My dear readers, it is a sordid tale I have to tell. And it is not prudent that everyone shall look upon these pages with imprudence. Nay... Some of you will shield your eyes, and look away in shame. For such a story, such a depraved and horrific tale is the tale of the great Harold the Magnificent.
As to how it all started, it all began in a small valley, far up north in the Chaos Wastes, wherein the gateways to the very realm of the Chaos Gods themselves were located. The northern wind blew snow and mist up the jagged sides of a mountain as black as the deepest night, and sharp as a dwarf's axe.
The story of its origin, of Sigvald the Magnificent, is all but lost to time and in the dark pages of history. And his story, the story of the one who began it all... That is for someone else to tell.
But on this night... A dark night. A night without moon or stars. A night of discovery, of getting lost and of discovering secrets... This is where it all began.
Sigvald the Magnificent, Geld Prince and lover of all things beautiful and pleasurable, watched as his lands spread out before him. The howling wind, and the snow that glittered in the sun. He was beginning to feel restless again.
He had just returned from his trips to the far south, but he missed the beauty of his own, dear home...and the luxuries that you could find nowhere in the world but in his very own home, The Gilded Palace. And yet it now seemed boring, dull. He had done it all before. He had travelled the world, and everywhere he went was the same dull pleasures. Humans, elves, dwarfs...they were all the same. Nobody had any imagination anymore! It frustrated him!
As he stared out over the Chaotic Wastes, he made a decision. A decision that would change the very course of history itself!
He would explore the northernmost reaches. The dark, volcanic mountains, so close to the realm of the gods, where no man had ever walked before. Where no man had ever thread. His heart began to beat faster from just thinking about it!
And so, it was that Sigvald came to discover a strange and mysterious rift in the very fabric of the universe. And the thought of new worlds and unseen things excited him! He became enthralled by the possibilities. Shook to the very core of his soul at the idea that maybe, just maybe there would be something new, something enthrallingly beautiful and exciting, still left to see!
And thus Sigvald, with his patron's blessings and promise of keeping the gateway open, began to gather those closest to him, and those more...passable as humans...as his patron had warned him against bringing anyone who could not pass for humans to this new world...and he started out on his most grand adventure yet!
THIS is the story of the rise of Harold the Magnificent, in all its depraved glory!
"I want to see how the commoners in this modern era live," Sigvald decided one day.
It took quite some time before this actually happened, however. Because Sigvald would not be caught dead wearing something that was considered detrimental to his beauty or social standing. Which meant he had to research what exactly to wear.
This was apparently a quite broad subject that the different authors had very different opinions on.
But after having travelled to what appeared to be the only large city in this cold and icy country they had emerged in, he found some British tourists that were very clearly rich and cultured, and that claimed that Anderson & Sheppard in London was the only way to go. They also wondered if he was going to a gaming convention, seeing as he was still wearing his rather skimpy, yet efficient, if gilded armour. It was probably for the best that they never realised his sword was real and quite sharp.
Naturally, he refused to wear anything less than the best, and thusly ended up spending the better part of the day working with the tailors at Anderson & Sheppard in London, as they were apparently the best. It was a good thing that his armour perfectly clings to his body as it did because Sigvald refused to risk taking it off and thereby making himself vulnerable to acquiring some kind of wound that might actually leave a scar. He shuddered at the mere thought.
Once he had gotten set up in London, someone decided to introduce this...caveman from Iceland – had he lived under a rock? – to the wonders of smartphones and the internet.
Needless to say, Sigvald was obsessed!
The internet had an information overload on fashion...then he discovered YouTube...let's just say that he was lost to the world for the next few days.
That was when he headed out to Surrey, mostly at a whim, partly because he overheard someone talking about the place as a beautiful neighbourhood, filled with lovely people.
Sigvald was sorely disappointed when he got there though. He decided to never listen to peasants again.
It was a lovely summer day when Prince Sigvald first set foot in Private Drive, Surrey.
It should come as no surprise that he had chosen to hire a limousine to get out there, but because it was such a lovely day, he opted for walking, ensuring the driver that he would call him with his brand new, top-notch smartphone when he wanted to be picked up again.
Considering that he paid the driver to wait for him, that suited the driver perfectly fine, seeing as it gave him time off from work for the time the Prince was gone. Besides, that hunchbacked servant of his gave him the creeps. Who dressed on hooded robes nowadays anyway? Must be one of the fantasy fans he'd heard about. Weirdos, the lot of them.
Sigvald and Oddrún were strolling through what turned out to be a mediocre and boring neighbourhood that surrounded Private Drive. Sigvald felt terribly disappointed. The clothes people wore! Atrocious! He felt disgusted with himself for listening to the advice of peasants. He really should have known better.
Such was his mindset when he came across a strange and unusual sight in this place made up of boredom and conformity.
At first, he was repulsed by the messy hair and the disgustingly ugly, horribly oversized clothes... But then he looked closer.
The child had the most beautiful emerald green eyes Sigvald had ever seen, and his heart fluttered with joy. He simply MUST have this child! Those emeralds belonged to him! They reminded him of the pleasant valley that his old patron, Belus Pül, and its emerald green grass, but with the same glow in them as the violet gemstone in the centre exuded. A sublime beauty.
"I want that child!" Sigvald told his advisor, "Oddrún, I must have him! He would be the perfect addition to my Court! Look at those eyes! Have you ever seen such sparkling gems of beauty! How rare! How unique! How exquisite!" Sigvald spoke animatedly in his excitement, and there was no room to even consider having his desire denied.
"But my Prince... His parents..." Oddrún tried to weakly argue.
He really didn't want to take a child away from his parents, even if they were so poor that the child had to work tending to another people's garden.
"Nonsense. Who wouldn't want a better life for their child? He is clearly poor, just look at his clothes!" Sigvald grinned. "Besides... I am quite sure I could raise such a beautiful child far better than some peasants!" Sigvald nodded to himself as if approving of his own words and logic.
"But my Prince... A child needs parents..." He again tried to reason with him, as careful as he could to avoid invoking his ire.
"Then I'll be his...his...What do children have again? Ah, yes. Father. I'll be his father! My wife would love having a child, she still mourns the fact that she is unable to have one." And then he muttered under his breath. "I'll do a better job than my own father, that's for sure."
"Yes, my Prince."
The advisor sighed, realising the battle was lost. At least the child would be clothed and fed, he comforted himself with. It would be a better life than someone that poor could hope to get if they had to toil away their entire life, no matter how rotten they'd become on the inside as a result.
"Hello, child." Sigvald smiled charmingly to Harry. "I am to be your new father. Where are your parents? I need to tell them the wonderful news!"
Harry was out tending to his aunt's garden like he did every day in summer when someone new came strolling through the neighbourhood.
He almost gaped at the sight; The best-looking, handsome man he had ever seen, his long silken blond hair streamed down his back, and his clothes looked extremely expensive, even to someone who knew nothing about it. The man looked no older than 16 for that matter. Neither feminine nor overly masculine, though he clearly saw it was a boy.
He couldn't help but stare at the vision of beauty, thinking he must surely be a fairy-tale prince. Oh! Maybe he WAS the Prince!
He'd overheard the Queen's speeches on Christmas from his cupboard of course, and some of the other kids talked about fairy-tale, even if he was never allowed to read them himself. He had secretly listened to two girls that talked about a Prince Charming in some movie they had seen.
He always wondered if such amazing and kind people really existed in real life. He once stole a peek at the book Dudley had, and there was a lot of handsome, beautiful Princes and Princesses in them. And their parents were always Kings and Queens so it would make sense that if the Queen had a child like him, he'd be a prince. Harry felt blessed by merely looking at him as if his beauty soothed his heart in a strange way he'd never felt.
Then he got the biggest surprise in his life: The beautiful fairy-tale prince told him he was to be his father! It was just like in a fairy-tale!
Harry remembered some of them if vaguely. He'd always, ALWAYS hoped and wished that somehow his real parents weren't – indeed – drunkards who died in a car accident, but someone tremendous and beautiful and that they'd come and save him from the Dursley's someday.
He had been slowly losing hope after several years of desperate hoping and wishing, but now it had finally happened! Harry stared at the man in shock.
"You mean my aunt and uncle? Are you my REAL daddy? I KNEW they were lying! They told me my mommy and daddy were dead, but I didn't want to believe them!"
Tears of joy welled up in his eyes, and he ran to hug Sigvald.
Sigvald made a face at being touched by such a dirty child and felt a deep need to wash, but it wouldn't help his plan any. He decided that if this child wanted to believe he was his Father so much, then he'd let him.
"Ehrm, yes, naturally," Sigvald said, before patting his head in a condescendingly comforting manner. "There, there."
He was wholly uncomfortable with the situation, and had no idea how to comfort someone.
"Oddrún!" He pried the child away from him. "Get some toys and candy for the child!" He commanded. He would have to show the child the more pleasurable things in life at a later point. First, he had to tell his caretakers, and then he needed to get him cleaned up.
"On second thought, take the child and get him cleaned up and fitted with new clothes. Then take him to the marked – or whatever they have here – and buy him whatever he wants!" Sigvald said, pushing the child over to the slightly scary, hunchbacked man draped in a dark cloak.
"Yes, my Prince." The chancellor said with a bow. "Come here, child. We mustn't let the Geld Prince wait."
Oddrùn gestured for Harry to follow him. Harry was a bit hesitant to go with this strange and scary man, but it seemed his daddy trusted him. So he kept a suspicious eye at him but followed him nonetheless.
"Is he...is he really a Prince?" Harry asked with big eyes, looking back at the divinely handsome man, then he felt silly for asking.
Of course, he was a prince. What else could he be? Unless he was a god of some kind! Harry almost gasped at the thought. Could he be?!
"He is the Geld Prince Sigvald. The favoured Champion of Slaanesh."
Oddrun spoke in short, clipped sentences, but with finality to his words that left no room for doubt. Then he looked at the child, feeling a bit unsure how to follow his Prince's orders.
He was entirely unfamiliar with the modern age, he hadn't left the Prince's side in ages, and Sigvald had only recently chosen to move to this strange, new world, having been bored with his old world.
Thus, when he found references to other worlds, naturally he had desired to see them for himself.
But while Sigvald loved to explore new things, Oddrún lived only to serve his Prince.
Harry, however, gasped in shock. A champion! That was a hero, wasn't it?! His real father was every bit as amazing as he had ever imagined and then some! He didn't know who this...Slaa-something was, but he must be some incredibly impressive leader, or maybe even a god! His childish imagination ran wild with the possibilities.
"Where is the public bathhouse?" Oddrun inquired, intended on following Sigvalds orders to get the child cleaned up.
Harry just looked at him in confusion.
Harry wondered if he meant the swimming pool, but he didn't know where it was. His aunt and uncle never took him anywhere if they could avoid it.
But his father had told his servant that he wanted him to be cleaned up, and Harry looked down at himself, blushing with shame. He hadn't been allowed to shower for so long, his hair was itching, and he was dirty from working in the garden all day.
"I...I don't know." Harry muttered embarrassed, and Oddrún withheld a sigh. This was not going to be easy...
Oddrun took Harry with him into the nearest establishment that he could find that promised 'Beauty and Relaxation' and had a pretty nice picture of a steaming hot bathtub. He surmised this might be as good as any place to begin.
By the time Harry had been bathed, by a strange woman that Oddrún had somehow called over to help 'the young heir' to bathe in his rose-scented room, Sigvald had finally arrived. He brought with him some papers that apparently legally transferred all the custody of Harry to him.
"Ah, Oddrun. Child..." He peered at the papers and scrunched up his nose. "Harry... Such an unfitting name for my heir."
He stared at the child with his own hauntingly beautiful sapphire eyes.
"I will name you Harold. Yes! Harold is a royal name, worn by many kings. Much more fitting, wouldn't you agree?"
He smiled down at the boy and Harry...Harold...couldn't help but nod.
Was his name Harry? He had never heard his uncle and aunt refer to him as anything but 'freak' or 'boy'. He liked Harold. It sounded very similar to Sigvald, which was his father's name. He smiled.
"I see you decided to take him to a Spa. What a wonderful idea!" Sigvald tapped the reception desk twice to get the attention of the person working there. "Full treatments for both my son and me! The whole pack! Especially whatever you have of beauty-treatments," he commanded, and the small town Spa owner looked like she had suddenly gotten a treasure chest dropped in her lap.
"That...would be quite expensive..." she felt obligated to inform him, but Sigvant just laughed.
"Money is of no concern," he told her and smiled charmingly, making her blush and feel like a schoolgirl with a new crush.
She decided to get her very best employees to work with them. Even if she had to call one back from a holiday, and the other from a previously booked session. This was apparently someone she couldn't afford to lose! Especially if they might come back!
"In the meanwhile, Oddrún, buy the child some more appropriate clothes. I will take him to my tailor as soon as we're done here. Arrange it!" Sigvald commanded, before urging Harold to follow the lovely lady to be pampered.
The newly named Harold followed tentatively after the woman, but he figured that whatever they did in a place like this... it sounded nice.
The bath has been fantastic, and his hair felt smooth and silky and didn't itch at all anymore. He decided that he loved his daddy, who was so incredibly nice to him.
That was when he suddenly got the most horrible feeling that it was all a dream, or that somehow it would all disappear at midnight, like in the fairy-tale, and he'd be back in the cupboard again. This thought brought tears to his eyes.
"What's wrong kid?" The masseuse he was with asked him as she led him to the room they were to use.
"It's just... My dad is so nice! What if I'm not good enough? What if I'm just dreaming, and tomorrow I'll wake up in the cupboard, and my uncle will yell at me for burning the food again?" Harold sobbed as the woman patted his back.
"Don't worry, kid. I don't know why your dad wasn't there, but he's making up for it now, right? Is he in the army?"
She thought that maybe he had been stationed abroad and couldn't get back and the kid's mother died or something. Though the way the child flinched, as well as the bruises she could see on his arms, made alarm bells go off in her head, and she was even more happy that the kid's father had come for him.
"Who's your uncle and aunt?" She asked carefully. She would damned well report them to the cops for child-abuse. Maybe they were druggies or something? She sneered at the thought.
"Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia. Um... Dursley," Harold shyly answered, the fear of them evident in his voice, which she considered further proof.
Those snotty people in number 4 Private Drive? She disliked them. They always acted as if they were so much better than everyone else, and Petunia always haggled at the price whenever she came by. Oh, how her friends would LOVE to hear about this!
"Don't worry about it, kid. Just take off your shirt and lay down on the bench here." She tapped the massage bench. "I'll put on some nice, relaxing music, and you'll feel so much better afterwards, I promised."
She smiled down at the kid. It was the least she could do for him.
"Okay." Harold smiled weakly up her and went to do as she said, even if he was still a bit worried. But she seemed like a nice person...
The newly named Harold smiled as he tried to keep up with his father. He had never felt this good in his entire life! He couldn't remember the last time he had been this clean either. On top of that, he had clothes that actually fit him now!
Harold was over the moon with joy, and even if he suddenly felt a pang of hunger as they passed by a restaurant, he really didn't want to impose on the kindness of his father, after he'd give him so many lovely things.
However, as his stomach rumbled, Sigvald stopped in his tracks to look at him, and Harold suddenly felt like shrinking away in shame, convinced he had done something horribly wrong, even if he couldn't help it.
"I'm sorry," Harold chocked out in a low voice, bracing himself for the punishment. A punishment...that never came.
"What was that sound you made?" Sigvald said, looking confused.
He had heard the strangest sound coming from the kid, but he couldn't for the life of him place it.
"My Prince... I think he's hungry," Oddrún explained. "That was his stomach rumbling."
He held back a sigh at the fact that he had to clarify it. He supposed the Geld Prince would no longer remember such things. It stood to reason that living a life of excess made him unfamiliar with signs of hunger.
"Well, why didn't you say anything? Honestly!" Sigvald shook his head in bafflement and pulled out his phone to find a place to eat. "I wonder if there is any place in this town that has a proper feast. You must be starving!"
Sigvald sounded appealed at the very notion of such a thing were even possible. Especially for his new son and heir!
Harold looked at him with wide eyes.
Was he supposed to tell him that he was hungry? He was going to give him food? Him, the freak, the worthless waste of space that was named Harry...he suddenly felt a deep disdain for that name.
Harry was the friendless freak. Harry was the kid that was bullied in school, and that was worth nothing. He refused to be Harry anymore!
His father had named him Harold.
Harold was someone who got scented baths. Who got nice body treatments and good food! Harold got everything he wanted, his father said so!
With determination in his eyes, he decided to test his theory, and he looked around him and saw a stuffed teddy-bear sitting on a shelf in the bookstore next to them.
"Father, I want that bear!"
Harold tried to keep a brave, stubborn face when his father turned to look at him, expecting any moment to be smacked for his insolence. Instead, his father smiled at him, and suddenly Harry – Harold! – felt better.
"You heard him, Oddrún. He wants the bear," Sigvald demanded with finality.
Oddrún hid an amused smile in the folds of his hooded robe at the stubbornly testing voice, and the small quiver of fear in the child's voice.
He was beginning to be happy they had taken the child in. It was looking more and more like the child had been abused, rather than being poor. Oddrún felt terrible for the kid.
Sigvald might have forgotten how to feel empathy, but Oddrún never did. The awed, bright smile that lit up the child's face with joy also helped. Oddrún felt his heart melt a little more for this child. He wondered if that beautiful innocence would be able to help his prince regain some of his humanity, or if the rot that infested the soul of his childhood friend would spread, and corrupt the boy as well.
Harold didn't understand all of this, however. All he knew was that he had demanded – not even asked, demanded! – something, and got it!
It was just like Dudley demanding a toy, and his mom and dad always, ALWAYS gave in.
Maybe it's a parent thing? Harold hugged his bear and then hugged his dad.
Was this what having a dad meant? Did all parents do this? Maybe the reason for why he never got anything was that he didn't have a dad.
But now he did! And his dad gave him whatever he pointed at, too! He had always been envious of Dudley and wondered what it must be like to get everything. And now he knew how it felt. It was amazing! And, Harold realised, he wanted MORE!