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LJ Idol Season 9 - Week 1

The Great Hall

The great hall of the castle was dark despite the candelabras and chandeliers burning.  It was always dark, even during the day when the sun was bright overhead.  There was something that permeated through the air of every room and every hallway and made it dark.  It wasn’t tangible or visible, it just was.

It was the first time Mara had been to the great hall.  Her father had sold her to the mage a fortnight ago.  Her mother had died in childbirth and the babe had died three days later.  In is grief, her father had no use for a young girl who could not tend the fields and would bring no dowry.

At the castle, she had been kept in a small room with nothing but a bed, a beeswax candle, and a privy.  The mage came in every morning with stale bread and cheese and a small flagon of wine.  He would hand her a sheaf of papers that contained drawings of various plants and mutter at her to study them.  In the evening, he would return, removing the items and testing her knowledge.

This morning a thin, skittish woman had given her a clean dress and cloak and helped her dress.  The mage brought her study materials, but no bread.  He told her to study and that she would dine in Jalon’s great hall that evening.  Mara tended to her studies, but soon found it difficult to concentrate as her hunger grew and her imagination took over.

Now, as she sat at the table next to the mage, she was famished.  The great hall was lined with tables placed end to end with benches on either side.  There was a dais at the front with three separated long tables.  A large, throne-like chair occupied a prominent place at the center table.  She knew Jalon was lord of this castle and that he was much feared.

The mages, as residents of the castle and advisors to their lord, had been seated first.  Their number occupied nearly a third of the first row of tables below the dais.  Mara’s position at the end afforded her a vantage point to observe the other groups as they arrived and took their places.  Difficult as it was to see, she could hear and often smell them as they entered.  She had never seen creatures the likes as some and the vast number of black knights sent a shiver of fear down her spine.  The cacophony that built as guests of the court were seated and food began to be served came to an immediate hush as Jalon appeared and took his seat.  The perpetual scowl on his face gave no clue as to his mood this night and whispers made their rounds.

“Ah, friends, guests, enemies mine, do not fret.  Tonight is a night to dine and dine only.  There will be no punishment on this night.  However, you take your lives in your own hands with this meal, as my kitchen staff has been replaced yet again,” Jalon greeted his guests, a wry smile stopping abruptly where a scar ran from his eye to his jaw.

The titters started gently from the tables on the dais and spread like a tidal wave through the tables on the floor, ending in large, sometimes strained guffaws as it reached the black knights.

Mara felt the sharp pain of an elbow in her side and turned toward her new master.

“Laugh!” he told her, urgently.

“But why?” she asked, confused.  There was nothing funny about this evening yet.

“He watches,” the mage whispered.  “He watches and waits.  If he notices and is displeased, there is naught I can do to save you.  Laugh!”

As if on cue, a nervous laugh bubbled up from Mara’s throat and she forced a smile to her lips.  She looked up at the dais and her eyes locked with two black, smoldering ones, cut by a scar.

Her appetite fled.

This is an entry for therealljidol Season 9, Week 1.  The prompt for this week was "Jayus" which is Indonesian slang for "a joke so unfunny you can't help but laugh". 

Comments

( 48 comments — Leave a comment )
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
kecharasmoon
Mar. 15th, 2014 10:55 pm (UTC)
Totally not where I expected you to go with this... but fascinating nonetheless.
tatdatcm
Mar. 17th, 2014 03:34 am (UTC)
Thank you.
x_disturbed_x
Mar. 15th, 2014 11:11 pm (UTC)
Seriously, I didn't expect the end either! :)
tatdatcm
Mar. 17th, 2014 03:35 am (UTC)
Thanks. :) I wanted that unexpected twist. I'm glad it seems to be working.
i_will_not_say
Mar. 15th, 2014 11:23 pm (UTC)
I liked this one!

Why do I have the feeling that Mara might be in trouble? :O
tatdatcm
Mar. 17th, 2014 03:35 am (UTC)
Well, he's noticed her and that can't be a good thing.
penpusher
Mar. 15th, 2014 11:29 pm (UTC)
We are amused.
tatdatcm
Mar. 17th, 2014 03:36 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)
kandigurl
Mar. 16th, 2014 02:32 am (UTC)
Interesting take on the topic!
tatdatcm
Mar. 17th, 2014 03:36 am (UTC)
Thank you. I was aiming for something "different".
kajel
Mar. 16th, 2014 03:03 am (UTC)
Oh, Mara is in so much trouble. Nicely done.
tatdatcm
Mar. 17th, 2014 03:36 am (UTC)
She could be. Thank you.
lauriempress
Mar. 16th, 2014 07:15 am (UTC)
Very good, Annie!
tatdatcm
Mar. 17th, 2014 03:37 am (UTC)
Thank you. Glad you liked it. :)
baxaphobia
Mar. 17th, 2014 12:48 am (UTC)
Oh a surprise ending!
tatdatcm
Mar. 17th, 2014 03:37 am (UTC)
I'm glad you were surprised.
witchwife
Mar. 18th, 2014 02:42 am (UTC)
Eek!

Interested to see if this story continues next week.
tatdatcm
Mar. 18th, 2014 03:30 am (UTC)
I'm not sure. It will depend on the prompts through the season. I've been exploring Jalon's character a bit though lately. He's the first villain I've ever really written. I first wrote him in Exhibit B. You can read that entry here if you'd like. :)
eternal_ot
Mar. 18th, 2014 09:08 am (UTC)
Nice story!..:)
tatdatcm
Mar. 19th, 2014 03:34 am (UTC)
Thank you.
cheshire23
Mar. 18th, 2014 11:00 am (UTC)
Ooh, creepy!
tatdatcm
Mar. 19th, 2014 03:34 am (UTC)
I'm glad you think so. :)
n3m3sis43
Mar. 18th, 2014 11:40 am (UTC)
This made me think of Game of Thrones, although that may be because I just plowed through all of those books within like two months. It also kind of made me want to write something from Jalon's POV, because he seems like a creepy bastard. XD
tatdatcm
Mar. 19th, 2014 03:37 am (UTC)
You know, Jalon is probably inspired by Game of Thrones, to an extent. I think I was reading them when I first wrote about him. Ironically, my first week post for Exhibit B was based around Jalon, and was is POV. He is creepy, and also the first real villainous character I've ever tried to write.
(no subject) - n3m3sis43 - Mar. 19th, 2014 09:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tatdatcm - Mar. 19th, 2014 07:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
veronica_rich
Mar. 18th, 2014 08:09 pm (UTC)
Sounds like the corporate Christmas party! Nicely done.
tatdatcm
Mar. 19th, 2014 03:37 am (UTC)
Haha! I like that. Thank you.
elledanger
Mar. 19th, 2014 12:02 am (UTC)
Oooh court intrigue!
tatdatcm
Mar. 19th, 2014 03:37 am (UTC)
Most definitely. :)
sweeny_todd
Mar. 19th, 2014 12:33 pm (UTC)
ooohhhh... totally interested in what the future has in store for Mara!
tatdatcm
Mar. 19th, 2014 07:43 pm (UTC)
I'm "wondering" too. ;) Thanks!
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( 48 comments — Leave a comment )

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