Friday, April 6, 2012

Pin

"Your Majesty, the pin refuses."

Jeörg's hands trembled on the rim of his war board. Purple markers for his own knights drowned in a sea of red enemies. They had understood his own vulnerabilities and marched to the point where their forces converged like a noose around Jeörg's over-gorged castle, filled with refugees. Piles of ash signified where his knights had lost. With so few men remaining, he could not lead them to a win. He needed the mirror's gamble.

"He must. The life of the one sacrificed for the many."

"Your Majesty, he cannot be forced."

"Do not lecture us." Jeörg swallowed. His captain meant the best and would mourn his own soldiers soon. "You must convince the pin."

Sweat poured down the captain's brow. "He will not listen. Manic. He talks over me. Demands your audience."

Jeörg pounded his war board, lifting ash into the air. "You have not removed his tongue."

The captain's mouth opened and closed before he retreated a step. "No use, your Majesty. A man can make noise without a tongue."

"Find his family, find his loves."

"Majesty, he has none."

The ermine mantle on Jeörg's shoulders grew heavy. The pin must make the choice to sacrifice of his own volition. He must find the core value the pin believed that was worth more than the pin's life. One's family was an easy value, but not the only one.

He pondered possibilities on his route to the Mirror's Gallery. Loyalty to King, loyalty to beauty, desires for wealth. Although, the last would be hard, no time for the pin to savor them before the sacrifice. In the end, it would depend on what Jeörg found inside the man. He had never been enough of a planner, his knights had learned that lesson the hard way.

The Mirror's Gallery was a nightmare. The pin sat propped against a column, his head slumped, his shoulders slumped, his arms leading to pools of blood beside his slit wrists. Each of the mirrors propped on easel's caught a mixture of the pin's blood along with the fragment of the future they caught in their frame.

Without the pin, they could not force the future favorable to his knights surprise tactic. The odds were innumerable, only one of the hundred mirrors depicted success.

Jeörg strode forward, his mantle billowing in his wake, to kick the knife from the pin's grasp. It was a soldier's knife. He turned on his captain. "What have you done?"

The captain gripped his hilt with a mailed fist. "A calculated gamble."

"But, why would he do this?" Weakness washed over Jeörg and he braced himself against the mirror showing the only favorable outcome. The image in it, flickered, welcomed him. "Suicide is sure defeat. No one understands what happens to the pin once they merge with the mirror and secure the future."

"I convinced him it was eternal pain."

"Why?" This was madness. "When the mirrors were constructed, they were keyed to the pin. Only he could secure our future. Why would you deny us?"

"You are wrong." The captain no longer addressed his liege with the proper honorific. "Along with a drop of the pin's blood, a speck of your hair was added to the mirror's tincture. The mirrors are keyed to you as well."

"I see." Jeörg's mouth was dry.

"You must sacrifice for the land, for --"

"Shut up. We understand." Jeörg confronted the mirror. He had been too easy on his knights, hoping to inculcate loyalty through example. Too easy on the Kingdom, allowing every refugee into the castle's walls even though it weakened them. He understood who would be king in his absence. The captain would not have it any easier. This sacrifice, a last noble example, would not be forgotten, would provide his people hope. Or so he prayed as he knelt before the mirror and leaned his body into its surface to pin the future.

15 comments:

  1. I am pretty sure I feel for the pin. It takes real loyalty to do something like that.

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    1. The great unknown can be hard to accept.

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  2. Groovy idea. I find it interesting that the king seemed like quite a merciful type (helping the refugees) but was so quick to want the pin to be maimed. It's almost like he doesn't see the pin as a person and ultimately himself becomes a symbol.

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    1. Thanks. I see a touch of symbol obscuring his behavior but also pressure making him do things he wouldn't.

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  3. It would seem the King's manipulations may now lead to his own demise.

    A very intricate piece of writing Aidan.

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  4. It's partially the hour, but the swirling prism of royal culture was heady to read.

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    1. Kings aren't the usual characters that speak to me, but when the world came I discovered the King shaped by that world.

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  5. This story really appealed to me, I always seem to root for the underdog. I like how you put it that the Pin had to sacrifice himself and couldn't be forced, it would have been the first question I asked.

    Just read up on Scalpel Dance. Google translate didn't work 100%, but sounds quite good. Do you know if an English version is coming out?

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    1. I don't know if/when they plan an English version Scalpel Dance. I'll keep an eye out for a release and let you know if I see it.

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  6. Wanted to know more about the original Pin and now that the noble king pinned himself so easily, what will be the fate of the captain, I wonder? Amazing -these fantastical worlds that come to you Aidan.

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  7. Wow this was like an epic fantasy story- does one do what they really feel they should, or what they feel others demand of them.

    I could see this turn into a novel. ^__^

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  8. It was a little confusing at first but then you really got my interest piqued with all the machinations and mirror lore.

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  9. Nice twist at the end there, Aidan. The king gets his comeuppance.

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  10. This is very cool. It was bothering me why he was called the Pin all the way through, but you held off explaining and the revelation became the twist, and a very satisfying twist. The king admitted he was not a planner, and it seems the captain outmanoeuvred him as successfully as the opposing armies had, securing victory in the process.

    Great story, Aidan. =)

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