Made For You

Keenan felt a hint of trepidation as he stepped up to the throne. He’d sat through one session on the oversized chair and found it frustrating. His feet didn’t reach the floor. He had looked like a child who was playing dress-up.

He took a steadying breath and then sat down. His eyes widened when he realized that his feet were still firmly on the ground. He glanced over his shoulder at Bertram.

“We made a duplicate,” Bertram signed at him. “It’s sized for someone your height.”

Nodding, his thanks, Keenan focused on the work at hand. At least he wouldn’t be distracted by the chair this time.

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Out There

Joram frowned faintly as he watched the people moving around in the market square. There had been a time when he’d been able to walk around with them. Then, no one knew him. He was just like anyone else. That wasn’t the case anymore.

Now, he was a member of the High Court. More than that, he was the Head of the High Court, because he’d been serving the longest. Now, everywhere he went, people knew him. He couldn’t go anywhere without an escort.

“I sort of miss it,” he murmured.

“What’s that?”

Joram looked over his shoulder at Cianal and smiled. Nodding at the market square, he said, “Walking around out there, like a normal person.” He turned away from the window and shook his head. “They talk about rank granting duties and privileges. They never mention what it costs.”

her knight in dinky armor

Keenan frowned at the tabard. It was Shynia’s answer to armor. The material was enchanted to resist nearly any projectile and could block most blades. He looked over at Sera. “You look worried,” he said. His brows furrowed. “It’ll be fine, ya know?”

“I don’t,” she said. She shook her head and caught the front of his tabard. “This… this is your only protection and it seems so flimsy!”

He smiled wanly. “It’s stronger than it looks,” he said. He kissed her on the forehead and added, “Like you.”

Sera sighed and leaned against his chest. “Why must you go?” she asked, her voice faint. “You’re the Sovereign. Can’t you… send people?”

“What you just said, that’s why I have to go,” he said, wrapping his arms around her. He sighed and closed his eyes. “I’m the Sovereign. They need me. Besides, it wouldn’t be fair to send others into a situation and not put myself in their place.”

“Just come back to me,” Sera whispered.

Keenan kissed her on the mouth, then. Breaking the kiss, he stepped back. “Always,” he promised. Then, he spun on his heel and headed out. As he stepped outside, he flashed a smile at the girl that represented his lands. “Ya ready?”

“Always,” Ophelia said. Her tone was firm and confident. She never backed down from a fight. She was, in all ways, the perfect representation of her people.

It made Keenan wonder what Ephemera’s representation was like. Was Ephemera sweet and quiet and a worrier or was that just Sera? He shook the thought away. Now was not the time for curiosity.

There’s a Fine Line

Bertram sighed in exasperation. “You are so… outgoing,” he said, shaking his head at his partner.

“You say that like it’s a bad thing,” Keenan said, frowning. He shrugged. “I’m friendly. Most people consider that a positive trait.”

“Not when it interferes with getting work done,” Bertram said. He pointed at the pile of papers on the corner of Keenan’s desk. “You are supposed to be reading and either signing or denying those. Instead – instead, you feel the need to talk with everyone who so much as walks by the door!”

Keenan smiled and shrugged. “Paperwork will always be here,” he said. “It’s a never ending cycle. As soon as I finish some, there’s more waiting my perusal.” He frowned slightly and added, “Unfortunately, that’s not true of the people here. All too often, someone who walked by my office today… might never pass this way again.”

Bertram sighed and sat down on the couch adjacent to Keenan’s desk. “You have a somber way of viewing the world, Keenan,” he murmured.

When an old man and a young girl get together

Keenan frowned slightly at the girl that he was supposed to marry. He had to admit that she was lovely. She was petite, even shorter than he was. Her hair was white-blond and her eyes were wide and a shade of blue that he couldn’t even find the words to describe. She was beautiful! However, she was also so young!

“How old is she?” he asked, giving Bertram a sidelong glance. The unspoken question was, “What could she possibly see in me?”

“Twenty?” Bertram said, his voice soft. He frowned at Keenan and said, “I know, you tend to think of your age in their years and, going by that…” he trailed off.

“I’m old enough to be her father,” Keenan breathed. His oldest child was nearly eighteen years old! He sighed and stepped forward. He bowed politely. “Dominique Ramsey,” he said, “I’m Keenan Meadows.”

As he straightened, their eyes met. Dominique smiled and offered her hand. “It’s nice to see you well,” she said.

In that moment, Keenan recognized her. Seraphim! The agent from the Chloreirian government! A faint smile played at his lips and he took her hand. He pressed his lips to the back of her hand and said, “Likewise.” This might just work out after all.

This Lovable World

Keenan laid back in the grass and stared up at the sky. He closed his eyes as a breeze sent the grass around him swaying and rustled through the leaves in the trees. A few stray locks of hair swirled around his face and he sighed.

He opened his eyes once more and smiled. The clouds were white and fluffy, reminding him a sheep wading in an expansive pool of water. Birds twittered as they flew overhead. He sighed again.

Hearing boots crunching in the grass, he sat up. “Hey,” he said, raising a hand to wave at Bertram. “How’s every little thing?”

Bertram smiled and stepped over to him. Kneeling, he said, “What are you doing, Keenan? You’ll ruin your robes and you’re meant to be preparing to meet with Cygma’s king.”

“I’m ready,” Keenan said. He shrugged and tucked a stray lock of hair behind one ear. “Mostly,” he added. He’d forgotten his barrettes. Even if he hated them, it was a tradition in Shynia for both men and women to wear them. It marked ones rank in society, as well as their position.

His eyes closed as Bertram shifted his position and pinned back the hair above Keenan’s left ear with an ornately jeweled lavender barrette. He opened his eyes then, and gave Bertram a wink. “Now, I’m ready.” He stood and brushed off his robes.

“What were you doing, anyway?” Bertram asked, as they moved back towards the palace.

Keenan looked up at the sky again and said, “Admiring the beauty all around us.” That, at least, was something he knew Bertram could understand and appreciate.

Send it now; draft it later.

“Keenan, did you finished writing that draft for the law you’re suggesting?” Bertram said. His question was greeted with silence. He looked up to see Keenan shaking his head. “You need to get it to your council right away, you know?”

“So,” Keenan said, looking up from his pile of papers, “send it to them. I’ll draft it later.”

Bertram blinked. “I… don’t think you understand the meaning of the word ‘draft’, Keenan,” he said, shaking his head. Keenan just flashed him a toothy grin. Bertram flinched and turned his attention back to his work.

Everything we talked about yesterday.

Ezra smiled at the clock. It was actually a pretty little clock. There were leaves and birds carved into the frame that surrounded the face. Little gold numbers were painted around the face. It had a leaf-shaped pendulum and weights shaped like acorns.

There were also two doors. One would open every half hour to release the fearful bird that gave the clock its name. The other opened on the hour, after the bird had finished crying the hour. A little pair of dancers would emerge, then. They would twirl as the clock played a cheerful tune.

“It’s so beautiful,” he said. He glanced at Josh and smiled. “What is the tune called?” he asked, blinking.

“The Anniversary Waltz,” he said. He looked thoughtful and then sang, “Oh, how we danced on the night we were wed!”

Ezra’s eyes widened. “That makes it perfect for a wedding gift, doesn’t it?” he said. He smiled at Josh and then bowed politely. “Thank you so much!”

“You’re quite welcome,” Josh said, smiling warmly.

Install a beak that clucks time in Arabic

Ezra had seen many new and different things since he’d first arrived on Terra. Some were amazing. Others were just interesting. He thought some were ingenious, but there were a good number that made him wonder… just why were they invented?

He gasped and withdrew as the strange little bird sprang out through the little door. He frowned at it and shook his head. “Why, in the name of all that is, would you want a little bird to jump out at you and chime out the hour by making such an annoying cry?”

Josh frowned. “You know, I’m not sure,” he said, blinking. “I guess, it’s something of a novelty type of thing. Some of them sing, you know? And others have people who come out and dance.”

“I should like that better than a bird jumping to scare me half to death,” Ezra said, smirking. He had to admit though, that the little cogs and gears that ran the device were absolutely amazing. Frowning, he added, “Maybe I’ll have to find one with dancers to take home as a wedding gift.”

Trying Hard to Understand

Keenan had never actually visited a museum. Whether it was because he’d just never gotten the time to do so or because he’d never had the interest to do so, he couldn’t say. He’d been to libraries – loads of them. However, he’d never seen a museum.

He found, since visiting the Vault of Taliesin with Phillip, that he was actually interested in the sorts of things museums stored. This museum, like the Vault, didn’t just hold normal treasures. It was packed with magical artifacts and enchanted objects. In fact, the collection of such things here was second only to the Vault.

Each room represented a different country in the world of Ekudo. Keenan was staring at a tapestry. It depicted a man, his cloaks and hair swirling around in wind that didn’t seem to effect the trees around him. He had a fierce expression on his face. For some reason, he looked very familiar.

“Can I help ya with something?” a voice said.

Keenan looked over his shoulder at the speaker. He was taller than Keenan, but within the average for a Shynonian. His hair was a silvery color that Keenan could tell had nothing to do with age. His eyes were a vibrant blue. They were wide with surprise and locked on Keenan’s face.

“I’m supposed to meet the director of museum collections?” he said. Then, he tilted his head to one side, trying to figure out why the man was staring at him with such a shocked expression. “Something wrong?”

“Ya look…” he said, blinking. Then, he shook his head. “Ya know, what? Never mind. Dr. Upvalley is just over here.”

Keenan nodded frowning slightly. What, in the name of all that was, had upset the man so greatly? “Thank you,” he said, following the stranger.

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