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Betrayal

His black hair fell into his eyes for the umpteenth time that morning and he brushed it away without a conscious thought.  This was punishment, not work intended for someone of his station.  He paused, using the muck rake as a rest, and thought about what had got him in this position.  It really wasn’t fair, and it really wasn’t his fault, he thought.  Of course, his Master, Xenocrates, thought differently or he wouldn’t be here, dealing with the stench and foulness of the stable.

It was just another mess that Gandalor was responsible for.  After all, it was Gandalor’s idea to open the forbidden tome containing the spells they had not learned yet.  Ellisandria and Gertha only egged them on.  The four had been training and honing their magick under Xenocrates for the past five years.  Gaining the power they had, they thought it would not be so horrible to have a look at the book.  It didn’t matter anyway.  None of them could read the ancient language on the pages and the sparse illustrations were of grotesque creatures and horrific scenes.  Absorbed in one of the scenes, Jalon’s hands happened to be on the book when the door of the room slammed open and Xenocrates stormed in.  The four students were reprimanded and their punishments set, the girls in the kitchens for three days, Jalon in the stables and Gandalor assisting in the armory.

To make matters worse, Jalon had noticed Gandalor and Gertha sneaking off with each other.  It wasn’t forbidden, but it wasn’t encouraged.  Besides, Jalon had eyes for Gertha and knew that Gandalor was doing it not only to annoy him, but just to let him know he could.  It was his not so subtle way of reminding Jalon that Gandalor was a prince with a kingdom to inherit, while Jalon was of humble birth and had nothing besides his skills.

And skills he had.  In droves.  Of the four, Jalon excelled at every lesson presented by Xenocrates.  He learned them faster, mimicked them quicker, and made them his own in a way Xenocrates had never seen in all his years as a Master Mage.  His biggest weaknesses were his own arrogance and his tendency to lean toward the darker magicks.

~~~~~

Some weeks after the punishment in the stable, Jalon and Gertha set up a meeting in the wood, teen lust getting the better of them.  Jalon day-dreamed of a kiss, perhaps more, and Gertha had news to share with him.  The night was clear and bright, the moon lighting a path to the ancient oak tree they were to meet each other at. 

As he waited in the small clearing near the tree, the night breeze blew gently through Jalon’s hair and he nervously pushed it back, out of his eyes.  Looking up, he saw Gertha move toward him around the tree trunk, one hand behind her.  Slowly, he made out the figure attached to her hand and jerked with embarrassed recognition as Gandalor came from behind Gertha.

“We’re to be married!” Gertha told him brightly.

“Aye?” Jalon nodded, dumbfounded.

“We wanted you and Ellisandria to be the first to know,” she continued.  “We’ve all been together so long and you are our best friends!”

“Aye,” Jalon repeated.

“Well man,” Gandalor slapped him on the back.  “What do you think?  Would you stand up for us?”

“Aye, I suppose,” Jalon shrugged.

“Ye’ll be an ‘unofficial’ uncle as well,” Gandalor smiled.  “The wedding will be soon.”

Jalon’s eyes grew wide then narrowed with fierce understanding.  All this time, he had thought Gertha was his, was interested in him, and they had duped him.  Cuckolded him.  How dare they?!

“You mean…” he sputtered.

“Why yes, man.  What did you think we were up to, sneaking off like we did?” Gandalor laughed.

Rage blinded Jalon.  He didn’t think, he didn’t look.  He swept his arm and Gandalor and Gertha went flying through the air.  He may have heard a thud and a groan and a sick cracking sound as his two friends landed, but it didn’t register and he didn’t care.  He ran.  He ran to the training room and bolted the door.  As slowly as he descended to the floor was as quickly as the darkness took over.  He didn’t know how long he laid there, his world destroyed by two of the few people he was supposed to trust most.  A plan started to form.  Without feeling, without thought, he grabbed the forbidden book of Magicks.  He placed it in a bag with the few possessions he had and headed to the dreaded stable.  Saddling a horse, he rode off into the early morning, marveling at the deep red color of the sky.

This is my entry for therealljidol Season 9, Week 23.  The prompt is "The Fiction of the Fix", which I twisted into "The Fiction of the Fixx".  I'm going back to my 80's roots here, which probably deserves some explanation.  The Fixx was (still is?) a band that had several hits during the 80's, of which were "One Thing Leads to Another", "Saved by Zero", and "Red Skies".  This entry is loosly inspired by those songs.  It's a bit of backstory for Jalon, who I've been writing about on and off this season, and was sparked by a comment by uncawes on last weeks entry, who I owe a big "Thank You" to for the idea of exploring his background.  It should stand alone.  I hope you like it, and if you do, you can vote for me. :)  I'll edit in a link when the time comes.  You can do that voting thing here.  In the meantime, please enjoy the other entries that can be found here.

Comments

( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
the_dark_snack
Oct. 2nd, 2014 02:51 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday!
tatdatcm
Oct. 2nd, 2014 05:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)
halfshellvenus
Oct. 3rd, 2014 06:26 am (UTC)
It's interesting seeing an earlier part of Jalon's life. I'd say we're looking at what changed him, but given his overreaction ('cuckholded' by a woman he was not truly dating), it seems he was already ruined.

Happy Birthday, BTW!
tatdatcm
Oct. 3rd, 2014 08:21 pm (UTC)
When I really started to think about it, I somehow knew that Jalon would have been a dark person to begin with. The type where nothing was ever his fault and his perceptions were just not what actually occurred or what everyone else perceived. I think this specific incident is just indicative of many others in his young life.

Thanks for the birthday wishes! :)
beeker121
Oct. 3rd, 2014 09:15 pm (UTC)
Jalon was never a nice person, was he?

I liked seeing this glimpse of his past.
tatdatcm
Oct. 4th, 2014 07:44 pm (UTC)
No, he wasn't, though at one point he did have friends and some normalcy.

mamas_minion
Oct. 4th, 2014 01:10 am (UTC)
So Jalon always leaned towards darker magic. This piece helps to explain a lot about his personality and character.
tatdatcm
Oct. 4th, 2014 07:45 pm (UTC)
Yes, he has. I think his mis-perceptions only made it worse for him as well.
karmasoup
Oct. 4th, 2014 02:51 am (UTC)
I'm guessing the sound of Gandalor and Gertha landing was the snapping of their necks, since I don't think we'd heard of them yet, but I was a bit surprised, and yet not, really, since it sort of makes sense from a storytelling angle, that Jalon and Ellisandria have a history going back so far, and were much closer at one point.
tatdatcm
Oct. 4th, 2014 07:48 pm (UTC)
Gandalor and Ellisandria ruled their kingdom together. Their daughter, Anya, was featured in an earlier installment. I don't think Gandalor has been mentioned this season except in passing.

I'll try to edit my tags in case you want to go back and look for them. :)
kajel
Oct. 4th, 2014 01:04 pm (UTC)
This explains some things. Nicely done.
tatdatcm
Oct. 4th, 2014 07:49 pm (UTC)
It was quite the exercise to look into back story and come up with something that fit. Thank you. :)
adoptedwriter
Oct. 4th, 2014 05:46 pm (UTC)
Good story! AW
tatdatcm
Oct. 4th, 2014 07:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
alycewilson
Oct. 5th, 2014 08:41 pm (UTC)
I did recognize Jalon's name and thought this must be a backstory for him. I even got the Fixx reference!
tatdatcm
Oct. 6th, 2014 10:06 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you recognized him. :) More importantly, I'm glad I'm not the only one who remembers The Fixx. :)

Thanks for reading.
roina_arwen
Oct. 5th, 2014 10:05 pm (UTC)
Poor Jalon! If only Gertha had wanted to be with him instead of Gandalor, perhaps he wouldn't have gotten quite as involved with the dark side of things...
tatdatcm
Oct. 6th, 2014 10:08 pm (UTC)
I don't think that would have made much of a difference to be honest. He would have found another reason to descend.
favoritebean
Oct. 6th, 2014 08:25 am (UTC)
Ugh, nothing like that of a scorned love. Poor Jalon. This back story was fantastic.
tatdatcm
Oct. 6th, 2014 10:08 pm (UTC)
Harshly scorned too. Although, in Gertha's defense, she had no idea and definitely did not return the amorous feelings.

Thank you. :)
favoritebean
Oct. 6th, 2014 10:10 pm (UTC)
I've definitely been in Gertha's shoes before. Nothing like announcing a marriage to destroy friendships.
n3m3sis43
Oct. 6th, 2014 11:48 am (UTC)
Oooh, backstory! bb!Jalon isn't much nicer than adult!Jalon, is he?

(but I did briefly find him sympathetic, so there's that)

Edited at 2014-10-06 11:49 am (UTC)
tatdatcm
Oct. 6th, 2014 10:10 pm (UTC)
No, no he's not much nicer. I think the darkness has always been there, but the combination of several factors actually pushed him over the edge to embracing it.

I was kind of going for a bit of sympathy, so I'm glad it sparked it for you briefly. :)
n3m3sis43
Oct. 6th, 2014 10:21 pm (UTC)
I think you're doing better than I am in that department. I struggle to make even my "good" characters sufficiently sympathetic. Unless you count the carnivorous plant, I guess. I told Alicia I'm going to write everything from the POV of that plant from now on. Everything. XD

And I think the darkness always being there to an extent is a good thing. Remember the movie where we see how whathisface becomes Darth Vader? He's, like, this confused kid and then all of a sudden he's all *scary music and freaky Darth Vader noises* Not right.
uncawes
Oct. 6th, 2014 06:10 pm (UTC)
So, this is how it all started for Jalon.
For the first time, I feel for him. He's a lot more real now.
Also, you're welcome. I'm loving the tale and looking forward to more
tatdatcm
Oct. 6th, 2014 10:12 pm (UTC)
I think this was just the "icing on the cake" or the "straw that broke the camel's back" so to speak. As I though more and more about his background, I realized that there were many incidents similar to this one. Ones where he perceived that he was wronged when the other parties had no idea or intention.

Thank you again for making me think. :)
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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