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Once upon a time there lived a beautiful prince, whose face was flawless like the finest porcelain and hair was as fine as silk and as dark as the midnight sky. His slender form was built strong, stronger then most people would guess. His name was Von, Prince of Zabara.
Although his beauty brought many admirers to the kingdom, Prince Von was alone. His beauty was like a cage keeping him apart from everyone else in the world. People would only come to give gifts and admire from afar, never coming close. When the courtier announced their arrival the admirer would enter, heads bowed down, and walk forward slowly. They knelt before Prince Von, only glancing up for a moment, and then their eyes quickly returned to the floor. Even the servants did not dare to look at the prince. For Prince Von, life seemed to move around him and every time he tried to be a part of the rest of the world he would be pushed away back into his timeless cage. It seemed that nothing in his life ever changed, until that fateful day when a young princess entered the kingdom.
This princess was not an ordinary princess; on the contrary she was quite the opposite of ordinary. Her name was Princess Kathera. She, like Von, was admired for her beauty and eloquence, but she was very strong willed and quite independent. When she arrived in the grand hall, the courtier made the formal introductions and she entered. She did not bow her head like most of the visitors; she walked in head erect, eyes staring directly into the prince’s eyes. Prince Von stood abruptly, and bowed. He had never seen anyone so bold in his life. Princess Kathera stood before the prince dressed in gleaming silver armor, the edges embossed with ivory, and a long black cape. Her hair was short with a slight curl like Prince Von’s, but it was orange like the flaming sun.
By now some of the magistrate and other officials noticed the
Prince’s interest in the princess and decided to take it upon themselves to bring the two together. They thought it would be good for the nation since the prince was already of age and his father, the king, was of ill health. The head magistrate told all of the servants to prepare a feast in the honor of the princess’s arrival. While the magistrate prepared for that evening’s event, Von and Kathera disappeared into the garden.
“So what brings you to my country?” Von asked as they strolled down the main path.
“My father sent me on a quest almost a year ago. He told me that I cannot return home until I finish.” Kathera seemed to showed no emotion, but her eyes showed her true sorrow and sadness.
“What did your father request you to do?” Von spoke with extreme interest. His father never asked anything of him, no one ever asked.
“He wanted me,” Kathera paused, “wanted me to find a husband,” Kathera’s face turned pink. “That’s why I’m still traveling. I refuse to marry someone because my father wants me to. Did it ever occur to him that maybe, just maybe I want to fall in love with the one I marry.”
Von was taken aback. He had never seen Kathera blush before; she was always so calm and poised. He couldn’t think of anything to say so they walked in silence for a while before continuing.
“My father wanted a son but instead he had me. My mother died of sickness when I was just a year old so my father was left with me,” Kathera paused then took a breath and continued, “Ever sense, my father has treated me as a boy, though no matter what I do he never seems to be proud of me.” Her eyes began to glisten with tears.
Von didn’t know what to do. He had never seen anyone cry,
let alone a girl. Von instinctively put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her in tight. Just then Von heard rustling behind them and pulled Kathera behind him.
“Who’s there?” Von’s voice was more protective then usual.
The servant crawled out of the bushes and bowed. “I’m sorry Prince Von, if I startled you. I was sent to tell you that dinner is almost ready and both of you need to be prepared for dinner.”
“Oh, we shall follow you then.” Von and Kathera fallowed the servant back to the castle. Once there two other servants met them and they each went to their separate chambers.
As Prince Von was getting ready his mind was filled with thoughts of the princess. Although they only met this once, he felt that they had known each other for their entire lives. Prince Von could not wait for dinner to be ready so he could see Princess Kathera and soon enough dinner was ready.
Von and Kathera spent all of their time together, laughing and exploring the kingdom. Von showed her all the small shops that his mother used to take him too and the secret places he would run away to when he wanted to be alone. One day Von took Kathera to the forest. The soft breeze rustled through the tall trees. Leaves swirling with the wind, like golden waves. Fall had just begun and soon all the trees would be covered in luscious reds, oranges and golds. The smell of summer was drifting away from here. Kathera was astonished at the beauty of the trees.
“Do you like it?” Von asked.
“It’s lovely. I haven’t seen anything like it. We do not have trees like this in my kingdom.” Kathera said. She was smiling. Prince Von could see her happiness in her eyes.
“I’m glad. I used to come here with my father before he became ill. We would always come here during the fall to see the leaves.” Von took a deep breath in and then exhaled a second later. “Kathera?”
Kathera turned at the sound of Von’s voice. Her face was glowing with joy. “Yes, Von?”
“I know we have only know each other for just over a month, but it feels like so much longer,” Von’s words flowed from his lips straight into Kathera’s heart. “It would be my honor if you would grant me your hand in marriage.”
Kathera was speechless. She stood before Von as tears of joy began to fall from her eyes. She nodded as golden leaves began to dance in the wind just for them.
A week later the two were married. It was a grand ceremony and everyone in the kingdom was there to see. In every mind they were the perfect couple. Both were elegant, beautiful, and truly in love. Everything was going perfectly. Nothing could go wrong, until Kathera’s father heard of their marriage. While Von and Kathera lived happily in the kingdom of Zabara, Kathera’s father, King Zanthus, was preparing his Royal Army. King Zanthus was determined to take back his daughter. He wanted her to bring back a husband that was strong and powerful like himself, not a prince who had never seen war. Soon enough King Zanthus and his Royal Army had arrived at the outskirts of Zabara.
King Zanthus left his army and entered the city with his most trusted men. He went to the castle to talk with the king. By this time, King Apollo, Von’s father, had recovered slightly from his illness. King Zanthus demanded to see King Apollo and he graciously agreed.
“I want my daughter back,” demanded King Zanthus.
“If she wants to return to you she is free to do so, but she has already married my son and they are living here happily.” King Apollo’s words were wise, but not the words King Zanthus wanted to hear.
“I will take her back even if it means burning this city down to the ground.” At this King Zanthus turned and walked out of the chamber and back to his troops. He planned to attack at first light.
King Apollo called Von and Kathera to his chamber later that evening. “Von, Kathera, my children. I’m sorry, but there are some troubling matters at hand.”
“What is it?” Kathera asked first. She grasped Von’s hand tightly.
“Your father has demanded your return home. If you do not comply I fear he may burn our country to the ground. Our country has not seen war for many years and many of our people have forgotten how to fight.” King Apollo sighed, he had never been in a war or battle with anyone. The last war that Zabara fought was generations back.
“If it will bring peace to this country then I shall return home.” Princess Kathera said. She felt it was her responsibility to Zabara and to Von, since they took her in and cared for her.
“If you leave then I shall go with you.”
“Both of you will stay here. I am the King and it is my duty to Zabara to protect my people. I shall consult the Oracle of the Dios, for she will know what to do.” King Apollo’s words seemed to end the matter, at least for now. While King Apollo went to the oracle the young couple walked to the forest once more.
“What should we do, Von? I know what my father is capable of and he will not stop until he gets what he wants.” Kathera’s voice quivered, “Von, I’m afraid. I do not want anything to happen to you and
“For now we must wait.” Von tried to be calm but in his heart he knew that they must do something to help. “Maybe after my father leaves the oracle we can go to her. She may be the only one who can help us.”
After hours of talking with the oracle, King Apollo returned. His eyes were bloodshot and his body seemed weaker then normal. The servants helped the king to his chambers while Von and Kathera walked up the narrow pathway to the oracle. The room was dark, lit only by the silvery moon that reflected off the smoke from the burning incense. The oracle sat across from where Von and Kathera stood. They bowed before her as she stood gracefully, her dark gown flowing in the wind.
“Interesting,” the oracle paused, “I have so many visitors today. First the old King Apollo, though he is always welcome here, and now the prince and his young bride, and what a lovely bride she is.”
“We are here to,” Von began.
“I know why the two of you are here and I cannot help you.” the oracle began to turn away to her chamber.
“What? Why not? Isn’t it your job to help us in times of great need.” Von was furious.
“Yes that is my job, but there little you can do to stop this war.”
“Why can’t you help us?” Kathera pleaded.
“Because the king told me to refuse any request by either of you until the war is over. He wants the both of you to live and to rule this country.” The oracle’s voice sounded emotionless. For matters such as these she could show no emotion.
“You said there is little we can do, correct.” Von asked.
“Yes,” the oracle replied.
“What is this little that we can do?” Kathera chimed in.
“I cannot ask you to do this. I have already explained everything to your father. He would never permit you to do this.” A sense of fear seemed to be brewing in the oracle’s voice.
“Please tell us,” Von and Kathera spoke in unison, their hands tightly grasping each other’s.
“I, I cannot. I am sorry to you both. I can see in your eye’s that your intentions are pure, but it is far too dangerous.”
“Please, we will do anything to stop this war.” Only Kathera spoke, but Von had the same feelings within.
“Are you willing to lose everything, even your lives? Only if you are willing, then I will help you end this war.” As these words left the oracle’s lips, an orange glow began to show through the window.
It was still an hour from sunrise. Kathera and Von ran to the window. Fire covered half the city. The red and orange flames danced upon the smoldering rooftops and along the once grassy lawns. Screams of the women and children rang through the air as soldiers plundered the houses before burning them.
Von and Kathera turned back to the oracle. Together they said, “As long as it stops the suffering of our people we will do anything.”
With a great sigh, the oracle slowly walked towards them and took off her necklace and handed it to Von. Von and Kathera had never seen a stone so brilliantly blue and beautiful in their lives. “For this to work the two of you must go into the stone courtyard in the center of the city. In the middle of the courtyard there is a stone that is loose. When you remove that stone you will find the other half of the crystal. Be sure not to let them touch until you are ready and as you touch the two
together you must speak the word of destruction. If your hearts and minds are pure then the war will end and everything will be at peace once more, though you will no longer be a part of this world.”
“Are you ready Kathera?” Von asked as he held the glistening blue crystal in his hand.
“Lets go, together.” Kathera and Von walked out of the chamber together. Kathera paused for a second and turned her head. “Thank you.” And then they were gone down the path.
Von and Kathera were able to reach the stone courtyard unseen. Kathera quickly found the loose stone and pulled it out of the ground. Underneath was another crystal that was identical to the one in Von’s hand except this crystal was a fiery red. Kathera gently picked it up and turned to Von. She smiled at him and showed him the crystal. “Are we ready?” Kathera asked.
“As long as we are together.” Von answered. Just then King Zanthus appeared at one of the courtyard gates with his men.
“Kathera!” King Zanthus yelled. “Come with me now or else I will destroy you along with this pitiful country.”
“I am sorry father. I cannot do that. It must end now.” Kathera’s eyes were full of tears.
Von pulled her in close and whispered into her ear. “Its time,” and Kathera nodded.
As they connected the two crystals they whispered “Thanatos,” and a blast of golden light swept through the country.
Everything returned to its original state. King Zanthus and his army were no longer there and all the damages were repaired. The people of Zabara sensed something great had just happened, but they could not tell what. The Oracle of Dios knew what had happened and left her
chamber to inform King Apollo of the previous events.
Many people had seen the initial beam of light and followed it to the stone courtyard. When they arrived, red and orange leaves dancing in the morning sun greeted the people. A grand oak tree stood in the center of the courtyard, its branches embracing each other. Von and Kathera finally were together forever.