Flash Fiction – “Kin Slayer’s First Breath” (~ 680 words, fantasy)

Flash Fiction Writing
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As the king’s honor guard roughly dragged Tradion out of his lightless dungeon cell by his heavy black iron chains, his left cheek bled profusely and he limped from the horrendous beating the guards had just delivered him for having the temerity to ask for water. They were once his friends and comrades-at-arms, as was the now deceased Prince, for whom he was accused of murdering. It started three days ago with bystanders yelling, screaming, and pointing at him with his blood-soaked blade and the Crowned Prince lying dead at his feet in a pool of blood. He did not know how it all happened and now he is being led to the market for a public hanging.

The black hooded hangman bore the stench of unwashed peasantry and spilled cheap ale as he roughly dragged Tradion up to the noose in the center of the market before a whole crowd of people – beggars, nobles, peasants, soldiers, and slaves, his manacles cut into his wrist and drew some blood which dripped slowly to the wooden platform. People came from miles around to watch his hanging, the hanging of the man who killed the Crown Prince. The Chamberlain read the charges against him before he was to be hanged until dead. Tradion was strangely at peace with what was about to befall and he did not know why. He said a quick prayer to the gods above and then to his cousin the Crown Prince, and then waited for inevitable.

They fitted the noose around his head and pulled it tight around his neck. He looked around, not sure if this was even real, and then the floor dropped out from under him, the noose snapped tight and the pressure on his neck was unbearable, his eyes bulged as he struggled to breathe. His legs shook for a few moments and then he exhaled for the last time as the last sound he heard was the loud crack of his neck. The crowd yelled and screamed rejoicing that justice was victorious this day.

On a hill overlooking the market area were two hooded individuals who had watched the death of the traitorous dog, Tradion.  The much larger of the two men abruptly arched his back and took in a deep mechanical sounding breath, and then his head snapped from side to side like he was confused or panicked, or looking for something that was about to attack him. The other man pulled up his hood a bit revealing the concerned face of the Crown Prince. He wove his staff through the air forming arcane runs and then looked cautiously to his large panicking companion.

After a moment the Prince said “Will you ever forgive me, Tradion.” The Prince’s companion, fully a head larger and with the broad shoulders of a soldier, pulled up his hood with hands that bore metal plates and some bronze colored rotating gears. The Crowned Prince looked upon face made of a steel plate mimicking Tradion’s face, the dull glint of colored gears could be seen peeking out from underneath the sides of the faceplate which ended  at the line following the cheekbones down to the chin. A quiet mechanical whirring could be heard emanating from within his new mechanical form.

A gruff and mechanical voice answered “Next time you will be the one to die, Cuz.” Tradion shook his head and snorted, and then lifted and flexed his arms trying to get used to how this new mechanical body felt.

The King and Queen would never let me nor any of our knights undertake such a mission, so it is up to us my brother. We will need you at your best for the battle to come, for the Lords of Dathnar do not sleep.”  The Prince smiled, for Tradion was still in there… somewhere. His cousin’ spirit was tethered to this mechanical shell by the powerful magics he himself had forged over many long months of research and toil. They both reared their horses and galloped full speed due north toward the Dathnari Mountains where destiny waited.

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James O'Neill
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