Lord Serafyr Halfdrake of Draakoa, the Grand-Mogul Fighter of the Order of the Unreasonably-Majestic Palace-Elite-Body-Guard Knights and the mightiest warrior in all of Hypnosia, had never felt more satisfied with himself than he did today. And considering his notoriously huge ego that was a bold statement indeed.
Hypnosia's young and highly image-aware ruler, Simiel Buduar had left her regal residence, simply known as the Castle, for a much needed vacation. Or as Simiel herself had so eloquently phrased it, "I need to get away from all this crap! I can't take it anymore!"
Despite the tidal wave of protests from almost everyone in the royal staff, Simiel had placed the title of Viceroy upon Serafyr. The initial air of panic caused by this announcement had only cleared after Simiel had instructed Serafyr not to tamper with the status quo. But the respite allowed by Simiel's order was short-lived as it became apparent that Serafyr had no plans of acting like a responsible viceroy.
The very moment that Simiel had exited the capital of Hypnosia, Serafyr had gone on an all-out feast of heroic violence, substandard dwarf liquor, and rescuing (and subsequently bedding) young and amazingly voluptuous damsels. It had taken every effort of the royal staff and the army of royal PR agents to clean up after Serafyr as he rampaged on in a ceaseless semi-reptilian flood of outlandish behaviour.
Serafyr entered the throne hall and gazed at the elaborate decorations which adorned the already magnificent space. Today was the day when Simiel would be returning from her secret holiday location, much to the relief of everyone in the Castle. Colourful flags and streamers hung from the ceiling, and large tables that had been carried into the hall were filled with an assortment of delicious treats.
But by far the greatest piece of celebratory splendour was placed right in the middle of the hall. An enormous cake with seventeen layers towered over Serafyr's flaming red hair. Upon closer inspection, one could see that each layer spiralled upwards and was decorated with meticulously carved dancers made of marzipan. Truly, no other work of the bakery arts was, is, or ever would be as glorious as this one.
Serafyr eyed the scantily clad miniature dancers with a combination of artistic appreciation and noble lust; he would have to stash a few of them away for later viewing. Just as Serafyr was circling the cake, Azaril Lamentamagicka, the Nowherian court wizard, came running into the throne hall.
Serafyr sighed, he had no need or desire for Azaril's persistent and annoying company today. Lately, everything had gone so well for Serafyr, and the wizard's arrival never led to anything good. The vertically challenged, but incredibly destructive wizard had wisely steered clear of Serafyr during the last two weeks. According to what Serafyr had heard, Azaril had busied himself by pestering the royal goldfish.
Azaril halted in front of the cake, his huge eyes grew wide as he reached up to touch it. Serafyr cried out in surprise and caught Azaril's hand before it came in contact with the majestic piece of dessert.
"Azaril, you are not to touch this cake! I will not have you accidentally turning it into a flamingo!"
Azaril pulled his hand free and glared up at Serafyr. "That only happened once."
"Be that as it may, but your record with cakes is not a flattering one. So keep your little mitts off of it." Serafyr walked to the throne and flopped on it in a display of faux regal nonchalance. "Now, what brings your magically misguided rear-end here?"
"I don't see what my butt has to do with anything."
"It is a figure of speech," Serafyr said behind clenched teeth. "Now tell me why you are here?"
"I've got pictures from Simiel's vacation," Azaril said and handed Serafyr an issue of Gossipy Wench, Hypnosia's primary representative of the yellow press.
Serafyr skimmed through the magazine's sickeningly gaudy pages until his eyes landed on an article entitled Royally Rude Retreat.
"Princess Simiel was spotted on a private beach in Pseudonym cavorting with a hunky male elf," Serafyr read and raised a suspicious eyebrow. "That cannot be true. There is no such thing as a "hunky male elf"! I shall have to write an angry letter to the editor."
"I thought you'd complain more about the tasteless pictures."
Serafyr shrugged. "I am sure Simiel wants to do that herself. Though the paparazzi did get her good side, so she may ultimately not bother to take any actions against the magazine."
"Big people are weird." Azaril shook his head and sat down on the base of the throne podium.
Serafyr rolled his eyes and turned back to reading the in-depth accounts of celebrity scandals and bloody dragon attacks reported within Gossipy Wench. Finally Serafyr's gaze settled on a particular section of the magazine that caused the fearless warrior to stand up in alarm and toss the magazine dramatically at Azaril.
"Ow! What'd you do that for?" Azaril asked as he picked up the paper projectile.
"Oh foul fate! How you mock me!" Serafyr cried.
Azaril glanced at the exposed page. "They've cancelled Bella: The Big Breasted, Blond Bimbo of Battle? I know it's your favourite orb-show, but I don't see any reason to overact like that."
"They cancelled the BTBBBBoB?!" Serafyr tore the magazine from Azaril's hands.
"That is truly terrible! But that was not why I was being so dramatic." Serafyr pointed to the next page. "Behold!"
"The horoscopes?" Azaril said in astonishment.
"The stars have doomed me! It is there as clear as the Firepits of Draakoa"
Azaril took a quick look at Serafyr's horoscope and shook his head. "It just says that you should be careful of the things you do. And it's saying that in a very vague way."
"As a wizard, you should know the weight of prophecies," Serafyr declared.
"Yeah, and I also know that they're mostly fibs," Azaril said and set the magazine down.
"But what about the prophecies of your great-grandfather Endesil the Prophet?"
"Great-grandpa was an alcoholic and a pathological liar. You can't really trust anything he said."
"What about his famous prediction of rain on the second month?" Serafyr asked.
Azaril sighed. "There was no rain on the second month until three decades later."
"But it eventually rained. That proves that all prophecies come true. I am doomed!"
"No it doesn't!" Azaril screamed.
"But the Cliché law states that all predictions are true, unless they are purposely false for plot reasons. You cannot dispute the Cliché Law." Serafyr arched his brow victoriously, there was no way that Azaril could counter his reference to the highest legal code in Hypnosia, the almighty Cliché Law.
There was no question in Serafyr's mind that the dreadful prophecy in the horoscope section was a herald of forthcoming doom. He was highly miffed by Azaril's relentless efforts to change his mind. Serafyr was not about to alter his steadfast belief in legends merely because Azaril thought that the belief was absurd.
Azaril looked up at the flustered warrior and spoke slowly, "I'm not trying to dispute the law. I'm just hinting that maybe the horoscope is wrong."
"You cannot talk me out of this, Azaril. I must take every possible precaution to ensure that nothing ruins Simiel's homecoming celebration." Serafyr headed for the throne hall's backdoor.
Azaril hurried to catch up with Serafyr. "What are you going to do?"
"It is quite simple." Serafyr glanced down at Azaril. "In order to save Simiel's homecoming, I shall commit suicide by throwing myself from the Castle's highest tower."
"But wouldn't that sort of ruin the homecoming? Besides, I live in the highest tower."
"You are right. What was I thinking? There is no way that I can make it to the tower's window with all of your junk on the floor. I shall throw myself from the second highest tower."
Azaril stopped. "Oh! I just remembered... I have to... um... Go to the library. Have a nice suicide!"
The little wizard snapped his fingers and disappeared in a cloud of sparkly dust.
Serafyr shrugged and continued on his way, assuming that Azaril did not wish to see him killing himself. Serafyr could not blame Azaril for wanting to protect his innocence. The sight of Serafyr's corpse splattered across the courtyard might just be the thing to drive Azaril's already questionable sanity over the edge.
As Serafyr arrived at the door leading to the second highest tower of the Castle, he was astounded to find a hastily scribbled note on the door. The note stated that the tower was out of order.
"Out of order?" Serafyr said. "How can a tower be out of order? There is not even an elevator in this one."
With an insolent huff Serafyr redirected his steps towards the library. He found Azaril sitting in a lounge chair, reading an old print of The Little Slime Beast. The book was a well known collection of obscene nursery rhymes made to scare infants to sleep. Unfortunately the book had no such effect on Azaril.
Stifling a giggle, Azaril looked up from the book. "Didn't you kill yourself already?"
"No. And what is worse, I now believe that the prophecy is trying to prevent me from committing suicide."
Azaril closed the book and jumped down from the chair. "Well, I guess you'll just have to forget about it then."
"No! I will not let this prophecy bully me out of killing myself and saving Simiel's homecoming party!"
"But isn't there anything else you could do? I really don't think Simiel would like to come back to a dead elite warrior."
"Perhaps you are right," Serafyr mused. "But I cannot risk ruining the homecoming with my presence. Now I know! I shall have myself arrested!"
"Arrested for what?" Azaril asked.
"For conspiring and attempting to spoil a royal party." Serafyr went to a desk in the library and proceeded to write a warrant for his arrest.
He then handed the paper to Azaril. "Deliver this to the Royal Head Guard. Inform him I will be there shortly."
Azaril reluctantly took the paper and disappeared.
Serafyr marched to the Royal Head Guard's office choosing the shortest route. He was not going to delay any actions against the ominous prophecy.
As Serafyr entered, the Head Guard glanced up from his mound of paperwork. "Lord Serafyr, what brings you here?"
"We are both aware of the current situation. Simply arrest me and we can all be happy."
"Arrest you, my lord?"
"I sent Azaril here to bring you my handwritten warrant for my own arrest."
"Lord Azaril has not been here all day. And I for one am glad of that fact," the Head Guard said.
Just then Azaril appeared in the office. "I'm sorry, Serafyr. I lost the paper."
"How could you lose it?!"
"I was supposed to appear here, but I accidentally ended up on the main balcony, and a great big wind blew by and grabbed the paper."
Serafyr moaned in frustration, but his negative outburst was interrupted by the Head Guard.
"It's all just as well. You couldn’t order your own arrest without filling out form PC 75/D8 in triplicate and without getting a note from your mother."
Serafyr sighed. "Whatever happened to the good old days when a high lord like me could have himself arrested? Cursed bureaucracy!"
"Why don't you try something less drastic than suicide and incarceration?" Azaril suggested. "You could just stay in the library until the party's over."
"That seems far too uncomplicated."
Azaril smiled. "The best plans are often the simple ones."
"Whoever came up with that must have been a total imbecile," Serafyr muttered. "But very well. Seeing as my attempts have been foiled, I will try out your proposition."
"Great! Let's do it." Azaril snapped his fingers and transported Serafyr and himself to the library.
Serafyr leaned against the desk while his stomach churned as a result of the less than comfortable teleportation. Serafyr held back the potent urge to spill out the remains of the centaur steak he had had for his brunch.
"Azaril..." Serafyr gagged. "If you ever teleport me anywhere without my permission, I swear, I am going to bite your head off."
"Okay. I'll go to the throne hall. Judging by the cheers coming from outside, Simiel should be here any moment."
As Azaril departed, Serafyr turned his head towards the nearby window. Like Azaril had said, loud cheers were echoing from the Castle's gates. Trumpets were playing, drums were banging, doves were released, and confetti rained from the roof ledge; a typical homecoming for Simiel.
Serafyr sat down in the lounge chair and leaned his head back. How did his perfect day turn into a frantic search for self-destruction?
Serafyr picked up the copy of The Little Slime Beast Azaril had been reading earlier. As he was opening the book, a note fell on his lap. Serafyr inspected the note and found that it had "Uut of urder" written on it and crossed out. The level of immature typos made it clear that the note was written by Azaril. That in itself did not shock Serafyr. What shocked the heroic warrior was that the handwriting was identical to the handwriting on the note that had been taped on the door of the second highest tower.
Serafyr's mind suddenly put two and two together. He let out a roar of pure rage and tore the note to pieces. He then proceeded to unsheath his Sword of Might and smash the lounge chair. Before Serafyr could advance on the desk, a knock came from the door. Realizing how unsuitable it would be for him to be found destroying the royal furniture, Serafyr sheathed his sword and tried to cover the remnants of the lounge chair with his cape.
"Come in," Serafyr called to the door.
Serafyr's eyes widened when Azaril entered.
Azaril looked at the strange bump under Serafyr's cape. "What did you do to the chair?"
"Be gone, you pest! You are the fiend who dared to stop me from doing the right thing and killing myself! I bet you lost that warrant on purpose! I ought to..." Serafyr raised his booted foot and shook it in Azaril's general direction.
"Don't you dare kick me!" Azaril squeaked and backed away. "Simiel said that you're not allowed to maim me."
"I do not see why Simiel would take any interest in your well-being."
"She likes me because I'm cute." Azaril batted his eyelashes.
Serafyr growled in frustration. Despite all his numerous faults, Azaril had one thing going for him. He was cute, quite adorable in fact, and in Simiel's eyes, that made every catastrophe Azaril caused an excusable act of sweet ignorance.
There were not many qualities that Serafyr lacked, but unfortunately cuteness was one of them. And it was because of this personal limitation of virtues that Serafyr disliked Azaril. That and the point about the little wizard being a catalyst to every imaginable type of misfortune.
"Very well, you win this time. But why are you disrupting my solitude? Have you not done enough?"
"Simiel wants to see you," Azaril explained. "I told her that you can't see her until after the party. Then she said something about how, if you don't come right now, she'd get those pictures of you in that pink suit and show them to everyone. And then she said some words I couldn't quite understand. I‘m pretty sure I don‘t even want to understand them."
Serafyr frowned. "I thought I had all those accursed pictures burned."
"Simiel kept a few, I guess."
"Did you tell her that my presence will most likely ruin the celebration?"
"Yes. Simiel said that only an idiot would believe the horoscopes in Gossipy Wench or anything else in that magazine," Azaril said.
"I cannot oppose a royal order. If Simiel calls for me, I must reply!"
Serafyr strode towards the throne hall. He arrived at the main entrance and had the guards stationed at the doors swing them open. Though Serafyr was not about to compromise the safety of Simiel's homecoming party, neither was he ready to refrain from his usual dramatic fashion.
All eyes were on the warrior as he entered the throne hall. Anyone who was anyone in the capital were present, happily mingling with each other and discussing their choice of dress in great detail with the representatives of the media. Serafyr, followed closely by Azaril, walked cautiously to where Simiel was scrutinizing the cake. However in his vigilance, Serafyr placed too much weight on the heel of his left foot and slid across the newly waxed floor.
With a tremendous splash, Serafyr ran into the seventeen layer cake, and the colossal mound of cream, stuffing, and lewd marzipan dancers came crashing down. Fighting for breath, Serafyr dug his way to the surface of the huge pile of confectionary waste. He was met by the sight of Simiel doubled over with laugher.
"Gods Serafyr! That's the best cake-in-the-face joke I've ever seen!"
Azaril cheerfully stepped on top the cake and took a handful of dessert. "For once, no one can blame me," he said and stuffed his mouth with cake.
"Want to bet?" Serafyr muttered and picked one of the marzipan dancers off his hair.
Stories and artwork Copyright 2009-2010 by Mette Pesonen. Copying in whole or in part is prohibited. However, you may link to this page.
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