Long live the King.
Spouse: Queen Ria
Nickname: Tera, called by all his subjects King Tera
Birthday: February 17th
Abilities: Thievery, Oration, Generosity
Likes: wine, spaghetti, watermelon, fishing, sailing, adrenaline rushes, volunteering, his country, folk music, Queen Ria
Dislikes: misers, cheaters, politics, social parties, math, his heavy crown
A History of Greatness
The sound of crying was all that could be heard in the palace. It echoed through the empty rooms, depersonalizing the bare walls and floors. Nothing in this place felt habitable. It reflected a great grief, an omnipresent cloud that cast its haze constantly and pledged to never let up.
In the other room, Soultera opened his eyes for the first time. He quieted, staring into the vacant eyes of his mother. She lived, yet she did not live at all. Any mother would be overjoyed at the birth of her child, yet the queen was not. Her life was too much to bear, and the burdens of a queendom without a husband had left her lifeless.
Down the hall lay another bare room. The air here was heavy and smelled of loss. In one corner, dwarfed by the large room but somehow seeming to take up all the space in the world, there sat an ornate coffin of gleaming cherrywood. A coffin handsome enough for a king, the king who in fact lay inside, having spent his final breaths in sacrifice for his kingdom.
Everything was lost. The king was dead, and he had been one of the greatest the kingdom had ever known. His queen survived him, but she had been long since broken and defeated. The couple's constant war against the virtual tidal wave of crime that had swept the land had gone on unceasingly. They fought hard to restore peace, but the murders and the thefts seemed to go on no matter what they tried. Eventually, his attempts to defeat crime cost the king his life.
There was but one small hope for the land, and it lay in the queen's arms. A small ball of fur with striking ocher eyes, he seemed but a tiny ray of sunshine for a place that needed a supernova to save it. Using her last vestiges of strength, the queen raised her hand to summon the woman who would keep her son safe.
An arrow whizzed by his head, narrowly missing his ear. Tera didn't even bother to look back. He was used to that, and whatever archer was shooting at him this time had terrible aim. He tucked the watermelon he was carrying more firmly under his arm and picked up the pace. He ducked through darkened alleyways and overgrown shortcuts before shimmying up a pole and landing in his rooftop sanctuary.
Tera pricked up his ears and listened carefully for footsteps or shouts following him, but he heard nothing. He grinned suddenly, and the tension left his body. He looked around his hideout, making sure that nothing was amiss, before he lifted the battered cloth flap that served as a shelter from the elements. He tossed the watermelon up and down a few times before he grabbed his pocketknife and chopped it in half. He dug right in, caring nothing for elegance or pretense. When you lived the life of a thief, there was no time to stand on ceremony.
He flopped back on the few worn pillows he'd carelessly arranged around the place. He only used this hideout when he had been caught or pursued, for fear of leading dangerous men to his real home. He sighed and stared up through the hole in the cloth ceiling. The day had begun to wind down, and the twilight sky was the perfect hue of rose, offset with a deep blue that was beginning to streak across the heavens. Tera sighed.
It was a hard life, being a thief. Highly unforgiving. You could never rest, never take a leisurely stroll into the market for fear of being recognized. Certainly, Tera was one of the best on the streets, but it was still a difficult thing to be. But what more was there to be in times like these?
Ever since the king had been killed in broad daylight in the middle of the road while trying to break up a fight, things had gone from terrible to absolutely abysmal. Then the queen had died, shortly after giving birth to the prince. She had simply wasted away, unable to handle her life. The baby prince himself had gone missing. He had disappeared completely, kidnapped or spirited far away, no one knew.
The king's steward had been in charge ever since. He was supposed to be "temporary" until a more suitable ruler could be found, but somehow nothing had happened. The steward, named Ricien, was an intelligent man, but he was weak. The kingdom needed strength, but it was being ruled by a Kougra with a weak jaw and a similar personality. He was a pushover, and the criminal problem of the cities under his rule degenerated and spiraled downwards.
So it came to be that the crooks were the rich and the middle-class, and the good, hard-working, honest folk lived in desperate poverty. Those who could afford it with the little money they had left moved away, never to be seen in the kingdom again. No one wanted to live there, for it had become a place of total ruin.
Tera was one of those with nothing. He earned a living by stealing, though unless he was really desperate he would only steal from those who could afford it, or deserved to be stolen from. His favorite targets were the criminals who had gotten their wares by smuggling or stealing from the impoverished. Oftentimes they were too stupid to catch him.
Heaving himself to his feet, Tera groaned and stretched. He rumpled the tawny stripes on top of his head and stretched out his tail until it was taut as a spring. He dashed lightly to the edge of the roof, flung himself off, and tumbled to the ground only to acrobatically catch himself on his feet. The sky was beginning to darken and the first stars were twinkling overhead, merrily oblivious to the world below. Tera supposed he had better get home.
He took his favorite back road to the tiny cottage he shared with his grandmother, an ancient Kougra who had cared for him his entire life. The cottage was made of grey stone, awkwardly constructed so each stone stood out from the wall at a different angle. The roof was a shabby one made of frayed straw, that required repairs every three months or so. Glancing at it, Tera reminded himself that he needed to take some time to fix it soon.
Padding cautiously through the flimsy wooden door, Tera was met with a welcome flood of light from the many candles he had acquired over the years. His grandmother, her fur grayed and lusterless from the ravages of time, was bent over a pot on the stove, her already wrinkled face set in furrows of concentration and concern as she made a meager soup for their dinner.
(to be continued)
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Coding (c) Kim (jesse_mc_hater)
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