Cyrus's Trip to a Strange London

Submitted into Contest #59 in response to: Write about a character arriving in a place unlike anywhere they’ve ever been.... view prompt

50 comments

Adventure Romance Funny

Cyrus Darkmore came to London to find her and this small man keeps telling him something about a stupid number.

“Sir, if you want to contact her, I need a number" he explains, holding a newspaper dated from yesterday, May 1st, 2000.

“How dare you speak of her like she’s just a number? She has a name, Sierra.” Anger shows in his tone, but he pronounces “Sierra” as if the name reminds him of both sorrow and love. The man behind the counter looks startled.

“I’m sorry sir, but I need more than a name. And I meant her telephone number.”

“I don’t have… that!” Cyrus responds, as if the poor man in front of him had asked him for something that does not exist. “And it’s Your Majesty actually,” he adds seriously, looking him up and down. Cyrus Darkmore is, after all, the King of Elpida.

“But um… your Majesty, I… can’t contact someone if the only thing you have is a name!” Incredulous, he takes a few steps backwards until he turns and storms towards a door, muttering a “sorry, need to…, good bye.”

“But you did not help me you stupid, strange man living in a big rectangular house full of toys!” His breath is short at the end of the sentence. He leaves the building and wonders how a grown man can give his house a name such as Smyths Toys Superstores.

He walks straight out until he is almost run over by some kind of red carriage, apparently pulled by nothing. “Hey, careful with your carriage” he shouts at it.

Where he’s from, people’s carriages are pulled by horses. Cyrus knew London was different from Elpida, but he never expected… that. There are rumors about great castles and bridges but, up to now, he finds there are only strange and certainly not elegant palaces. He took the portal in his palace this morning, thinking about her, Sierra. It should have brought him straight to her. Instead, he found himself in a strange cold basement. He took an iron box with doors to come back to the surface of the Earth. He was then asked what he was doing in… what did she call it again? Right the Hospital. Surely, this gray smelly palace with an ugly name is not Sierra’s type of home. Elpida’s island blossoms with nature and magic, it is far more beautiful and marvelous than Great Britain. Had he known five years ago, he would not have sent her here.

The more he thinks about it, the more he is convinced the portal must have been right. He walks back toward the Hospital, concerned that Sierra might not be the same. Altering memories can have strong repercussions on someone’s mind…

***

He glares at the palace as if it were conspiring against him and walks through the doors which opened on their own. He does not remember seeing any magic in this city. His palms are sweaty and he puts his hands in the pockets of his long elegant black coat, trying to hide his trembling fingers. Somehow, he can feel that she is nearby. He hasn’t seen her in five years and she won’t even remember him. Despite that, he needs to check on her, make sure she is still safe.

He reaches the woman at the counter and says, “I need to speak with Sierra.” The woman sighs with annoyance but, when she glances at him, her lips curve into a smile. Cyrus can see how her eyes examines his handsome features, his short pale brown hair and his blue irises as dark as the bottom of the ocean. He would be flattered in other circumstances, however, Sierra is his priority. “Can you tell me where she is, miss?” he asks, urgency pointing in his voice.

“Oh, she’s working, probably on the second floor” she answers, blinking her eyelashes.

“Thank you, miss.” He leans over the counter, takes her hand, and kisses it lightly. He turns after seeing her surprised expression and he wonders if men around here have any manners at all with women.

He enters the iron box for the second time today with an elder woman. He already forgot how it works, so he does the only thing he can think of. He says loudly, “Second floor.”

The elder woman jumps and grumbles “And everyone tells me that I’m bad with technology.” Cyrus almost feels embarrassed as she presses two buttons.

When he finally arrives on the second floor, he bids farewell to the woman, “Thank you, madam, for your help in the iron box, I wish you a delightful visit in the Hospital.” He slightly bows before her and turns, eager to find Sierra. He hears laughter echoing behind him as the doors of the iron box close.

***

As he rushes around the corridors, no one really pays him any attention, so many servants in white running around. He thinks about the choice he made five years ago. He chose to send her away, he erased her memories of magic, of Elpida, and, of course, of him. He did it to protect her. She never would have been safe in Elpida, with him. Deeply, he knows she wouldn’t have wanted this, she would have fought him. This might be the only selfless choice he has ever done. Had she stayed with him, his enemies would have used her to get him to surrender the throne. A few people know that he is not the true heir to the throne, but they don’t have any proof. However, he still wonders whether he should have left Elpida with her.

Lost in the past, he turns a corner and bumps into a servant in a white coat. She stumbles into his arms and, instantly, he recognizes her. She let her golden hair grow longer in the past years and she still radiates love and compassion. When she glances up, he freezes, resisting the urge to kiss her forehead. Her eyes recall a violet night sky brightened by a million stars.

She staggers backward, her cheeks slightly pink, and apologizes, “I am so sorry, I wasn’t looking where I was going.” Her voice sounds like the sweetest music he has ever heard. And then, it strikes him.

“But… you’re a servant?” he says, startled. “You deserve way better!”

Sierra starts laughing, a beautiful joyful sound. “I can’t decide whether you’re serious or joking. I’m a doctor, see?” She points to the stethoscope around her neck.

“Of course you are… dedicated to helping others.” Part of him wonders if she is aware of her healing talents. He also realizes the white coats are not servants.

When he does not add anything else, she asks, “Can I help you?”

“I would be delighted if you would do me the honors of grabbing a coffee with me.” He blurts out the words before he can change his mind. And he heard people around here loved to grab coffees.

She smiles at his offer and responds, “You are incredibly strange but also charming. I would be enchanted to go out with you.”

He lets out a relieved sigh, unaware he was holding his breath. After saying their goodbyes and setting a place and time, he kisses her hand and leaves.

***

Cyrus steps out of the portal, back into the basement of his palace. His adviser, Allan Emerson, waits for him with a cup of tea. “How was your visit in Great Britain, Your Majesty?”

“Horrible! These people have no manners at all, except for Sierra of course. And let’s not mention their ugly palaces. What kind of man calls his palace Smyths Toys Superstores?” Cyrus lets out a sigh before adding, “I must say, Sierra is still as beautiful as ever. I will visit her again tomorrow.”

“Perhaps you haven’t seen the right corner of London. I heard rumors about a certain Windsor Castle” Allan admits.

“I certainly did not see any castle. I will look into it soon with Sierra. Surely, she must know about it.” He takes a pause and turns toward Allan. “I will grab a coffee with Sierra tomorrow and I desperately need your help. What is coffee?”

“I am sorry, Your Majesty, I have never heard of it. It must be something new, invented in the last century maybe. Your father never visited the lands beyond Elpida, neither did your grandfather. I will look into it.”

“Thank you Allan, and look into carriages pulled by nothing. I wish to understand how they can travel without any horses, or magic.” Cyrus sighs and mutters something about London being a mysterious and strange place.

September 18, 2020 17:03

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50 comments

Charles Stucker
20:39 Sep 18, 2020

"From where he’s from," - it's just, "Where he's from," " Somehow, he can feel that she is nearby, he hasn’t seen her in five years and she won’t even remember him." run on sentence. He says loudly, “second floor.” The elder woman jumps and grumbles “and everyone tells me that I’m bad with technology.” Two points. First, you should make the elder woman's reply a different paragraph- always change paragraphs when you change speakers. Second, capitalize the first word in dialogue. He hears a laughter echoing behind him as the doors o...

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Dalyane Deblois
20:53 Sep 18, 2020

Thank you so much for the advice! My goal would be to write a novel eventually with those characters and I'm using Reedsy to explore their past and to improve my writing. Comments like yours is really helpful, so I really appreciate it and I will definitely look into it! Again, thank you very much!!

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B. W.
18:48 Sep 18, 2020

I liked this and you did a good job with it :) 10/10

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Dalyane Deblois
18:51 Sep 18, 2020

Thank you, this is very nice!!:)

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B. W.
18:54 Sep 18, 2020

No problem :)

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Scout Tahoe
02:24 Sep 19, 2020

Haha, this is hilarious! So entertaining to read. An amazing story and I'm hoping there will be a part 2 because I need to see how coffee goes. Cyrus is a great character. Also, love the name Allan Emerson. Keep writing and let me know if there's a part 2 coming out! :)

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Dalyane Deblois
03:04 Sep 19, 2020

Thank you so much, this is exactly the reaction I was going for! I put a lot of effort into Cyrus’s character, so I’m really glad to hear this! I will definitely write a short story about the coffee date when a prompt fits and I will let you know! :)

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Scout Tahoe
03:31 Sep 19, 2020

Thanks! Glad to hear that.

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Keerththan 😀
08:35 Sep 25, 2020

The iron box! What!!!!!!???? Wonderful story. Well written. Keep writing. Would you mind reading my new story? Thanks.

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Dalyane Deblois
00:28 Sep 26, 2020

Thank you so much!! And no worries I'll check it out!

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01:36 Sep 25, 2020

Hey, Dalyane would you be kind to watch the first video it's on Harry potter. https://youtu.be/KxfnREWgN14 Sorry for asking your time, This my first time to edit video

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Dalyane Deblois
12:13 Sep 25, 2020

I honestly think it's very well done!:)

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14:11 Sep 25, 2020

Thanks 🙂

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Gip Roberts
18:37 Sep 24, 2020

When I realized what this "iron box" he kept referring to was, I really began to love the story. Awesome job on the "show, don't tell" here.

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Dalyane Deblois
01:19 Sep 25, 2020

I really enjoyed writing that part with his perception of the elevators. Thanks a lot, I really appreciate this!!:)

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Rayhan Hidayat
14:18 Sep 22, 2020

This was super funny and surprisingly touching! I love how much effort he puts into trying to understand London despite hating the place, all for his daughter. Definitely novel material right here! Keep it up! ;)

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Dalyane Deblois
18:12 Sep 22, 2020

That is so great to hear, thank you! Sierra is actually Cyrus's love interest. I will definitely check out where it might have been confusing. Thanks for pointing it out though ;)

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Rayhan Hidayat
18:22 Sep 22, 2020

Looking back, that makes complete sense. I have no idea why I thought they were related when they're going on a coffee date. My bad ;)

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Dalyane Deblois
18:31 Sep 22, 2020

No worries, happens to me too sometimes ;)

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Daniel K
15:58 Sep 20, 2020

It was really entertaining reading about these characters again! You get to see more of their personalities and how they talk to each other. I liked the social commentary in this one (Great Britain not being marvelous, ugly palaces, no manners). It makes his confusion about the new place something the reader can relate to. A small critique I have is to maybe mention something descriptive that shows what time period in London this is taking place, to get a better sense of how it looks (a model of a car, news headline, etc). Just a suggestion....

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Dalyane Deblois
23:02 Sep 20, 2020

Thanks a lot! I really enjoyed writing about London from Cyrus's point of view. You're right, I forgot to mention the time period. I'll look into it but it's happening around 2000. Unfortunately, I haven't decided on a title yet. I'll probably write it in my bio as soon as I decide. The novel is actually going to happen about 20 years later. Cyrus will still be one of the main characters, and Sierra will be there too!

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Kristin Neubauer
15:07 Sep 19, 2020

I am sorry for the late comment on this, Dalyane. I started reading yesterday and kept getting interrupted, but I was really enjoying it and had to come back to it today. I loved it! Great descriptions of Cyrus' encounters with doctors, elevators, the underground and buses. I was so sad to see that Sierra didn't remember him, but am hoping there will be a Part 2 to this story....it feels like there will be. Great work!

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Dalyane Deblois
15:54 Sep 19, 2020

No worries Kristin! I'm glad you enjoyed it and thank you very much for the feedback and for reading! I really enjoyed describing the modern world in Cyrus' eyes and there will definitely be a short story on their date when a prompt fits!;)

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Chitra Gopi
06:56 Sep 19, 2020

Delightful!

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Dalyane Deblois
13:10 Sep 19, 2020

Thanks a lot!!😊

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D. Jaymz
04:31 Sep 19, 2020

Your character development through dialogue was very good 👏 You are well on your way to building a novel. Keep writing 😊

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Dalyane Deblois
13:10 Sep 19, 2020

Thank you so much, I'm very glad to hear it! I hope you enjoyed, have a nice day!😊

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D. Jaymz
18:29 Sep 19, 2020

You're welcome 😊

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Philip Clayberg
22:11 Sep 18, 2020

I liked your story. I agree with Charles Stucker that it feels like part of a much longer story, which I would be very interested in reading. Btw, when Cyrus said, "I wish to understand how they can travel without ... magic" (I omitted "any horses, or" on purpose), it reminded me of the characters in Piers Anthony's Xanth when they visited Mundania. Especially when they discovered that their magic didn't work outside of Xanth, unless they had something to bring the magic with them into Mundania (like in "Centaur Aisle").

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Dalyane Deblois
00:36 Sep 19, 2020

Thank you so much, this is very nice to hear since I would love to develop a novel with those characters. I haven't actually read those books, but I just checked it out and it definitely sounds interesting! Totally seems like the kind of books I often read. Thanks for mentioning it, I will put those books on my to be read list!:)

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Philip Clayberg
02:23 Sep 20, 2020

You're very welcome. I hope you'll have fun writing your novel. Magic in a non-magical place can be fun, but hopefully your characters won't run into any people who are so anti-magic that they treat your characters like witches and/or warlocks and decide to burn them at the stake. Or maybe that'll be the source of tension between your characters and the non-magic characters. I'd be curious to see how you resolve that tension (and whether it's in a positive way, or a negative way, or by keeping the status quo as is). My first Xanth b...

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Dalyane Deblois
12:26 Sep 20, 2020

Thank you! I still have a lot to decide about my novel’s plot. There will be some non-magical people for sure! I already looked at "A Spell for Chameleon" and put it on my wishlist! I will look at the others, I love pretty much every fantasy books. Thanks for the recommendations!

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Philip Clayberg
17:25 Sep 20, 2020

You're very welcome. Along with Piers Anthony's Xanth books, you can also try reading: Susanna Clarke, "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell" (btw, she's just published a new book, which unfortunately I've just forgotten the title of; there's a review of it on NPR.org) Jo Clayton, "Moonscatter" and "Moongather" (I'm not sure which one comes first) Neil Gaiman, "Stardust" and his "Sandman" comics Andre Norton's Witch World books (which may be more sci-fi than fantasy) Arthur H. Landis' Camelot books (they take place on the planet Fergus, ...

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Dalyane Deblois
23:07 Sep 20, 2020

Thank you for all those book suggestions! They all sound interesting. I have indeed already read J.R.R. Tolkien's books and I watched the Narnia movies but I definitely want to read the books too!

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Vj Hamilton
00:55 Sep 29, 2020

Hi Dalyane, VJ here from Critique Circle... You begin with an intriguing, Dickensian name: Cyrus Darkmore. Cyrus has an odd perspective, for example, he "how a grown man can give his house a name such as Smyths Toys Superstores". Moreover, he's from a country where people’s carriages are pulled by horses. He does not know what an elevator was. And here he is, poor man, on a quest for the damsel Sierra. There are some wonderfully whimsical touches of comedy here! For example, his confusion over the status of people in white coats, ...

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Dalyane Deblois
02:13 Sep 30, 2020

Hello, thank you so much, this is exactly the reaction I was going for! I’m really glad you enjoyed the story! I tried my best to write from Cyrus’s perspective!:)

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Andrew Krey
03:12 Sep 28, 2020

Hi Dalyane, I enjoyed reading your story. The way he experiences the mysterious world of London is brilliant. It's a good spin on reality to view mundane things with eyes full of wonder. I hope my feedback was useful, happy writing

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Dalyane Deblois
23:38 Sep 28, 2020

Hi Andrew, thank you so much, your feedback is always helpful!

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Andrew Krey
00:32 Sep 29, 2020

Glad to hear it, you left me without any space to make further suggestions as it was all spot on :)

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☆ Ariadne ☆
16:40 Sep 22, 2020

Hi Dalyane! This super-anticipated sequel to “Powerless Prince” met my expectations and went beyond! Great writing! It seems as though all the grammar mistakes have already been caught, so I won't bug you with all that. I can definitely see a novel about these characters. Well done! ~Ria~

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Dalyane Deblois
18:15 Sep 22, 2020

Hi!! This is no nice to hear, thanks a lot! This definitely makes my day! ;)

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☆ Ariadne ☆
18:19 Sep 22, 2020

Not a problem. I'm glad it did! :)

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