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Prince Sirion



Chapter One

The room, brightly lit with candles, was a small one but the king found it fit for his study. His vision was not as well as it once had been so he needed the light to write legibly. And, because it was so small, it wasn't hard to get bright. He sat now on an expensive wooden chair with a silk cushion. His wife, whom he gloomily stared at, sat on a chair very similar. The middle-aged man observed that the queen was beginning to look older. Her hair was no longer thick and fair, but starting to thin and had plenty of gray. She tried to hide the fact that her skin was becoming wrinkled like an old woman's by putting on too much paint.

The king himself was also aging but not as quickly. Although he was a few years older then the queen, he aged slower and looked at least ten years younger then what he really was, fifty-six. The queen looked ten years older then her true age, fifty. "But we can't just toss him out," the queen tried to reason with the king. "He's done nothing wrong." Trying to contain his temper, the king took a deep breath and closed his eyes.

With a fake smile and trying to keep his voice low he said, "But, my dear, he has you see. He is the most-" he was no longer able to keep his voice under control. "The most annoying, ungrateful, foolish, troublesome bum!" He paused for a moment. "And I cannot, will not tolerate him any longer!" He was now roaring. The queen winced.

"But he is our son also," she reminded him. "He's a prince."

"I wouldn't care if he was the heir to the throne, I want him gone!" The queen, trying to hide her fear, raised her eyebrows. The king was never like this. Most of the time he was quite able to contain his temper. Usually he was a jolly plump old fellow, who always had a smile on. Lately, he had become angrier and smiled less.

"Yes, yes, William," the queen said eager to leave and be done with this conversation. "We shall talk more of this later."

"All right, Analia," the king muttered. "Later then." Queen Analia walked toward the door, with the king muttering things to himself.

Snatching out a quill and paper, the king furrowed his brow and began to think up a plan. He thought of only one, which he crossed out almost instantly. Think of something that doesn't concern gold, he urged himself. The kingdom was already in debt as it was; they couldn't go around spending as much as they pleased as they once had. William sucked on his saliva then swallowed it. He was damned thirsty, where was that cursed servant? "Get me some ale!" he bellowed. His mouth was dry and his throat parched.

In answer, the door swung open and in walked a servant carrying a glass of liquid. The king stared at it for a moment before realizing that this wasn't what he had asked for. "Sorry, majesty, no ale left," the man, who really wasn't much older then a boy, said. His eyes were as wide as saucers. "But we've still got plenty of mead." William closed his eyes and silently counted to three.

That seemed to help a little. "Thank you," he said in a calm voice. "Put it down there." With a sigh of relief, he obeyed his master. After taking a large swig, the king set it down with a clang. Back to work, he told himself. Think. He drummed his fingers on the desk. What would his wonderful plan be? He couldn't think of anything! In annoyance, he flung his hand out accidentally knocking over his cup of mead. For a few moments, all either he or the boy could do was stare at the shards of glass lying on the marble floor tiles.

"Not cold enough!" he roared at the boy, though in truth it was just the prefect temperature. He didn't want the lad to think him clumsy. "Get me some more!" William didn't think the boy's eyes could widen any more, but that's just what they did. He fled, his face full of horror. William pitied him, he regretted yelling so loudly and didn't expect him to come back either. Probably too scared, and William didn't blame him.

The door opened quietly a few minutes. "Ah, there you are," William said in surprise, without looking up. "Set it down there and it had better be cold this time." The boy didn't hurry to do as he said. Frowning, the man looked up to see that it wasn't the servant boy but his wife again. "Oh, it's only you," he grumbled.

"What happened here, husband?" she insisted to know. "I heard a raised voice, yours." Her eyes fell upon the shattered cup. "Not another cup. We can't afford to get new ones. Please be more careful." Her wandering eyes next stopped at the paper setting on William's desk. "What's this?" she inquired, then, without waiting for an answer, she walked toward him faster then he thought she could move, and snatched up his paper. "What's this?" she inquired again. The king didn't reply. Although the writing was scribbled out, it was still readable. "Hire someone to kill him," she read aloud. "William!"

"What?" he whined. "Can you think of anything better?"

Scowling she said, "How did you break the cup? In one of your angry fits again?"

"No, it was the servant!" he lied. "Clumsy oaf... he should be fired!"

"We're going to have to start dismissing them if we don't get more gold soon!" the queen snapped. She was quiet for a moment, thinking. "Why not send him on a quest?" she suggested. "To slay a dragon perhaps?" The king nodded enthusiastically. Prince Sirion never came to his archery or fencing classes. He was sure to be awful at fighting and would most likely never come back. "In fact, we can send him to awaken Princess Aurora!" The King stopped nodding and frowned.

"Who?" He recalled the name, faintly. His brow wrinkled as he tried to remember whom the girl was.

"Princess Aurora!" repeated the queen. William stared back at her blankly. Queen Analia sighed. "She was put under a sleeping spell by an evil fairy and must be awoken by a prince's kiss."

"Oh, yes!" the king said, nodding again. "Yes, yes, I remember..." Kissing a princess didn't seem like such a hard task to do. In fact, even he wouldn't mind going on a quest like that. "Doesn't seem very hard to me," he said in discontent.
"She's asleep in her castle and all around her are briars. Briars almost impossible to cut through," the queen continued. "And, beyond that is a terrible dragon guarding her room."

"I know!" the king said in annoyance. "I said I remembered didn't I? All right. So it's settled. Tomorrow he will go on his quest and tonight a feast and ball!" The king would use any excuse to have a ball and feast.
"But, darling-" the queen began. "Would that not be rather expensive? Are you sure we should really be having a feast?"

William's eyes narrowed. "How cruel you are!" he shouted. "Our son is going to go on a quest he will surely never succeed and will most likely die and all you care about is how much a feasts going to cost?"

"No, no, that's not what I meant," the queen protested, her eyes pleading. "Oh, never you mind. Tonight we'll have a feast."

Prince Sirion lay alone in a grassy meadow, the sun shining merrily down upon him. His eyes were closed and his limbs spread out. He lay there for a time, enjoying the warmth when a noise came to his ears. Automatically, his green eyes opened. The sunlight was blinding. Sitting up, he looked around suspiciously. "What could that have been?" he asked himself aloud.

The prince spotted a strange looking animal and leaped to his feet. "Stop there, you!" he called, though not in a harsh voice but a kind one. The animal, to his surprise, obeyed and just sat there, staring at him with his large eyes.

As Sirion came closer he realized that it was no animal, but a child, a very young and filthy one, at the most only three years of age. For a moment, he only stared at it uncertainly. "Where did you come from?" he inquired.

"Henry!" a frightened voice called. "Oh, Henry, where have you gone now?" The voice sounded very near to tears.

"Over here!" Sirion called, deciding that this child was most likely Henry. "He's here!" A woman emerged from a nearby forest, her eyes welling up with tears. Seeing her son, she ran forward to scoop him up.

"Oh, thank you!" she exclaimed to the prince. "Thank you." Sirion only smiled.

"What are you doing out here?" he wanted to know. "It's far from the village."

"Gathering mushrooms," the woman responded. "And you? What are you doing out here so far from the village as you put it."

"I just wanted to be alone," he explained. "How did he get away from you? He's very young and can't move very fast."

"Yes, yes he is. He's very fast. Takes after his father."

"Hmm. Who are you? Do you live in the village?"
The woman nodded. "My name is Ann. And you?"

"Sirion," he answered. "How old is your son? How old are you?" The woman seemed to be getting annoyed by his questions but she answered anyway, grateful he was there to catch her youngster before he'd gotten any further away.

"My son is nearly three, and why do you want to know my age?" she inquired. Sirion shrugged. "Well, I'm twenty."

"Really?" he asked in surprise. "You look older. Six and twenty years at least." She frowned at him, obviously offended. "Where are your mushrooms? Did you leave them in the forest?"

"Yes," she answered. "I dropped them when I noticed Henry was missing."

"How many did you have? Were they in a basket? Or perhaps a bag? Maybe even in your dress?" She stared at him, wondering whether or not he was joking. He stared back at her solemnly, so she figured he wasn't.

"They were in a basket," she answered slowly. "Why do you ask?"

"No reason. Do you often pick mushrooms around here?" he asked. "I've never seen you here before."

"That's because I don't usually go out this far. I really should get going, it's getting late," she hastily said, then fled before Sirion could question her any further.

"Wait a moment!" Sirion hollered. "It's not late! It's morning!" She didn't respond, only quickened her pace. With a shrug, Sirion turned to find him face to face with a guard. He frowned. "What do you want?"

"The king would like to speak with you. Right now, highness."

"At this very moment?" Sirion asked. The guard nodded. "Why? Do you know?" The guard shook his head. "What did he tell you?"

"He told me to fetch you."

"How long ago? How did you know where I was?"

"He sent me about twenty minutes ago. Prince Thomas told me to look for you here. Please, highness, it's best not to anger the king."

"Why? What will he do?"

"Well, I'm not quite sure."

"Why are you so fidgety, eh?" the prince asked. "Are you nervous?" The guard let out an annoyed sound. "All right. I'm coming."

"I found him, your majesty," the guard announced as he and the prince strode in the king's room.

The king looked up and almost regretted his decision. His son was nearly seventeen with dark brown locks of hair and bright green eyes. He was a very handsome lad in all. "About time!" he snapped. "Where have you been, Sirion? I've been waiting or what seems like an hour!"

The prince only watched him with mild curiosity. "No don't speak!" He did not want the prince to go off asking questions again as he always did.

Sirion frowned then lifted up a piece of paper and pen from the king's desk and hastily wrote something down. He handed it to his father once he was finished. "Why can't I speak? Don't you want me to answer your questions?" the king read. No, he no longer regretted sending the prince off. "No, I don't want you to answer my questions, nor do I want you to write anything more. Just listen to what I have to say." Sirion nodded. "I am sending you on a quest, son. A quest to find the Princess Flower."

"Aurora," corrected the queen. "Her name is Princess Aurora."

"Yes, that's what I meant," William said. "You are to awaken her from a deep sleep by kissing her lips." Sirion gave him a pleading look. "All right, fine. You can talk."

"Why do I have to find her?"

"Because it's your quest. You have to rescue her."

"Where is she?"

"In a castle surrounded by briars and wild creatures," the queen told him. "I'm not sure of where the castle is. You'll have to ask people along the way." It seemed like Sirion was out of questions to ask when suddenly he began again. "How old is she?"

"I don't know. She was put under the spell at sixteen, I believe she's been under it for at least a hundred years."

"That long? Why didn't anyone else rescue her?"

"They tried but they all died," offered the king. Sirion opened his mouth to ask something more but the king interrupted him, "No more! That's enough questions!" Sirion closed his mouth looking perplexed.

"Might I ask one more?"
"You just did!" the king snapped, but the queen kindly nodded her head.

"When am I leaving?" he asked, and to their surprise he looked hopeful and even excited. "Sometime soon?"

"What's the matter with you?" the king demanded. "You look pleased!" He scowled at his son then added, "You're leaving tomorrow. So get ready."

"Aren't I supposed to be pleased?" the prince inquired, baffled. "I'm going on a quest." He brushed a lock of dark hair out of his eyes. He looked down at the shards of broken glass still lying on the floor.

"What happened there?" Saving the king from having to answer a guard burst in through the door looking pale.

"Your majesty, the princess Aurora was rescued!" he said breathlessly. "By some prince from a different land."

"Curse him!" the king shouted furiously. "Curse the evil beast! Saving Princess Aurora! The nerve of that fellow! Did you catch his name?"

"No, but she pushed him out a window and then fled," the guard answered. Everyone gaped at him in alarm.

"Oh! You mean the evil fairy who put her under the spell!" the queen said, nodding. "Ah, poor lad. So close."

"No!" the guard said. "Princess Aurora pushed him out the window. He was killed instantly. There are guards searching to forest all over for her. She's got a price over her head now."

"William!" the queen said impatiently, then in a low murmur, "Think of something else and quickly."

"You are banished from this kingdom, Prince Sirion!" the king shouted suddenly. "And you are never to come back unless you do something worthy of living here among us!"

Sirion stared up at him in alarm. Banished? He was being banished! "What for?" he demanded. "There has to be a reason."

"You are too annoying to be around. That's the reason!" the king snapped. "You'll leave as soon as possible!"
"Am I going to have a farewell feast or something?" Sirion asked, looking forlorn. Please say no, he silently added in his head. He had no want to wear fancy clothes and try to make conversation with people he cared little for and he loathed crowds.

"Of course, my son!" the queen said with fake tears. "And afterwards we'll have a magnificent ball! You'll have a large feast with many people! And dance with everyone!" Sirion sighed; he despised dancing and was horrible and clumsy at it too. Always he was stepping on his partner's feet.

Prince Taris sadly smiled at his brother, Sirion. "Just think of it as a quest," he suggested. "Instead of banishment. It'll be great fun." He was trying to cheer his older brother up but it just wasn't working.

"Maybe I should just sneak out and skip the ball," Sirion said frowning. "I hate balls." He straightened out his forest green tunic and dusted off his breeches. "Do you think they might have canceled it if I told them I didn't want one?"
"Well, even if they would've, it's far too late now. Come on, you don't want to be late to your own feast," Taris said. Sirion gave him a pitiful look. "Or perhaps you do." Sirion walked to his window and stared longingly out. "I don't find you annoying to be around."

"Father obviously does. Mother too. Oh well, I suppose I'm a bit glad I get to leave. I do enjoy exploring." Taris laughed, patting his brother's back.

There was a knocking on the door and both princes looked to it in surprise. The door creaked open a little. "Father is becoming impatient," a small voice said.

"Come in, Kiena," Sirion said. "Let's see you then." The young princess walked in slowly and cautiously, as though she thought they'd laugh at her.

"You're gorgeous," Taris told her smiling tenderly. "Boys will be lining up to dance with you." Their sister smirked, she knew as well as they did that she was no beauty with her coarse mud colored hair and small chest. She was fifteen though looked no older then twelve.

"You two look well," Kiena told them seriously. "What a nice tunic that is, Sirion, why have I never seen it on you before?" Sirion grimaced. "It is quite becoming on you."

"I thank you, sister, but it looks awful," he said. "It makes me look like a large puff ball."
Kiena laughed merrily which was quite noticeably forced. "Brother, when will you learn? Everything you put on looks quite fetching. I'd bet that you'd look nice even in my gown."

"Why don't you try it on and we'll see," Taris asked joining in the laughter. Sirion shook his head at them, grinning.

"I don't know. Do you think it'll fit?" he asked. The door opened again, this time no one even knocked. Everyone in the room tensed as they saw who it was. Taller then the rest of them, he was, with wavy hair and permanently reproachful blue eyes. His posture was straight and his light hair neatly combed.

"First father sends you to get him," Prince Thomas, their eldest brother, told Taris. "And you don't come back so he sends Kiena, and she doesn't come back either. What are you three doing? Everyone is becoming quite restless and annoyed. No one is allowed to eat until you come, Sirion."

"Then I suppose everyone will just have to starve," Sirion said sensibly.

"Come along, little brother, you'll anger everyone. Do really want that?" the eldest prince asked. Sirion shrugged, he could hardly care less. "Come on, the food will get cold."

"All right, I'm coming."

Thomas's his smile was wicked as he said, "Father and mother said they didn't like you from the beginning. Father wanted to strangle you at birth, but mother wouldn't let him." Sirion didn't reply, but both Kiena and Taris were giving their brother venomous looks.

"Get out of here, Thomas," Kiena snapped, her cheeks becoming a furious red. But Thomas continued, "Did you not see this coming? Didn't you notice, whenever you walk into a room everyone ignores you, no one wants to talk to you. And whenever some poor clueless someone does try to start a conversation you annoy them so much they flee." Sirion thought instantly of the woman he met by the forest, Anna.

"Well, at least whenever he walks into a room people don't end up with that smile like they do when you walk in," Kiena began. All of her brothers looked at her in surprise. "Smiling because they're imagining killing you in every possible way." Thomas stared at her.

"Little sister, I expected better of you." He left the room without another word. Sirion gulped down a lump in his throat.
"You will make an awful king, Thomas," Kiena called after him. "Maybe you'll be known as Thomas the Terrible."

"Don't pay him any heed, Sirion," Taris said. For a moment no one spoke. "He's right isn't he?" Sirion inquired at last.

"Of course he's not right," Kiena assured him. "But you have been acting different lately. You haven't been asking as many questions as usual."

"Oh, that's only because I've too much on my mind."

"You know, when you're not asking so many questions, its nice to talk to you," Taris remarked.

The feast was awful. And having to sit by the two most talkative people there didn't make it any better. Lady Ann was continuously trying to start up a conversation. Why wouldn't she get the hint that he wasn't in the mood? And Sir Tireigen was nonstop talking about all his quests. Most likely, they were all made up.

Sirion rarely ever ate in the dining room; he avoided it when he could, usually eating either outside or in his bedroom. It was lovely today though. The way it sparkled, with all the candles in silver and gold candlesticks, and the food piled in heaps on the old grand tables. He wasn't at all hungry either but was forced to eat some, not wanting to seem rude.

"So I heard you're going to be banished, Prince Sirion," Lady Joann announced. "I wonder, why have a feast for someone who is about to be banished?"

"No idea." She had meant to start up a conversation, but Sirion wasn't going to willingly.
"It's so exciting don't you think?" she asked. "You're going to go out in the cold wickedness of beyond the palace walls!! How are you feeling? Nervous?"

"No, not really."


"No, I don't," he answered with bored sigh. Then, wanting to change the subject asked, "How are your children doing? How many do you have again? Three?"

"I have four. Three girls and one strong and handsome boy," she said, gloating. "Marian is going to turn ten in just two moons and Corrine, my eldest just turned twelve; I'm going to marry her off soon. Too bad she won't be able to wed you."

Sirion didn't want to marry her child at all, he thought it disgusting that Lady Joann was trying to get her married at such a young age. "Oh, yes too bad."

"But maybe you'll do something worthy like save a royal princess or defeat a dragon. Surely that's worthy enough to come back."

"Enough talk of that!" Sir Tireigen said loudly. "How would you like to hear of the quest I only just finished?" Although he phrased it as a question, it clearly wasn't one. "My quest, as most of you already know, was to kill the giant Agrila. He was a fearsome beast, he was." Sir Tireigen went on to explain exactly how he was able to slay the giant, but Sirion paid little attention. He only nibbled on his roll and politely nodded once in a while, pretending to listen.

Although the ballroom was definitely the largest room in the palace, it was still able to be crowded with people. There were dancing couples all around him, laughing and having a wonderful time it seemed. Sirion wished he could be one of them. His dancing partner, although she was smiling, was plainly not having a very nice time. Her smile, it appeared, was glued to her face.

Prince Sirion knew she wished to be dancing with anyone else in the room, anyone but him. He hadn't spoken to her much, had only said a few words and surprisingly none were questions, but he had stepped on her feet quite a few times. She was going to have very sore toes by the end of the dance even though it was but the first dance of the evening. Sirion desperately wished it were the last.

The first dance was finally over. Both Sirion and his partner, though taking care not to show it, were relieved. He took a bow and she curtsied then they left each other, most likely never to dance with one another again. She seemed to be a very nice person, Sirion observed, and he would enjoy talking with her, but she most likely didn't feel the same way.

Sirion looked around miserably. As much as he loathed dancing, he didn't want to be left without a partner. It would be extremely embarrassing for a prince to be alone, while everyone else danced. No one appeared to be looking at him; actually Sirion got the impression that they were purposely avoiding his gaze. He hid a smile, and silently thanked them. They made it incredibly easy to escape. He didn't even have to sneak off.

A hand touched his shoulder and he froze. "Sirion, where are you going? Not trying to leave your own ball are you?" Relieved it was only a friend of Kiena's he turned around.

"Sandry," he said. "You startled me."

She smiled at him, almost longingly. "Will you dance with me?" she questioned hopefully. He sighed inwardly. If he did dance with her, she would surely lose her crush on him (Kiena was the one who had told him of her friend's crush) and she was the only one he was aware of that had ever fallen in love with him. He kind of liked the thought of it.

"I-" he hesitated for a short moment. "I would love to, but I can't. I still haven't finished packing and I'm leaving tomorrow morning." She nodded, disappointed but understanding.

"All right, then perhaps another time?" she asked. After a moment he nodded. Did she think he would succeed in doing something worthy enough to come back? Most, he knew, thought he would fail. They thought he'd either die or go off to live as a peasant.

"Another time," he agreed.

Sirion sat on his bed staring at the floor. He had finished his packing already but didn't want to go back downstairs to the ballroom. What he wanted was to be outside, to breath the fresh cold midnight air and to watch the twinkling stars in the dark sky.

Before getting back to his feet, the prince pulled off his fancy tunic, to wear only his white cotton shirt underneath. Even though he knew it would keep him warm he didn't want to get it soiled. Next, he took off his shoes to slip on more comfortable ones.

Getting outside wasn't hard. It was simple to sneak past the servants and guards because most were near the ballroom, observing the dancers and not paying much attention to wandering passersby. The air outside was cold, but it didn't much affect Sirion. He enjoyed the cold almost as much as he enjoyed the warmth of the sun.

A noise startled him. He saw sudden movement and an outline of someone, a man. It was too dark to see whom. He squinted his eyes, trying to see the figure better. It was of no use.

"Who is there?" Sirion recognized the voice immediately as Thomas. "Hello?" His voice was strong and confident, not frightened or worried.

"It's me," he said after a moment's hesitation. For a moment, Sirion thought of not responding at all and slipping away into the darkness. He didn't want to quarrel more with his brother.

Thomas didn't say anything at all for a while. Then finally in a sour voice, "Why aren't you in there at your ball?" Was this why he was being so bitter lately? Because Sirion was having a ball in his honor? He was also being banished!

Sirion laughed quietly. "I snuck off. It wasn't hard. In fact only one person stopped me along the way. Everyone else was trying to avoid me I suppose." Thomas said nothing; he didn't chuckle contemptibly as Sirion had thought he would. "Why aren't you in there?"

"I apologize for my behavior, brother." Those were the words Sirion never expected to come out of Thomas's mouth.

"I accept your apology," he said it sincerely, not struggling to get the words out as Thomas had.

"Do you really?"

"Yes. Why are you apologizing exactly? I must confess I never thought I'd hear you say that."

"I wanted to say it before you left. Before you walked to your doom," Thomas answered. "Don't do it."

"What?" he asked in shock.

"I know of a place you might be able to stay; at the wizard Abcanu's tower. Just south of here. You could stay as his apprentice," he said. "Stay there and be safe, don't try to do anything heroic. Dying isn't worth it."

"Why are you even telling me to do this? I thought you hated me."

"Did you not hear what I just said? You'll die. And I don't hate you! You're my little brother. Mother and father are the ones who detest you. They're the ones sending you to your death."

"I don't doubt that's true," Sirion said nodding. "I can't say I'm too keen on them either."

"You are worried and nervous despite what you say," Thomas said. "I can tell. You're acting completely different. Farewell, Sirion, perhaps I will see you later." And although Sirion didn't hear him leave, he knew he was gone. Sirion stayed outside a bit longer, trying to let all his brother had said sink in. When he finally got chilled from the cold winter breeze, he came inside to rest in his sumptuous bed.

Sirion had a troubled and uneasy sleep that night. He was a little nervous, but also a little eager. He dreamed that he fought a mighty dragon to save a village from destruction. He was killed in the winged beasts fiery breath. Or at least he thought he was killed.

The air was full of the aroma of bacon and eggs. A gentle hand shook his awake and a kind voice said, "Wake up. I've brought you breakfast." Sirion sat up sleepily and looked at Kiena's face. He examined her, trying to savor her face. After all he might not ever see her again. "Eat. Before it gets cold."

He chewed the food slowly, hardly tasting it. She watched him eagerly, observing his expressions. He frowned at her. "You haven't poisoned the food have you?"

"Why does it taste bad?" she questioned anxiously. "I made it. I was in the kitchen slaving away while you slept."

"You made it?" He asked buttering a roll. "Even these?" She nodded, grinning. "Well, it's all delicious. I thank you deeply."

"Are you all packed and ready to go?"

"Yes, nearly. I still have to change. So, if you'll excuse me?"

"Yes, of course." Taking his dishes, she strode out of the room. Sirion sighed; he was leaving today. He wasn't so sure he wanted to go anymore, but he had no choice. He had to.

"We are giving you the best horse in the whole village to take with you," announced the king in an overly loud voice so that all could hear his kindness. Midnight was one of the quickest, strongest horses in the village, but not the best. "I hope she will guide you well, my son. And I hope you succeed in completing a heroic task worthy enough to come home." The queen nodded, teary eyed. Sirion grimaced, knowing it was all an act. She wanted him gone as much as his father.

Sirion stared at Midnight; her beautiful coat of black and her large dark eyes. She was one of his favorite horses, but still... "I thought Lightening was the best?" he said. The king frowned. "Yes, I'm sure it was him."

King William blinked at him, annoyed. "Well..." his voice trailed off. "He's hurt himself."

"Has he? When?" Sirion questioned. He knew his father was lying. He did it often enough, Sirion knew whenever he wasn't telling the truth. "How? I don't recall hearing about that." William shrugged.

"This morning. I believe he landing on his leg wrong when he jumped." It was quite obvious he was making it up as he spoke. "Yes, that is what happened. So, goodbye my dearest son, I hope to see you again soon."

"If I'm your dearest son why am I being banished? And I thought Thomas was your dearest son? He is the heir. Do you really hope to see me again soon, father?"

"That's enough questions," the king said, chuckling uneasily.

"Goodbye, my dear!" the queen called out after letting out a loud sob. "I will miss you ever so much!"

"Goodbye, Sirion!" Kiena said, wrapping her arms around his neck. "I love you." This was the first thing anyone had said that morning that was genuine. When she backed away Sirion saw that her eyes were welling up with tears.

"Farewell," Taris said patting his back. Next, Thomas came up to him and whispered his parting.

"Goodbye, I'll see you all again soon," Sirion said smiling. Perhaps it sounded cocky, but they seemed to need to hear it. He mounted the dark horse after giving Kiena one last hug.

"Wait!" she called. "Take this with you please. It will help protect you." She reached out to have him a golden chain with a single jewel. "Wear it." Sirion stared at it; it was a girl's necklace. He would feel embarrassed wearing it, but perhaps he could tuck it under his shirt.

"I will," he promised. Then, waving, he rode off down a dirt trail to start his journey.

Chapter Two

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