Fallen Crowns

•Three kingdoms, one prophecy

Two will fall but only one will rise•

Adonia is from Exortitan, the kingdom known for its richness and royalty. Aleka lives in Sveltorm, an island that produces enough seafood to feed all three kingdoms. Arete is from Gordona, a small but beautiful, mountainous and heavily forested area.

By chance they meet, which causes a chain of events to happen, and truths to be told. Their very different worlds are soon turn upside down as they try to survive and keep things as they know them to be. But the prophecy says two kingdoms will fall, and prophecies are always true. Or are they?

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3. Chapter Two

-Aleka-

The boat continued to calmly swayed back and forth as though sitting in a rocking chair. Aleka was still numb to the fact that her brother, Kai, was a third child. How was that even possible? No one from her family back in Sveltorm believed the guard when he said why he was taking Kai away. Aleka had always had a special bond with her brother, so when he was being taken to Exortitan, she demanded to come with.

“Really, Aleka, you shouldn’t have come with. I would’ve been fine on my own,” Kai spoke up from a nearby barrel. The sailor had put them in the lower level of the boat, the storage level. He told them they deserved nothing more.

Aleka sneered, “You know I would always come with you, whether you like it or not!” She crossed her arms and sat down on the barrel closest to her. Her long, straight, brown hair swayed with the boat’s movements. She continued to glare at him until he flung his hands up.

“Alright, I’m sorry. I do appreciate you coming, I really do.” He stood up and walked over to her, putting a hand on her shoulder. “I just don’t want you to get hurt or see anything. I can’t escape my fate. We can’t change how the world works, Aleka.”

She looked away, not wanting him to see the tears forming in her brown eyes. Exasperated she muttered, “Don’t talk like that! We have every possible way of changing how the world is! I’m not just going to sit and watch it burn!”

For the first time in a few days, her older brother laughed. “You know, that’s what’s keeping me sane right now.”

Aleka glanced over at him. “What do you mean?”

“Your determination. I never really realized just how much you care,” he murmured, his voice getting soft. “But just because you don’t like how it is, doesn’t mean anything’s going to be different.”

She opened her mouth to argue, but quickly shut it. Kai had a point. Aleka couldn’t do anything to change the ways of the world by herself. There needed to be more than one person to change a law. Plus, she just wanted to keep Kai happy. As much as she didn’t want it to happen, Aleka didn’t know if Kai would be leaving alive. He was supposedly a third child.

After a long, awkward silence, he whispered, “I want you to have this.” He reached out his hand. He held a small vial with a cork in the top. It was his good luck charm.

Contained inside the vial was a handful of sand that Kai had put in there when he was five years old. Because Aleka had been a very bossy three year old, she had insisted on putting in her favorite sea shell. Kai had never gotten rid of the vial. He once told her that it reminded him of the days when they could be carefree and not worry about the weight of the world. She couldn’t bring herself to take it from him.

“I can’t…” Aleka murmured quietly. “This is yours…” she voice trailed off.

“Take it,” Kai’s voice broke. “Please,” he pleaded. When she made no move to reach for it, he carefully opened her hand and placed the vial in her palm. “I need to know that it will be in a good place for the rest of eternity. I want you to remember me by something other than my death. Keep it safe…” he turned away to wipe the trail of tears off his face.

Feeling that she needed to return the favor, she looked quickly over the things she had on her. On her ankles were matching bracelets made of rope. Kai and her had found the rope together. Aleka slowly bent over to her ankle to undo the rope from one of her feet. She held it up so he could see it.

“I need you to take this,” she whispered, her voice surprisingly even. “I won’t be able to live with myself unless you have something of mine.” His face broke into a reassuring smile.

“I’ll cherish this for the rest of my life…” Aleka couldn’t help but burst into tears. It was rare for her to be caught crying. The only times Kai had seen her cry was when she was a child.

“Every… thing… is so… unfair!” she managed to spit out between sobs. Unsure of what to do, Kai ungracefully flung himself at his crying sister. He held her until she was able to compose herself.

“It’ll be alright, Aleka. Nothing will happen to you,” Kai sadly murmured.

“But what about you?” her voice now soft and drenched in sorrow.

He shook his head to silence her. “We can never tell what the future has in store for us. All we can do is sit back and hope.”

Normally Aleka would’ve come back with some rude comment as a joke, but his words left her speechless. All she could do was look into his sparkling eyes and whisper, “I love you.”

Without responding, he pulled her in closer. He had so much hope in the future. It seemed to Aleka that he had accepted what was sure to happen. She could only hope that she would do the same.

**********

“Get up, ya worthless rats!”

Aleka opened her eyes. Everything had a slight blur to it, meaning she had fallen asleep. They were already at Exortitan! She had a childhood dream of coming to the richest kingdom. Of course, that dream never ended the way it would be today…

Without missing a beat, the sailor yelled again, “Do I have to tell ya twice?!”

Aleka grasped around, hoping to find Kai with her hand. Once she felt his shoulder, she started shaking him awake. “Kai! You have to get up! We’re already here!” Even she could sense the panic in her own voice.

She couldn’t stand the thought of not leaving with Kai. He was everything she had ever known. Kai was her rock. He was always there for her, through anything. Now, she would have to be there for him, as long as they would let her anyway.

“Hey, hey… ok, I’m up!” Kai muttered groggily. He was never much of a morning person. Aleka laughed at how he couldn’t keep his eyes open. Without thinking, he continued. “You better let me sleep longer tomorrow, or you’ll regret it little sister!”As the words came flowing from Kai’s mouth, he realized what he was saying. Aleka didn’t even try to stop the tears from streaming down her face. “Oh my god! I swear, I wasn’t thinking!” Kai pulled her into a tight hug, apologizing over and over.

As though he couldn’t hear what was happening in the lower deck, the sailor again yelled, “If ya two ain’t up here in two minutes, I’ll make ya regret it!” There was definite anger in his voice.

Without speaking, Kai stood up, helping Aleka to her feet. Carefully, he wiped the remaining tears off her cheeks. “Hey,” he murmured. “Please, don’t worry about me.” Before she could reply, he was already halfway up the ladder. Aleka took a deep breath, trying to compose herself before following. She didn’t understand how she could be so emotional. Aleka never cried. But here she was, crying for the second time in just eight hours. Burning with embarrassment, she wiped the tears off her face and made her way to the ladder.

As each foot hit a new rung, she felt an emotion slip away. It was time to become her emotionless self. It was much easier for Aleka to not show her feelings to anyone. And in a world like this, it was a gift.

She could hear Kai talking to the sailor. How could he act like nothing was going to happen? Aleka bit her lip to stop herself from bursting into tears, yet again. She hated the feeling of being vulnerable. Within seconds, she was standing next to Kai. He quietly moved his hand over to hers, giving it a tight, reassuring squeeze.

The sailor smiled when he saw her. Not a nice smile. One that made her hairs stand on end. “As I was jus’ tellin’ your brother, there’ll be a servant waiting at the shipyard for ya two. After that, ya two know what’ll happen!” He looked them both straight in the eyes, continuing to smile. Aleka took a step back, and rushed over to the railing.

The water gracefully splashed up against the sides of the boat. The boat never failed to push a new wave up, disturbing the calm. In a way, it reminded her of Kai’s situation. The calm water was Kai, living his life. The boat was the law about third children. The waves represented her own life; it would never be the same. The calmness of the ocean was gone, just like Kai would be.

Aleka felt a pang in her chest. It even hurt to think about what would happen. Normally, she was able to keep her emotions in check by not talking about them. This feeling was an exception.

The time must’ve passed quickly because the sailor was soon behind her. “We’re here. You can get off, now.” Nearly giving herself whiplash, Aleka turned around to find Kai. He was standing next to the ladder, ready to get of the boat. But he wasn’t moving, just looking at her. Her feet felt like bricks as she made her way towards her brother. Once they got off the boat, there would be no going back. Kai would be sure to die.

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