The Pendant

A fantasy novel of a young prince whose troubled by a dark sorcerer's presence in the grey mountains. His father, King Aranide, together with King Meros and Queen Lina have already defeated this sorcerer and his dark army and forced him into exile. His return after many years only results in battle and false allegiances, it's up to the Prince to end all war once and for all.

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1. Rumours

The Prince had ridden through the market, taking care that his armoured horse didn’t bump into a running child or a stray animal which would consequently knock them off their feet. His horse took an elegant strut; it had evidently received years of royal training and treatment. The market stalls were filled with a colourful array of fruit and vegetables as well as wooden cages stacked with chickens. Goat and sheep raucously circled the tent stalls for as far as the rope would let them, the stall owners saw it as a way to lure in customers to their services. Herbs and spices filled the air with a beautiful aroma despite the animal droppings that had littered the floor. Three performers formed a crowd in the middle of the market as they played their flutes and jingles, the crowd had then begun to dance and sing along with the traditional music. A young woman no older than the Prince himself had skipped up to his horse and tugged the Prince at his feet. He saw this as an invitation to dance but smiled at the woman as he shook his head. The market was the Prince’s usual place now, and he had known most of the stall owners personally. It was no longer a shock to see such royal blood wonder the market but rather a blessing to be in such presence. As high as his status was, the Prince had not once taken what he was offered for less or more than its general price, he always made sure he was seen as just a man. His presence had always provided comfort rather than unease, his armour and weaponry had provided safety instead of vulnerability and above all, he provided every young child with hope. As young and kind as he was, he was a different man when it came to battle. He was known to be a ruthless and invincible warrior throughout the three kingdoms. Legends and prophecies had shown that the Prince would be the one to end all pain and suffering across the three lands as well as defeating the Dark Army once and for all. For years on end King Aranide had attempted to establish the peace that had now filled his land. Moralan was no longer viewed as a battle hungry and conquering state but rather a blissful land of justice. A decade had passed since Abbadon and his Dark Army were defeated at the city of Landron, where the castle was now situated, and yet his name had still struck fear in to the hearts of the bravest soldiers. A relentless sorcerer who had summoned an army so vast and powerful that he was labelled a God by all he conquered and ruled. A sorcerer so mystical that it was believed he was brought in to this world with the darkest magic at birth, a baby destined to become a God. However, there were such things that even the darkest forms of magic couldn’t overcome or anticipate. It was the love and loyalty between the King and his people that had ultimately defeated the Dark Army and thus sent Abbadon into exile. The people of Moralan and King Aranide himself were wise enough to understand of Abbadon’s presence in the Grey Mountains, not a day went by when his existence hadn’t troubled the minds of the people. The Prince saw it his duty to travel through the cities of Moralan only to reassure his people, he felt it was up to him to comfort the helpless and the poor when such dark forces wondered the three lands. By now the Prince had finished his route around the market and headed back up towards the castle, he opted to choose the forest route instead as it would allow him to ride without caution. The summer season had welcomed the greenery as the sunflowers grew tall and the grass left no ground uncovered. The castle stood tall and mighty over the lush forest, almost as an overseeing protector of all forms of life that dwelled in its trees. The enormous gates had been opened after the watchmen had sighted the Prince and King Aranide himself came out to greet his son’s arrival. “My son, I hope you have returned this morning with news of peace from our lands,” the King yelled as his son rode through the gates in to the courtyard. “Our people see you as an emblem of safety when you ride the streets they live; they are very loyal to you.” The Prince had climbed off his horse by now and greeted his father with a bow, “Your Majesty, I bring you news of peace and glad tidings from the lands. The people are happy and joyous despite the rumours.” “Come my son, we must speak over dinner,” the King whispered as he ushered the Prince inside. The corridor walls were covered in portraits of past Kings; the more recent were placed nearer the royal court. The portraits were also accompanied by a prize possession each King chose to resemble their time on the throne. King Aranide’s father, King Aragon, had chosen to have a sword hung over his portrait. He specifically asked for the sword that he had kept all his life and fought with during the Garon war that had lasted half his lifetime. It was said that the Garon war was fuelled by power thirsty generals and clan leaders throughout what was once Dimiran, which ultimately leaded to the formation of the three lands. King Aragon fought and led with such conviction and faith that he ended up with Moralan, a land almost half of what was once Dimiran. Although he had lost the other half to generals and clan leaders who had betrayed him, he knew that he had kept the best bit of land and forced them in to the deserts and valleys. The dining hall was a large and heavily decorated room with armour hanging off the walls. Flags and banners had hung from the ceiling next to the chandelier and the windows were stained. In the middle of the room was the dining table, where the king himself ate at three times a day and occasionally invited many guests of which he banqueted with. The table was already fixed and the food perfectly assigned, however, there was less food than usual which hinted at the King’s troubled mood. He usually ate less when he had something on his mind and hence told the servants and staff to not waste food by bringing plenty. “Come sit down son,” he softly suggested as he pointed to the chair adjacent to his at the head of the table. “Son, there has been worrying news from our western borders, our patrols are going missing. They go, and that’s it.” “Are you sure there isn’t a reasonable enough explanation father? Well, how many have disappeared?” “Two patrols of 3 guards have gone missing, and do you care to ask where son?” “Where father?” “At the foot of the Grey Mountains” There was an eerie silence in the room, for the Prince could only guess what his father was hinting at but it was a truth he did not want to believe. As valiant as the Prince was, his single deepest far was Abbadon. Ever since he was a child he had the same nightmare, the night his mother had died at the hands of the Dark Lord. He could see everything that happened so vividly and clear, but it had always ended with his mother’s scream. The King tried everything to remedy his son’s nightmares but eventually it was only with age that it began to fade. “See son,” the King continued, “the rumours are true, Abbadon is making a return soon. It was just a matter of time before we began to notice activity in the Grey Mountains.” The King stopped again. He observed the Prince’s body language and noticed his son was in a state of disbelief. “Son,” he continued, “I want you to run an errand for me, you must visit King Meros of Nesada and Queen Lina of Heralus. You must carry this message on my behalf.” The King slid a rolled piece of parchment with his stamp still hot towards the Prince. It read: ‘We are all in grave danger as the time we were afraid of has fallen upon us; it will not be long before war is waged by the Dark Lord. I prepare a banquet for us all in four days’ time. I pray you will make an appearance.’ “ “Now, eat my son, you will make journey this eve.” The King reclined in his seat; his wisdom was evident in every grey hair that fell loose from under his crown. He was a man of strength and purpose, just his mere presence was enough to change a farmer’s mentality in to that of a general’s. His muscle under his long cloak made it seem as though he was constantly in his armour and his height overshadowed almost every one he spoke to, but his speech never overshadowed nor eclipsed but instead enlightened. People were known to forget who they were when they spoke to the King; they thought of themselves as equals and friends by the way he spoke to them. It was rare to see the King so concerned, but the Prince understood his father’s troubles and swore to be beside him throughout the dark times ahead. The Prince finished his meal and left the dining hall for the royal chambers, he knew he had to prepare himself for this journey. The stairs were cold and dull; he felt the lack of warmth in the stone with every step he climbed. An extensive beautiful rug had greeted him at the top of the stairway; the Prince remembered Queen Lina had brought it for his father when she had spent the night in the castle. The Prince knew that Queen Lina would provide for him once he reached Heralus and so decided to make his journey there first. He had visited both lands before but never had he visited them simultaneously, the Prince then knew that his father had grave reasons for this meeting. King Meros had never trusted King Aranide despite his best attempts at securing a political relationship; King Meros was raised into paranoia and had trusted none other but himself.

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