19 December 2011

Delfort: 2. The Feast

This is "canto" two of a series concerning the journey of young Delfort, Prince of Darscinnia. For canto one, click here.

Canto Two.

Prince Delfort
by Kevin F. Story
The music of the night was the sound of people laughing, dishes clanging, and liquor pouring. It was safe to say that Mayor von Blochstorgg had spared no expense in preparing the prince’s repast. The port’s most prominent people gathered here for the prince’s party, accompanied by some of the finest faces in his father’s fiefdom. And it was Delfort’s first time seeing them in great numbers and all in one place.

A couple of captivating young ladies carried themselves up to the prince; pale beauties in silky gowns with tightly laced bodices to accentuate their femininity, as if to say, “’Tis good to be sixteen.” But, before words were waged, their faces blushed, giggles gushed, and they were gone. While Delfort was far from cursed with ugly countenance, he did seem outwardly awkward against the nightlife of Porte Godfrey.

Reginald sat off to one side, in one mitt a massive mug of mead and the other more than one man’s measure of mutton. Neither flagon nor fowl, booze nor beef were safe with Sir Reginald environs, and one could see the barrels of sack tremble at his approach.

The prince by this time had made his way over to where the knight was ceremoniously stuffing himself, and sat next to the man.

“So, are you enjoying yourself?” Reginald inquired amidst mouthfuls of mutton and mead. Bits of meat began to become infused with the knight’s moustache and sticky dribbles of drink.

“Well,” Delfort began, attempting to put his plight into parlance. “I’m not very good with… er… the ladies.”

Reginald slowed his devouring to a dull roar. “The ladies, eh?” Finally the knight’s focus put the food aside and faltered onto the females at the fĂȘte. “Pretty, aren’t they?” he remarked with a somewhat unnerving grin, picking his teeth with a shard of sheep bone.

The prince could only nod his assent.

Reginald relaxed in his chair as he finished the rest of his mutton in a single bite. “Well,” he offered thoughtfully, “have you tried talking to them?”

“Not as much, no,” replied Delfort.

“That would be the first step, lad.”

With that, Reginald took a long swig of mead, swished it around, swallowed with a disgustingly audible gulp, and turned around to have a look-see. Two such young ladies walked into his trap.

“Pardon me, ladies. Have you met my friend? He is the prince, you know.”

The ladies in question stopped to look at the young man before them. One was about Delfort's height, thin and freckly with beautiful green eyes that reflected torchlight magnificently. She wore glittering green and gold yarn in her garnet braids. The other, though shorter, was even more stunning, with dark, mysterious eyes that begged to be asked something intimately secret. Her onyx hair fell all the way to her tiny waist, below which round hips patiently waited. Some strands of that silky hair had escaped the pack to find themselves draped over her shoulders, framing what could only be described, in Reginald's inebriated estimation, as the palest, finest bosom in the land, certainly fit for a prince. These girls did what they did best—they giggled.

Reginald leaned into Delfort, whispering, “They’re all yours now.” With a slap on the prince's back he stood and sauntered off in search of something else with which to further stuff himself.

Delfort was alone. He could feel it. Fear and nausea began to set in. He heard the ladies giggling off in the distance, but turned to see them right before him, plain as day. He had no clue as to what to do or say next. He became frozen, working out every possibility, every scenario in his head, otherwise vacant to the world. The girls continued giggling, making Delfort more nervous as his mind settled on the only clear plan.

He stood and walked away, leaving the girls behind. He needed to find Reginald. He needed air. He needed—

“Hey. Watch where you’re going,” a gruff voice shouted.

Delfort noticed he wasn’t moving anymore. Rather, he was standing before a young man into whom he had apparently just walked.

Suddenly, Delfort remembered he was a prince.

“No, you watch where you’re going,” Delfort retorted cleverly.

The young man stared back. “You’re the prince, aren’t you?”

Delfort nodded haughtily.

The young man’s countenance changed. “Well, then, come. Sit at my table,” he said putting his arm around the prince and leading him onward. “I am called Pot.”


“Yes. I know,” laughed Pot, sitting the prince down and taking a seat himself. Delfort found himself at the far edge of the party and could easily see everyone else revelling in his visit.

Pot picked up his pipe and puffed upon it. Delfort supposed he was about his own age, though Pot was taller and had a sun-baked look to him. Pot also seemed very worldly. He knew his stuff. He did not seem particularly handsome to Delfort, but then, how was he to know?

“So, are you enjoying yourself, Highness?” asked this young man Pot as he lifted a cup to his lips.

“Well, er, I suppose,” replied the prince, eying the meagre loaf of bread and cups of liquor before him on the table.

“Go on. Have a cup.” Pot passed the prince a potable.

“Oh, no. I shouldn’t.”

“Come on. It’s your party, Highness,” persisted Pot.

After a moment, Delfort drank. Warm, spicy liquid entered his throat. He choked a bit.

Pot laughed. “Potent, eh?”

Delfort looked over his new acquaintance as the fiery water settled in his system, turning his cheeks crimson and burning his chest. He could not stop a smile from spreading across his face, and from somewhere above his eyebrows his voice said, “Yes.”

“Pot's punch, I call it. A bit sharp, this batch. Here. This mellows it out.” Pot pointed his pipe at the prince, who peered perplexedly at it. “Go on, Highness. My treat.”

Without warning, Delfort's hand grasped Pot's offering and raised it to Delfort's lips. The smoke's sweet smell disarmed the prince further, and he took a short puff. He coughed. His eyes floated around in his head a bit, then suddenly everything centred. He felt calm.

“Thanks,” Delfort squeaked, passing back the pipe. He cleared his throat and took another swig of Pot's punch, the wonderful brew coating his mind, telling it everything was going to be all right and why doesn't it just take a break for the next hour or so.

“I'm hungry,” Delfort asserted. Pot broke a piece of bread and handed it to the prince, which he finished in a few quick bites. Then he emptied the rest of his cup, which Pot promptly refilled. From somewhere behind him, his ears heard a familiar sound. He turned around.


The girls with garnet and onyx hair met his gaze and giggled over to him. The prince found them more stunning than before. He noticed the lighter-haired one's cute emerald dress and how it hung from her shoulders straight down to white sandalled feet. He noticed the other's blue and white number, complete with a dark leather cinch that nearly doubled her womanliness. Pot leaned into Delfort.

“I feel like a walk. Tread carefully yourself, Highness.”

Delfort was alone. But this time, he was in control.

“Have you beauties ever met a prince before?”

They looked at each other and giggled. The redhead blushed.

The brunette spoke first. “Our pleasure is to serve you, Your Highness,” she said curtseying slightly. They both giggled and blushed and looked at each other, then back at the prince.

Delfort held out his cup. “Care for a taste? It's good.”

The ladies looked at each other some more, then both moved closer to the prince.

“I'm Clara,” said the brunette. She put her hands on his as she sipped, then moved to wipe her young lips. Then she blushed and smiled.

“Jaclynne, my lord,” said the redhead. She took the cup from him and took the tiniest sip, passing it back quickly. She coughed a bit and giggled. Delfort took a sip himself and set the cup down.

“Are you ladies from around here?”

“Yes, my lord,” they said.

Then Clara, clearly the leader of the two, added, “Jaclynne and I were wondering if you could show us the royal chambers in the mayor's mansion. It's the only place in town we have never been, and we would be quite grateful.”


Prince Delfort's journey continues next time in "The Royal Chambers"...

16 December 2011

The Search

Abruptly he stood and stared blankly at his desk. He grabbed his coat and filled its pockets with a pen and paper, a canteen of water, his pipe, and various other things he deemed important. He pulled his hat on with a tug. Then, he wandered off in search of Nature.

He'd heard of Nature before, from his father, perhaps, or his great uncle. But he'd never seen Nature. Sure, he'd seen bits of it on T.V. or heard tapes of Nature relaxing people, but never had he been in Nature.

He had a hard time of it at first. It seemed to him that, as he got closer to Nature, one thing or another would remind him of the human world. Once he sat on a log by a pond, determined he'd finally found it, when a teen on a dirt bike tore over his head and down the trail, hysterical laughing in his wake. In another spot, he watched geese play in a pond, and became very sure he'd got it right this time, when one of the gaggle walked up to him with a candy bar wrapper in its mouth. Disgusted, he wandered on.

His feet ached as he walked, as his heart ached with anticipation of something elusive. Finding a fallen fir, he rested, sipping greatly from his canteen. He had beaten his own path here, more determined than ever to lose society. Looking around, he realized where he was: a clearing amidst a forest of fir. Each tree befriended him. He asked them, silently, how they had come to grow here, how many children each had, and why several of their brethren had fallen to form this clearing. Then, answering his own question, he noticed the stumps around him were clean-cut, and the ax lying on the tree beside him confirmed his suspicions. Taking another swig from his canteen, he wandered on.

13 December 2011

the warming

The winter won't be freezing anymore
The frost won't even dare to coat the grass
The snow won't come to spite the poor
The chill won't press against the door
The ice won't form where love has come to pass

10 December 2011

1. Prince Delfort's Virgin Voyage

This is the first part, a canto, if you will, of a series about the adventures of young Delfort, Prince of Darscinnia.

Canto One.

Prince Delfort
by Kevin F. Story
Prince Delfort had never before left the palace walls. It was his first excursion outside the great castle of Pilvar-sur-Weedlewhicke, a massive stone structure which, contrary to tradition, was hexagonal. His father, the beloved King of Darscinnia, conducted all his official business there. The prince peeked out the fine-clothed window of the royal carriage. They were just passing the heavy iron portcullis, hanging menacingly above. The brown moat stagnated underneath the wooden drawbridge, and a white carp jumped, making concentric circles in the otherwise quiet river. Tiny water bugs danced on the surface, and an occasional frog popped its beady eyes out of the murky stream.

The prince sat back somewhat uneasily in his seat, not knowing what to expect from this foreign world. It had been the command of his father that he go to the neighbouring castle of Bolle-Weaville, in the kingdom of Inglende, in order to settle a matter of courtship. You see, King Alabaster, as the prince's father was known, made a similar trip four and ten years ago, two years after the young prince was begotten, in order to betroth him to King Alcatrasse’s then-newborn daughter, Emilia. They agreed upon this over a considerably potent port wine, so long as the prince came by in his sixteenth year to officially propose.

Thus, Delfort’s regal cart rode along the long, dusty dirt road, through the town of Binglederry and across the meadows of Lea. Accompanying the prince were his servant, James, and King Alabaster’s most trusted gen d’arme, Sir Reginald of Cangreene. Sandy-haired James was about the same age as Delfort, having been raised for the sole purpose of servanthood. Thus brought up together, they were actually very good friends and very often talked about the things about which young men typically talked. Like Delfort, James was enjoying his own first look at the outside world, taking particular note of the broad range of colour on this glorious spring day: the deep emerald of the land, the vast blueness of the sky, the piercing hot yellow of the sun. In the remaining seats lounged Sir Reginald, who fought by the king’s side during wars with the Gregorians, a barbaric tribe from the north, and the Leonidians, an equally barbaric tribe from the south. The ruddy visage of the knight wore an extensive, bushy handlebar moustache to complement his eyebrows. Not only was the knight an excellent swordsman, but he could hold down a hogshead of whisky for a fortnight and retain sobriety, if necessary. At the present moment, he remained in contemplative silence.

They began their journey just after breakfast in order to make their first stop well before supper, in the bay-side village of Porte Godfrey, which appeared to be coming up in the distance. They could smell the salt in the air as they neared the waters of the Jambonne Bay, and they could almost taste the fresh lobster they would sup upon in town as guests of the mayor.


“Hail, Prince Delfort!” exclaimed a nasal voice belonging to the mayor of Porte Godfrey as attendants helped the prince out of his carriage. The mayor, a very distinguished gentleman topped by an over-powdered wig, adjusted the monocle before his left eye, bowed deeply, then introduced himself in a rather all-too-proud tone as Johannes von Blochstorgg. The prince bade him rise and take them inside.

“Certainly, your highness. Come right this way.”

Two claps sent the attendants away. The mayor led the group by a trail of floating powder through his manor and up a set of stone stairs to the guest chambers. Various tapestries and coats-of-arms decorated the grey walls of the ensuing corridor, along with sconces for torches by and by.

“I have secured the largest chamber for his Royal Mightiness, and the next room over should befit your entourage. I hope your loftiness does not mind the humble quarters upon which—whom—I have bestowed upon hem—him—you,” prattled Johannes von Blochstorgg absurdly. With a showman's gesture, he threw open the door to the room in question, exposing a comfortable bed of goose feathers and walls littered with paintings and the like.

The prince, eyeing the room unpleasantly, responded coldly, “This will do.”

The mayor took time from his eye-squinting and finger-crossing to realize the prince seemed to have found some favour with his lodgings; thus he bleated: “Oh, thank you, your gracious Excellency! You shan’t be displeased not never one bit!” With a hasty bow, Johannes excitedly scampered off, taking care to stumble in the correct direction down the corridor, to make sure that their evening feast was being prepared imminently and eminently.

The knight, silent until now, spoke first, and so he did whilst smoothing his thick moustache: “What a queer fellow!”

Delfort nodded in acknowledgement as he glanced about the room, putting the place into perspective. James thoroughly busied himself with inspecting, in fine detail, everything from the hand-crafted furniture to the exquisite view of the bay from their lofty balcony. His jaw fell open and could not conceive of closing, seeming to be on the verge of falling off as he became more and more amazed with his new surroundings. Delfort, however, was slightly less impressed.

“Honestly!” complained Delfort, resting his royal bottom on a large, oaken chest. “Couldn’t we have stopped in the village of Vaslegas, where the torches always stay lit? It’s at least ten fold as exciting as this hole.”

The armed escort retorted snappily (or snapped retortingly, depending on your point of view), “You’ve never even seen Vaslegas! All you've heard is they have some of the greenest tables in all of Darscinnia. And you know your father would have no part in you squandering away all his wealth!” His moustache recoiled as Reginald gave it a rather nasty tug.

As Delfort’s mouth opened, no doubt to offer some foul comment or other, Reginald raised his gauntleted hand. “There’s no use in arguing. Your father has commanded this, and so it must be. Don’t you want to see who you will rule beside? Don’t you want to inherit a kingdom twice the size of your father’s? Now, I don’t want to hear another complaint from you for the duration of the trip, do you understand?”

Delfort opened his mouth once again, and Reginald coolly put his hand to his hilt. The mouth closed.


And they went about the business of relaxing and preparing for the feast ahead of them.


Prince Delfort's journey continues next time in "The Feast"...

07 December 2011

sermon to myself

It doesn't make sense to be afraid of the world. It's the world. You're in it. And until you're out of it, you're stuck in it. There are scary things in the world, but face them. Make them scared of you. Or, better still, make them respect you. The respect you earn from your enemies is far greater than any other respect.

Make the most of life. Live it, love it. If you love everyone, then how can people hate you? If they do anyway, then what does it matter? You are you and, as long as you live in the light, they can't change that.

Having green slips of paper doesn't make you rich. Having valuable, fulfilling relationships does. Cherish each one, great and small. They'll save you when you need it most.

06 December 2011


Is it just me, or do other people find it difficult to focus on writing? I find I need definite structure, deadlines. I need someone to tell me what to write. I need to make the conditions favorable to such a task, but I'm not sure if it's more coffee or more scotch that I need. Is it too cold or too hot? Does my sweater have an anti-creativity property? I'm drowning in words that have no meaning and no order. The stories swirl around my head and tangle themselves into an unmanageable mess. Was it the wealthy banker poisoning the prince locked in a bell tower who ate the wrong pudding at the bus stop while elves danced merrily on the hot coals in Thailand? It sounds familiar, but I can't quite place it. I just sit here getting fatter, hairier. Maybe I'll explode one day. That would be exciting. Hair and guts everywhere. And the words would be gone; the story, a memory. The sweater washed and sold at Goodwill.