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The grappling minstrel
May 22nd, 2015, 12:26 PM
Here is a short story that I will hopefully develop into something bigger. It is based on a character from a roleplaying campaign I had with my friend, set in a victorian era equivalent fantasy world. Olan is equivalent to england and Su is a desert kingdom in the far east.

--------------

“Allow me to confirm your request, my friend” Prince Iskander said with a frown. He hated frowning, it wrinkles his forehead and there Is simply no way to look appealing while doing so, but the man was asking for something truly absurd. “You are asking me to not only write a love letter on your behalf, you wish for me to deliver it?”

The man standing before Iskander’s chair was Walter Holmes, Son of a wealthy Gentile family with considerable wealth. Iskander met him quite some time ago, back when he was simply a young boy in a foreign land, trying to make sense of Olanian culture and society.

“Yes, your eminence, that is my request”
“Did you not refer to me using a much less flattering title last we met?”

Walter flushed. He was hoping Iskander would not remember that one incidence where he uttered a racial slur at the Su royalty. “Let us not dwell on past mistakes, my prince” he said, head lowered apologetically. “Your skills in poetry has been well documented and I believe only you can help me in this endeavor”

His prince? Iskander thought, shaking his head in distaste. He is neither a prince of Olan, nor is he a prince that belongs to him. It doesn’t help that the term reminded him of another person, one who he frequently writes love letters to.

“Tell me about the woman” Iskander said as he leaned back onto his comfortable leather chair, more out of curiosity than anything. He still was not convinced he should help this man, but he prefers to hear him out than reject him outright. Already, he prepared multiple excuses to refuse this request in the end, now he only needed to pick the best one to use depending on his story.

“It does not matter which one”

The frown returned to Iskander’s face. By the heavens, this man is truly bad for his skin.
“How can it not matter?” he asked, growing slightly impatient but maintaining enough social grace to not raise his voice.

“I merely want a young, member of the royal court to marry, so my family can advance in status”

It was a rather obvious ploy and Iskander’s closeness to the Royal court of Olan surely puts him in perfect position to play matchmaker.

“What If I pick someone who you do not consider attractive?”
“There are more than one way a married man can sate his desires, my prince, if you catch my meaning”
He does. He would find it distasteful if he himself has never indulged in scandalous relationships. As it is, he would be a hypocrite to decry Walter’s statement.

“And why should I help you?” Iskander asked, legs crossing together, chin leaning onto his steepled fingers.
“I would..compensate your skills and effort with great amount of money, Prince Iskander”
The prince’s gloved fingers tapped together rhythmically , his head nodding up and down. The bigger picture became clear to him now.

“My friend” he smiled at last “I am a prince of Bahrat-Su. Riches do not move me, but your plight does.”
Walter sighed in relief “So we have an understanding?”
The smile on Iskander’s scarred face grew wider “We have an understanding”

-xxxxxxxxxxxx-

The result of the love letter was almost instantaneous. A courtship process began and turned into an engagement within weeks, becoming the talk of the capital. A wedding followed, a grand affair which Iskander , as the best man, took as a chance to showcase his new suit, in fact, intimate friends of the prince suspected that he only agreed to play matchmaker so that he will be invited to a big wedding where he can display himself like the peacock he is.

It was no more than two weeks later that the newlywed Walter came barging into the gentlemen’s club once more, finding Iskander sitting in the very same chair they conceived the plan.

“How could you do this to me!?” He yelled, flustered, tossing a crumpled piece of paper down on the table. The prince before him looked up with a bored expression. He suspects this would put him in the running as ‘the worst best man in history’. Iskander did not even need to read what was written on it, he still knew it by heart.

Dear Lady Victoria Langdon
I am a man of little creativity who enjoys appearing otherwise, so I offered prince Iskander Azani a great amount of money to pen this letter for me. I wish to take advantage of your rank to improve my family’s position, yet I have nothing of substance to offer you. I am self centered, selfish, manipulative, a bigot and like most Olanian men, I am clueless regarding the physical pleasures of a woman. I am however, quite wealthy and have enough funds for your family debt to be absolved. I would like to court you and ask that when we meet for this ruse of a romance, we act as if we are couples in love. I have no issues with you taking lovers on the side for that too is something I am willing to do.
I hope that we can meet soon, at your leisure, of course.
Respectfully yours
Walter Holmes

“I do not see what is wrong with this” Iskander shrugged, the beginning of a smile crossing his lips. “You ask for a wife of royal rank, I obtained one for you.”

“You called me your friend!” Walter screamed again. “How could you say this of me?!”
“I call my gardener’s dog my friend” Iskander replied. Not a fair comparison, he was actually fond of the animal.

Walter would have struck the younger man then and there if Iskander’s skill in swordsmanship did not rival his penmanship, as it is, his life is miserable enough without having to lose his hand.

“You made the match despite knowing that she only wanted to use me?”
“I did”

“And that she was going to..to cuckold me with a lover who she meets in secret each week?”

“Yes”

And who could that young man be, I wonder, Iskander thought sarcastically.

“You would doom me to a marriage in which my spouse does not love or respect me?”
At this, the prince started laughing. How can Walter not see the irony?
“Why would you do this, Iskander?!” Walter screamed as the servants of the club started restraining him, pulling him out of the room.

“Because, my friend” he grinned happily “You deserve one another”

Ephemeral_One
May 23rd, 2015, 07:28 PM
Gods above it's been a while since I've had an interesting romance to read about! I'm sure you'll find plenty of people better suited to touching on grammar but it ready fluidly enough to me but that probably just shows my own lack of skill in that department. Still, this is witty and a classic sort of plot. Just out of curiosity, how would you go about expanding on this? Follow Iskander as he watches the marriage 'bloom' and take its winding path? Or, focus on this bard's own experiences? Still, this was a solid start though I'd say you couldn't hurt to put in a bit more detail on location and description. That aside, it's good to me.

JoeyMay
May 23rd, 2015, 07:39 PM
This isn't my kind of thing at all if I'm honest, but that's more down to personal preference than anything else. I thought the plot was enjoyable, with somewhere to go and it flowed very nicely. You had a few grammatical errors in there (hey, who doesn't?) but they are completely fixable in another draft.

The grappling minstrel
May 24th, 2015, 12:59 AM
Thank you for the input. I really appreciate them :D

Ephemeral one: This is actually just a series of flash fiction to get a feel for the character. They will focus on Iskander's life in Olan (Though there might be some recurring characters). The actual novel will take place all across the continent.

JoeyMay: Might I ask you what you were refering to when you said this isn't your kind of thing? Is it the genre, or the writing style?

I was worried on whether or not the protagonist would be likeable enough, some of my initial readers said he was 'annoying' due to his smugness.

JoeyMay
May 24th, 2015, 08:42 AM
Oh, it's the genre.
the writing is nicely done.

ismith
May 27th, 2015, 11:55 PM
Here is a short story that I will hopefully develop into something bigger. It is based on a character from a roleplaying campaign I had with my friend, set in a victorian era equivalent fantasy world. Olan is equivalent to england and Su is a desert kingdom in the far east.

--------------

“Allow me to confirm your request, my friend” Prince Iskander said with a frown. He hated frowning, it wrinkles his forehead and there Is simply no way to look appealing while doing so, but the man was asking for something truly absurd. “You are asking me to not only write a love letter on your behalf, you wish for me to deliver it?”

The man standing before Iskander’s chair was Walter Holmes, Son of a wealthy Gentile family with considerable wealth. Iskander met him quite some time ago, back when he was simply a young boy in a foreign land, trying to make sense of Olanian culture and society.

“Yes, your eminence, that is my request”
“Did you not refer to me using a much less flattering title last we met?”

Walter flushed. He had hoped Iskander would not remember that one incidence where he uttered a racial slur at the Su royalty. “Let us not dwell on past mistakes, my prince” he said, head lowered apologetically. “Your skills in poetry has been well documented and I believe only you can help me in this endeavor”

His prince? Iskander thought, shaking his head in distaste. He is neither a prince of Olan, nor is he a prince that belongs to him. It doesn’t help that the term reminded him of another person, one who he frequently writes love letters to.

“Tell me about the woman” Iskander said as he leaned back onto his comfortable leather chair, more out of curiosity than anything. He still was not convinced he should help this man, but he prefered to hear him out than reject him outright. Already, he had prepared multiple excuses to refuse this request in the end, now he only needed to pick the best one to use depending on his story.

“It does not matter which one”

The frown returned to Iskander’s face. By the heavens, this man is truly bad for his skin.
“How can it not matter?” he asked, growing slightly impatient but maintaining enough social grace to not raise his voice.

“I merely want a young, (attractive? Or remove comma)member of the royal court to marry, so my family can advance in status”

It was a rather obvious ploy and Iskander’s closeness to the Royal court of Olan surely puts him in perfect position to play matchmaker.

“What If I pick someone who you do not consider attractive?”
“There are more than one way a married man can sate his desires, my prince, if you catch my meaning”
He did. He would have found it distasteful if he himself had never indulged in scandalous relationships. As it was, he would be a hypocrite to decry Walter’s statement.

“And why should I help you?” Iskander asked, legs crossing together, chin leaning onto his steepled fingers.
“I would..compensate your skills and effort with great amount of money, Prince Iskander”
The prince’s gloved fingers tapped together rhythmically , his head nodding up and down. The bigger picture became clear to him now.

“My friend” he smiled at last “I am a prince of Bahrat-Su. Riches do not move me, but your plight does.”
Walter sighed in relief “So we have an understanding?”
The smile on Iskander’s scarred face grew wider “We have an understanding”

-xxxxxxxxxxxx-

The result of the love letter was almost instantaneous. A courtship process began and turned into an engagement within weeks, becoming the talk of the capital. A wedding followed, a grand affair which Iskander , as the best man, took as a chance to showcase his new suit, in fact, intimate friends of the prince suspected that he only agreed to play matchmaker so that he would be invited to a big wedding where he could display himself like the peacock he is.

It was no more than two weeks later that the newlywed Walter came barging into the gentlemen’s club once more, finding Iskander sitting in the very same chair they conceived the plan.

“How could you do this to me!?” He yelled, flustered, tossing a crumpled piece of paper down on the table. The prince before him looked up with a bored expression. He suspected this would put him in the running as ‘the worst best man in history’. Iskander did not even need to read what was written on it, he still knew it by heart.

Dear Lady Victoria Langdon
I am a man of little creativity who enjoys appearing otherwise, so I offered prince Iskander Azani a great amount of money to pen this letter for me. I wish to take advantage of your rank to improve my family’s position, yet I have nothing of substance to offer you. I am self centered, selfish, manipulative, a bigot and like most Olanian men, I am clueless regarding the physical pleasures of a woman. I am however, quite wealthy and have enough funds for your family debt to be absolved. I would like to court you and ask that when we meet for this ruse of a romance, we act as if we are couples in love. I have no issues with you taking lovers on the side for that too is something I am willing to do.
I hope that we can meet soon, at your leisure, of course.
Respectfully yours
Walter Holmes

“I do not see what is wrong with this” Iskander shrugged, the beginning of a smile crossing his lips. “You ask(ed?) for a wife of royal rank, I obtained one for you.”

“You called me your friend!” Walter screamed again. “How could you say this of me?!”
“I call my gardener’s dog my friend” Iskander replied. Not a fair comparison, he was actually fond of the animal.

Walter would have struck the younger man then and there if Iskander’s skill in swordsmanship did not rival his penmanship, as it is, his life is miserable enough without having to lose his hand.

“You made the match despite knowing that she only wanted to use me?”
“I did”

“And that she was going to..to cuckold me with a lover who she meets in secret each week?”

“Yes”

And who could that young man be, I wonder, Iskander thought sarcastically.

“You would doom me to a marriage in which my spouse does not love or respect me?”
At this, the prince started laughing. How could Walter not see the irony?
“Why would you do this, Iskander?!” Walter screamed as the servants of the club started restraining him, pulling him out of the room.

“Because, my friend” he grinned happily “You deserve one another”

Here are my suggestions in bold. Mostly transitions between tense I believe. Also I am having a hard time visualizing the characters, would love a little more to help picture them. Would also like to know how the lady looks. Great story, looking forward to reading more!

The grappling minstrel
May 28th, 2015, 02:04 PM
Here are my suggestions in bold. Mostly transitions between tense I believe. Also I am having a hard time visualizing the characters, would love a little more to help picture them. Would also like to know how the lady looks. Great story, looking forward to reading more!

Thank you very much, those are very helpful. As you might figure out, English isn't my native language. The visual description is something I just now realize I need to touch upon more (Just because they are clear in my head, it doesn't mean they are in the reader's )I'll adjust it add things.

Also, I have a second part of this, should I just add it to the first part? Or do I post it somewhere else? (Victoria makes an appearance in the second one too)

ismith
May 28th, 2015, 04:17 PM
The thought that English isn't your native language never crossed my mind. I would start a fresh post for the second part.