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For a time, Sirion let Midnight lead the way, thinking that his father had been
telling the truth and that it was best to let her guide him. He was wrong.
Midnight didn't know where to go any better then he did. She took him around in
circles and wasted about an hour's worth of time.
"You good for nothing beast!" he snarled in anger. Midnight snorted back in
They rode on for a time, this time Sirion leading the way, until they came upon
a small hut in the middle of a forest. Although small, it looked cozy and
sturdy. As they came nearer, Sirion could feel the magic around it. Perhaps a
wizard or witch lived there? He could nearly see the magic; swirling around the
hut in many different colors.
Midnight trotted toward it with Sirion tugging on the reins. "No!" he snapped at
it. "We can find the way ourselves." Both knew that would be impossible, so he
didn't put up much of a fight.
Sirion made sure to tuck the green jewel necklace under his tunic before going
up to knock on the little wooden door. "Who is it?" a voice demanded, creaking
the door open a little to peek out. "Who's there?"
"My name is Sirion, I only wanted to ask for directions," he answered
cautiously. The door wavered for a moment then swung open to reveal a very
strange sight. It was a youngish looking creature. Half man, and half what
appeared to be dragon. His skin had a greenish tint and he even had a few scales
around his hairline. But that is not what Sirion stared at him in wonder for. It
was his wings. He had magnificent, large, beautiful wings that sparkled a deep
dark green color.
"What gorgeous wings," is all Sirion at first thought to say. The man raised his
"Aren't you afraid of me?" he asked curiously. Sirion shrugged. The dragon man
wasn't very frightening looking at all. "No? Well then, come in." He stepped
back so that Sirion could get by.
"Why, thank you but all I really need to know is directions to an evil dragon or
something of the sort." The dragon man's eyes widened at this. "I need to
complete a heroic task. Can you think of anything?"
"You mean you're on a quest!" he cried rapturously.
"Do you know the directions to a mighty dragon?" Sirion inquired hopefully.
"Well, no, but I could still help!" he said excitedly. "I know where a few evil
"Well that's a relief. Where?"
"It's they are very hard to find and I'm afraid you will have to have someone to
guide you there without getting caught by them first. I very much doubt you'd be
able to do it on your own."
"All right then will you be my guide?"
"Yes! Yes, indeed I will! I would love to!"
"Why are you so excited if you don't mind me asking?"
"Well, because I do badly want to get out of here! And what's better then going
on an adventure? Is that your horse out there?" Sirion nodded. "A lovely beast
she is!" Midnight whinnied and seemed to stand straighter with her head up high.
The dragon man chuckled.
"What's your name?"
"Adonis. And what is your name, laddy?"
"Sirion," responded the prince. "I don't mean to offend you, but how did you
become half dragon?" Adonis's cheeks reddened.
"Well, it was an incident with a potion."
"Potion? Are by any chance a wizard?" He already knew the answer; it was
"Sort of, not a very good one though I'm afraid."
"Ah. Can you breath fire?" he asked curious to know exactly what a dragon man
could do. Adonis shook his head. "Why do you live out here all alone?"
"I like my privacy." Adonis's eyes widened with realization. "Oh! You never told
me you were Prince Sirion!" he cried out.
"How did you know?" Sirion questioned in pure astonishment.
"All those questions," Adonis replied. "Everyone knows about you! The
questioning prince, as some call you. Others call you- well, perhaps I shouldn't
say what others call you. Would you like to come inside?" With a nod Sirion
stepped in. Although from the outside his house looked rather small, inside it
was actually quite roomy.
Sirion's eyes wandered to a large cat sitting on a comfortable looking wooden
chair with a light blue cushion. It's tail twitched and it's amber eyes stared
at him suspiciously. "Have a seat," Adonis urged. "I'll go put on some tea. Do
you like tea?"
"Well..." Sirion began, but Adonis had already gone into the kitchen to make
some. Sirion sighed; he really didn't care much for tea at all.
"How about some oatcakes?"
"Sounds delicious," Sirion said as he sat down in the chair next to the
amber-eyed cat. "Hello, there kitty." He smiled at it, but it only glared back
unwelcomingly. His smile wavered.
"Don't mind Ginger," called Adonis from another room. "He's just a fat old
grump, aren't you?" The cat growled lowly, as though it had understood Adonis's
words and was rather offended by them. Adonis chuckled. "You know I'm only
joking," he told the cat. Or at least Sirion assumed he was talking to Ginger.
"Well I would appreciate it if you didn't tell such awful cruel hearted jokes,"
retorted a voice. Sirion gaped at the cat. He hadn't just spoken had he? "And
tell your friend to stop gawking at me, please." His mouth had moved! He must
have been the one talking!
"I apologize!" Sirion gasped. "I've just- just never actually met a talking cat
before. I've heard of them of course, but never actually seen one. Amazing! Can
all cats talk?"
"No, only a rare few," Adonis called.
"Yes, a rare few that come upon people like you, Adonis!" the cat snapped.
"Close your mouth!" Sirion hastily closed it when he realized it was still
hanging wide upon in shock.
"You said you weren't a very good wizard!" exclaimed Sirion. "You made a cat
talk! You're excellent! Terrific!" Adonis came out carrying a tray of tea and
oatcakes, his face very red.
"Oh, come on now. I'm not really all that." He set the tray on a small table and
sat down to pour the tea into small cups. "There you are." Sirion took the tea
with a weak smile. "Oatcake?" He didn't wait for an answer before handing him
one. "My mother's recipe." He waited anxiously watching until Sirion took a
bite. It was rich and crumbly.
"It' s wonderful," he said after gulping it down and it was fairly good, not
foul tasting as he'd been expecting it to be. He wasn't sure why he'd expected
it to be so awful, but Adonis was half dragon. Maybe he'd been expecting him to
"So we ought to be going soon, eh?" asked Adonis eagerly.
"Yes, if I want to return to the palace I must do something worthy of staying
there," agreed Sirion, staring into his teacup. "What sort of fiends did you
"Evil witches, vicious beasts, those types of things," answered the dragon man
as though the answer was apparent.
Adonis frowned. "Yes, but what kind of beasts?"
"Oh, all sorts. The largest lions and bears you'll ever meet. The cave lions are
"Cave lions?" Sirion said in surprise. "Fascinating. I've heard about them and
have seen paintings of them, I wasn't so sure they were even real."
"Really?" Adonis asked incredulously. "Never seen one? Didn't even think they
"Do they really have teeth and claws sharper then the sharpest sword? And thick
golden fur? And are they seriously able to speak any language?"
"Even, let's say, wolf language?"
"I believe so," Adonis said.
Realizing that the reason the dragon man was giving him such short replies to
his questions was because he was becoming annoyed with them all, Sirion decided
to ask only one more. "Are you going to get packed?"
"Already did!" he answered beaming. "I'm a wizard remember? Come along, Ginger,
you're coming too." Sirion looked at the cat with doubt.
"Are you sure that's a good idea? Bringing a cat to fight demons?" But Adonis
wouldn't listen. He was bringing the cat and that was final.
"Don't you have a horse?" Sirion questioned after he had mounted Midnight.
Adonis gave him a look. "Oh, you can fly." Adonis nodded, stretching out his
"Shall we go this way then?" Adonis queried, motioning to deeper into the
forest. Where the trees grew thick and the light turned to darkness. "There must
be plenty of fiends to slay in there."
"Good idea," Sirion said, though with uncertainty. "Into the forest." Warily,
Midnight followed Adonis into the woods.
Although it was afternoon, the forest was dark. Sirion shuddered, thinking of
when night came. Outlaws and murderers were said to live in these woods. They
would try to avoid them at all costs. He wouldn't be welcomed back to the palace
for just killing a few thieves so it was best to stay away from them.
"I heard that Princess Aurora escaped to these woods," announced Adonis,
breaking the silence. Sirion felt sorry for her at this moment, although she'd
murdered a man, she didn't deserve this forest. Being captive in a dungeon would
be more pleasant. "Can't imagine what could've happened to her."
"If we capture her do you think that's a good enough deed to be welcomed back
home?" Sirion asked anxiously. Adonis furrowed his brow.
"Why do you want to go back so badly?" he demanded. "You're unwanted there. Why
would you ever want to go back?" Sirion shrugged, he had a point. Why did he
want back so much? Maybe because of Kiena and Taris, maybe even a little because
of Thomas. His eldest brother had just been starting to act nicer toward him.
"Maybe you shouldn't go back."
"I have to go back," Sirion answered, somewhat passionately. Adonis said no more
about it, but by the face he was making, Sirion knew he didn't agree.
They walked on for at least two hours more, neither saying a word until Sirion
decided to break the awkward silence. "Midnight needs a break I believe." And so
did his rear end, it was soar from being bounced around and he wasn't used to
riding horses this much.
"As do my arms," Adonis said scowling down at Ginger who was resting
uncomfortably in his arms. "My wings are getting a bit tired too." He gradually
ceased to flap his wings and landed softly onto the mossy ground.
"I thought you said there were foes to fight in this forest," Sirion complained.
"I thought these woods were supposed to be filled with them but we've not seen
one-!" he stopped short after hearing rustling in the bushes nearby. The prince
yelped at a sudden pain in his arm. For some reason he could no longer see
straight, he was becoming dizzy and tottered dangerously close to tumbling off
"Sirion, are you all right, lad?" Adonis asked worriedly. "Sirion?" Sirion's
eyes shut and he could remember no more.
"Where- where am I?" Sirion mumbled weakly, forcing his eyes to stay open. He
was staring into brown eyes. "Adonis?" Did Adonis have brown eyes? No, they were
green like his. "Who-?" His whole body ached, especially his legs.
"Hush, lovey," a woman's voice instructed. "Here, drink this." Defiantly, he
clenched his mouth shut. Who were these people? Where was he? "Open up, dear,"
she insisted. Finding that he wasn't going to obey her, she tightly pinched his
nose until he struggled for breath. "Come on. It's not too hard. I'm not going
to poison you, deary." He had to open his mouth for breath. Hot liquid poured
down his throat and ran down his cheeks. It burned his throat and made him
The woman smiled kindly. "There now that wasn't so bad, was it?" she asked.
Sirion feared she would pour more down, but instead she set the cup on a table.
"Where's Adonis?" Sirion demanded. "What have you done with him?" The woman was
silent for a moment.
"Oh, you mean that dragon fellow?" she asked finally. "Got away." Sirion smiled,
happy for his friend. "It won't be so bad. You'll be well and free in a just a
"What do you want with me?" he grumbled. His speech was slurred.
"We're outlaws, sweety, all we want is your treasures. Didn't have much on you
but your clothes were awful nice." Sirion looked down and realized his clothes
had been taken and in turn wore an old dusty shirt and faded breeches.
"You've taken all my things so won't you let me go then?" he snapped. "I have
nothing else of value, you dirty thieves!"
"Keep your voice down, love," she whispered. "You don't want the others hearing
you talk like that do you?" Sirion couldn't care less and he showed it by
glaring insolently up at her. "You're only still here because we're nursing you
back to health you could say. You took a mighty nasty fall off that horse of
yours." At this Sirion's eyes widened.
"Midnight," he whispered. "Say you'll return her to me." She grinned. "You can't
keep her! I need her!"
"Don't worry, lad, we'll take good care of her." She patted his shoulder
sympathetically. "If it were my choice, I'd keep you here. I rather like you."
Sirion shrunk back into his bed. "Get some more rest." She gave him one last
smile before leaving.
Sirion didn't want to go back to sleep, he tried to stay awake but found it
almost impossible. He was so tired. He concluded that the drink had been
drugged, as he'd feared. But, at least they were going to free him. If that
woman had been telling the truth, that is.
"Wake up, sleepy," a voice purred in his ear. Sirion grimaced. "Hungry, aren't
you?" His eyes opened and the woman he'd spoken to earlier was there again.
"Open wide." She brought a spoonful of what looked like porridge to his lips.
"This isn't drugged, I promise." He remained disobedient. "Not hungry then?"
"No," he growled, but was given away once his stomach let out a loud rumble. She
raised her eyebrows at him suspiciously.
"Eat up before it gets cold," she encouraged. "Go on, just try one bite."
Against his will, his stomach had convinced his mouth to open up. Smiling
victoriously, she stuck it in his mouth where it was gratefully accepted though
his face didn't show it. "Good boy," she cooed at him as though he were a child.
"Want some more?" He didn't reply, though his eyes must have shown his hunger
for she scooped up another spoonful and fed it to him.
"I can feed myself," he informed her crudely. With a shrug, she handed him the
bowl and spoon. Sirion's arm ached to move it, but he forced himself to. He
wasn't going to let the woman tease him anymore.
"Would you like some water? Or tea maybe?" she asked. "Yes, I'll get you some
"No, wait," he protested. "Water's fine." But she'd gone to get him the unwanted
tea. He was thirsty, so thirsty that in fact he would drink tea if he had to.
But he very much preferred a cup of cool refreshing water.
"You doing better?" A gruff male's voice grumbled. "The sooner we get rid of
you, the better."
"Please, feel free to 'get rid of me' now," Sirion suggested. "I would enjoy
being released as much as you want me gone."
"If only it were that easy," he said coming closer, into Sirion view. He was a
very tall man with plain brown hair and bushy eyebrows. He was also rather
young, no older then mid twenties. "The queen of thieves, Meryl, won't let us
'til you're healed. But at least we convinced her not to keep you. She's taken a
liking to you for some reason."
"The girl that was tending to me is your queen of thieves?" Sirion said in shock
that must've showed because the man scowled. "She seems a little young don't you
"She's a fine leader," the man growled. "And don't you suggest otherwise, you
hear? A fine leader she is, a fine fighter to. She could whip your rear if she
wanted. So you just lay back and keep your mouth shut."
"Martin, why what are you doing?" a voice drawled. "Stop bothering the boy or I
shall whip your rear." It was Meryl. "Poor little lad," she said in a husky
voice. "Was he troubling you? Be truthful now."
"I'm fine and I'm not a little lad," Sirion retorted. Meryl clucked her tongue
at him as though he were a disobedient youngster.
"No, you're right," she said setting down beside him. "And don't worry, you'll
be freed in a matter of days. Maybe weeks." She smiled mysteriously. "Maybe
"What!" he exploded. "You must let me go! Today! I must leave; I can't stay
here! I've things I must do!"
"Oh?" she asked calmly. "What?"
For a moment he considered telling the truth, but decided that to be the worst
idea. She might think she could get a ransom for him, which she most certainly
wouldn't be able to get. "I'm on a quest."
"A quest?" she said, uninterestedly. "What sort of quest?"
"I must do something heroic like slay a dragon, or defeat a bunch of mangy
outlaws." She smirked, unruffled.
"I don't know where you're going to find a bunch of mangy outlaws. There
certainly isn't any around here. We're decent folk, as long as you don't get on
our bad side."
"Decent folk?" he repeated. "You're thieves, I did nothing to you and you stole
all my things!"
"But we gave you clothes," she pointed out. "We're decent thieves at least."
"You're talking about keeping me here!" he snapped, almost in a shriek.
"But you're still alive," answered she. He couldn't win so he stopped arguing.
The young prince sighed, only wanting to be left alone.
Minutes after the queen of thieves had gone, Sirion happened to gaze up after
hearing a twig snap. There, above him setting on a tree branch was mighty large
cat, the color of his fur orange. Ginger gave him something that looked like a
grin and Sirion smiled back, grateful to see him. He was going to be rescued!
The prince's friends didn't make there move until dark, as was expected. And so
Sirion spent the day lying down on a pile of tattered blankets, occasionally
eating. He was awfully bored and didn't at all enjoy the company of Meryl who
often treated him as she would a child. "Night time," she told him when it
became dark. "Go to sleep, lovey." He glared at her; he loathed being called
such names. "What is it now? Do you need anything? Water? Tea?" By now she'd
learned that he disliked the hot drink.
"My freedom?" he suggested. She only grinned then left him alone to sleep.
"She's a pretty thing don't you think?" a voice beside him whispered, giving
Sirion a startle.
"Adonis!" he exclaimed joyfully. "No I don't think so, not when you get to know
her." Adonis smiled.
"I'm only joking, lad. She is nice to look at, butů have you never heard of
her?" he asked, stunned. Sirion shook his head though he knew Adonis couldn't
see him. "Well, she's a legendary outlaw, she is. Well known around most parts."
"Really? At that young age?" he was genuinely surprised. Adonis nodded his head
in response. "I must say that's rather startling."
"Yes, come on," Adonis said impatiently. "Can you stand?" Sirion nodded though
he wasn't quite sure. Slowly rising to his feet, he winced. It did hurt, but he
would try to ignore all the pain as he fled from the outlaws' camp. "Can you
"Yes," he answered, biting his lip to keep from crying out. Had his fall really
been that bad? There was wetness on his legs and he soon realized it was blood.
Looking down, he set a hand on the breeches and it came back covered in it. He
hadn't realized it was that bad. "Yes, let's go. Wait. Where's Ginger?"
"Here," answered the cat. "I don't think running would be very good for you,
lad." Sirion shrugged, what else could he do? He was not going to stay another
day with the outlaws and their queen.
"Hush, they're waking," Adonis said with wide eyes. "We have no time to spare.
Run!" So they began to do so, all but Adonis who instead flew.
The pain was excruciating. Sirion could hardly stand it. He wanted to stop and
fall back onto the ground. But even then the pain would not cease. Every step
was an enormous effort. Sirion ran until he wasn't able to bear it any longer,
then he began to hobble along as quickly as he could which was not fast. His
heart was beating quickly, thumping hard in his chest.
"We can stop running. I think its safe," Ginger announced. "Sirion, lie down."
Sirion, about to protest, did as he was told anyhow, though accidentally. He
fell backwards and came crashing to the ground. Biting back a sob, he shut his
eyes. Why did he feel like crying? He was a warrior, not a child. But the pain
was so severe.
"Oh my!" Sirion heard Adonis exclaim in panic. "How were you able to run?"
The cuts were deep and long. They weren't made from falling off Midnight. The
outlaws had done it, possibly to keep him from fleeing their camp. They must've
been expecting to keep him a few years, otherwise why would they do that? They
must've wanted to keep him for some reason though he could think of none,
particularly since they hadn't known he was a prince.
Adonis did what he could to help, cleaning the wounds with some concoction he
claimed would help and forcing him to lay still while he did all the work;
gathering wood, making fires, and cooking their meals. Sirion protested a few
times, but Adonis would have none of it.
"No, no, you just lay down and keep
still," he insisted. "I want your wounds to heal, you'll only make it worse." Sirion had no choice but to lay back and do as he was told.
About half an hour later Adonis ran in yelling out joyfully, "I've found some!
I've got some!" He took one look at Sirion and informed him, "You'll be healed
in a matter of minutes!" Sirion looked at him strangely. What was he raving
"What do you mean?"
"What do I mean?" Adonis repeated absentmindedly. "I've found the herb! It'll
heal you in no time! All I need is some of this!" He stuffed some leaves into a
pot and then stirred it water. "Now all I need to do is boil it!" Sirion
grinned, to be back on his feet again and help do some work! He felt guilty
having Adonis do everything.
"It's ready!" Adonis exclaimed. Sirion, who had torn off his pant legs a little
above his knees, strained himself for the pain that would surely come.
Adonis came to him and carefully rubbed on him the smelly substance. Instead of
being painful, it was actually quite soothing. Sirion closed his eyes and began
to relax, but just as he began to do soothe pain became worse. He wasn't ready
for it and so this time did cry out, nearly screaming. Adonis murmured a few
soothing words which Sirion couldn't hear over his own whimpering. He was
ashamed of himself; he was acting like a mere babe. Couldn't he handle the pain
better? He was a man, not some whiny two-year-old.
"It's all right, the bravest men have been known to cry more then you when this
was applied to their wounds," Adonis assured him, seeming to read his mind.
Sirion didn't recall falling asleep. But he must've for when he next looked
around, it was morning. It was dark, but still not hard to tell that it was
dawn. Adonis still laid asleep, his legs curled up and his wings folded over his
arms as a blanket. Hearing the soft padding of small paws, Sirion turned to see
Ginger with a small creature in his mouth. He dropped it at Sirion's feet.
"Well, well, what do we have here?" he inquired. Sirion lifted it up and gasped
to see that it was still moving.
"It's a pup," Ginger said in an as-a-matter-of-fact voice.
"I know," Sirion responded, staring at the little beast. "A wolf pup I'd say."
Perhaps it would be best to drown it now, before it became older and
bloodthirsty. But, as Sirion looked into the little creature's eyes, he found
that to do such a thing would be impossible for him. How could he kill a poor
innocent pup? It began to gnaw on his finger, so he hastily found a twig for the
pup in replace of it.
"We can't keep it." Sirion turned, to see that Adonis had woken and was sitting
up on the ground, watching him curiously.
"No, I suppose you're right," he said, a little reluctantly. He was already
getting to like the thing.
"It's not all wolf," Adonis remarked. "Half dog, I'd say." Sirion nodded, now
that he examined it closer, he could see it was a full wolf.
"Where do you think his mother is?" he questioned. Then he answered the question
himself, "He's thin, too thin. She must've abandoned it... or died." They heard
fleeing footsteps to the right and all turned that way in alarm. It wasn't an
animal; that much was clear.
"Adonis, you stay here," Sirion said. "I'll go see who it is." Adonis began to
protest but was interrupted. "My legs are feeling much better, fantastic even.
That herb worked like magic. I'll be back."
"It was magic," Adonis called after Sirion who scampered off to catch whatever
had been watching them. "I'm a wizard and don't you forget it!"
After running after the person for some time, Sirion seemed to lose them.
Pausing for breath, he leaned against a tree. A tail brushed up against his
ankle. "Look there," Ginger hissed. Sirion turned to the direction the cat was
looking and saw a faded pink blur. He speeded off after it.
"Stop there, I say!" he yelled. "I'll catch up to you anyway!" But he wasn't so
sure; he was getting fairly tired. A rock came flying at him, grazing his cheek.
"Well! If that's what you want!" He snatched up another and aimed it at the
running figure, but didn't throw. It's a woman, he decided, I must control my
temper. He couldn't go around throwing rocks at girls or women who fled from
him. However much they throw them at me, he decided.
If she didn't want to see him, he wouldn't force her to. His eyes widened, maybe
it was Princess Aurora! If so, he certainly didn't want to meet up with her. So
let her flee; let her think him some thief or murderer. But if I capture her,
perhaps I shall be welcomed back home.
"Adonis!" Sirion called breathlessly as he ran back to where he thought he'd
left him. "Adonis?"
"Here," a voice answered. Sirion looked up to see him sitting above his head, on
a tree branch.
"What are you doing up there?" he asked then shook his head.
"Oh, never mind. I
think that was Princess Aurora. Maybe if we catch her...
" Adonis nodded
"Should we set a trap?" he suggested. "Maybe a hole? With leaves and moss over
the top? She might walk in then we'd have her."
"It'd have to be deep," Adonis said. "But then, she still might be able to climb
out. Steep walls. We'd have to put something over it to lure her into it. Maybe
one of our packs... Empty of course."
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