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Monthly Archives: March 2010

Kingdom Found part 9 (story #52)

Okey dokey, sorry for the delay, friends and neighbors.  But here we are, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to write up a storm.  Well, not literally.  Well, actually I don’t know that.  There may end up being a storm in today’s installment.  Heck if I know.

KINGDOM FOUND part 9

"Morty and Company" art by Eric jansen

I stood outside my mother’s house for a moment, unsure of what to do.  How could I possibly know where the doctor had taken them?  Would he be hiding somewhere here in town?  Or would he take them back to…

I turned suddenly to the Man-at-Arms.  “Send a detachment!” I ordered.  “Send them back to the breach in my school.  Make sure the doctor has not taken them back to Gold Legend.  I will stay here with the King and begin the search for them here in my world.”

He nodded to me.  “With your permission, I will lead them myself, Highness,” he said.

“Do it,” I replied and watched as his detachment ran back the way we had come.  When they were gone from sight, I turned to the king.  “Tell me all,” I said.  “The truth of what has happened in the past may help us find them here and now.”

“The truth, Prince Morty,” he said, choosing his words carefully, ” is that I don’t know all.  Nestra’s magical sight is a gift, but it is not bound to us.  We are bound to it.  Many years ago, she had a vision, and I followed that vision.”

Turning to the queen, I asked, “what did you see?”

“I saw a boy,” she replied, “taken from his home.  I did not know why, but one thing I knew: this boy was special and would one day decide the fate of all Gold Legend.  His life could not be left to mere chance.  So I sent Mountainlost after him.”

“What boy?” I asked.  “Taken from where?”

“Taken from Gold Legend,” the king said.  “Brought here to this world.  Nestra is not the only one with magical sight.  Someone else had seen this boy’s future and removed him from his rightful home.  It was a place of no special importance in Gold Legend, but from it issued a future king with the power to save us all.  Or destroy us.”

“What are you saying,” I asked, trembling.  “Are you telling me that…”  I couldn’t continue, so I just stopped and looked at the king.

“Prince Morty,” he said finally, “what do you remember of your life before you were eight?”

What did I remember?  Nothing.  Nothing but stories my mother had told me.  She had always told me that I had injured myself horseback riding when I was eight, and that was why my memories were gone.  I had never questioned her story.  It seemed so silly to me now, but I didn’t know how to tell the king that.  I suddenly realized that the first thing I could really remember in my life was the day I had seen Amanda in school on the first day of second grade.  Tell me that’s a coincidence.

I opened my mouth to speak but, before I could answer, I heard the Man-at-Arms cry out my name.  The entire gathered throng turned around and looked where the cry had come from.  At the back of our ranks, the detachment was already returning.

“Man-at-Arms!” I cried, “why have you returned?”

He looked at me strangely.  “My prince,” he said slowly, “we have done as you asked.  We have crossed the breach and returned to the castle.  There was no sign between here and there of the doctor or his army.”

“What?” I said, forgetting for a moment the troubling story the king and queen were telling.  “That’s impossible.  You left here but a few moments ago.  There was no time…”

“My prince,” he said again, “we went as fast as we could, but we marched for well over an hour!”

“No,” I said, “you just left.”  Turning to Mountainlost and Nestra, I continued, “please tell me I’m not crazy.  They did just leave, didn’t they?”

Mountainlost looked sternly at the Man-at-Arms.  “The prince speaks true, Man-at-Arms,” he said.  “You have been gone but a few moments.”

“I swear to you, my king,” the Man-at-Arms said, “I do not know what has happened.  We performed the task set before us.  We would not shirk.”

“I know you would not shirk,” the king said a little more gently, “but this makes no sense.  There was no time–“

“Time!” Nestra said suddenly.  We all turned to face her.  “The worlds are breached,” she said, looking around at the assemblage, “and time may be upside down, inside out, or otherwise mixed between the two worlds.”

“Go on,” I said, although I didn’t really wish her to.  I knew I wasn’t going to like this.

“Time is different in Gold Legend than in your world, Prince Morty.  If time here moves as time at the Wall of Worlds, then a moment here may be a year there, just like time at the Wall.  With the worlds breached, time itself may not know how to behave.  It is possible, is it not, that when a soul from Gold Legend moves in this world while the Wall is breached, he may move at the speed of our world.”

“That doesn’t make sense,” I said, “why would we all not be moving at such a speed?”

“We left you!” burst out the Man-at-Arms.  “When we left this street, we were no longer in sight of you, Prince Morty, nor you us.  Is that it, my queen?”

“I think it must be,” she replied, nodding slowly.  “While we are with you, or in your sight or the sight of anyone from this world, Prince Morty, we must move at the pace of this world.  But when we are not–“

“That’s how the doctor moved so quickly,” I said as at least one piece of this crazy puzzle started to make sense.  “And that’s how they wreaked havoc on the town so quickly.”

“And that is why he must turn everyone he sees into a troll so quickly,” added the king.  “Once they become an agent of Gold Legend, he can once again move freely, unencumbered by their knowledge of the time of this world.”

“But, wait,” I said, suddenly recalling the conversation we had been having before the Man-at-Arms’ arrival, “if you’re telling me what I think you are about my youth, then the theory still doesn’t make sense.”

“What do you mean?” Mountainlost asked.

“Well, correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re trying to tell me that I was brought here from Gold Legend when I was eight, had my memories stolen, and have lived here ever since.  Does that about sum it up?”

“You are taking the news remarkably well, Prince,” Nestra said.

“I guess I just don’t have time to be shocked right now,” I replied, marvelling at how deeply I meant it.  “I’m tired of wanting to cry, and I’m tired of being surprised and I’m damn tired of not knowing what’s going on.”  I turned to the king.  “So, you brought me here when I was eight?”

He shook his head.  “No, Prince Morty.  I merely followed you here.  Nestra had a vision that a boy who would change the course of Gold Legend’s history had been taken to another world, and she gave me words that would take me there.”

“Like Amanda’s words.”

“Yes, like Amanda’s words.  The words put a stopper in the passage of time, so that my time here would pass the same in Gold Legend and ages would not pass before my return.”

“Like Amanda’s words, ” I said again.

“Again, yes,” he replied.  “The words brought me here.”

“What were your words?” I asked.

“I dare not say them out–”

“Out loud.  Yes, of course,” I said.  “You would automatically move between worlds.  Like Amanda.”  I looked at Nestra.  “Is that what made her lose her memory?” I asked, “travelling with the words while the Wall is breached?”

“No,” Nestra replied.  “There is some unreadable magic at work in her.  The words know better than to alter a person.”

“All right,” I said, and turned back to the king.  “Tell me about my mother.”

“Yes, Prince,” he said.  “I spoke with your mother and she told me that a man had come, bearing you.  He had told her that yours was a noble fate, and that you must be kept safe until such time as you were needed in Gold Legend.  He had told her that one day you would wear a prince’s armor and defend both our worlds.  She could tell me nothing of the man.  Whatever magic had brought him here was already fading from her memory.  I told her I would return one day to see that your fate was properly met.”

“If she forgot the man,” I asked, “why did she remember you when you arrived here today?”

“Magic is jealous,” Nestra said.  “It may be forgot, but it wants to be remembered.  Seeing the king here today must have made her forget that she had forgotten him.”

That was a little hard for me to wrap my head around, so I just went forward with my questions.  “If you’ve known about me for ten years or more, then why did you not just tell me all of this earlier this morning?” I asked.

“I could not be sure,” the king replied, shaking his head sadly.  “The only time I saw you here in this world, you were asleep in a darkened room.  Seeing you this morning, I had no way of knowing if you were the same boy or not.  Amanda choosing you was a sign.  The armor allowing you to bear it was a sign.  But until you brought us here to this house, I couldn’t be sure.  When I saw the house again, when I saw your mother, I knew.  And now it is time for you to claim your destiny, Prince Morty.”

“But, if that’s true,” I said, “then I am, in truth, a citizen of Gold Legend and not this world at all.  So why does my presence hinder your speed?”

“Because your heart is here in this world, Prince Morty,” Queen Nestra replied.  “You have lived here for so long, and your concern for your mother is so great, that your heart keeps you tied to this world no matter what story your bloodline tells.”

“Where your heart lies is everything,” the king said.

It made sense.  In a weird way that would have been completely alien to me before this insane day, it made sense.  But that wasn’t the best part.

“Okay,” I said, “that’s good.  And it gives us a definite advantage we’ve been lacking until now.”

“What is that?” asked the king.

“With my mother and Amanda with him, the doctor will have to move slower.  Whatever has happened to Amanda, she definitely believes herself part of this world and only this world right now.  And my mother has no reason to have her heart anywhere else.  So he and his army will have to move at the speed of this world.”

“You’re right,” the king said, a smile decorating his otherwise lined and worried face.  He looked at Nestra, and she smiled as well.

“That is an advantage,” said the Man-at-Arms, “but we still have no idea where they went.  And we, too, must move at the speed of this world.”

“Not exactly,” I said.  I turned to the assembled crowd not knowing if they had any idea of what was going on or not.  Many were in earshot, but many were not.  I had to trust that, as the king had told me, they would follow what I said.  “People of Gold Legend!” I cried, “we must separate into groups!  Fan out across the town and look for any sign of the doctor, his army, Amanda or my mother!  Move quickly and quietly, and when you find them, do not attempt to engage!  Return here immediately!  Whether you find anything or not, everyone is to return here in an hour!  Do you understand?”

A loud cheer went up from the crowd.

I turned to the king and queen.  “All right,” I said, “go.  I’ll see you when you return.”

“You’re not coming with us?” Mountainlost asked.

“Of course not,” I replied.  “I’m going inside, out of sight.  You can all search the town and be back here in no time as long as I am not with you.  That is, if we’re right about how time is moving in the breach.  If we’re not, I’m just wasting everyone’s time and risking Amanda’s and my mother’s lives.”

The king put his hand on my shoulder.  “Then, let us pray we are right,” he said.

The queen smiled again.  “We will see you soon, Prince Morty,” she said.

Bibble-kins and the Man-at-Arms nodded to me and I turned and walked into my house.  As soon as the door closed I turned again and looked out the window.  Everyone was already gone.  Just like that.  I walked away from the window and had just enough time to wonder once if our theory was correct before all hell broke loose.

TO BE CONTINUED

Hee hee.

See you in six,

the SotWC

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2 Comments

Posted by on March 30, 2010 in Fantasy, Kingdom Found

 

Disclaimer to the devoted…

Hey, everyone.  It’s been a very long day and I just got home right before midnight.  I know, I know, I usually write the stories pretty late on Monday night anyway, but this time I am way beat.  I promise you’ll get a better story if I wait until tomorrow to write it.  And since it is chapter nine of an ongoing story, I figure I better give you the best installment I can.  That means wait until morning!  Check back later on Tuesday and the Gold Legend saga will continue…

Thanks for understanding, and don’t give too many angry phone calls to our receptionist, Michael.  He’s very fragile.

See you tomorrow,

the SotWC

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2010 in Announcements

 

Kingdom Found part 8 (story #51)

I’ll tell you something, I’ve actually been trying to figure out what’s gonna happen this week, and I have no idea.  I have come up with dozens of questions that I don’t know the answers to, so I am just gonna have to trust the story to tell itself after all.  Which is fine, since that’s the point of the club.  It’s just that the story is getting so big, I thought I needed to help it out some.  Well, the story isn’t listening to me, so I better resume listening to the story!

Here goes…

KINGDOM FOUND part 8

“What did you say?” I asked my mother.

“You’re wearing a prince’s armor,” she replied, “just like he said you would.”

I couldn’t believe my ears.  “What are you talking about?” I said, but she was already moving past me.  She stepped through the doorway and surveyed the people of Gold Legend gathering on the lawn and spread throughout the street.  Further up the street, the doctor’s army of trolls still approached, but their progress seemed to have slowed.  My mother searched the crowd with her eyes and finally settled on King Mountainlost.

“Hello, King,” she said.

“Greetings, my lady,” he replied.  “It has been some time, has it not?”

“Yes, it has,” she replied.  “Why have you come back now?”

“What?” I shouted before he could answer her.  “Mountainlost, you’ve been here before?  I thought the wall had never been breached before!  I thought only Amanda had crossed it, and maybe that awful doctor, if he’s not lying about it.”

“Oh, he’s not lying,” said the king.  “He knew of the wall long before I did.  I will tell you all, Prince Morty, but right now there is no time.  The trolls are almost upon us.  Please, trust me and hurry.”

“Trust you?” I said, near tears.  “Have you told the truth about anything?  For ten years you kept the truth from Amanda, and it seems you’ve told me half-truths at best!”

“We are at war, Prince Morty!  I told you what you needed to know.  And I’ve always told Amanda what I thought was in her best interest.”

Amanda started tugging on her chains and shouted, “told me what?  I’ve never met you before!  I don’t know what’s going on!”

My mother kept her gaze on Mountainlost.  She seemed to be trying to decide something.  Finally she spoke.  “You can’t have him,” she said.

“My lady,” Mountainlost replied, “he has come to us of his own free will.  It is done.  There is nothing you can do about it.  You know that.  He is wearing the armor already.  You know what that means!”

“Then I’ll take off the armor!” I said, and grabbed at one of my gauntlets.  But, at that moment, a cry went up from the back of our ranks.  The trolls were upon us.

The Man at Arms turned from our conversation and raced back up the street.  “Capture all you can!” he cried.  “Only kill in self-defense!”  Bibble-kins lowered his back for me to climb on, but I stood rooted to my front porch.  He looked at me sadly for a moment, and then turned and bounded up the street to help fight.  I looked at my mother and saw that she was crying.

“Mom,” I said, “what is going on?  I thought I understood, but now…”

“Oh, Morty,” she said, “he’s right.  You have to fight.  You have to go with them.  It’s time you found out the truth, but right now, you have to fight the king’s enemy.  Just like Nestra said you would.”

“Nestra said..?  How do you know the king and queen?  How did you know about the armor?  Mom, I don’t know what to do, here!”

“Yes, you do,” she said.  “Fight.  Fight for what is right.”

“I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S RIGHT!” I screamed, frustrated to my breaking point.

“Then trust your mother!” she yelled at me, and I could see she was getting angry.  “Yes, you deserve some answers, but this is not the time!  Now, go!”

I reluctantly drew my sword and  looked over at Amanda, but she would not return my gaze.  She was looking at the ground.  I walked over to her and put my hand beneath her chin, raising her eyes to mine.  “I’m sorry,” I said.  “I don’t know what happened to you, but I could really use your help right now.  I wish you could tell me what to do.”

Her eyes focused sternly on mine.  I figured she was about to yell at me again, but she didn’t.  To my great surprise, she said, “fight.  Like your mother said.  Fight the battle you must and get out of here as fast as you can.”

“Amanda?” I said, a lump in my throat.  “Is that you?”

“What?” she said, fear spreading across her face again.  “What do you want from me?  I’m just trying to help; I don’t know anything!  Just go do something before we all get killed!”

I looked from her face to mother’s and knew it was true; it was time to fight.  But what Amanda had said made me realize something, whether she had intended it or not.  We needed to get out of there.  This was not the final battle.  If nothing else, I had to convince Mountainlost of that.  My fight was not with the trolls right now.  My fight was with myself.  And with Mountainlost, if he wouldn’t listen to me.

I ran up the street pushing past terrified dancers who had not yet joined the fight.  I reached the edge of the battle and looked for Mountainlost.  He was there, right in the center.  The sight was similar to what I had witnessed at the gates of Gold Legend this morning.  Troops were fighting and knocking trolls every which way, trying to get them into sacks and capture them.  Except this morning, that plan had been working much better, for there had been less of them.  Now, the soldiers were overrun.  Even Bibble-kins was covered from head to toe with trolls.  They were gnawing on his legs and pulling on his fur.  The Man at Arms was buried under a pile of trolls and the king was covered from the waist down.  I saw that even Nestra was trying to join the fight.  I grabbed her by the arm.

“No, my queen,” I said, “stand back.  I will fight.”

She looked at me and cocked her head to the side.  “Are you sure you can?” she asked.

“Are you sure I can?” I said.

She smiled.  That was all the answer I needed.  I dove in.

The first thing I did was help the king.  I swept as many trolls off of him as I could, trying not to look into their shriveled little faces for fear that I would recognize someone.  He looked and saw that it was me, and a smile lit up his face.  “The cat!” was all I managed say, but he understood.  We both turned and began sweeping trolls off of Bibble-kins.  He, in turn, grabbed a mouthful of trolls off of the Man at Arms.  As the Man at Arms stood, I shouted to him, “sound the retreat!  Do it now!”

He looked at the king in confusion.  Mountainlost looked at me with fire in his eyes.  “Retreat?” he shouted.  “We are not an army of cowards!  If this is where the fight is to be–“

“But it’s not!” I shouted back, cutting him off.  “Look about you!  The doctor said this morning that Gold Legend was not the ground for the fight.  Well, I say THIS is not the ground for the fight!  And if it is, why is the doctor not here with the trolls?”

Mountainlost looked surprised for a moment, and then turned to look at the battle again.  He couldn’t argue with my observation.  How can a man have a final battle with his enemy when his enemy isn’t even there?  He nodded to the Man at Arms.

“Retreat!” the Man at Arms called out.  “Fall back to Prince Morty’s house!”

We turned and, though the king was right and we were no army of cowards, we ran.  Ran back down the street to where my mother and Amanda were waiting for us.  Or, rather, where they should have been waiting for us.  When we arrived at the house, they were not out front where I had left them.  Running inside, I called for them over and over.  They were nowhere to be found.  They were just gone.

Running outside again, I was about to tell the king to take the troops and continue down the street to evade the trolls, but when I looked up, I realized it wasn’t an issue.  The trolls hadn’t pursued us down the street.  They had, in fact, simply watched as we ran away.  When they saw me emerge from the house, all the trolls started pointing at me.  And they all started laughing.  It was a hideous sound, worse than the cheering I had heard earlier.  Then, they simply turned and ran in the other direction.  And I knew.  Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I knew.  The fight with the trolls had merely been a diversion.  He’d come and gone unnoticed.

Doctor Desnipes had taken Amanda and my mother.

TO BE CONTINUED

Okay, that works.  The mystery deepens, and the peril gets greater.  Sorry I didn’t trust you, story.  I’ll be better next week.

See you in seven,

the SotWC

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 23, 2010 in Fantasy, Kingdom Found

 

Kingdom Found part 7 (story #50)

Well, here we are again, and the ride continues.  Last week, Morty ordered an apparently amnesic Amanda to be taken into custody as Dr. Desnipes and his trolls began the invasion of this world.  Now, the army of Gold Legend is marching with no clear destination, hoping to save two worlds with no clear idea of how to do it.

Is their trust in Morty founded?  Let’s find out…

KINGDOM FOUND part 7

I decided that the best way to go would be to leave through the main entrance of the school parking lot.  With trolls headed in all directions, we could not pursue them all, but I had a feeling that finding out which way the doctor had gone was of paramount importance.  But as soon as we left the school grounds, I realized I had underestimated what we were dealing with.

We marched through the streets and were astounded at the level of desertion and destruction already apparent.  Hadn’t the doctor and his trolls arrived just moments before we had?  Yet as we neared the center of town, I saw no one human.  No one “real.”  There were trolls running from building to building, and they all seemed to be laughing at us.  But the screaming I had expected, the fighting and the horrified townspeople…  There was none of that.  Just smoke and destruction.

Amanda, chained at the wrists and pulled along with us, was dumbfounded.  As we passed the steps of the ruined town hall, she yelled up at me.

“What did you do?” she shouted.  “What’s happened to this city?  Where is everybody?”

"Just then, a troll came screaming out the front door..." Art by Josh Judd

Just then, a troll came screaming out the front door of the town hall.  Leaping through the air, he landed on my back.  With reflexes that surprised even me, I pulled him from my armor and hurled him to the ground.  In an instant, the Man at Arms was on top of him with a blade.  Disregarding the earlier order to capture and not kill the trolls, he ran the wretched little thing through.  As black blood once again flowed, I recognized the face of our mayor.  I had not known the man through anything but television ads, but it was surely him.

“Man at Arms,” I said wearily, “thank you for your quick reaction.  But, please, in the future, remember the princess’s edict to capture and not kill the trolls.  There may still be a way to save them.”

“But, sire,” he replied, “the doctor told the princess she was mistaken if she thought she could save any of them.”

“If all we have is the doctor’s word,” I said, “then I’ll wait until we have proof before I believe him.  Did your men bring any gunny sacks with them?”

“Yes, sire,” he said, and immediately gave the order to capture trolls if possible.

“Are you insane?” Amanda shouted up at me.  “You’re taking humans as prisoners and ordering your men NOT to kill those things?  What kind of leader are you?”

I turned and looked her in the eye.  “I am the leader you made me,” I responded.  Her look of confusion prompted me to continue.  “Somehow, Amanda, you will remember all this.  But, for now, please trust me.  I know you don’t think you have any reason to, but please try.”

She said nothing, and I turned to face forward again.  I heard her start to cry behind me, and I had to will myself not to turn around again.  There was much work to be done here, and I had no idea at all where to start.  But I knew if I turned and looked into her crying eyes, all I would want to do would be to help her.

I continued leading the troops forward through the city streets, hoping something would alert me to where we were most needed, or where we could find some answers.  My heart sank further with every step we took.  Trolls giggled and gibbered in the shadows of doorways, but no one else attacked us.  Before long, I heard Bibble-kins speaking to me over his shoulder.  “Prince Morty,” he said, “where did you live in this place?”

Of course.  Not knowing where to start, why not return home?  I realized I had not even wondered after my own parents safety until now.  I was so wrapped up in saving a kingdom, I had forgotten my own family!  “I’ll show you,” I said, leaning forward and rubbing him behind the ears.  Sitting up straight and looking behind me, I nodded to the king and he returned it.  “Follow me, people of Gold Legend!” I shouted and motioned everyone forward.

Bibble-kins raced through the streets at a gallop, led by my hands in his fur.  It worked as well as a bit in any horse’s mouth, and we arrived on my street in no time.  As we turned onto the street, I saw that there were no trolls to be found here.  My heart leaped until I looked behind us.  There, following the army of Gold Legend, was the doctor’s army of trolls.  I’d led them straight to my own street.

“Let us hurry!” Bibble-kins cried, and we bolted down the road.  It was early afternoon, so my father would not be home from work yet, but my mother would surely be there.  I could save her at least, and then we could figure out what to do.  As we raced down the street, those who were home stepped from their houses to marvel at the giant cat and the colorfully clad army.

“Go inside!” I shouted to them.  “Lock your doors, everyone, and don’t let anyone or anything in!  You have nothing to fear from us, but there are trolls coming!”

Some people, hearing the urgency in my voice, actually did what I said, which frankly surprised me.  Others stepped further out of their houses in confusion.  With single-minded purpose, I kept Bibble-kins headed towards my own house.  Was it selfish of me?  I suppose it was, but I was still trying to figure out the whole “leader” thing and my priority at that moment was my own mother.

Arriving at my house, we bounded across the lawn and I jumped down from Bibble-kins back.  I ran to the front door and flung it open.  The house looked normal.  The house looked fine.  I thought I had nothing to fear here.

My mother appeared at the end of the hallway and called, “who’s there?”  She stepped closer and saw that it was me even though I realized I must have been hard to recognize with my large, colorful armor on.  “Morty?” she said.  “What are you wearing?”

“It’s armor, Mom,” I said.  “Now, I know it’s hard to understand, but you’ve got to come with me.  And we have to hurry.  You’re in danger.  Everyone’s in danger.”

“Armor?” She said, and she reached out to touch it.  Then, with great sadness in her voice, she said, “of course it is.  It’s prince’s armor.  So, the time has come.”

TO BE CONTINUED

Hm.  I hope you’re not all disappointed at the brevity of this week’s installment, but if I am listening to the story correctly that is where this chapter ends.  If you want a little glimpse into the process I will tell you this: I tried writing beyond this point just because I thought the installment was too short and it just wasn’t working.  The music (“soundtrack”) seemed to be mocking my attempts to continue the story “on my own,” and nothing I was writing felt right.  So I gotta listen to the story and it says it’s over for this installment. It really is all going somewhere great there.  I keep getting glimpses of where we’re going and I’m very excited about it.  I guess I have to wait until next week to see how it unfolds, though!

See you in seven,

the SotWC

 
5 Comments

Posted by on March 15, 2010 in Fantasy, Kingdom Found

 

Kingdom Found part 6 (story #49)

Well, this doggone “Soundtrack” experiment keeps throwing me for a loop.  Last week, I really thought I knew where things were going, but twice in the story, the music told me something totally different from what I had expected was happening!  It should all add up to make this week’s installment (I have no delusions of this story wanting to end today) pretty interesting.  So here we GOOOOOOooooooooo!

KINGDOM FOUND part 6

“Amanda!” I cried, and urged Bibble-kins forward.  At first his shock was so great that he didn’t move at all but, as the king’s army and kingdom-full of people piled through the breach behind us, the great cat heard them and found his feet.  “Amanda!” I shouted again as we started forward, but she was already at the other end of the hall and heading out the front doors of the school.  The bright light of day coming into the unlit hallway made it hard to see too much out the doors, but I thought I saw Dr. Desnipes’s army of trolls moving away from the school.

Bibble-kins moved quickly from a hesitant trot to a full-out gallop and, just as I was about to shout again, he called her for me.  “My princess!” he cried as we closed on the front doors, “do not go out there!  Beware the trolls!  Beware the doctor!”

I looked back over my shoulder and saw Mountainlost and his people running bravely down the hall.  “What has happened?” he shouted to me, and I realized that they had not seen Amanda or her reaction to us.

Just before reaching the doors, Bibble-kins halted, realizing that while the double doors may have been wide enough to allow him through, they certainly were not tall enough to allow me to ride through on his back.  I leaped off of him and ran headlong out the doors.  “Amanda!” I cried one more time.

As she turned hesitantly to face me, I took in the sight of what was happening behind her.  Desnipes’s army was stretched out as far as the eye could see and running in all directions.  He was at the far end of the school parking lot waving them on and laughing maniacally.  Even as I watched, I saw a police car pull up onto the grounds.  The car stopped and two officers got out, clearly terrified.  Trying to ignore the trolls, both officers pulled their guns and aimed them at Desnipes.  My heart leaped for joy as they cautiously approached him.  Could his end be coming this quickly?  Could it be this easy?

Pretty naive of me, really.

The Doctor turned to them, never losing his smile.  I heard one of the cops shout something – I think it was “hold it, buddy!  Don’t move!” – and then it was over in a flash.  Two dozen trolls at least turned and were on the cops in the blink of an eye.  I screamed a warning far too late, and the officers hit the ground.  I drew my sword and was about to rush to their aid when I saw them rising from the ground.  Not standing up of their own accord, but literally rising from the ground.  The trolls weren’t killing them, they were holding them aloft.  Holding them up to the doctor.

I looked at Amanda, standing at the bottom of the small rise of steps I was on.  She was looking at me curiously, and I thought that perhaps there was some recognition in her eyes.  Then she turned and looked out at the doctor and the officers, ignoring me completely.

I followed her gaze and almost dropped my sword.  The doctor had taken a drink of some liquid from a flask and was in the process of spitting it on the police officers.  They screamed for a moment and all of the trolls began to cheer.  The sound chilled me to my bones.

The police officers writhed in the arms of the trolls for a moment and then began to shrink and shrivel.  Their clothes dropped off of them like rags and, within mere moments, they were part of the doctor’s army.

“So, that’s how he does it,” a voice said from behind me.  I turned and saw that Bibble-kins had come out the double doors and seen the same thing I had.  The king and the others were filing out now as well.  “I’d never seen it done before,” Bibble-kins continued, “the troll-making.  I’d always though it would take longer or be more involved.  At least be more magical.”

The king put his hand on Bibble-kins’ neck.  “But everyone in the princess’s school was turned so quickly this morning,” he said, “we knew he must have found a way to speed up the process.  And it appears you are right, Prince Morty.  He does use a potion of some sort.  The potion must create fealty at the same time it alters the body.  I think ten years ago, the process must have taken longer, which is why Mildred showed such devotion to him as she left us…”

His words trailed off as he finally saw Amanda standing at the base of the stairs.  She was still looking out at the doctor and his new trolls.  “Daughter!” the king cried, and bounded down the steps towards her.

“No, my king!” I yelled and was, once again, too late.  He spun her around and looked into her eyes.  They were wide with fear and she screamed right in his face.

“Who are you?” she said again.  “Leave me alone!  What do you want from me?”

“But, daughter,” Mountainlost said, practically choking on his words, “how can you not know me?  Just this day you have led my army in battle!  Do you not recognize your cat?  Your mate?  And your sworn enemy?  Does he mean nothing to you?”

“Sworn enemy?  I don’t even know what’s going on!  What are all these things?  My mate?  My cat?  You’re crazy!  I never led an army; I don’t even know what I’m doing here!”

She shook loose of his grasp and turned away, and there he was: The doctor.  He had closed the distance from the far end of the parking lot while we were watching the exchange between the king and Amanda.  At his feet, the two new little cop-trolls grinned up at us, shaking their shrivelled little fists.

"Is this man bothering you, my dear?" Art by Libby Barringer

“Is this man bothering you, my dear?” Desnipes asked in a smooth tone.

“No,” Amanda said, “I mean, yes, but…  I don’t know what’s going on.  Will somebody please tell me what’s going on?”

Desnipes put his arm around her shoulder and cooed.  “Oh, don’t you worry, my dear.  Everything is going to be all right.  You don’t need to worry about my little children, or about these strangely dressed people.  You don’t need to worry about anything.”

I could stand no more.  Leaping down the steps I cried, “take your hands off of her!”  He backed off a little, surprised at my assertiveness.  Amanda looked surprised as well, but she did not back away.  “Listen, you monster,” I said, “she may not remember me, and she may not remember her father or her people, but she’s still a princess.  She’s still our princess.  And you’d better stay away from her, or I’ll kill you twice.”

Regaining his composure, the doctor laced his fingers together underneath his chin and said, “that would be a neat trick.”  With that he turned and started back across the parking lot, followed by his newest trolls as the others fanned out in all directions.

Amanda just stared at me.  The recognition I thought I had seen in her eyes before was nowhere to be seen and any part of her that had been impressed with my sudden defensiveness for her was still overshadowed by her confusion.  I shook my head and tried to think of what to say to her, but Mountainlost spoke up before I could say anything.

“He’s enchanted her, hasn’t he, Prince Morty?” he asked.

“Queen Nestra?” I said, and she stepped forward.  “Can you sense any enchantment about her?  Can you break it if there is one?”

Nestra looked at Amanda and then closed her eyes.  Raising her arms, she felt the air all around Amanda’s head and shoulders.  She whispered things to herself and I could feel an almost electric energy all around us.  After a few moments, Nestra dropped her arms.  Her head sagged.  And then she began to cry.

“There is no enchantment here,” she said.

I looked at Amanda, who was more confused than ever.  I looked at Mountainlost and read a defeat in his eyes greater than what I had seen after her disappearance in the council chamber.  I looked at Bibble-kins, who didn’t seem to really understand what was happening.

“Princess,” he said with a tentative smile, “don’t you even remember me?”

“A talking cat?” she said with a nervous laugh.  “No, I think I would remember knowing a talking cat.”

I leaned on my sword and looked all around me and suddenly realized it was up to me to make a decision, here.  The king had said he would follow where I led, and that his people would follow as well.  And the fact was that, whatever had happened to Amanda, my entire world was in danger right now.  Doctor Desnipes had wanted to take over the world of Gold Legend for years, and somehow had found a “key” into our world this morning.  Now taking over our world was his goal and, for all I knew, it was the final step to taking over Gold Legend.  There was a link between our worlds that I didn’t understand.  But I realized I didn’t need to understand everything.  And neither did Amanda.  But both of us needed to move, whether she knew why or not.

Turning to the Man at Arms, I shouted, “take the princess into custody!  We need to move, and we dare not lose contact with her.”  The Man at Arms looked at the king, and the king looked at me.

“Are you mad?” he asked.  “Take the princess prisoner?”

“Not as a prisoner,” I explained, “but as a treasure of the kingdom.  We will figure out how to get her memory back later.  For now, we have a war to fight, my king.  We’ve seen our enemy walk away from us twice today.  I am not prepared to stand by while he runs riot over my home world.”  Turning again to the Man at Arms, I simply finished with, “do it.”

He stepped forward and grabbed Amanda by the arms.  “What are you doing?” she shouted, “you’re serious?  You’re going to take me prisoner?  I haven’t done anything!  I don’t know what’s happening!”

I looked into her vacant, scared eyes that had never before known a talking cat or a fairy king’s castle and said, “it’s for your own good.”  Reaching up and grabbing ahold of Bibble-kins’ fur, I pulled myself onto his back.  Looking back at the army behind me, I cried, “we march!  We must find the doctor!”

And we marched.  To where I did not know.  The doctor was already gone from view.  Man, he could move fast.  I chalked it up as one of many things that didn’t make sense.  The trolls were gone in all directions.  The doctor had disappeared.  But we marched.

With no sure destination, a scared boy in the lead, and our own princess as  prisoner of war, we marched.

TO BE CONTINUED

Well, no major twists this week, except Morty taking Amanda as a prisoner of war.  As I’ve grown so fond of saying in the past few weeks, I didn’t see that one coming.  I hope we’re starting to barrel towards a climactic battle or something here.  Maybe at some point soon we’ll actually get caught up to where the story began.  Anyway, I hope I did okay this week, what with STILL being sick and all.  Now I wanna go to bed.  See you next week.

See you in seven,

The SotWC

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 9, 2010 in Fantasy, Kingdom Found

 

Kingdom Found part 5 (story #48)

Sorry, for the delay, my faithful readers, but yesterday was…  Let’s say long and interesting.  Words that can hopefully be used to describe this story, as well.  🙂  Anyway, apologies, and let’s get to it.

So last week Amanda said “her words” and completely disappeared after finding out what had happened to her mother.  Let’s see where things go from there!

KINGDOM FOUND part 5

Amanda was gone.  Just gone.  One second she was there and the next she wasn’t.  I looked at Mountainlost in that first moment of silence and the look of sadness on his face was unspeakable.  Then the council chamber erupted in noise.

“Where is she?!?”  “What happened?!?”  “What’s going on?!?”

A hundred voices overlapping as soldiers, dancers, servants, royals, and even one giant cat struggled vocally to grasp everything that had just happened.  Mountainlost stood and began trying to shout over the cacophony.

“My people!  My people!” he shouted.  “Calm yourselves!  We must think rationally!”

Bibble-kins, not quite grasping the furor, raised his voice above everybody else’s.  “My king,” he said, “why are we in such an uproar?  Has the princess not always travelled between worlds this way?”  The question seemed to focus the gathered throng, and people, for the most part, stopped talking to listen.

“Yes, great cat,” the king replied, “but today the wall has been breached and her world is connected to ours at the other side of the forest.  We do not know what effect saying the words has had on her with the two worlds merged.”

“She told me,” I said softly, not wanting to say it, “that she was afraid saying the words with the two places merged might make her simply…”  I looked up at Mountainlost and Nestra, who clearly already knew what I was going to say.  “…simply disappear,” I finished.

Mountainlost lowered his shaking head, and Nestra began to cry as she nodded slowly.  Everyone in the room stood still, not knowing what to say.  Then a voice was raised.

“But we don’t know,” Bibble-kins said.  I looked at him, a faint hope dawning in my crushed heart.  “We don’t know for sure what happened.  We may find her at the breach!  We have to check!  We have to do everything we can to save the princess!”

I looked back at the king and queen hopefully.  Their faces did not share my enthusiasm, but I didn’t care.  It was a hope.  It was something more inspiring than giving up, anyway.  Softly, slowly, and without much conviction, Mountainlost said, “you are right, of course.”

I needed no more urging.  “Then let’s ride!” I cried and crossed the length of the room to Bibble-kins at a run.  He lowered his back to me and I hopped on.  In a flash, we were out the door and into the courtyard.

“Are the soldiers coming?” he called over his shoulder at me.

“I don’t see anyone,” I answered after a backwards glance.  “But no one’s as fast as you are, Bibble-kins!”

“It’s true,” he called as we bounded out the ruined front gate and into the wide field.

The sun was still shining brightly and the wind was still sweet.  Under other circumstances, I would have been having the time of my life.  But now I was rushing to save a life, maybe many lives, maybe a whole kingdom.  But first, Amanda.  More than anything, Amanda.

As we crossed the field, I noticed a complete lack of trolls on the attack.  The first time we had crossed the field, just a few hours ago, they were everywhere, nipping at Bibble-kins’ heels, leaping and grabbing for us.  Now there was nothing here but me and the great cat I was riding.  I didn’t know if I should be worried or grateful.  I found out soon enough.

We crossed into the forest at a good clip and planned to rush right to the breach of worlds and the hallways of my school.  The forest was not flat and straight, but rolled like overgrown waves of earth, up and down, hills and valleys.  Bibble-kins knew where he was going, but we could not see very far ahead except when we crested a hill.  Then, huge valleys of forest lay below us.  And, in one of these valleys, very close to the breach, we saw the sight that stopped us in our tracks.

As we reached the top of the rise, we looked down in the valley before us and, unlike all those before it, this one was not empty and unmoving.  In fact, the entire floor of the forest ahead of us seemed to move and ripple.  “Dear Lord,” Bibble-kins said as he stopped short.

“No,” I whispered.  The forest floor was covered with trolls.  An army unlike I could have imagined.  The band that had attacked the gate earlier, that group I had thought so huge in size, was nothing compared to the legion I saw before me now.

“That must be everyone,” Bibble-kins said.  “Every troll he’s made in ten years.”

How many trolls had he made?  Who had he used?  And then the thought struck me, how many other worlds had he been to? He’d told Amanda he had a “key” to get into our world.  What if it enabled him to breach the wall at other worlds as well?  Where else could he have gotten this many trolls from?

As I wondered these things, I looked up to the top of the far hill, at the other end of the valley before us.  We’d gotten so close.  There at the other end of the valley, was the entrance to my school, to my world.  Amanda was nowhere to be seen, but standing in the doorway, silhouetted against the light coming from the school, was the doctor.  He was ushering his army through the door and into my world.  From so far away, I couldn’t be sure if he had noticed us or could even see us through the growth of trees.  I hoped we could slip away undetected and get the king’s troops, but then the silhouette clearly raised his head from the trolls passing by his feet.

And he waved at me.

Bibble-kins began to back away as the sound of evil laughter floated across the valley to us.  The trolls joined in the laughter and the noise was deafening.  “Back to the castle,” I said to Bibble-kins.

“But the princess,” he said.

“She’s not here, can’t you see that?”  I cried.

“But your world!” he responded, “she could have crossed into your world!”

“And that way is useless to us right now!  It’s just you and me, Bibble-kins!  We can’t fight a whole army of trolls alone!  We must get the king and his troops.  We must tell them what’s happened.”

“You’re right,” he said, reluctantly turning.  And as we turned we saw them.  The king’s army crested the last hill far behind us.  They had followed us, after all.  Mountainlost himself was leading them with the Man at Arms close behind.  Even Nestra was with them.  Soldiers, dancers – the entire kingdom had come out to help find the princess.  My heart leaped.

Bibble-kins charged down the hill to meet the oncoming army of Gold Legend.  Upon meeting them, we told the king what we had seen.  “I was afraid of that,” he said when we were finished.  “He told me ‘this is not the ground for our fight,’ when we spoke this morning.  He knew the fight would have to be taken to the world of my daughter.  That is why he brought up her mother.  To divide us.  If the fight is to be taken into that world, he didn’t want us to have a fighter who knew the world itself.”  He looked up at me and a small smile crept across his lips.  “But he doesn’t know about you, Prince Morty.”  Everyone was looking at me.  “You must be our secret weapon,” Mountainlost finished.

“That doesn’t make sense,” I said, letting fear be my guide, “how can I be any help just because I come from that world?  I’m not a fighter there!  I’m nobody!  Amanda never even spoke to me before today!”

Mountainlost looked shocked.  “What?” he asked, “she said you were her chosen mate!”

“I’m sorry,” I told him, “but there’s an army of trolls over that hill that I don’t know how to fight, and I can’t lie to you anymore.”  Everyone was still looking at me, but their expressions were decidedly different.  “My king,” I said, bowing deeply, “I wish to fight for you, but I’m no leader.  And I’m not Amanda’s chosen mate.  She said that to keep you from being suspicious of me.  I think she thought she was saving my life.  I wish it was true, I do.  I wish I was a prince and a fighter, and I wish Amanda would choose me.  But it’s not the truth.  I’m not who you think I am, and I don’t know what I’m doing.  I can’t be your secret weapon.”

The forest was silent.  All eyes on me.  Finally the king spoke.  “But you are wearing the prince’s armor,” he said sadly.  “All my life I have waited for a son.  That armor was specially commissioned for the son I had never had.  With Amanda as my daughter, I knew it would go to her mate.”

“But it was all a lie,” I said, tears welling up in my eyes.

“No, Prince Morty,” the king said, putting his hand on my shoulder, “you don’t understand.  The armor is enchanted.  Nestra put a spell on it upon its completion.  The armor cannot be worn by one who is not a prince.  And it cannot be worn by one who is not to be Amanda’s mate.”  I was dumbfounded.  “So, you see,” he finished, “you must be her mate, and you ARE our prince and secret weapon.”

I looked around at the gathered army of soldiers and dancers and my eyes came to rest on Bibble-kins.  He was smiling as only a cat can, and he winked at me.  Then he lowered his back to me once again.

“Come, sire,” he said.  “Let us save your other world.  Mayhaps we’ll find your princess, my friend, in the bargain.”

Not knowing what else to do I climbed up on his back.  The army raised their hands and weapons in great shout of happiness.  Mountainlost looked up at me, and the affection in his eyes spoke volumes.  “Give the word, Prince Morty, and this army will follow you.  And I will follow you.”

I gave the word.  They followed.  But by the time we crested the rise again, Doctor Desnipes’s army of trolls was gone.  Into my world.  We would have to follow them there to stop whatever evil plan he had.

Moving across that final valley and up the hill towards the ruined walls of my school, now encroaching on this beautiful world of Gold Legend, I couldn’t help but think of Amanda and wonder where she was.  Just a few hours ago, she had come dancing out of this breach and we had kissed each other for the first time.  Before we had ever spoken a word to each other, we had kissed once, sweetly.  Could Mountainlost be right?  Could it be that we were meant to be together, all along?  We had kissed and she had then taken me by the hand and led me into this fantasy world of kings and trolls and castles and she had claimed me as her mate and I had donned a prince’s armor.  If it was all true, then all my life had been leading to this moment.  Leading this army over this hill.  Fighting this fight.  Loving this girl who had disappeared.  If it was all true, then I would find her again.  I had to.

We crested the hill and crossed the breach as all these thoughts went through my head.  Bibble-kins and I were the first to cross the barrier into my school.  The trolls were nowhere to be seen.  He started to pad down the hall and we saw the last thing I had expected to see.

Amanda was walking down the hall towards us.

Something was wrong, though.  She wasn’t wearing her armor.  And there was fear on her face.  She stopped as we approached her.  She shrank back and pointed at Bibble-kins with a shaking hand.

“Amanda,” I said, “are you all right?”

Then she looked up at me.  “Who are you?” she said.  “How do you know my name?”

And without waiting for an answer, she turned and ran away.

TO BE CONTINUED

Well, I hate to be repetitive week to week, but I didn’t see that coming.  So if you did, then you know more than the storyteller does.  I thought I knew what had happened to Amanda, but when we got to the school, well, there she was.  Now I have to work with that next week.  Super duper. Once again, sorry for the delay.  We’ll try really hard to be on time next week.  Swear.

See you in 6 (or 7…  just kidding),

the SotWC

 
3 Comments

Posted by on March 2, 2010 in Fantasy, Kingdom Found