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Fantasy The Soldier and the King (ScarT & Baphomet)

Sub Genres
  1. LGTBQ

ScarletTears

Just a human... probably...
The capital city was a stressful place. Sebastian was used to the hive-like bustle of an army camp. He was used to men running and screaming through neat rows of tents that stretched out as far as the eye could see. As a younger man, he’d imagined the capital was smaller than some of the army camps. He had been very, very wrong. The chaos of the city was nothing like a camp. Men here ran through the streets without purpose, vendors plied their trades from little carts and women waddled through the streets like groups of colourful ducks. And over the whole thing towered the palace. Shining and clean, it stood in proud silence, casting the city into perpetual shade.

The inn at least was familiar. In his experience, cheap inns were the same wherever you were in the world. This one had cost him almost a week’s wages for a single room that was barely more than a cupboard, but he supposed that had something to do with this being the capital city, where merchants and soldiers alike would come to seek their fortune.

Sebastian didn’t want a fortune. He just wanted a working arm, or at least something worthwhile to do with his life. Just over 10 years in the army, in the service of a king who was now dead. 10 years and all he had to show for it was a month of pay and a wound to his shoulder and arm that would probably never heal. He couldn’t go back to his parent’s farm; he couldn’t work in the fields with a useless arm and he couldn’t be a burden on his family. So, with a scroll in his pack with the king’s seal on it- an invite to a ceremony at the palace- Bass had set off on the journey to the capital, with the hope that he’d find something worthwhile there.

The ex-soldier leaned against the barred window, staring out at the street below and watching two children splashing each other from a trough of water intended for animals. The sun was beating down already, spiralling the temperatures already, even though it was early in the day. He watched a man with a rich blue cloak pulled over his head walk purposefully towards the inn. A moment later someone was pounding at the door to the little room.

“Someone’s here to see you,” It was the innkeeper. A greasy little man who didn’t bathe nearly enough considering the heat inside the inn. “Waiting downstairs in the back room. He looks important.”

Bass was shocked for a second, but he shook his head and called back, “I’ll be a second.” He slipped on a clean shirt and tied his hair back from his face with a leather cord, before following the innkeeper downstairs.

The man sitting in the back room was indeed important. Now with his hood thrown back, Sebastian could see exactly who his visitor was. Most people probably wouldn’t recognise him, but Sebastian had spent years of his life staring at paintings of the man-in-front-of-him’s father. He’d pledged his allegiance to that very painting before every campaign. In person, the signature green eyes of the Bismarck’s were even more breath-taking.

The door closed behind the innkeeper and Sebastian fell to his knees, wincing at the way his arm pulled his shoulder at the change in balance. “My king,” he whispered, mostly directing his awe to the floor, “I am… honoured.”
 

Baphomet

Baphomet
Otto's father had kept him locked up in the palace for most of his life. He had few opportunities to leave and explore the surrounding city. He always thought it strange. Should a king not know their own people? For this reason, one of Otto's favorite activities since becoming king, outside of his required duties, has been to roam the city. He found great amusement in the reaction of the commoners when they recognized him. He found it particularly amusing just how hard they would fight to not have the king personally help them, thinking they were not worthy of such attention. Although most didn't quite recognize him yet, more and more would be able to spot him every day.

There was a reason for Otto's stroll today though, outside of the usual pleasure. Though it was certainly still for his pleasure. There was an extraordinary man. A soldier. This soldier was the sole reason for victory at an important battle. Battle. An ugly thing, the king thought. Unfortunately, a necessity. Otto was on his way to meet with said soldier. He was due a medal at a ceremony to be held at the palace, but Otto wanted to meet him personally beforehand.

The king wasn't hard to spot on his journey. Not only was he wearing vibrant blue robes to keep himself hidden from the harsh heat of the desert sun, but he also had a handful of guards. The council really did not like the idea of the king walking around alone outside. They aren't without their good points, though. Otto was no fighter. A commoner could probably take his life if they were so inclined, let alone a trained assassin. So, for now, Otto traveled with a group. He had to admit, it was quite an effective tactic. Due to being shorter than most around him, he was hidden neatly away in the center.

"Sire!" A woman would kneel when she noticed him approaching her. Otto would give an easy laugh that made her feel uneasy. He found amusement in this. One day, he thought, people would feel comfortable talking to their king. "Please, stand, you'll dirty your clothes," beckoned Otto. His voice, slightly high pitched and smooth, was commanding, even when he was at his most casual. Based on look and sound alone it was clear he was worthy of being a king. The woman obeyed, bowing several times at him.

After a chuckle, Otto said, "My my, what fine fruit you have. Are these all fresh?" He appraised her selection of fruits as the woman nodded. "Why, yes sire! They were picked just last night. My brother traveled great distances to bring nothing but the finest, freshest fruits," she said, pride spilling from her voice. The fruit was indeed exquisite. To see such vibrantly colored fruit in the desert was certainly a rarity. Her pride, Otto decided, was well warranted.

The guards eyed the succulent fruit wishfully, a fact the king didn't miss. "My companions are quite famished. They are sworn to march around all day out in the hot sun. I would like to purchase some fruit for them. Is that alright?" The question seemed so strange to the woman. Her perplexed features showed she had no idea how to respond. Why, she thought, would a king ever ask if it was alright to make a purchase? Interactions like this always brought a little sadness to Otto. It was just leftover poison from his father's rule. He wanted to one day show his people that he is not a god to be feared or revered.

Otto directed his guards to each pick a fruit and enjoy it as they see fit. Some would store it for later, others would eat it right on the spot. The king, having had interactions like this on many occasions, gently grabbed the woman's hand, faced her palm upwards, and placed several coins in her grasp. Much more than they were worth, too. Otto would leave the woman, clearly in shock, with a bow of thanks. He wondered if she would ever recover. Surely she thought a king bowing to her wouldn't ever be a possibility. It was now time to meet the soldier he's heard so much about.

"My lord," the innkeeper would say, falling to his knees as the king approached. He couldn't believe his eyes. The king himself was here, standing in his dingy little inn. Or, at least, it was dingy compared to the palace, surely. Otto waited for the man to stand before asking for a soldier by the name of Sebastian. The innkeeper, stumbling over his words and feet, quickly answered the king and left to let his patron know he had a visitor. He was so flabbergasted that he forgot to mention it was the king himself.

Otto gave his usual easy chuckle that still somehow made people uneasy. Otto entered the room. Although he was rather casual, it was like the very air chilled for the king. This was despite the reality of it, shown as a sheen of sweat upon the king's skin. "Stand," said the king. Sebastian obeyed without hesitation. Otto, hands folded behind his back, began pacing around the soldier, "The battle for Koiron. A large skirmish for the defense of one of our outer villages. I must admit, I was short-sighted. I was under the impression that it was not a strategic target, therefore I took soldiers from them to send to the front lines. This left you there with a diminished force."

Otto gave a sigh. It was clear he blamed himself for this foolish mistake. He had to blame himself, no one else would. He turned to face the soldier. A smirk creeped on Otto's face at the stunned soldier, though he continued his speech, his voice's command on the room unbreakable, "A small battalion of enemy soldiers had marched on your position. I'm told it was your actions that helped decide the battle. I've heard all manner of stories about the battle. I must admit, I found myself curious about the man who would receive this prestigious medal," Otto pulled out a gold medallion from the inner recesses of his robe. It was made of gold, with the crest of the palace. The finest smiths worked to inlay it with copper for color. It was one of the finest medals the kingdom had to offer. "Tell me, Sebastian Ackerman, how did you go about bringing victory in this seemingly impossible situation?" Otto looked expectantly up into Sebastian's eyes.
 

ScarletTears

Just a human... probably...
Sebastian was held in place for a very long while. Time seemed to stretch. He barely breathed, scared of disturbing the dust and sand on the ground around the king’s feet. The command to stand made his chest tighten uncomfortably. Standing in the presence of royalty was more than a small farm boy from nowhere could have ever imagined. Once, Bass could have easily risen from kneel to standing in one fluid movement, but ever little movement of his chest made his arm tingle, and it took him longer to stiffly rise to his feet. With something to balance his other arm on he was fine, but he could hardly reach out and ask the king for a hand up.

The king went on to describe the battle. Or at least the version of events that Sebastian had recalled after the fact. He’d left out the gory details for the benefit of his betters. They weren’t as comfortable with death and bloodshed as Bass was. The king circled him like a predator. Bass stayed entirely still, his jaw set and his eyes fixed on a particularly large pile of dust on the floor. He ground his teeth together as the king went on and then the king stopped and looked up at him. For the first time Bass realised he was a good deal taller than the monarch, broader too. A medal glinted in Otto’s hand, but it was nothing compared to the curious glint in those green eyes, demanding more information.

“We weren’t marched on, we were surrounded,” Bass shrugged, his voice quiet but rough like gravel in the small space, “I had limited supplies and injured villagers and my men to think about. We had no reinforcements coming and no way out. I’m not proud of my victory, my king, it was a trick and a massacre, but my people survived. Not sure what happened after that, one minute I was fighting and the next I was waking up three days later, more splint than I was man.”

At some point in the chaos, Sebastian had found himself fighting a giant, brutish man who had clearly held command of the enemy’s forces. The man swung a great war hammer around as if it was as light as a child’s toy. Sebastian was a quick fighter for someone so broad, but he hadn’t been able to dodge his opponent. His shoulder took the brunt of the attack, but he’d been bruised and battered everywhere. The brute had even managed to clock him around the head before Bass- half blinded with pain- drove a dagger into his opponent’s knee, and a short sword through his belly. After that, he’d stayed awake long enough to see their enemy fall into chaos without a leader, before passing out on the sand.

Sebastian took a breath and raised his head slightly, realising he’d been silent in his own thoughts for too long. If the king had said something in response to his reply, Bass couldn’t tell. He cleared his throat, bowing his head once again and fixing his eyes on the floor. “I’m sorry, your highness,” He muttered.
 

Baphomet

Baphomet
Otto the medal suspended in the same place during Sebastian's recounting of events. Once he finished, the king gently wrapped up the medal before hiding it in his fist. He made a comment, "Hmm, by all accounts, a rather humble retelling of events. You managed to lose not a single civilian. That is no small feat. Our people are the most important part of the kingdom." Otto's eyes shifted away, towards the window. He watched the blue sky for just a moment, deep in thought. Then he continued his pacing. Like a piranha circling it's meal.

His tone, though commanding before, was only casual. Now it tightened. Commanded. Demanded respect. "Are you familiar with our land? Tell me, why the battle at Koiron was so important? Strategically speaking, why is that village so crucial to our kingdom?" Otto would pause his pacing as Sebastian answered. He would instead begin to look around the room, as if inspecting Sebastian's belongings. The state of his room. Any little detail he could gleam.

Though he didn't look directly at the soldier, the king could tell he was uncomfortable. Although no doubt due to speaking with the king, as well as the heat, but it seemed as though he was in pain as well. Otto gave these long-winded questions and speeches, while expecting detailed answers, as a sort of test. In truth, Otto was disappointed in his current military advisor. His failures were one thing under Otto's father, Horacio von Bismarck. Horacio had experience and knowledge built up over years. Otto hadn't even realized there was a valuable mine nearby, nor that the only thing in its way was Koiron, things his father would have caught. Which was why the village was so heavily manned. His inexperience pained him dearly. He knew he needed advisors he could count on. He knew the soldier was injured, but court was cruel. The soldier would have to endure.

Once Sebastian had answered, Otto would stand directly in front of him, once again looking up into his eyes. Otto's eyes demanded much of others. Though, it was only because he demanded much of himself. "The front lines were in danger, but so were some of our most crucial resources. What should we have done differently?" The king's tone that seemed to warn against an undesirable answer. As if on cue, the wind grew silent and the sun seemed just a little less harsh. Otto may have been locked inside the palace most of his life, but he did learn many things. How to use his voice and stance were one of them. He wouldn't openly admit it, but he sometimes used it just for his own amusement. Though this wasn't one of those times.
 

ScarletTears

Just a human... probably...
A shiver went ran Bass’ spine. For the first time he looked up, meeting those jewel-like eyes with his own stormy gaze. “I lost two of my men,” he admitted softly, “And three more will never carry a sword again. That’s hardly the outcome I would have wished for.” He’d seen the first man fall, but he’d found out about second after he woke with his own injuries. That had been more painful, he and Jacob had served together for many years.

Something shifted in the king’s demeanour and Bass dropped his gaze back to the ground. His face flickered with confusion. Surely the king had advisors and books that told him of the importance of all his towns. Bass was just a soldier, one town he needed to defend was the same as the next. And yet the king didn’t seem like he was going to stop until he got an answer. Bass closed his eyes for a second, trying to remember everything he’d ever learned about Koiron. “I’m not familiar with it, your highness,” He shrugged, “I was stationed there for a very short time. There were mines… in the hills around Korion. Iron, I think. The villagers were very skilled too. Miners and smiths, some of my men picked up new blades when we were first stationed there.”

The king wasn’t even looking at him. It was like he was sharing the information with the wall. Instead, the smaller man was looking over Sebastian’s travel bags, hastily slung on the chair beside the window the night before. His belongings were strewn over the place, nothing like the neat pile that had sat beside his bed roll in his tent. He cringed at his own laziness. The pain and exhaustion he’d felt upon arriving the night before had driven him to bed before he even thought to unpack. After all, hadn’t been expecting royal company straight after breakfast.

The king continued in a low, warning tone. This was some kind of test. Bass felt like a young recruit again, being tested on his knowledge of weaponry and fighting styles. He shifted on his toes, ignoring the way his shoulder pulled uncomfortably. “It was an impossible decision, your highness. My company were the last to retreat. One of our pack horses threw a shoe and we stayed overnight to have it seen to. By the time we woke up in the morning, the village was surrounded, and they had started to attack civilians who didn’t seem to be of use. I don’t think they knew we were still there,” Bass explained, “The summons to the front came quickly and told us to leave urgently. Overnight, Koiron went from being the best defended village in the region to a single company that the enemy didn’t know of. It was easy pickings. But I’ve heard stories from the front… they desperately needed fresh reinforcements.”

“I don’t know the full situation,” he insisted, growing a little braver as he organised his thoughts, “But leaving a small but visible military force in Koiron while the rest headed to the front seems preferable to abandoning a town within easy reach of our enemies’ forces. Often, the threat of defeat is enough to keep them from raiding.” He looked up hopefully, worried that he’d angered the king by coming up with a solution to his previous dilemma.
 

Baphomet

Baphomet
Otto relaxed his stance and tone as he resumed his pacing. He found Sebastian's answers rather impressive. He was a simple soldier. Soldiers tended to lack formal education and had limited knowledge of the kingdom. That is why military advisors and generals were needed. Despite this, he admitted to his own lack of knowledge, and gave admirable answers, making estimations as he gave calculated responses.

Without a proper transition, Otto dove straight into his reason for coming to see this man personally. He was scouting out several individuals, including standing generals, for the position of his military advisor. His current one was failing him miserably. "Galleron is a particularly valuable city to our kingdom. It sits relatively close to here. Some of our most skilled smiths work there, producing most of our military's weaponry and armor. Despite how deep into the kingdom it lies, a large enemy force has marched its way past several towns and villages and is currently headed towards there. Their current course leads me to believe that they will attack from the north. I believe," Otto made sure to use language that suggested he was the one making the decisions, which means that Sebastian would have to directly contradict the king's own decisions were he to have any suggestions about the matter, "that the best course of action is to station a large force to intercept them a mile outside the city on the north side. This is so supplies can travel back and forth quickly, allowing us to take minimal casualties." Otto gave a slight pause so Sebastian could digest the information. He would then stand in front of him once more, looking up into Sebastian's face, gauging his answer, "Do you believe this is the best course of action?"

Most soldiers were familiar with Galleron. It was not only the source of most of the armaments in the kingdom, but also where soldiers went for specialized training atop camels, as well as a stopping point for armies as they traveled around the kingdom. Otto hoped this wouldn't pose the same issues as his previous questions... lack of geographical knowledge.
 

ScarletTears

Just a human... probably...
Sebastian’s eyes were filled with confusion. The King still paced the room, the medal now hidden in some pocket of his expensive clothing. And yet there was no talk of medals or ceremony. He had come to receive a token of the king’s thanks for his military service, and now he stood in a small, cheap tavern room while the king himself quizzed Bass on his military knowledge. It was all very confusing.

“I know Galleron well,” The soldier replied, scratching his head as he thought back to long days drilling in the sun on the desert planes outside the city, “I was stationed out of there for almost two years. Most soldiers know it, it’s a good place for a battle, familiar territory.” He blinked his eyes for a second, trying to imagine the field of battle, getting a map in his mind and imagining the two forces clashing in the way the king had described. When he fixed his eyes back onto the king, he was already shaking his head, unsure how such a mistake could be made. “The river Actus flows into Galleron from the North. The smiths use it to drive the bellows, it’s what makes the forges so efficient,” he explained, “Pitching the battle north of the city so close to the river could be a disaster. One body in the river and the whole of Galleron is without water. Giving the enemy access to river upstream is bad enough. I’ve seen whole villages poisoned by the enemy. They probably don’t want to harm the smiths of Galleron, but I wouldn’t put it past them.”

“Plus, the Actus is prone to flooding,” He continued, “The ground can be soft wet sand that could swallow a camel whole. Most of the drills we ran were done ten or so miles from the city. There’s a vast rocky plane to the east, bad for their heavier weapons, but good for our cavalry. It’s perfect for a battle. Harder to resupply, but I assume if we’re picking fields, we still have time to set up camp and dig defences.”

Sebastian slowed down, well aware all of a sudden that he was talking as if he was back in the officer’s command tent. He was always opinionated, always quick to strategize and always the first to help his men dig in and prepared for battle. This was no different. He wanted to be there on the front lines, helping the men and making the calls on the battlefield, but that wasn’t his life anymore. These day he was only good to strategize in the back room on an Inn.
 

Baphomet

Baphomet
They king grew quiet after Sebastian gave his responses. The hubbub below made its way dimly to the room. Their laughter brought Otto joy. He was glad that, despite the dire times they were in, his people could still find joy. He wanted to do all he could to preserve that. Unfortunately, he was too inexperienced in war, and his current military advisor gave advice that may very well bring the kingdom to its knees. He berated himself for his lack of knowledge. He hated his father for never including him.

Otto resumed his pacing. "It seems I have made a grave mistake. Unfortunately my father passed away too young. I was not fully equipped to be king. I lack experience." Otto was always taught to never show weakness. Never admit he was wrong. Though, he thought it was important to humanize himself. For others to know that he wasn't without fault. He wanted a kingdom where the people were good, not because they would be thrown in the stockades if they misbehaved, but because they wanted to better their kingdom.

Otto asked, "You are loyal to your king, are you not?" To which Sebastian replied affirmatively.

Otto followed up with, "And you would do as your king asks, would you not?" Sebastian replied once more affirmatively.

The king had made his way, once more, to Sebastian's front. Except, this time, he held the medallion in his outstretched hands. "Then I humbly ask that you receive this medal, as well as the honor it bestows. And with this medallion, I would like to ask you to be my military advisor." The king's head was lowered towards Sebastian. His tone suggested that it wasn't a question.
 

ScarletTears

Just a human... probably...
The silence was too much. Sebastian didn’t know whether he’d spoken out of turn, and he couldn’t tell what was going on behind those emerald eyes. He stood perfectly still as he’d been trained to over countless hours, although his posture was less stiff than it once was. Eventually the king spoke up, admitting his lack of military knowledge. The soldier pursed his lips, ready to respond and agree, but to try and placate the king’s fears. As far as he knew, King Horacio had never seen battle either, but he’d had good advisors and he’d allowed his armies to make their own decisions in the field. A young and inexperienced king wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Otto moved on quickly from his admission, questioning Sebastian’s loyalty. The soldier spluttered out a little “Of course, sir.” He’d been loyal to the crown since the day he joined the army. Nothing had changed even if the king in charge had. The next question threw him slightly. He knew loyalty and obedience were different things. He’d seen loyal soldiers tested by orders that went against what they knew to be true.

Sebastian shifted his weight from one food to the other. “I would always act in your best interests, my King,” he replied, bowing his head respectfully. The king moved to face him, extending the shiny medal in one hand. Once again, he was startled by the height difference between them. The king spoke again, his offer that didn’t sound like an offer resting heavily in the air. Bass had no desire for a place at court, but he dreaded the idea of going back to his family’s farm and living with his injuries. This was a way he could still help.

Tentatively, Bass lifted the medal from the king’s palm with his right hand and for a second, he studied the metal intensely. “Your Highness,” he gulped, “I am… I’m just a soldier. I doubt I’m the most qualified man to advise you.” His excitement at being useful again battled with his doubt that he’d be any good at the job.
 

Baphomet

Baphomet
“Your Highness,” he gulped, “I am… I’m just a soldier. I doubt I’m the most qualified man to advise you," said Sebastian. The king gave him an amused look as he teased, "Ah, so you question my judgement?" He gave a hearty laugh before Sebastian could respond. Otto's demeanor had changed as if on a whim. "Good, good! That's exactly what I need!" Otto continued in a light-hearted manner. He turned and began walking out of the room. Still not giving Sebastian a chance to reply he called out, "Gather your things and meet me outside. We have much to discuss."

Otto made his way outside and waited alongside his guard. Several of them had chosen to eat their fruits from earlier. He waved and smiled at the people walking by. They stared back in disbelief if they knew who he was. Otherwise they looked on in curiosity. It was certainly a strange sight. A short man in rather expensive and regal clothing, surrounded by a group of guards.

The king spent his time making plans and thinking of how things would go over with the rest of the council. Certainly not well, that's for sure. They really disliked when he made spur of the moment decisions. Though, this was no spur of the moment decision. His current military advisor was truly incompetent. Events have also been transpiring in a strange manner. Almost as if someone on the inside were helping their enemies. Little else could explain how enemy soldiers have marched so far into the kingdom without notice.

Once Sebastian had gathered his things, Otto would walk with him back towards the palace. He would discuss various arrangements, such as where Sebastian would live, whether he preferred living in the palace directly, or nearby in the town. Among other things, such as his exact role among the council, what kind of welcome he can expect, as well as to invite any questions Sebastian may have.
 

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