Author Topic: "To Die at Dawn" (KQ Fanfic)  (Read 3960 times)

Offline Allronix

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"To Die at Dawn" (KQ Fanfic)
« on: July 22, 2010, 02:31:55 PM »
To Die at Dawn

By Allronix

Rating: G

Universe: King's Quest Takes place during KQ4

Characters in this series are the property of Sierra On-line and Mrs. Roberta Williams. I hope she takes no offense.

I cross-posted this to the old Sierra Planet site and to Fanfiction.net. (Why isn't there a KQ section there...?)





"The King will see you now."

The words made the young man's knees turn to water. Gods, those six words filled him with more emotions than he could name. It was frightening enough to have such a reversal of fortune. Not more than a fortnight before, he had been Gwydion, a slave doomed to be sacrificed this dawn - the dawn of his eighteenth year.

He found out the details of the dreadful ritual that stopped Mannanan's aging. It was on a back page of the tome that Mannanan kept in his lab.  It was crafted from arcane roots and powders, scale of dragon, philosopher's stone, and the main ingredient was the lifeblood of a boy at the dawn of manhood. It explained why Mannanan had boasted of so many serving boys never reaching their eighteenth year. Of course, learning of the fate in store for him had led him to practice his book-learned, untested magic in a desperate bid to escape.

The fact that it worked had been only the beginning of the shocking things he would learn and the beginning of a long and surreal journey that had ended with him rescuing a sister he had never before met, and coming to Daventry castle - revealed as their lost prince! Even the name they called him now - Alexander - felt alien and unfit for him. He had only known the name and life of a slave. He half-expected it to be a extraordinarily vivid dream. Any second now, it seemed, he would wake to the bite of a lash, tied to the cross-shaped whipping post in Mannanan's garden, dying slowly as to give that dreaded wizard more years of life.

He felt a hand on his shoulder, and turned around. Queen Valanice looked on him with great concern.

"Please, Alexander. Please go to him. He needs you now."

She was as stately and beautiful as he had read of, and he had to admit that the resemblance was stunning. She looked tired and sad. Her noble husband lay dying in the next room, and Rosella was off on a quest that she may not return from.

Leaving a slave boy to rule…and ruin…this kingdom.

Alexander swallowed. "I should have been the one who left. Rosella needs to be here. I'm…I'm…"

"Our son," Valanice said firmly, putting her long hands on his shoulders. "And please believe me when I say that he needs you now."

It was all he could do to nod. "Yes, mil-…yes, mother."

Stepping past the royal physician, Alexander walked into the bedchamber.


****


King Graham could feel his life slip away from him, and stubbornly held on to what was left with all he had. Struggling to stay conscious, he had first asked to see Valanice. If death were to meet him, he would not go before sharing a last moment with his beloved wife.

When he asked about Rosella, Valanice answered that she was struggling to find a way to save his life, and couldn't tell him more.

That left one person to speak to alone. There was so little time left, and so many things to say. There was also a boon that only this young man could grant - a boon that Graham knew was fully within Alexander's right to refuse.

The door closed behind Alexander as he stepped into the room. Valanice had granted him time to wash up, and gave him a plain tunic and hose that Graham no longer wore. The resemblance had been noticeable before, but it was now stunning. Valanice's fair features and kind eyes, with the slim build he'd sported as a young knight before age and adventuring made him more broad in the shoulders and muscular. Graham noticed that Alexander had braided his long hair. He knew that in Llewdor that it was the mark of a servant or slave, even if it held no meaning in Daventry. It also, quite by accident, accentuated his resemblance to Rosella.

"You asked to see me," Alexander said.

He gestured to the chair beside his bed. "Please, Alexander, sit down. There's not much time."

Alexander quickly crossed the room, sitting in the chair. "Please, save your strength, m'lord -"

He still cannot believe. Graham realized. The thought filled him with sadness. Well, what else was to be expected? The past dawn, he hadn't expected to see Rosella again, and he believed Alexander dead.

"Alexander," he said, willing himself to sit up. "A few hours won't matter."

Alexander quickly placed pillows behind Graham's neck and shoulders for him to lean back on. "Once again, Fate proves how cruel she is," he said bitterly. "Only hours ago, I found you. Now -" He couldn't say anything more, his dark eyes closing and tears leaking from them.

Graham put his hand on his son's shoulder to comfort the lad. Under the tunic, he could feel scars - old and deep, no doubt from many beatings. They crisscrossed Alexander's back in an obscene pattern, and Graham could feel his weakened heart sink with shame and guilt. With a shudder, he leaned back on the pillows. He didn't care about the tears that were now on his cheeks.

"Oh, Gods," he breathed, unable to say more.

He hadn't cried for his son's disappearance before, but he had spent many nights holding Valanice as she spent herself with weeping, chiding herself for a moment's looking away. He had to hold it in his heart for so long - the guilt and pain. He had the kingdom to manage, and Rosella remained - the last hope of Daventry. It didn't mean that he ever forgot Alexander, only that he had to stay strong and lock it all away for the sake of his family and realm.

Now, his body shook, and he had to close his eyes tight to hold back the tears.

"Let it go. I'll tell no one."

Graham might have been humiliated under other circumstances. Now, it was just a relief, holding his son for the first time since his infancy, as tears flowed freely from both of them.

Summoning command of his voice again, Graham was able to whisper, "Alexander, can you forgive me?"

He could feel Alexander stiffen as the young man lay him back on the bed. "Forgive you?" Alexander said it as if he hadn't understood the words.

"I left you to the wolves," Graham said. "Did you know I spent three years searching for you, but gave up? I returned this kingdom's greatest treasures, and rescued your mother from the captivity of an evil sorceress…but you, Alexander…you were the quest I failed."

"From what I understand, you had no reason to believe I was alive," Alexander said gently. "For all you know, I fell into the lake as an infant and drowned."

"My crime is believing that," Graham said. "There was no sign either way - not even Merlin's mirror could tell me of your fate. If there was even the slightest chance -"

"And if you'd died in the attempt? There was more than my life at stake. Daventry needed you. Val-" he corrected himself. "Mother and Rosella needed you. What matters is that I'm here with you now."

"Alexander," Graham reminded him. "If I perish, and Rosella does not return, you know what that means…"

Alexander shuddered and hung his head.

"Your mother will help you. You needn't worry about that. If nothing else, your experience might aid you in understanding the less-fortunate, and that's a trait too many monarchs forget."

Alexander looked into the face of the man that should have been a stranger, but now found it impossible to regard him as such. An ancient proverb stated that the heart remembers what the mind forgets, and Alexander had never quite grasped its meaning until walking into this room.

For this kindness, and the kingdom, there was only one thing Alexander could offer.

"There might be a way to save you…it's dark sorcery, but it will work, and I know enough to cast it." He recited off the spell he had tried to escape from days earlier. "Philosopher's stone, dragon's scale…and the life's blood of a boy at the dawn of manhood."

"Alexander -"

"If it would save your life, I'll gladly trade my own."

Graham scowled. "There are things worse than death, too. If Death wants me, he'll have me. I don't fear him."

"I understand," Alexander said, adjusting the bedclothes and taking a cloth to dry the last of his father's tears. "Please rest, Father. All is forgiven."

"If I awake, you'll still be here, Alexander?"

"Yes."

"If I don't, then you know what to do."

"Yes."

Graham nodded again, pulling a cord from the inside of his shirt and taking it off, passing it to Alexander. "Before I forget, this is yours."

With that, Graham fell into what could have been his last sleep.

Alexander opened his hand to see what had been passed to him. On a leather cord was a signet ring. A lion and unicorn engraved into the gold setting, a sunny topaz in the center.

ALEXANDER, PRINCE OF DAVENTRY said its inscription.

Dawn was starting to break across the hills. Only an hour later, a great cheering was heard as a worn-looking Rosella - Valanice and the court physician at her heels - burst in the room with the magic fruit that restored Graham to health.

Yet, there had been a death in the room that night. Gwydion of Llewdor had indeed perished with the dawn of his eighteenth birthday.

And no one but Alexander of Daventry could mourn his passing.


Old Adventure Gamers never die - they've always saved first.

Offline tessspoon

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Re: "To Die at Dawn" (KQ Fanfic)
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2010, 03:37:04 PM »
I really like this. Has a grittiness and realism to it that matches my own view and fanfic and brings up theories I never thought of, like Manannan doing what he did to prolong his own life or Alexander having to rule if Graham had died.

Offline crayauchtin

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Re: "To Die at Dawn" (KQ Fanfic)
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2010, 12:13:40 PM »
I think my favorite part of this is that, even as terrible as life as Gwydion was, it shows that Alexander was still attached to it. And, I mean, obviously he would be! It's all he's ever known. I don't think we usually think about that.
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Offline tessspoon

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Re: "To Die at Dawn" (KQ Fanfic)
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2010, 01:15:24 PM »
Yep. And he does, according to the Companion anyway, sign himself as Alexander-Gwydion.

Offline GwydionAE

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Re: "To Die at Dawn" (KQ Fanfic)
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2010, 12:56:47 AM »
I'd never read the Companion, so it's interesting to me that it says that.  It's the sort of thing I vaguely wondered but never really thought about.

I really enjoyed reading this!  It's well written and addresses issues the games never did in a way that's believable.  I'd actually never read KQ fanfiction, and this makes me think that perhaps I should read more.
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Offline crayauchtin

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Re: "To Die at Dawn" (KQ Fanfic)
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2010, 09:36:07 AM »
I'd actually never read KQ fanfiction, and this makes me think that perhaps I should read more.
As with any fandom... it's not all this good. :P But, yeah, some of it is very high quality and should be read!
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Offline Allronix

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Re: "To Die at Dawn" (KQ Fanfic)
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2010, 11:16:15 AM »
I actually have not seen a lot of King's Quest fic, which is something of a shame. I dabble in fanfic for a lot of universes, though.
Old Adventure Gamers never die - they've always saved first.

Offline crayauchtin

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Re: "To Die at Dawn" (KQ Fanfic)
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2010, 12:10:33 PM »
There's a few King's Quest fanfictions linked to on the KQ Omnipedia (even this one is actually summarized with a link given to its location at fanfiction.net!) I suppose fanfiction.net would have the largest collection. Hopefully, once my high fantasy Wiki is more established, I'll be able to include a KQ fanfiction section as well.
(And hopefully some of that will be mine! If my life calms down some, I'll start writing out my ideas I've been having! :P)

I recall reading a rather terrible QfG/KQ crossover once.... I won't say more about it, but I don't remember where that was.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2010, 01:16:13 PM by crayauchtin »
"If your translation is correct, that was 'May a sleepy hippopotamus lie down on your house keys,' but you’re not sure. Unfortunately, your fluency in griffin-speak is too low."

We're roleplaying in the King's Quest world: come join in the fun!

Offline Allronix

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Re: "To Die at Dawn" (KQ Fanfic)
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2010, 12:57:37 PM »
Not mine. My crossover is with Space Quest. Takes place after SQ 6 and between KQ5 & KQ6.

Basic premise is that the planet Serenia (where the KQ adventures take place) and the planet of Xenon share a common origin in the Withdrawal and were connected by a pair of towers that served as an anchor and gateway between the worlds. The gate closed, and the cultures grew apart, each convinced the other was some fantastic legend. Now, Vohaul's re-discovered Serenia and wants to use it as a "test run" for Space Quest 12. This tips off the BCS to Xenon's existence - and they just want it destroyed.     

And in the middle of all this? Roger, Beatrice, Stellar, and Daventry's royal family.
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Offline writerlove

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Re: "To Die at Dawn" (KQ Fanfic)
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2010, 09:06:25 PM »
Wow Allronix! I really liked this. Your writing style flowed so easily and made for an enjoyable read. I'd like to read more of your work if you have any.
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