I mostly write this stuff for myself when I get really bored (cause I'm weird like that), but since people seem to like to read it for whatever reason and Shades asked, here's what I have so far of the 3rd version.
Got it in my head about a year ago that I wanted to give the story a lot more detail and really explore what it would have been like for Alexander, including when he first got back home.
Writing this, I pull stuff from not only the games, but the companion, the manuals, TSL, and my own stuff as well.
I debated putting this up now because it's not nearly done and jumps around a lot where I haven't written parts yet, but I finally decided to because it's never likely to
Anyway, point being this is a working copy; a lot of stuff is liable to change or get taken out.
Soft moonlight lit the narrow and rocky path winding down the mountain. The boy was thankful for the light, for though the path was still treacherous, without the clear moonlight the trek to the base of the mountain would have been deadly. Gwydion, just shy of fourteen years of age, glanced nervously behind him, though the lack of movement behind him did nothing to calm his fears.
As he turned to resume his hike, his worn boot scraped a stone and he stumbled. Unable to regain his balance, he fell heavily, rolling a ways down the path and collecting several bruises along the way. He landed on his stomach, one side of his face grinding into dirt and pebbles. Relieved to have not tumbled right off the path to the ground almost a hundred feet below, he tried to gather his wits.
A slight sense of panic took hold as he realized the area was lit far brighter than could be accounted for by moonlight. Raising his head slightly, he saw black cloth - the bottom of a robe - resting a mere few inches from his face. His heart dropped and his face paled as the panic gripped him. A hand, wrinkled and milky white, entered his vision and took hold of his chin, forcing his gaze upward.
The large ball of fire resting a few inches above an open palm, burning bright and true without flicker, gave proof to figure’s status as a wizard. At first glance, Manannan appeared to be frail and ancient, ready to be welcomed into death’s embrace at any moment. This impression lasted only until the seer looked past the weathered and lined face and into Manannan’s eyes. They burned with a strange fire, radiating power – and hatred. These eyes now pierced the boy’s, and Gwydion’s insides tightened.
“My office. Now.” Manannan’s voice was cold and deadly – and, the boy knew, signified far more danger than when the wizard ranted and shouted.
Releasing the boy, Manannan disappeared from view. Gwydion stayed lying on the ground for a few moments, shuddering, dread filling every inch of his body; he feared for his very life. He dared not tarry for long though, and finally picked himself up, grabbed his pack dropped in the fall, and turned back toward the very place he had hoped to never see again.
Gwydion had climbed the path back up at full speed, fearing to anger the wizard any further by taking too long. He now stood before Manannan’s study door, trembling slightly. Taking a deep breath, he knocked once, and upon hearing the command to enter, opened the door.
Manannan sat behind his desk, located on the far side of the room, facing the doorway. Keeping his eyes down, Gwydion walked over and prostrated himself before the desk, his forehead on the rough wooden floor.
Manannan’s words cut through the air, sharp and full of loathing. “Of the many slaves I have had over the years, none have managed to escape. Do you think you are any different? You’re all the same, worthless. Your parents knew this when they gave you to me. I’ve managed to find some small use for such unwanted wretches like yourself, but try to get this through your thick skull: The world has no place for you despicable boys save here, with me. And you live only by my will. Your actions tonight were extremely foolish. Get up.”
The wizard motioned for the boy to take off his shirt and stand up against the far wall. As many times before, Gwydion soon found his wrists bound to the wall above his head by an unseen force. Knowing full well what was coming, he squeezed his eyes tightly closed and hoped for it to be over quickly as the first lash bit sharply into his bare back.
Many miles away, across the rolling waves of a great sea, in a grand castle tucked away among rolling hills and sparse forests, a young girl of almost fourteen years slept. Hers was not a restful sleep; her slim body tossed and turned in the richly decorated bed as though nightmares tormented her.
Suddenly she sat up with a gasp, startled awake – but already she can remember little of the horrors that woke her. As the frightening residue of the nightmares slipped away and her heart slowed its rapid beating, she settled back down into her bed. These night awakenings with their mysterious fear were not new to her, yet no could tell her why they came.
She slipped back into sleep, this time sleeping soundly until dawn, though the respite did not last long. A month later, the night terrors returned, as they would for almost four years more.
***He was five years old again. He giggled happily as a brightly glowing figure twirled him around in the air. He knew the figure – though it was too blurry and bright to make out any details other than it was a man – to be his father. The man put him back down and went to talk to his mother, a similarly brilliantly-lit woman who stood at a table as she worked at some task. Gwydion scampered back to his spot under the table, where he had been playing before his father had walked into the room. He bounced his ball around contently as he listened to the murmur of his parents’ voices, safe.
He knocked his ball a little too hard and it rolled out from under the table to tap against the wall. Gwydion scooted out from beneath the table and over to the wall to retrieve it. Scooping the ball up, he turned back around, but the table, nor his parents, were there.
Instead, he stood in a dark, corridor carved out of black stone. Spinning back around, he saw only cold stone where moments ago had been the fire-warmed, pale granite of the kitchen wall. Even the bright red color of his ball seemed muted, the darkness was so overwhelming. Frightened, not knowing what else to do, he started off down the corridor.
Where were his parents? Where was he? The corridor stretched on and on, with no break in the smooth stone, no doors, no joints save where the wall met the floor. He was running now, his little arms hugging his ball to his chest. A haunting laugh echoed down the corridor from behind him, and he ran faster, pushing his legs as fast as he could.
At last, he came to the end of the corridor. A large, intimidating iron door stood in front of him that would have had him running the other way had he not been more scared of what was behind him. He took hold of the door’s large iron ring and, trembling, managed to get the heavy door open.
At last he slipped through, letting the door slam shut – only to find that he was trapped. A few feet in front of him the floor disappeared, giving way to a pit that ran from one side of the room to the other, and was so dark he couldn’t see the bottom. It didn’t have a bottom; the fact seemed so strong in his mind he knew it to be true. In his startlement at the sight he dropped his ball, and he watched mesmerized as it rolled from him and closer to the edge, until it went over and vanished.
He jumped as the laugh came again; with nowhere else to go, he ran over to a corner to hide. Trying to make himself as small as he could, and with eyes wide with fear, he watched as the door opened slowly.
“Gwydion… I’m afraid I have some bad news.”
An inky form, visible only by virtue of being blacker than its surroundings, entered the room. Its body shifted and changed, never staying one shape for more than a few seconds. It turned toward him, and Gwydion couldn’t have moved if he’d had somewhere to run to.
“Your parents are gone. They were quite tasty, matter of fact.”
The thing was moving toward him, and it was now close enough that Gwydion could make out its face – and it was smiling, rows of pointy black teeth glimmering down at him.
“Don’t worry, though, I’m not going to eat you...”
It was only a yard away from him now…
It jumped, and shoved him into the pit… the dark abyss swallowed him up, and he continued to fall. And he’d keep falling, by himself, with no brightly glowing figures to comfort him, forever.
Gwydion woke with a gasp, his heart pounding as he sat up. He hated these nightmares that came every few months, and had haunted him for several years. They always seemed so real… Calming himself down, he reminded himself that he’d never even met his parents, much less been chased down a dark corridor by a shapeless monster. It was only a nightmare. He turned over and attempted to get back to sleep.
Manannan was rolling up the piece of parchment he had been writing on and looked to be getting ready to retire for the night. Hoping this was a good time, Gwydion stood before the desk holding the used dishes he had just gathered and waited for Manannan to look up, then motioned for permission to speak.
Looking a little irritated, but not angered, the wizard responded, “Yes?”
“Please, Master, I was hoping you might be able to spare me another book from your library, as I have finished with the previous one.” Gwydion shifted from one foot to the other as he waited for an answer.
Manannan waved his hand distractedly and replied, “Very well. Bring me the other one.”
“Thank you, Master.” Gwydion nearly ran out of the study to return the dishes to the kitchen and retrieve the previous book from his room. Upon his return, Manannan had already picked out a book from his extensive library to give to his eager young slave.
Gwydion rushed through the last of the evening chores. When he finally retired to his room, he lit a single candle and sat on his bed to study the new book.
Manannan had taught Gwydion to read at a young age and allowed him to study certain books from his library, more to keep the boy out of trouble when he was not busy with chores than to consent to Gwydion’s strong desire to learn. Other than the little he could see from above, books provided Gwydion with his only source of information about the world beyond the small flat mountain top on which Manannan’s house sat. Gwydion devoured any book the wizard deemed to not be dangerous, which mostly came to any book not dealing with magic. On his own, Gwydion studied a wide range of subjects, from histories and geography to poetry and heroic tales.
This particular book proved to be a collection of tales about strange monsters that could be found in different parts of the world. Gwydion read about the dragons that could still be found in deep caves and the Yetis that lived in high snowy mountain ranges. He even found a chapter dealing with Medusas that lived in the very land he himself lived, Llewdor. Fascinated, Gwydion read long into the night, until at last he couldn’t fight off sleep any longer and extinguished the candle.
*** He stands on an unfamiliar pier, the night dark and cold, rain pouring from the heavens. He can see little of his surroundings, though he seems to be in a small harbor of some tiny seaside town. A lone figure wrapped in a black cloak stands motionless further down the peer, as if waiting for something.
Gwydion stays silent, waiting to see what happens. Before long, a figure appears in the gloom, a woman with a bundle in her arms that she carries with care. She too is wrapped in a heavy cloak, and Gwydion can see little of her face. Then a tiny wailing sounds from her arms and Gwydion realizes she carries a babe.
The woman approaches the dark figure and hands him the babe. “As you requested. Do you require anything else?” Her tone is respectful, but shows she cares little for the situation.
The dark figure says nothing but raises his arm. Gwydion catches a quick glance of the woman’s face as she looks up in surprise. A bright bolt of light shoots out hitting the woman in the chest. The spell takes effect immediately, leaving little more than a small pile of ash where the woman had been just a moment ago.
Gwydion swallows and shrinks back without realizing it, though he senses he cannot come to harm. The figure stands and stares down at the babe in his arms for a few seconds, then strides off into the darkness. Gwydion stands wondering at the strange dream as the quay around him starts to fade. A strange voice sounds out, seemingly both in his head and all around him. Its words are the last he hears as he drifts off into a deeper, dreamless sleep.
““Gwydion, you are destined for greater than this. Come to me, and find you true self…”
***(Posted on: February 13, 2009, 03:19:55 PM)
The beginning of dawn light made its way through the window, waking Gwydion from sleep. He groaned quietly, having stayed up far too late the previous night, reading Manannan’s book. Silently, he rolled from his hard cot and pulled on the tattered clothes that were all he had. Occasionally he tried to imagine himself dressed in the finery of the heroes in the stories he read, but always put aside the ridiculous notion a few moments later. He had never even received new clothes, having always been given the clothes worn by numerous slaves before him.
Besides, he thought as he pulled on his worn boots, the soles of which were almost worn through, he didn’t deserve such clothes. How many times had Manannan told him how worthless he was, fit to do no more than prepare meals or clean out chamber pots?
Or was he? Gwydion was surprised by the strange thought. He suddenly remembered the strange dream from the night before. Gwydion shook his head, confused by the ideas and images running through his head.
With a start, he realized he was just sitting there, staring into space. Quickly he got up, washed his face in the cracked washbasin beside his bed, and headed down to the kitchen to start breakfast.
The kitchen was his favorite room in the house, the most familiar. The cooking fire was a welcome source of warmth and light in the winter, making the room cozy, unlike his often damp bed chamber. Besides, it was, in some small way, his. Except for when the wizard made one of his random appearances to make sure Gwydion was keeping it clean and perfect.
He found Manannan’s cat lying in front of the cold fireplace. Cursing under his breath, Gwydion shoved the cat with his foot, forcing the feline from the room, and gained a scratch or two for his trouble. Manannan’s cat, which had no name as far as he could tell other than “the cat”, had been part of the household for at least as long as Gwydion. He had little love for the mean-spirited cat, and despised having to care for it.
As he started cooking breakfast, bringing in eggs from the chicken coop outside and frying bacon, he found his thoughts turning again to the strange dream of the night before. He snapped out of his reverie only once he recognized the smell of burning bacon.
Uttering a swear word he often heard his master use he picked out the least burnt pieces from the frying pan. They would have to do, he didn’t have time to cook more – his master would soon be in the dining room expecting breakfast. He piled everything onto a plate and entered the next room, placing the plate on the table. The table was big enough to seat ten people, though Manannan was the only one to use it – Gwydion ate in the kitchen.
Retreating to a corner of the room, Gwydion stood next to a shelf that ran along one wall holding more plates, cups and pitchers. Above his head a stuffed moose head hung, its empty eyes staring sadly over the room. Gwydion sometimes felt he could relate.
Manannan appeared out of thin air as was his way, and sat down to begin the meal. Gwydion stood silently, his eyes downcast, ever ready should his master require anything. Ever since the night four years ago when he had tried to escape, Gwydion had never again tested his master’s temper so far. He had tried his best to not earn his master’s anger, though to avoid it completely was impossible. Manannan was quick tempered and could be enraged over the slightest mistake.
Such as now. Gwydion suddenly felt Manannan’s gaze on him as the wizard the reprimanded him, “The bacon is burnt. Can you not even manage cooking a simple meal, worm?”
“I’m sorry, Master. It will not happen again.”
“It had better not.”
Gwydion was relieved when the wizard turned back around and ignored him for the rest of the meal except to order for more ale. When the wizard was finally gone, Gwydion took the dishes back into the kitchen and washed them, then headed outside to clean out the chicken coop.
As he approached the coop, his gaze wondered past it and onto the town that lay a half mile from the mountain on which he stood. His eyes caught sight of the town’s pier, and yet again the dream pier popped into his thoughts, and yet again he stood motionless as he saw the dream over again in his mind’s eye.
A blinding pain tore the dream from his thoughts and he dropped to the ground, clutching his head. After a few seconds the pain lessened and he heard his master shout from behind him.
“GWYDION! You try my patience! Stop daydreaming and get to work. Or do you need another reminder of what happens when you disobey me?”
Gwydion mumbled that he didn’t and hurried to the coop. He finally started sweeping out the tiny building, musing as he worked. What was this dream? Why did it keep entering his mind? If it didn’t stop distracting him soon, he was going to get into serious trouble and a punishment much more serious than a few seconds pain in the head.
After that thought, he found it easier to keep the dream from his mind and for the rest of the day managed to avoid angering his master further.
***Again he feels a strange sense of clarity as he watches events unfold, unlike anything he has experienced in other dreams.
This time he stands in a tiny but richly furnished room with a thick carpet underneath his feet. A little moonlight comes through a tiny window built into one wall. The pale light falls on two cradles which sit in the middle of the room. A rocking chair is in one corner, next to a chest of drawers, on top of which sits piles of small pink and blue blankets. All the furniture is built with strong wood and fine cloth and is richly decorated.
Gwydion notices the blankets are embroidered with an image and he moves forward to investigate. With the limited light he cannot see the image in detail, but he makes out two figures, a unicorn and a lion, standing on either side of an oval containing a large letter D. He turns back around, but before he can move forward to inspect any occupants of the cradles, the door opens and a shrouded figure enters.
Gwydion catches a quick glance of what looks to be grand bed before the figure quietly closes the door. The silent newcomer approaches the cradles. As she moves from the door into the beams of moonlight, Gwydion recognizes the woman from the previous dream.
She pulls a sleeping babe from one of the cribs, and taking great care to avoid waking the babe, slips quickly out from the room. Her actions take no more than a few seconds.
The dream starts to fade as the first one had, and again Gwydion hears the ethereal voice.
“Gwydion, you are so much more than you realize. Come to me, you must come to me…”
This time, before he once more drifts off into a dreamless sleep, an image flickers in his mind. Great trees surround a small green clearing; on the far side is a cave, its yawning mouth revealing only darkness.
Gwydion woke troubled. Where were these dreams coming from? Was someone sending them? Or was he losing his mind? He had no answers.
Throughout the day, as he completed his chores, the dreams entered his thoughts again and again. He was better able to keep them from completely distracting him now and managed to avoid making any grievous mistakes, but the frequency he thought of the dreams worried him. He could not seem to forget them for long, no matter how much he wished to do so.
He also wondered at their significance, if they were indeed more than his mind going insane. The secrecy and darkness which pervaded the dreams suggested the young babe had been kidnapped by the woman at the orders of the dark figure on the dock. Kidnapped from a wealthy family, from the looks of the nursery.
As he swept the kitchen floor, Gwydion wondered if the dreams related true events. If so, did the parents of the babe miss him or her? Unlike my own parents, he thought a bit bitterly, who gave me up willingly.
A thought occurred to him then, and he paused in his sweeping. The Voice’s cryptic messages ran through his mind for the hundredth time. What if…?
No. Impossible. He shook his head and tried to suppress the secret hope that he had thought dead a long time ago. Not since he was a child had he dared entertain the fantasy that Manannan was wrong, that somewhere he had parents that loved him, a real family.
Gwydion knew little of real love, but he had seen it in the words of Manannan’s books. In the ballad of a mother who pined for her dead son, in the heroic tale of a son who risked his life to save his father. The lives of townspeople below, glances of who had been stolen through Manannan’s telescope in the tower, also showed what to him was denied. The mother who was frightened when her young toddler wondered into the busy street; the pride of a parent whose child accomplished some task.
He’d felt it in his nightmares – though always by the end it was destroyed and terror replaced it, leaving it dimmed - muted - and only barely recallable.
Yes, Gwydion had some idea familial love was though he had never had any true experience of it. When he had finally realized such a fantasy could never be true, he had pushed it to the very back of his mind and never again dwelt on it. Now he was reminded of what had once been his secret hope, one he knew could never be. These dreams were just his sub consciousness suggesting what he wanted to be true.
In a very uncharacteristic act, he suddenly flung the broom across the room; it hit a bowl and knocked it to the floor, causing it to shatter. He froze, listening for any sign that the wizard had heard the crash. When he didn’t hear anything, he sighed and went to go clean up the mess.
***He is again in the nursery. The light coming through the window suggests either dawn or dusk, but somehow he knows this to be the dusk of the same night the other dreams occurred. A young woman sits in a rocking chair holding the babe. He stares in wonder at the pair. He is not sure, but thinks the babe to be a boy. The woman has long red hair and is dressed in the finest clothing Gwydion has ever seen. Even with his very limited experience with women, he can tell she is exceedingly beautiful. He feels a strange connection to her, one he doesn’t understand.
The image around him flickers for an instant, but continues smoothly. The babe lets out a small cry, and she smiles down at him and begins to rock. Another flicker of the dream world. To Gwydion’s amazement, she starts to sing, and he is entranced as he listens to the sweet words. As she sings, the flickering continues, coming more and more often.
“Golden slumbers kiss your eyes,
Smiles await you when you rise.
Sleep pretty baby,
Do not cry,
And I will sing you a lullaby.
Lullaby, lullaby, lullaby
Cares you know not,
While o'er safe watch I keep.
Sleep, pretty darling,
Do not cry,
And I will sing you a lullaby.
Lullaby, lullaby, lullaby”
The image starts to fade as she sings the last line, faster than the previous two dreams. The Voice appears again, but this time it has a sense of urgency to it. Gwydion can only dimly hear the distant words as the voice grows fainter.
“Gwydion, … short … man… kill … eight ... Hurry… me…”
Gwydion woke crying. The woman’s song played over and over in his mind. He had to find her. He didn’t know who or where she was, or why he felt such a strong connection to her, but he had to find her.
But how? He remembered all too well what happened the last time he had tried to escape. If he got caught a second time, Manannan would likely kill him.
And what did the Voice mean? Who was the Voice, for that matter? What did it want with him? Why did the last dream seemingly die as the Voice tried to tell him the third message?
As he silently lay in bed, these thoughts swirling around in circles in his head, he suddenly had an insight. The last message… it wasn’t a man… it was Manannan. Manannan kill eighteenth…
Gwydion sat up sharply. Manannan planned to kill him on his eighteenth birthday. That’s what the Voice had been trying to tell him.
He thought furiously as he got up and starting dressing quickly. He knew exactly when his birthday was – he dreaded it every year because Manannan used it as an excuse to be especially nasty to him – and he would turn eighteen this year. Whatever he was going to, he’d better do it quickly, for the Voice’s message rang with a sense of truthfulness he could not deny.
Gwydion stood at the threshold to his master’s office. He hadn’t had a chance to put his plan into action for two days. But that morning, upon finishing breakfast, the wizard had stood up from the table, and instead of vanishing like he normally did, turned toward Gwydion.
“I’m taking a journey. Don’t do anything to displease me while I’m gone, else you’ll be spending a long time on a certain wall.”
Gwydion’s resolve lessened a little thinking about Manannan’s words, for if the wizard even suspected what his slave was planning to do, Gwydion wouldn’t survive the hour. Fear and lifelong obedience battled with reason inside his head.
I don’t have a choice, he told himself. If I don’t do this now, I’ll be dead in a few weeks anyway.
His heart pounding in his ears, he entered the room. Quickly, before he lost his nerve, he started searching. He didn’t bother trying the small cabinet that sat in one corner, for he knew that was always locked. In the drawers of the massive desk Gwydion found various half-finished manuscripts and maps, but nothing that was of any use to him. Turning to the bookshelves that lined the other half of the room, Gwydion scanned the titles. While many attracted his interest and he would have loved to investigate their secrets, he saw none dealing with magic.
Manannan’s cat entered and started clawing at Gwydion’s leg.
“Not now, Cat. I’ll feed you later.” He was in no mood to deal with the irritating creature, and firmly shook the cat’s claws out of his pants.
He started to turn to look at the final bookshelf, but tripped over the cat that had now twined itself around his legs. He banged into the bookshelf he had been turning to look at and several of the books fell onto the floor. Steadying himself, he glared at the cat, whose tail was just disappearing through the door. Gwydion was sure the cat had tripped him on purpose.
He started to carefully place the books back on the shelf, but then he noticed something. Shoving another book out of the way, he found a dusty black switch on the wall behind the bookshelf.
Glancing around, Gwydion hesitantly pulled the switch. He jumped as a barely audible creaking sounded from behind him. Whipping around, Gwydion watched as a trap door in the floor opened, stopping only once a wide square hole had been revealed. Inching forward, he could see a set of moldy stairs descending into darkness.
Gwydion was on edge, his nerves almost shot from stress. Should Manannan return from his journey now, Gwydion would not even be able to make up some story to cover his trespassing. He felt slightly panicky at the thought of what he knew he had to do.
The steps were slippery with mold, and Gwydion nearly lost his balance no few times. He doubted the stairs had been used in some time, for Manannan would be able to pull his teleportation trick and appear in wherever they were now leading him without bothering with the trap door and secret stairway.
For a few seconds, Gwydion could see nothing but darkness. Then, turning a shallow corner, he could make out a dim greenish light ahead. Hurrying down the last few steps, Gwydion entered the chamber below.
The largish chamber was hollowed from dark rock, adding to the dank and dark feel. Greenish light dimly illuminated the chamber with no apparent source. Several bookcases lined the walls, holding ancient tomes, bottles and vials of various-colored powders and liquids. A massive work table, even larger than the dining table upstairs, stood in the middle of the room. Burners, bowls, more books, and strange equipment lay scattered across its black top.
Gwydion stared in amazement. He had found the wizard’s laboratory, secreted away below the house in the very rock of the mountain. Coming to his senses, Gwydion rushed forward to start skimming the ancient works, looking for anything that would help him in his escape.
As he started to reach for the nearest volume, he noticed a thick and particularly ancient-looking tome open on the worktable. Attracted to the strange-looking tome, he walked over and flipped the book over to find its title, Sorcery of Old. Glancing through the pages, he saw what looked to be spells, but they were written in strange languages. From the pictures that went along with them, however, they looked to not be particularly pleasant spells; some of them seemed to be downright gruesome. Gwydion shivered at the thought of Manannan performing some of them, particularly on him.
Toward the end of the tome, he finally found spells written in his own tongue, though none seemed to be nearly as grisly as the preceding ones. Glancing through them, he saw such spells as hearing the thoughts of animals and summoning storms.
One caught his eye – Sending Others Nightmares. Sends the recipient horrific and realistic nightmares that prey on their own inherent fears. Gwydion stared down at the page – he would have bet anything Manannan had been using the spell on him. It would certainly explain why he got them so often and why they always seemed so real – as if he didn’t have enough to give him nightmares without his master tormenting him with magically-enhanced ones! Angry – a feeling which he normally couldn’t afford to let himself indulge in – but determined, he continued flipping the pages, looking for a way in which to finally strike back.
He had almost reached the end of the tome and was ready to try his luck elsewhere when he found the cat spell.(Posted on: February 13, 2009, 03:22:43 PM)
Transforming Another Into a Cat:
One half cup mandrake root powder
One small ball of cat hair
Two spoonfuls of fish oil
One magic wand
I. Put the mandrake root powder, cat hair, and fish oil in a bowl.
II. Put the mandrake root powder, cat hair, and fish oil in a bowl.
III. Stir the mixture with a spoon (the dough will now be oily)
IV. Pat the dough into a cookie (let harden on table)
V. (Recite this verse:)
Mandrake root and hair of cat
Mix oil of fish and give a pat
A feline from the one who eats
This appetizing magic treat.
VI. Wave the magic wand
Upon eating this cookie the recipient will become a cat, unable to change back.
The words swam and changed on the page as a hundred thoughts raced through his mind. He might just be able to… it was an insane plan… how could he ever… if Manannan found out… How long he stood there, seeing nothing, holding the ancient tome open in his hands, he didn’t know, but finally he came back to himself with a jolt. Remembering the danger he was in, he shut the book and carefully placed it back on the table. Before he left, he quickly glanced around at the surrounding bookshelves. Heart pounding, he slipped back up the stairs, as his thoughts settled down to one final thought: He had no choice. He had to risk the plan that was shimmering lightly at the edge of his consciousness.
Returning upstairs, he shut the trapdoor and carefully put back everything in its proper place.
Before he could put the first part of his plan into action, he had to wait for the wizard to leave again.
For the next few days, Gwydion felt a sense of urgency he could do nothing about. Every day, every minute, that passed brought his birthday – the day he would die – closer, and yet he could do nothing.
For a week and a half his anxiety grew, and he started to despair of getting a chance to even start on his daring idea. Just as he was beginning to think he would have to do so even with the wizard around, Manannan finally announced he was again leaving.
The second the wizard vanished, Gwydion sprang into action.
A jar of mandrake root powder sat on the shelf alongside other numerous spell ingredients, but fish oil was nowhere to be found. Gwydion frowned as he stood in front of one of the bookshelves in Manannan’s laboratory. Cat hair would be easy enough to get, but fish oil and a magic wand were proving to be a problem. The only other places Manannan’s wand could possibly be, assuming the wizard hadn’t taken it with him - were the wizard’s bedroom or the locked cabinet in his office, the key to which was also missing.
Manannan’s room was a sizable chamber. A grand bed stood in one far corner, piled with rich cushions and blankets. A tall wardrobe faced the doorway, golden sunlight from the window beside it illuminating half, throwing the other half in shadow. A gleaming dresser, polished to a shine by Gwydion’s own hand, sat on top the thick carpet to the left.
As Gwydion stared around the room, wondering where to start, a chance beam of light caused something to glint on top of the wardrobe. He pulled a chair over in front of the wardrobe, and, standing on it, he was able to run his hand over the top it. Half a yard back from the edge his hand felt something, a key.
Running downstairs, he tried the key with the cabinet, and was rewarded with a satisfying click as it opened. Inside, along with some papers, books, and other supplies, laid the wand. Smooth and pristinely white, with a carved handle, it somehow had an aura of power, dangerous and frightening power. Gwydion shut the door and carefully locked it; now that he knew how to access the wand, only one item the cat spell required was left.
Returning upstairs, he returned the key and surveyed the room again. He had never spent much time in Manannan’s bedchamber, as it was forbidden except when he came in to clean and empty the chamber pot. Searching the dresser and the small nightstand that sat next to the bed revealed nothing that was of immediate use to him. Upon searching the wardrobe, however, he finally found something.
An old parchment, much worn and creased, sat at the bottom of the wardrobe squashed behind several boxes and old black robes. Opening it, Gwydion found it to be a map of Llewdor.
He finally fully acknowledged what he’d known in the back of his mind since realizing there was no fish oil to be found in the wizard’s laboratory: he was going to have to travel down into Llewdor.
His last attempt at doing so had been impulsive, and had failed horribly. He would not make the same mistake again; this time, he would be careful, and plan out his every move before taking action.
He would give the cookie to him the next day, in the wizard’s morning porridge.
Gwydion crumbled the cookie to almost powder, hoping that doing so wouldn’t cause it to lose its potency. He was almost sick with nerves, but he managed to make breakfast without mishap. Bread, a trout dish, ale, and the porridge were arrayed on the table by the time Manannan “appeared” in the dining room. Gwydion jumped at his sudden appearance, and tried fervently to look properly subservient and only slightly wary, as if it as any other morning. The wizard sat down to start eating, and Gwydion tried hard not to stare as Manannan started in on the porridge.
If he should notice, have even the slightest suspicion… Manannan continued on with his meal, acting as if nothing was wrong at all. Gwydion realized he’d been holding his breath and let it out slowly. One hurdle was over with – Manannan didn’t notice anything. Now the cookie just had to work… it had to…
Gwydion jumped so high he was sure he’d given it all away.
“Let my ale cup become empty again…”
He was so relieved that was all that instead of grabbing the pitcher of ale form the sideboard, he knocked it off. The clay pitcher shattered, spilling ale everywhere.
Half a second later he was on his knees, pain searing through every cell of his body. He didn’t know how long it lasted; he never could tell. Finally it stopped, leaving him breathing heavily on the floor.
The wizard turned back to his meal. Gwydion hurried to the kitchen and fetched a new pitcher of ale, then went to pick up the broken crockery. He couldn’t help sneaking looks at the wizard; there wasn’t a hint as to whether or not the cookie was working or not.
Fighting a slight sense of panic, he returned to his corner. Anxiety clawed at his stomach for the rest of the meal. At last wizard finished his breakfast and stood up. With a pop he vanished.
Gwydion’s stomach dropped. Was that it? It hadn’t worked, and he would die in_______.
No. I won’t give up. I’ll figure out something else.
He started toward the table to clear the dishes when-
Manannan materialized in front of Gwydion, a confused look on his face. He opened his mouth to stay something. Instead of the expected admonishment, Manannan let out a loud yowl.
Before Gwydion’s astonished eyes, his master started to shrink. His hair and bear turned black and shortened, while other hair started to grow on the rest of his face. He continued to shrink, and a mere five seconds later, he was gone – and his place – a cat.
The cave was small, perhaps 15 yards across, and dark and damp. The only illumination other than what little sunlight made its way through the twisted entrance was a softly glowing ball that sat on a small table in the center of the cave. Next to it stood a figure covered in a gray robe that to the floor. Its head was bowed and covered by a deep cowl. Gwydion stopped, afraid he had intruded into the figure’s home, but before he could leave, the figure spoke.
“I’ve waited a long time for you, Gwydion.”
Startled, he stepped forward. The figure raised its head, and Gwydion took in a sharp breath. Bright eyes - non-human eyes - glittered in the depths of the hood, and Gwydion suddenly knew the figure to be an oracle.
“I knew you were important, imperative even. I tried to send you dreams, to warn you. But my power lies in the future, in all time. It is … difficult for me to focus so in one time. I did not know if I had succeeded in getting through to you. The future … it branches, and only a few paths lead to a bright future for you race, and others. But even now I struggle to keep hold on this time. I must be brief. Come.”
The oracle motioned for him to step up the ball.
“Come, and see what has happened to your homeland.”
Before he could ask what it meant, he caught sight of a glitter in the ball and he leaned closer, entranced.
He floats above a small castle. Turrets and greatly detailed stonework proves it was once proud and grand despite its small stature, but now it looks run-down and broken. Where once tall flags snapped proudly in the breeze, only shattered wooden poles remain. Statues lay in pieces and piles of debris litter the ground. A wide moat lays empty save a few patches of sticky mud at the bottom. Scorch marks blacken the faded stone walls. The ground surrounding the castle is dead, the bare earth broken only by charred stumps.
When he looks out in the distance, the horizon turns hazy white and cloudy, and for the first time he remembers he had been looking into the crystal ball. Before he has a chance to wonder how he can get back, the oracle speaks, its voice coming from nowhere and everywhere.
“See what has befallen Castle Daventry. A shattering earthquake has devastated the castle, and a monstrous three-headed dragon ravages the countryside. “
The image below him changes to a great dragon in a deep valley. Gwydion tries to back up as a huge burst of flame screams past him before he remembers this is a vision. Several soldiers wielding swords and bows appear to be advancing on the dragon, while behind them several men in robes stand with their eyes clouded, and Gwydion recognizes the use of magic. Blue fire suddenly shoots from the robed figures toward the dragon, but instead of burning it, solid ice surrounds and traps it. The soldiers cheer and few cautiously advance.
One soldier gets close enough to touch the ice when a great cracking reverberates throughout the valley. A thin crack appears at the bottom and makes its way up the ice block. With a roar, the dragon brakes free, sending ice everywhere, knocking several soldiers off their feet. The dragon raises one clawed foot and cuffs the unfortunate soldier close to it, sending him flying to land a good distance away. Seeing the spectacle, the remaining soldiers and wizards scatter and start to retreat while the dragon relentlessly follows.
The vision faded and Gwydion found him once again in the oracle’s cave.
“Your father and mother, King Graham and Queen Valanice, have done all they can, but so far even their mighty efforts have failed. This dragon is no normal wyvern, but one that has been infused with magic by some sorcerer, though I cannot see who…” The oracle paused, and Gwydion imagined that he or she was frowning. “But that is an issue for another time. The dragon draws nearer to the heart of the kingdom and Castle Daventry. Soon the dragon will start demanding sacrifices, young maidens. I’ve given you visions of the past and the present. Now observe the future.”
Once again Gwydion is drawn into the globe, into the oracle’s visions.
This time he floats a few yards above a grand looking bedchamber. A middle-aged man stands looking at the fire in the hearth. The sound of knocking comes from a doorway to the left.
“Come,” orders the man. A guard enters the room.
“I asked not to be disturbed.”
“I apologize, Your Majesty, but the Princess wishes to speak to you. She was quite insistent, Majesty. ”
“Very well. Let her in.”
“Majesty” The guard leaves.
A young woman with blonde hair enters and walks over to King Graham.
“Father, have no fear. I am not afraid.”
“How can you hold on to such faith when I have none?”
“It is all anyone ever has. And that they cannot strip away from us.”
“My country is ravaged… My people suffer. Why must I give up my one remaining child to save them? Why must I suffer?”
“Such is the price of royalty, father. Remember, it is not a birthright but is defined by one’s actions.”
“You are so wise for one so young.”
“We must help our people in any way we can. You taught me that, Father.”
The guard enters again.
“I am sorry, Majesty, but it is time…”
King Graham and Princess Rosella hug. Rosella starts to walk away, and then turns.
“Have faith father … I feel I shall survive… somehow.”
The guard and Rosella walk out. King Graham falls to his knees.
“My sweet daughter …”
The image fades.
“Your sister Rosella will be one of the sacrifices. Her survival depends on you. Go, sail across the sea to the east. Remember, Alexander, you are more important then you realize. And you are stronger than you realize.”
The light dimmed from the oracles eyes and it lowered its head.
“Oracle? “ murmured Gwydion.
When he got no response, he knew he had gotten all he could from the oracle and left the cave.
As soon as he stepped outside the cave, he collapsed on a rock next to the entrance. His head spun, his heart was pounding, and his vision swam. He finally knew who his parents were, where he was from! King Graham and Queen – finally it clicked. If they were king and queen, then that made him a prince! A bloody prince! He startled a nearby bird when he gave an exhausted laugh. Some prince he was!
Then he remembered the last vision. He had a sister, and she would be in serious trouble soon. For some reason, he was the one who had to save her. The thought made him nervous. What could he do? He, who had never left the mountain top for most of his life, sail across the ocean and save the young maiden like some hero in his stories?
You are stronger than you realize.
The oracle’s voice echoed through his head. He had managed to trick Manannan, and that was no mean feat. He could do this. Besides, he had no choice. He didn’t know whether or not his family wanted him, or if they had abandoned him like he had always believed, but they needed him now and he wouldn’t abandon them.
As he started walking back to town, something nagged at him. He was halfway back when he finally realized what it was. Right before it quieted, the oracle had called him Alexander.
He stopped. His real name. Alexander was his real name. Alexander. It sounded… very odd, but at the same time, right, somehow. He continued on to town.
Stepping wearily around the deceased dragon, he finally moved to where he could get a good look at Rosella.
Her hands were pulled back, bound together on the opposite side of the tree. Her dress, though made of the finest materials and once must have been elegant, was now spattered with mud and torn in several places. Long, tangled, golden hair framed a beautiful face now turned toward him. He didn’t realize he had stopped moving and was staring until she spoke.
“If you’re here to rescue me, now would be the time to start untying me.”
Immediately, he pulled out his knife and moved to the back of the tree. Both were silent as he sawed through the thick ropes binding her hands. He was still too overwhelmed to say anything once she was free and had turned toward him, rubbing her wrists to try and return circulation.
He could see the stress of situation still in her movements, partially hidden by the grateful and curious look she now gave him.
“You gave my eternal gratitude, stranger.” She paused, and when he didn’t respond, continued “And in whose debt do I know find myself?”
“Highness… perhaps we should first move away from this cursed place. It may not yet be completely safe.”
She nodded, and he finally tore his gaze from her blue one, so similar and yet different from his own.
Together they started down the steep stairway, Gwydion leading the way and constantly glancing behind him to make sure she did not slip on the crumbling stairs.
When they finally emerged from the cave’s entrance, Rosella stopped him and gave him a searching look.
“You remind me of someone… please, I must insist on knowing the identity of my rescuer.”
Gwydion hesitated, then nodded. This was it. Would his family accept him, or turn him away?
“Highness… just a few months ago I would have been more sure of the answer. Now… “ He faltered under her piercing stare.
“Yes?”(Posted on: February 13, 2009, 03:24:56 PM)
“I’ve lived my entire life in the servitude of a wizard in the distant land of Llewdor. He called me Gwydion. Only recently did I learn my true name.”
“And that is…?”
Gwydion steeled himself. “Princess… Rosella… my parents named me Alexander. I’m your twin brother.”
Her eyes widened in shock. Gwydion held his breath as she took in his astonishing claim.
“Alexan…? But he’s dead! You can’t possibly expect me to… “ she said in a rush. Then, taking a deep breath, “And yet… you do look a lot like Father… maybe…”
Gwydion felt his hopes and dreams balanced on a razor edge. How could he prove who he was? All he had was the alleged words of an oracle who couldn’t tell the future from the present most of the time.
“Let me see your right thigh,” Rosella announced suddenly.
“Mother mentioned Alexander had a cute birthmark. Do you have one or not?”
With a rush of relief, Gwydion undressed just enough to show her the birthmark that did indeed exist on the back of his right thigh.
Gwydion grunted as Rosella suddenly slammed into him. “You really are Alexander!” she cried as she hugged him hard. He stood stiff and awkward until she ended the embrace.
“Where did you say you were? Mother and Father always said you… oh!” She started. “They don’t know! Come on, we must get back to the castle!”
She took his hand and started leading him. He stared down at her hand in his, a thousand thoughts crying for attention in his head, unable to focus on any of them.
“And wait until everyone else finds out their prince has returned! We’ll have –“ She stopped and turned when she felt Gwydion halt. “What’s wrong?”
He’d been so caught up in the worries of meeting his parents and sister he’d almost forgotten. “Rosella – I’ve never been anything but a slave. I- I’m not a prince, I don’t know how- “
Her face grew serious. “Alexander, ” Gwydion almost flinched at the name, “let me tell you something. For years, Father rode out at spring time, looking for any clue as to what happened to you. And he didn’t go alone. The entire kingdom joined in the search. Everyone will be glad to see you’ve returned at last.” She took his hand again. “And you’re not alone. No matter what happens, Mother and Father and I will be here to help you. All right?”
He looked at her concerned face and felt a little bit reassured. He nodded, and they continued on toward the castle.
*more about journey back, pass gnomes house
Gwydion took in as much of the place that should have been his home growing up as he could as they approached the castle. It looked almost exactly like it had in the oracle’s vision, but Gwydion could hardly believe he was actually here.
As they got closer, though, he noticed one thing that was not the same. Two figures stood on the path before the moat bridge. Rosella ran up to them and Gwydion watched, approaching at a walk, as the figures – his parents – embraced Rosella with obvious relief and joy that she was back unharmed. Gwydion felt his stomach clench as he watched.
You are stronger than you realize.
He could do this, had to do this.
By now he had come up to the small group.
“How is this possible?” Valanice was asking. Then, noticing Gwydion, she turned toward him. “Who is this?”
*describe parents, valanice older than in vision*
The words he had rehearsed over and over during the sea voyage suddenly vanished from his head, and Rosella answered before he could think of what to say. “Mother, Father, Fate has smiled on us again! You’ll never guess who this is!
Valanice stared at him. He could not help but think of his worn and stained traveling clothes and knew his hair must be a mess, tangled and hanging down to his shoulders. He shifted under her gaze uneasily.
“It’s Alex–“ Rosella started, but before she could finish recognition lighted the Queen’s face.
“Alexander!?” She had lost all sense of composure as she took a step toward him, her eyes locked on his. “You can’t be… but…” She cupped her hands on his face.
“He is, Mother, he really is.”
“Alexander!” Valanice took him in her arms. “My son… my son!”
“How..?” Graham stepped closer, shock clearly written on his face as he studied his presumed-dead son. Then he too enfolded Gwydion in his arms. Rosella joined in, and Gwydion had no idea how long they all stood like that as tears of pure joy and fatigue ran down each face.
Finally Valanice stepped back, and trying unsuccessfully to regain her composure, said “I have so many questions…”
“But they can wait till morning,” Graham interrupted. “Alexander, you look exhausted; in fact I think we all are.” He smiled at Gwydion, and Gwydion’s heart jumped.
Valanice nodded. “Yes. Alexander, I’ll show you where you can stay.”
She led him through the now open portcullis and across the courtyard, into the castle. Most of the trip passed in blur for Gwydion as he moved in a half-daze. Valanice constantly looked back over her shoulder, as if to make sure he truly was there.
Gwydion was sure he was too excited and overwhelmed to sleep, but as soon as they’d reached the bedroom, he’d taken his boots off, and laid down, he was asleep.
He startled awake, confused by the unfamiliar softness of the mattress and the cloth canopy that hung above him. He sat up while trying to remember where he was; then everything came back in a rush. He was home! He was still trying to shake off the remnants of sleep and fully remember everything when another spoke and he realized he was not alone.
“It’s good to see you awake, young Prince. Your sister’s been by a half dozen times since morning to see if you were up yet.”
Gwydion looked at the man that stood near the foot of the bed. The man, who couldn’t have been younger than fifty, was placing a pitcher and a tray loaded with food on a desk placed along one wall.
“I’m Jamail, your father’s valet. His Majesty has asked me to see to your needs while you’re here. I’ve brought some food up; you must be famished – you slept through an entire day and half another. I’ll run a bath while you eat if you feel up to it.”
Gwydion nodded, a little overwhelmed by such attention. Jamail disappeared through one of the doors in the room. Gwydion got out of bed and over to food - Jamail was right, he was famished.
The platter was loaded with bread, fruit, ham, and eggs. He grabbed an apple and studied the room while he ate; he’d been too exhausted the night before to take much of it in. Beautiful designs had been carved onto the headboard and footboard of the four-poster bed. The footboard featured the D signature he remembered from his dream. An ancient-looking tapestry of hunting scenes, hung on one wall above the large desk opposite a large wardrobe. Gwydion crossed over the thick carpets underfoot to the small window and looked out. From the look of the sun, it was well into the afternoon already. Two stories below him lay the courtyard, which was crowded with tents, makeshift shelters, and people wandering about. Gwydion was still watching them when Jamail returned.
“One of the younger courtiers volunteered to lend you some clothes until some can be made for you.” He waved toward the wardrobe. Is there anything else you need, Highness?”
Gwydion shook his head, and Jamail left after showing him the pull cord he could use to call for a servant. After the hot bath, a great luxury in and of itself, Gwydion opened the wardrobe to find several outfits made of finely-woven and brightly dyed cloth.
After staring at the contents of the wardrobe for a minute, Gwydion started laughing. He remembered looking at the pictures of heroes and princes in his books and trying to imagine himself in their clothes, and now he really was going to dress just like them! His laughter continued, bordering on hysteria.
It took him a couple minutes to calm down, but once he did he picked the plainest of the garments – a simple doublet with minimal decoration and a pair of dark leggings. He was pulling on his own boots when Jamail appeared again, carrying a tray.
He’d only gotten a few steps inside the room though when a figure pushed passed him. Before Gwydion could even realize who it was he found himself once again being squeezed to death by Rosella.
“You’re finally awake! You wouldn’t believe the uproar the castle and town are in. The dragon’s gone and you’re back! Everyone’s calling you a hero!” She beamed up at him and he couldn’t help but smile at her jubilant mood.
“Princess-“ started Gwydion.
“None of that! I’ll not have my own brother, my own twin at that!, calling me anything other than Rosella. Now, I’ll go tell Father you’re awake; he and Mother have been trying to figure out how deal with all the damage that’s been done. Jamail, if you would please show Alexander to Mother and Father’s rooms?”
“Of course, Highness”
With another grin at Gwydion she was out the door Jamail put his tray down beside the food tray.
“I was going to see if you would like a haircut, but I think that can wait.” Jamail lead him out into the hallway and through several more.
The hallways had the look of
As they approached an impressive looking door with a guard standing beside it, Jamail slowed. Out of earshot of the guard, Jamail turned toward Gwydion, and Gwydion saw him drop some of the professionalism that had marked his actions all afternoon.
“Highness, I want to thank you personally for what you did. The Princess is dear to us all… and not only for her sake; I’ve served the King since he became King, and I’ve never seen him more broken-hearted than when he’d thought he’d lost his child a second time. If you hadn’t done what you did… well, thank you, Prince Alexander.” Gwydion flushed at this sincere gratitude. “And welcome home.”
Jamail pulled back and fell back into his characteristic professionalism and efficiency. “The Queen should be inside.” And with that, he was gone before Gwydion could say anything, had Gwydion not been too overwhelmed to do so.
The guard just nodded as he opened the door for Gwydion, though Gwydion noticed he was studying the young Prince.
Valanice was standing looking out the window when Gwydion entered. Lost in her thoughts, she didn’t notice him enter.
“Mother?” Gwydion said tentatively.
Valanice spun. “Alexander!” She walked over and gave him a hug.
“I can’t help but fear this is all a dream, that’ll I’ll wake any minute to find you gone again and that horrible dragon still alive.”
“I have no intention of going elsewhere, if you’ll have me.”
Surprise filled her features. “Of course! Why would you think anything else?”
Gwydion glanced away. “Manannan always said you gave me up willingly, that my birth cursed you-“
Valanice started to interrupt, “Who-“ when the door opened and Graham and Rosella came in.
Graham smiled at him. “It’s good to see you up and rested. You looked exhausted enough to sleep standing up the other night.” Both of them embraced him again. At this rate, he’d have made up for all the hugs he’d missed by the end of the month.
They all sat down on the two couches that sat in the middle of the richly-decorated sitting room.
Graham’s features turned grim. “Alexander, Rosella said something about a wizard. Where exactly have you been? Who was it that took you?”
“In Llewdor. His name was Manannan, a wizard of great power. He never told me who I truly was, where I came from. I always thought… “ Gwydion looked around at the three concerned faces around him and stopped.
“Alexander, we would never have given you up.” Valanice stated. Graham looked startled at this but didn’t interrupt as his wife continued. “Part of my heart died the day we found you gone.”
She paused, then asked, “Did he hurt you?”
He glanced away and paused before answering, but his hesitation must have been enough of an answer for he didn’t get a chance to.
“Oh, Alexander,” she breathed, pain clear on her face.
Graham looked at his son and wife, rage – though carefully controlled- clear on his. “Where is he? He’ll not get away with this.”
“He’s no longer a problem, Father. When I escaped ____ months ago I used his own magic against him and turned him into a cat, permanently. There’s no way he can ever bother us again.” Gwydion wasn’t as positive of this as he sounded, but he wasn’t going to make his family worry anymore than they had to.
“But why? Why you?” asked Rosella.
“All I know is that I wasn’t the first boy to serve as his slave. He planned to kill me when I turned eighteen, as I suspect he did with all of us who served him. I can only imagine how long this cycle of stealing and killing boys has gone on.”
“When did you say you escaped?” asked Rosella suddenly.
“_____ months ago. I had some trouble getting here.”
“That’s when my nightmares finally stopped!
“Would you like to see the castle now?” asked Rosella.
“That’s an excellent idea, Rosella. Why don’t you show Alexander around while Valanice and I go meet with the councilors?” Graham asked.
Rosella jumped up. “Come on, then. You’ll love the castle.”
Gwydion followed her out into the hallway.
“These are the royal family’s quarters. Where you stayed last night was in the guest wing; as soon as ______ gets one of these unused rooms cleaned out and aired, you can move up here.” Rosella explained as they walked. “There are plenty of unused rooms, what with there only having been the three of us.”
*throne room must go last on tour, so mirror can reawake while their looking at it. OR what about ceremony of some sort like in the games, and when he officially becomes prince of Daventry, wake, Graham starts to give hat, blah blah blah
They reached the end of the hall and started down a set of wide stairs that Gwydion vaguely remembered climbing the night before. A few hallways later, Rosella stopped before a set of formal looking doors. Inside, rows of benches faced a raised dais, on which sat two formal but mostly unadorned thrones.
“This is the throne room; every Tuesday Mother and Father hear petitioners. Solve disputes, give advice, that sort of thing. Since I turned 15 Father’s been letting me handle some of them., while he oversees, of course.”
They walked the length of the room over to the right of the dais. On the wall, facing the dais, hung a large, gilded oval mirror.
“This is a magic mirror. It stopped working the night you disappeared, along with the other two treasures, and none have worked since. Do you know the story of how Father became king?”
Gwydion shook his head.
“Daventry has three great treasures: the magic mirror, a chest of never ending gold, and a great shield that protects the army that wields it. ___ years ago they were stolen. Back then Father was just a knight; the king then, King Edward, called Father forth and charged him with finding the treasures. Daventry was being set upon by great armies, intent on conquering Daventry, and soon they would prevail unless Father succeeded. But Father did, and King Edward made him his heir. I’m sure Father will tell you more about it if you want.”
Gwydion listened to the story with amazement. His father was a hero. People kept calling Gwydion one, too. (Posted on: February 13, 2009, 03:25:22 PM)
The forum won't let me modify the post; it lets me make consecutive posts to make one really long one, but trying to modify it gives me a past maximum length error.