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A Story by writerholic

Chapter One

 

I sat on the wooden bench waiting outside the door to my father’s bed chamber. Waiting and twiddling my thumbs together nervously. He had been gone for weeks due to the war going on and had been injured during battle with the evil cold hearted Daken wraith and his army of traitors. He had been in his bed chamber unseen by everyone except his nurses ever since. I hadn’t even seen him for the weeks that he had returned and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I sat remembering some of the servants that took care of his wounds whispering yesterday that things weren’t looking good for my father. I severely hoped that they would be wrong.

The old rotting giant wooden doors opened and a servant girl came out and signaled me in to see my father. I silently stood up and walked slowly to the door. As I walked through the familiar doors I felt my mouth go dry. My stomach did a flip as my eyes fell upon where I my father lay in his bed. His normally round smiling face was thin and smile- less. It seemed as if he had grown years older in the weeks he had been gone. He had bruises of every size and shade and half healed cuts and scrapes. The servants had been right. I put on my best smile and walked towards his bed trying to seem like everything was normal even though we both knew that during war normalcy was always a thing of the past.

“Come on in son” my dad’s voice was rusty and weak. I quickly walked over to his side to keep him from straining himself any more than necessary.

“Vincent” he mumbled. “I need you to do something for me. Something very important”

“Yes father anything.”

“I’m not going to be around much longer son. I need you to take my place. I need you to fight for our kingdom.”

I looked at him shocked the pleasant smile wiped away from my face for a moment. “What are you trying to say father? What do you mean you’re not going to be here much longer? The kingdom needs you, we need you, I need you.” I mumbled the last part quietly embarrassed and angry at myself for showing any weakness in the presence of my father.

“Son I’m dying. I’m asking you to protect our family and our kingdom.”

“But father I… I can’t do this I need your help… I” I looked down ashamed for showing weakness again building on to my self anger.

“No. I can not help you. Please son fined the strength and courage to take my place. You are almost a man now being 15 years of age. I wouldn’t leave such an important job to anyone else.”

“I understand father. I will do everything in my power to save the kingdom.” I stood up and turned to leave trying to hold back tears that were threatening to spill and roll down my cheeks and trying to walk confidently out of the room with my challenge in mind. How could he be so casual about it? He must have known his time was up for a while but I was still in shock. All of these thoughts were swirling through my mind when my father stopped me in my tracks.

“You didn’t think I was going to let you go on this mission alone did you?” I let out an internal sigh of relive thinking that it would be a strong elder knight willing to help me on my quest, but my father got rid of that thought when he called my aid to his side and out of the dark shadows.

“Annabel. You can come in now.” I stood staring at a girl about an inch shorter than me with brown long hair come from out of the corner. I felt embarrassed and angry that my dad thought that I needed a girls help.

“Hello. My name is Annabel Mavis. I am going to help you on your journey.”

I looked at the girl who was supposed to fight by my side and couldn’t help scoffing.

“Hello.” I said back with out any emotion at all. I knew it wasn’t polite but my father had just told me he was going to die and my only help was a silly girl!?! All I wanted to do was turn around and cry but I couldn’t I was a man and to cry in front of a girl would shame me more than anything in the world. I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep the tears back to much longer so I turned away from the girl  bidding my father one final good bye and briskly walked out of the room before any one could see the hot tears rolling down my red cheeks. I stayed hidden in my favorite secret passage. Hidden away from my troubles and the war. It was something that had made it through all wars and troubles of the past kings and queens and it gave me hope that like these walls and ancestors I would survive this too.

 By dinner my father was dead. I had found out that a few moments after I left he had passed. When I found out the news a guilty wave hit me. I wished I could have stayed and told him everything and that he would be ok and that I was sorry and scared, but I had left rudely, which I was now regretting, for I had been insulted that he had asked a girl, a girl to help me. But as if the guilt wasn’t bad enough the pain of losing a father and king and the feeling of knowing that I was our kingdoms last hope made me feel sick to my stomach. I swallowed deeply forcing myself to keep my breakfast down. I decided that from that moment on I would kill Daken Wraith myself with my sword. I would slay him and kill him. I would avenge my father if it took my entire life. Even if it took help from a girl. I was going to be one of the greatest kings of my time and nothing was going to stop me. My hunger caught up to me so I got up to go to the kitchen. Maybe I could find something left over from supper to eat. To make up for skipping lunch while I was hidden away. I had some stew and decided to go to sleep or at least as close to slumber as I could get. I closed my eyes slowly my promise to kill Daken wraith on my mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Two

 

 

The next day I woke up with a stale taste in my mouth. I sat upright in my bed. The events from the following day came flooding back to me in a rush making my head fall softly back down onto my pillow. The promise I had made with myself caught up with me and I sat up ready for…anything.  I knew all of the kingdom would be mourning and that the servants would most likely be at the funeral setting up flowers and other things to make such a sad event beautiful in its own twisted way. I never knew why they decorated when no one would pay attention to it. But know I was happy for it. I understood why. Who would want to look at dying plants and dead leaves at a funeral? It would just be too much.

I hardly remember breakfast. It went by in a blur. My mind was to busy to think about much. It seemed like the castle itself was depressed and at a stand still like me trying to muster through every minute without crumbling down to pieces. I was in a state of waiting. In the afternoon was when my father’s funeral would take place. I didn’t feel anything. I wasn’t angry, upset, or sad I was numb. I was on auto pilot.  I only wish it could have lasted for the rest of my life.

Watching my father burn to ashes hurt more than any words could ever describe. The cold wind stung my cheeks and sliced through my clothing chilling me to the bone. An orchestra played sad songs that made the mood even more horrid. But out of all of it I think that the worst part of it was watching and not being able to go and pull him out of the fiery clutches of death. To sit there knowing I  wouldn’t get a long wanted final hug from him or hear his jolly booming laugh one more time. This is the second thing I have realized today. Watching is the hardest part.

            After the ceremony at lunch no one was very hungry. My mother was locked away in her room away from the world. I wish I could do the same thing but I had to start packing and get ready to leave on my journey. No one really knew how long it would take me to get back. They all feared that if I would die…if I would die. The thought had never really been in my mind until just then. Who would take the throne if my fate was to follow my father? No. I wouldn’t let a thought like that find its way into my head. I would come home and see my mother again. I would become king. And most importantly I would end this disastrous war.

            I was carrying everything out to the smelly cold stables where my favorite horse was being prepared everything was just about ready. My heart was racing ready and slightly anxious about what the next chapter of my life could bring. It felt like my stomach was as skittish as I felt for it was jumping around all over the place bouncing of the walls. There is no way to avoid the early signs of a cold harsh winter with the winds slicing through even the smallest bit of protection you might have on. During all of this however I couldn’t help but wonder where my aid was I hadn’t seen her anywhere and was slightly annoyed with her for not showing up and with me for even caring. After a few minutes she came walking out to the stables where I stood. Her hair was down underneath the hood of a royal blue cape. Wisps of her long brown hair were caught up in the wind wiping them around her face ever so slightly. She walked gracefully with a pleasant but serious smile on her face. Her cheeks were already a rosy pinkish color from the cold. I turned from her for a moment to finishing strapping my things to the horse.

            “Good morning prince Vincent.” Annabel said to me as she brought her horse around alongside mine.

“Hello. Do you have everything?” I asked not truly caring if she did or not.

“Yes I do. Cook gave me some food so we won’t go hungry on our trip.” she mounted her horse with more elegance then I could ever master. I got on to my horse nonchalantly and turned to face the castle. I let my eyes devour the site. Let them see the family crest mounted on the stone wall. Let them see my mother’s room and her ruby red curtains. I let my senses devour everything up taking it all in and not giving any of it back.

“Are you ready to leave?” Annabel asked me gently after a moment. I knew we were to get going so I forced my eyes to tear away from my home and look forward blindly not sure what there would be waiting for us ahead.

            I was looking at a map that one of my map charters had drawn of the lands trying to figure which way was the right way to go. After about an hour or so Annabel’s voice rang clear through out the silence and chilly air snapping me from my confusion for the moment.

“Your highness, I think we might be lost. I am very sure that I have seen that tree before.” She lifted her hand and pointed toward the tree at our left.

“We are not lost.” I said indignantly. “We just got turned around for a second that’s all.” I said to her focusing back on the map.

“Your highness, I think that maybe we should pull over and ask someone to help us or to at least tell us where we might actually be at the moment.”

“We don’t need to ask for directions because we have a map. And there is no way to tell for sure that you have seen that tree two times.  All trees look the same.” I said to her smugly. “Besides do you see anyone that could possibly give us directions?” I said with a sly grin on my face.

“Well no but…”

“Well then let’s keep going.” I said to her cutting her off ending the longest conversation between the two of us since we first met. We continued on in silence. It wasn’t an awkward silence but a peaceful and relaxed. We ate bread and cheese for lunch. And continued through the thick forest which seemed to continue on into forever.

             As it got darker the forest became harder to see in the bright colors of the trees started to fade away to utter blackness.

“I think that’s an Inn over there your highness.” Annabel said to me pointing ahead of us at a small glow in the distance. We put our horses into the stables and walked into the cozy room where a fire was burning in the fireplace and the smell of something delicious cooking filled my nose.

“You two can have the room up stairs if that is alright.” An old woman said to us as she walked in to the room she looked like a sweet kind woman who had led a good life.

“Thank you… um…” Annabel waited for the old woman to tell us her name

“You can just call me Fran.” She said with her heart warming eyes looking up at us. Once we ate dinner with Fran who was nice enough to give us something to eat we went up stairs to our rooms exhausted.

“Good night Vincent.” Annabel said to me as she turned to leave for her room.

I gave her a funny look. She hadn’t called me your highness or prince and it had caught me off guard. She saw my puzzled expression and whispered under her breath

“I’ll explain later.” She said and she opened her door and before closing it behind her.

             I entered my room that was lit by a single candle which cast dim shadows on the wooden walls. I looked at the small lumpy bed and lay down. It wasn’t what I was use to but I was so tired that I fell asleep with ease into a deep dreamless slumber.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3

 

I woke up to the sound of voices in the middle of the night and sat up straight brushing my hair out of my eyes as I waited for them to adjust to the newfound darkness that surrounded me. I heard whispering outside my room. I got out of my bed in stocking feet and tip toed toward the wooden door. I placed my ear against the piece cold wood and listened closely. The ditzy old woman was whispering to a man and judging from his deep voice he was not going to be someone we could easily shoulder past if we wanted to. I leaned closer only catching bits and pieces of their conversation.

“What time will…be here…get the boy…girl?”

“On their way…be here in...morning.”

“Do…children suspect…anything?”

“Don’t think so ….suspect nothing.”

“Good.”

“See you...morning.”

“...you in….morning.”

I eased away from the door and waited for them to leave. The old woman was a spy of Daken wraith. I needed to get Vincent out of here and quickly get away from this place. I was so busy trying to get him to at least earn his acceptance of me that I hadn’t paid full attention to our surroundings. I mentally scolded my self for such lousiness. I had allowed us to walk right in to a trap. I was so angry. I was supposed to help Vincent not throw him into trouble. The king himself had asked me to help his son and already I had walked us both straight into a trap.

             I sunk silently to the floor. How was I supposed to get the message of what I had just heard to Vincent without alarming the old woman? I sat still on the ground my thoughts racing through my mind. I heard the front door close and the old woman’s nimble footsteps cross the floor and stopped in front of my door. I got up as quickly as I could and scurried to the bed. I heard the door slowly creek open. Just as I was closing my eyes tightly shut. My senses all at their highest as I listened to her cross the floor to the side of my bed. My senses so overpowering it almost hurt. The old woman placed her hand on my shoulder. I stayed still if I wanted the upper hand in this I would have to pretend I hadn’t heard her conversation so I could have the element of surprise.

“Are you awake?” the old woman asked me gently.

Against my will my eyes opened and I turned around putting on my best act of drowsiness.

“Yes .I am now.” I mumbled from underneath the blankets.

“Come with me quickly I have to get you out of here before they get here.”

I sat up quickly and for the moment forgot my acting which I mentally scolded my self for.

“What do you mean? When who gets here? Where would you take us?” I flooded the old woman with questions. “Miss.., um Fran I “

“Please allow me to stop your there. I need to tell you something. Something very important but first I would like you to go get Vincent.”

“All right I’ll be back in a moment.” I responded with every intention to get out of this place before she could take us anywhere. “Vincent wake up .please hurry and grab your things we need to leave now!” Vincent mumbled something and blindly moved grabbing his things. I felt bad about waking him up in such haste. He had looked so peaceful but now was not the time to catch up on our rest. Everything was packed and we were starting out the door when the old woman appeared in front of us.

“Please don’t leave I’m trying to help you.” She pleaded. I couldn’t risk putting up with this front any longer.

“I heard what you were telling that man earlier. You were going to take us to Daken wraith. You’re a traitor.” I said glaring at her.

“No I’m not. Really I’m telling the truth!”

“What’s going on?” Vincent asked confused I wished that I could tell him but there was no time for it now.

“We are leaving and if you try to stop us I can guarantee you that you will regret it.”

“Please I will allow you to go but first let me explain to you please.”

“No. you’re just trying...”

“Wait.” Vincent said interrupted my ranting. “Let’s just hear what she has to say.”

I looked between the old woman’s pleading eyes and Vincent’s accepting ones.

“fine.” I sighed annoyed.

“I’m not who you think I am. I have to tell you a secret. You two can keep a secret right?”

“Of course.”

“Yes.”

“I am not an old woman like I appear to be.” the woman said pronouncing each word slowly like we were children. “What you heard out in the hallway…um…uh.”

“Annabel.” I said gravely hoping I wouldn’t regret telling her my name later on.

“Oh yes. What you heard in the hallway Annabel they were plans to capture you but I tricked the old woman.”

“You can’t be…I mean I thought your kind was dead… how is this.” I rambled on and on.

“What can’t she be? What is she? Who are you?” Vincent asked again with anger in his tone. I wished I could explain but right now was not the time.

“I am a shifter. The last one of my kind.” The woman said. My anger was building.

“How thick do you think we are!?” I nearly shouted at the old woman. “Your kind has been dead for years.”

“I’ve tried to keep my existence a secret over the years. People would like to get their hands on my type of power you know.” Her argument was good but I wasn’t going to let her trick us so I said the one thing that would prove to Vincent and reassure my self that what she said and was, was a lie.

“Prove it.” I said simply. I couldn’t help smiling just a bit. She hesitated and looked unsure and nervous then she finally muttered

“If I show you will you promise to tell no one?” she looked at us with pleading eyes. I looked in Vincent’s direction and he nodded towards me.

“Yes you have our word.” Slowly the old woman turned and morphed into the form of a little red haired freckled face girl who looked about the same age as Vincent and I. the most distinct thing about her were her green eyes. They were almost like a cat’s eye. Mysterious and lovely at the same time.

“I … I think I believe you.” Vincent muttered in awe starring at the girl in front of us.

“Well you are what you say. What do you want with us?” I asked

“To help you on your journey.” She replied simply. I looked towards Vincent.

“Do you think we have room for one more?” I asked him

“Yes.”

“So... what’s your real name?” I asked

“It’s still Fran” she replied.

“The man you heard me talking to Annabel is bringing some of Daken wraith’s soldiers to take you to him so we should get moving.”

“Alright” Vincent replied. We turned to head out the door. I stopped him for a moment to get space between us and Fran.

“We can’t trust her.” I said to him in a hush tone.

“Why she is what she says she is you saw.”

“We know she is a shifter but we don’t know if she is truly on our side.”

“Well I think she is.”

“I hope so” I replied. “I am just warning you to keep your guard o.k.?”

“Alright.”

“Come on” Fran yelled to us over her soldier. I walked out of the small inn. Looking at the sun just starting to peak above the trees. I took a deep breath and walked into the unknown that awaited us.

© 2010 writerholic


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Added on January 21, 2010
Last Updated on January 21, 2010