Tales of Forloa: Accursed relations
The very nature of humankind is to conflict upon one another, be it over ideology, resources or which side has the most despotically power hungry leader. With each street brawl, assassination and war, humanity is proved over and over as an aggressive force to any who oppose them. Alliances are only formed when such violence would only end badly. And when you have a string of alliances formed on the avoidance of violence, it can boil and bubble into a seething broth of hatred, waiting to tip up and scald whomever it washes into.
The land of Forloa, a bountiful land of grand grassy fields, deep woods, tall peaks of stone, crystal lakes, arid deserts and even whispering snow drifts, it was a land of variety and opportunity. In this land, there sat several kingdoms, all alike in dignities, led by royalty once decided by unseen hands of fate and now ruling over them all. Of all these kingdoms, the most prosperous of them all was the Kingdom of Daltiar. It was built around the fields of Forloa, right beside a thicket of woods, a town of stone, iron and modest tradespeople, where the town was peaceful and the rulers were benevolent. Their castle stood at the centre of Daltiar, grand and tall like a great strong giant watching over his people. King Johannes Dalthion, and his Queen, Lady Eltha Dalthion, ruled the kingdom. The king was a strong and courageous man who had fought many a battle, a man of dark beard and hair with the strongest emerald eyes, His queen was the dainty sort, blonde haired with an acute sense for kindness and justice, eyes a somewhat sweeter blue. They had ruled their land for 20 long years before their first child was born.
The young Prince Claude grew into a handsome fellow, inheriting both his mother’s blonde locks and his father’s piercing emerald eyes, along with a fairly handsome face. His hair was considerably short and somewhat curly, laid across the wreath crown upon his head, small and silver but noticeable enough to the naked eye. His usual attire consisted of a golden silk button up shirt with the buttons on the side. He also tended to sear a cape with fur at the shoulders whilst the rest was red velvet. His trousers were simple and black and he often wore sturdy boots. The prince was an active sort, trying to learn his parent’s ways at a young age and exploring his kingdom, even if it was with a platoon of guards. He took up training in sword fighting from the warriors at the castle and his own father and proved himself a quick and adept warrior. He would sometimes go exploring outside the castle walls with a few guards by his side, even going on hunting trips with his father.
By the time he reached the age of 20, the prince was well versed in the duties of his kingdom and could fend for himself. He was respectful of his parents and knew he would someday have to rule the kingdom. He was growing up to become the next, highly respected ruler of the kingdom. Unfortunately, 3 months after his 20th birthday, the prince’s known world was torn asunder and his spiral into the darkness of his heart began.
One of the neighbouring kingdoms to Daltiar was the kingdom of Goltak, a somewhat lesser kingdom in most regards, except for that of military force. The kingdom of Goltak was famous for having some of the most brutal and well trained soldiers in all of Forloa. Their men had pillaged small villages for their goods and many smaller villages and kingdoms feared them. Even Daltiar had yet to make a true move against them because of their military force. But after a number of sightings of their soldiers approaching the kingdom walls, the King had decided to make a peace treaty with Goltak to ensure no strife could come about between their kingdoms. When the Prince heard the news, he became worried.
“Father, are you not worried?” Claude protested the King once he heard the news of the treaty. “The soldiers of Galtak are such monsters, can they even agree to peace?” The Prince questioned, worry in his eyes. His father smiled and patted his son on the shoulder.
“My boy, I am worried. Was I not worried; I would not be going to Goltak at all. I worry they may move against our people and I wish to stop that before it happens.” His father explained. His mother also joined him.
“We won’t be gone long and we’ll have soldiers with us. Even Goltak’s men would think twice about doing something bad to us.” His mother’s voice was soft silk as she held the prince close. The Prince sighed into his mother’s bosom.
“ Please be careful… and come home.” Claude pleaded as his eyes met the queen’s. She stroked a hand through his hair reassuringly.
“Still my sweet child… “ His mother cooed. “Never fear my prince… and never forget that love you have for us. For your future kingdom.” She pecked a kiss onto her son’s cheek as they finally moved away from him.
“Do not worry, young master.” A voice from behind him assured as a fairly elderly gentleman stepped up to stand beside the prince. The Minister of the treasury had been behind the Dalthion family for their entire reign. He was a little sneaky but his intentions bore no clear ill will. He bore a white whispy beard and particularly thin set of fingers. “They will return safely and all shall be well.” He continued, patting the prince’s shoulder, she seemed unfazed.
The Prince folded his arms and watched his parents leave, the troop of guards escorting them to their carriage. He stood and watched them all the way to the kingdom’s limits and watched as their carriage sped away, guards on horseback accompanying them. He returned to his chambers and rested on his bed, staring upward as the ceiling, head wracked with concern for his family. His mother’s words rung over and over in his head as a sigh escaped his lips. For now, he’d simply have to hope for the best.
The next day, a soldier stumbled back to the gates of the kingdom of Daltiar, clutching at himself. His armour was dented and damaged, his helmet was gone, his shield was broken and his sword was coated in blood. He was panting heavily as he stumbled through the gates, the town guards quick to approach him.
“Take me… to… the Prince…” the guard coughed to them in a somewhat pleading voice. The guards agreed with a nod and took the injured soldier up toward the castle. The Prince was called down from his chambers as the injured soldier stood in his court, Claude looked visibly shocked when he spotted him. The Prince recognized him; this was one of the men whom had escorted his parents in their carriage. To see him return in such a state turned Claude’s blood to ice water as he rushed over to the man and shook him, fearing of the consequences.
“Soldier! What happened?!” He demanded, his voice shaking and his hands trembling. The soldier tilted his head upward slowly.
“Attacked… they ambushed us… out of nowhere…” He began, the words tumbling from his lips in broken utterances. “Killed the men… I survived… just…” The prince clasped his shoulders again and shook.
“What of my parents? What of the King and Queen?! Speak man, speak!” The Prince shouted, his voice rising in pitch, which only showed how scared he was to his men and the Minister, watching from the background.
“They… took them… heard a scream… then nothing… blood…” The soldier gasped. The Prince’s arms slowly fell to his sides and his head tilted down slightly. He felt something break deep within his moral fibre. With slow footsteps, he trailed from the room as his guards went to take the man to the local physician. The Minister tried to follow him but Claude snapped at him and shut the door to his chamber.
The Prince held his back to the door for a little while before he slowly sunk down to the floor, wrapping his arms around his knees and lowering his head down. He felt like he wanted to cry and scream in sorrow but the thought of his father and mother reminded him to remain strong in times like these. A single tear trickled down his face as he clutched himself tightly and remained there for a long time as his head pulsed like a beast were about to burst out of it. His hands slid through his blonde curls and he tugged on them a bit, brief thoughts of tearing them out by the root crossed his mind. His emerald eyes paled over slightly and lost some of their lustre, his lip quavered and he felt his body shake and shudder. He was a corked bottle of emotion waiting to burst open. But he just couldn’t do it. Something within him told him to hold all these feelings within… after all, with his parents passing on, it meant he was now ruler of the kingdom. The responsibilities and leadership of all the people of this kingdom and its forces, he now had to command. Father had raised him for this very day after all, but now that the time had arrived, he didn’t feel ready… it was too early. Before his time.
The sorrow inside of him was a deep well of water, undisturbed and still. But as his thoughts turned to his parents and their duties, going to Goltak to resolve a feud before it happened, only to be cut down by those monstrous warriors… the well of sorrow began to boil within him, bubbling into a cauldron of hate and rancour. They’d taken his parents from him. And now as acting Prince, he wouldn’t stand for it.
He emerged from his chamber a few minutes later and took a firm seat on his father’s throne. It felt hard, uncomfortable and blocky. But it’d do for this first address.
“Your highness?” Asked the Minister as he stood at his side.
“Fetch me the captain of the guards.” Claude demanded as he drummed his fingers on the arm of his throne. The Minister obliged and soon the captain stood before him, kitted out in armour with his stern face and ginger beard.
“You called for me, sire?” The captain asked, a quizzical look on his face.
“I did… what are the status of our soldiers right now?” Claude asked intrusively, keeping a stern look on his face to mask his inner turmoil.
“They are trained and strong, sire… why?” The captain responded, shifting his position slightly.
“Rally the troops and prepare my armour… we’re going on a conquest.” The prince continued, keeping his straight face well.
“Conquest? To where, sire?” The captain asked again. The Prince’s expression turned sour as his eyes flashed with a fire inside his soul.
“The kingdom of Goltak.”
Thunderous hoof beat echoed through the woods as the Prince and his army rode on toward their enemy. Once they left the woods, they raced across the grassy plains toward the kingdom of Goltak, the tall wooden wall of the city rising up ahead of them, the pale moon shining down upon the city, bathing it in its eerie white light, the cold winds of the night wrapping around the city. As the prince and the soldiers of Daltiar came close, they raised their torches, the wall looming over them. They began to circle the wall, putting their torches to the timber and setting it alight, the flames climbing up the old beams and lapping at the structure.
Claude’s men gathered at the gate and his archers took aim. The gate was a simple drawbridge hoisted up on two ropes on cranks. The arrows sailed through the air and struck the ropes a number of times, eventually causing them to snap and the drawbridge slammed down.
“Ride on men! No mercy!” shouted the captain of the guard as he led the soldiers into the kingdom, the prince at his side. The peasants were unprepared for such an attack and many fled in fear as the soldiers began burning the houses, striking the guards and destroying whatever got in their way. There was no quarter given with this battle, they were there to wipe this kingdom off the map.
The Prince the captain led a battalion to the castle. The Prince himself was intent on avenging his parents by killing those who gave the order for their deaths. Once inside, they encountered the warriors of Goltak, not simple guards who could be defeated with relative ease. They were rushed by a collection of men in armour and with his men at his side; the Prince did battle with them. They were cut down one by one with Claude disarming them with his blade and striking at their necks where there was a slight opening in their armour. As the armoured bodies hit the floor with heavy thunks, the captain and the Prince led their men further into the castle. They ascended the stairs, taking down more Goltak barbarians as they went. Soon they came upon the King’s court and broke the door open, the prince and the captain strode in. The King sat upon a heavy iron throne, a notably large man with a gruff face cut right out of stone.
“Who dares enter my court?! Impudent fools!” He shouted at them from across the room. The Prince’s gaze tightened on him.
“You had my parents murdered.” The Prince spat as rage continued building up in him as he gritted his teeth. “And your kingdom will burn for it.”
“Insolence!” Shouted the King, drawing an axe from behind his throne and rushing at the pair. The captain and Prince dashed to either side to avoid the blade coming down and both struck quickly and decisively as the captain struck the King in the chest and the Prince got him in the neck. Like Goliath, he fell and spluttered as blood stained the floor beneath him. The Prince withdrew his blade and wiped it clean… he felt his rage subside slightly. Watching the King die before him gave him a certain sense of satisfaction but as he saw a door open beside the throne, he knew his work was not quite done yet.
“Garras!” Cried the woman who entered the room, wearing a black sorceress robe. The prince was on her in a second, approaching and holding his sword ready. The woman looked ready to scream at him as she backed away from him, a sceptre in one hand. When the Prince was close enough, the sorceress pointed her staff at him. “For your crimes and murderous actions, I curse you Claude Dalthion! With this curse, you will spend your days forever lost without any sense of love! You will roam forever, an-“ she didn’t finish her sentence as the Prince swiftly slashed her neck open as she fell down, blood washing across the stones of the castle. The Prince replaced his sword and looked down upon her. He didn’t feel any different and he certainly wasn’t feeling any adverse effects. He shrugged and returned to the captain.
“Your orders, sire?” The captain asked him, standing to attention.
“…burn it. Burn it to the ground.” The Prince demanded sharply as he strode from the room, his thirst for blood now drained, never looking back.
The news of the fall of Goltak spread across the land of Forloa quickly. The people trembled at the word of prince’s brutality in the utter destruction of an enemy kingdom. The kingdom once known as a beacon for charity and kindness now looked far more like a dangerous enemy to cower before. And as the Prince sat upon his throne, he pondered on his actions. Destroying Goltak was a move he had made in anger, but it was anger justified with the unjust death of his parents. They were not at war or in opposition to Goltak, they were simply neighbouring kingdoms. It was the right decision to make… but what example would it set for the future of his rule.
“Sire, are you troubled?” The Minister of the treasury asked, standing to the left of his throne. His new position as the Prince’s right hand man had certainly made him snooty lately.
“No, I am fine.” The Prince assured him, swiping a hand over his brow.
“So you should be, highness. A King in charge of such a kingdom is indeed, a happy man.” The Duke of Wrothguard mentioned. The smaller kingdom of Wrothguard had been established long after Daltiar, now having taken in people from the destroyed Goltak, had come to power in a big way. The duke had a long face with a patchy beard and a bald head, which he kept covered with his leather cap.
“I told you not to call me that!” The Prince snapped at him as the Duke recoiled.
Baron Sylvestry of the trade routes flashed a sneer at the Duke and crept into the Prince’s view with an honest smile, as honest as a man swinging in a noose.
“Foolish indeed. Our Prince is too young to be called a King yet.” The Duke suckered up to him, but it only served to irritate Claude further.
“You’re all fools…” He sighed and rose from his throne, leaving the chamber and returning to his chambers. His mind was still fraught with confusion over his own decision. It was an image he had created and would spread across the land of Forloa. He felt empty in the pit of his stomach as rancour ate at him… or was he just hungry, it was oddly hard to tell.
He felt his door creak open as a member of his servant staff came in. She was a young woman, probably only a little older than he was. Her hair was chestnut brown and her eyes were similar, a small smile on her face. She closed the door and curtsied slightly.
“Master Claude, I apologize for intruding, but the Minister asked I check on you to see if everything is ok.” She spoke somewhat timidly; addressing royalty was a fairly big deal if she was new.
“Yes I… I am…” The Prince suddenly felt his voice die in his throat. He wasn’t sure, but he suddenly felt strange. His throat felt dry and his mouth seemed to be watering slightly as he looked upon the girl in the room. That pit in his stomach seemed to yawn open even further and he felt it rumble and grumble, aching in hunger pangs. His hands instinctively moved to it as he doubled over, keeping his eyes on the girl as he groaned slightly. The girl looked at him, confused to his sudden actions.
“Master Claude? Do you feel unwell? Should I fetch the royal physician?” She asked quickly. But as the Prince licked his lips, staring over the servant girl, she began to feel nervous. Claude felt a surge of adrenaline pump through his veins, blood boiling all over his body, his rumbling stomach demanding to be fed like a hungry beast. And as far as the Prince could see, there was only one suitable meal in this room.
Unable to control himself, the Prince suddenly sprung off of his bed and onto the servant girl, his jaw opening frighteningly wide and latching onto the girl’s brown haired head. Before Claude even knew what he was doing, his throat began acting on its own, swallowing hard and tugging the now screaming girl into his gullet, head first into that long fleshy tunnel to the deep awaiting pit of his stomach. His hands moved to the girl’s frame as he held her arms to her sides, his tongue sliding over and tasting her face.
Claude’s taste buds were dancing in ecstasy. The girl tasted better than the most exotic spiced meats he had been fed by his parents during royal feasts, better than the sweetest pastries and confectionaries from the far off southern reaches, easier to swallow than the finest wines from polished golden goblets. There was something about this that felt so natural, like he had done this millions of times before and was so experienced at it. But as the girl’s torso entered his mouth and his tongue traced over her breasts and down her back, only causing her to wiggle and kick in extreme discomfort, he knew this was something new to him.
His growling belly accepted the girl he was sending down to it, like a gift of peace between him and his own tummy, swelling out and growing onto the floor, filling up quickly with the bulk of his meal. Her rear end vanishes between his lips, once again his tongue tracing those soft lumps of flesh, irresistibly tasty in every single area his tongue scanned. The urges in his body finally subsided once the long slender legs of the girl went sliding down his throat, after he removed her shoes. With one incredibly audible gulp, her wiggling toes slid down his throat, his throat ripping with delight as they forced her down fast, the adrenaline in his body circling around his now heavy and bloated stomach, making it feel incredibly warm and sensitive. Panting and puffing, Claude leant back against the wall, his stomach sagging between his legs as he tried to relax.
His brain tried to process the situation that had just occurred to him as the urges wore off and were replaced with an intense sensation of pleasure and satisfaction, something beyond anything he’d ever felt in his life. He was still panting, licking his lips as he could still taste that wonderful meal on his lips, lost in the sensation of that sweet flavour the servant girl had. Slowly his hands went to inspect that huge swollen tummy he now sported, stroking across the sides of it, pushing into it slightly. From within, he could feel the form and presence of the servant girl moving around, kicking and punching the walls with some strong gusto as she cried and screamed for help. But the Prince was deaf to her pleas; he was still trying to think about what he’d just done. His bran finally managed to et the events in a sequence he could read. He’d felt hungry, that girl had come in and he’d devoured her, swallowed her whole.
That last part didn’t sound right in his head. Swallowing someone… what nonsense. Such a thing wasn’t possible. Right? That couldn’t be right. But as he tested his belly, hefting it up with his hands, there was a definite weight in there; there was movement and noise. It couldn’t just be some random bloating he was experiencing. Could it be the work of magic? No, no mage could get into his room without noticing… but how could he have done it? It wasn’t physically possible to swallow someone whole, was it?
And yet he’d done it. He hefted himself onto the bed and felt a rush of gas in his throat as he let out a loud and hefty belch, his engorged and large belly shaking at the mere action of the belch. While his mind screamed at him how terrible it was that he’d swallowed someone whole, a servant of his very own at that… but yet, the intense feeling of satisfaction in his belly, rubbing it on either side only making him moan slightly at just how hot and sensitive it felt. He let his hands do their work across his belly, tongue hanging out of his mouth to one side, letting his eyes close as he drifted into a slumber.
While his mind gave no thought to the events now, this day would prove to be Claude’s true start of darkness as he had yet to truly think about his new situation and if that curse had actually affected him.