[Mock-Fiction] V - Fures Misericordiam

Note: Please read the Formal Notice movella. It should be on the list on the right hand side.

Aye. Tis me again.

Cover by Secrets Unfold

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22. 20 – More Than Kin, Less Than Kind

Prince Seth Smith sat by a small desk in one of the many studies of Buckingham Palace, idly distracted as his brother, Emperor Simeon Smith, rambled non-stop about the situation of the East London Revolt. The rebels had steadily captured the south and east end of London, and had branched outwards also, coming close to conquering nearby cities. Similar revolts had broke out across Bradford, parts of Manchester and Birmingham, and other slum-ridden areas. It wouldn’t be long before the chain-reaction would set off indefinitely, not just across Britain, but perhaps across the entire Empire.

And though this clearly worried most of the Imperial family, Seth seemed no less bothered by it. It was the wound his father had steadily created and though the peoples’ fear of God was great – the fear of starvation, pneumonia and depression was far greater than that of a tyrannical emperor.

 

The image of the woman with the dark hair kept Seth occupied, however.

How strange –” he mumbled to himself,

This feeling that my life’s begun at last.

This change –

Do people really fall in love so fast?

He suppressed a laugh,

What’s the matter with you, Seth?

Have you been to much on your own?

So many things unclear,

So many things… unknown.

 

In my life –

There are so many questions and answers that somehow seem wrong.

In my life –

There are times when I catch in the silence the sigh of a faraway song:

And it sings –

Of a world that I long to see,

Out of reach –

Just a whisper away, waiting for me!

 

Does she know I’m alive?

Do I know if she’s real?

Does she see what I see?

Does she… feel what I feel?

 

Simeon slammed his fists on a nearby table and growled, waking Seth up a little.

“Argh!” he yelled, “The ungrateful scum! How dare they rally against me!” he straightened and paced hurriedly across the room,

The time is near,

So near, it’s stirring the blood in their veins!

Am I to beware?

Their feuds are getting to my brains!

We need a sign,

To rally the people,

To call them to odds,

To bring them in line!

 

Seth, wake up.”
 

The Prince looked around. It was his mother. He didn’t even know she was there.

“Mother?” he asked wearily.

What’s wrong today?

You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” she walked up to him and poured him a glass of red liquid,

Some wine, and say what’s going on?

 

Seth grinned awkwardly, taking his drink,

A ghost you say, a ghost maybe,

She was just like a ghost to me –

One minute there, then she was gone.”

 

His mother sat opposite him, and her mouth widened in pleasant surprise,

I am agog, I am aghast –

Is Seth in love at last?

I’ve never seen him ooh and aah!

She looked up at Simeon,

You talk of battles to be won,

And here he comes like Don Juan –

It is better than an o-pera!

 

Simeon fumed with rage,

Mother, do you know who we are?

And yet you think of a night at the ‘o-pera’ now?

Have you thought of yourself,

What’s the price we might pay?

Is this simply a game for a rich, young Prince to play?

The colors of the world are changing day by day!

 

Red – the blood of angry men,

Black – the sins of ages past,

Red – the world about to end!

Black – the night must end at last!

 

Seth rose and faced his brother with similar anger,

Had you been there today, you might know how it feels –

To be struck to the bone in moment of breathless delight,”

Seth grabbed Simeon by the arm as he rolled his eyes and began to turn away,

Had you been there today, you might also have known,

How your world maybe changed in just one burst of light.

And what was right seems wrong,

And what was wrong seems right!

 

Red – I feel my soul on fire!

Black – my world if she’s not there!

Red – the colour of desire!

Black – the colour of despair!

 

Seth, you’re no longer a child!

Simeon snapped. He recomposed himself,

I do not doubt you mean it well,

But now there is a higher call!

He said through his teeth, bringing his face very close to Seth’s,

Who cares about your lonely soul?

We’re thinking of a larger goal,

Your loneliness doesn’t count at all!

 

“Both of you, stop it,” said the Empress, “I will not have the two of you bickering!”

They both looked at her.

“Sorry, mother,” Seth mumbled, and sat down in his seat.

“For Heaven’s Sake, you’re brothers–”

Seth muttered to himself, “A little more than kin, a little less than kind.”

“Come, come – Simeon is right,” the Empress continued, “We must counter the matter at hand.”

“There is no way to counter it, mother,” said Seth, “The rebels have a fair and well-manned strategy – they hit and they run.”
“Yes,” said Simeon, “and had it not been for the incompetence of my commanding General, perhaps we’d have them running out of the Empire!”

“You lay your blame on me, brother? When you give me only a hundred soldiers to work with!”

“I cannot show that I fear them! Not to that old thorn in our father’s side – the Rogue.”

 

Seth stood, “Well, ‘twould look better if you looked a coward than a bloody fool to her! It won’t be long before she turns those skinny-legged rebels into soldiers: And then what, brother? Then what? Your arrogance will be our undoing!”

“You dare talk to me like that? Seth, I am the Emperor!”

“And I am you’re commanding General, and I demand you give me something I can work with!”

No, you are a jealous failure, who is trying to shame me in front of my enemy!”

Seth held his temper and stared down at Simeon, and spoke with bottle hatred, “I have fought wars at the hands of our father. I have won many. I have come face to face with the masked Rogue – and I am still a failure, brother?”

 

“Speaking of which,” the Empress interrupted, “There is information from Master Richard that may interest you both.”

They paused, waiting for their mother to continue.

“It is known,” said the Empress, “that previously the Midnight Rogue used to wear a mask – Venetian, like those worn at a masquerade ball,” she took out a page from her long sleeve, “However, Richard has brought it to our attention that she no longer wears it – following an ambush in Bengal. He has sent you a likeness of the woman,” she unfolded the page and put it before them, “However, his help does end here. He cannot help you fight the rebellion. It is within the interests of the Brotherhood – still – to be rid of us.”

 

Seth looked at the image, the words shared by his mother and brother muffled out. Furrowed line of worry appeared on his brow. The picture… it was a picture of the woman he’d seen earlier.

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