Status: In Progress

The Majesty of Choice


“So what was an elf doing all the way on the other side of the forest at this time of night anyway?” Gerard asks, after probably about ten minutes of walking, and only small talk guiding their way.

“I was sort of trying to make myself disappear for a little while,” Pete says.

“Why is that?” Gerard questions.

“Well, the Royal Guard were doing their rounds,” Pete says, as if this is an answer to the question.

Gerard’s not sure why, but he doesn’t trust Pete. It’s not that he seems untrustworthy, it’s just that this whole adventure is too important for Gerard to let anyone gain his trust so easily. He needs to be absolutely sure, and he’s known Pete for ten minutes, while he’s known Patrick for over ten years. It’s easier for him to trust Patrick.

Patrick however, he trusts Pete, quite an opposition to Gerard’s thinking. Patrick doesn’t know why, but it’s hard to look at this man and see anything but ease and trustworthiness. Patrick thinks the best of people though, he always has, so his judgment may not be as correct.

“I don’t follow,” Gerard says to Pete.

“Well,” Pete says, “this isn’t something you could understand. My people are like cattle to the race of men. We serve only as slaves in the eyes of those higher up. I’m afraid that if I had stayed in town the last few nights, I might have been rounded up and shipped off to the castle as a fool.”

“Oh,” Gerard says. He’s all for equal rights but it hadn’t occurred to him that this elf, who looks so like an ordinary man, aside from his pointed ears, could be considered so inferior in the eyes of his fellow man. He’s cast as the villain in this scenario, and even though it’s not Gerard’s hand that makes this so, it’s the sins of his kind that perpetuate it. Pete is an elf. In this kingdom, elves are slaves. Pete is, and will always be, considered a potential slave.

“I’m sorry,” Patrick says when Gerard doesn’t say anything.

“It is not the fault of any one man. Save maybe the royal family.”

“It’s Edgar,” Gerard corrects. “I doubt the Prince has the capacity in him to understand what exactly slavery entails.”

“Here you go again,” Patrick says, rolling his eyes.

“I’m missing something?” Pete asks.

“Gerard has a thing for the Prince,” Patrick says.

“Would you stop telling people that!” Gerard groans. “I don’t. Not anymore. I knew him once, for a day.”

“Two days,” Patrick corrects.

“You met him?” Pete asks, looking excited at the very idea of it.

“Yes,” Gerard says, “he’s perfectly ordinary, and ignorant. I don’t think highly of him.”

“You think highly of his face,” Patrick jokes, and Gerard punches him in the arm, harder than usual.

“Oh my, I have heard a word or two on his good looks,” Pete says, “but I never expected them to be that hypnotic.”

“Let it go you two!” Gerard groans. “I barely even know you and already you’re starting to get on my bad side.”

“I apologize,” Pete says, “but we have an hour or two to fill with conversation. Town is not so close that we can walk in silence. Tell me why it is that you find yourselves here in the first place? Why is it that you seek Giantville of all places?”

“I’m trying to find someone,” Gerard says.


“I’d like to know the same thing,” Patrick says.

“It’s not something that I can say. I would tell you if I could, but I wouldn’t be able to. I’ll tell you that he’s a fairy, and that I need to speak with him. It’s most urgent,” Gerard says. “It’s life changing, if this information pleases you.”

“Is that all you can divulge?”

“I wish I knew how to tell you that it genuinely is. That’s the most I am able to say,” Gerard replies.

“Alright,” Pete says, “and why are you going along then?” Pete directs his question towards Patrick who seems more than happy to be directly acknowledged by the man.

“I am the unlucky holder of the position of best friend,” Patrick replies. “I shouldn’t really be here. Not even yesterday I was told that Gerard wanted nothing to do with me.”

“My stepsisters forced me,” Gerard says, feeling an uncomfortable warmth of guilt in his stomach when Patrick brings it up. The mere fact that he had to say those things to his best friend in the world breaks his heart.

“I am not going to hold it against you,” Patrick says, “I trust that you didn’t mean it. I just thought I would provide more background information.”

“So you come along on a mysterious quest that you don’t know the purpose of?” Pete asks. “After he says that?”

“That’s what best friends do,” Patrick shrugs, “besides, I was not going to let Gerard have all the fun while I stayed at home and moped.”

“Someday I may be able to tell you,” Gerard says, thinking about what his life will be like without the curse. He’s done his best to avoid thinking about it, because he doesn’t want to get his own hopes up. He doesn’t want to dwell on what might be when he doesn’t know if he’ll ever have that.

It hurts him to think about the fact that someday he might be able to say no to an order when he never has before. Thinking on it, his heart aches knowing that he’s lost so many things to this curse. He’s lost opportunities, so many opportunities that he can’t even comprehend the momentum of it all.

What would his life be like if he could make his own decisions? Gerard’s not even sure if he’d be the same person. This curse seems so much like it’s part of him, but there’s nothing he wants more than to be free of it. This curse may be the reason that he is the person that he is today. Gerard may not have been as kind. Gerard may have been snobbish, maybe he would have been like his sisters. Maybe Gerard would have sympathized with King Edgar.

Without Gerard’s knowledge of what it’s like to be oppressed, Gerard may not have been capable of empathizing with creatures who have been marginalized in the kingdom without this curse. That’s not to say that he’s thankful of the curse, but maybe having lived through this for the first part of his life will set him up for greater things in the second part of his life.

But Gerard doesn’t want to get his hopes up. He doesn’t know if he’ll ever be able to find Brendon, let alone know if Brendon will be either capable or willing to take the curse away from him. He might be stuck like this forever. A prisoner to his own thoughts, and a slave to people’s orders.

Gerard is afraid of what the life he lives might make him do. There’s nothing stopping Gerard from unspeakable acts. If someone tells him to do something vile and evil, Gerard will not be able to sop himself.

“’Someday’ is a lot of trust to bear on just one person,” Pete says, already bristling with curiosity himself, and he barely knows these guys.

“It’s the only promise I can make.”

“You two are so mysterious and grand,” Pete says, rolling his eyes, “then here I am a little old elf whose never even seen a fairy. Or, like the top of a book shelf but that’s more a height thing than it is anything else.”

“You’re still taller than me,” Patrick groans.

Over the course of the next few hours, Patrick convinces Pete to give him his entire life story. He has two siblings, he’s quite fond of soup, his childhood best friend was called Sam, and a whole assortment of other things that no one could ever care about. Patrick has either gained a new very in depth interest in learning peoples backstories or he is more compelled by Pete than Gerard had originally guessed. Gerard’s not sure to what extent ‘compelled’ applies.

Eventually though, Pete guides them onto the edge of what looks like a town, but it’s very different from the town that Gerard knows. Gerard’s used to drab, rundown, dark colors and barely standing structures. He’s never seen a town this, well vibrant.

The sun is just now starting to come up, leaving a sinking feeling in Gerard at the thought of how many hours he and Patrick have been awake. The sun rays are hitting the town just so that the light shows off some of the houses directly in front of them, and they look way more welcoming than anything in Frell.

The town is bright, and these buildings look brand new, though Gerard guesses them to be older than they appear. None of them seem to be just beige, or just brown, or just some rusted color of paint that no one knows the original pigment of.

The house in front of Gerard is a purple color. Gerard’s never even seen purple paint let alone a house covered in it. Beyond that is a startling yellow. Then a rich orange color, like the sun setting in summer. No two houses are the same. Structurally, or in color. There’s two story houses, one story houses, wide houses, and long ones. It all looks like it should be mismatched but somehow, everything makes sense. Like pieces of a puzzle coming together intricately.

Each house has perfectly trimmed grass in front of it, and there’s something in the air, like a jingling, but there’s no sound, it’s just in Gerard’s mind, but he feels it. It’s almost as if the town were sparkling and the sound is audible but only in the mind.

Even the ground below their feet is nicer than in Frell. Frell has only dirt roads. Anything else would be inordinately expensive. Here, the roads are a rich mahogany brick that looks like it’s been laid recently. Gerard almost feels bad about stepping on it, it’s so grand.

Honestly, the town just looks perfect. It looks like nothing Gerard could ever have imagined. He can’t even picture the palace being this pristine. How can any town be so beautiful? He never knew that this existed so near to his own home.

“We’re not allowed to hold jobs other than entertainment,” Pete says, seeing Gerard’s expression, “those of us who haven’t been stolen away yet busy ourselves on making this place look the best it can. It’s a façade. We give the impression that everything is okay when it’s not.”

Gerard thinks to himself that that is sufficiently depressing. He can’t imagine being so afraid of anything. Gerard is afraid of his curse, certainly, but never has he imagined that anything that could make him so scared.

“I live there,” Pete says, pointing to a house on the left, a smaller one, painted green, but kept as nicely as any of the others. “well, technically, I live in the basement.”

“This place is amazing,” Patrick says, “I mean, I don’t know if that’s what you want to hear, but, gosh. My family home has had peeling paint and broken windows since before I was born.”

“My house was falling apart,” Gerard says, voice soft as he looks around in awe, “you could hear the roof creak when it got too windy.”

“We keep up appearances,” Pete says, walking up the driveway. The sun is almost at a place in the sky that makes the world look like it’s starting to wake up, but it’s not there yet.

There’s two doors on the house that Pete leads them to. There’s a main door, and then a door on the side that goes down a few steps. It’s only a one story home so Pete’s probably got about the same square footage as whoever lives upstairs.

Pete leads them down the few steps, and unlocks the door, stepping back to allow Gerard and Patrick inside.

“There’s only one bed, one of you can have it, I can sleep anywhere,” Pete says, “but I figure having a roof at all is better than sleeping on a pile of leaves or something.”

Pete’s place is messy, and small. It’s mostly one big room, a bed shoved into the corner, and a kitchen shoved into the other. There’s a bookshelf and it’s overflown with books, all looking well-read. It’s nice, Gerard thinks. He’s never known anyone who lives by themselves, it’s kind of charming in that respect.

“My family and I, we used to share the place, but, well…” Pete drifts off. Pete hadn’t gone into too much detail earlier, but it’s not hard to guess where his family is. There’s a good reason elves are so afraid of being stolen away.

“You’re a lifesaver,” Patrick says, “honestly, thank you so much for this.”

“You saved my life,” Pete shrugs.

“Well, we cut you down from a tree,” Patrick replies.

“I could’ve died.”

“Let’s cut it out with the casualties,” Gerard says. “Not that I’m not thankful. We just need to get some sleep so that we can start out as soon as we can tomorrow, or well, tonight.”

“Yeah, it’s okay,” Pete says, “I understand.”

“You can have the bed,” Gerard says, “I dragged you on this thing.”

“Not gonna argue,” Patrick says, flopping over to it, his bones tired and weak from all this walking and a lack of sleep.

Pete walks over to one of the chairs set up in his small make-shift dining room, and he looks at the other chairs sadly. Gerard wishes he knew what to say, he’s so out of his element and far past his realm of wit. He doesn’t know what he’s doing here. He’s miles from his home in a surreal town filled with tiny people all filled with as much fear and melancholy as Pete, and Gerard’s so selfish as to believe that he deserves not to be told what to do.

“Pete, we really are so thankful for this. So much more than you could know,” Gerard says, looking at him.

Pete, looking somberly at the table, looks back up and gets a shit eating grin on his face, that doesn’t quite meet his eyes. “It’s alright, I’m happy to help.”

“I just want you to know that it’s appreciated.”

“Do you think,” Pete starts, then he stops, doubting himself, before continuing, “Well, do you think, maybe I can come to Giantville with you?”

“What business have you there?”

“None, I just…” Pete starts, “well, it’s an adventure, isn’t it? An opportunity to see the world.”

“Is that the truth?” Gerard asks.

“Well if it isn’t I would match you in declaration.”

“Pete, I don’t know if having you along is a good idea,” Gerard says, “there’s a very real chance that we may not live through the end of this. We’re going straight through Ogre country.”

“I accept the danger,” Pete replies. Gerard looks over at Patrick, already asleep, and Gerard thinks that as soon as he closes his eyes he too will pass out from as much exhaustion.

“I just don’t know,” Gerard shakes his head, but he does know. Gerard has every intention of leaving without Pete. He just can’t afford to put anyone else in danger. But Pete doesn’t need to know that. Not yet. Hopefully, Pete will wake up to Gerard and Patrick having already gone. It’s the only way he can keep this guy safe. He doesn’t want to drag anyone else into this, as much as he or Patrick may like this guy, and Gerard thinks he could.

Pete seems nice, like the kind of guy you stay friends with for your entire life. Maybe if all works out, Gerard and Patrick will make an effort to see him again, but until then, Gerard will do what he has to in order to keep him safe.

Pete is still looking at him, deep rich eyes that remind Gerard of Frank’s. Frank’s had been a darker color, but they’re both a warm brown. Pete’s not like Frank though. Pete’s nice, but Gerard isn’t drawn to him. Not that Gerard would ever admit to that much. He’ll own up to liking Frank, but that’s as far as he’ll go. As long as no one orders him to admit it.

Pete’s face is still inquiring from him, and Gerard hasn’t the words to say what he wants to get across.

“I’ll think about it, Pete. But you need to consider what it is you’re asking. You could die,” Gerard says, lacing his words with a white lie. He won’t allow Pete to come along with them, but it’s true that if he did, he could die. Gerard just doesn’t want to blatantly tell Pete no, not after Pete offered them a roof for the night.

“I die every day I stay in this house,” Pete says, “I live with ghosts of a past and future I will never be able to have. I need to be free of this place, if only for a little while.”

Gerard surely has noticed the similarities between himself and Pete, but he’s trying not to think of that. That will make what he has to do even harder.

“Whatever happens Pete, just know that I think highly of you, even if it may not seem so,” Gerard says, these words being best goodbye he can muster.

At that, Gerard sighs to himself and concedes to get a little rest for the night. He’s got another long day ahead of him, one that might weigh more on him than even today.
♠ ♠ ♠
Sorry that this chapter took so long, but I should be able to get back to this story more frequently now. Happy new year to everyone, please leave a comment!