Night FallJust like Sud, I entered this effort in a short-story competition and didn't get any joy with it (weep, weep). Will hence splash it on these pages for all to see.
In the large chapel, he sees the priest hand over the crown to the emperor as the consort looks on, pleased. Everyone breaks out in applause. Cheers ring out as the king looks benevolently around. He reaches out and kisses the priest's (oh wait, he must be the archbishop) ring on his finger.
The ceremony is over. People start to file through the elegant staircase to the floor above. They're in the large open porch. On a turret above, the Royals emerge to the accompaniment of the clergy on either side. They wave and the guns below boom in august sonority, scattering the crows on the highest reaches of the castle. He feels extremely pleased, and strangely secure.
Below, the gathered soldiers transit into another formation. A hop across, one by one, strangely diagonal. Her Highness peers out, rather dangerously. It prompts the cautious King to look anxiously at her, much to the tittering amusement of the noblemen below (but he can only see deep meditation writ large on his face).
The cavalry file in offering their respects. The glittering standard leads them; the men on the majestic horses present a proud picture of authority. A collective gasp of wonderment is spontaneous.
Chestnut and dapple, charcoal and sorrel, these fine animals trot deferentially. But his heartbeat races. And lo! One of the black horses leaps up improbably onto the verandah scattering the dukes (he watches, horrified) and in another giant jump reaches the turret. She's dead and He will be soon. We will be powerless.
He woke up, sweating. Twice in two days.
***"... lost the crown to the underdog. Despite the advantage of white pieces, the champion made an uncharacteristic error on his 38th move, leaving his opponent's Knight free to ..."