Between Violet and Gold

This started as a sort of free-write, and ended up as a prequel. If you don’t care for spoilers, you can read the original here. I know that I shouldn’t do this, but a name in here might seem a little hard to pronounce (unless you know how to use accent marks). It’s pronounced “id RAR gir os”. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this!

It was just the time when the yellow sun was sinking into the horizon, stretching its fingertips against the impeding violet sky, which had not yet turned to the black color of night. Black trees, darkened by the long shadows of the vanishing sun, stood bleak over the hard, black earth, and the grey, extra difficult, compacted stretch that, after its long popularity of use, had been called road. The wind whistled through the bare trees, like Mercury coming swiftly to warn some poor soul of the coming of Jove himself, in his fullest wrath and anger.

Down this road came a certain man, whose name was Zolfo. Nerastro Zolfo. He walked with a proud stride, his dark boots asserting their dominance over the petty specks of dirt they tread upon. His violet cloak blew with the wind, and it was said to be a violent blue cloak, which had grown darker with the blood of Zolfo’s enemies, which were ever fewer in number. His violet tunic was stainless and clean, and he had the most gentlemanly appearance, from his wide, feathered hat, down to his rapier, which he kept ever at the ready should he find some unfortunate person to exact his will upon.

He was a villain, and the men following him knew this very well, having participated in his many deeds, which none would ever bring to light; but they instead laughed about them in private so that they might keep the face of justice and dignity in public. They imitated the proud steps of their master, at least until the black bushes shook around them and seven men stood out from the forest, surrounding them.

These men were dressed in the orange of the King, his special guard that sought the kingdom for evil-doers. Their chief had drawn his sabre and stepped into the middle of the road, his golden sash marking him above the others as he confronted the villains.

“Zolfo,” said the chief, whose name was Frederick Idrárgiros. “We meet again, and for the last time. Did you really think your villainy could escape the eye of the King, or the watch of his guard? You are summoned to appear at the royal court to account for your crimes.”

Zolfo laughed. “I must give the King credit, that he is braver than I anticipated, merely sending seven men to recover what I took from him at last! I thought he would send an army to return it!”

And he reached under his cloak and brought forth a glowing orb, pulsating with hidden energies waiting to be unleashed. It was white, and its glow cast faint shadows upon the black trees, turning some of them silver, while high above the black clouds swallowed the sky.

“Look, Idrárgiros! The Stone of Power, the Ruisbaren! Tell me you have not seem a more perfect jewel in all the world! A greater power!”

“It has been said that the power lies in the possessor, not the possessed,” replied Idrárgiros coolly.

“But I do have power!”

Zolfo laughed, and a bolt of light burst from the orb, careening to a tree, which it disintegrated upon impact. “And it can do so much more!”

“Your insanity knows no bounds,” said the chief guard. “Men, take him!”

The guards came forward, drawing silvery swords that reflected the orb’s light. In response, Zolfo’s men came around their leader, two for each of Idrárgiros’s men. And they were still severely outmatched.

As they fought, small snow fell from the sky, slowly lightening upon the trees and the ground and the men. The guards easily held off the men, dispatching some quickly, and others after a longer time. But every time one advanced upon Zolfo, one of his thralls leapt in the way. Idrárgiros watched the fight, staring intensely at his enemy, his violet cloak untouched, his dark rapier undrawn, his gloved hand unflinching as it held the Stone, which illuminated the grin on the villain’s face.

At last, there were no longer enough thralls to protect Zolfo from the guards. One brought his sword sweeping down at Zolfo’s head, but then the villain turned and let loose a blast from the orb, smiting the guard’s face. The guards withdrew for a moment, startled at the death of their comrade, but Zolfo only laughed, turning again to Idrárgiros.

“Stay back,” ordered the chief. “This is between the two of us.”

They shook off the white snow that had accumulated on their shoulders as the King’s guards dragged away the surviving thralls. Finally Zolfo drew his rapier, holding it in one hand and the orb in the other. Idrárgiros’s golden boots made soft crunching noises as he stepped forward over the white snow to do battle with his mortal foe.

For a moment, they circled each other, like two dogs, like two lions assessing the strengths of the other. But these lions had fought enough to know the other’s strengths, though the Stone certainly changed the dynamics of what went through the mind of each.

Idrárgiros was the first to move, thrusting his sabre at his enemy, who blocked as only a long studied master of fencing can do. But the chief guard was also a master of the sword, and knew the proper way to continue this fight. And so they fought.

As they fought, the snow continued to whiten the ground, illuminated by the faint light of the orb. Their feet shuffled through the new snow, kicking it about and sending it back into the air, which was becoming white itself with the traffic of the precipitation.

However, as long as they fought, which began to stretch for some time, neither could gain the upper hand, not even when Zolfo at last used the orb out of desperation. Idrárgiros was not the chief of the King’s guards for nothing, and he proved it tonight as he used every once of strength and courage and skill to battle his most deadly foe. But it was still not enough.

If only Zolfo did not have the Stone, Idrárgiros might be able to defeat him. But it would be first necessary to defeat him to take the Stone. The other course of action was, naturally, to wrest the Stone away, but that would require just the right moment. And then it presented itself.

The two dueled fiercely and close, but suddenly Zolfo slipped, his foot making contact with red snow, where the blood of his thralls had mixed with the white snow, melting it some so that it was not safe to tread on. But being a quick fighter, the villain quickly regained his balance, but at a cost. For Idrárgiros found his opportunity and reached out, taking the orb in hand. But Zolfo was not so weak or unbalanced as to let go of the orb, and his grip remained like iron upon it, like a tongue frozen on metal in winter. And the chief guard found he could not dislodge or force his possession of the orb.

Suddenly, he realized that he had to use it. And so did his enemy. Their eyes made contact, stating unspoken exactly what they both knew and intended to do, as only two long enemies can do. They screamed in fury and anger and triumph as the orb glowed even more brightly before. The surviving guards and thralls watched in fascination and horror as red light streamed from the orb light lances of light, only intensifying as they reflected off the white, crystalline snow, till all the world seemed red.

Then the screaming ended and the light faded. When the guards could at last see again, they blinked their eyes and looked to where their chief had been fighting their fiercest foe. The greatest of them, Idrárgiros’s lieutenant, stepped forward to the spot. There sat only the orb in the snow. It was no longer white, but flashed a series of colors. First, it rested on black. Then it came to white again. Finally, though, it became red, ruby red. The light emanating from it faded, until only the jewel-like stone remained.

Later, this lieutenant would return it to the King. But it was no longer the Stone of Power – no, something had changed about its nature since it had changed in color. Instead, the King gave it a new name, and it was called the Roserote.

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