Hello!! I am test driving this chapter from my new project Tales of the Driss. Feel free to tell me what you think, haha. Yes this is an original that something else is based on but this existed first and was adapted…And maybe vice versa a bit. Hahaha. I shall explain at a later time. Cheers!!
Ferian and Kellen were born into a royal line, but they were far from princes. They were Driss, a people, a strange sort of race that did not seem to fit in anywhere in their world. They were taller than dwarves, gnomes and halflings, but at least a head shorter than men or elves. They were fair of face and body like elves, not at all compact like their closest cousins the dwarves. Most of the races in their world knew not what to make of them. Especially the Trow, and their closest cousins the Tresser. The Trow considered the Driss a bastard race, being not of any people. That is why the Trow had stolen the lands of the Driss in the Southeast and driven then to the mountain to the North. The Driss were afloat with no real place, just a a bastard race should be. Any Driss found by Trow or Tresser were usually killed or enslaved. The race of Driss was waning, scattered, but some found freedom and home in the Northern Mountains.
Jerrick was the king of a dying people, trying to gather them in the North so that he could re-establish them as a people in the North so that someday they could retake their home in the Southlands. Jerrick was a stern Driss with a regal bearing. He had the steely blue eyes common among his line, just as his father had had, and medium chestnut curls. He was Lunaris’ most eligible bachelor, but he was not allowed to marry just any Driss woman. He must follow tradition and marry the daughter of a king, High Lord or Laudriss, a High Councilor. This was rather difficult to attain as his people has been scattered for many years by the Trow.
His brother Kerrick was slightly different. Younger by seven years, Kerrick did not look like his fore-fathers. His hair was light in color but his eyes were as dark as coal. He was a strong Driss and a dour one, and did not tend toward flights of fancy. Even though he was younger, he might have been a more sensible choice to be king, if age wasn’t a determinant for ascension. Jerrick had sent his brother Kerrick to lands in the South to try and bring together their people who had been scattered by the Trow. At first Kerrick did not want to go, but Jerrick had ordered him, and as the prince of his people he was obligated to do so.
While away on his trip to the South, Kerrick met Lusa, a beautiful driss woman with hair the color of honey and eyes the color of sapphires. She was sweet of disposition and had a love for life that was beyond anything that Kerrick had ever seen. Mostly though, she had a love for him that went beyond reason. She was the only impulsive thing he had ever done in his life, and while away from his brother on his desperate mission, he married Lusa.
While Kerrick was away, Jerrick found someone as well. The beautiful daughter of a returning driss lord, Sulis had lovely raven locks, and eyes as blue as the deepest of lakes. She was light of heart and had a good spirit. The driss council decided that she was a perfect match, and allowed Jerrick to marry her. Soon enough Jerrick found himself in the role of father as well, as Sulis was pregnant almost immediately and some months later gave birth to their son. A son that they named Surrick.
While they lived happily, Jerrick could not help but worry about Kerrick, who he had not heard from in a while. A couple of years later, Kerrick and his driss followers filed into the village of Lunari and the brothers were reunited. He brought with him his wife Lusa and their two young sons Farian and Kellen. Both boys shared features of both parents, Farian having the light hair of his father but the blue eyes of his mother as well. Kellen had the dark hair of his mother and the black eyes of his father. Together they were one of the most beautiful driss families in the village. The council was quite ready to unacknowledge Lusa and her children as not being a good match for Kerrick. When Kerrick threatened to leave and not return, another odd choice on his part, the council relented.
The two families were happy in Lunari. Kerrick and his children moved into the palace with Jerrick and his family, and all was well in the world. This was not to last however. Jerrick sent Kerrick out on another mission. His brother did not return alive. Lusa was devastated. So devastated that she would not leave her room for the funeral. Ferian, then ten and his little brother Kellen, at that time five, had to say farewell for her. Jerrick was very saddened by this turn of events and vowed then that he would take care of his brother’s sons, no matter the cost.
Vows can sometimes go by the wayside. Jerrick was busy as king as he tried to strategize with the council and his advisers about potentially taking back the Southlands of the driss. Lusa had locked herself in her room and had refused to come out. She was lost in her sorrow and could not pull herself out. Ferian and Kellen watched as she seemed to simply fade away into the darkness of her own pain. It broke their hearts, but there was very little they could do for her as there were few voices she would even acknowledge anymore. They had, for the most part, lost her. While they continued to see visit her and try to reach her, it began to seem more and more impossible.
Often the two ended up in the care of Sulis, who did not care for them and often treated them coldly. She had taken to calling them foundlings, as that was what they seemed to be, orphan children with no parents. Ferian often got into fights with Sulis about this, as he could tell that this hurt Kellen badly. Ferian felt that he did not have to take such words from this woman, as they were princes among the driss, regardless of whether or not their father was alive. So often he would take Kellen and escape into the village with him.
At the age of twenty-five, which was still well below the age of majority for a driss, Ferian and Kellen found themselves spending more and more time away from the palace and down at the village with friends. However, their supply of friends seemed to be shrinking. Wolef, one of their most loyal friends came to them one day at the inn as they rested after a long days work. Kellen worked in the library while Ferian did other odd jobs around the village so that they could earn money to move away from the palace for good. However rumors had started to swirl about that they were their mother’s sons and not their father’s. Their friend Wolef had news for them.
“Ferian,” he said. “There is something you should know.”
“Yes Wolef,” Ferian said. “I know about the rumors.”
“I am sure you do,” Wolef said. “But this situation is about to come to a head. Many have been convinced of the rumors and someone has requested an inquiry.”
“A what?!” Kellen asked worriedly.
“An Inquiry.” Wolef said. “You know what that means of course. The council goes around asking anyone who thinks they know anything about the supposed truth and then they decide based on whatever “evidence” the witnesses provide whether or not you are bastard children. The council insists it cannot be bought, but there is no saying for sure. And certainly others can be.”
“Ferian, this is going to kill mother.” Kellen said.
“Who has made the request, Wolef?” Ferian asked.
“Dorin,” the young driss said. “And we all know who he’s friends with.”
“I will go to him now and put an end to this.” Ferian said.
Wolef lifted a surprised eyebrow. “I know you are upset, Ferian, but do you think it wise to confront the prince, especially given that you are in such a state?”
“I can’t let him get away with this.” Ferian said.”Will you come with me, brother?”
“Of course I will.” Kellen said. “But are you absolutely sure you want to do this?”
“Kellen, you’re right. If we let this happen it will kill mum. We can’t let that happen.”
“Then what must be done, must be done.”
“You have our thanks, Wolef,” Ferian said as he and Kellen got up to leave.
“Best of luck to you.” The young driss said. And then the brothers were gone.
Up at the palace, they found Surrick in the kitchen, eating what appeared to be half a ham. He had become fat and warty, nothing like his regal father or handsome cousins. He smiled as he saw Ferian come into the room with Kellen close behind. Ferian could not control his anger. He stood across the table from Surrick and slammed his fists down. “What’s all this about an inquiry…” Ferian asked with a quiet yet venomous voice.
Surrick simply continued to smile at him. “Exactly what you think. The council is going to sniff around and see if you were really born of Kerrick, or if you were spawned from some other driss from the old colony that you came from.”
The second blow to the table was much louder, and made both Surrick and Kellen jump. “You piece of horse shit! Do you have any idea what this will do to our mother?!”
Surrick was about to reply when they were inturupted. “What is going on here?” Sulis appeared from the other side of the kitchen and made her way over.
“Sulis…” Kellen said haltingly.
“Oh it’s you two again. I’m surprised that they even let you into the palace anymore.” Sulis said.
“I assume you are the puppet-master behind this tub of lard?” Ferian said.
Surrick was about to reply again when his mother said, “leave us, Surrick.”
“Now Surrick!” She said, and he obeyed.
When he was gone, she tore into the two young driss. “How dare you speak to the prince that way! Pathetic little foundlings like you have no right.”
Ferian could give as good as he took. “You forget that until the council finds proof to the contrary, we are still our father’s sons, making us princes as well.”
“I have no doubt that the council will find you to be the bastards that you are, especially you, Ferian.” She said with a smirk.
“Father loved mother,” Kellen said. “She was with no other.”
“Considering the fact that you were five when your father died, I would say that you have no idea what you are talking about. Do you remember anything about their relationship, Kellen? Do you remember the colony where you were born? Where you spent your first two years? I doubt it. You know nothing about them.”
In some respects she was right. Kellen hadn’t known his father well before he died, and had no idea how they had lived before he was born. All he knew was that his mother and father had always been together and that they had always loved each other.
“For all we know,” Sulis began, “ she was the colony whore and they just traded her around.”
Sh expected Ferian to explode, but instead he stayed calm and smiled at her visciously. “At least she didn’t service her brothers like you did. Tell me, did you do all six of them? I bet you did and you loved it and they took you from behind like the unholy bitch that you are.”
She just stared at him for a moment, astounded. Kellen was mortified. Finally she said, “take your filthy whore brother and get out! I will have you sull this place no longer.”
“Fine!” Ferian said. “But we’re saying goodbye to mother first.”
“Get out of my sight. She said between clenched teeth.
The brothers went to their room in the palace and gathered up their few belongings. Then they went to their mother’s room. The door was locked, as it usually was. Ferian knocked, but did not even hear the rustle of her skirts. He spoke to her through the door. “Mother? We are leaving the palace, and we shall not return. We will be down in the village if you wish to visit.” He knew she would not visit them, nor would she respond to this conversation. She was lost to the world.
Kellen went to the door then and pressed his face against it. “Mama? Do you hear me? Will you not speak to us at all? I love you. Please, come to the door.” He knew it was no use, and tears rolled down his cheeks as he pulled his head away. “I love you…” He said as Ferian led him away. They never saw Lusa again.