The Game of Kings
The wind howls, whipping the fire around wildly, but the heavy stone pieces don’t budge on the thin marble board. As Oswin counts the pieces he has left compared to Elasha, he almost wishes the wind was stronger so they’d have an excuse to start the game again when the pieces tumble to the snow. He gets his wish soon enough as the very next move, the elf casually grabs her chalcedony bishop and glides it smoothly across the gleaming board, now slick with melting snow to take the cleric’s knight. With a grin, her tattoos glowing in the flickering light, she says, “Checkmate.”

As the elf resets the pieces, Oswin can’t help but wonder if he sees a look of boredom in her eyes. Back in the court, before his exile, he remembered learning the game from the other functionaries. They had a simple wooden board with crudely carved pieces, now worn and nicked with age. The cleric only bothered learning because he knew the Count loved to play with his sons and visiting nobles. However, their board only bore a passing resemblance to this wooden one. It was made of fine onyx and ivory with pieces made from silver and gold with jewel encrusted crowns for the king and queen, and best of all, a beautifully begemmed mitre and crozier on the bishops. When he could sneak into the library with that chessboard, he would marvel at the weight on those pieces in his hands and the brilliant sparkle of the precious stones in the lamplight. Oswin just knew that he would’ve been an excellent player if he could play with such a set. How could anyone expect him to learn with the crude board that the cook trotted out every night?

Roused by Elasha Winterflower’s repeated question, Farseer is on the verge of telling her that he doesn’t want to play again, but then he sees the snow blowing across the rich onyx and chalcedony board and reaches out to feel the heft of the bishop. While his finger playing over the piece doesn’t snag on any faceted gems, it does feel the intricate carving of the figure, proving what a valuable item it is. The elf’s brow begins to knit as she asks for a third time of Oswin wants to play again. With a smile, the cleric realigns the chess pieces and says, “losing has never felt so luxurious” as he pulls out his coin purse to find the gold for the wager.
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Very nice. We seem to have a recurring theme of losing money to Elasha going on in the posts. I also like how you used the chess board to not only develop a moment in the present but to also relive the past. Nicely done!
I had already started this one before last session, so I wanted to finish it, but what I really wanted to write up was a journal entry about beating the shit out of that bard.
Another great post, Andy. I'll have to post Elasha's perspective on these chess matches.
I'd love to see that, Carl. She must be very bored to play with an opponent she can't lose to.