A Chapter by Paladin4life

          The morning air carried with it the burden of last night's bloodshed. I am Prince Keilan Malin, heir to the throne of the kingdom of Jalithia. A fugiive in my own land, forced to sneak in the shadows as would a thief, I travel seeking vengeance on those who have wronged my family, and my kingdom. My father was a man of peace. Time and time again he held councils with our enemies, trying to come to an agreement to cease the rising hostilities, but whatever treaty was concocted would only be upheld by my father. The names of our enemies on a scroll meant nothing. Unlike my father they had no honor, whatever they agreed upon in the morning would be broken before the setting of the sun. I however will be a man of war.

          Countless nights we stood in the moonlit garden overlooking the kingdom. This was our time to truly be father and son. This night was to be different. I could no longer hold back my feelings from him. He was already in the courtyard staring into the heavens when I was escorted in by Jehan, the captain of the guard. "Your father is looking forward to seeing you Kielan" placing his large hand on my shoulder. "How is my father?" "He is as he always is young prince." I knew all too well what that meant. Surely he spent the day in countless councils seeking a diplomatic solution to the growing threat of the Crimson Legion to the east of Jalithia (so called for the amount of blood shed by their hands) as well as the warish Dreftlin tribes to the south. "Try not to upset your father young prince. He has much on his mind." I looked up at Jehan. He was brawn from head to toe and I knew his heart  was no different. He was a soldier, yet Jehan could feel. I knew he loved my father and I could see a heavy weight on his shoulders. "Jehan what are you not telling me?" "Nothing Kielan, just please do as I asked."

          My father turned from his gaze into the heavens and Jehan and I bowed in unison. "Come my son, let us take in this glorious view together." my father said warmly motioning for me to come to his side. Jehan took his leave after thoroughly looking over the two young guards stationed at the door. For a moment we stood in silent aww, gazing at the moon in all her glory. I wondered if it was the moon that held our tongues or the forboding conversation that I think we both knew was coming. After what seemed like an eternity my father spoke. "The look on your face tells me you want to talk my son" He caught me off guard. I did not expect him to give me an invitation to question him. My stomach tightened as I looked into his brown eyes. "Father, why do you not summon the war host to crush our foes before they whittle us away to nothing?" I was surprised by the bluntness with which I spoke.

         "Keilan I know you do not understand my actions, but I hope you trust that I will take care of the kingdom.  "Father you know I trust you, but it seems we are doing nothing and our enemies are waxing stronger by the day. I fear soon the whole Jalithian war host will not be able to stop them. Every moment we sit idly by the crimson legion swells its ranks. Not to mention the border raids of the Dreftlins. Father something must be done the kingdom will crumble under the strain of our foes." I saw the burden of my words crash onto my fathers aged shoulders. "My son, you have a great deal of knowledge in your young head, but oly time can temper it into wisdom. Remeber there is information to which I alone am privy. I will do what is right for our people at the right moment and not before. Now let us visit more pleasant topics." 

          "Of course my father, what shall we talk about?" He placed his hand on my shoulder. "Well your birthday is soon approaching, and with it your Signan Maturim. Are you ready to enter the adult world my son?" His pleasant blue eyes seemed to see through my physical frame and into my very soul. "My father I am ready to stand by your side before all the kingdom." I know you are my boy. I know you are. The strength of my youth flows in your veins and sometimes I wonder if you don't already posess the wisdom of the silver headed as well. What a potent mixture strength and wisdom can be. "My father you honor me above my stature." Nonsense Keilan, I will have you know your father is an excellent judge of character. You shall be the greatest ruler Jalithia has ever known. 

          We embraced each other there in the garden tightly, not as King and prince, but as father and son. "I love you father" I whispered in his ear. "And I you my son. And I you." It was then two of the royal guards interupted our embrace. "My Lord we have urgent news to give you at once!" "Speak on then soldier." My lord, our message is for you ears only The boy needn't be troubled with matters of state." "Father I am soon to be a man. I should then stand with you and hear this matter, for surely it pertains to me as well." The guards looked at me angrily. "Your highness please, we implore you send the prince away, for his heart need not be burdened with our news." My father looked at me and then at the messengers for a moment, before telling me to go back inside the palace. "I shall come to see you soon my son, now leave me to the affairs of my kingdom."

          With much hesitation I bowed before my father and retreated within the palace.  Jehan was the first face I saw after reentering the palace. "Keilan why have you retured so soon from visiting your father?" "Because he is currently receiving a message from two of your men Jehan that insisted I leave before they would deliver it." Jehan's face went pale. I did not send any messenfger Kielan, quickly we must get to your father! We two charged for the garden with all speed. I feared th worst as we raced for the door. I was first to step foot in the garden, and first to see my father laying in a pool of his own blood with the two guards turned assassins standing over him. "I will kill you for this!" I screamed, running bare handed for the two armed guards. They were surprised to see that I had returned but were still ready to fight. The first took a wild swing for my gut, but I dodged the blow and grabbed my attacker's forearm.

          The other traitor swung at me. I pulled my primary foe into the line of fire and watched as his would be savior severed his head in a bloodly slash. The headless corpse released its rapier as it fell to the ground. I caught the blade just in time to parry the second attacker's swing to my head. He screamed and cursed at me partially in another tongue unknown to me. I was certain the words were unpleasant though. This soldier was more powerful than his severed companion. With a parry of his own and a swift kick to my ribs, I laid helpless on the ground, unable to get my breath. I watched his blade descend, seeming to take forever to fall, when Jehan's came in between his sword and my flesh. He let out a roar as he flipped the traitor's sword out of his hand and into his own. Before the weaponless man could breath a word, Jehan plunged both swords deep into my father's traitor. The two of us stood side by side and watched the man's life flow from his body.

          As the treacherous guard sighed out his last breath, I heard a girgling cough from my father. I ran and cradled his head in my arms. He forced a smile as his glazed eyes stared into mine. "My son, today I shall be gathered to my fathers. Weep not for me, I have ived a good life, and have seen my son become a man. It is not safe for you here in the city." My father turned his head to Jehan. "Take my son far away from the capital. Do not return until the day he is to undergo Signan Maturim

          His eyes returned to me . "On that day my son, you must stand before the nobles of the council and they shall tell you what you must do to under the rite of passage into manhood. Do as they ask, and upon completion of this task you shall be crowned king. Remain hidden until that day my son, and summon together the warhost to destroy those of whom we spake earlier this evening. I lingered before becuase I knew that there were treacherous men in our midst. Beware, there are surely more traitors in our midts and of a surety they are of the Crimson Legion. My murderers told me that the Legion would soon control all of Jalithia. "Jehan, sware to me that you will keep my son safe from those that would do him harm, and guide him now as a father in my stead." I sware on my life my king, my brother, my friend." "Peace to you my son. Now guird yourself with wisdom. Do nothing in hot headed haste; simply wait for your moment and you and I shall be avenged."

          With those words my father passed from this world into the next. Tears flowed freely as I held my father's broken shell. His essence now carried far then by the angels. "Keilan, now isn't the hour of grief. We must leave with all haste as your father commanded." I choked back my tears, and rose to my feet. "You are right Jehan, lead the way."               




© 2009 Paladin4life

Author's Note

This is an early edition and probably contains spelling errors. I shall check for them later. Let me know how you feel about the story thus far.

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Added on April 27, 2009
Last Updated on May 25, 2009



Kingsport, TN

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