Я не знаю, насколько это подарок, я даже не знаю, что это вообще такое, но когда-то, помнится, тебе понравилось начало :)
Kingdom On the Seas
Summary: highly stylized fic about some snooker players as a heroes of some legend, which probably makes everyone and every event totally unrecognizable. Also a brief hint of O'Sullivan/Hendry if you find them in this text and look really hard.
Kingdom On the Seas
Under the high-vaulted ceiling the shadows lie, in a vast expanse of a Great Hall, where the columns are carved out of stone to the likeness of proud-standing trees, and the tapestries on the walls are splashes of colors, telling the stories of past and present. Here the light of pale northern sun is streaming through the stained glass of many windows, creating a colored patterns on the marble-laid floor.
In the black armchair in the corner he sits, facing the entrance, and the shadows hide him – or he himself hides in them. His pose is both careless and graceful, and though his eyes are closed – woe to those who think he doesn’t look.
Plain black suit with a splash of red – that is the clothes he wears.
- Strange choice of colors, Jester.
The man is standing in the center of the hall, silhouette outlined by the colored light, and intricately incrusted pillars frame him as if he was a painting himself.
He is dark – and has darkness around him. And though some say he is handsome, some wouldn’t know if he indeed is. Risen above looks and perceptions – he is what he is, greater than many, more fallible than most.
There are those who hate him – but they’ll have to be silent as long as he plays. Genius of the Kingdom, the one who is able to create the beauty that transcends everything – at his will, with the wave of his hand.
- You notice me now, my lord the Artist.
- I’ve stumbled over you, Jester. Was hard not to notice it.
There are many of them, in the Palace on this northern island, Lords of their Kingdom, no matter how small it is. They stand tall and proud, gracing their subjects with brilliance of their might. Young and old, loved and hated, they are always here. Crossing each other’s paths like in some ancient dance, over and over, time and again, bowing to each other and drifting apart again just to meet once more.
Old and young, waving their wands to create the magic that leaves millions enthralled and wondering how this perfection is even possible – and not even thinking about it, Young and old, they dance around the palace, as if caught by the routine that is too good to fight it.
But it is said by people that are considered wise that genius can’t handle routine, and maybe for once wise men are right.
- Entertain me, Jester.
- Oh my lord the Artist, I’m always ready to serve.
Golden shields are glistening above the entrance of a Great Hall. Silver plates with names of heroes past adorn the walls – there are many of them, so many, and the history keeps being written even now, at this time.
- Should I tell you a story then, my lord the Artist?
His words echo around the Hall, fading somewhere above, and his face is hidden in the shadows, but the Jester always smiles.
- I should tell you a story about one of our heroes, should I not? This way it goes, and it’s a long, long way to go, I would say – once upon a time, in the ancient Kingdom surrounded by seas, lived a hero of my story. A hero he was, no doubt should be cast on it. He conquered many lands on his path to glory, and conquered them again if they became lost, because he was a hero indeed. And rewards he got for it were aplenty. Silver cups and crystal vases of incredible beauty were given to him, and also the love by many, for he was richly talented, and was quiet and mid-tempered, unlike most heroes are, and likeable also, so I say that love was given to him by many, and women that loved him were not few… But it’s a sad story, my lord, even though it starts off like a fairy-tale. For our hero lacked what most heroes have, and namely – bravery, the kind that all mortals need to stand up to adversary and be honest, keeping the head high. And also our hero loved money, which is not a sin that is to be condemned in anyone, would you kindly agree with what I say?
- You bore me, Jester.
- Which means you are boring yourself, doesn’t it?
And outside the Palace on the green baize the Game goes on – the most important thing in the life of a Kingdom. Like a dance on a well-trimmed grass, where the thunder is black, and the dawn is pink, and skies above are blue, and the woodwork shines brown, and green, so green is the grass, and yellow are the leaves that are falling.
And red is the blood across the expanse of green.
And the young Lord falls, like a beautiful silver tree struck down before its time, and silence descends. Even the waves splashing over the shores are silent, everything is quiet at once.
But the Game keeps going on. Slowly at first, quietly and in the same silence, and soon everyone returns to the dance. One more silver plate on the wall is all that is left – and everything is like nothing ever happened at all.
- Would you jest about it, Jester?
- My lord the Artist, our whole world is a one big jest.
A jest indeed, when a Legend of old returns in place of the youngsters, and the silence falls again for everyone is watching and everyone is holding their breath as he takes his last stand and fights, forgetting all the years past. The Legend recalled, a tapestry that came alive to move across the green fields with the grace of old, bringing his own magic into the dance.
He falls before the line, as everyone knew would happen, but it still feels like a victory – maybe the greatest victory of them all.
- What would you say now, my lord the Jester?
- You award me nobility as if you were a King.
And the answer is accompanied with the haughty smile:
- Am I not?
The King wears winter around him like a mantle. Cold like a snow on the mountaintops he is, beautiful like a snowfall, regal like icebergs in northern seas. In his silver crown seven gems shine brightly, symbol of seven conquests that earned him his fame.
In the palace courtyard, under the low winter sun, he nods to the Artist and smiles, greeting him like his equal. An honor not every noble-born can claim. But then – isn’t the genius much more than any nobility, no matter how old and long-standing?
- Strange way of thinking you have, Jester.
The clothes Master of Ceremonies wears are nothing if not colorful. Golden waistcoat and black bowtie, and a striped shirt in a wild mix of red, white and green. In this odd costume he walks around the hall, and his proud stature makes him stand out in any crowd.
- Aren’t you trying to steal my bread, wearing jester’s clothes? – Asks he, ignoring the words.
- This world is a sad place as it is, without us wearing black and white.
And the man shrugs, opening the window to let the wind into the Hall.
And soon the evening descends in all its glory, under the light of a thousand stars, and music fills the palace in celebration of another triumph of another hero. One more reason to rejoice and celebrate, for everyone and for all.
And the frost in King’s eyes melts for a moment, when in the Great Hall lit with thousands of candles his hand briefly touches the hand of the Artist.
Darkness and Winter – the perfect match indeed.
- I wonder if you’ve ever loved, Jester.
- Strange question, my lord the Artist… Indeed, I think I still do.