Fall From Grace: The Story of Queen Zeal Chapter 1
Enter the World
It was a warm day in the town of Gabriel, in the eternal kingdom of Zeal. Every birds sang and colorful flowers bloomed.
There was a large crowd at the kabuki theater near Gabriel Square. Dozens of people sat around watching the actors perform the tale of King Atambwa in their exaggerated costumes.
Suddenly, a scream came from the audience, interrupting the portrayal of King Atambwa's tragic death from standing too close to the edge of the floating island of Enhasa. Everyone looked around, trying to locate the source of the cry. It was identified when Adan, a man visiting from Kajar, yelled for someone to fetch the midwife.
He kneeled by his screaming wife Iva. "It's all right, Almathea will be here any moment now, dear."
As if in response to his comforting statement, a large white pelican flew down out of the air. It suddenly transformed into a short old woman, laden with herbs and potions. Three finches followed her, each becoming attendants. It did not take Almathea long to find Iva, as most of the crowd had left.
The midwife silently looked over Iva for a moment, and then started to quickly prattle orders at her assistants. "You there, unpack my bag and get out these herbs and a tonic." she said, thrusting a list at her helper. "In the white toga, you go find the Gurus. Not, you, you're wearing yellow. You go and get some clean cloth, soap, and a tub of warm water."
Iva continued to scream, though this time at her husband. "I swear, Aden, if I live through this, I will subject you to the most vile form of torture imaginable, you..." she continued to mutter profane phrases. "Now hold my hand!"
When the Gurus did finally arrive, the baby still hadn't come out yet. They spent an hour sitting on a bench conversing with each other and their apprentices.
These three particular Gurus had held the position ever since King Pharos had come to rule. They were old, but oddly enough, didn't seem to show their age as much as others.
Beelzebub was the the Guru of Life. He was very strict, but also one of the most humorous people in the kingdom. However, there were rumors concerning the fate of a few individuals who had not felt his good humor, and were never seen again. Some said that he threw them off of the floating islands like King Atambwa, and others whispered that he personally exiled them to Mt. Woe. Most people tried their best to keep these things to themselves, for it was said that starting rumors was what got his victims in their mess in the first place.
The Guru of Life was tall and imposing, with a frizzy brown beard that was beginning to gray. He was somewhat plump, and also had a unibrow and glasses. He trained his apprentice, Melchior, in the ways of gurudom, but as Beelzebub never seemed to get older or weaker, it would probably be years before Melchior replaced him. He and the other apprentices, Gaspar and Belthasar, were already in their mid twenties.
Lilith, Guru of Time, was the youngest Guru, however, many said senility struck her first and hardest. She spent most of her time pouring over texts written by past Gurus and scholars, trying to develop a certain time theory involving time travel through portals. There were times when she would vanish for days, only to be found tucked away in a dusty corner of the gargantuan Royal Library, reading some moldy manuscripts.
She had piercing black eyes that sometimes seemed to be looking at nothing in particular, and then would suddenly focus on something and stick there. YOung children secretly told tales about how one should never read a book after Lilith had, or they would go crazy, and if she stared at you long enough, you would develop an ulcer. Her long black hair was perfectly straight, and she looked oddly young and well tanned for someone who never came out into the sun unless she had to. No one could explain this.
Asmodeus was Guru of Reason, and was constantly inventing things, many of which never worked. He was also the only married Guru, and his wife Onyx was also an avid inventor. People told tales of him as they did the other Gurus, such as the gold and dreamstone ornaments that he donned had once resided in the palace treasury.
Asmodeus was short, thin, and had the peculiar habit of speaking only in third person. He started talking in that strange manner the day after his new "Telepod" invention, which would supposedly replace the Skygates so that Zealians would be able to travel from island to island without the hassle of having to go down to the earth. It exploded, killing the three apprentices of the Gurus and giving him an ugly scar that ran from his left eye down to his navel. Melchior, Belthasar, and Gaspar were then apprenticed as replacements.
Finally, the young child was born, in a strangely short time for a childbirth so painful. While Iva held the blue haired baby and cooed at her in a most ridiculous manner, the Gurus motioned for their apprentices to follow them with the Book of Names.
The Book of Names was a large book, to say the least, for it took two apprentices just to hold it up while Belthasar recorded in it. For every birth, wedding, or funeral, the book was used to keep track of every citizen of Zeal. The Earthbound used something similar, but was recorded on clay tablets by those who were too old to do menial labor. Paper was precious, and couldn't be wasted on the the Earthbound.
Before it was recorded in ,though, the Gurus had to find the girl's magic, which they did at every birth. It was not impossible for Enlightened parents to have a magic-less child, or vice versa.
Each Guru placed his or her hand on the baby's forehead, and were blasted halfway across Gabriel Square, seemingly blown away by some magical force. They each got up, dusted themselves off, and pulled thorns out of their bodies. The Gurus assembled back around the family and spoke eerily in turn.
"Iva and Aden's child is most certainly not an Earthbound one."
"She has an immense amount of magic."
"But she doesn't seem to have a strong point."
"What Lilith means is that Iva and Aden's child excels in every type of magic."
"Water, wind, fire, ice, lightning, stone, nature, shadow, you name it."
"If we didn't know better, we would almost mistake her for royalty. Belthasar, are you recording this?"
The apprentice nodded, and asked the child's name.
Iva looked at her husband, and suggested "Why do we not name her Zeal, after the glorious kingdom that we live in?"
"Hippies." Lilith muttered. Everyone stared at her for a moment, while Belthasar wrote down family history of young Zeal and other necessary facts in the Book of names.
"We're done." he said after a moment. "We'd love to stay, but Jii is also expecting today, so we have more wok to do." The apprentices closed the book and congratulated Adan and Iva, and left. The Gurus exited without a word.
The new parents celebrated together, and started to head home. Iva and Zeal needed no stay at a hospital, as ever town had a Spring of Recovery and everyone always kept a tonic or elixir handy. They walked to the Skygate, from which they would be taken to the snowy earth, where another Skygate would take them back to Kajar. Adan and Iva were lovingly shielding their daughter from the cold, blissfully unaware of the legacy that would arise later.
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