Casanora is the capital of the Southern nation. Neighbouring it is the North, East and West, which are not always at peace. Located in the centre of the four great nations there are the Dark Mountains. Fiends of all kinds hide in these mountains waiting for their order from the Dark Master to terrorize the lands. In this dark time alliances are the key to win the battle and get ride of the Dark Master. King Hemingway of the South must use his three beautiful daughters to secure his alliance with the other nations through marriage. Hearing this dreadful news the princesses try with all there might different ways to free themselves from this fate, even if it means risking it all to go to the Sacred Lake and wish away the problems.


1. Three Princess's


                                                                                                   Part 1
                                                                                       Hope & Innocence


      Casanora is the capital of the Southern region ruled by a wonderful King and Queen, the Hemingway’s. Our castle is behind the village, overlooking the people. There you can hear the Great River of Calmera flowing outside its large walls. In some parts of the castle, if you are in the right place, you can even see the raging river. The Great River of Calmera flows from the ocean below the Southern nation, passes Casanora, curls around our neighbouring village Bayride, and into the Western nation ruled by the Microns. Eventually it moves around the Northern nation, and making its final turn into the Eastern nation then leaves the Lancecaster land. The River is rapid and strong, making it our fastest way to visit Bayride for political matters. 
    There is a stone wall surrounding the castle and city protecting us all from outside dangers. Between the village and the castle there is a gate that encloses the castle from the people. Usually it is open for people to ask the guards to come visit the King or Queen. When it is closed the people know not to bother.  
    The village around our castle is bustling with excitement. Our King and Queen make sure that the villagers are well and healthy because they are like our family. The villagers worship the whole Hemingway family. They are proud and glad for our kind, understanding leader. 
    From the Hemingway family I am the most seen. Isabella is my given name but around the town, I go by the name Izzie. I often leave the castle to venture around the village helping the people with any little things. When I am not with them I am training to be a great fighter. I wish to be the best female fighter in all the nations. So far I don’t have much competition. Though the King and Queen, or as I would call them, father and mother, don’t approve of my actions all the time. I am the eldest of their three daughters and they know that at the age of twenty, they cannot control me as much as they use too. I am already stuck in the town of Casanora as the pretty princess, but I need my freedom. Fighting gives it to me. Besides wanting to be a fighter in our military forces, I also cut my long hair into a short chopped bob to make it easier to keep care of. This too is disapproved by my parents. 
    Today I feel like bringing my sister Kat along with me. Like me her name is also shortened from Katherine to Kat. I have been told that she is the least loved by the villagers because of her attitude. When she visits the town, it is for her own greedy need to be praised by them and given gifts. Kat is what I would call selfish. She lives the carefree life and plans to do nothing but have everything given to her on a silver platter. Being nineteen, she has, in my opinion a year to mature. Most days Kat preps herself for a special occasion, walks the court yard imagining her life with a prince, or follows our personal guard around, which makes his life easier. Kat is almost the perfect daughter; quiet when she needs to be, gladly wears dresses, knows how to act in front of others, and she has long dark brown hair. The only things that do not match up are her greediness, rudeness, and disrespect, which count for a lot. 
    Kat and I finish watching a play held by the villager’s children. It was quite entertaining. Kat seemed bored but she pretended to enjoy it as much as I did. We are leaving the stadium as I bump into an older man. He appears to be distressed about something, so I ask him what is on his mind, in hopes that I can help. 
    “Oh princess Izzie, I don’t want to burden you with the news.”
    “If I did not want to know, then I would not have asked.”
    Standing next to me Kat looks over her shoulder with a cold stare. I know that she wants to head back to the castle. To her, sitting for the play is a good charity event that keeps her in the good books with the people for the next while.
    “I got some news from a close friend of mine in the North. The Dark Master has attacked his village and left it in ruins.”
    I do not know much about the Dark Master. All I know is that he lives in the Dark Mountains and terrorizes the four nations. 
    “I am very sorry. Is your friend going to be alright?”
    “Yes, yes, he is shaken up but he will be fine.”
    “I am glad to here.”
     The man pauses and looks at me, “Do you know much about the Dark Master?”
    “No, my father does not fill me in,”
    The man’s face seemed to lighten up. It’s a dark matter but I think the thought of telling a princess about the lands must feel like an honour. 
    Zedric pushed through the crowd and tells the man that I do not need to hear the story. As much as I rebel against my princess role, Zedric is the one thing I do not mind. He is my sisters and my personal body guard that has been around forever, because of this he has grown on me. Watching us was his first assigned job when he finished his training at sixteen alongside his mentor. Ten years have passed and since then, though his mentor has passed away, Zedric still is with us. He is a very talented fighter that is known throughout the lands but he still feels obligated to stay aside my sisters and I. He is tall, with broad shoulders, dark blue eyes and a voice that can stop a beating heart. Zedric will put his life on the line for any of my family members. To him we are like family, because he does not have one of his own. He is very quiet about his past and I do not feel the need to press on about it. I think it may have something to do with the Dark Master because he seems to have a strong desire to destroy him. 
    “Izzie, Kat, it is time for you two, to head back to the castle,” Zedric instructs me.
    There is not a time limit for us to be outside the castle. Zedric just wants me to reject the offer to learn about the Dark Master in a nice way. However, the Dark Master is terrorizing the land which I live in, so I think I have an obligation to know what he is all doing.
    “It is getting late,” Kat sighs sounding exhausted. Then again she always agrees with Zedric.
    “Please,” Zedric asks looking at me.
    “Oh princess I would hate for you to disappoint the King and Queen with your absence. Come by my place anytime and I will tell you anything you need to know.”
    Nodding in agreement I begin to make my way to the castle ignoring Zedric as he talks to me. 
    “Izzie,” he quietly calls behind me. “Izzie,” he repeats after I do not answer. “Princess Isabella.”
    I stop and turn around. He knows how to make me listen, “Why can I not know about the Dark Master?” I bark. 
    Zedric always has one emotionless facial expression, and a tone of voice that does not seem to waver. “Because you have no need to know,”
    I tried to keep calm. Unfortunately being a princess I am constantly watched. I kept walking with Zedric beside me. Somehow Kat has gotten in front of me. “Being the eldest I may be the one to rule this nation, I think I have a right to know.”
    “As a Queen, yes, but as a princess, no.”
    Back at the castle Kat goes up to her room to fix her hair, while I find my father. “Father, mother?”
    “Yes honey?” my mother inquires looking at a book.
    “How was the play?” asks my father.
    My father became King at a young age. He met my mother when she was seventeen, and he twenty seven, they got married.  My father still is young and will not be leaving his position for a long time, which is unfortunate for me, but I know one day I will either rule this nation, or will on the front lines of a battlefield.  
    “I think I am old enough to know more about the Dark Master,” I demand.
    “I knew this was bound to happen,” mutters my mother. My mom has long brown hair in which is tied into a different style every day. Today it is being held together with chop sticks in a bun. Small diamonds are clipped into it to make it shine in the light. I am glad I do not have to worry about doing my hair everyday.
    “Why must you know?” asks my father ready to make a compromise.  
    I stand tall, “I am twenty years old, and I am training everyday to maybe fight the Dark Master one day. I believe I should know who my enemy is.”
    “But there is nothing you can do at the moment.”
    “I still want to know about him.”
    “Alright, I’ll tell you all about it,” said my defeated father.
    “Father, can Zedric tell me?”
    “Of course.”
    “I thought we decided not to?” asks my mother.
    “They are old enough to know that the world is not butterfly’s and rainbows,” sighs my father realizing his daughters are not ten anymore.
    I sprint out of the room and find Zedric sharpening his sword. It is the longest weapon I have ever seen. All together with handle and blade, the sword is six-feet long and as thick as both my arms put together. It is a one of a kind, made especially for Zedric by his master. He cherishes it as much as he does his job. 
    Looking towards me, Zedric asks what I needed. In the castle grounds Zedric does not always have to be with my sisters or I. It is only when it is late or we leave the castle grounds. I tell him what my father told me. 
    Zedric slowly slides his sword into its sheath. “Are you going to get Kat or Rima?”
    Rimona, or Rima for short, is my youngest sister. She is the least seen from the three of us but the most known throughout the land for her beauty. Kat is jealous of this and willingly admits to it. Rima is very quiet, petite and graceful. She is the perfect princess my parents always wanted. Through her days Rima is in the castle, or painting a masterpiece, or planting flowers in her personal garden. Surprisingly, even though she is the youngest, at eighteen, she has the longest hair from us all. It is light blond and constantly has a flower in it. I do not believe her but Rima insists that she is happy living her life in the castle. It is a rare and special occasion when she would leave the castle and visit the village. The villagers do not think that she is selfish for her absence, but believe she is a rare beauty that should be kept safe.
    “Do you know where they are?” I ask.
    “Kat will be coming around the bend in a moment. Rima is out in her garden.”
    Surprisingly Kat did walk around the bend and came to us, “Oh I did not know you were here Zedric,” by the tone of her voice, she knew exactly where he was. He has a couple specific places in the castle grounds he goes too. 
    “Do you finally want to hear about the Dark Master?” I ask.
    “Is father finally telling us?” 
    “I am,” answers Zedric.
    Kat agrees and the three of us walk to Rima’s garden. It is small but she loves it with all her heart. Its six by eight feet long with rows of beautiful flowers that blend together. She notices us right when we come up the path. Her garden is to the left of our castle doors, down a dirt path with pretty flowers, apple trees and bushes. It is very private for her but safe. If Rima ever screams the guards will be able to get to her in seconds to help. 
    Rima looks up at us, “Do you need me for something?”
    “Father is finally letting us learn more about the Dark Master. Come along and listen.” 
    Zedric leans against a tree while the three of us sit down on a bench. I am thrilled to finally hear about this, that my knees are shaking with anticipation.
    Zedric begins, “Where shall I start? Oh yes. You may or may not know that the Dark Mountains were not always called the Dark Mountains, but the Mountains of Kafroid. They were typical mountains adored and shared by the four nations because there are not others around here. 
    “About twenty years ago a man in the North nation unlocked a pathway that was closed many years before. This let loose the fiends that plague our lands today.  There are unlimited amount of different types of fiends in all shapes and sizes. The man was sent to death but on his execution day, the fiends saved him. He became there master for freeing them. They must have seen the evil deep in his soul. They fled to the only place that could keep them sheltered, the Mountains of Kafroid. There the larger, fiercer fiends stay hidden. The weaker ones are set out into all the lands to terrorize, and they do a good job, but every so often a dark cloud comes. This is what you see off in the distance sometimes. It is of the larger fiends flying in the air with the dark aura around them. They swoop down and destroy anything in their paths. Lucky for us, they do not come this far down to the capital. We only have to deal with the medium powered fiends every so often.”
    “So he was a normal man like you?” I wonder.
    “Yes. Now he is the Dark Master, a cruel, heartless man that wants to take over the lands for our punishment for wanting to kill him, and his fiends that protect him.” 
    “If the fiends were locked up before, why does someone not do it again?” asks Rima.
    “It’s not that simple.”
    “Why?” I ask.
    “Because the last person who sealed them up was very powerful in a spiritual way, she closed the door and lost their life because of it. Her name was Calmera. This is why the Great River of Calmera, is called what it is today. She risked her life for all our sake.  
    “Now the Dark Master found followers that believed in him from around the lands. He promised them power and safety in his mountains. Joining him the people are able to now control some of the fiends, depending on how strong they are. Weaker minded people control weaker minded fiends.”
    “What about the village Kafroid. Are they followers?” I ask.
    “They are not with or against the Dark Master. That village accepts both sides in a way. They will let anyone following the Dark Master walk freely and anyone from your father’s army. It is a neutral place but once the army enters the mountains they will be shot down. This goes for the fiend wielders in our land. The other towns at the base of the mountains in all four nations are like this.”
    “Does the Dark Master,” Rima paused. “Have a family?”
    “It is unknown to anyone outside the circle of his trust I assume. Not much more recent information is known about him. He, if he still ages normal, would be in his fifties. Lastly you know someone is with the Dark Master when they have a marking burned into their skin on their left wrist. It is of a snake shaped in the initials DM. Any other questions?”
    “Is there anyone known to be able to seal the fiends away?” asks Kat.
    “No one is born with the power. You must earn it, and no one is taking the risk anymore.”
    “When he first was around a couple tried the spell and failed miserably. Now the theory is to eliminate him and hopefully the fiends will thin out.” 
    I was hoping to hear a falter in his voice as he would tell us something indicating his parents but there is nothing. He kept the same tone the whole time. He is looking at me.
    “Yes,” I answer. I am. Now I know about him. Before I was blind, know I know what I will be facing. “Since he is getting old, do you think we will be able to defeat him?”
    “Not yet,” Zedric gets up and leaves. I wonder what he is thinking.
    “That was not that bad,” I laugh.
    “I feel even worse for those towns without gates around them now,” whimpers Rima going back to her garden.
    The sun is beginning to set. It has been a couple hours since Zedric told us about the Dark Master. I really hope I get to be in his final battle to see him fall. I begin to start my stretching before my weekly spar with Zedric. As I am stretching out my hamstrings while Zedric is helping Rima set up her painting stand. This evening she is going to paint a picture of us. I do not know how she will do it while we are moving but somehow she will. “Right here please,” Rima directs Zedric. He places her painting supplies down and sets up her stand. Zedric is an odd guard to me. My parent’s guards stand and watch my parents do activities but Zedric joins in on ours. He will help train me, help Rima with her garden when she asks and he is Rima’s partner sometimes for her dancing lessons. He is better than a guard, he is our friend. 
    We are at the back of the castle where some of the great River of Calmera seeps through a small opening in the gated wall. We are lucky that the town is only located in the front of the castle, so this back area is only for us. There are a couple trees still back here but it is basically flat. I like it this way; I do not like to have things I cannot see. 
    Zedric goes over to the water and splashes his face, then turns to me, “Ready?”
    We begin. I pull out my curved blades, that are the length of my forearm and the handle is the size of my wrist. These were custom made for me by my father’s blacksmith. The handles are red and there is a dragon’s face engraved above the handle grip. I charge at Zedric at full speed, he lifts up a metal spear that he trains with, and hits it against the dirt lifting himself over my head. Landing on his feet he slices the spear through the air hitting my legs and knocking me to the ground.
    In no time I kick my feet into the air and land on my feet. I stand in the ready position, waiting for Zedric’s turn to come at me. He does but spinning the spear, swinging at me, I block with my left blade. With his free hand he reaches, grabbing my shirt and spinning me around. I get to my senses and look to see he has disappeared. Looking up Zedric is sitting in a tree, smiling down at me. “You have improved,” he declares. 
    “Just get down here!” I yell. 
    “Get me down,” he teases. 
    I tossed my blade up and hit the branch.
    “Your aim still has not improved.”
    I tossed my other blade up and hit next to my other blade. 
    “Missed agai-” Zedric paused as he hears the branch creak. He takes a step forward before the branch breaks and lands on the ground perfectly. “Good plan but your weapons are now stuck up there.”
    It is like he can read my mind. Zedric drops his spear and attacks. Every punch I throw he seems to block. It is a pain but every punch he throws opens up into a flick of the fingers. The worst part of all of this is that he is not even trying. I am putting my heart and soul into every move and he will not break a sweat beating me. Eventually one day I will match up to him. 
    We continued till it gets dark. The final hit is Zedric lifting me over him. My heading is facing the ground. “Don’t drop me!” I plead. Normally if I was a real enemy he would have flung me over his head and dropped to the ground smashing my head into the dirt. 
    He placed me down, “Time for bed.” I grab my blades that broke out of the tree from the battle and ended up in the dirt and water. “You should keep a better grip to those,” he advises as he helps Rima gather her things. The first room we come to is Rima’s. Zedric wishes her good night and we proceeded on. Her painting will be done by tomorrow night for us to see.     
    Next we come to my room, Zedric pauses and looks at me, then he says, “Good night Izzie,” with a smile.
    “Night,” I close my door, place my blades on the table by my mirror and go to bed. 

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