Mistica Chronicles

Welcome to Issue 47

Mnemosyne Winning Entry

Jasper didn’t hate Archie.

In hindsight, he couldn’t, not really. Because Archie had tried, really he had. He had been trying since the day he’d been born, trying so hard to be noticed, to be like Jasper. He had wanted approval, wanted the fame that came with being the best, like Jasper. While Jasper had risen to the top, Archie had sunk to the bottom, becoming more and more mediocre as time passed.

Sure, Jasper had sympathized, but hey, it was the way things went. The strong crush the weak. Predators eat pacifists, so on and so forth. Jasper loved his brother enough to leave him his dignity when he came begging for help with the circus, begging him to give him just one more chance. Jasper had been kind, hadn’t he? He’d given Archie more time. Then he’d gone to collect.

He’d done a lot of things for Archie, out of love and respect for their bond. And what had he gotten in turn? A backstabbing. Betrayal. Subterfuge. Treachery. Whatever word fit best for the given moment. The facts still stood – Archie had stolen what was rightfully his.
How many years had he poured into the circus? How much effort had he put into keeping it alive, keeping people happy? How many times had he dressed up and entertained the crowds, yanked the title of King of Lanturnacht from Albrecht’s filthy fingers? He had been the best, at the top of the heap, revered by all. People had loved him. But Archie…

Archie hadn’t been content. He hadn’t liked that. So he’d waited. Planned and plotted until Jasper showed his back, showed his weakness, and then he’d gone in for the kill. He’d snatched Jasper’s spotlight, captivated his crowd, and stolen the circus right out from underneath him. He had lied – and it was because of his lie that Jasper was forced to do such dark things. That he was forced to go to Boreal, that foolish, foolish woman that thought she knew so very much about celebratory events, and beg for her help. It was because of Archie that he had to kidnap Mericlaus and dish out presents in her stead, and run the Advent Calender, ignoring those fearful few who approached him with wary eyes.

He knew what they all thought – that Gregory’s betrayal (and it was a betrayal, abandoning him like that in his time of need) had sent him off the deep end. He could see the fear, see the nervous bunch who avoided him like the plague, hear the whispers that Aurelius would make it all right when he showed up. Jasper laughed at that; King Kohal himself couldn’t stop him now. Archie had stolen what was rightfully his, so Jasper would steal a new holiday for himself, one where he would be revered and loved by all.

Jasper would be the new King of Mistmas soon. Another reason he couldn’t hate Archie. Kings were benevolent, loving, tolerant. He couldn’t be a king if he wasn’t those things. So Jasper would continue to smile and bow and wave…

But more than anything, Jasper would never hate Archie.