Παρασκευή, 22 Μαΐου 2009

No Lucky Strike.



And so it came to pass, that a new lord had come to possession of the vast estate that stretched on almost all of the Jutland peninsula -and his name was Lord Dunhill.

Lord Dunhill was, by all accounts, a man of honour and dignity and a man who took pride on his regal bloodline and his lordly heritage -a strict man of principle, fit for aristocracy and adept on the whims the latter may bring. Alas, such strength and rich of character was wasted, mercilessly smashed under the heel of a force even more commanding than the iron will of this extraordinary man: that force was none other, than that beast of degenerate flaws, arrogance.

Lord Dunhill was indeed a man of supreme intelligence and wit. His knowledge was rivaled only by the thirst of itself and his wisdom was enviable by men far more traveled and far more aged than our Lord Dunhill. His looks, although by no means crude, had that rigid cruelty of features that made him seem distant and strict to libertine women but serious and handsome to the true ladies. Lord Dunhill however, rarely meddled with the kinder gender and for the few times he did come close with one of its representatives, had only the most spiteful impressions to utter.

There was however a lady who had won the heart of Lord Dunhill, ages and ages ago, when the rough yet elegant man, was still a youth, ignorant of principles as actions or ladies as wives. Her name was Irina and they had spent almost all their years of childhood and adolescence together, before he moved away with his family, to the rainy metropolis, crown of the British Isles, in the west, closer to the cruel nurturing of the great Atlantic. That Irina still lived in Jutland all these years, and Lord Dunhill yearned to pay her a visit, for her face would often come and joyously haunt his sleep, although he could not really (admit to) comprehend the true nature and cause of such dreams.

One Saturday morning, Lord Dunhill left his estate and rode all the way to the house where Irina lived. A master in horsemanship, Lord Dunhill was on Irina's doorstep only a couple of hours later, dismounting and dusting away his hat. He elegantly climbed a few stone stairs and knocked boldly and decisively on Irina's door. Soon after, the handle turned and the door opened.

Do imagine now, the surprise of Lord Dunhill, when instead of Irina, saw a young man standing right in front of him. Quite long and golden was this young man's hair and blue were his eyes and Lord Dunhill knew very well that instant, that this man was of no kin to his beloved Irina.

"Do pardon me, my dear boy" said Lord Dunhill scornfully. "I thought that was the residence of Lady Irina".

"Aye" replied the young man indifferently, "'tis indeed the house of Irina -and me, for I am her husbant. Is it a friend of hers that stands before me?"

"Yes, our friendship roots back to the days of Irina's childhood, when-"

"You want me to go get her then?" asked the young man impatiently.

"No, as it turns out I am probably of burden than of welcome. But may I inqure, who are you my good lad, besides of course, Irina's husband?"

"My name is Rod Prince. Anything else I can do for you then?"

"No my dear fellow" replied spitefully our Lord Dunhill. "You've done your part alright."

-

The next few months marked a season of tension between the two households. Should the two men ever happen to meet, be it in the town or a stroll at the shore, looks full of malice where exchanged and bad silence fell upon anyone who happened to accompany the two adversaries. And the day came, when the calm before the storm finally ended and the black clouds of war spread out of the hearts of the two men, out above the villages and the estates they stood upon, out above the farms and mills, out and all above the flatland that is Jutland.

One evening, Lord Dunhill heard a noise on the far end of his garden. He approached the window to see what had made that curious noise and as he surveyed, he saw that it was the horse that Rod Prince usually used as his steed. It had jumped over the fence of his yard and was running about in the garden, causing somewhat of a degree of damage to his flowers, bushes and benches.

Now, as we've mentioned already, Lord Dunhill was an exceptional rider -he could easily restrain the beautiful beast and having it returned to its master, demand compensation from the latter, for all the damage caused. Rod Prince could easily afford to pay Lord Dunhill double the cost of the repairs, for he was a wealthy man and would so avoid to apologize. Lord Dunhill knew this and thus chose not to capture the horse. Instead, he loaded his hunting rifle, the one he used when he went boar hunting, opened the window, aimed and fired. The horse fell dead instantly.

Rod Prince was assempling his search party when Lord Dunhill appeared furious on his horse.

"Your frenzied mule entered my garden earlier. It tore apart my rose-bushes, it devastated the glass house, it trampled all my dahlias."

"Then you have it. Praise you Lord Dunhill, I never thought I'd ever say this, but praise you. I shall of course compensate you to the last sepal that perished under my horse's hooves, I shall repair the damage with my own hands to show you my gratitude -praise you Lord Dunhill."

"Don't rush now young man, the beast was berserk. 'Tis no business of mine to attend to an inept man's failures -I shot the beast dead before it could do any more harm. I have come to tell you to arrange to take the corpse away from my house."

Rod Prince swelled with fury. His temple veins pumped blood and hate into his head.
He pointed a trembling finger at Lord Dunhill and said "Tomorrow. Here. The field of honour. Bring witnesses."

-

The next day the two men were standing back to back, surrounded by men who would serve as witnesses. Irina had refused to attend to a ceremony she abhorred and failed to understand and that was both a comfort and disappointment to both of the duelers.

"You shall both take fifteen steps, numbered and dictated by me" said a short mustached man. "When after the fifteenth step I shout "draw", you must both draw your weapons, turn around... oh well, you know the rest of it."

"Are you ready?" called a second man, holding idly a folded umbrella on his shoulder.

"Ready" said Rod Prince.
"Ready" said Lord Dunhill.

"One!" yelled the man with the mustache.
"Two!" honked the man with the umbrella.

After a dozen steps, a long pause of an instant was introduced.

"Fifteen" shouted both the men who began to slowly back up from the line of fire.

And they both took a big breath before shouting

"DRAW!"

-

The bodies of the two men were put to rest in the only hill that overlooks the flatland that is Jutland. The estate of Lord Dunhill was taken by the Church which in turn, relinquished it to rich farmers, apiece for a price. Irina mourned the loss of her husband, inherited his great fortune and married a foreign nobleman, a man called Davidoff.

They live happily together to this day.

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