Swans Over the Moon

Forrest Aguirre

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2012 Forrest Aguirre

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Chapter 1

The Judicar stood in the middle of his chamber, chin up, his thick arms extending straight out from the velvet robes that draped his substantial frame. He waited patiently as his two-headed servant lowered a breastplate over his head. The chromium-embossed scene of two majestic swans entwined in mid-flight combat over the cratered surface of the moon passed beneath his bearded chin to rest on his broad chest.

The servant next dressed his master's legs and solidly-grounded feet in greaves and sabaton. The ruler looked down with limpid blue eyes to the engravings etched into his armor. His irises reflected scintillating scenes as detailed as those painted on the three walls of the chamber in which he stood. Baroque scenes of conquest, ritual, and monumental architecture – built in celebration of the kingdom's glorious history and accomplishment – flowed from one wall to another, save on the side of the room to the nobleman's back. Behind him stood four immense white marble pillars, behind which a complex series of marble-floored hallways and doorways sprawled. Pygmies with eyelids sewn shut (lest their unworthy sight bear witness to the glory of the Judicar, whose palace this was), ran to and fro through the maze of rooms and halls, fulfilling errands and orders with pattering feet through a percussion ensemble of opening and slamming doors. All seemed in a rush, an emergency, bodies frantic at the behest of the royal bureaucracy. Occasionally, one of the slaves would crawl into the chamber on his knees, offering up another piece of the exquisitely-worked armor to the Judicar's two-headed servant, then, with bowed head, the dwarf would slide back on his knees to exit the chamber.

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