Okay so, true to our word, we have spent the last week trying not to think too much about last week’s first installment of “Kingdom Found” so that we could truly provide you, our faithful readers, with an improvised follow-up. Of course that means we’ve only just read the story again a few minutes ago and are now saddled with the task of continuing while trying to remember what already happened. We’ve done a mini-series once before, back in the old days (Jim and Jym and the Treasure of the Big Mountain – stories #10, 11 & 12), but it was much sillier, so there’s more pressure this time. Also, we brought back Bobo the African Elephant. Silly us.
All right, so we have the iTunes set to play random orchestral film scores (for an explanation of the improv game “soundtrack” that our current experiment is based on, see last week’s post “Kingdom Found – story #44”) and we’re ready to dive back into the kingdom of Gold Legend with Morty and Amanda, who have just met King Mountainlost. Welcome back…
KINGDOM FOUND part 2
King Mountainlost beamed a rich and sincere smile down at Amanda. “Your chosen mate?” he said. “I’m so pleased. The kingdom will finally have a prince!”
I squeezed Amanda’s hand so tight I thought I would break it. “You’re a princess?” I whispered.
“I’ll explain later,” she said, patting my hand. She then turned to Mountainlost. “Father, the trolls are at the gate. There are more than ever today. But I must ask you not to harm the newest of them. We must find a way to un-doctor them.”
“Un-doctor the trolls?” Mountainlost’s smile turned into a quizzical frown. “Such a thing is impossible. It’s never been done.”
“The door to my world has never been breached before, either,” she replied, “yet this morning the doctor has broken through the Wall of Worlds while I was dancing to please you and your court.”
“My word,” the king said, his frown deepening, “he’s finally found a way through.” Turning to one of the dancers nearest him, Mountainlost cried out, “Man at arms, go and get your armor! Rouse the troops from their slumber! The time to fight has come. We must save our daughter’s other home. For if her world ceases to exist, so too shall we. Hurry!”
The man at arms nodded, bowed, and ran from the courtyard. Mountainlost turned back to me and Amanda. “Daughter,” he said, “I will give the order to capture rather than kill the trolls. But you must now take your chosen mate and fit him with the prince’s armor if he is to fight at your side.” Turning to me, he continued, “I am sad that we could not have met under finer circumstances, Morty, but tomorrow, are we yet living, we may exchange pleasantries. Today we fight a war.”
With that he turned and, with a wave of his hand, summoned the rest of the court to follow him. As they strode from the courtyard, I turned to Amanda. When I did so, she let go of my hand and the sensation was like losing my life-line. A panic started to rise in me, and all I could say was, “war?”
“I’m sorry, Morty,” she said. “I couldn’t think of anything else to say. If Mountainlost knew who you were, or really who you weren’t, then he would never have let you stay on the day we go to war. He probably would have thrown you in prison as a spy, or out with the trolls.”
Nothing she said had anything to do with war. I was totally confused. “What are you… huh?” I said.
“What I said about you being my chosen mate,” she replied. “Sorry about that.”
Suddenly the thought of war was quite secondary to the thought of losing that magic moment where she had claimed me as hers. “I’m not your chosen mate, then?” I said, and swallowed hard.
“Don’t be silly,” she said, “I wouldn’t do that to you, of course. I was just trying to save your life.”
“Of course,” I said. I wanted to cry, but pride kept my tears silent.
Suddenly, there was a great hammering at the castle door. A cry went up from the battlements.
“THE TROLLS ARE TRYING TO GET IN!”
We looked up as the doors bowed inward under immense pressure. Bibble-kins rushed to the doors and placed his immense cat-body against them. “Whew!” he said, “there must be a ton of them out there! I won’t be able to hold this by myself for long!”
A noise behind me caused me to turn. An involuntary shout escaped my lips. Troops bedecked in multi-colored armor were streaming from several doorways on the other side of the courtyard. They were led by the man at arms, no longer wearing colorful dancing clothes. He was wearing the largest, most impressive battle armor of any of the troops.
“Remember!” he shouted, “the trolls are not to be killed! Capture them! Put a sleep on them! Whatever it takes! But the princess must be satisfied in this!” As he came closer to us, the man at arms faltered in his pace. “Princess,” he cried, “why haven’t you outfitted your man? The trolls are at the door and the war begins now! Hurry!”
“Yes, sir!” Amanda cried and, grabbing my hand again, rushed across the courtyard.
Entering through one of the arched doorways, we found ourselves in a cavernous room with a high vaulted ceiling. Under any other circumstances I would have relished the sight of such grand accommodations, but there was no time to stop. Amanda pulled me into a side room and we sat on a lush couch.
“Look,” she said, “there’s not much time to explain, but if you’re going to fight a war for me, you deserve to know what’s going on.”
“Yes, please,” was all I could think of to say.
“When I first stumbled into the kingdom through the Wall of Worlds and Bibble-kins saved my life–“
“He said you were fighting fine on your own,” I interjected.
She smiled. “I told you, he tells it his way and I tell it mine. Whoever did the fighting, he brought me here when it was over. Long story short, Mountainlost and his wife, Nestra, had never had any children and he basically adopted me as his own daughter. He’s always been sad to not have a boy-child, but he’s loved me well. After that first trip here, I was able to find my way back through the Wall whenever I wanted by remembering a simple phrase he told me.”
“What was it?” I asked.
“I can’t tell you that,” she replied.
“You don’t trust me?”
“No, I literally can’t tell you. If I say it aloud, I immediately pass through the wall from one world to the other. Since the Doctor has broken through the wall and the worlds are now joined, I fear I would simply disappear if I were to say it now.”
“Well, yeah, then don’t do that,” I said, still pretty much at a loss for words.
“When we passed over the threshold between the worlds this morning, did you notice how I passed out?” she asked.
“Um, yeah,” I replied, “that was kind of hard to miss.”
She shrugged. “I think it was because of passing through the Wall without saying the words. I haven’t done that since I was eight. Come to think of it, I don’t even know how I got back to our world. I was dancing out there in the courtyard while Mountainlost and the court looked on, and then I found myself suddenly in your arms back at school. Did you do something?”
“I just arrived at school and found everyone gone,” I said. I was wandering the halls wishing to find someone, and then there you were.”
“Wishing?” she said. “That may be it. Wishes have this habit of getting answered here in Gold Legend. With the two worlds combined, perhaps your wish was granted by… Hold it. What were you wishing for?”
“To find someone, I said that.”
“To find someone? Anyone?”
“Yeah, I think. I mean, I might have thought about you, but…”
“Why would you think about me?” she asked, her whole tone softening. I think she was on the verge of smiling, and she moved a little closer to me.
Just at that moment, Mountainlost strode by the door and saw us sitting there. If I had thought that the man at arms’ suit of armor was impressive, it was nothing compared to the outfit worn by the king. His helmet alone was a work of metal art, lined and beveled into a mountainous sculpture on his head. Great metal ridges bloomed at every joint of his armor, and the colors were so dazzling I really believe there were some new ones I’d never seen before in my life. “What are you waiting for?” he asked her, in a huff. “The trolls have broken through the gate and my men are doing their best to capture them! We need your help to figure out which should be saved!”
“Yes, Father!” she said, and jumped off of the couch. Crossing the small room to a wardrobe in the corner, she threw the doors of the thing wide. Inside were two suits of armor. One was smaller and lighter, and I knew immediately it was for Amanda. The other was a huge, shining, multi-colored suit of armor much like the man at arms had worn. It looked newer, though, and I realized suddenly that it had never been worn. Mountainlost had been saving this armor for a son who had never come. Now Amanda had told him I was her chosen mate, and I was to wear this armor. And fight in a war. With trolls and God knew what else. To save a world I didn’t know existed until this morning.
Well, so be it. I stood up and walked over to her. “A prince’s armor?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said. “Will you wear it?”
I looked her in the eye and said, “for you I will.”
She helped me dress.
TO BE CONTINUED
Well, this story continues to surprise me. I had this notion of finishing it tonight, but it seems to want to be told in chapters and, if I am listening to the story right, it wants to end there tonight. Guess we’re riding the Gold Legend wave for at least one more week. A couple questions answered, and a few more raised. A few things brought up in part one that have yet to pay off. All of that should keep it interesting for another week. I hope.
See you in seven,