By: Michael N Lovdal
"Grandpa, where does chess come from?" Teddy's grandfather perked up in his lay-z-boy rocking chair.
"Ah, my boy. That is a truly epic tale of which you are not yet old enough to truly appreciate." The boy made a very sad looking face, pouting.
"Pleeeease tell me?" His grandfather sighed a deep sigh, making him sound much older than he appeared.
"Very well, but if you have nightmares, I don't want you telling your momma on me."
"I won't! I promise!"
His grandfather leaned towards Teddy and adjusted his glasses. "Very well child. Listen, and listen well..."
"The townspeople are dead, sire!" cried the Bishop. "Your army is falling like wheat before a thresher!"
"Nonsense," sneered the King. "Pawns with axes and clubs is all they are. My real army is my knights. The surprise. The agility!"
The Bishop looked horrified. "But the people!"
"Are dead!" the King retorted. "And you'd be best to forget them, lest I send you into battle!" The Bishop kneeled in submission.
"If that is your will sire. But know, I am indeed skilled with the sword. Should your highness choose to send me against the African hordes, I shall be most vigilant in fighting for King and country."
"Africa will fall to our might!" chanted a guard, or "Rook" as the King called them.
The King sneered at his powerful wife, a single golden tooth checkering his smile. The Queen merely stood there, erect and dangerous. She stood a full foot taller than the King, and she was no stranger to battle herself. Her family's crest bore the symbol of two crossing swords, and she wore it boldly across her white sash.
"She sounds scary." Teddy hugged his pillow close, both afraid and intrigued all at once.
"Yes, she is. Very scary indeed." His grandfather checked his pocket watch and frowned at it. "I'd better cut to the ending now, or we'll be here until the wee hours."
"Grandpa, what are 'wee hours'?"
"Never-mind that. Let me tell you about the end of the great battle..."
The great white Queen loomed over the black King with murder in her eyes. She brandished a sword in either hand, twirling them about menacingly. A knight stood on either side of her to prevent the King's escape, and true to his word, the Bishop was indeed coming in from behind the King, having slain many of his men.
"What does 'slain' mean?"
"Never-mind, child! Just listen to the story; I'm getting groggy."
The Queen was about to kill the king when a great cry went out across the battlefield. The men were wailing and crying out in terror and amazement. Hadn't they just won victory over the blacks? Why were they so distressed? The Queen demanded a report from her runner, and he returned swiftly to tell her the terrible news: their King had been slain! While his army lay siege to the black King, his enemy had sent a small group of men to sneak into the King's camp and murder him right in front of his face.
He saw them approaching for nearly half an hour, but he paid them no mind. They were just petty villagers with spears - merely pawns to be disposed of by the enemy King. But the black King didn't dispose of them - they slew many Rooks and even a Knight, finally capturing the King and sending him to his grave. Having lost both King and the will to fight, the Queen sounded the retreat, utterly defeated.
"Did she kill the black King, Grandpa?" His grandfather seemed to have slouched in his chair considerably. "Grandpa?" He sighed in disappointment; his grandfather was fast asleep. Just as he was about to get up to go to bed, Teddy noticed his family crest hanging over the fireplace, studying it for the first time. Two swords crossed over each other in the shape of an 'x'.
Teddy just stood and stared.
© 2008 Michael N Lovdal.
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