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The Sorceress Princess: The World of Fire
Author's note: I started this piece a long time ago but never finished it. My English teacher told us tat we needed to publish some of our own original writing. This got me motivated to finish this story, which I am really proud of! I hope you enjoy!
I awoke to the cries and clashing of swords. The smell of freshly killed stag roasting on the open pit of flames filled my nose and my mouth began to water. It smelled wonderful, for I hadn't eaten anything that was not revolting in days.
I rolled over to my side and got out of bed. I brushed my long, black hair and braided it back the way my mother had taught me years ago. I pushed the flaps of my tent aside to see the camp; my camp. Everything belonged to me; those soldiers, that centaur, even that rock to the left of that tree which I also owned. Well, technically I didn't own any of it. Not yet, anyways. It belong to my father, King Hanson Bolling of Hadgon.
He ruled everything spanning from the palace on the shores of the Apulin Sea all the way to the Naergo Mountains. His vast kingdom was home to many peaceful creatures a time ago, but that had all changed. Our kingdom had been attacked by the kingdom east of us, past the Naergo Mountains. The Fuellahs.
They're vile, loathsome creatures who enjoy their days by raping women and burning villages to the ground. That’s the reason why my father had moved my brother, Sebastian and I away from the palace. He had feared that the Fuellahs planned to overthrow the kingdom, but that could never happen.
I had no idea why he was afraid. Nothing could penetrate the palace walls. They were under an enchantment casted by the kingdoms most powerful sorceress, Queen Sophronia, my mother. Her magic, so old and powerful, would surely protect the walls. Wouldn't it? I banished the thought from my mind. How could I have had such little faith in my mother, my mentor, my teacher? She taught me all of the magic that I had learned over the years. I'm skilled in the magical arts compared to the common sorcerer, but nothing to compare to my mother. Even the fairies from the Evergreen forest would often seek her wisdom or advice. Nothing could triumph over her magic.
The sound of blaring trumpets pulled me from my thoughts. From over the hill arrived a troop of my father's horses led by his squire and oldest friend Finnick Belmont. His face was plagued with a look of despair. A cold dread filled my still sleepy mind as I thought of the things that may have caused that. The horses came to a halt outside my tent.
"Princess Celestia, I'm afraid I have grave news." He wouldn't meet my eyes.
"Sir, what news do you bring? Is it concerning the war?" I was worried. What could have been so important that he would ride miles through dangerous terrain to our safe camp?
"I'm afraid so Your Highness. It seems that the Fuellahs have infiltrated the palace. We have been betrayed by one of our own. Someone from inside the palace walls allowed entry to them. It was thought to be done by someone who- who was close to your parents." He had tears forming in the corners of his eyes. I was about to ask why, but I had already come to realize what he was insinuating.
"They're dead, aren't they?" My face was composed and voice monotone but my heart was screaming for my guess to be wrong. My parents could not be dead. They couldn't be!
My younger brother, Sebastian poked his little head out of the tent. "What's going on? Why did you wake me up?" His tiny voice was muffled by a yawn. He's twelve years younger than myself, only five years old. His jet black hair, matching mine, was messy and his face was covered in what looked like dirt. We had been out in the wilderness, away from the waring, for quite some time.
"Nothing, little Sea Bass, just go back to bed." He nodded, yawned again and closed the tent flaps behind him. My mother had given him that nickname when he was younger. He always loved when she would sing the little Sea Bass song to him when-
I asked again, all of my composure gone. "They're dead, aren't they?" My voice choked with repressed sadness and anger, and my heart seemed to be pounding in my very ears. With my breath staggered, I gripped his shirt and violently shook him. He gained control of me and held me at an arms length.
"Your father was killed during the attack, but they kidnapped your mother. A rescue party was sent out in order to search for her, but they never returned. We are assuming that they and your mother are now dead." His voice was consumed by a rage filled sadness and his eyes were burning brightly with an impossible fire.
I couldn't believe it. No, no it wasn’t possible. This could not be happening. It just couldn't be. I was dreaming! Oh yes, of course! This was all just a dream. I pinched my arm and all of my hope shattered. No, I wasn't dreaming.
Finnick noticed, before I did in that fact, that I wasn't breathing. He shook me concernedly. I inhaled a large breath and let out a loud sob. He hugged me tightly. He had always been like an uncle to me. We stood there sobbing together over the loss of our loved ones.
Little Sea Bass poked his head out of the tent again. "Celeste? What's really going on?" He stood as intimidatingly as his four foot stature would allow with his arms crossed and eyebrows raised. He knew how to be a prince. He would get his answer.
I calmed my hysteric tears and lifted him off the ground. His stern looked faltered a bit when he saw the sadness in my eyes. Worry creased over his little, dark eyebrows.
"Sebastian, mommy and daddy are-" I let out a stifled cry. "They're... gone."
"Gone? Gone where?" His royal blue eyes, a mirror image of our mother’s eyes as well as my own, pierced my heart. His innocence caused tears to escape from my eyes.
How could I explain this to him?
"They’ve gone far away, little Sea Bass. They are in a place called heaven and we won't ever be able to see them again." I decided to use the direct approach.
His face looked confused. "I don't understand. They aren't ever, ever coming back?"
A few more tears escaped my lashes. "Never."
"But, but-" His lip quivered, and then he exploded. "They gotta come back! They can't leave us out here. I want them to come back. I want mommy and daddy now!" He began to cry, as did I.
We just stood there, crying, not a clue of what to do.
The whole camp came to our tent and offered condolences. It didn't help. It only made things feel worse. So many tears. Never in my life had I so many tears.
My parents were loved by many. They were true leaders, fair and just. They cared for every creature, big, small, poor, or wealthy. My father would make sure that every person had food on their table each night. He would go out of his way to bring aid to the sick. He was truly a great king. He was a great father also. He taught me how to fight. We would practice sword skills in the court yard and archery in the gardens.
My mother was the most generous woman.
Between my father and my mother, I was taught to be a wise a just leader. I couldn’t believe they was truly gone.
The day was filled with grieving and sorrow filled apologies. As soon as the last person offered their condolences, I sealed the entrance way to the tent using a simple spell my mother taught me. It would not allow any one person inside. I couldn’t handle anymore tears.
Slowly, I undresses and slipped on a light blue nightgown. Drained of energy, I collapsed on the bed. I didn't dare close my eyes for the fear of nightmares that were surely to plague me. My mind went blank. I couldn't think. My eyes were locked on the crimson canopy tent above my head. Was I in shock? Probably.
I don't know how long I was in that trance, but eventually realized that I had fallen asleep. I was awoken by a certain black haired, blue eyed, little prince crawling into my bed for the warmth and comfort he craved. That we both craved. I scooped him up and pulled him close to me. I could tell he had been crying due to his constant sniffling. I just pulled him closer and shut my eyes, hoping I’d be able to get a few hours worth of sleep.
The night was filled with noises. Crickets played their songs, and animals rustled in the fallen leaves. The wind howled loudly, but nothing was more deafening than the silence in my heart.
I rose with the sun. As quietly as I could I left the bed and tried my hardest not to disturb the peacefully sleeping Sebastian. He needed rest after the emotional shock he, we went through the day before.
I brushed my long black hair and braided it back the way my mother had taught me, all those years ago. I pushed the flaps of my tent aside to see the camp; my camp. No one was out, aside for a few centaurs and unicorns mingling. The beaming sun warmed my skin and my spirits as well.
Suddenly, I realized what had to be done. I had to do what my father would have done, what anyone in the Bolling family would have done. My parents needed to be avenged. Their deaths would mean something. I had to fight for my kingdom.
I ran towards the general tent as fast as I could. I knew it wasn't very proper for a princess to run, but I needed to speak with him immediately.
"General!" I shouted as I barged into his tent. I had no patience for properness. Not today. My shouting scared him, and I found him on the floor next to his bed.
"What is it, princess? Are you alright?" He seemed flustered by the surprise attack and was now trying to act as if he meant to fall out of his bed. He brushed himself off, and fixed his messy bed head with his hands.
"I'm safe sir, but I must speak with you about important matters immediately."
He offered a chair for me at his table, and I sat graciously.
"Your Highness, I'm not trying to sound disrespectful, but what could be so important at six in the morning?" He yawned.
I looked around at his tent and saw many shelves filled to the capacity with books. Books with languages I didn’t understand. There was a painting of my family’s crest on his wall. The intricate black swirls contrasted the purple shield so well. I always loved the crest. I realized that the general was waiting for me to continue.
"General, we need to plan a counter attack against Fuellahs. We need to do it for my parents, to avenge their deaths."
The General looked at me with a face full of sympathy.
"Your Highness, the only troops left are the ones here guarding you. Not nearly enough to strike back against the Fuellahs, and besides, who would protect you and your brother?"
"Well, I would be coming with you, of course and Sebastian doesn't need many to look after him. I would offer a great support to the troops with my skills." She said stubbornly.
He looked at me as if I had the head of a goat and began to laugh. "Princess, you could not possibly go to battle! We need to keep you safe at all costs. If we did regain control of the kingdom, we would need you to be queen! We could not risk your life in battle no matter how skilled you may be."
I stood up, filled with rage. How dare he mock me! How dare he not follow my commands! "You are to do as I say! I am your princess and I command you to send troops into battle with me in command!"
"Look here, you spoiled brat," he spat at my face. "Believe it or not, the entire world does not revolve around you and your ‘commands’. You fail to understand that I’m not doing this to protect only you. The kingdom needs a leader, and we’re stuck with you. Without a representative leader, our people would panic, chaos will reign. Not everything is about only you .I'm not going to risk the lives of hundreds of men to go on a suicide mission. I am not sending in troops. Now if you may, please leave my chambers immediately." He stood up, crossed to the entrance of the tent and held the entry way open for me.
I walked over towards the entrance but stopped in front of him. "I'm ashamed, and my father would be too." With that and nothing more, I left the tent with my head held high. I didn't turn back to see his face, but I imagined that his mouth was gaped open with eyes so furious.
Defeated, I decided to visit my majestic, black, unicorn, Wilson, to try to make right of any of this situation. He had been my best friend since I was a baby and was the only one that truly understood me. When I would cry, he would comfort me. When I would laugh, he would too. We had a connection of some sorts that I didn't really understand. He was my best friend.
"Hey boy," I said as I stroked his ebony colored mane. He looked at me with big, wise eyes and nudge my shoulder. "I know, I know." I pulled a carrot that had been concealed in my pocket. He snatched it out of my hands and in two bites, it was gone. "I need your help, Wilson. I don't know what to do." He looked at me in confusion.
"What do you mean?" He asked, voice suspicious and not the least bit masculine.
"Father and Mother are dead. Gone forever.The Fuellahs attacked the castle. Someone betrayed then and let them in. Finnick believed it was someone close to them..." I was trying so hard not to cry, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to control the inevitable tears that slid down my cheek. He gasped and let out a loud whinny.
"What? How is that possible? Oh my Celeste, I am so sorry!" He began to cry. I patted his back.
"Shhh... It's alright, just stop your tears. There's no point in crying, nothing can be done anyway." He looked at me in disbelief. I avoided his staring eyes by looking at the folded hands in my lap.
"Are you serious? You're just going to sit around and do nothing?" He galloped a few yards away and stomped his hooves into the ground. "We are going to take back the castle!"
My voice pain filled, I tried to reason with him unconvincingly. "I already tried talking to the general and he wouldn't allow it! He said it would be too dangerous and we can't get hurt. We're too 'valuable'." I tried mimicking his patronizing voice, but my own voice cracked with sadness. He smiled at my failed attempt but quickly apologized. "He won't listen to reason!"
I sat down on an old, rotten stump, defeated. The stump cracked and I ended up on the ground looking at the morning sky. The sun had almost completely risen by now. The pinks were fading in a gradual blue. I hadn't notice that I started crying again until Wilson pointed it out to me.
"We're not going to sit here and cry about what happened." He was shouting now. "We don't need armies. All we need is you! You can do it!" He was right. I had to do something. The emptiness that was inside be by the news of my parents death was filled with something else. purpose, maybe, or the hope of revenge. Sweet, sweet revenge.
I stood up and looked around the camp. There still wasn’t anyone around. I had to leave, now, before someone could stop me.
I sprinted back to my tent as fast as physically possible. This feeling of urgency pressured me to leave immediately, if not sooner. I just needed to pack a few important things.
I grabbed my old green pack and threw in my spell book. I was going to need it for something or other. My wand was placed gently into the bag as well. I couldn’t survive a day without it. I was magic dependent.
I decide to wear my father old cloak. The purple velvet flowed through my fingers. The pattern on the hood was of the family Crest. It had belonged to my grandfather, and great-grandfather before that. My father never wore it so he gave it to my mother who never liked it, so she gave it to me when I was very young. When I placed it on, it came down to the ground.
"At least it'll be warm..."
I put on my old fighting clothes. My father told me to bring them to the camp just in case I ever wanted to practice. Who knew I would actually be wearing them to battle. My black shirt was a little small but it was better than a silk dress. My leather boots came up to the middle of my calf. At least they still fit, and again they were better than the ridiculous shoes my mother had told me to bring. I always hated them. They had heels that were three inches tall. I could never wear them in the wilderness. She insisted though.
I heard something from around the corner. I took off the cloak and stuffed it in the bag. Sebastian came into sight. He looked at me with a confused face. "Celeste, where are you going?" His voice sounded panicked.
"Shhhh! You must be quiet! Now Sebastian, listen to me. You have to stay here and be good. I'm going away for awhile, but I will be back soon. I promise." He grabbed hold of my leg.
"No! No you can't leave me! I want to go too! I don't want to be left by myself."
"Oh little Sea Bass," I said patting his head, "I'm going to come back. I promise..."
His eyes were filled with tears. "But that's what mommy and daddy said...." He let out a soft sob. It was true. Those were the exact words that our parent's said to us when they left the camp with the troops. They said they would be back. They promised too... I tried to free my thoughts from the painful memory.
"I know, I know..." I picked him up and sat him on the bed with me. He hugged me tightly around the neck. Softly, I began to sing.
The Little Sea Bass swan in the ocean
trying to find his way back home.
He was scared but he was brave.
Courage would be with him to the grave.
Then out of nowhere came a shark,
with teeth that were very sharp.
He was scared but he was brave.
Courage would be with him to the grave.
The Shark swan towards him oh, so fast.
He thought that this second would be his last.
The Brave little Sea Bass summoned all his courage,
and with all his might, he punched the shark
in the nose before he could bite!
The Little Sea Bass swan in the ocean
trying to find his way back home.
He was scared but he was brave.
Courage would be with him to the grave.
As the last words of the song were sung, and Sebastian's tears had ceased, I placed him on the bed. For maybe the last time, I kissed him on the forehead. I pulled the cloak on again and slung the pack over my shoulder. Sword and bow in hand and quiver on my back filled with arrows, I walked past the tall shining mirror and no longer saw a princess. I saw a warrior.
Speed. We were in flight. The forest flew by in a blur of blue and green. It was necessary to reach the Dankel village before night fall. The Evergreen forest at night was a fearsome place. Frightening beasts lurked in the shadows of the trees waiting for the darkness to veil them from the eyes of innocent travelers, like myself.
Wilson suggested we go around the forest, but that would have added an unnecessary amount days to our trip. It wasn't worth it. I'm not sure whether or not it was a good choice though. It was getting very dark and we still had miles to go. Suddenly, Wilson came to a jerking halt and I nearly fell to the ground.
"Whoa! Why did you stop?" I exclaimed. I then saw it. About three hundred yards away stood an ogre ten feet or taller. In his meaty hands was the body of a little girl.
I heard a pleading cry. My ears couldn't make out what was being said, but the noise didn't come from the girl. There was someone with her.
"We have to help. Go!" I shouted in his ear. He took off again, and with my bow in hand, I began yelling. "Hey! Over here, Ugly!" The ogre turned it's fat head in my direction, dropped the girl and stumbled toward us.
I nocked an arrow on the bowstring and aimed. The arrow soared through the air and hit it's mark; right between the ogre's small, black eyes. It let at a monstrous shriek and slumped to the ground. It was dead. I dismounted Wilson and ran to the girl. A boy about my age was by her side, shaking her.
"Anna! Anna! Please get up! Please!" The boy was crying hysterically. I knelt down by her side and checked her pulse. Nothing.
"She's gone. I'm so sorry." He met my eyes.
Tears streaked down his face, he cried, "No! No, she can't be dead! No, Anna please!" He broke down and fell to the ground.
"Hey," I said, "what's your name?"
"Cedric." He said in between sobs.
"What were you doing out in the forest?" I asked as gently as possible.
"Our village was burned down-" he sniffled, "and our mother was killed so we ran." His voice was shaking. He looked down at his sister's, dead eyes. The girl looked to only be about six. Her brown hair was streaked with blood from the gash on her head. Her velvet green dress was so torn and tattered. I had to look away from the sight.
"And the ogre attacked you?" I pressed on.
"Yes, that savage beast killed my little sister!" Rage was burning bright in his green eyes. The stream of tears, flowed more heavily.
"I'm so sorry. I know how hard it is losing a loved one." My voice cracked and a few tears rolled down my face.
"You do?" He looked like a child. His face, so distraught, made my heartbreak. I didn't know him, but I just wanted to give him a hug. So that's what I did. I reached out and hugged him, and he hugged me back after an uncomfortably long moment.
"My parents were killed too, in a raid at the palace..." I whispered into his ear. He pulled back and looked at me, eyes knitted together. Then they widened with realization.
"Oh! You're the princess aren't you? I'm so sorry! I, I-" Shaking my head, I cut him off.
"Yes, I am the princess, and yes my parent were the king and queen, but I'm not going to sit and do nothing. I am going to plan a counter attack against the Fuellahs,” I paused, “by myself..." I rubbed my eyes and realized how preposterous that sounded. “But first I need to get to Dankel village before the sun sets. Are you coming?"
"I just can't leave my sister..." His eyes were so sad, searching for an answer.
"We must leave now, otherwise we might not make it out of the forest either."
I know it sounded harsh, but it was true. If we were to survive, then we needed to get out of the forest.
The thickening clouds above our heads finally released all of their suppressed tears. Thunder cracked above our heads and the sky bursted into a torrential downpour. In a matter of seconds, I was soaked, as was Cedric. Wilson, hating water as much as he did, ran under colossal tree. I helped Cedric with the girl's body. It felt eerie holding a dead body, but surprisingly surreal. The little girl still felt warm, and looked as is she could be sleeping. If I hadn't checked her pulse myself and she wasn’t bloodstained, I would have assumed she was.
The girl reminded me of Sebastian. I hoped he was alright. I also hoped that he didn't rat me out, for if he had, I would surely be caught by now, with such a slow pace like this. I realized how selfish that sounded and silently scolded myself for it.
The large branches canopied our heads, keeping them somewhat dry. Better than nothing...
Another loud clap of thunder pulled me from my thoughts and I saw Cedric stroking the girl's cheek. "What did you say her name was?"
"Is." He corrected coldly. "Her name is Anna. She's only six years old. My mother told me that it was my responsibility to look after her, and I let her down. I let everyone down." I didn't know what to say. How could I console him if he thought he was the reason his own sister was dead. I reached out and touched his shoulder softly.
"Do you want to burry her here, under the tree?" I asked soothingly. He stood up next to me for the first time and I realized that he was about six feet, three inches tall, or very tall compared to my five feet, seven inches.
"Yes. That'd be nice...Only we have a few problems," a look of disgust crossed his face. "Do you happen to have a shovel with you by any chance? No I think not." Annoyance crossed his face. His sandy colored hair, wet from the rain, covered his eyes.
"As a matter of fact," I said coldly, " I don't need a shovel." Searching my bag, I removed my wand. With a flick of my wrist, a hole six feet deep and three feet wide appeared right where his feet were placed. With a crash he landed in the now muddy hole.
"Ugh! What was that for?"
"For acting so rude to the me. I was just trying to be nice, and you aren't the only one who lost someone they loved in the past forty-eight hours." Tears formed in the brim of my eyes again. He gripped the edge of the hole and tried to pull himself out, but the muddy banks caused him to slip back down.
"Look, princess, I apologize. I realize that what I had said was rude and I know you were just trying to help me. Now could you please get me out of this hole?" His sincerity was so untruthful, but I decided to help him anyways. I grabbed his muscular forearm and with all of my strength, yanked him out of the hole. I ended up falling on my back side. I brushed myself off after standing back up. Cedric had little Anna in his arms. "I'm so sorry, Anna..." He placed a kiss on her forehead and rested her, so gently, in the bottom of the hole. Tears streamed his face.
"Um... Should I..?" He nodded. With another flick of my wrist, the hole was filled and atop the grave was a stone with the name Anna engraved on it. Flowers of purple and blue surrounded the stone, framing it just right. Grass was planted perfectly on the new soil. It was a sight to be marveled at, the innocent girl's grave.
"It's beautiful," Cedric whispered, awed. "Her favorite colors were purple and blue."His tears finally stopped and he smiled softly. "Thank you." I couldn't say a thing, so instead I just nodded my head and turned away. I couldn't stand to be there any longer. My head pounded and spun. I was lucky the ground was soft, because I passed out.
“Princess? Princess, are you alright?” Cedric and Wilson were hovering over me. I squinted my eyes trying to stop the blurriness. Once my vision came back into focus, I could see the look of worry on their faces. I sat up slowly, trying to stop my head from spinning.
“I think so,” I groaned. “What happened?”
“You just fell,” Wilson replied, “Are you hurt at all?” His black eyes gleamed with concern.
“I don’t think so,” I said trying to stand up. I patted myself over just to be sure though. My head was still spinning but other than that, I was fine. “Well we better be going, don’t you think?” Cedric looked at me with incredulous eyes, but slowly nodded.
“Yes, I suppose you’re right.” He picked a small pack he had with him from the ground and headed towards the ready Wilson. With a long sad look back at his sister’s grave, he pulled himself on to Wilson’s back. I collected my pack which was damp from the rain. With a head filled with questions, I mounted Wilson with Cedric and we continued our way to the Dankel village.
We arrived outside the village just as the first stars were starting to shine. We all agreed that it would be a safer option to camp outside the village that night. I started a fire while Cedric looked for more wood. When he came back, the questions really started.
“So, are you really planning a rebellion?” He asked again face filled with excitement. He leaned towards me as he spoke and started to invade my personal space. I shifted uncomfortably and he embarrassedly moved back to his original pose inches away.
Again, I sighed and nodded. “Yes. I’m going to--” The truth was I had no idea what I was going to do. That was the next thing I needed to do, plan my strategy. I was usually not good with planning things out. I tended to jump into things before thinking them through. I sighed again as I came to that realization. “I’m going to organize a rebellion to fight against the Fuellahs and to regain the palace. Then if by some greater power we manage to take back the palace, my supposed troops would recapture each village from enemy control.” His face was so easy to read. He thought I was inane. “Look, I know you think I’m crazy or just a spoiled princess trying to be a hero.” His embarrassed look told me I was correct. “But I have to do something for my parents.” The cool night air intensified around us. I ran my fingers through my hair and let out a deep breath.
In the distance I heard the roar of a Redback Lion. I imagined the powerful beast, the king of the forest, ruling his own kingdom from the peaks of the Naergo mountains. If only I had his confidence, his powerful roar, his bravery, and in that moment I wished I was a Redback Lion.
It was too quiet when I woke up. I was alone. My heart raced and I began to panic. I jumped up and surveyed the surrounding area. The fire from the night before still had embers glowing softly. The sky was a light shade of pink, with the sun just starting to rise. The only thing I could hear was my heart racing. Where have they gone?
Just as I was thinking that, Cedric and Wilson came into view a few hundred yards away. I sprinted towards them. “Where have you been?” I said trying to catch my breath.
“We went into the village. We brought you something to eat.” He said calmly. I looked at the loaf of bread he carried in his hands, then back up to his eyes. I was angry. They had made me so scared, but I was too hungry to care. I snatched, the still warm loaf from his arms and went back to the area where I had fallen asleep. I crouched on a small rock, balancing myself before I took a bite. The sweet, almost fruity taste took over my senses and I was overly content. I ate the large loaf in no time and was disappointed to hear that they had nothing else.
“When we head back into the village, you need to show me where you got this bread so I can get some more.” He smiled and nodded then went back to what he was doing. It was still too early for me to be awake so I decided to go back to sleep. “Wake me up in a few hours,” I said to him. I laid back down on my soft patch of grass. In a matter of minutes, I was out cold.
My eyes scanned the room to be sure. I was in the palace; in my bedroom. I picked up the doll I played with as a child and pulled my fingers through her knotted hair. I placed her back down on the soft bed and headed towards the door.
The corridor was uncharacteristically dark. The only light came from the room which my parents shared. I ran towards the partially opened doors and pushed them aside. I gasped at what had been revealed. With tears already consuming my face, I ran towards my father’s open arms. He pulled me into a tight embrace with a large smile spread across his face.
“Father,” I gasped out between sobs, “I’ve missed you so much.” He felt so real. His long hair hung off his shoulders and I looked into his large grayish blue eyes. They gleamed with excitement and he hugged me tighter. The moment was too perfect, but then something changed. My father held me at arms length and spoke intensely. I couldn’t hear him though. I was deaf to his words. His face furrowed at my lack of response, but he continued.
“Father, Father I can’t hear you. What’s wrong?” His ear piercing cry broke through my deafness and he slumped to the floor. The only thing visible was the long, crystal embedded hilt of a dagger sticking from his back. I screamed in terror and fell to my knees beside him. “Father! Father! Daddy, no! Please, Daddy don’t go!”
“Foolish girl,” the voice came from behind me. I turned quickly to see my mother standing over me.
“Mother?” I cried, “What’s going on?” She glided across the marble floor to my father’s side and pulled the dagger from his back. Blood dripped from the knife on the floor and with it she painted a Daffodil. She was wearing a flowing black gown with a hooded cloak. He face was painted with red fire and her lips the color of blood. Her eyes were no longer the same royal blue, but a soulless black. She advanced towards me with the knife pointed.
“What’s going on you ask? Well where should I begin?” Her voice was maniacal and she wore a sinister smile on her face. “Hmm how about I start with telling you that I was the the traitor. I was the one who allowed entry to the Fuellahs. How about I tell you how I have always been conspiring with them. Oh! I got it! I’ll tell you that I was the one who killed your father! I think that would be a wonderful place to start. Don’t you, Celestia?” I tried to scurry backwards but I slipped in the pool of blood and landed on my back.
“No, no please Mother! Please tell me it’s not true.” My heart was beating to the rhythm of the dripping blood. Dip, drip, drip.
“But if I told you it wasn’t true then I’d be lying and you know how I feel about lying. Haven’t I taught you anything, sweetie?” Her smile slowly faded in to a scowling frown. “I’m disappointed in you. How could you not remember my most important lesson; never, ever, lie.” She hovered over me and slowly, she leaned down and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I shuddered at the touch and began to cry even more. She held the dagger above my head and brought it down with such force.
“No, no please--” I woke up with a scream and then began to cry. “No! Mother please! Why? Why?” I was hysterical. The dream felt so real. I could feel Wilson’s nose on my shoulder, trying to get me to show my face.
“Celeste, it was just a dream. It’ll be alright.” He was trying to console me but he had such a concerned expression on his face.
“No,” I gasped out between intense sobs, “It was too horrifyingly real to be just a dream.” I tried to so hard to calm my violently shaking sobs and my rapid heart rate as well. “It was her. She did it.” Cedric had reached my side by now.
“Princess, what’s the matter?” He looked frightened. I must have been screaming louder than I thought.
“Bad dream,” I managed to stammer through gritted teeth. His face was scanning mine for any more clues.
He sighed, “Must’ve been pretty bad. Well what happened in it?” After I had finally calmed down, I explained to them the horrors of the dream. When I was finished, no one said a word. Wilson and Cedric looked at one another with the same horrified expression.
“Do you think it means anything?” Wilson asked cautiously, trying not to send me on another hysteric rampage.
“I don’t know, but if it has a reality to it, then we are in for a bigger fight than we ever imagined.
The village was quaint and small with a market street that was lined with a few shops. Immediately, I asked Cedric to show me where the fruity bread was. He pointed to a shop with an old woman sweeping the front steps. I headed over toward her pulling Wilson away from the apple stand. He looked at me grumpily but followed.
“Excuse ma’am.” I said to the woman. She turned and smile at me.
“Hello dearie. How can I help-” She cut off and look at me with squinting eyes. She gasped and pulled me into the shop. Cedric tied Wilson to a post outside the shop and followed inside. “Princess Celestia, you mustn’t be here. The Fuellahs have said that your capture would be rewarded in fifty pounds of gold. When they raided your camp and you weren’t there, they stated that if anyone were to be protecting you, they would be killed immediately.” She hurried to the window and closed the shades and them ushered them into the back room of the shop. The room was dimly lit but you could see the what was meant to be the focus of the room. A large painting of my family crest hung on the back wall. She looked at my scared face, then back at the painting and said to me, “Oh, dearie, don’t worry. I won’t turn you in, I will forever be loyal to King Bolling, but really, we must get you to safety.” I shook my head and found my voice that had been hidden within my shocked self.
“What do you mean they raided my camp?” I was still trying to process what this meant. It then hit me like a ton of brick. “Oh my god, Sebastian!” I fell against the wall and gripped my hair, pulling out a few strands. “I left him at the camp and now he’s dead.” My voice was cracking and I began to sob. The women took my arm and helped me to a chair.
“Oh dearie, you don’t know that for sure. They could have just taken him prisoner, or maybe they left him alone, he doesn't have to be dead.” I knew she was just trying to help, but her voice was becoming irritating. I glared at her and she stopped her ridiculous blabbering. Her bony fingers wrapped around my folded hands. Cedric rested his hands on my shoulders from behind me. My head fell against my chest and I wept.
“I should never have left him,” I whispered into the sorrow filled air.
“Celeste, you couldn’t have possibly known what was going to happen. You thought you were protecting him.” Cedric said softly. I turned my head and looked into his eyes. In them I saw Sebastian’s sad face. I stood up from the hard, wooden chair and faced him. His face was worried as if he thought I would hit him. I smiled softly at that thought. Instead of hitting him, I hugged him and let my tears flow once again. He wrapped his arms around my shoulders and held me tight. I rested my head on his chest letting my tears stained his gray shirt.
“You two are welcome to stay as long as you you keep that unicorn from eating all of my daughter’s apples at her stand.” She laughed lightly as she pointed at Wilson from the window. I began to laugh as did Cedric. I wiped my cheek with the back of my hand and silently promised that I would murder the person that took my little brother’s life.
We spent the night in the old women’s home. Graciously, she fed us some of that delicious bread and bought a dozen red apples for Wilson. Cedric and I slept in the back room while Wilson was put in the barn with the rest of the women’s horses.
“Do either of you want anything else before I go up to bed?” The women was standing at the bottom of the stair waiting for our answers.
“No thank you ma’am. Goodnight.” Cedric replied with a yawn. He pulled the blanket over his face and turned to go to sleep.
“Why don’t you children just call me Hudson?” She smiled brightly and we nodded. “ How about you dearie, do you need anything else.” I shook my head and turned away. I haven’t been able to speak for hours. I was still too much in shock to want anything, besides that bread of course. I was so tired and I just wanted to sleep, but I remembered that there was something that I needed to as her.
“Actually,” I spoke up. My voice cracked for I hadn’t used it in such a long time. “There is something I would like to ask you if you don’t mind.” Cedric sat up from where he lay and looked at me questioningly. The woman came back down the stairs and sat down on the soft lounge chair opposite us.
“What would you like to ask, dearie?” Her voice was kind and expectant, as if she knew exactly what I was to say. When she smiled, she revealed that she had a gap where her two front teeth should have been. Her wrinkled face was warm and friendly. Extremely long curly gray hair framed her thin torso. When she sat, her back hunched slightly and she made a little grunting noise.
“Well, it’s just, how did you know all about camp being raided and do you know anything else?” She smiled to herself for the question she thought would be asked was indeed asked. She rested her chin in her hand and and sighed thoughtfully.
“To answer your question, I heard about the raid on your camp at the Fuellah Resistance meeting yesterday. I am a member of the Resistance in the Herron Village near the sea. The resistance is planning a rebellion against the Fuellahs in order to take back the kingdom.” She looked down at her hands, embarrassed, “Before we heard about the raid, we were actually planning on taking you from the camp and having you help the cause.” She wore a small smile on her face when she looked back up.
“Oh.” That was all I was able to say. I then began to laugh as all of my impossible dreams started coming to reality. The possibility of actually doing the impossible was too real. I was so overjoyed. Everything was just falling into place. When I finally stopped laughing, Cedric and Hudson spied me curiously.
“Are you alright, Celeste?” Cedric said with a little half laugh. He eyed me suspiciously with a sweet smile. He just shook his head and raised his hand in a gesture for me to continue.
“Well it’s just that everything you just said, Hudson, was what I have been in search of! The resistance, It’s just too perfect!” I was already laughing again and this time, they joined me. We all just sat there and laughed and discussed and laughed some more at what wasn’t funny for hours.
By the time we finally stopped and decided that it was about time to go to bed, I was exhausted. Blissful sleep came to me immediately, but to my unfortunate dismay, I stood once again inside the palace.
My mother stood by the decorative fire place watching the flames dance. Slowly she turned to face me. Her face was still painted with the fiery red flames. Her blood-stained lips pursed at the dreadful sight of me.
“So you’ve returned.” She stated very matter-of-fact like. Her now black eyes twitched. Her hand reached for the charm that hung from her slender neck. My eyes scanned it and tried to make it out as some sort of flower. “It’s a daffodil,” She said as if reading my thoughts. “They symbolize rebirth and new beginnings. I thought it’d be an acceptable time to wear it don’t you think? I mean after all, Hadgon is being reborn in with my face, the face of fire.” As she said this, the fire behind her rose and danced more intensely.
“So your planning on setting the world on fire and building a new empire in the ashes?” I asked terrified. I place my hand the door handle, ready to run at any second. Her eyebrows knitted together as she thought about what I said.
“Actually that’s not what I planned on at all sweetie, but thanks for the idea. I really like it though.” She cackled at the idea of it. Her hand never leaving the golden daffodil, she paced back and forth as she thought more about this. “Yes not a bad idea at all.” She was talking more to herself at this time.
Abruptly, she stopped in front of fire. She turned and faced me. She strode across the floor and pointed her long bony finger at me. “You. I need you for this. My sweet talented daughter, whom I love dearly. You are the key to this new world. Your powers are stronger than ever. How else would you be able to conjure me through a dream.” My face must have bore a puzzled expression because she sighed and continued. “Yes, you. I would never been able to enter your dreams unless you wielded enough power to keep yourself in this dream. You have become to powerful to be on the side of the angels. You don’t belong there though, you never have.” I looked at her with a shocked face.
“Mother, I will never join you. After what you’ve done to father and-” I sniffled and patted at the forming tears in my eyes. “what you’ve done to your own son, Sebastian.” This time she looked at me quizzically.
“What do you mean? I haven’t done a thing to your brother.” A look of worry flashed over her face but quickly faded into her hard face.
“He’s dead thanks to your little friends.” I spat the words like venom in her face. Our noses almost touching. She, for the first time, took the step backwards. Mixed emotions crossed her face as she turned away and continued her frantic pacing.
“I told them not to touch him. I specifically said don’t touch Sebastian.” She was mumbling to herself. She stopped again in front of the fire place. Not turning around this time. She rested her head on the mantle and I though I heard her weep.
“It’s your fault mother,” and with that, I stormed out of the room and the dream ended.
The sun was streaking through the opened window. I sat up and looked around the foreign room, but then realized where I was. Next to me was the peacefully sleeping Cedric. His face was smiling up at me due to some dream he must have been having. Without realizing, I bent down and kissed his forehead softly. His eyes fluttered open and he sat up quickly. Our heads collided and we both let out a loud yelp.
He looked at me awkwardly and quickly stood up. His face turned a soft shade a pink. “Um, I should go check on Wilson and let you get dressed.” I nodded and hid my face behind my hair. Why had I done that? He left the room and I stood up from my crouched position on the floor and stretched my back out. I found a mirror hanging on the wall and looked at my tangled hair. Normally I would spend the time to do my hair, but with lack there of, I decided to use magic. I reached for my wand which was placed on the small table next to me. I tried a few hair styles deciding on which one I liked best. I settled on the usual braid with my bangs pushed to the side. I put my wand down a quickly dressed for Cedric could have been back at any moment. My clothes were dirty so I used another spell to freshen them up a bit. When I finally felt content with my appearance. I headed out to the barn where Wilson and Cedric waited.
“Oh Celeste, thank Go you’re here. I couldn’t survive another minute with these unintelligible creatures!” He looked between the two horses who ignored the comment and continued eating their barley. “It’s horrid, their language is so primitive. How is one supposed to determine between a whinny and a neigh? I just don’t understand. Please,” he begged, “never leave me alone with these neanderthals again.”
Laughter overtook my body and I couldn’t breath. “Oh, you poor little baby, alone in a barn for a whole night. What was I thinking?” He glared at me intensely.
“I don’t appreciate your sarcasm. Maybe you should sleep in the barn next time.” He galloped a few yards away and turned away from me.
“Oh, I’m sorry boy, I was just kidding. You know I love you.” I said with a warm a playful smile.
He smiled back and said, “Yes I do know, and I love you too.” I hugged him around the neck and he tousled my hair.
“Hey!” I pushed him away. “I just spent time on my hair, and then you go and ruin it.”
“Oh, trying to impress your boyfriend are we?” He grinned smugly and grinned.
“He’s not my boyfriend.” I countered. He just kept smiling though. He had to know. Cedric must have told him but I wasn’t in the mood to bring it up. He seemed to get the message a dropped the conversation.
Cedric waited by the barn door for us to come back. I jumped on Wilson back and we headed back towards the him. He had a look of concentration on his face and he was in some other world of thought. “Are you alright?” I asked slightly embarrassed. His concentration was broken and he looked up at me.
“Fine. Don’t you think we should wait for Hudson?” He asked. “She may be the only one that can get us to the Herron Village. I mean, I have no idea where this place is. Do you?” I shook my head and agreed that we needed to bring Hudson.
She arrived at the back door of the house awhile later. She had our bags packed and a loaf of bread in her hand.
“Are you children ready to go?” She said with a smile on her face. I laughed to myself and thought that she would never cease to amaze me.
The road to Herron village, that was parallel to a slow flowing river, was long and bumpy. Frankly, I was getting sick of it, but we needed to get there in order to meet up with the resistance.
It was midday by now and the hot sun beat down on us making us irritably cranky. Cedric and Hudson were each riding their own horse and by the look on their faces, they were having just about as much fun as I was having.
“Are we almost there?” I whined to Hudson. She glared back at me, silently telling me to shut up. This was the first time that I have ever seen her not smiling. Sweat formed between her eyebrows and she wiped it off with her hand. She glanced up towards the sun and then back down at her horse.
She sighed and announced, “Time for a break.” She led her horse down the slope to the river where she dismounted him and let take a long refreshing drink. I followed, as did Cedric.
Wilson was overjoyed to be able to splash in the water. He took three long gulps of the water and sighed. He wouldn’t have had a problem if we decided to stay there forever. I wouldn’t have minded either.
The area was shaded by tall oak trees and the water was cool and refreshingly. I pulled off my boots and dangled my feet into the water with a long releasing sigh. Cedric joined me, sitting on my right side. His face was a challenge to read, unlike before. It was consumed by many different emotions. He looked down at me and his face lightened a bit and he smiled sweetly.
Hudson rose from her short nap and announced, to nobody’s pleasure, that we had to leave and continue on our way.
The day seemed to go slowly by as we traveled the long and boring road. Once we finally reached the destination, I fell to the ground and kissed it over dramatically. It was such a wonderful feeling, my legs not being numb. Hudson came up behind me and pushed me over jokingly. I got back up and wiped the dirt off my knees.
The village was much larger than that in Dankel. Hundreds of people filled the streets walking from vendor to vendor in search of whatever it was they may have needed. As we made our way through, the crowd of people parted like the Red Sea. Many were giving us strange looks but we just kept going through.
A small girl pointed up at Wilson while she was being dragged by her impatient mother. “Mommy, look at the pretty unicorn!” Her mother faced us and a worried look crossed her face. She picked up her daughter and started walking away, quickly. I wondered what had caused her distraught look but payed no mind to it.
Hudson led us to an old inn that was towards the end of the street. Next to it was Tenny’s Pub and it looked as if no one had occupied it in years. She led us around back so we were able to tie up the horse.
“You’re not going to leave me with these two again, are you?” He had a desperate look on his long face.
“Oh, you’ll survive, you big baby.” He gave me a sad look as I turned away.
We headed back around towards the front of the Inn where we were greeted by a six massive guards. I turned on my heels to run away but my arm was caught by Hudson. I spun back around to face her and she still wore that same friendly smile.
“What are you doing?” I shouted desperately. Cedric was being pinned down by a one of the large men. I turned back to Hudson who no longer wore her innocent smile, but looked as if she were melting. Her face was changing form and slowly her features morphed into those of my mother. He grip tightened around my arm and she dragged me behind her walking viciously fast into the Inn.
“How lovely it is to see my beautiful daughter,” She said without stopping. Her eyes stayed focused forward towards her unknown destination. I was thrashing around trying to get free when she pulled out a knife and held it at my throat. “You move again, I’ll slit your throat.” Immediately I quit my thrashing and continued walking behind her. The corridor was long and dark and the only light came from the room at the end of the hall. She pushed the partially opened doors aside to reveal a small lit room.
I blinked furiously as my eyes adjusted to the change of light, but once adjusted, I felt a dread and wished they weren’t. We were in the same room as before. The fireplace was lit and the orange flames lightened the room. It casted an ominous glow making the whole room seem ablaze.
Inside a small cage laid the unconscious, Sebastian. He had blood drying on his forehead and a new black eye.
“What have you done to him?” I cried. I broke free from her grip and raced to the cage. My arms reached through the cold iron bars to stroke the little boy’s hair. Thankfully, I saw his tiny chest rise and fall, although it was a little too rapidly.
“You’re too late.” She declared. “His life is being drained out of him as we speak. His energy and spirit,” She paused as she let her felt her power seep into her being, “it’s just so reviving. I can’t imagine what your energy will feel like. ” With a savage like face, she gripped my hair and yanked me backwards. I let out a loud shriek and tried desperately to get free. Her hands found my throat and gripped it tightly.
She lifted me off the floor with ease and threw me across the room. My head collided with a large glass mirror and it shattered into many razor-sharp pieces. I let out a piercing cry of pain and staggered to my feet. I removed a large piece of glass from my arm and blood gushed profusely. The air intensified around us as we squared off to face each other.
Cedric was shouting but I couldn’t make out what was being said. He was restrained by one of the monstrous guards. With my mind hazy, I reached for my wand in my pocket. My shaking hand grasped the broken remnants of it. The splintering wood jabbed my fingers and caused them to bleed. I clenched the pieces tighter causing more blood to flow and threw them across the room. They landed with a soft clang.
Mother’s maniacal laughter echoed throughout the small room. The fire rose higher and higher with her laughter, throwing an unbearable heat into the air. I covered my face, protectively shielding it from the intense flames. I staggered backwards slipping in the small pool of my blood. I was falling.
The laughter grew more intense and the flames rose even higher. Landing on my back, I gasped for breath. The fire engulfed the room over my head, due to her hysteric laughter, and then there was nothing.
Her laughter echoed softly but soon drifted into nothing. The only sign of her presence was the pile of ash in the center of the room.
I awoke to the sound of blissful silence. The fragrance of Daffodils filled my nose and caused a small smile to come to my face. Stiffly, I slid out of bed and hobbled towards the mirror. I brushed my short black hair that was just starting to grow back. I pushed the doors of my balcony open to the kingdom, my kingdom.
A knock on my door pulled me from my thoughts, and in came Cedric carrying something concealed by a cloth. Behind him trailed the every smiling, black haired, blue eyed prince. He jumped up on the bed so he what at eye level with me and gave me a tight hug around the neck.
“I told you I would come back.” I whispered into his ear. He laughed and hugged me even tighter.
Cedric came from behind to show what he had.
“What is it?” I asked excitedly. He removed the cloth and let it drop to the floor. Revealed, was the painting of a beautiful Redback Lion.