25th – The People of the Capitol and The Magic of Kingsday
Finally the day that is Kingsday,
And all throughout the land,
The joy of children rings forth,
Be their home in snow or in sand.
Each home’s mantel is invaded,
On this cozy Kingsday Morn,
That each child might get presents,
With colored wrappings to be torn.
Tearing and opening and joy abound,
As in every street the whole land round,
Parents celebrate the joy of their children,
And children rejoice in the gifts they’re given.
It’s on this magical Kingsday,
When all is right with the world,
There’s a great booming disruption,
Like something had been hurled.
“Wh-what’s that?” a certain seven year old Coe Lamricc shouts with a mix of both shock and glee—instantly expecting it to be something welcome and wonderful on this, a day in which nothing can possibly go wrong.
Whatever it was, it was large, dark, and fast as Rayda’s present sleigh, which is totally something that was real.
Garfein Lamricc, having just handed off a colorful red present to little Lamri Lamricc, pokes his head out the door. “It’s…” He closes the door. “Yup.”
“What is it, dear?” Garfein’s wife, Amh, asks as she cradles both their youngest child and their snow-white cat in her arms.
“It’s… It’s a giant black, smoking… orb thing, rolling down the street.”
“Wha-” She quiets herself a moment to think of a sensible question to ask. “Just a… orb? Like, is it a rock, or persay a beast? Should we hide?”
“Well it passed by totally, love. I’m afraid there’s nothing we can do. I think it’s just a… I don’t know, love, just a giant geometric shape.”
“Should you… follow it, mayhaps?”
Garfein crosses his arms thought – he is an officer of the guard after all… He sighs.
“Right,” He says as he swings to the rack and takes up his coat and scarf. “I’ll be back soon.”
“Say goodbye to daddy,” Amh tells the children with a smile.
“Bye daddy!” Says Coe with his grip secure on his new set of “Royal Knight Adventure” series novels.
“Buh bah!” Lamri says with a mouth full of chocolate and nuts.
Garfein dashes out after the giant, building-sized ball, wrecking anything in its path. Thankfully there’s no one out in the streets in this part of the capitol this early in the morning, that is, until they hear the blacker-than-pitch boulder roll by. Myriad sets of eyes peer out from windows and doors, some stepping out to check get a closer look, but most. Only Garfein pursues, however, rushing through the freezing cold to track the great ball of probably death. It’s headed for the industrial quarter.
Of course, in the industrial sector, Knight Generosity and Knight Humor are putting on a show amidst a bewildered crowd of about four dozen night-shift workers.
“Then, with his last ounce of breath,” Knight Justice, the narrator, explains as Generosity draws back his sword over a black-armored Humor, “Rayda used his greatest and most forbidden soul, capable of sealing away any foe at the cost of sealing away himself.”
Knight Generosity cheesily tosses down his sword as Knight Wonder wriggles her fingers from a nearby alleyway to make special effects.
“Blarrrrg! Noooo! Not imprisonment! I won’t survive in jail!” Knight Humor says with a cry, but a crass grin underneath his helmet.
Order, also staring on in secret, sighs in disappointment.
Justice clears his throat as the two actors fall over onto the ground with over dramatized agony. “And thus, Radya gave his life for us all, and every year, people celebrate Kingsday to remember the sacrifice he made for not only the people of the Western Kingdoms, but the entire world. The story is as relevant as ever, because with the possibility of Chaos knocking down our doors at any time, we must remain vigilant in the hopes that a hero will rise to the occasion. The story of Kingsday is a story not only of love for one’s fellow man, but of hope, one that’s worth relaying every year by the mantel. Thank you.”
There’s accommodating applause from the scraggly audience, bemused that these hundred-plus year old super wizards have decided to put on a play in a commoner’s quarter—what a silly thing to do.
“So I ask this now,” Justice says as the two actors take their stand to another interrupting applause before heading off. “Is, do you all understand why Kingsday is so important to be taught to your children?”
One worker raises his hand. “Uh, so is this like a new tradition we’re doin’ or something?”
Justice looks about in confusion as several others nod in agreement with the worker’s question.
“Eh… oh, no. This is something you should have all done when you were kids… right?”
Shaking heads, and negative answers all around the group.
“So… You know you put the presents under the mantle for a reason, right?”
Everyone nods. “Because it’s warm,” one guy says, met with agreement all around.
Justice sighs. “N- well, yes. But it’s so you’d have a warm place not only to open the gifts, which were a minor part of the holiday, mind you, but so that you could tell the story to your children once a year in hopes that they’d remember the origin of the holiday and remember… you know, Rayda in general.”
“But I thought Rayda was a myth,” says one.
“Doesn’t he bring toys on a sleigh or something?” Says another.
The handsome Aen raises his hand as if to correct them, but then clasps his hands together in thought. It’s obvious that a few hundred years of not dealing with commoners can create a bit of a culture gap. “Okay,” Justice says. “Do you know about the great big set of ruins way north?”
“You mean Whihelmish?” One smartass asks, joined by a chorus of approving laughter.
“No, I mean the literal country sized ruins to the north. The ones that were previously the Kingdom of Reinen?”
“…I guess,” one guy says.
“Rayda… Reinen?” Justice juggles the air as if a scale. “Does this sound like anything you know?”
“It’s because the country is named after the guy! He’s not some presents-giving fairy dude, he was real!”
“Are you guys trying to recruit us to like, a cult or something?” One lady asks.
Suddenly the workers roar up in suspicion:
“I know I’m getting that vibe.”
“Wow, knights really have fallen low.”
“We’re not donating anything,” are among the voices in the crowd.
Justice inhales sharply and turns around to give Order a look to tell her she was right all along and that the population has become sorely ignorant to their actual history. However, just as he does this, there’s a great rumbling.
Amidst the commotion of the workers, Order leaps up with a single bound, landing her food gently on a factory roof. Before her, and tearing down this direction, is a giant orb of smoke and destruction with all sorts of little white specks inside. She does not even need to guess, the feeling is clear in her heart.
She takes up a chatstone from her casual, comfy winter garments. “Glory.”
A few seconds pass, and then a deep voice illuminates from the stone. “What could it be, asking for me on this good Kingsday?” As always, he sounds completely pissed to be interrupted, but Order as always doesn’t care much.
“Stop crying in bed you dork and get to Ragnivan Central. Chaos is here with a… a ball of minions!”
There’s another pause, and then a scoff from the other side of the line. “A ball of minions?”
“Like just… I don’t know it’s not really a ball, but it’s smoking, and they’re tearing up the place. You need to bring me my sword and an armor kit.”
“…Aren’t there like, thirty knights stationed there right now?”
“Yes, but none of them are ready for a fight, either!”
“I’m sure you’ll figure something out.”
“Glory, don’t you dare!”
“See ya’ in a bit.” At that, the voice of the knight with the least holiday spirit (or any spirit for that matter) dies out, leaving Ranalie with a giant problem.
She jumps down to the other knights. “It’s Chaos, leading a giant… boulder of his minions.”
There’s a second where the knights all think she’s joking, and then realize that she’s not, in fact, joking. “Wh-what are we going to do?” Knight Wonder asks, already trembling at the thought of her very first encounter with his Royal Badassery: High Overlord Chaos.
“We do what we’re trained to. Go back to headquarters and get as many knights on board as you can.” She looks up toward the street dramatically. “I’ll buy you all time.”
Justice, never without an armament, checks the blade of his sword. “Alright, I’ll go with you, Chief!”
At that, the two tear down the street with haste magic, hitting stallion-like speeds as Order summons up a set of inferior, but readily deployable equipment. It’s only seconds until the boulder is in view, and heading not for the Industrial Quarter, but something far more precious.
“Th-” Order does a quick spot check of the orb’s path. “The orphanage?!”
“That fiend! He’s going to flatten the children!”
“We have t-”
“Like pancakes that have no parents!”
They mad-dash to the front of the orphanage in protection, and Order turns to her trusty fellow.
“Okay, Aen! Charge the heaviest punch spell you have!” Ranalie says as she juts her hand forward, her fist creating a deep hum and a golden glow.
The two charge and speak their flowery incantations, preparing spells capable of smashing full elephant-sized holes into buildings. “Ready,” Order says just seconds away before the boulder’s impact.
“Three…Two…O-… huh?” Order stops, just as the geometric army of minions does. Only ten meters from the orphanage, the orb stops cold.
Order and Justice stare in complete dumbfoundry as the “lid” of minions crawls away from the top of the orb and lets out a large, smoking bursts of fireworks, rousing the dozens of young children to the windows and doors.
Suddenly, the voice of the great destroyer. “Men, women, children and subservient domestic animals, gather near for the show of a lifetime! Prepare to have your minds explode under the incomprehensible majesty of this show!”
At that, the street floods with people who have never heard Chaos before, and even if they did recognize his voice, would be too interested to turn down something this neat.
Folds of precisely gripped, strongly-united minions fold away as the doors of the orb, allowing Chaos to step out with Goodies and Snacks Distribution Minion. As he gleefully tosses out handful after healthy handful of smoked kale chips, Chaos addresses the crowd again. “Here, it is the finest of days, Kingsday! And let me assure you, you silly, pathetic worms, that this is a day worth celebrating. Allow me to take you back, far back thousands of years to the era of a man named Rayda, righteous king and servant to those lesser than him. Listen closely, fools, for this is a day of history that weakling and great lord alike have in common…”
Order, sitting with Justice on this snowy day, watch in complete disbelief as Chaos recounts the tale of Rayda against Overlord Apocalypse with such poetic fervor, such grace and poise, that for a few moments, they both believe they’re dreaming. It’s not however, and with Devious Plan Minion taking the place of Rayda, and the giant orb of minions playing the role of Apocalypse, the crowd cheers, oohs in wonder, cries at the sad parts, and “enjoys” healthy snacks of Hipster Minion’s own design. For the next hour, there was the long, epic story from the beginning of Apocalypse’s approach to their planet to the end with Rayda’s one love, Knight Grace, laying his soulless body to rest in Reinen’s royal keep. There were displays of magic and fireworks of the likes that the people had never seen. All of this, backed by the narrative, calm, calculating voice of the creature that must surely be their arch nemesis, and his personal minion orchestra. After that, Chaos tears a dimensional rift, and they start filing out.
Some of the minions complain that they thought this was all a guise to attack Central and kill the Ragnivanian royal family, but after a swift bop on the head and punt forward, Chaos set them all in line through the portal, back to their home.
Chaos is left at the end of the line and the edge of the portal. He was about to close it up amidst great cheering when Order pulls in the greatest breath she’s had all year.
“WHY!?” She shouts.
Chaos just looks over to her with a bemused, ever-superior look, and speaks what’s on his mind. “Surely, my dear knightess, you would not expect me to hurt someone today and dishonor this man’s memory. He wasn’t just your friend, you know,” and at that, Chaos seals the way, leaving a fanatic crowd, and a jaw-dropped Order.
She stands blankly next to Justice just as the people break out into joyous conversations about the story, and how interesting it was that people used to teach those stories from the fireplace.
“…What do you think he meant, that Rayda wasn’t just our friend?”
“…Well, he was loved by just about everyone, you know… and he was a pretty mysterious dude I read… Do you think Chaos and him… met once?”
Order stares on at the large indentation in snow where the orb used to be. “I… I don’t know, but I do think… I’ve finally found something new to appreciate this holiday season.”
“Yeah? What’s that, chief?”
“That we have an opponent that cares about the same things we do…. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing, but somehow it makes me feel like, even if we failed, and humanity were enslaved… things would work out okay for us.”
Justice looks at her with a raised, suspicious brow. “Is that so?”
Order nods blankly. “…You wanna get some coffee?”
“…I’d like that very much, chief.”
Now the moral of this story,
If there’s one to display,
Is that no matter the person,
And whatever they may say,
Truly, certainly, all things are finer,
Love is deeper, and compassion wider,
On this, our most-blessed Kingsday.