Prompt for April 4: An Exchange

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[prompt from http://daily-writing.blogspot.com/, characters and story from a novel idea: One Realm]

“You’re the man they caught in the east wing,” Lucan said to the dark cell in front of him.

The form in the shadows shifted slightly. A nod, perhaps?

“You attacked Silvia, the Queen Mother of Renterra. I am—“

“I know perfectly well who you are,” the man said. His voice was gravely in an oddly familiar way. “Lucan, King of Renterra, the Bastard son of Val who was also a bastard son himself. Your whole family is composed of bastards.”

Lucan clenched the bars tightly. “What gives you the right to address a king in that manner? We may be in Candra, but the peace between our realms has never been stronger.”

Slowly, the form rose and ambled closer to the bars. “I have every right to address you in that manner, bastard king.”

When at last the faint light from the dungeon window cast its glow upon the prisoner’s face, Lucan had to force himself not to step back aghast. The man before him was tall with a build like a cat: slender, yet powerful. His wheat colored hair brushed the tops of his shoulders. Pale blue, almost grey, eyes drove themselves into the depths of Lucan’s soul. This man looked exactly like him.

“You are not the rightful king. That honor goes to me, brother.”

“Gemn?” Lucan whispered. “How can this—you’re supposed to be dead.”

Suddenly, Gemn placed his hands on top of Lucan’s. “A life for a life, brother. It is my turn to bask in the sun.”

It was as if a storm had erupted inside of Lucan, swirling all that he knew and catapulting him to and fro. He felt himself drain out of his body like water from a sieve. He couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, and could barely think through the distortion of his being. When at last things stilled, he noticed that somehow he was within the cell, dressed in the ragged tunic Gemn had been wearing. What’s more, Gemn was somehow in his tunic and vest.

He withdrew his hands from the bars. “What did you—“

“I ‘died’ before you or Mother could find out my gift,” Gemn said. “I possess the gift of soul flight, dear younger brother. I am now you and you are now me. The war between the realms can at last continue, with the Renterran King at the helm. Look after this cell for me, would you? It’s all you have left now.”

He turned to leave.

“Gemn! Why are you doing this?” A soul flyer? His brother was alive? Lucan tried to keep all his thoughts straight. “We would have welcomed you back. Mother, Uncle Amicus, and myself, you need not do this.”

Gemn paused at the door. “Oh but I must. You see, Candra can never be at peace until it’s under Renterra’s control.” Then he left.

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