The Lost Prince Act 2: Chapter’s 3,4,5

Posted: March 1, 2010 in Book Excerpts, Entertainment, Fantasy, Fiction, Literature, Novels, The Lost Prince, Uncategorized
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In which we meet Bernard, King of Duros, who Ariana has come choice words for, his daughter Helena, who attempts the impossible task of giving Biff a bath, and Michael has a disturbing dream.

The Golden Hall

On the highest point of Durnhelm stood the Golden Hall, known throughout the lands as a place where soldiers and royals would revel the night away. Mornings, on the other hand, are quiet and tranquil.

Helena, Princess of Duros, paced the hall like a cat, impatiently awaiting the return of her older brother. A beautiful young girl only a year Michael’s junior, Helena had chestnut eyes like her brother, bronzed gold hair, and smooth pale skin. She had lost her mother at birth, which instilled a motherly instinct. She hated when Jonathan took guard duty because she feared he would never come back as the result of a sneak attack.  This particular morning was the first time in recent memory he was late, sending her into a frenzy that concerned her father Bernard, King of Duros.

A well build and stoic man Bernard’s eyes held much wisdom within them. His face was aged with growing gray in his once golden hair and beard.

“Pacing about the palace won’t bring your brother home any faster,” the king told his daughter.

“Father, it’s been almost an hour since Jonathan’s shift ended and he still hasn’t returned.”

“Helena, please settle down. Jonathan is never late for anything without an explanation.” he said to calm her. “You shouldn’t be worrying about him this much. If anything he should worry about you.” He continued, placing his hands atop her shoulders. “Malice has been quiet for a very long time.”

“And that worries me, father.” She answered, “I just have this awful feeling this is the calm before the storm especially after my dream.”

“What did you dream?” he asked in a concerned voice a father reserves for his only daughter.

“That a great fire is rising. You and Jonathan face it and…and only one of you came back.” She answered with concern.

“Which one comes back?” he asked her.

“I…I…couldn’t tell”

“Sounds like there’s strength left in this old man” the king joked to her dismay. “That was a joke Helena. You’re allowed to laugh.”

“It wasn’t funny. You know how I hate jokes like that.”

“I’m sorry. I sought to cheer you up. It was only a dream. I’m here and you’re brother’s here and were not going anywhere so you can stop worrying about what has not happened.”

She nodded.

“So much like your mother” he smiled.

“Pardon me your majesty” a soldier interrupted, “but I thought you would like to know your son has passed through Willharrow and is approaching.”

“You see” he smiled to Helena “Nothing to worry about.”

“My lord, he’s not alone. The White Wizard and two others are with him.”

The King and Helena’s curiosity piqued.

Michael and the others followed Jonathan to the gates of Durnhelm. Michael was fascinated by the architecture of the homes of Durnhelm, constructed from branches and tree trunks with straw for roofs, only and no windows. They were similar to the homes in Gard, which used different varieties of wood and wooden planks for a roof’s. But this was a brief observation for the real wonder came upon sighting the legendary Golden Hall. It was just as he dreamt it.  In front of the hall was none other than King Bernard and Princess Helena. They noticed each other and smiled. He was so taken by her he forgot to kneel before the king. Luckily Geldolf was there to tap his knees with his staff.

“Hail Bernard, son of Sigard, King of Duros!” the wizard greeted the King, “Unfortunately I bring ill tidings.”

“Step inside my friends” Bernard asked calmly “I see we have much to discuss.”

Of Oaths and Promises

Within the Golden Hall food and drink was prepared for the weary travelers. Michael devoured his food like a beggar that hadn’t eaten in months. It was the only real pleasure he had within the past couple of days. Helena fixed a plate for Biff, earning her a wag of approval. Ariana sat silently waiting for the meeting to begin. Jonathan exchanged passing glances at Ariana, sketching her visage on a piece of parchment he kept closely hidden. Geldolf related the tale of all that happened while Michael and Ariana were hidden from Talia.

“All this time my best friends son was right under my nose and I failed to protect him. I broke another oath.” Bernard turned to Michael “I failed you. Again.” Michael shrugged. He turned to Ariana. “I failed you too, my princess but I promise I will not rest until we free Kalidor from the curse that has befallen it. You have my word and my promise.”

“I ceased being a princess the day of my father’s death, my lord. Secondly, what good is your word ten and seven years too late.” Ariana began coldly, “My father lit the beacons. He called for your aid. Aid, you promised him when he helped your armies put send the Black Wizard back to his tower and how did you repay him? You abandoned him! You left him to die!”

“Princess! Stop this instant!”

“Did you not listen, wizard? I’ve renounced my title!” She snapped “Not until Kalidor is free” she stormed off like a blizzard, sending chills down guards spines Jonathan tried to go after her but was stopped by his father. It was better to leave her alone for now.

Michael got up too. He was out of place and overwhelmed, but was stopped by Bernard.

“She’s right, son” he said gently, “I failed to fulfill my oath to your parents. I promise…”

“Why are you telling me this?” Michael asked. “Apologize to her. It makes no difference what I think.” He freed his arm, took a piece of bread, and exited the silent Golden Hall.

A Prince and a Princess

Michael wandered aimlessly around the castle, peeling off bread pieces like orange skins. He felt guilty about having dinner in the golden hall of Duros, while Thessaly was suffering under Talia’s boot. He needed to take his mind off of her. A loud ‘eep’ broke his thoughts. He dashed towards it, discovering Helena engaged in one of the most arduous struggles of all, giving Biff a bath. Biff hated baths. When Michael was little it used to take the strength of both Margaret and Arthur to hold him down. They said it was easier bathing Michael as a baby then Biff. As he got older he was expected to do the bathing, which meant having Biff took a dip in the lake. That didn’t make his mother happy so once more she wound up giving Biff a bath. So, when a total stranger tried to give his dog a bath, Michael was amused.

“Having fun?” he asked playfully.

“You’d think he had never had a bath before” she answered.

“It helps if you give him a treat” he handed her a piece of bread, whispering, “give this to him. Then douse him with water.”

She did as he told her, gave the dog a treat, and dumped a bucket of water all over him.

“All finished” she smiled. Biff angrily shook himself dry, aiming his suds at Helena.

“I should’ve warned you about that” he laughed while she dried herself off. They stared at each other for a brief moment.

“You’re smiling.” She noticed

“Excuse me?”

“That’s the first time I’ve seen you smile since we met.”

He put the remainder of his bread in his pocked, where he touched the lock of Thessaly’s hair. His mood immediately turned and Helena noticed.

“I’m sorry. It was just an observation. I…I didn’t mean to offend.” She attempted to remedy.

“Its ok. I was just…” he pulled out Thessaly’s lock of hair, “…lost in a moment.”

“Who is she?”

He didn’t answer.

“Did something happen?”

“She was taken by the witch.”

“I’m sorry.”

“What am I doing here I should be out there finding her! Trying to rescue her! Not wasting my time sitting around here!” He punched the wall in frustration only to find it quite painful.

“Well that’s not going to help either one of you!” she scolded, rubbing his hand to ease the pain. “Can I ask you a question?”

“Go ahead.”

“This girl. You love her. Correct?”

“Yes.”

“Does your heart tell you she’ll be okay?”

“What do you mean?”

“Your heart? Does your heart tell you she’ll be all right? Does your heart tell you that you’ll rescue her?”

He paused for a moment to contemplate her words. “Yes.”

“Then you will save her. That’s how it always happens.”

He nodded, comforted by her words. She escorted Michael to his chambers.

“Helena” he whispered softly as she left, “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” she whispered back. He shut the door, plopped himself on the bed, and fell into sleep.

Jonathan too exited the Golden Hall.  He was searching for Michael so he could get to know his new ally. Jonathan was a brilliant strategist and a good strategist always learns his comrade’s strengths and weaknesses so he can plan accordingly. He made his way to the guest bedrooms and found his sister exiting the bedroom prepared for Michael.

“What were you doing in there?” he began forcefully.

“He’s sleeping. Don’t disturb him. And since you were kind enough to ask I brought him fresh clothes.” She answered.

“The governess’ can do that.”

“He needed someone to talk too. I obliged. He’s been through so much in so little.”

He shot her a suspicious glare.

“If that’s what you’re thinking about, nothing happened!” She answered firmly then slapped him in the shoulder. He took a couple of slaps in amusement until they got annoying and he threw up his hands. She stopped.

“Do you feel better now?”

“Yes I do. Maybe you’ll think before accusing me of being a harlot.”

“I never said that.”

“You didn’t need too. I can read your mind.”

“No you can’t.”

“Yes, I can.” She answered as though playing game.

“I’m sorry.”

“You should be”

“You like him don’t you?” He smiled.

“He’s handsome but in love with someone else. He’s lost so much, including her. She was captured by the witch.”

“Good lord.” he gasped.

“He’s scared for her. Terrified actually. I never seen someone so devoted.”

“We’ve got trouble.”

“What do you mean?” Helena asked. “How does his devotion translate into ‘trouble’? Its romantic.”

“It means he’s unfocused and prone to irrationality. He’ll try something stupid and get hurt.”

“What makes you think that?”

“When men are in love they tend to do desperate things in the name of impressing or protecting the one they love, Helena. He might get himself or someone else killed.”

“Well not everyone can be the brilliant romantic, and controlled strategist that you are Jonathan.” She scolded.

“Trust me, Helena. You’ll see it when men attempt to woo you.”

“I think it’ll motivate him. Just wait and see.” She retorted to his amusement.  “Now what about you dear brother?”

“What about me?”

“You and the Princess. I’ve seen the way you look at her. Don’t try hiding it from me, I saw that sketch you made.”

Jonathan paused for a moment. Helena read him like a book, exactly how he felt about Ariana. He knew it too, and most of all he knew he had no reason not to act on his feelings. He just didn’t know how.

“The Ariana that you met, Helena, is the not the Ariana I know. I don’t think love is one of this Ariana’s priorities.”

Bad Dreams

The impenetrable walls of the tower could not keep him. He carved his way through ogre guards that stood in his way. He broke down the tower door locking her away from the outside world. Beside the window she stood, dressed as beautifully as any princess in the world. Her blue eyes expressed joy and gratitude. She leapt into his arms. She smelt like flowers.

“My hero” she swooned, showering him with kisses. She smelled like flowers. “No more kisses for you or else I’ll kiss you to death”

“I can think of worse ways to go” he answered her.

“Oh you”

He set her down, took a long rope, tied it to the bedpost, and lowered it out of the tower window. She wrapped her arms around him.

“Good luck” she whispered then kissed his cheek. She smelled like flowers.

She held on tightly while he repelled to the ground. Once below they shared a passionate kiss. It tasted like flowers.

“Mi…Michael” she started trembling.

“Thessy, what’s wrong?”

“I…I…feel…” she sweat profusely. “Michael help me!” she burst into flame screaming. He tried to hold her but was too frightened. She called for him. He couldn’t help her. The flames engulfed everything around him. She smelt like burnt flowers. The flames came for him. Slithering like a snake they circled and engulfed him. He could still she her. She withered like a dying flower. Calling his name. The flames engulfed him….

Michael woke up in a cold sweat. “Only a dream” he told himself. He threw on the clothes Helena laid out for him and walked around the castle attempting to take his mind off things, it didn’t work. He ran into Geldolf smoking a pipe on a balcony overlooking at the Eastern horizon toward the black land of Malice.

“We missed you at dinner” the wizard addressed him as if he had eyes in the back of his head. “We sent a servant to wake you.”

“I wasn’t hungry”

“You should’ve come as a gesture of good faith. When a king takes you…”

“I really don’t care.” Michael cut off Geldolf, “When do we leave that’s what I want to know!”

“We stay here for a few days to plan our attack. Then we head south to Attilian, the home of the elves. There you shall be trained by Tiresias the warrior prophet.” Geldolf answered.

“That could take months. Thessaly is in Talia’s clutches now, I can’t stand around wasting time while she’s suffering!”

“Michael, you must be patient. Talia is not Christopher or some troll. Her power is vast. She could destroy you before you reach her. You need the proper training if you are to defeat her.”

“Why haven’t you then? Why didn’t you destroy her when she first invaded Kalidor? You have vast power, why didn’t you use it to stop her? To save my parents! To save Thessaly and the other girls! To save everybody in Gard!”

“Michael, magic is not that simple!”

“Then explain it to me.”

“The witch has many powerful charms that prohibit the extent of my involvement.”

“Charms? The best explanation you can give me for your inaction is that she has charms? My mother always told me I had charm, does that mean…”

“Michael Stormrider! Do not mock me as though I am a cheap conjuror of tricks! There is much about this world you do not comprehend and it would be to your benefit to learn what you face rather than mocking it like an…”

“ Why don’t you tell me instead of speaking in riddles all the time? Give me some information I can use. If she’s so much more powerful than me at least give me some clue of what I’m up against.”

Geldolf calmed down for a minute. Michael was right and if there were to be any chance of success against Talia he would need to tell Michael how to fight her properly.

“She learned the magical charms I told you about from…” he turned away from Michael and towards Malice “…him. Geldar, the Black Wizard of Malice…and my twin brother.”

“Your…twin brother?”

“Yes. We were born to the same mother many years ago in the Land of Twilight. We were sent to this realm…centuries ago. While I sought to guide the peoples of Mid-Land, he sought to control them. So, he took up residence in Malice and sometime later Talia became his pupil.”

“And he taught her how to destroy you?”

“Not exactly, but she stole much knowledge about me from him. There was a falling out, over Kalidor actually. The Black Wizard believes by controlling the King of Kalidor he will make the Stormriders his puppets. Talia, on the other hand, wants to eradicate the line of kings. Both know the Stormrider line is prophesized to defeat them and bring peace to this world. And it terrifies them. Your family, Michael.”

“Well, that’s not going to happen if I’m sitting around twiddling my thumbs. We should leave right now.”

“Michael did you listen to a word I said? You have to be patient if you’re to gain the experience necessary to…”

“Then I’ll learn it on the way! You teach me as we go.”

“I will, but it takes time”

“Time! I haven’t got time! Thessaly hasn’t got time! You may have it Geldolf but I don’t! It’s easy for you to talk about being patient because you’re borderline immortal. Well guess what? I’m mortal. I don’t have all the time in the world. I have to make do with the time I’m given and standing around here arguing with you when I should be rescuing Thessaly, is a waste of that time! Think about that before you give me another of your lectures about patience.” Michael went inside. Geldolf didn’t know what to say. The boy had given him much to think about.

Image by Alan Lee

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