The Land of War

January 13, 2009
This was never the way I planned, not my intention. The words floated meticulously through my head as I watched through terrified eyes at my attacker stalking slowly towards me from across the room. I had been, just a minute ago searching for something, deep within the monastery library. What was it I was searching so frantically for, and why was I know being chased?

I jerked awake from my vivid dream with cold sweat on my forehead as I searched my bedside table for a candle to light. I was a seventeen year old from Leeds England. As far as I knew I was an orphan and I was sure being treated like one. My memory strained to remember any flashes from my past life I had woken up three months ago with no idea who I was, I was stranded in a forest with nothing valuable but a gold key clenched tightly in my fist. I had stumbled through the brambles and after two days I chanced upon a monastery where I was taken in and was now living a solitary life in a cell, waiting... for something to happen. Someone to claim me. I sighed as I looked through the arrow slit in the thick stone wall I could see dawn just beginning to brake, I would be shaken awake to go help in the kitchens any minute now. Remembering my dream I decided to search the library for anything interesting my dreams had habits of coming true, I shuddered at the thought. I slowly got up and pushed the heavy creaky door open and shuffled down the hallway. I stepped into the room and held up my light as I breathed in slowly the smell of musty parchment hit me and I ran my hand over the glossy titles I loved so much. I was about to turn and leave when my candle passed over a book I had never seen before it was very large and easily ten pounds. The thick gold lettering told me that the title was called the dominance of fate I stepped forwards. “Estelle!” I jumped it was just the cook a mean middle aged woman bitter because of her poor slot in life. I made a mental note to come back the first chance I got and hurried towards her. She roughly grabbed my arm and towed me down the stairs “what have you been doing” she demanded I murmured an apology and tried to tone her out as her ranting began.

Eight hours later I had the chance to go back I snuck quietly in and closed the door behind me I figured it would take at least thirty minutes for anyone to notice my absence and 10 minutes to find me so I would have time. I went straight to the book and hesitantly reached my hand towards it. I slid it out of it’s spot and turned the large cover there was nothing out of the ordinary as I thumbed through the pages, I didn’t notice as a thin envelope addressed to me slid out and hit the floor.

as I slid the book back into place and turned I herd a crackle under my foot, I slowly shifted my weight and picked up the letter;
Estelle, if you are reading this you are back in the human world,
With uncertainty there is always chaos please come back immediately
We need your expertise find the door in the forest see you soon
sincerely, Aero

Thought’s raced through my head as I wondered who this was how they new me and what they were talking about. I decided the best way to find out would be to do what he said and go searching for the door. I raced down the hallway to my cell and frantically started to pick out the belongings I would bring I paused as I came across the key I had found and I rubbed my finger over the filigree in the top it couldn’t hurt to bring it especially if I was looking for a door. it didn’t take long to stash my life’s possessions into a small and sturdy knapsack and I fled. I entered the forest at a brisk pace and didn’t slow down for the next couple of hours. I didn’t even know where to start looking and I had hoped some sort of intuition or phenomenal force would lead me to it. I slowed down and started to drag my feet watching as the trees grew thicker and thicker around me, as it started to get dark I decided to stop and I sat against a large oak and fell asleep

The next morning it took awhile for my brain to remember where I was. I sat up and looked around there was a faint glow coming between the trees to my right and I staggered as I stood up and cautiously headed towards it. I pushed my way through some thick undergrowth and gasped. I was in a clearing a perfect circle fifteen feet in diameter so perfect I doubted the kings finest artist could have duplicated it. And right in the center utterly surreal and out of place was a golden door. In my hurry I stumbled and fell into the frame it didn’t budge not an inch. I looked at it more closely and saw faint etchings of ivy that wrapped all around larger pictures of magic beasts; unicorns, griffins, and dragons. You know the kind in fairy tales, the ones your mother told you to put you to sleep but never really believed in. I took out my key and realized the markings on it were similar. my hand trembled as I reached out and shoved the key into the lock, turned and heard a faint click. I should have known then my 15th century life as I knew it would change forever. The heavy door swung silently on it’s well oiled hinges and I entered.

I walked out into a forest similar to the one I had just come from in fact it was the exact same clearing and I had the suspicion that if I walked around I would have been in the exact same forest, there was something ethereal about the trees around me they seemed to shimmer in the light as I got closer to one I noticed that they were not made out of the traditional material I would have thought. The trunks were made of a metal similar to silver and the leaves were thin slices of the stone emerald I reached out and touched one of the sparkling branches. I could tell that it was alive and that it would grow given time. “What is this place?” I whispered out loud a suspicious urgency in my tone. I heard the grass behind me compress with the weight of a large being and I whipped around just in time to see a man dressed for battle he had on chain mail a golden helm and a long black tunic with an insignia I did not recognize from any province from my country. His face was contorted with a fury I did not believe I could have caused and I realized in that instant he was intent on killing me. I had no way to defend myself and I had only watched the knights that would stop by the monastery I had not even a basic knowledge of how to weld a sword. He lunged his javelin aiming towards me and I winced hoping death did not hurt, in slow motion I watched and was surprised as the metal tip glanced off my shoulder and pushed the metal tip of the spear deep into the tree behind me it was almost as if an invisible field protected me. The man surprised for a second recovered and charged me again this time with his hands. Unfortunately he did not hear the whistling missile behind him and he fell face down in the grass inches in front of me. I was so shocked that it took me a minute to recover my senses and find out who my savior was, I was very surprised then to see that she was a she not a he as was the excepted normality for soldiers in my world. She walked briskly up to me and stuck out a muscular arm

“I’m Nicolai, part of the order deux.” she paused waiting for me to answer im sure but then continued when it was apparent I still couldn’t talk. “I was sent here by Aero to take you back to our head quarters. I didn’t know you could get yourself into a mess so quickly.” she gestured at the man lying beside her. “What is this place?” I managed to say at last.

“You mean you cannot remember anything?” I shook my head silently she sighed “I don’t know if I’m aloud to tell you everything but I will try to explain on the way. Grab that shaft you will need a weapon.” she spoke with an air of command I did not want to test so I turned and started struggling with the spear while she stalked off. I watched as she knelt down and with a snap of her fingers set a small piece of parchment on fire. It did not burn like paper should it took much to long and left a dark purple smoke in it’s wake which floated off with astounding speed. She saw my questioning gaze and explained “it’s how we communicate it just means you’re here and safe.” exasperated she reached past me and with one hand pulled the spear out of the tree and handed it to me. “Come on, let’s go.” as I followed through the brush she turned. “This place is the land of war so you have to be constantly on the look out. there are four tribes or teams if you will. You are with us.” she gestured at the tunic she was wearing which had escaped my notice before. It was white with a green stripe down the front I snapped my attention back to her as she kept on talking. We have been fighting for 100 years and we are all after the same thing the goblet of plenty. Who ever has it rules this land.” she gave me a meaningful appraisal I did not understand and continued “It did not use to be this way it all started with the king, he had four heirs to the throne, four quadruplets were born to him during the year of the moon. He did not know who should be the next king. so he gathered his finest councilmen and together they made a decision, whoever could secure the cup in front of him (just a plain table cup) and hold onto it long enough to drink water from the fountain of fair fortune out of it they would be the next king of Lagutrop. The king also had his spell weavers place a spell on his posterity a spell of immorality until they were able to complete the task.”

“So it is doomed to continue forever?” I asked “well no, its just that no one has been able to complete the task, the teams are all very good at what they do and the goblet is always intercepted and I have my doubts that the other teams really know where the fountain of fair fortune actually is.”

“All right were here.” I gasped as I looked around it was a small village set into the hill side that we had arrived at. there were several small cottages that surrounded a large castle that was as ornate as the cathedrals of Prague. There were many towers on it each tipped with a marble statue of a celestial being it was awe inspiring. We walked towards the gates and were met by two soldiers guarding the way as soon as they saw who I was with they stood aside and raised their arms into a salute. So I was right I thought, she must be a general or have a position if high importance. We walked into the courtroom and siting at the head of a solid table was a man I assumed to be aero because of his commanding presence. “Estelle and Nicolai you’re here!” and just in time he gestured to what looked like blue prints on the table in front of him. “We are planning an attack against Doriala. we intercepted one of their messages about an hour ago and we need your help.” “But first Estelle it has been long.” he reached out to me and embraced me in a hug. “I was one of your fathers councilmen.” “We have known each other for a very long time.” I stared at him astounded “my father?” “I thought this might be one of the side affects of dimension travel.” “How much memory has she sustained?” he asked questioningly at Nicolai “none, as far as I can tell.” “Wait my father was king of this place!? That means I am an heir to the throne and I’m over a hundred years old!” this was to much information for me to comprehend I had fantasized the last few months that I was really someone important but I had no idea I was this significant.

“Yes, unfortunately I do not have time to explain Lagutrops entire history to you but I assure you I will catch you up later.” “Stephan!”aero barked show the princess to her room while me and Nico plan. And I saw as they both bent their heads over the plans and conversed quickly in hushed tones. I was herded into a large white room every bit as ornate as the castle with an incalculable amount of gold, silver, and precious stones. I was rich for the first time in my life. Well the life I could remember. On the bed was the most gorgeous dress I had ever seen it was an emerald satin with silver embroidery and real crystals sewn into the fabric. I had to try it on. I quickly did and a knock came at the door. “Ah good your dressed.” said Aero “this is our plan; you Nicolai, and a couple of your servants are going to do a fake out we currently have the information that your brother Tristan is in possession of the goblet at his castle. we are counting on him not recognizing you and we want you to pretend to be a lost maiden who needs a place to stay. Once your are in the castle Nicolai will help you find the goblet she has been briefed on where it is hiding.” “Good luck and please for my sake try not to get caught.” I was ushered out of the room and into the quickly darkening night. there were four pitch black horses were waiting and a flash of memory came back to me. onyx I whispered and I reached out and touched the lead horses soft nose. “Come on lets go!” Nicolai seethed sharply. She was dressed up as well and I could tell she was very uncomfortable with being in a dress I hid a snicker as I clambered on the back of the beautiful horse and we were off. We rode to my calculations about four hours, through rolling hillsides that were both gorgeous and exotic. We got to the castle around twilight. it was much the same as mine but it had a darker appearance to it with gargoyles instead of angels. Nicolai hopped off and knocked briskly on the door. A guard answered and with a look of surprise at his two visitors craned his neck in both directions looking for someone else. “Yes?” he asked Nicolai who was a much better actor than me whined “we are far from our village, and have been traveling for days. It is dark my lady and me were wondering if in exchange for a room I could work around your lovely castle for a few weeks. We have just come from a great misfortune you see, and we cannot go home.” “All right I will see what I can do come in, and get out of the cold.” he turned and whispered to another guard who grabbed a torch off of the bracket and led us down the hall, he started muttering about all the misfortunes in his life, and completely forgot about us. I assumed that because he did not notice when Nicolai grabbed my arm and led us down a side hallway that was much more narrow and dark. We were going to the dungeons.

There was water running down the cold stone walls probably coming from a deeply dug mote. Nicolai ushered me into the largest jail cell and started to feel the walls. Help me look for a trap door, there is a secret room behind this wall.” I started on the left side of the room and stopped when I felt a protruding stone I pushed on it and gasped when it sunk into the wall and I heard a ticking sound as the wall I was standing next to turned. Before Nicolai could get on the rotating floor the wall had reversed completely around and I was in another room. There was a table before me with five different cups. Three were decadent and made out of gold, silver, and platinum. I disregarded them and remembering what Nicolai had said picked between the two plain cups on the right I rushed towards the wall and hoped on as it started to turn again apparently Nicolai had found the stone.

The wind blew furiously in my hair as our horses raced away from the castle. It had all been a blur as we left the dungeons we could hear the guards yelling at each other to find the escaped visitors. We rode through the night and dawn was beginning to break over the mountain we were riding to when we finally slowed. I was so delirious from not sleeping I almost fell off my horse. “Here we are.” “where is here, there is nothing but a rock wall in front of us” I stated. “Exactly, the fountain of fair fortune is behind this wall. I don’t know how to get to it though so you are going to have to dig deep in your memory a find out quickly before we are followed.” I got off my horse and walked to the black granite slab in front of me and slid my hand over the smooth surface. As I did I noticed some etched calligraphy it said celeritas .Suddenly as if a dam had broken my mind was flooded with information I understood. “In the name of the king, open this door.” I stood back and watched with confidence as a door frame was melted out of the thick rock, and I walked through. There in front of me was a fountain four levels high and immaculate in detail and worth. I turned around as Nicolai with wondering eyes handed me the cup I filled it with the crystal clear water. I knew this was my duty, and I drank.

The end

Epilogue: thinking back on it now I don’t know why I trusted who I did, but I am glad my sixth sense was so in tune. I was queen of Lagutrop. I learned to rule with a strict balance and my subjects ( in the thousands) were grateful for the end of the war and the begging of a new era. After my inauguration I made Aero my first advisor and promoted Nicolai to head the entire defensive troops they were both happy and so were my three siblings who I allowed to stay on as advisors. As for the word the jogged my memory I’ll keep that to myself.

Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

Chicken--Pie said...
Apr. 11, 2009 at 9:32 pm
It all seemed a bit rushed. I think what you did was try to condense the story up too much so it would be the right length. I'd go into more detail if I were you and, also, don't feel presurised to write it to a certain length. I think this would be awsome as a book! But you'd have to make it longer and more detailed for that. Good luck with whatever you decide to do!
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback