince left Olde Glassfield in a desperate hurry.
But then Xandur was fast to catch a glimpse of Arstol’s disinterest in the feast, before the young prince left off.
He caught that faint look of disapproval for himself and his feast altogether.
Prince Xandur knew the North prince well. And he also knew him to be so plain. As plain and transparent as their bodies of crystal glass.
But then the Prince of the Highland North wasn’t Xandur’s particular problem. And that peculiar look on Arstol before he left off, wasn’t the core of Xandur’s hassle.
Instead, old Xandur’s problem was the image in the looking glass in front of him. The reflection of his new self.
And he detested his gold painted glass. He loathed his tainted self.
Prince Xandur stepped closer to the looking glass now. He reached a hand to that Silvershield; and he stroked its crystal face with a weak, feeble hand.
He moaned. ‘Ah Xandur! Look what you’ve become… Xandur!’
Yes, Xandur had been a heirsen of honour. And a prince like no other. The gallant heirsen rose to become a guardian of a mighty city, some thirty-three tides back.
It was when Xandur first took the battle to the Dungeon of Fears. To win back hundreds of captured bastards for the Father and King.
And the fearless warrior did fight a victorious battle that tide.
Since that tide long ago, brave Xandur had multiplied his conquests in the camp of Bastards. His glorious spoils of war were numberless bastards, brought back from the Dungeon of Fears.
Noble Xandur of Olde Glassfield was a renowned defender and protector among princes set over cities. And the valiant fighter was named ‘the Breather of Fire.’
For it is said that in the great Battles for Bastards, Prince Xandur always won a great victory by his tongue of flames and fire.
Yet Xandur’s acclaim was all he’d got. There was nothing else he could ever take pride in.
Heirsens hardly chose to settle in Xandur’s city. And even the bastards the brave fighter won for the realm preferred settling down in other cities.
Indeed, not many settlers were willing to stay under Xandur.
But the Glassfield prince wasn’t bothered with people leaving his city for elsewhere, at first. He wasn’t worried that converted bastards often chose other cities.
Xandur would say, ‘The mountain top is only meant for a few. Gold isn’t meant for everyone.’
But then as the tides rolled by, Prince Xandur felt relegated to the background more and more.
He felt his importance was fast diminishing, even among princes and protectors of the realm.
And although Prince Xandur was known far and wide across great cities, he seemed unknown at the very same time.
And so when the Glassfield prince couldn’t take the shame of being unknown anymore, he started off on a new pathway.
A path that led to his present self… reflected in front of him now.
Xandur glared at the image in the Silvershield. And he hated himself.
The old heirsen had never cared for anything, like he cared for his honour. Now he loathed his image in front of him. That self that was now tinted, and tainted, and dishonoured.
Xandur felt really humiliated. And he hated the fact that the humiliation came from the young prince of Highland North.
And this time the Prince of Olde Glassfield would do anything. Anything to get back his own honour.
But then Prince Xandur knew the North prince too well. He knew it’d prove too difficult to get Arstol to that state.
That state where he could pay him back with that cold disdain.
No it’ll be too difficult, Xandur admitted now in silence.
Yet now that the Glassfield prince took a closer look at himself in the Silvershield… just right now, he observed the uncoated areas of pure glass on his crystal body.
And in that moment of a closer study, Xandur recalled how long he’d lived in a body of pure crystal…
And how long he had lived. With no gold paintings tainting his glass garment.
Xandur remembered. He remembered himself.
But just when he was turning round to face the liberating truth… just then at that moment of truth, Xandur returned to the thoughts about Arstol.
And then the older heirsen discovered a way to bring young Arstol down to his own state. He found the answer he wanted.
Old Xandur muttered to himself, and smiled.
‘Arstol is Xandur in the making. He will soon be me.’
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