This is for a request that I received after I posted "Stranded in a Snowstorm." The prompt was a story featuring Lloyd's point of view of the Legend of Dragoon. Here is the first chapter with improvements that were pointed out to me by my beta.
You wish to know what it was like? I will tell you how it came about...
"I know how to vanish in a room full of people. I have mastered the arts of influence and persuasion. No one can hide their emotions or their intentions from me."
I bowed again as thunder clapped outside.
"I wish to help you put an end to this war, Your Majesty."
"Many of my men do not think it wise to seek the help of an outsider, but I believe that a less biased viewpoint can help us see more clearly. I look forward to having you on our side." The king's voice was as steady and calm as flowing water. In our first meeting, he seemed to be everything that his uncle was not. Albert was blond where Doel was dark; eager where his uncle was brooding; trusting where the Emperor was cunning.
I sensed that Minister Noish wished to speak and turned to him. "I will see to it that you are shown to your quarters." he said.
"Do not bother one of the maids, Minister Noish." Albert said."Preparing for the celebration demands so much of their attention as it is. I will take him there."
"Very well, Sire." Noish did not quite hide his surprise, but he was very close.
I walked slowly to draw out our time together and King Albert matched my stride gracefully. He explained the history of many of the castle's decorative pieces which lined the halls. As he spoke, I began to notice more of a resemblance between uncle and nephew. Both of them lack creativity. They could not even imagine the future, our future, my future... The painting spread before us was bordered in a classical, silver frame. This masterpiece, according to the king, showed a scene of singular beauty. The artist must have emptied his soul in order to create this piece which now decorates the old castle. But even the master painter of old could not have had dreams that compared with mine.
It would be a future without fortresses, without the wars that necessitated them. There would be no more fighting, no casualties in the future. There would be no more purpose for these thick, stone walls that we now walked alongside. They led us to a small room that was empty of the decor we had passed. It had an adequate bed and nightstand and little else. It was ready to welcome a new resident.
The king's voice hesitated. There were no more stories here. Not yet.
I could have given the king gentle parting words that would have allowed a courteous exit. But what a chance I had been given – to have the king alone to myself so soon. Emperor Doel would have eagerly traded several of his men's lives for the opportunity.
The metallic clinking sounded again. It was a noise that I would have to grow used to. Imperial soldiers also wore thick armor, but no one was quite as fond of it as the men of Serdio. The sound was ever present in the castle, but this time it was closer... closing even. A knight strode into the room. His presence made the room seem to shrink.
"Have you yet had the pleasure of meeting Sir Lavitz?" The king's face shone like the sun. A brief, but warm greeting took place between the two men. "He is the captain of the First Knighthood and one of our bravest fighters in the war against Imperial Sandora."
His majesty introduced me in turn.
"From where does the newest councilor hail?" asked the knight. The words were familiar to his mouth, I could tell, but he would have been more comfortable with less formality.
From farther away than you will ever travel.
I gave him my practiced answer.
"When you were walking down the hallway, you seemed to move like you have some formal training in martial arts," Sir Lavitz said.
"I trained with a martial arts master in Mille Seseau; my teacher trained many of the Holy Knights." I prepared to tell him that my instructor was not half as famous as he himself was. I already knew that this knight had many accomplished lancery students, not the least of whom was the king himself.
My lips were ready to weave praises of the knighthood's bravery, chivalry and this one's particularly wise council to his king. At that time, I did not think he was any more important than the myriad of other metal-wearing warriors that I sought to manipulate. But the set of his jaw and the gleam in his eye told me that I was not being confronted by an ignorant rookie, but a capable defender of the crown.
"I hope that you [i]will[/i] prove to be... effective in our war." He had spoken to me, but the words were clearly meant for the king.
As he and the king traded a meaningful stare, I realized what had stayed my tongue. This knight had managed to stalk and observe me without my knowledge, noiseless despite the metal trappings. It was also clear that he was among those who did not believe an outsider like myself should be trusted. He was correct about that, of course. I learned from our first meeting that this Lavitz would prove difficult to convince.
"I apologize for my lateness, Sir Lavitz. I was planning to meet you in the training room, but I wanted to be sure that the Councilor was settled."
"It is not a problem, your majesty." Lavitz glanced my way then met King Albert's gaze evenly for several moments. His pose was not aggressive in the least, but he used it effectively to declare that he would not leave the king alone with me.
The king turned back to me. "I hope that this does not offend you," he said. "But I am not certain that you are familiar with all of our customs. In case you are unaware: the rains are soon to start. For four days there will be a severe storm. It happens at this time once every three years and it reminds us to thank Soa for the water that he poured out upon the roots of the Great Tree."
I had studied this aspect of Serdian culture already, but I saw no reason to contradict the king.
"During this time we Serdians spend most of our time indoors fellow-shipping with one another in order to avoid the minor flooding. We also abstain from killing and consuming any flesh in order to honor all life forms until the sun shines down us again. Please be sure to inform the staff of any dietary restrictions that you may have."
"Thank you, your majesty." I could not rush him to leave, though I wished it were otherwise. This was a delicate time for me. The rain and thunder here meant that their cousins, the tornadoes on the outskirts of the Forbidden City had awakened as well. I felt certain that the coming four days were all that I would have to find the resting place of my ancestor's weapon. If I did not have the great sword by the time the storms ended, I would be forced to wait another three years. In addition to that, Emporer Doel was surely impatient to confer with me.
For a few more minutes we used our words to dance carefully around each other before I was left alone in my new quarters. The walls mocked me. I wanted to leave immediately, but I forced myself to wait until the castle slept. When I felt that it was late enough that no one would disturb my "sleep," I vanished from that continent.
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