by J. L. Henry
Bonus Assignment 28 for NaNo Prep
Hello, I am Taurus Longhorn; son of Virgo Longhorn and Evelynn Stormsong. My father was the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bastion. He died on a mission when during the sixteenth solar cycle of my life. I miss him greatly but do my best to honor his memory by fulfilling his role as the Ambassador to the other three kingdoms of Penterra.
I can now count nineteen solar cycles in my life. During this time I have encountered much adversity due to my physical appearance. I am much larger than the grown men of Trellion but still smaller than a full grown Minotaur male of Bastion. My eyes are an unnatural amber according to human standards but they are the same as my father's. My hair is black but also maintains purple highlights. Like my father I have a pair of bull's horns protruding from the sides of my head. They are shorter than his but still long enough to attract attention. Most of the attention my physical appearance attracts is negative. Trellionites do not understand what I am so they fear me. My mother encourages me to help them see past their ignorance by being a polite gentleman, but it is difficult.
My closest friends are the Elven Herbalist in the Trellion Tower of Magi named Lyra Oakwood. We get along well because as an elf in a world of humans she knows what it is like to not fit in. Trellion is not as bad as Adoren when it comes to creature that are not human, but there are still small pockets of intolerance toward the minorities; dwarves, elves, and half-men who bare the aspects of animals.
My other close friend is Gwen Maneherder. She is the daughter of Trellion's Royal Magus Morgan Terrashaper, who trained with my mother in the Trellion Tower of Magi. Since Gwen was born to the Royal Magus she was not sent to the Tower of Magi to train as most children with magical aptitude are. I met her on the first anniversary of her birth when Morgan placed her in my arms while my mother performed the magical aptitude test on her. I was in my fifth solar cycle of life but I truly believe I felt my first sense of acceptance when all Gwen did was stare up at me with curious eyes and smiled in the way infants do. Our second meeting was during my eleventh solar cycle of life; Gwen's seventh. She came with her family to the Elemental Coast and our families spent the season of Litha together. I was taken aback when Gwen simply stepped forward and extended her small hand to me in greeting; rather than hide behind her mother's skirts. When she was not practicing her magic with her mother and mine she was following after me and Prince Matrim; curious to know what we were doing. I found it a bit annoying at first but after a while I found her desire to be near me encouraging. During the Litha of my sixteenth solar cycle Gwen arrived at the Elemental Coast with a silk ribbon entwined in her braid. As I understand it this is something done for a Trellion girl when she reaches the age of majority. I took it as a signal to share my true feelings toward her. I informed her I viewed her in more than a friendly manner. She explained to me that she cared for me but not in that way. We argued about her having feelings she should not toward the Prince of Trellion and she stormed away. I allowed my hurt pride to keep myself from her until she left with her family to return to the Trellion Palace. I was not even there to say good-bye.
During the season of Mabon of the sixteenth solar cycle of my life I accompanied my father on a mission into the land of Reaven. We infiltrated the Reaven Palace but my impatience triggered a trap and my father surrendered himself so that I and his other men could go free. His body was deposited on the Bastion side of the Reaven boarder a few days later. The King of Trellion, the Royal Magus, and Trellion's Master of Arms and Horses Alistair Maneherder attended my father's funeral. I was sad to see Gwen did not accompany her parents. I really could have used her support and company at that moment.
I did not see Gwen again until after her year of seclusion at the Elemental Coast. My mother and I arrived at Trellion Palace a few days before the sixteenth anniversary of Matrim's birth. According to Matrim Gwen was remaining in her mother's quarters. I gained entrance through Lady Morgan and discovered the true nature of Gwen's condition. I promised Gwen I would take care of her and her unborn child as if it were my own. It was a promise I would not be able to keep.
On the evening of the Prince's birth anniversary celebration I attended the ball with Gwen on my arm. It was the happiest moment of my life but I could tell she was not happy. At some point in the evening she and Matrim disappeared onto a balcony. I stood by the door but decided to give them privacy so she could say her farewell to him. I did not realize something was amiss until Morgan and my mother observed a darkness blocking the view of the Prince and Gwen. When I attempted to open te doors to the balcony a surge of energy ran through me. By the time my mother and Morgan dispelled the shield around the doors we found Matrim's betrothed's hand maid curled in a ball in the center of the balcony. There was no sign of the Prince or Gwen.. When the hand maid was able to speak she accused Gwen of using magic to spirit Matrim and herself away. My mother and Morgan stated Gwen was not powerful enough to cast the magics that were used on the balcony that night. Only they and two other mages were capable of that sort of magic. I spoke in my mother's defense but Morgan did not allow anyone to speak on her behalf. She was found guilty and sentenced to be executed on the first day of the next solar cycle. After baring witness to such an injustice I resigned from my position as Ambassador of Bastion.