Latveria’s High Castle, 1916
“Father?” The nine-year-old Victor asked, looking up as his tall father. “Why must we keep mother a secret when we go to the temple? Why can nobody know she is my mother?”
“Because, my boy. She is a priestess of the temple.” Victor’s father, Caesar, King of Latveria, answered back. “The priestesses are not meant for marriage. She broke her vow when we married. If she knew the two of us had married, and you were born, she would be sacrificed to Mephisto for her heresy.”
“So, where do the peasants think I came from?” Victor asked. “Who do they think my mother is?”
Caesar waited a moment before answering his sons’ question. “I was offered many young women of the nobility when I was a younger man, Victor. I simply tell the people you came from one of them.”
Victor nodded his head, and the two stood in the room in silence.
“Come on now, my son.” Caesar stated after a few moments in silence. “We must go to the temple for service.”
The two were dressed in extravagant suits, as was expected from the royalty of Latveria. The van Dammes had held the position of royalty in Latveria for over six-hundred years. Some of the kings had ruled fairly, though most, including Caesar, were cruel and harsh to their citizens, ruling with an iron fist. It was only the love Caesar felt for his secret wife, Helena, and the pride he felt over his son that brought out any emotion other than greed and selfishness.
The two left the dressing room and entered into the grand hallway, where they were met by the Royal Guards. The guards led them through the hall and down the stairway, before reaching the bottom and entering into the grand entryway of the castle.
“Stand close within our protection, my King!” The head guard shouted as the gates of the fortress opened. “The peasant riots have sparked up again! Most of it seems to be happening on the forest’s edge, but some might creep up this way!”
“Just lead my son and I to the temple.” King Caesar replied dryly. “Dirty peasant and wooden swords do not scare me.”
“Sire, the riots have gotten very nasty!” Another guard shouted. “Sir Daniel and Sir Garran have both been killed in the line of the riots!”
“Those names mean nothing to me!” Caesar harshly refuted back. “And they were probably poor knights if mere peasants could kill them.”
The guards led the two royals down the road from the castle to the temple (it was the only paved road in all of Latveria). As they got down the road, after a few minutes of walking, they began to here loud shouting from the edge of the forest beside them. Out from the forest came about eighteen to twenty peasants, running straight towards the road the royals and guards were walking on.
The guards saw the mob running towards them and positioned themselves to protect both Caesar and Victor. The mob clashed with the guards, hitting them with thick metal poles and large wooden bludgeons. The guards fought back, though their initial underestimation of the power of the rioters caught them by surprise. Three guards grabbed onto Caesar’s shoulder, and began to pull both him and Victor away from the riot.
The six people, three guards and two royals, ran down the road, continuing onwards toward the temple. As they ran, Victor’s foot got caught in a set of tree roots which crossed onto the path, and he fell to the ground.
“Father!” Victor shouted, gaining the attention of his father and the guards. One guard came back and tried to pull Victor up, but rioter came up from behind the guard and began to strangle him with a rope. More rioters came, attacking the guards, Caesar, and even young Victor.
Minutes passed. Minutes which felt like hours. Soon though, an army of guards came and fought off many of the rioters. Victor laid there on the ground, wounded from the beating he had sustained. How was he alive? How had he not died? He did not know, but he was crushed at what he heard one of the guards say behind him.
“The King. He has been murdered.” The guard stated.
“Get Prince Victor back to the castle immediately. Get his wounds treated.” The other guard responded as two soldiers came and lifted Victor off the ground.
“I am sorry, my boy.” Latveria’s head general stated. “Once you are healed up, you will be the new king of Latveria.”
Latveria’s High Castle, 1936
“Bring in the heretic.” A now adult Victor stated, sitting upon the throne which was once his father’s. He was tall, blonde, and had blue eyes. He spoke in a commanding yet elegant voice, and was decorated in the many pins, jewels, and gowns of Latverian royalty.
Two Royal Guards walked into the throne room, each with one arm wrapped around a woman. The woman looked within her early forties, had long blonde hair, and was quite beautiful.
“You stand before King Victor van Damme of Latveria.” Victor exclaimed. “And you, woman, are a heretic to both the State and the Temple. Your sisters in the Sisterhood of Mephisto are ashamed of your actions! What is your defense to be?”
“I…I am sorry, my King.” The woman replied. “But, please, why do you condemn me? It was not you who I wronged!”
“Do not question my judgment!” Victor shouted. “You broke your covenant to the Temple and to the Sisterhood. You seduced my father and bore his child. And after I was born, you hid behind your covenant within the Sisterhood and denied me, even after my father was killed! Tell me, mother, what defense do you have?!”
“Please my King!” She began. “My King! My…my son! Please forgive me. I have wronged you, your father, the Sisterhood. Latveria itself. Please, as my son, have mercy on me!”
Victor sat on his throne, looking down at the woman who was his mother. He sat long, pondering and taking in everything she said to him. After a few moments of contemplation, he responded: “Take her to the royal living quarters.”
“Excuse me, sire?” One of the guards asked, confusion clear in his voice.
“You heard me, soldier. Direct her to the royal living quarters. I will assign a handmaiden to her immediately, and she will be cleaned, clothed, and fed as true royalty.” Victor responded, a smile coming upon his face. “She is royalty now. She did marry my father, after all.”