The princes shadows, p.1
The Prince's Shadows, p.1Seoran Worg
The Prince’s Shadows
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Copyright © 2017 by Seoran Worg
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof
may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
without the express written permission of the publisher
except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
First Edition: April, 2017
Looking up to the sky, rain falls like tears from heaven, sparking crystals like, reflecting the golden rays of the morning sun.
Spring will come soon.
I draw a deep breath. I love this smell, the smell of soil, the land below.
I continue my walk, following the narrow path. To my right, Sagha Mountain rise high, playing hiding and seeks between the floating clouds above. The mountain and holy fire never cease to amaze me.
I see the small dot glowing the mountain’s second highest peak, the Royal Palace. The palace’s strong wall and tall towers look deceptively diminutive from where I am. I know it is far from being small, though.
This land is truly beautiful. And I have to remind myself that I don’t have much time to dally.
I walk briskly again.
But the gleaming surface of vast water captures my interest.
The lake is stretched as far as eyes can see to the east. I cannot see where it ends, but I know that it falls to the land below, flowing out through the city’s great wall, making hundreds-feet-tall waterfall.
Lake Ayle’s west shore is where I am heading now. I tighten my cloak, and walking faster, following the coarse clay road.
Not far ahead, in the end of the road, finally I see it, the Cursed Temple. The ice temple. It glows like a white diamond under the soft light of the morning sun.
A suddenly familiar ache comes, and takes a hold of my heart. But I keep walking.
I enter the temple, walking, following the path between two series of ten-foot tall ice blocks. It creates winding pentagon like path.
Rain finally starts to abate, and sunrise comes piercing strong. The ice is bursting into rainbow rays, dazzling my eyes.
I walk slowly, on my left and right, I see lifeless bodies trapped inside. The Cursed Ones, they are called, Varry Empire’s enemies, immortalized in their agony.
I don’t like this place. And never will. This place always unnaturally cold even in the summer times.
As reluctant as I am, I have to say that this temple has its own beauty, eerie and morbid.
I find it is strange to preserve the enemies in such place, but recalling the history, I understand why. Emperor Vyn the second, the sixth Emperor of Varry Empire, had built this temple for his fallen brothers, the brothers, he had to slay for the throne almost six hundred years ago. Since then, many were added, making this temple bigger and bigger.
Seeing at the faces inside those blocks, I see young and old, male and female, but all of them had same traits, they had black hair, pale yellowish skin tone and varying shades of brown eyes.
They were the children of this land.
And from their garb, I can identify them as Blessed, noble or peasant.
I keep walking on, following the path. I haven’t counted but it must be more than a thousand here.
I stop in my track. I didn’t realize I have walked this far, for I arrive at the end of the path.
I stand in front of a ten-foot-tall black stone which is the center of this temple. On its four side, series of picture like words were carved. I have to tilt my face to see where it starts but I know there isn’t her place. Hers is below, almost in the end of the lines, the place for the new ones.
Her name is “moon” and “blade” character.
I turn my back, but something catches my eyes. They are stand next to the black stone, inside their icy blocks.
Their striking good looks mark them as a member of royal family. The true descendant of the Gods.
Some people said that people across the big sea look different.
They have eyes with color of blue, silver, golden or green. I wonder what kind of power they possess with such color in their eyes. I never see one, though, maybe it’s just tale to scare children. Even if it were true, it is nigh on impossible that I will see one. Even in my yearly journeys outside the capital I’ve never met such people.
Stopping my wandering thought, I continue walking back to the outermost path of the Cursed Temple, to place where she stands.
Along the way, I see caches of what pilgrim left. It makes me sad looking at those decayed flowers, crumpled and trampled into ashes.
But something makes me stop. I crouch down, looking at shining metal lying half buried in the dirt. I glance up, looking at the lifeless body of a young man, his hair long pass his shoulder, some pulled back in a neat queue, his face smooth unlined, his light brown eyes slightly bugged out, his full lips lightly parted, he have surprised look about him.
As if in trance, slowly I stand up. Gingerly, I touch the ice. I look at him closely, noting his armor, there is few inches sharp cut piercing his chest, just the size of sword tip.
He was in his early twenty I guess, not much older than me. He is a Blessed, I know. The silver-gold collar that winding around his neck, marking him as one. The collar was fashioned in dragon with its tail curled around his neck and is sealed with a big orange-red stone in the center; only the Blessed have the right to wear one.
Curiously, I pick the shining metal, and rub off the dirt as best as I can. It is a dull golden ring, shaped in simple arched design, with many scratches on its edge. I look back at the young man’s lifeless body; I see the bigger version of this ring on his finger, gleaming inside the crystalline ice.
A couple ring.
I place the ring back on the ground, hide it below a small grey stone. I feel a lump in my throat, but I continue walking again.
Time will pass by, no matter what, present will be past eventually, yes, eventually all wounds heal, and memory faded.
I drag my feet to her ice block. I feel my tears start to gather as I look at her solemn face.
In the past, I would never dream to come to this gloomy place, but today, one year ago, everything had changed. The day my world fell apart, shattered like a broken glass. It shouldn’t end like this. She and I, we come to this world together but we had different paths, I know. She was destined for greater thing while I am an ordinary one. But here she stands, statue like, frozen for eternity while I am warm and breathing. It is still like a dream to me, a nightmare, a dream nonetheless.
What people say, it is hard to believe, to me, she was a kind person with a right heart and calling inside. It’s odd, that I feel like I know her well, f
Sister, I want to call her, my twin sister, and my other half.
In my darkest hours, often I longed to be with her. She was too young to die. Standing in front of her still form, I can say that her face still looks the same, a serene oval face with sad pale eyes, a face that so different from my own. And she looks so beautiful even in her death.
They dress her well.
Her yellow tunic and wide skirt are made of finest silk and golden thread. It is flowing gracefully on her slender figure. I glance down at my clothes, yes, it is so different from hers. Her hair too, it looks rich. It is braided and coiled atop her head secured with ruby and sapphire.
It makes me wonder, why they bothered to give her these fine things? Are they mocking us?
They say it was an arrow to the heart that killed my sister but I see nothing there. And I see no pain in her face, only sadness and regret.
Why Sister? Why are you here?
I feel sorry, today is her memorial day but I am the only pilgrim here.
As for father, I didn’t dare to ask him. He must be still disappointed at her. Until this day, he still refuses to speak about her. But I know it is not a new thing.
After my sister falling from the grace, our father was banished from the court, and the empress wrath was formidable.
Now is desperate time for my family so it is time for me to be the dutiful one; I will be a bride soon.
A few months ago, father asked me to. No, not ask, command was more apt. That is the first time since my sister was gone I saw light in his eyes, and I dare not to refuse. Although at seventeen, I feel too young to wed. I want to find love, like she did, but father said not to worry now. I will not be a married woman at least until I turn nineteen he said, for that I am grateful.
We need this alliance immediately to placate the royal family, and to mend the broken trust. And I’ve been counting the days ever since, I often wonder when the day comes, will I be a happy bride?
I should be, should be… Those words are often echoing in my mind. I believe, I will, if I pray and wish hard enough.
I wish, I was courageous or rebellious enough like my sister and our royal great-great-grandmother, Ally Varr, her namesake. She was brave, or crazy enough, some say, to refuse marrying an emperor and eloped with our great-great-grandfather instead, only a second son of a noble family and an Unblessed one at that.
Maybe… if I were a Blessed, thing will be different.
But it is no use to want what I can’t have. This is the one thing I envy her the most.
But I wonder, Will I share her fate if I am?
Suddenly, I feel a cold sharp wind. Although rain has stopped and sun shine brightly above, but somehow the weather feels colder.
Sister, I have to say goodbye.
A gush of strong wind makes me shiver, I hug my cloak closer, bracing for the rush of clammy wind from the mountain. Perhaps the wind is the cause of this sudden cold. I haven’t realized that it is so windy today.
High in the sky, clouds shifting and blocking the sun, and for a moment Ally’s tranquil face looks even sadder.
Abruptly, as if comes from nowhere the wind is blowing harder, hissing through the ice blocks.
I should go, Sister. I don’t want Father thinks I am running away again.
Unbidden bitter laugh comes from my mouth. It sounds rusty and weird in my ears.
In matter of seconds, the wind turns into a whirlwind, and rapidly draws closer, its grating voice buzzing in my ear. I feel weak in the knee and out of breath, it is akin with the feeling I had whenever I was in my sister presence, in that few times she visited home, but this is much stronger.
The wind blasting harder, and I have to take a hold of the nearest ice block. My hair is flying around wildly, slapping and hurting my eyes. In the midst of this blurring world, from the corner of my eyes, I see a cloaked shadow in the center of the wind, just few feet near the end of the path, slowly walks away bringing the wind, and draws further toward the lake.
Is it you, Ally?
It can’t be, she is here and froze. Death.
Is it really you?
Defying all logic, I run, chasing you, hoping it is her.
As I run closer to her, the wind whirling harder. It is twisting around her. My cloak is flapping madly, hitting me in the face. My hair is dancing around, blocking my view.
Against the wind, I walk and each step heavier than the last. It is difficult to continue my way, but I must. My feet are wobbling, falling deep in a muddy path near the shore. I try to keep my balance and fail. I know I am going to fall. In panic, I try to grab something, anything.
I close my eyes in resignation.
Then I feel a strong grip in my arm. I open my eyes. Immediately, I see two shining silver eyes, glowing and surrounded by thick lashes. He holds my gaze with his cold eyes, pulling and making me dizzy as my strength is leaving my body. I feel like drowning, my breath ragged and cold comes creeping, numbing my bones.
Then, all I see is black and nothing.
I sit on a wooden chair looking forlornly at yellowed paper on the table. I pick this book from one of this enormous library many high shelves, but instead of reading it, my thought wandering back to several days past.
It is been a week since I moved here, to the Varan Castle. And until now, I still cannot get used living in this monstrous and daunting place, and often I found myself lost between its many corridors and rooms.
It is so ironic, for I used to look at this castle longingly when I was a child from my faraway house. From there, this castle looks like a small glowing white stone in the distant, atop one of Sagha Mountain’s many peaks, midway from where the palace is and where the city and my house is.
But from inside the castle not glowing at all, its white marble is rather dull with age, for this castle is an ancient. It was built more than four hundred years ago in the reign of Marig Varr, the sixteenth Emperor.
This castle looks more beautiful from afar, much to my disappointment.
I always wondered before what is inside this castle and its towers. This castle has three ten-story towers, they are called Red, Blue and White tower.
Now, I know that each tower can accommodate more than hundred disciples each. These disciples are the Blessed, people who receive a gift from the Gods, but not yet mastered it. Gods bless the Blessed with ability to control fire, wind or ice. It is a rare gift, only royal family and few of the others, mostly from noble family, can call themselves a Blessed, for them this castle was built and fashioned so they can learn the art of energy in peace, far from the crowd.
In the past, at least until a hundred year ago, each tower was full but nowadays only Red Tower is used, while the other two towers is deserted and left to crumbles. And that is far from my imagination.
I suppose I am one of those disciples now. But fire, wind and ice, are not the gift, Gods give me, though. I cannot control these three elements.
I am a Hallowed as masters say; a rarer gift along with the Oracle. This empire has five Oracles and no Hallowed until they found me. The last Hallowed before me, died long time ago, more than two hundred years past. Thus, the Masters not sure of what should be done. What knowledge people learn about the Hallowed slowly faded and forgotten as the time goes by. But they say even among the Blesseds, a Hallowed is revered back then. They don’t know why however.
I force my will to come back to the big book in front of me, try to remember the meaning of each picture-like character that was written on top of the old yellowing paper.
This castle’s library has many books like this, some only a copy from its original that stored in the palace.
Staring blankly at the book, sadly the memory deserted me, and my mind wandering again, re
A week ago, when I open my eyes, and saw high ceiling with its cobwebs above, feeling disoriented. It not every day I woke up on stranger bed. It was well past afternoon, I could tell from a soft light that escaped the window’s glass.
Stored in my hazy memories, the cloaked shadow in the lakeside is the last thing I remembered. I could not comprehend why I woke up in a strange room. That time, the masters greet me, not all of them, only three were there, and all had an anxious face. They tried to make me understand why I was here and what it meant to be a Hallowed, but they couldn’t say much. From what the masters said, the only thing I understood was that I am the extension of holy fire, our protector.
Sagha Mountain’s holy fire is sources of all gift and energy. No others kingdoms ever defeat the Varr within protection of the mountain’s fire, we are stronger if we are near and weaker the far we go.
I let out a soft sigh, my gaze scanning the room looking for anything that can interest me, and takes me out from this boredom.
I know I shouldn’t ungrateful like this, it is an honor to be here. But days seem passing slowly, unlike others the only training the masters permit me to join is the lesson of Varr’s history, along with three other new disciples, who come not long before me.
I understand the masters reasoning, they still not sure how my energy flow works. They said mine is different from the others so I have to wait, and they don’t want to rush and risk a mishap.
Master Sain, an old man in his sixty and one of masters of Varr history, said he will look and confirm the matter with old scrolls first, only after that they will start my meditation training, to control my energy properly.
But until now, he hasn’t found the scroll, and at this point I suspect it doesn’t even exist.
I wish they let me visit home.
Glancing back to the old tome, I’ve been dipping my nose to for these past two hours. I steel my resolve, and for one more time, I read it as best as I can. These symbols supposed to be pictures, it called hieroglyph, which was commonly used in the reign of first sixteen emperors. The time it was written.
The Prince's Shadows by Seoran Worg / Fantasy / History & Fiction / Romance & Love have rating 2.4 out of 5 / Based on33 votes