tisdag 10 september 2013

Ch 6. Hatchlings

A name worthy of a prince has to be extraordinary, exciting, preferrably original, melodious, noble and respectable. But on the other hand it had to be easy to pronounce, not too long, preferrably without silly numbers or other things that ruin the feeling of the name. And it better not be anything like Pollux, since someone at court might actually have a slightly higher resistance against memory-warping spells, and a similar name might be a trigger for the spell to lose it's power over that particular subject.

Just when they had arrived at the basic requirements for a royal name, two small ruby-sparkling dragons came fluttering in through the curiously opening and closing stained-glass window in front of them. The open-close spell was a necessity as the baby dragons were utterly fascinated with the bright openings that were the windows in the otherwise so solid, dark stone walls. Glass shards don't bother dragons, but they bother humans and so she made the whole household happy with that simple swing-window spell.

The dragons were far from fully grown, only a few months old, but they grew quicly and soon they wouldn't be able to sit on her shoulders any longer. The witch had been a good friend of the dragons' mother, who had sadly been murdered by a knight (because he thought the dragon had stolen "his" maiden who had actually run away to live happily with one of his servants) just a few days before the eggs would hatch, and had decided to take care of the little dragons in their mother's place. The story of Thilyn tracking down the knight and avenging her friend is not for this tale. We now return to the story of the prince temporarily named Horse.

The youngest dragon, the female called Dethrambraxiolath (abbreviated to Brax most of the time), fluttered over to Horse's head, curled around the top of his head and stayed there, curiously sniffing at the hot-pink streaks in his hair. Then she sneezed. A small spark of dragon magick touched the hair and turned the streaks a shining silver colour.

That gave Thilyn an idea. Prince Argente* wasn't a bad name, and Horse, who had started to get tired of being called Horse now that he was human, welcomed the change of name with open arms. Literally as he happily made a large gesture and almost punched the other little dragon, Raxendrethan, who was fluttering beside him. When his hand got too close, Rax hissed and flew over to perch on Thilyn's shoulder. Thilyn petted the little dragon on his head and told the hatchlings who the stranger in the library was. Rax cautiously sniffed him as well but felt no need to sneeze, so Argente stayed the way he was.

The cousin came walzing into the library looking for an amusing book to read, so Thilyn rose to help him search the charmingly chaotic structure in there until he found something he was interested in. Ordinarily he'd spend his days wandering the vast forest, but even such a serene activity can become tedious, so he sometimes read instead. Satisfied with the new find he walzed back out of the library.

The witch quickly started with the preparations for the next step of the project and Argente started training every skill a prince had to know. Thilyn was only visible at dinnertime to weave the food onto the table (not out of thin air, it was stored in a large storage area in the old dungeons), but otherwise stayed in her study or the library, The little dragons were too mischievous to be allowed into the study so when she was in there they pestered prince Argente instead.

He in turn had actually found an area where Thilyn's cousin wasn't just a waste of space, because he was really a very skilled fencing-instructor. So with the help of the cousin and observations from his years as a horse he got better and better at fencing, decorum, dancing and, well all the other stuff that Pollux had been pretty good at. After a little more than a week of preparation, and one day of rest to recover from the intense studying, Thilyn announced that she was ready to weave the spell. All she needed was an arms length to the throne, crown and sceptre, and all the members of the royal family present. Early the next day the witch, the donkey and the prince set off towards the King's Castle.

(*Argentum is silver in Latin)

måndag 2 september 2013

Ch 5, Of Horses and Princes

When the plate was filled with fragrant foods she poured them both some lemonade, thinking wine was probably a bad choice for Horse's first meal as a human. That would have to be introduced later. Thilyn started telling a little bit about herself and after a while she came to the explanation for the haunting first impression of the tower she had inherited from a reclusive old relative. Since she had not yet graduated and was still studying at magiversity she sometimes needed calm and concentration for her studies in the arcane, the results of which regularly had to be presented to the Archmages, something that required a fair amount of preparation and focus.

At times like that it was very profitable to be left alone, and so she'd made it a habit of conjuring a bunch of storm clouds and thunder around the tower to make it seem as uninviting and foreboding as possible. The crows and ravens lived there permanently so there was nothing to do about that really. And she preferred them to the doves that would instantly inhabit the ivy vines if the competition from the crows disappeared. There were also magical alarms that warned her if anyone came unnecessarily close to the stronghold, like the Prince and Horse had done. On the other hand the eerie atmosphere sometimes attracted people like Pollux, and it had no deterring effect what so ever on those who knew the reason for the thunder and darkness, like her cousin.

During the last few weeks she'd had the storm constantly rumbling above the stronghold, since she was trying to figure out a good idea for her final project and did not want to be disturbed. She had always known it would have to involve transformation, since that was her strongest subject. Unfortunately it had been really difficult to find an original idea.

But as it happened, when she looked into her crystal ball and saw the two travelers she had a brilliant idea. The crystal didn't only show an image of the object in focus, but showed properties and personality as well. She was very pleased with her idea which would have to include a multitude of arcane diciplines, something the Archmages were sure to be pleased about. And besides, it would be good for the entire future of the kingdom. The Prince was a nice guy but he was rather useless except for the simpler, less demanding tasks of ruling a kingdom, like heroically departing in the direction of the setting sun or eating the right course with the right cutlery. Simply said, if he became king it wouldn't take long before things went south.

Horse on the other hoof had always though about things that didn't really concern a horse, always listened to what was going on in order to keep updated and always tried to minimize problems where he could affect the situation. He basically acted like a good ruler should. And the fact that he happened to be quite intelligent was a bonus.

Thilyn's idea was simply to transform Horse into a prince and the Prince into a horse (but he apparently didn't have the potential to become a real horse, no matter how much energy the witch had put into that part of the spell) and then make the court and all the land believe that Horse had always been their prince. And since the first part was already done and irreversible, the best thing to do was to keep the ball rolling and hope it all turned out for the best.

The results of the project had to be presented just a few weeks into the future, so she was in a bit of a hurry to find another project idea if Horse didn't want to be a prince. Could he imagine ruling a gigantic kingdom for a large part of his life, the witch wondered. Horse answered nervously that it was quite a lot to take in on such a short notice, but it might be fun to try it out. 

Thilyn cheered loudly and sprung out of her chair to continue the preparations needed for the rest of the project to be successful but was interrupted by Pollux who had been listening but only understood a fraction of what had just been said. He looked at her nervously and backed into the corner, throwing his head. She calmly went over to him and patted him on the head, gave him a cube of sugar and asked if he was happy with his new form. An affirmatory nudge towards the sugar cubes answered the question and then he went back to munching on apples.

That far things were going smoothly but a prince needs a name, not just a noun that some strange person has put a capital letter at the beginning of. After dinner the new prince and the young witch sat down in front of a stained glass window in the crammed, ambient library and considered different alternatives.