The Lost Prince: Chapters 5 and 6. “A Duel Between Two Young Men” and a “Secret Meeting”

Posted: November 7, 2009 in Book Excerpts, Entertainment, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Literature, Novels, Science Fiction, The Lost Prince
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In which two young men put their pride on the line, a secret meeting between lovers by the lake, and the arrival of a mysterious visitor who will greatly change the lives of Gard’s citizens…

A Duel Between Two Young Men

The old arena was deserted as always. Once upon a time the arena was a bustling sight as people came from far and wide to watch the jousting tournament between the knights of Kalidor and Duros.

Decades ago Kalidor and Duros were constantly at war with one another, eventually two kings decided that the fighting had gone on for long enough and decided that to settle their differences every year the best warriors would compete in a tournament hosted by a neutral land. When hostilities ended the jousts continued as a form of entertainment and tradition. Kalidor and Duros also made a pledge that any attack on Gard and the neutral lands by either kingdom would be an act of war. But that is a story for another time. Tonight the arena serves as the backdrop to a fight of a much smaller scale.

Michael and Christopher arrived in the arena surrounded by their friends brandishing tree branches as substitutes for swords.

“Same rules as at camp.” Christopher declared.

“Best of three, if you’re tagged on the head, torso, or have your leg swept by the sword you lose” Michael finished.

The boy’s friends formed a circle with Christopher and Michael in the middle on opposite ends. Each side cheered on their man, counting to three for the fight to begin.

Christopher went for a shot at Michael’s head. He blocked it, Michael and parried ninety degrees to the right forcing, Christopher forward. Michael then swept Christopher’s legs tripping him to the ground face first. Christopher rolled to his back only to feel Michael’s branch stab him in the abdomen.

“Round one goes to me.” Michael taunted his opponent. Christopher got up irately and whacked Michael in the back of the head as punishment.

“Never give your enemy your back.” Christopher taunted while Michael regained his composure. Michael answered with a cheap shot of his own to Christopher’s testicles.

“Dad always told me never to leave the jewels wide open. Were even.” Michael mocked as the onlookers laughed while Christopher crouched in an attempt to alleviate the pain. Michael gave him time to recuperate so that the fight would be fair.  Suddenly Christopher sprang to life with a renewed ferocity, hacking Michael like a barbarian, never allowing him a second to mount a strong guard. Michael countered with a backward roll and dodged Christopher’s shot to the head. Michael sprung to his feet as Christopher lunged for a stab. Michael pivoted out of the way and swung at Christopher’s head, which was blocked. Michael stepped back and settled into his guard. Christopher’s strength and brute force was far greater than Michaels. It would take finesse to defeat him. The two circled one another and their friends moved back to give them some room to fight. Michael prodded Christopher’s wrists hoping the strain on his nerves would force him to drop his branch. Christopher annoyed by Michael’s attempts stepped back and struck Michael’s head. Michael blocked by crossing his sword with Christopher’s. Christopher tried to overpower Michael but his footing gave him a good foundation against Christopher’s strength. Christopher leaned more of his weight into Michael, who circled with his left and spun around forcing Christopher to stumble and leave his stomach and back of his neck open. Michael went in for the kill when suddenly his hands started to burn and his branch caught fire. The same thing happened to Christopher.

“And they say women are act irrationally” Geldolf shouted angrily stepping between the two with Thessaly in tow. “Can’t you two have one night where you don’t go galloping off to satisfy your pride?” he scolded while grabbing Michael and Christopher by their ears.

“Yes sir” the boys answered in unison.

“If it wasn’t for Miss Rose I wouldn’t be surprised if we had a blood feud by the end of the night” Geldolf continued.

“Sorry boys” Thessaly sheepishly apologized.

“Oh you have nothing to be sorry about” he assured her “If anything you two owe her an apology for making her the focus of a sophomoric cat fight. Sir Francis is about to make his toast so I highly suggest that you get your butts back to the wedding before the whole town notices you’re missing.” He ordered.

“Oh by the way, Michael won that round.”

“How would…?” Christopher asked

“Simple Mr. Glassman, your overconfidence in your strength made you arrogant. You thought applying all your weight to Michael you could force him to the ground. Obviously, you failed to do the most menial of tasks like checking your opponents footing for a strong foundation. All Michael needed to do was pivot to put you off balance. If I hadn’t intervened he could’ve finished you by thrusting his branch into your stomach or hitting you upside your head, which he was about to do I might add.”

Everyone was dumbfounded by Geldolf’s flawless analysis of the duel. The more they thought about it the more they realized he was right. Christopher was not happy.

“And if you even think about uttering that expletive at me Mr. Glassman I will make sure your tongue is only good for catching flies.” Geldolf warned Christopher.

“What makes you…”? Christopher stuttered, shocked by Geldolf s ability to read his mind.

“A wizard sees and hears much in his lifetime and the unoriginality of insults from the mouth’s of angry young boys is a constant.”

Christopher kept his mouth shut as everyone in the arena followed Geldolf back to the celebration.

*

A Secret Meeting

He heard voices without faces crying in pain. Flames surrounded him. A woman screamed, a girl cried. Dark monsters emerged from shadow with beady yellow eyes with teeth ivory white and sharp as spears. A wave of faceless soldiers faced them and fell. The monsters came closer, axes raised for the killing blow when all of a sudden he heard the sound of rocks hitting his windows. He woke up.

Only a dream’ he told himself but it was a dream that plagued him sense childhood. The celebration continued into the wee hours of the night, past when Michael retired to bed. His parents had gotten in within the hour and were soundly asleep, but in the distance he could hear the party in its winding hours. But that didn’t matter, only the stranger throwing pebbles at his window mattered. Michael peered outside and saw Thessaly, dressed in her white nightgown motioning for him to join her. Michael put on a pair of pants and crept outside to meet her. Her beauty radiated in the blue light of the moon as she rushed into Michael’s arms. He twirled her in the moonlight then set her down and kissed her softly on the lips.

“Finally, sometime alone.” She sighed. They kissed again.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Michael whispered in her ear. “Come on let’s go.” He took her by the hand and led her through the woods to a small peninsula on the tip of the lake by an oak tree that had two letters carved into it, an ‘M’ and a ‘T’, their secret place. The sky was clear and every star was visible and reflected on the lake’s surface. They stared into each other eyes without a care in the world. She rested her head on his shoulder and sighed.

“I love coming out here.” She began sadly.

“What’s wrong?” he asked her.

“Mikey, at the wedding Christopher’s parents and mine were talking. I overheard some of it. They were discussing wedding plans. I think…I think they’re getting serious about a marriage.”

“Its okay Thessy”

“No its not Michael. I don’t love Christopher, I love you and I don’t think I can convince my parents that you’re the man for me, especially if they’re making plans.”

“You don’t have to marry Christopher. You’re the one who ultimately decides who you’re going to marry.” Michael attempted to console.

“Michael, its not that my parents don’t like you. They do. They actually think you’re the best man for me. Its just….”

“Just what?” Michael asked.

“…They don’t think you can take care of me. They don’t think you’ll be there for me when I need you.”

“They know I’d be there. You know I’d be there.”

“Michael. You want to become a soldier, like your father was.” Thessaly sternly reminded him. “And my parents don’t think you’re right for me. My mother always talks about how you’d be following Sir Francis and his friends on some ‘damned fool’s idealistic crusade’ into Malice or some other awful place and wind up being killed, leaving me alone, with no one to care for me, and the more I think about it the more I…oh what are we going to do?” She turned around and began to weep Michael wrapped his arms around to comfort her. She pressed her cheek into his chest her warm tears could be felt through his shirt. Something else was bothering her, he knew it.

“Michael…while I danced with Christopher he…” she paused to catch her breath. “He said that if I refused him, he’d make my parents life a nightmare.”

“He’s bluffing.” Michael answered sharply, anger welling up in his face.

“Michael, you know how vindictive when they don’t get what they want.”

“I won’t let him!”

“Stop trying to play my hero and be sensible, Mikey.”

A few moments passed. “We could elope” Michael suggested, attempting to cheer her up.

“What!” Thessaly asked in shock; she was pouring her heart out to him and the only thing he could reassure her with was a ridiculous notion.

“I’m serious!” Michael tried to assured her “We could run off. Go to Duros, get married there, I can join the Castle Guard. I won’t have to travel far for wars. I can be a soldier and take care of you at the same and…we can start anew and no Christopher to get between us. Once we’re settled we’ll send for our families so he can’t ruin them. We can live happily and start a family.” This was too much for Thessaly. She knew a part of Michael was sincere and she wished she could do the same thing unfortunately reality wouldn’t let her. She turned away from Michael.

“I’m sorry Thessy, I just didn’t what else to say. We’ll think of something. You know what they say in the stories that true love will triumph over all. That even if the Black Wizard forced you into being his bride I would triumph in the end because when two people love each other they give each other the strength of stars.” Michael reassured her.

“Did your father tell you that?” She asked

“No”

“Your mother?”

“No.”

“Sir Francis?” she asked skeptically.

“Nope”

“Who?”

“Dougie” Michael smiled. Thessaly started to laugh.

“You’re joking?” she kept giggling. “Dougie? Our Dougie?”

“Actually Dougie can be quite profound…” Michael answered “…on the rare occasion when he’s sober.” He smiled at her.

She smiled at him with a renewed happiness and gave him a big hug. “Oh Michael” she cried with joy “Nothing can dampen your spirit.” Michael put his arm around her and they sat down.

“Listen there’s nothing we can do about it now. Lets just enjoy the rest of the night here at our secret place” Michael whispered softly drawing her closer. The two lay down on the grass while the sky and trees watched over them.

“Such a beautiful night” Thessaly observed, “You can see the full figure of Krom. Do you remember when we were little and Geldolf used to tell us the legend of Krom and how he ended the eternal winter?” she reminisced.

“And when he tried to do Krom’s ascension winded up blinding himself and fell into the middle of our circle.” Michael remembered.

“Of course, he landed right on top of Casey Windham then the boys piled on him while the girls put grass in his hair. To this day he still insists the fall was intentional.”

“As intentional as the time you got lost in the woods.” Michael reminisced.

“ If you had any sense you’d stop now!” She pouted, lightly slapping him in the chest.

“No need to get angry. I was just going to say if it wasn’t for me you’d be Queen of the Forest.”

“Actually, Biff found me but you took all the credit.” She retorted.

“But I brought him. So I get half the credit.”

“You took all the credit.”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Yes, you did. You’re doing it again right now.”

An awkward silence fell between them for a moment, “Look over there its Christopher!”

“What?” she turned in shock, allowing Michael to throw his arms around her and rolling her a couple of times before finally settling with her on top of him.

“Gotcha.”

“Michael Donnington that was a dirty trick” she scolded slapping him lightly a couple of times. “You know how I hate those jokes.” She smiled, rolling to his side and nestling her head to his shoulder. Michael put his arm around her and held her close. Her body was warm and her nightgown soft. They lay together silently gazing up at the stars as though the world revolved around them. He kissed her softly on the forehead and nestled his cheek atop her head.

“Mikey Donnington loves me.” She teased like when they were kids, kissing him in the process. “And I love him.”

Together they lay until dawn as they watched the stars dance with their reflection upon the river. One star in particular twinkled brighter than the others.  The night was endless, just how they liked it.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

On the other side of the lake as dawn pressed her pink lips to the sky, a mysterious figure emerged from the woods. Clad in menacing black armor with a long black cape. It sat atop a black stallion and wore a black helmet concealing its entire face. It gazed down at the peaceful village whose residents were retiring to a good nights sleep unaware that tomorrow they would be in for a rude awakening.

Copyright ã 2008 Todd Matthy

Yes, the image is of Aragorn and Arwen in Rivendell. I thought it was an appropriate image 🙂

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