Chapter 1

The castle now

Twelve years have passed since the little boy Michael entered the city of Holdron as a mere peasant. Now he lives as the Prince of Fantasmal and the son of the king Derovic. Inside the castle walls he has spent the last twelve years of his life never thinking about the world outside the castle walls. Flapper his pet Sparrow had become his best friend. They think all is well outside the walls but they are wrong.

Outside the walls the king has forgotten about his citizens and their food is running out. The once beautiful red roofs of the city are now riddled with holes and no longer shine in the sun. On the streets people walk the streets in rags not the expensive clothing that they wore when Michael arrived. A few of the people gather around a fire to keep warm in the winter snow. All over the city platoons of guards up to ten strong patrol the streets and keep the peace.

In a bakery a chef prepares some bread for the bakery to sell. The bakery is not making much money because of the king's high taxes so there a peace of bread is like gold. In the bakery there is a small little Hamster. The Hamster crawls along the floor looking for any crumbs. The Hamster is unlucky and can't find anything. The Hamster leaves the building in search of food somewhere else in search of food. But as he crosses the street a platoon of guards pass by marching.

The hamster passes by the platoon of guards and scurries off into another building where there is a factory. A rich tyrant called Nelfer Gribage owned this factory. In this factory people work twenty-two hours a day for minimum wage making Muskill rifles for the army.

The Hamster hides as the factories machines start up. As the machines start up the black smoke comes from the towers on top of the tower. The Hamster leaves the factory not able to stand the noise any longer. As the hamster comes out he looks off in the distance at the castle. The castle virtually was left untouched by the winter snow and from all damage.

Inside the castle walls the building is still the way it was years ago. The maids have started their route of keeping the castle neat and clean. In the armory The Dark Knight practices his archery skills. Down range he had set up a target about thirty yards. The Dark Knight pulls up his left arm. On the glove of his left hand there is what appeared to be a miniature crossbow this little crossbow was given to him by king Derovic himself.

On top of the crossbow there where two little sticks these sticks the Dark Knight adjusted to focus in on the target that was down range. As the sticks got closer the Dark Knight put his other hand on the trigger that was connected to the crossbow.

The Dark Knight then releases the crossbow's string flinging the arrow through the air. The arrow then hits the target dead center. The Dark Knight was an extremely skilled archer and could hit a fly at twenty yards. Without killing it. The Dark Knight then lets off two more arrows. The arrows hit the first one slicing it in half. The Dark Knight then sits on the ground and concentrates listening to the environment around him. He then hears another man enter the room from the stairs. This man was wearing leather armor and standard military issued pants the man carried a pike with him and wore a leather circular hat on top his head. This man's name was Captain Frilar Silon.

As Frilar enters the room the Dark Knight is gone but it is unknown to Frilar that the Dark Knight was on the room. He walks in and then sees the target down range. As Frilar continues to walk towards the target the Dark Knight then hits the ground without making a sound. The Dark Knight then pulls up the crossbow and aims it at Frilar's head. He then slowly rises behind Frilar. Compared to Frilar the Dark Knight is two feet taller then him that makes Frilar about six foot tall at least.

"Who are you?" The Dark Knight says behind Frilar.

Frilar then turns around and once the Dark Knight sees that it was Frilar that he was aiming at he slowly put away his crossbow attachment.

"Oh Frilar! Please forgive me I did not know it was you at the time." The Dark Knight says to Frilar.

"Ah that's OK sir. T can understand what it must be to see someone enter the armory at the wrong moment." Frilar says with his wise solider voice.

The Dark Knight then walks over to the weapons racks puts away his helmet and turns and stretches his limbs and leans over on the racks. HE then sees Frilar walk over to another rack and put away his pike and his hat.

"Hay so Frilar why are you down here anyway. Except to train and all." The Dark Knight asks Frilar turning his head over to look at Frilar's face.

"Well sir king Derovic thinks that an old solider like myself is no longer fit for combat and that I am to retire from the guard by tomorrow." Frilar says to The Dark Knight as he walks up the stairs again.

After Frilar leaves the armory the Dark Knight gets back up and then runs up the stairs but then starts to walk as he reaches the top. The Dark Knight then comes across another man a man that appears to be in his late forties. The man is strong and is wearing a messenger robe that is brightly colored white. The man's face is old abut sculpted to resemble a strong and bold man on the man's chin he had a short white beard that touched his shirt. This mans name was Ryan Lionheart like the king Richard the Lionheart. This man appeared in front of the Dark Knight the man shoves his arm up in the air and speaks to the Dark Knight.

"Hay old buddy. Come over here I want to speak with you." Ryan speaks with the voice of an old wise and strong Warrior.

The Dark Knight then approaches Ryan. Ryan then stops the Dark Knight by extending his hand and taking off his hood.

"Uh? Ryan what exactly is going on here what are you doing up here?" The Dark Knight asks Ryan.

Ryan then pulls the Dark Knight into a dark hallway as a guard passes by. As the guard passes Ryan takes his hand slowly off the Dark Knight's mouth.

"Listen my friend this morning in the court yard a man was killed for speaking out against the king. This man I had sent to bring the boy a message. With him gone I must now bring the boy the message myself." Ryan says to the Dark Knight and passes him a note.

"But Ryan there is no way that the king would resort to that. I mean killing a civilian just for speaking out against the king. It's just ridiculous to think that something like that could really happen. I mean I only heard those stories come over from Delltoron's castle." The Dark Knight says to Ryan as he puts away the note.

"You can keep what you think to yourself but know this. I have seen the king's acts day by day and let me tell you one thing." Ryan says and pulls the Dark Knight up to his face and then speaks again. "The time is coming and Fantasmal needs a new Hero. It is almost time for the Coker to return and when that time comes two sides will be drawn and I hope you make the choice of what side you'll be on." Ryan says to the Dark Knight then lets him go and puts on his hood and walks away.

The Dark Knight then pulls out the note and looks at it in his hand and wonders about what Ryan just told his. He then turns the note over then he sees a strange symbol on the back. The symbol had a wolf sitting howling in front of a blue moon. He had no idea what the symbol meant so he puts the message back in his pocket and then turns around. As he turns around he sees Derovic right behind him. Derovic had seen the note.

"Dalg mind to explain to me what this is?" Derovic says while he pulls the note from out of Dalg's pocket.

"Oh my mighty king please allow me to explain. You see that note I had written for prince Michael my lord and I want to see it delivered to him personally. So if you please give it back that would be most appreciated." Dalg says to Derovic reaching for the note.

Derovic then takes the note away from Dalg's hand. And then calls Devian to his shoulder.

"I will make sure for you that the message is delivered." Devian then flies off to the Princes quarters with the note in his talons. "In the future I want all messages that you write to the prince to be brought directly to me got that Dalg." Derovic says to the Dark Knight putting his arms behind his back.

"Yes my lord as you wish." The Dark Knight says while turning his head.

"Good and I want it to stay that way until I say otherwise." Derovic says to Dalg and walks off.

The Dark Knight looks up and sees that Devian was watching the conversation. The two stare at each other for a few minutes until Devian flies off to complete his quest. The Dark Knight looks down as the hawk flies away and he continues down the hallway.

Meanwhile the Hawk flies up the massive tower that connects to the prince's chambers. At the top of the tower was the prince's chamber. The prince had a good lay out the room was large enough to fit four full size beds across the room. The prince himself was asleep in his bed that was up against the back wall. Michael was dead asleep along with Flapper the Sparrow who was sleeping in a hanging basket that hung from the ceiling. The basket was full of hay that the sparrow had gathered in a pile in the center of the basket that was where he was sleeping.

The hawk then flaps his wings and lands on the window ceil. The hawk looks directly at the Sparrow with a scary look in his eyes. The hawk lets his eyes off the Sparrow as he puts the note on the window ceil. As he pulls his head up he looks at the Sparrow and then flies away back to his master.

Then outside the prince's door Marcus the trader can be seen but he was no longer a trader he now was a butler to Michael thanks to Derovic. Marcus hears the hawk fly off and goes inside the room. He slowly opens up the door and walks in. Marcus walks over to the window and pulls back the curtains and sees the sun rising over the horizon. Outside he sees the note and reaches out opens the window and grabs the note and pulls his arm back in from the freezing cold and closes the window. But as he turns he says to Michael.

"Sorry my lord but the time is now that you must get up." Marcus says then walks over to Michael and shakes him.

"Who is this? Marcus? Go away let me sleep." Michael says still asleep and roles over.

Marcus then crouches down to look at Michael.

"Well my lord. It is time for you to rise along with your little friend." Marcus then goes over and wakes up the Sparrow.

The Sparrow wakes up and flies over Marcus's head and lands next to Michael. The Sparrow rubs up against Michael and that awakes the boy. Michael rises to see Marcus ready with the note in his hand. As Michael rises he walks over to Marcus.

"Oh sire I found this note on the window ceil. I imagine it is addressed to you sire." Marcus says giving the note to Michael.

Michael looks at the note and does not open it. He puts it down on a table on the left of the room. He then walks over to his large closet and closes the door. Flapper then flies over on Marcus's shoulder. Marcus then looks over at the Sparrow and brushes the Sparrow off his arm. Flapper then flies over back to his basket and lands looking at Marcus then lets out a deep tweet and goes into the pile of hay. Marcus is not afraid of the Sparrow and goes over to the closet.

"You know sire lady Silvia wanted to see you down in the gardens. That is after you get the proper attire sire." Marcus says to Michael.

"You know Marcus I don't mind you being my butler and all but I don't like you calling me by sire." Michael says from the other side of the door.

"Well I have to call you that sire after all you are the Prince and I am just a servant to you." Marcus says then puts down his head.

"Anyway I think that the king has been getting angry in mood lately." Marcus says back to Michael this time with his head pulled up.

Then the doors fly open and Michael comes out wearing his Prince suit. The suit was real fancy the buttons where even made out of gold.

"Ah sire I now see that you are ready for the day ahead. You are to attend a royal court at 3:00AM today followed by a posing for at 4:00PM and after that your father needs you to report to him at 8:00PM sire." Marcus says to Michael.

"OK Marcus I will report to those soon but first I'm going to see Silvia down in the garden." Michael tells Marcus and walks out the room.

"Well sire when you are done meet me in the court room." Marcus says to Michael as he exits the room.

Michael heads down the tower and heads down to the Garden as he arrives on the floor with the garden on it he is confronted by a man in a robe that was colored in reds and blues. The man then spoke with a mysterious voice.

"You didn't read my message young Prince."

"What who are you?" Michael asks the man.

"A better question is. Who are you?" The man says back to Michael.

"For years you have lived in a lie. You think that this man Derovic actually cares for you. He just needs you for a reason and when you find this out it will be to late." The man says again to Michael.

"You're crazy Derovic's my father he wouldn't do anything to hurt me." Michael says angrily at the man.

"Believe in what you want but I am telling you the truth. But you continue to resist. Boy." The man says to Michael and then walks away.

Michael tries to forget the man then walks into the garden and meets Silvia in the gardens. She is wearing a royal gown that has a gold colored brace fabric. She looks beautiful in the dress. She turns and stares Michael in the eyes. Michael looks up and sees Flapper come down from the tower and lands in a bush next to Silvia.

As Michael is watching this happen Silvia wonders what is going on with him.

"Hay Michael it's only me." Silvia says to Michael.

"OH yah right." Michael says and coughs into his gloves.

"You know Michael I heard that a man was killed today in the gardens below here for speaking out against the king." Silvia says puling her hands back to her.

"Oh really I thought that was just a rumor." Michael says to Silvia.

"I'm starting to think that your father is starting to abuse his power. It is only a matter of time before the citizens come up and rebel against him." Silvia says back to Michael.

"Yah Marcus thinks the same thing." Michael says back to Silvia.

"Well I best get off then. I'm certain that you have more important things to do then speaking with me." Silvia says jumping down and walking back towards the door.

Michael watches as Silvia walks out the door. Michael puts his arms behind his back. Then he hears the Sparrow tweet at him as if to mock him.

"No I do not love her!" Michael says to the Sparrow turning to face him.

But as Michael stares at the Sparrow he then hears the voice of the man speak to him again this time right in front of him.

"You see boy all you ever cared for will be wiped out if you continue to refuse to listen to my warnings. The person you know t o be your father will soon become a dictator and if there is no one to rise up against him he will spread his influence." The man says to Michael.

Michael lifts up his head to see the man that he saw in the hallway a few seconds ago.

"OK then old man. Do you mind explaining to me exactly who you are?" Michael asks the man.

"You will learn in time child. But until then remember this. Not everything as it seems." The man says as he exits the garden.

"No wait." Michael says running after the man but as he exits the garden he can't see the man.

With no sign of the man Michael walks off with Flapper on his shoulder. But up in the rafters Devian was sitting and had seen everything. The hawk then crawls through the rafters and watches as Michael walks to the royal courtroom. When Devian can no longer see Michael and the Sparrow the hawk flies off back towards Derovic's chambers.

Later Devian flies into Derovic's chambers and lands on his pole Derovic was sitting in his chair and was staring at the flames from the fire place. The hawk then crosses over to the chair and rubs up against his master's head and shrieks. Derovic then puts his hands on both sides of the chair and lifts himself up and then stares at the flames and then tosses another log into the inferno. The hawk then flies from his stand then lands on his master's shoulder.

"So then you say that my sons little girl friend is traitor to our kingdom. This is a horrible thing indeed. That even means that not even my own son can be trusted." Derovic says to Devian.

Derovic then calls in two of his guards that enter the room and then point their Muskills in the air and stand in attention. Then Derovic walks over to them and hits their Muskills. The weapons hit the ground with a loud cling. As the Muskills cling on the ground Devian flies off into the rafters.

"The girl known as Silvia has spoken out against my rule. I want you to find her and bring her to the court instead of that convict. It is time my son learned about these times of war and how cruel it can be." Derovic says to the guards.

The guards still stand in attention after the Derovic stops speak. Derovic looks back at the guards and is disappointed.

"Well get off then you idiots!" Derovic yells at the guards and throws his plate of food at them.

The guards run off to go collect Silvia and the others are unaware. As the guards walk off Derovic sits back in his chair staring once more into the flames. Devian then flies down and joins his master in watching the flames.

Later on Michael makes his way to the courtroom where Marcus awaits him. As Michael sees Marcus and wonders why he's here.

"Marcus? What the heck are you doing here?" Michael asks Marcus.

"Oh my lord it's about lady Silvia the guards they came by." Marcus starts to speak but is then interrupted by Michael who says.

"Silvia? Where is she?" Michael says to Marcus and starts walk into the court.

"As I was trying to say sire the guards. They came by earlier today. I tried to stop them but they said that the king has made her traitor to the kingdom. They say she's going to be executed soon. Sire you have to go into the courtroom you are the king's son you are the only one that can change this." Marcus says to Michael as they come to the entrance to the Courtroom.

"Marcus stay here. I'll be right back." Michael says and then runs into the courtroom.

As Michael enters the room he sees Derovic sitting on his throne surrounded by the greatest judges in the land of Fantasmal. In the center of the room was Silvia who was sitting on the ground crying. Michael goes over to her and sees her wounds then leaves her to go speak with the king.

"Father! Stop this madness. She is just an innocent young girl. Please just let her live she did nothing wrong." Michael begs Derovic.

Derovic lifts up his hand and the crowd disbands and Derovic can see his son before him. Derovic shifts side from side in his chair then begins to speak.

"So you come to me to save a traitor." Derovic gets up and then starts to walk over to Michael. "A most noble action. But foolish you see. Every person that speaks out from my rule must die for treason against the kingdom against all that I have spent years to create." Derovic says to Michael rubbing his hand along his chin he then pulls away his hand from Michael's chin and thrust his hand pointing at Silvia. "She is an example of what I try to fight against and you think she has done nothing wrong." Derovic says pulling his arm back down to his side.

"But she has said nothing against you father she was just speaking the truth." Michael says to Derovic.

Michael then sees his father frown at him. Derovic then turns and sits back in the throne. Derovic sits starring Michael in the eyes then one of the judges comes over and speaks in his ear. The judge then goes back into the crowd and Derovic stands once more from the throne.

"OK my son it is time for a deal to be made. Outside the castle walls there is mob of angry citizens." Derovic says to Michael as he paces back and forth.

"What are you talking about father?" Michael asks Derovic.

"I am just making a little choice. Either I spare the girl or the crowd of citizens outside. This choice is up to you alone my son. Choose." Derovic says to Michael and grins.

"No Michael. Those innocent people do not disserve to die. Choose me!" Silvia yells at Michael.

"It is just a simple choice just say to me your choice of who is to be spared." Derovic says to Michael.

Michael thinks for a few moments hearing both Silvia and Derovic speak to him about the choice. The pain of this choice starts to cloud his mind but then he hears the strange mans voice speak to him once again this time in his mind it says to him.

"Michael the choice you make hear will change the fate of the kingdom. The lives of the citizens outside the castle are indeed innocent but what happens if you decide to spare the villagers who would just die from starvation or disease. If you choose them they will live and nothing will have changed. But choose the girl and you and her will shape this world for the better. This is not the easiest choice to make but for the world to be changed for the better the girl must live. She's more special then you know." The voice says to Michael and then disappears.

Then Michael then raises his head and says to Derovic.

"I choose to spare the life of Silvia."

"The girl lives get a platoon of men down to the crowd I want all who resist house arrest to be executed at once." Derovic says to the leader of the guards.

Michael and Silvia exit the courtroom. But as Michael exits the room he looks back and sees Derovic sitting back in the throne and then he sees Devian fly down and joins Derovic who then smiles at Michael. Michael then turns his head and continues going back with Silvia.

Later it is night and it is storming. The rain is hitting Michael's face as he stands outside in the rain on a balcony. Behind him was Marcus who was beckoning him to come back inside.

"Sire I know the amount of grief that you must be feeling now but you must understand that I think you made the right choice by choosing Silvia to live. Now my lord I ask you for the last time I must ask you come back inside before you catch a cold or something." Marcus says to Michael.

Michael does not respond and stays outside. Then up the stairs comes Silvia who is followed by a man in a white robe. When they reach the top Michael turns around and sees Silvia. When he sees that Silvia is all right he runs from the platform and goes and hugs her. He then steps away from her and accidentally hits Ryan Lionheart who then laughs at Michael.

"Ha! Don't worry my little friend I will not harm you." Ryan Lionheart says to Michael.

"Uh? OK then big guy." Michael says staring up at the seven-foot tall man in the robe.

He then looks over and sees the man that has been speaking to him all of this time. He walks over and sees that his robes hood covered the man's face. He then spoke to the man.

"Hay you're the guy. The guy that has been speaking to me all this time. You're also the voice that told me to make that choice." Michael says to the man and looks down at the ground.

"I have good reason for all that I have caused." The man says to Michael and Michael looks at the man.

"You have no idea of the choice that I made. The people that died because of me." Michael says to the man and hits the wall.

"I know that I have caused you much grief but I will now tell you why. If you did not see the cruelty of your father then you would have no reason to fight him and if you did not fight against him there would no hope for the rebellion that has started against the king." The man says to Michael.

"What Rebellion?" Michael says to the man and lifts up his head.

"Boy you mean you did not read the note that Dalg should have delivered to you." Ryan Lionheart says standing next to the man.

"Uh no. I can tell you that the Dark Knight did not deliver that message. I found it out on the window ceil. Apparently Devian delivered it to you master Michael." Marcus then says to Ryan Lionheart.

"Oh no. You know my friend if Devian was the one that delivered the note then that means he could have been listening to us this entire time." Ryan Lionheart says to the man.

"You're right Ryan. That means that Derovic has been listening to us this entire time. Now stand still." The man says to the group.

Then the entire floor lights up and emits a white glow as the group disappears in the white glow.

Outside the room the Hawk Devian was watching from the roof of the castle. He had seen everything that had just happened. After the group of Heroes disappear Devian flies off to report to his master.