THE BATTLE FOR METAGORE
It was a fine first morrow of the Batell Moon. The sweet aroma of freshly baked bread, roasted meats, and brewed vegetables lingered through the crowded courtyards and gardens within the stone walls surrounding the castle in BrightHelm. The mountains lying in wait outside of the capital were mere silhouettes covered in an overcast sky and dampened by a fine morning mist.
Inside the white marble castle, stood an elderly elven lord—Lord Brighton—in front of a mirror, adjusting the belt buckle on his tabard. "Thou dost swear, every year thou hast to loosen this damn thing."
"You still look astounding, my love," his wife, Kalama, said and giggled as she braided strands of his hair.
Brighton turned his gaze from his waistline toward his wife, still in awe of how she could look as young as when they had first met centuries ago. Her skin was as smooth and bronze and her body as toned and firm as it had always been.
His gaze trailed back to his reflection in the mirror. He had not noticed any weight gain over the past year—then, of course, he never did. His appearance remained regal and proud, but his posture had slouched. His hair had darkened to a light gray and had grown as coarse as the beard he had neglected to keep groomed. His skin wore wrinkles where it was once tight and smooth.
Glancing at the many rings lining his fingers, he reflected on all the things he could once do with his hands. All the fighting and training he had done while he was still young enough to build himself the perfect body. All the structures he had worked on as a young lord to construct the city surrounding them. All the fun and crafty things he had done with his older children while they remained at home. Unfortunately, time had passed, and his hands weren't as steady as they once were.
Kalama noticed the sadness permeate Brighton's face. She tried to comfort him as she finished his hair. "We all grow old. Some merely show it more than others."
Brighton turned and looked at his wife, then tucked a feat of her dangling red curls behind her ear and smiled. "You could be philandering around these streets, chasing men far younger than thee, but thou suppose you see something in thine old self, huh?"
"I do not see an old man in front of me; I see an old heart still burning with passion for what he loves," she responded as she gave him a slight hug. "Besides, I am going to be sitting beside Duke Kaprin, who is by far one of the youngest of your dukes, and trust me, he does nothing to warm my soul."
A slight laugh slipped from Brighton's mouth. "You can have thy seat if thou wishes."
"It is not a big deal, my love. You can sit on your throne, and I on mine." She paused as she grabbed a silver and ivory circlet off the vanity. "Now, finish getting ready. Your kingdom awaits you."
Brighton took the crown and placed it upon his graying hair. Staring into the mirror once more, he spotted all the imperfections of his once-fair skin, the dark veins running through his sagging flesh, and the blacken scabs of sores on his face from being in the sun for too long. The gloomy sight did nothing but bring awareness to his struggling breaths. His eyes sat low as he continued to reminisce about the past and realized his years of being alive was soon going to come to an end. He slowly put on his pauldrons and bracers as he continued to stare at his withering reflection.