Yesterday at Noon
Sunshine poured into a wide room through the open silk curtains.. The room was furnished ornately, with antiques and heirlooms thousands of years old. Paintings depicting battle and war decorated the walls over detailed floral wallpaper. It was a room you would be afraid to cough in lest you break something. Only two occupied the lavish room, seated in the middle opposite eachother. Between them was a beautifully carved circular black walnut table with an equally beautiful chess set made of ivory and marble on top. The room was quiet besides the soft chirping of birds and the whistle of wind that could be heard through through the slightly ajar window.”Better make your move. I’m getting tired...”
The goddess broke the silence. With a snide smile she faked a yawn. ”You may as well give up already Castor. We’ll be here past dusk if you can’t pick up the pace.””Shut up, genius takes time.”
snapped Castor. A bead of sweat ran down the side of his forehead as his expression remained focused. Tension took the air as he reached his hand across the table, his long fingers plucked the bishop from its’ spot as he held it in the air before his gaze. His eyes narrowed as he inspected the piece. Oh...he finally makes his move?...an interesting choice…
The goddess looked at him with anticipation.
Another bead of sweat ran down Castor’s cheek as he stared at the piece then back to the table. What was his move? What could possibly have him contemplating so hard? What the fuck was this piece again?
The drop of sweat hit the floor as Castor definitively placed the bishop down in its’ new spot with a clack
. Miraculously, his move was still within the rules of chess. With a weak grin of forced confidence he looked up at the goddess “Heh, I bet you weren’t expecting that. It’s only a matter of time now before my victory is certain.”
He said as he wiped the sweat from his forehead.
The goddess sighed. She adjusted her glasses and brushed back a strand of her silky black hair from her face. “No Castor, I’m not quite sure what I was expecting to be honest.”
She reached her hand out. Her skin was porcelain and flawless, her fingers were delicate and her nails long and manicured. She picked up her rook with grace and placed it down with authority. clack
. She looked up at Castor with her coal black eyes and waited a dramatic moment. ”Checkmate.”
She creased her pink lips with a smile as Castor stared at the table dumbfoundedly. ”I-impossible”
sputtered Castor. Bellona stood up from the table and stretched her arms over her head. She picked up her coat and slung it over her shoulder as she turned to Castor, still seated, staring at the table in shock. ”Maybe next time you’ll pose an actual challenge.”
teased the goddess. With a flip of her hair over her other shoulder, she elegantly strode out the room in victory.
Defeated, Castor sulked at the table with his long arms crossed in front of his chest. ”If I had one more move I could’ve won…”
he muttered to himself. His sulking was interrupted as he heard a loud clunking from down the hall, a knock at the main entrance. He stood up and slapped his hands on each of his cheeks. Next time won’t be so easy
Morale recovered, he walked down the hall as his boots clicked against the stone floor, echoing through the empty hallway. The large oaken doors creaked as he pulled them open. Sunshine poured into the entrance hall and glistened off the decorative armor sets that lined the wall. As Castor’s eyes adjusted to the sunlight he found himself staring at the chin of a figure before him. He looked up and locked eyes with a woman with long braided blond hair. Her braid fell down to the middle of her back, decorated with golden clasps. She was pretty with ice-blue eyes and a heart-shaped face. Castor wasn’t used to looking up at people and couldn’t recall ever meeting a woman taller than him. ”Whaddya want.”
He said as he leaned against the door frame. Smooth.
The woman bowed as she held out an envelope with both hands. ”The one known as Castor Caraway has been invited by milord Odin to Little Valhalla tomorrow evening. Lord Odin would be honored to accept him as our honored guest for the night.””Uh…okay?”
Castor took the envelope from the bowing woman and stared at it. Sure enough it indeed carried a stamp of the Odin familia. Castor cleared his throat. ”ahem...Well you can tell Odin- that the legend, Castor Caraway himself, will be there tomorrow, so he better have the place ready to receive someone of my ilk.”
The woman gave a polite smile and bowed in response, then turned and walked the way she came, her heels clacking on the cobblestone pathway as her braid swayed across her thin waist. Castor pushed the door shut and looked at the envelope with a grin Finally. They are starting to recognize my greatness.
Castor eyed the woman in white suspiciously as she pushed the door open. The gust of a wonderful feast greeted his nose as he cautiously stepped in, keeping an eye on the woman in white as he entered. The great door shut behind him as he took in the sight. The wealth displayed was extravagant and the atmosphere radiant. It was a direct parallel to the dusty empty manor of his own familia. Castor stood dressed in the best outfit he could scrounge up amongst the closets of the manor, a loose white blouse hastily tucked into brown cotton breeches, held up by a black leather belt. The belt's buckled was polished gold and brandished the emblem of the Bellona familia, a torch surrounded by a laurel wreath. His worn leather boots sank into the carpet below him, and he was fighting the urge to take them off. Castor looked around, unfortunately he had deigned not to consult Bellona before coming here as petty revenge for his loss in their game the day prior. Consequently, he really had no idea what to expect.
A lack of direction had never defeated him before, as he began to confidently stride between the tables. He plucked an unoccupied chalice of wine from a table and took a deep gulp. Onlookers gave a cheers to the newcomer as Castor raised his chalice to them in response, relishing in the attention. While enjoying the merriment he spotted a few familiar faces. The woman with black starry eyes, Dahlia, and the white-haired cat woman. He knew of Dahlia from her time in the lower floors and from her book series “Dungeon Storia”, which Castor was a fan of, though he would never admit it. He had seen the other woman in the lower floors accompanying people of her familia. Though it had seemed like less of accompanying and more of babysitting?
He took a sip of his fifth cup of wine and walked (maybe swaying a little bit) over to them chalice in hand. As it turned out, Dahlia was apparently some kind of a greeter meant to receive them. Castor took another swig of wine as he listened to her speak. When she was finished he held the chalice above his open mouth as the last drops of his drink pattered onto his tongue. He wiped the sweet red wine from his lips with the sleeve of his blouse, staining it with a blotch of dark pink. He looked over at the cat woman now more closely. The cat woman’s tight white dress accentuated her well toned figure, the body of a fighter. Interestingly her hat was one commonly worn by mages. Castor stared at her necklace, the shapes of the wheel started to swirl. The cat woman spoke:"Right, so, before we get caught up in anything, do you mind telling us oh I don't know, why any of us are here in the first place?"