The Lost Prince: Chapters 10, 11, and 12

Posted: December 24, 2009 in Book Excerpts, Entertainment, Fantasy, Literature, Novels, Science Fiction, The Lost Prince
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In which Michael is bequeathed an important treasure and a Black Knight’s Identity is revealed.

A Rather Unusual Dinner

“Geldolf! What are you doing here?” Michael gasped at the sight of the wizard seated at his family table.

“What does it look like? A good friend invited me for dinner,” the wizard answered.

“Mom. Dad. I have great news” Michael excitedly addressed his parents.

“We heard” Arthur interrupted “You’re the next one to face the Black Knight.” He told his son very proudly.

“Geldolf told us.” His Mother answered before he could ask.

“You take the fun out of everything” he scowled at Geldolf for stealing his moment.

“Sit down son, have some turkey and greens. Can’t have you face that knight on an empty stomach now can we” Margaret told Michael who sat down and helped himself to some food.

“So Geldolf how did you know I was going to face the knight if you weren’t there?” he curiously asked the wizard.

“A wizard always knows when the son of a good friend is given a great honor. Why do you ask?

“Oh just wondering. You know the boys and I were at the tavern and we heard an interesting theory about the identity of this phantom visiting our town.”

“And what theory might that be?” the wizard asked, knowing full well the answer.

“Well we just noticed that this knight showed up a day after you came to town. Now is this coincidence or are you hiding something?”

“And just what exactly are you implying my inquisitive friend?”

“Oh we were just wondering Geldolf, where the black stallion is hidden?” Michael asked accusingly while secretly feeding Biff scraps.

“How dare you accuse me of such…tom foolery young Donnington. I assure you tomorrow you will find out I’m not the black knight and the timing of its arrival and mine are purely coincidental.”

“Okay, but you have to admit that the timing of his arrival and yours is a source of curiosity.”

“You’ve raised a curious one here Arthur.”

“He gets it from his mother” Arthur winked to his wife.

“Its one of his better traits” She winked back.

“Dad, I was wondering if maybe you could help me prepare me for the duel?”

“I don’t see why not.” He told his son. “But stop feeding the dog your turkey you know its too rich for him.”

“What are you talking about? He loves turkey.”

“You don’t have to clean up after him.” Margaret smiled.

“So Dad I was wondering if I could use your old sword from your days in the army. Its still sturdy and not heavy enough to be a burden.”

Geldolf and Arthur looked to each other and nodded while Margaret looked away. She knew this day would come. She knew it was coming ever since that rainy night when the White Wizard brought a little miracle to their doorstep.

“No my boy that sword is too old for you. I have a better one in mind.” Arthur got up and removed a loose floorboard that hid a cubby. Out of the cubby he pulled out a sword wrapped in a navy blue sheathe. The hilt was pure silver with a black grip to cushion the hands and the sides of the hilt were shaped like wings of fire with a bird’s head protruding before the start of the blade that rose from the bird’s head.

“I believe you find this to your liking.” He handed the blade to his son.

Michael unsheathed the sword. The blade was beautiful and had three runes etched into it. Michael swung it around a couple of times in awe of how light yet forceful it was.

“It is made from adamanthril light as a feather, but strikes like a hammer.” Geldolf told Michael.

“This sword is amazing how did you get this?” He asked his father, still swinging.

“I…” he looked to Geldolf “called in a few favors from a friend”

“And I’m pretty sure that friend did not intend for that sword to played with in the house.” Margaret not so subtly hinted to her son.

“Oh, sorry Mom” he sheathed the sword as a knock on the door sounded through the room. Biff was jumping at the door as Margaret opened it.

“Hi Mrs. Donnington” Thessaly greeted “Hi Biff,” she told the dog scratching him behind the ears. “Is Michael available?”

“Oh sure he is. Do you want some dinner?” Margaret asked her.

“No thank you I just ate” Thessaly answered. Michael gave her a hug. Margaret sighed in happiness at the sight.

“Alright you two run along and play but don’t stay out too late, its dark out there” Margaret warned the kids.

“Mom” Michael answered in the tone that sons do when their Mother starts doting over them. (Especially in front of a girl) He smiled back to his mother and left with Thessaly.

“And no hanky panky” Mrs. Donnington warned. Michael smacked his face in embarrassment while Thessaly laughed. They didn’t say a word to each other until they reached ‘the spot’.

“This is it. This is what we’ve prayed for. If I beat this knight I’ll go on a great quest where I’m sure to acquire some riches and when I return we can get married just like we wanted.”

“I know. I just…” her voice started to sink slowly “…but this quest could take years. Will I have to marry another thinking you’d died?”

“Hey. Hey. Quit worrying. We have a chance now. We no longer need to discuss eloping or Christopher’s threats. Tell your parents that once I defeat the knight wait a year and a day for me to return from the quest.”

“I’ll ask them” she turned away from him “Look at us…” she said turning back “We’re talking about this as if you’ve already won and you haven’t even fought yet.”

“Hey, you’re the one who said I would beat the knight.” He joked while throwing up his arms. “Who am I to argue with my lady?”

“You could try showing some humility.” She chuckled.

“ I’m sorry. I didn’t want you to lose confidence in your knight” he bowed and she laughed. They threw their arms around each other and kissed under the bright moon.

“Michael” she paused “Why do you want me to wait a year and a day?” She asked him.

“Easy, that’s how long it takes in all the great stories.”

They gazed at the stars twinkling in the sky. Basking in the serene with a full silver moon that reflected on the waters still surface, then kissed each other tenderly as their silhouettes basked in the center of the moon’s light.


Prelude to Michael’s Duel

“Michael” a voice called while he stumbled in the darkness. It was the dream again. He could see a small light up ahead. He ran hoping he would wake up when he reached it. “Michael” the voice got louder and raspier as he got closer. He could almost reach the light except it moved away from him. Then he heard the screams. A woman dying, a little girl crying, two giant men in white looking down on him. “Michael” the voice continued. He finally caught up to the light, but only for a moment. The darkness started to surround him coming closer and closer. He could make out a shape in the darkness, a strong regal armor clad man.

“Who are you?” he asked the figure who had plagued his dreams for years.

“Avenge me,” the figure answered. A ring of fire surrounded him. Michael then looked up and saw something, a face. A sad, scared little girl gazing down at him. A creature of flame swallowed her. He ran but the living inferno grew greater and the flames engulfed him. All he could do was scream…

“Michael!” his mother jumped, jarred by his abrupt awakening. He breathed heavily in relief. “Only a dream” he whispered to himself.

“I’ll say!” his mother gasped. “Its almost noon I came to wake you up only to nearly suffer a heart attack.”

“I’m sorry Mom you…” he paused thinking of an excuse “…startled me. That’s all.”

“Was it the dream?” She asked.

“No…no…it…I…” he stuttered “Yes it was.”

“Oh no” she hugged her son to comfort him “How many have you had?”

“A couple recently” he answered solemnly “More so than in the past”

“Lord, we thought you outgrew this.” she continued.

“Its okay Mom.” He tried to reassure her. “Like you always said, it’s only a dream.”

“Oh, you’re under a lot of pressure and it’s starting to get to you.” She continued as she placed her hand on his cheek “You put so much pressure on yourself. You need to relax.”

“I can’t today.” he replied with his voice growing more confident by the word.

“Yes, today’s your big day and we can’t have you plaguing yourself with dreams when you face our strange visitor.” She pinched his cheek and picked some of his dirty clothes off the floor. “We also can’t have you going into battle on an empty stomach. Your breakfast is downstairs if you hurry there’s a chance Biff didn’t eat it all.” She warned.

“I love you Mom!” he kissed her on the cheek and went downstairs.

“I love you too!” she answered, watching her only son run down the stairs two steps at a time. The kitchen and living room smelled of smoked bacon with a touch of eggs. Michael found his place at the table only to find his plate cleared by Biff.

“You snooze you lose” his father’s voice called from the living room. Michael mumbled something under his breath before going to the stove. He cracked a couple of eggs and scrambled them then picked apart some bacon bits and added them into the mixture with a little bit of cheese. The smell was so good that it attracted Biff, who Michael playfully chastising him for already eating his breakfast. When the eggs and bacon were finished he made himself some toast and poured some orange juice then sat down and began to eat.

“I should’ve used more spice!” he told himself as shoveled the food in.

“You shouldn’t eat so fast!” Arthur warned him entering from the living room, “You don’t want stomach to start actin’ up when you fight!” Michael took his fathers advice and slowed down. “By the way. Sir Francis came by he said he wants to give you a little advice on your footing just before you head off.” Michael nodded and went back to eating his food while his father smiled and ruffled his hair.

Michael finished his breakfast (or lunch because it was the afternoon) and got changed. A half-hour later Sir Francis arrived to help Michael hone his fighting skills. The lesson was sort of elementary but it’s always good to go over the basics before battle. They stopped after an hour of training so Michael could rest.

Michael started warming up about one hour before twilight by going on a small run with Biff. He returned stretched himself out, cracked his knuckles and neck, and then went to his wardrobe to find a proper uniform. He decided on a light mail coat that he covered with his militia uniform. He didn’t feel a need for too much armor because these battles were never fatal as the knight always brought back its victims broken but alive. He capped it off by tying a headband around his forehead to prevent sweat from ruining his vision. His heart was racing and the butterflies in his stomach were flying. When he buckled his belt his hands were shaking. A lot was riding for him on this fight: the reputation of the town, his pride, but most importantly proving to the Roses he was worthy enough for Thessaly. When he thought of her all thoughts of defeat left his mind and he focused on victory until he heard a knock on his door and his father entered.

“You ready son?” Arthur asked.

“A little nervous but yes” Michael answered.

“Butterflies in your stomach?”

“Like you wouldn’t believe.”

“That’s anticipation not nervousness! A soldier does not know nervousness or fear it only leads to defeat! Especially when a battle isn’t life or death.” Arthur counseled.

“I’m ready. Ready to send this masked armor clad hooligan back to whatever hole he crawled out of!” Michael declared determinedly.

“That’s my boy!” his father responded joyously while slapping his son’s shoulder. “Your mother and the others are waiting for you in the square and no matter what happens I’ll always be proud of you my son.”

Michael embraced his father then took a deep breath and called for Biff.

“Lets go buddy!” he told the dog.

“You’re bringing him along?” Arthur asked his son.

“Of course. Were a team!” Michael answered with a wink as he and his father started their way to the town square. When he arrived he was greeted by his fellow towns folk. The women threw him flowers while the men patted his shoulders wishing him luck. Some were encouraging while others had a bore a look that said, ‘here we go again’. It didn’t matter to Michael though. What mattered was this was his moment and he was going to soak it in as best he could, though all the adulation did lead to more butterflies in his stomach. His Mother kissed him and wished him luck. Andrew and the rest of his friends told him to not bother coming back unless he had the knight’s head. Sir Francis told him that he holds the courage of them all on his head. Finally he saw the one person he wanted to see the most, Thessaly. She ran to him and gave him a hug and whispered in his hear “They said yes” her parents would give Michael a chance to marry her.

“Michael” she whispered softly “Here.” She reached into her pocked and gave him a lock of her golden hair. “For good luck” she kissed him softly. He whistled for Biff and walked off towards the hill without looking back. The crowd separated, but Thessaly and Margaret stayed. Thessaly closed her eyes and prayed for victory. Margaret too prayed, but her prayers were different. She knew this day was coming, no matter how much she tried to deny it. Her little boy was becoming a man.


Michael Faces the Black Knight

Dover Hill was not far from the town. Getting to it was easy, getting to the top was an entirely different task. The hill was quite steep and gravity was not working in Michael’s favor. He had to stop a bunch of times to catch his breath. “No wonder everyone loses to the knight” he thought to himself. He remembered the words his father told him as he was training for the militia “A battle never happens at a soldiers convenience” and boy did those words ring true. He remembered those rainy mornings when Sir Francis and his father would have the cadet’s sprint up Dover Hill. “It’ll build up your endurance,” they always said. Build up my endurance? Yeah right. He thought about what he was going to tell Sir Francis when this ordeal was finished. He’d probably thank him. Biff waited for him further up the hill, impatiently jumping up and down to get his master to hurry up.

“Don’t give me that look, you’ve got four legs!” he told little dog about his much slower pace. He reached Biff at the top of Dover Hill. “Happy?” he asked sarcastically. Unfortunately, Biff was too busy looking forward to pay attention to him. “Look’s like the funs about to begin!” he told Biff. They ran a few paces toward the small meadow at the top. The Knight stood like a statue with its sword firmly planted in the ground.

“I told you to come alone!” the Knight reprimanded.

“I did” he looked at Biff then back to the Knight, “He’s here to make sure…” he spotted the horse tied to the tree “…your horse doesn’t give you an unfair advantage.” Michael answered knowing beneath the black mask the Knight was not amused.

Michael told Biff to move out of the way and stay out of the fight. The two combatants circled the open meadow staring each other down, Michael’s heart was racing and his muscles were twitching but he didn’t show it and remembered his father’s advice “Nervousness is anticipation!”

“So aren’t you going to ask me my name?” Michael asked.

“Your name?” the Knight was puzzled by the question. “Why should a conqueror know the name of the conquered?”

“In case the conqueror is defeated by the intended conquest.”

“You really are a bold one!” the Knight mocked him while unsheathing its sword, “Let’s see if your sword is a quick as your tongue!”

Michael unsheathed his sword and shifted his weight back wards into his fighting stance. “By the way” he told the Knight, “My name is Michael!”

The knight made no sound as it took the offensive against Michael spinning like a giant black blur. He got his sword up just in time to block the attack. His footing was spread out enough that he could absorb the force of the attack. The blades were crossed as the two stared at each other through their blades. Suddenly, the Knight recognized the hilt of Michael’s sword.

“Where did you get that blade?” the Knight asked sounding with surprise in its voice.

“It was given to me!” Michael answered, parrying away from the Knight “By my father!”

The Black Knight yielded, “This battle’s over! You are the one I’ve been looking for!”

“What?” Michael asked having no idea what was going on as the Knight laid down its sword and unfastened the hitches on its helmet and removed it. Michael was shocked by what he saw.

The knight was not some elf or rogue or evil spirit but a girl, a beautiful girl not much older than he. She had skin that looked smooth as a baby’s with hair the color of peaches. Her lips pursed and red like strawberries with eyes the same shade of blue as his. To Michael she could’ve been the most beautiful girl in the world but there was something strange about her, a sort of kinship.

“Michael” the girl began calmly, “My name is Ariana, I’m your sister.”

“I…I…” he stuttered at the absurdity of the notion “I don’t have a sister”.

“Michael” a familiar voice addressed him from a distance. It was Geldolf emerging from the trees. “We need to talk.”

I don’t know who drew this pictures but it’s a good one. Good job.

Copyright ã 2008 Todd Matthy

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