I’m in prison. I’ll get out tomorrow, but only after the public whipping. My crime? Public display of affection.
Let’s zoom out to see the big picture quick. At their founding, the Four Houses each ruled their Kingdom with fairness, mercy, and wisdom. Those days are gone.
Over time, the Four Houses fell into darkness. Shatterstone House fell first, then Diamante House. The most recent House to fall was Heartstrong. Only Bladesong House stands as a light in the darkness, but they’re too busy fighting the stone-heart swarms.
Heartstrong House fell twelve years ago. I was only six years old at the time.
The Queen had been unable to find the King all afternoon. When she found him, he was laying in a pool of blood on the balcony outside their bedroom. The dagger protruding from the back of his skull was clenched in his left hand. His right held a letter written.
The King’s suicide drove the Queen to madness. Six years ago, Heartstrong House became Loveless House, and all public displays of love and affection were made illegal. The Queen’s new levels of wickedness and insanity are due to her son. The Prince is the true ruler of the Kingdom.
Loveless Kingdom has degenerated into chaos and lawlessness. The Queen hides in her chambers, only emerging to give another ridiculous proclamation. The Prince rules, having freedom to act out his twisted desires, enforced by his private militia.
Meanwhile, I sit in the dungeons, waiting to be whipped for doing a foolish thing like hugging my younger brother.
There has to be more than Loveless insanity, or Diamante luxury, or Shatterstone brutality. Once, all four Kingdoms worked together in their fight against the stone-hearts. Now, Bladesong House stands alone against the tide. Still, the other Kingdoms crumble, and the Jesters sow dissent from within.
Until next time, I am: Ariel.
Word of the Day: jester- n. –
a being that looks and acts human, but possesses unnatural strength, speed, and agility.