Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Prince Dorgan

Dorgon rode through the dark forest. His retainers spread out behind him. Then Death, clad all in white, appeared before him.

"What do you wish of me, O great spirit?" Dorgon asked. His horse continued to trot through the forest, but Death seemed to have no trouble keeping up.

"Your end approaches
Prince of the Kingdom.
Your spirit will pass
Your honor vanish
Achievements as naught
Spat on by your foes."

Dorgan recoiled. He stopped his horse, staring at Death. "O master of the beyond, is there any thing I may do to prevent this dread fate?" He bowed three times, rapidly.

"Your fate is not mine
Yama Kings hold it
I but watch and wait
And warn a Prince
Of what may well be."

Dorgan bowed again, eight times. "Thank you, O mightiest of finalities." He remounted his horse, checking the stirrups and carefully. He adjusted the wicker armor he wore, wishing he'd brought heavier; then he kicked his horse into motion. He would make a token kill, then return to the Palace.

Death remained at his side.

Then from the brush burst a great boar. Dorgan reached for the bow at his side; and then paused. Boars were tough, and this one looked tougher than most. Arrows would do nothing more than irritate it. Instead, he reached for his spear. Twice, he blew his horn. Once, he shouted: "A boar is found! Loyal retainers, aid your prince!" Then the boar charged, and Dorgan spurred his horse to meet it.

They collided with a crash. Dorgan was flung onto the ground. He turned, achingly, to see the boar snuffling. The spear had left a long, bleeding graze along the boar's back, but it had not killed it.

Dorgan thought that this was the death fated for him. Were he to defeat it, he told himself, then the indignities promised him would escape him. In the distance, he heard hoofbeats. His retainers were coming.

The boar charged again.

Dorgan drew his sword and threw himself to the side. He screamed as his leg was pierced by the boar's sharp tusks. Dragged along the ground as the boar slowed itself, Dorgan tried to slice at the boar. He missed once; his second stroke hit it cleanly, chopping through the the bone. The boar screamed shrilly and stopped, shaking its head.

Dorgan grunted as a wave of pain from his impaled leg hit him. Then he attacked again, chopping at the neck. He cared little for the trophy value of this boar. Slowly, the boar, bleeding from multiple wounds, ceased to struggle. Dorgan filled his lungs to cheer his victory over Death.

He noticed that Death, clad in wait, still hovered nearby.

An arrow from his retainers flew out of the trees and hit Dorgan in the throat.

Dorgan lay very still.

A retainer appeared from the forest. "Prince Dorgan! I came to aid you... oh. Oh no." He knelt down, removing the arrow from Dorgan's throat and planting it in the boar. Then, guiltily, he jerked the boar toward Dorgan, swiping its tusks across his throat."

More retainers arrived. "Our Prince had died! How did it happen?" "An accident?" "He had no heir!" "Prince Zheng will move soon." "Who will succeed him?"

Death took its due.


Desmond said...


King Kessler said...

That's what he gets for being Prince Dorgan!