Sit, my friends. Come and listen to what I have to say. Maybe you will learn something important… or maybe not, but you should listen anyway. The story I am about to tell you is about an old, destroyed city that, it's sufficeth to say, not like of all other fables told by story-tellers like me. In fact, this fable will be, I am terribly sorry to say, morose.
There is an island in the Sea of Guintai. This island is separated into 4 kingdoms: the North, South, East and West. In each of the kingdoms, there is a King. Each King rules over his segment of the island in his main city. The North King lives in Traeleth, The East in Yaeshik, The South in Aeseath, and the West in Hyleatis. Every Kingdom has a Court.
Years and years ago, this government was created by four friends. Each of the men took a section of the island and made it theirs, naming the city after themselves. The Kings passed the ruling down by the eldest male. Over time, things began to fall apart. It's human nature to want change. This is the story of how something good went very, very bad.
The setting is Traeleth, a rustic, sickly city. A large castle sits on the mountain looking over it. In this city, head of Northern Kingdoms, the peasants move about doing their daily duties: washing clothes, selling food, and mucking about in the mud and filth that littered the scenery. Children chased chickens in the streets, and the smell of rotting food permeated the air.
At the gates of the south-side of the city facing the forest, a hooded figure moved through the crowded cobble-stone streets so smoothly it was almost as if he were floating. What was even stranger though was the fact that the people ignored him; it was as if he were invisible.
The figure moved into a shop labeled Seth's Repertoire. He walked into the cluttered shop that was indeed full of many things. Reaching the counter he pulled out a heavy coin purse and dropped it onto the counter where it made a loud thud. The man asleep in the chair behind the counter awoke with a start and fell onto the floor.
Picking up his spectacles, the man wiped the glass on his grubby shirt. He placed them back on his nose and said, "What can I do for ye?" he said with a heavy Scottish accent.
"It's the third generation," the hooded man stated. "It's time."
"Pardon?" said the man.
"Give me the Book."
"We need to accomplish the task."
"You aren't them. I know them. You're a traitor."
A quiet, sequestered sound was heard. The hooded man had his mouth open, and a hushed sound was coming out. It was so quite you could barely hear it, but it was heard as if it were coming from inside your own head.
The man's eyes became wide. "How did you find me?" he asked, contusions began to appear on the visible parts of his body.
The hooded man began to speak in a strange language that sounded much like the hushed sound. "Son of Traeleth: I demand you tell me the location of the book that was given to you when you were called."
"I will do no such thing," he said back in the same strange language.
"What a shame." The hooded man walked over to Seth, and pulled a dagger out of his belt. He then proceeded to cut every major artery in the man's body. After the man was dead, the hooded figure spoke in the odd language again and the body burst into a purple flame.
The hooded man walked behind the counter and into the back room. He began to tear everything apart. He started with the book shelves. He picked up each book and with a certain circumspect he opened them. He moved quickly, looking inside each book for a clue to where the book he was looking for was.
After searching each book on the bookshelf, he moved to the cabinets. He looked under and over things. He looked under the bed mat, and checked each wooden floor panel for a weak spot. When he didn't find anything he checked the solidity of the walls. Soon, he heard the emptiness he was looking for and magically blew apart the wall. Inside he found a scurrilous, worn, book.
He walked back out into the front room and looked at the smoldering body. There were dilapidated bits of clothes, and flesh.
He left the shop quickly and headed in the direction of the castle. As he left out the north-side of the city, he heard a scream.
Miles above the village in the castle, we find the sixteen-year old Princess in her study chambers reading on the mysteries of parables.
The chamber doors opened and Lionel, her manservant, walked in holding her lunch tray. He set it on the table in the center of the room and pulled out her chair so she could walk over to the table to sit and eat.
"Thank you, Lionel. I was beginning to feel a bit peckish," the girl said. She grabbed a beaded bag out of the folds in her dress and opened it. She pulled out a penny and put it in his hand. "You go out to buy yourself something nice. You have always been my favorite servant."
"Thank you, Princess," he said, taking the penny.
"No, Lionel. Not Princess; just call me by my name. We've known each other long enough to be on good terms."
"Of course, Aceline." He bowed again. "Is there anything else you need?"
"No, I will be fine. I'll ring the servant bell when I need my tray taken down."
Lionel left the room with a bow, and Aceline was left in silence again. She sat alone at her table eating the barley and chicken stew. This was a common event that took place in her life. The only time she ever saw her father since her mother died was during important kingdom events, balls, and when she was sitting next to him in the throne room. Lionel was probably her only friend, and even then he really was just a servant.
Aceline was a lonely girl, and you may be thinking that she's going to meet a man who is going to sweep her of her feet and carry her into the sunset like some sappy romance. Well, not in this story. You see, I am the writer and I find stories like that redundant and over-done.
Aceline finished her lunch and rang her servant bell. Soon a maid came up and took her tray. Aceline headed back to her bed chambers to prepare for the evening ball.
When she entered her room, she saw that Lionel was putting away the evening gown she had picked out this morning.
"Lionel, what are you doing?" she asked, panicked.
"Your father wants you to appear in front of the Court in the throne room as soon as possible. He would also like you to cancel your plans to go to the ball tonight, as your appearance will be necessary." He pulled out a less flashy dress and sent her behind the curtain to change.
"Why must I make this appearance?"
"The King did not give me such information; just that I get you down there soon."
"Why must he be such a bother?" She stepped out from behind the curtain. "Tighten me." She said turning away from him. He pulled on the corset strings until they were tight enough. "Come, Lionel. You will be attending with me. Therefore, I will not be the only one who will die of boredom."
They walked out of her room and down the steps to the throne room. "It comforts me, Aceline, that you have a death wish upon my head," Lionel said with a laugh.
"Lionel, in my chambers you may call me Aceline, but not elsewhere."
They walked the rest of the way to the throne room in silence. When they arrived at the double door entrance to the throne room, the guards opened them simultaneously.
Aceline entered the room, and everyone rose. She walked to her throne next to her fathers and sat down. Lionel took his place behind her chair. The King motioned for the Court to sit. Aceline noticed a man in the center of the room who was kneeling at the base of the thrones. He was wearing a brown cloak, and holding books in his hands.
"Please rise," said the King. The man rose. "Why have you called an appearance in court, Mr...?"
"Dupont. William Dupont. And I asked for this court to present you the two Books of Mangilis and Faxith.
The room was instantly quiet. Aceline turned to look at every one. Everyone was pale, especially Lionel. She had no idea about the Books of Mangilis and Faxith, or why everyone was reacting this way. Dupont began to speak again.
"As we know, the mighty city of Aeseath was falling. The Wizard from Hyleatis, Thressiliath, became corrupted and belligerent to the people. He began to secretly study Dark Magic. He became stronger than the three other wizards. He took over the entire West and South Kingdom He killed both Kings and their immediate relatives. All of them. Thressiliath then began to curse the people who didn't follow him. He would only lift their curse if they swore an allegiance with him. The other wizards came to the North. They were Colloriates, Mangilis, and Faxith. Each of the wizards found a descendant of Aeseath, Traeleth, and Yaeshik who weren't close enough to the throne, because if they were, Thressiliath would annihilate them. The wizards wrote down all of their wizard training, potions, and spells into three books that would end the reign of Thressiliath. Thressiliath would have no idea that this rebellion was going on. From that point on they have been called the Sons of Aeseath, Traeleth, and Yaeshik.
"Colloriates gave them instruction to wait four generations before it was time to destroy Thressiliath. After the books were written and the boys were sent on their way, Thressiliath killed the three wizards with the Purple Flame.
"This is the third generation. The books have been passed down from eldest boy to eldest boy.
"You may be wondering how I came across these books. I went searching for the Sons. I wanted to help them in their duty to protect the people. I found each one already dead. Both had been burned with the Purple Flame. The Purple Flame of Thressiliath. I searched each place diligently until I found each book. The Son of Yaeshik was still in his own Kingdom. His vocation was the same as the Son of Traeleth: Shopkeeper.
"For some strange reason, though, I have yet to find the Son of Aeseath."
"No one is here by the name of Aeseath," said the first voice.
"Well, I will still need to speak to every man in this castle."
The King tapped his fingers on the arm of his chair. "Clear the court." Every one stood, and soon the entire court was gone. The only ones left in the room were The King, Aceline, and their manservants. Dupont gave Aceline a terse look. The King didn't notice, and continued.
"I know this story… for years these curses have affected the world after Hyleatis and Aeseath fell. Thressiliath infiltrated the whole Kingdom with his followers. " The King stood and walked around the room. "Milk other than human milk became poisonous, people live no longer than thirty years, and even more." He stopped in front of Dupont. "Give me them." Dupont handed the books to The King.
"The kingdoms of the North and East shall have peace again."
So, The King and William Dupont banded together in a truce to find the Son of Aeseath. Every man in the castle was to appear in The King's Court and be interrogated with the help of a truth spell.
Aceline was not allowed to be at any interrogation. She spent most of her long days studying at her desk, attending balls, chatting with Lionel, and sleeping.
When it was Lionel's turn for his interrogation, he came into her room. "Aceline…" he started. "I need to tell you something. I am the Son of Aeseath."
Aceline didn't know what to think. She vacillated in her mind what she should do. Her best friend was the only person alive to save the world from complete chaos. Aceline's mind was fettered from thinking straight. Lionel sat with pure solemnity on his face.
"I need you to be honest with me, Lionel. Why didn't you tell me this earlier? I wish you could have given me some kind of warning."
"Well, what has been done is done. There isn't any changing that."
"Yeah…" She let the sound draw out. "How are you supposed to fix all of this?"
"Inside the Books is the cryptic language of old Guintai. The Sons were supposed to be together to fight Thressiliath with the things written inside the Books. Dupont shouldn't have those books. They aren't his."
"What do you need to do then?" Aceline asked, trying to be helpful.
"I am sorry, Aceline. I don't want you to get hurt."
"Can't I try?" Aceline looked hurt.
"I'm sorry, but I can't risk it," he said, veraciously. Lionel turned away.
"Fine, Lionel. But when you need help, don't come crawling to me." He left the room. Aceline flung herself onto her bed and cried.
Lionel sat on his musky hay filled mattress. He had a few festering bed bug bites on his arm. He sat contemplating what his next move would be.
He knew that Dupont wasn't up to any good, and had brainwashed The King. Dupont doesn't have the power to destroy Thressiliath without the power of a Son. Dupont isn't even related to a Son. In order for the power to work to its fullest you had to be a direct descendant.
Lionel was sad that he couldn't let Aceline help. She couldn't be much help anyway. She's a female who is a pampered Princess. She would freak at any sign of danger and blow their cover. He lay back on the bed and dozed off to sleep.
He was awoken rudely by being flipped out of his mattress and onto the floor face down. "What the-?" He yelled, discombobulated. He flipped over and found himself a few inches from Aceline's face. He could see her emerald green eyes shining with excitement.
"Get up, we need to go," she said hurriedly. She stood and helped him up. Seth couldn't help notice her garb. She was wearing tight leather pants, soft leather boots, a loose cotton travel blouse, a rucksack, a bow, and a sheath of arrows. Her normally down, long black hair was in a braid going down the center of her back.
"What are you wearing?"
"Travel clothes." She turned and ran up the stairs. He could then hear, "Hurry up!" He grabbed his rucksack and followed her out.
"What's your plan?"
"To get out of the castle." She hurried to the castle door and swung it open. They could see the village and the forest together with the sun setting on the horizon. It was such a beautiful sight. Almost like a painting. Aceline stopped to stare at it. Then she shook her head and then pulled up the hood on her blouse. "Let's go."
They ran the couple of miles down the mountain. Lionel was seeing such agility and swiftness in the princess he almost forgot who she was, and that he was her servant.
When they entered the village, Aceline walked into an Inn where she ordered a room for the night along with supper to be served there. She paid with money that wasn't royal gold, and then went upstairs. Lionel trailed behind her.
"Aceline, where is all of this coming from?"
"My mother was a bit of an adventurer. Sometimes we would be gone for weeks on one of our adventures."
"You miss your mother, don't you?" Lionel asked, sitting next to her on the hay mattress.
"I do. I really do." Aceline put her head on Lionel's shoulder. "Hey, Lionel. If you are the Son of Aeseath, doesn't that make you royalty, like me?"
"Yeah, I guess it does." Lionel smiled.
"What?" Aceline looked up at Lionel from his shoulder.
"Nothing!" He said, still smiling.
"Fine, don't tell me!" Aceline slapped his arm playfully. "Now that you are Royalty, you do not have to follow my orders anymore."
"I don't mind. I have never been treated like royalty before. I do not know what it was like. My parents and I lived in the deep woods in the South Kingdom. I am used to not being pampered."
"Fine, have it your way." Aceline scooted closer to Lionel. "What do we do now?" she asked.
"I guess we try and get the books back from Dupont. They aren't even his."
"Alright. Well, I think we should work on a plan." Aceline got up and reached into her rucksack and drew out a small bag. She poured white powder onto the floor and spread it out evenly.
"What is this?" Lionel asked, touching it.
"It's flour," said Aceline. "It's so we can draw out our plan."
"Who knew a Princess could be so smart." Lionel crouched down next to her on the floor where she was drawing with her finger an outline of the perimeter of the castle.
She laughed. "I checked before we left. My father has the books in his chamber. His chamber is right here." She drew an 'X' where she had indicated. "The easiest route to get there to avoid as many guards as possible is this way." She drew a line to indicate a route. "This is how it's going to happen. We will stand here until we feel it is safe…"
Lionel and Aceline tweaked their plan by studying tactics, and reading in the Book of Colloriates. While they were working on their plan, The King sent guards out to look for Lionel and Aceline. Once, Lionel was out getting supplies for their stay in the hotel, he ran into guards and had to use magic from the Book to mask his appearance and confuse the guards.
They stood in the forest covering next to the castle wall. Aceline was clad in leather. She had a dagger in her belt, and her bow and arrows slung across her back. Lionel was clad in also leather with a balanced longsword and bow and arrows.
They watched the guard who was on watch until turned the corner. "Ready?" Lionel asked.
"Ready as I'll ever be." She responded.
They crouch-walked to the castle wall and went in the same direction that the guard went. They reached the designated window and climbed in. They landed in the hallway. Lionel took charge and crouch-walked down the hall. When a guard came they ducked behind a suit of armor and a door. They reached the bottom of the stairs to The King's Chambers. They walked slowly up the stairs and unlocked the door.
The room was dark, and unusually quiet. Lionel stepped into the room, and pulled Aceline in with him by her hand. She shut the door behind them.
Suddenly the room was full of light. While Aceline and Lionel covered their eyes, they were gripped by some force and wrenched apart from each other. There was a satanic laugh coming from somewhere in the center of the room. Aceline covered her eyes and looked in the direction. Standing in the middle of the room was an old man in a brown hooded cloak. He continued to laugh.
"Fell right into my trap, Princess." He walked over to her where she hung in the air being held by nothing visible, but strong. "Did you think I didn't notice you butting in on my conversation with your father? I knew you would be coming." Thressiliath walked over to Lionel and put a long finger underneath his chin. "You are lucky that your parents died when you were young. It was because of this that I didn't find you. I was looking for an old man like all the rest."
"Where is my father?" Aceline asked sharply.
"Don't worry, Princess. Your father is fine. He's having a nice sleep. It's so relaxing. Everything in his body is just going to sleep!" He said this as if he were trying to sell a product.
Aceline struggled against the invisible force that was holding her in the air. It seemed to get tighter the more she moved. Lionel gave her a look that said, "Stop!" Aceline wasn't entirely sure why, but she stopped struggling against it.
Thressiliath turned around. In the center of the room were the two books on a pedestal. "I am going to make you a deal, Son of Aeseath." Lionel still didn't move. The Wizard kept talking. "You see these two books right here? These are very valuable books. I hear they are supposed to contain the secrets to my destruction. This is what I do not understand, though, and maybe you can clear it up for me. The Sons are supposed to read these books and learn the secret to the wizard's magic, and the destruction of me. Now think about this: I killed all three of them and they had all of the secrets, and they still couldn't beat me. You just have one of the books. I wonder where they went wrong on that plan. Ha!" Thressiliath turned away from Lionel and Aceline. He picked up one of the books and began to read it. "How about this: If I give you these two Books and let you read them so you can be a better opponent for me, you give me the girl." He was still facing away from them. "All she's ever done is order you around a lot of your life. You probably don't even like her. I don't blame you, you know."
Aceline suddenly felt something amazing. She was slipping through the invisible force. She looked over in the direction for Lionel, but he was gone. She searched frantically for him, but all her moving caused the force to tighten again.
There was a loud SMASH and Thressiliath was on the floor. Lionel stood over him with a metal tray. "He was wrong, you know. About me only having the knowledge of one Book," Lionel said. "My father told me that I was a special boy before he died. He told me that when I turned sixteen I was to come here and learn about my greatness from Seth Traeleth. Seth taught me everything. We even had meetings with James Yaeshik." Aceline slipped out of the invisible force and landed on the ground in a crouched position. Lionel helped her stand the rest of the way up. Lionel walked back over to Thressiliath. He opened his mouth and the same hushed, whispering sound was audible. The purple and brown bruises appeared on his body. "Give me your dagger." Aceline handed it over. Lionel cut every major artery in Thressiliath's body. Then he whispered again, and the Purple Flame burst into action. "Let's go find your father." Lionel wrapped his arm around Aceline's shoulders.
They walked to the bed-part of the room. In the bed lay Aceline's father. Aceline checked his breathing. It was slow, and weak. They got him some help as soon as possible. The liquid that was in his system at the time had run through his entire body. There wasn't anything they could do.