Dragon Fire

Part I

Prince Alidus held the sword aloft, the blade pointing down.
“Keep your sword up,” Derali commanded and popped the blade with a stick.
Alidus hated these training sessions. Why must he waste his day learning to fight when the people loved his father King Lanidus of Ethion? Minstrels would sing his stories for generations. King Lanidus was a great warrior who was crowned king when he and the princess Lachert fell in love and married.
Nesmoru, Lachert’s brother, had agreed to whatever made his older sister happy.
Alidus felt something hit him in the head.
“Keep your mind on the task at hand, boy,” Derali ordered, again popping Alidus on the head. “In combat a wandering mind could kill you. You must focus on your enemy. Keep your face turned toward him and watch his eyes. Then you will see any motion he makes, and your body will move accordingly.”
Derali was a good man, the king’s best friend and at one time captain of the guards. He was given the responsibility of protecting Alidus when his mother passed away. When Lachert was pregnant with Alidus, she died from a fever before the young prince could be born. The priest had quickly removed the baby, and Lachert never saw her new boy.
Derali put down his stick and walked up to Alidus wrapping his arm around him.
“I know you’re worried about your father’s failing health. It is difficult to concentrate when so much has happened to you. And with Risnal forbidding you to leave the castle, you feel trapped not only by your situation but by these walls. As the king’s advisor, Risnal only does what your father wishes, and any decision he makes is in the king’s best interest.”
“Do you think Nesmoru had anything to do with it?” Alidus asked.
“No, your uncle has been locked up ever since he tried to kill you so long ago. I check on him every day, and not once has he escaped. Your seventeenth birthday is in three days’ time, and you need to relax and live your life.”
Derali walked Alidus out to the courtyard and to the side of the cliff that the castle overlooked. Derali pointed to the river that ran through the base of the castle and spilled over the cliffside.
“You see that waterfall?”
“The river has been running through the dungeons of this castle since it was built here generations ago. It has always run here, and it always will.”
Derali turned Alidus to him, his white hair motionless despite the heavy breeze. “The river is what makes your people so powerful. For generations they have drawn power from the river, and as long as it runs, your family will rule this land.”
“Derali!” a priest yelled rushing towards him.
“What’s wrong?” Derali asked.
“It’s the king, sir. He’s dying.”
Derali took Alidus with him to his father’s chambers. When they reached his bedside, the priests were just covering the king.
“I’m sorry, son,” Risnal said. “It is too late.”
Alidus felt crushed. He wanted to cry but couldn’t.
“When will I become king?” Alidus asked, trying to keep a strong face in light of his duties.
The chamber doors opened to admit Nesmoru followed by eight armed men.
“You won’t have to,” he answered the prince. “You won’t be alive that long.”
“What is this?” Derali demanded.
“There are many names for it,” Nesmoru said and moved fast. Derali pushed Alidus out of the way and caught Nesmoru’s sword in his stomach.
“Treason is my personal favorite,” Nesmoru whispered.
Nesmoru pulled his sword from Derali and looked toward Alidus. “Take the boy down to the dungeon and lock him up,” he commanded the guards. “I’ll speak with him later.”
Two men grabbed Alidus and carried him kicking from the room as Nesmoru turned to Risnal with his sword raised.
Risnal asked in surprise, “Why? Why keep the boy alive? He is only a threat!”
“Relax. The boy is harmless. He stays alive because I wish it,” Nesmoru answered. “Once we tell the people that the king is dead and the boy was taken by bandits, we’ll send out a search party and bring back his dead body. They’ll be none the wiser. You will continue to rule the people but only as a figurehead. Never forget who is in charge here!” Nesmoru asserted. “Besides, when Lanidus was younger, he told me something in confidence. He said that there is something special about Alidus. He has a power of which he is unaware. I will know what it is!”
“Sir!” a guard yelled entering the room.
“What is it?” Risnal snapped.
“Alidus is dead!”
“He’s what?” Nesmoru asked.
“He fell into the river and went over the waterfall when some of the prisoners tried to escape,” the guard answered.
Nesmoru pulled his sword and killed the guard. “You will never burst into these chambers again.” He wiped the blood from his sword and turned to Risnal.
“I suppose we’ll never find out what the boy can do.” He sat back and sighed. “Too bad, though. I was looking forward to torturing the information out of him.”

Published on January 1, 2010 at 10:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

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