Meet Teodor of Freyne
Galactic Empire of Guy Erma
|HIS DESTINY IS TO BE THE NEXT EMPEROR OF FREYNE|
Chapter 1. The King of Freyne 2
All of a sudden, the prince was afraid. Once again the nightmare flashed before his eyes. It had been cold. It had been dark. He had been alone and afraid. It had all felt so real. Why? He gripped hard onto the metal rail, so hard his knuckles shone white through his skin.
“I don’t want to go!”
Nobody heard him. Prince Teodor of Freyne was standing on a small balcony jutting out over the river, looking across to his capital city.
“I do not want to go.”
Across the river, amidst the shambolic industry of Domeside, the Dome dipped one rim into the Brant, then rose above the irregular roofs to its capped peak. The Freyne Dome was a geodesic dome made up of identical industrial glass triangles arranged into vast flower-like hexagons. From where he stood, Teodor could easily count the panes facing towards him. But, as always, his eyes were drawn to the cap of the Dome, a ring of rectangular windows topped with a flat roof. The Dome appeared to wear a hat, hence ‘capped Dome’.
Teodor thought the nickname in no way captured its vast size. The oldest district of the city fitted inside it. The ancient cathedral, the historic rampart and a maze of old streets, all were inside. Some buildings had, by necessity, been demolished, and in their place had appeared layered skyscraper complexes: sports stadiums, hotels, casinos, gymnasiums, entertainment venues and a space shuttle port. Hidden behind all of these bright lights were the facilities to train and house up to ten thousand Dome Elite soldiers. All encased in the weather-controlled Dome to enable round-the-clock sports and entertainment. It was said that you could set your communicator by the rainfall within the Freyne capped Dome.
Teodor did not remember the grand opening but he had seen the recording. Just four years old, he had worn his uniform of prince of empire alongside his father, King Serge of Freyne. The first thousand Dome Elite had marched out and his father had whispered:
“Salute them Teo, you must salute them!”
How many times had the news channels shown the footage? Every time, Teodor winced to see how, aged four, he had screwed up his face and pulled himself up to his short, podgy height. Clumsily he had aligned his plump fingers to the brim of his cap. When his father saluted, the soldiers had responded as one, fists crossing their bodies to tap their hearts.
“Loyal to Empire,” they had cried. “Fear only God.”
The sight and sound of it had been too much for his four-year-old self. Unexpectedly, he had fallen onto his backside. And, to Teodor’s eternal shame, instead of letting him jump back to his feet, his father had bent down, laughing, to pick him up and hoist him up onto his shoulder. The Dome Elite had cheered.
“Forever Prince Teodor! Forever King Serge!”
Only, his father hadn’t… hadn’t lived forever… Just seven years later he had been murdered. Two years, one month, twelve days and, Teodor sighed as he made the calculation, twenty hours ago the King had died. The Dome Elite should have protected their King that day. They should have, but they had failed. Now Teo was alone, and last night in his dream, he had been very afraid.
“I am their future King.” Teodor set his shoulders square. “I am not afraid of nightmares.”
His communicator buzzed him a reminder. He took one last look and turned back towards the goran stables. An outbuilding at the bottom of the Royal Gardens, the stables housed twelve to twenty gorans with apartments, offices and storerooms for their handlers, jockeys, equipment and food. Teodor knew the stables looked like a palace to most people, but he was not most people. He winced. He made his way through the giant arch into the courtyard where Prime Minister Patrick McGuire waited for him.
“It’s Princess Simonelle Valvanchi. I think you know who she is, my prince,” he added, a little anxiously.
“Yes, the great-granddaughter of the great explorer Nikato Valvanchi.”
Teodor had not been able to refuse this meeting. In any case, he wanted to meet Simonelle. She was Zaracan and the aliens were pure telepaths. He wanted to feel for himself what telepathy meant. He also hoped that she might be friendly and maybe reveal herself; for the Zaracans were also shape-shifters. The girl’s appearance today was unlikely to be her true self. Now he spoke quickly to reassure his minister that he was ready for this meeting, briefly clicking on his communicator where the outline of a family tree appeared on screen.
Patrick McGuire glanced at it and nodded:
“Her grandfather did not discover the thirteen, but he proved the historical connection. He proved that the thirteen planets of the Freyne Empire had once been one vast human civilisation, about four thousand years ago. He made the discovery when we were still thirteen separate underdeveloped planets with no interplanetary travel, no space colonies, no asteroid wealth.”
“That was a hundred years ago,” Teodor said. Then, as if reciting a lesson, he added, “The turning point was when Nikato Valvanchi helped us build our first shuttle,” Teodor added earnestly: “Nowadays, my uncle the Emperor says our empire is as great as it ever was.”
Without thinking, Teodor put special emphasis on the words my uncle the Emperor. He did not mean to, but he still did it. The fact was that since Prince Erederon had died, and his father, the King, had been murdered, Teodor was the only surviving heir to the empire. One day soon Teodor would be King, and after that he would also be Emperor; Emperor of all Freyne.
“Yes my prince,” his prime minister replied and continued: “I am sure the Emperor is right. The point is, my prince, the Zaracan Democratic Union is one of the great powers of the United Races. The Valvanchi is one of their most powerful families. Don’t be fooled by their democratic credentials! This girl is one of their highest born princesses. I expect you to treat her as such.”
“She’s thirteen just like me, no?”
“Yes, thirteen. And remember the Zaracans are shape-shifters. They choose their appearance to please people.”
“Yes, yes, I know.” Teodor did not hide his impatience. Why should he? Was he not tutored in these things?
“Sometimes they want to please just one person.” The man nodded ahead of them. The girl waiting outside his office was slim, blonde and slight. As Teodor looked it dawned on him that her long hair was as straw-like and untidy as Lucy’s.
So, Teodor thought and scowled, she had read the gossip about him and the stable girl. The politician was still watching him closely, so Teodor quickly rearranged his features to a bland, indifferent look. The man smiled.
“Good luck, my prince. Be careful.”
Images of Teodor
|Teodor of Freyne||Goran||Gorna Rider|