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Oliver D. Bernuetz's Stories

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Yelm Steps Out

(The scene is the Imperial barge afloat on the River Styx. The barge nears the Gates of the Dawn and there is a sudden bustle of servants. A gangplank is lowered and a young maiden aglow with a radiant aura of pastel light skips down the gangplank and over to a set of huge gates. Dimly seen, shadowy figures strain to open the Gates revealing a Crystal Bridge arching up and into the distance. Once the Gates are open, Dawn skips over to set foot on the Crystal Bridge and turns to look expectantly to the barge.

The scene shifts to a cramped but luxurious bedchamber within the barge. The chamber is awash with a bright light that would be unbearable to a mortal eye. A well dressed and efficient looking servant approaches the bed. He sighs looking down at a snoring mass on the bed, braces himself to start it all yet again and speaks).

"My Emperor, the barge nears the Gates of the Dawn time to awake." said the aide gently touching Yelm's shoulder in the prescribed manner.
Yelm groans and rolls over.
"Just a few more minutes," He begs.
"Sorry your Imperial Majesty but Dawn has already set foot on the Crystal Bridge and She is ready and raring to go."
"Where does that little chit get her energy from? And stop calling us your Imperial Majesty. We are heartily sick of all the fawning that goes on in this damn barge. Sire will do."
"Yes your Imperial Majesty."
Yelm sighs. "Well frankly we do not care whether there is ever another day or not."
(Yelm's aide-de-camp does not even blink at this blasphemy as he has heard it all before).
"We are tired. It is so damnably boring crossing over that damn bridge every day, going to bed on this cramped, damp barge and then having to do it all over again! Each and every blessed day!"
"Here, Your Imperial Majesty, I'll help you with your underclothes. You know of course sir that there would not even be a day where you to stay here."
"Well We do not care any more. We are truly sick and tired of it all. We are so heartily sick of it all. Damn that sword wielding blowhard Orlanth for performing that thrice damned Lightbringers Quest. Didn't he realize We were perfectly happy in Hell? It was so quiet and peaceful down there. Nobody bothering Us with endless petitions and supplications. We could wear whatever We wanted, do whatever We wanted and let ourselves get fat if We wanted. But no, that woad wearing, bagpipe playing oaf and his oafish friends just had to save Us! Frankly We do not care to start another day."
"But Your Imperial Majesty you must put in an appearance for the troops. You know, show the flag and all."
"Yes, yes I know all that. Some days We wish Chaos would swallow everything up and end it all."
A sudden silence tells Yelm that perhaps this blasphemy has gone too far. He sits straight up, swings His legs out of bed and reaches for His underclothes.
"Here give Us those. You would think that We would be able to put Our own underclothes on would you not?"
"Yes, Your Imperial Majesty."
There is a pause as Yelm turns the underclothes around and around.
"The tag goes in the back, Your Imperial Majesty."
"Oh yes, of course."
Yelm fumbles with His clothes some more.
"Oh here, you do it," He says thrusting the underclothes into His aide's hands.
He stands and submits quietly to getting dressed.
"There you go Your Imperial Majesty, all done and don't you look nice?"
"We always look nice," grumbles Yelm. He admires His reflection in the mirror, turns smartly reaches for the door knob and says, "Let's get this show on the road shall we. Sound the trumpets, beat the drums. Yelm is stepping out." ("Again," He mumbles under His breath).

The aide opens the door rushes out and starts giving orders. Yelm sighs, straightens His shoulders and steps through the door. He goes down the gangplank and walks over to the Crystal Bridge. By this time Dawn is skipping up the bridge heralding Yelm's coming. The procession is lined up waiting on His pleasure. Yelm nods to the Empress Dendara and takes His place at the head of the procession right behind the musicians. Yelm waits for the trumpeters and drummers to precede Him and then steps onto the Bridge.

I wonder if Xentha has to put up with all this nonsense when She crosses the bridge, He thinks to Himself as He sets off up the Bridge.


Last updated October 07, 2016

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