The whole kingdom of Manorvia waited impatiently outside
on the fairgrounds of the palace. A buzz of excitement filled the air that day.
King Korsay smiled cheerily at his wife, Queen Elliria, as she held her two newborn
babies in her arms. The curtains were drawn in the bedchamber for momentary privacy.
"They're waiting to be addressed," said a servant
King Korsay was normally a stern Royal Lupe.
He thought proving your power meant hiding all feelings and emotions. He locked
his soul away till the day he met his now wife, Queen Elliria. Together they
successfully ruled Manorvia and lived contentedly. They knew one day Manorvia
would need a new king. Not wanting the family line to cease its rule over the
kingdom, they had two children, Astreyu and Darras.
The servant swiftly pulled the curtains away,
brightening up the room. Queen Elliria, a Royal Kougra, grasped King Korsay's
hand. The sound of Royal Cybunnies playing their trumpets boomed as the doors
swung open, and the couple walked anxiously onto the balcony. The crowd quieted
when King Korsay held his hand up in a symbol of silence.
After a moment of calm, King Korsay began to
speak. "Manorvia will be ready when it is another's time to rule. For now, true
heirs to the Royal Family exist!"
With that, rose petals fell from above, and
the whole crowd cheered in delight.
Growing up the twin Royal Ixis, Astreyu and
Darras, proved to be quite different despite their appearance. Darras was a
kind, soft-spoken, and intelligent child who would spend hours reading in his
parents' massive library. He found happiness in every book he read. He treated
his friends benevolently and his parents respectfully. Astreyu, on the other
hand, was vain, uncouth, and self-centered. He trampled over whomever he saw
fit to get what he wanted.
During an archery competition, Astreyu broke
Darras' prized bow. He'd spent days carving and whittling it himself and had
barely practiced with it when his brother ruined it unmercifully. Darras sighed
miserably as he held the busted remains of the bow in his hands. He glanced
up to witness his brother winning the competition. It wouldn't be the last time
such an injustice would take place.
One evening, Astreyu became restless after not
receiving a Royal Uni companion he asked for. Darras was reading a book that
he bought earlier that day by the fireplace in the library. Astreyu stormed
angrily into the library and ripped the book from Darras' hands. "If I can't
take pleasure in what I desire, then neither shall you," Astreyu bellowed.
"Astreyu, please don't!" Darras desperately
replied. "It's only a book. It's only a simple joy I find in my life."
"One who finds himself superior to another,
is only the lesser of the two." With that comment lingering in Darras' mind,
Astreyu tossed the book into the fire.
On another occasion, Darras walked into his
bedchamber only to find Astreyu tearing up all of his clothes. Astreyu serenely
looked at him while he continued to ruin his garments.
"What must you do to me now?" cried Darras.
He replied, "If I am to be king I can't have
you looking better."
From that day on, Darras was made to wear peasants'
clothes by his brother.
A sad day fell upon Manorvia when King Korsay
passed away. The death of Queen Elliria came shortly after. Rumor has it that
she passed from a broken heart. Manorvia, however, was now without a ruler,
and it came time for either Astreyu or Darras to take the position. Since they
were twins there wasn't the option of picking the first-born. Only the king
could choose. Before he died he wrote the name of the next king on a scroll.
Being curious, Astreyu had to know whether he
was chosen, so he stole the scroll from the cabinet it was locked in. He was
shocked to read his brother's name. "He will NOT be the king!" Astreyu pouted.
He threw the scroll into a fireplace, and wrote his own name on another scroll.
"Now it is as it should be."
Once again, a great horde was gathered in the
palace fairgrounds, this time for something exceptionally significant. It came
time to heed who the new king was. Rows of Royal Cybunnies split the crowd in
two standing stiff at attention waiting for the heirs of King Korsay. The music
of the trumpets roared as they pointed towards the sky. Guards surrounded a
coach pulled by white Unis with Astreyu inside. Trailing behind was humble Darras
in his peasant garb. When Astreyu was helped out of his carriage he stood next
to Darras. The trumpets stopped playing and an eerie silence fell over the crowd.
The guard unrolled a scroll that would tell who King Korsay thought should be
the next king of Manorvia.
The guard resounded, "The next king will be…
The crowd unwillingly cheered for their new
king. They knew he did nothing to be rewarded with such an honorable position,
but to rebel against him would be treason.
Astreyu stepped proudly onto the portico of
the palace. "I assure you, loyal citizens, that I will rule Manorvia with utmost
confidence. I will not fail you!"
In the years following, Astreyu shoddily ruled
Manorvia. He took money from the poor to use for himself, famine and disease
ravaged the area, and crime ruled without consequences. The entire kingdom began
to fall apart while Astreyu wallowed in self-indulgence.
Darras continued to live in the palace while
his brother controlled him. Astreyu threatened to burn down the library if Darras
continued to read. It was just another attempt at tarnishing his life. Darras
still refused to stop reading, so Astreyu had all the books in the library burned.
He locked the door to the library and threw away the key letting the empty maple
shelves collect dust.
This was the last straw for Darras though. He
moved out of the palace and into a small cottage bordering the kingdom. He bought
some land, began a farm, and even built up a small collection of books. He lived
happier than he had ever lived in the palace.
Meanwhile, a revolt was taking place against
Astreyu. The once happy people of Manorvia had been turned into despondent rebels.
Realizing no one was there to protect him, Astreyu
went to the one person he had to rely on, Darras. They were blood relatives;
he couldn't desert him. Astreyu left the palace in his golden carriage equipped
with several guards. As they rode through the countryside an air of apprehension
fell upon him. If Darras couldn't help him, he was hopeless.
Darras was outside harvesting his crops when
Astreyu pulled up in his gleaming stagecoach. He left his scythe on the tilled
ground and walked towards his brother.
A servant opened the door and helped Astreyu
out. Darras stood in front of his well-dressed brother in his doughty peasant
clothing and looked him in the face. "I have come requesting your help, dear
brother," said Astreyu nobly; he was too proud to beg.
"What help do you need that I could possibly
assist you with?" questioned Darras.
"There is an insurgence in Manorvia. Surely
you don't want our kingdom to collapse, do you?"
"It's no longer my kingdom."
"But… but you can help. You're so intelligent!
You love to read. Everyone adores you."
"You have what you desired for so long. It's
yours, not mine."
"So you choose not to help me? I thought you
were my brother. I thought you would be there for me."
"There is nothing I can do. You chose your own
path, and it has its own consequences."
Astreyu sneered at Darras. "I see now. You're
jealous of my success. I am the king of a powerful kingdom while you are king
of a patch of dirt. Pitiful. You never knew how to stand up for yourself, and
that's why you've failed time and time again."
"Because I don't live the life of royalty doesn't
mean I've failed. I'm quite content with my life, unlike you, my brother. I
let you oppress me for so long because I knew it would come back around. Why
bother retorting when fate will do it for me?"
"Brother, please! This is my last resort!" Astreyu
dropped to his knees and looked up desperately at Darras. "I will beg on my
knees for your help. I will kiss your feet. I'm so sorry!"
Darras stared placidly at Astreyu. His brother
who had always been so proud before was now on the ground begging. "Get up,"
Darras softly demanded. Astreyu rose pitifully sobbing, his velvet trousers
covered in dirt. "You've been forgiven. Go home." Astreyu stared shocked at
him. "Wait in your palace till the hour your powerful kingdom attacks their
own king. It's time for fate to take action. I will remember you, but not fondly.
I will remember every terrible incident you have put me through. I still remember
every terrible event. You may have, but brother… I have not forgotten."