The next chapterts are HERE!!!
~Prologue : Running~
She was rushing through the woods with a dazzling speed and the trees flew by to her. The girl couldn’t help it. She felt a thrill of pleasure and a small smile lightened her tense face. But she couldn’t afford to slow down. Even though she had a pretty high speed, the others managed to keep up and it seemed that the distance between her and her trackers was the same. She was already within the arrows range and two of them nearly hit her right arm.
While passing through the stone walls, the girl lifted her right hand. In that second, a loud sound was heard and, with a powerful crash, and avalanche of stones blocked the path.
“Perfect! That’ll slow them down.” she whispered.
She sped up and felt like she was flying. She had to run a little longer and she would have been out of the Forest of Shadows, then she had to cross the river Zaar and, eventually she would have been free.
She heard a powerful roar high above her. She lifted her eyes and froze. In front of her landed a dragon as black as the gates of Hell.
“No! he found me…” she thought.
“You can’t run from the master girl. He will find you wherever you go and there is no place to hide. Besides, he is you father. Will you betray your father?”
“He is not my father anymore!” shouted the girl to the man who was riding the dragon.
“Blood is thicker than water. And you can’t turn it to water no matter how hard you try!” laughed the man mockingly.
“Don’t you ever say that again!” she said.
The girl felt as hatred was slowly taking over her. Then, a voice inside her said: “That’s it! Let yourself wrapped in anger. He helped your father kill her. Because he wanted her dead. He wanted you to suffer. Don’t you want to avenge her death? You do, don’t you? Of course you do. Then what are you waiting for? Do it! You know the words. Just close your eyes, say them and your revenge is nearly completed.”
“What’s wrong? The cat got your tongue? Come! I shall take you to the palace.” said the man.
“I am not going anywhere with you! How many innocent people have you two killed?”
“Many, if you must know.” he laughed. “And we shall kill as many as it takes so that my king can rule the whole land! Enough with the talk! Will you come willingly, or must I take you by force?”
“How about none of the above?” said the girl. “Lightning!” she shouted.
Then a small lightning hit the dragon. Unfortunately he was protected by a magical shield.
“Stop!” shouted the man. “What you are doing is called treason!”
She kept running. But then she tripped and fell. And then, she felt as her memories were being erased bit by bit until there was nothing left.
Only the dark…
“The first time when I opened my eyes I didn’t remembered anything. Not my name, nor where I was or who was that man that was staying at the foot of my bed. Then, bit by bit, I remembered my name, then the palace, the baby tiger that I owned and, eventually, the name of my father and my mother’s name.
I was the Princess of the Earth from Beneath, as the elves named it, known by it’s inhabitances as Avalon.
My father, king Sargon, ruled most of Avalon. My nana told me about my father’s deeds, how he managed to become king in a land ruled by no one. But there are many things that I don’t understand. I have a lot of questions and nobody wants to answer them; including my mother’s death. Nobody wanted to talk about it.
My mother died when I was 4. I have little memories of her. I don’t even know why she died. She’s just gone! My father was very nice to me since my mother’s death. Although he’s a bit temperamental, he can control himself; at least when I’m around.
Life at the court is boring. I have to endlessly listen to everybody’s greeting and answer politely. And the worst part is that I’m not allowed to leave the castle. My father said that the last time I did – last week – I tripped and fell in a bush. That explains my ugly bruises and scratches. I don’t remember anything. It’s like last week never happened. My nana told me that I hit my head pretty hard, but there is something that she is not telling me. And the worst part is that I know that something bad has happened. I just don’t remember…”
“Princess?” said a voice.
“Oh, come in nana!” said the girl.
“Princess you’re still in bed? You’re going to be late! Your Majesty’s father awaits you downstairs!”
The girl looked at her nana surprised. She didn’t understand why couldn’t she just call her name. Then she saw the guards. Etiquettes, etiquettes, etiquettes…she hated them. But she also knew that gossips about her were very interesting among the servants and not only for them. Surely by noon, everybody will know that the princess was late 15 minutes because she was writing something in a little notebook. And then, everybody will want to see that notebook.
“I’ll be ready in an instance!” she said.
She got dressed very quickly, then she took the baby tiger in her arms (they were inseparable) and then she rushed down the stairs.
“Good morning dad!” she said enthusiastic.
“Good morning dear! Come! Today you’ll spend your time on the training ground. I wish that, by the time you turn 17 – in less than a month, that is – you will be able to swing a sword properly.” said the man. He knew his daughter and he also knew very well her reaction to this news.
“No way! Are you serious?” she asked cautious.
“I am very serious.”
“Thank you father!” said the girl while hugging her father. “ Does that mean that I can have my own dragon too?”
“Don’t push your luck little one. Be contended with that tiger I gave you. Soon he’ll transform and you will better train him before you wake up one morning to find half the servants dead.” said the king pointing towards the little tiger.
The tiger, however, yawned showing his little canines and shook his tail. His owner looked at him surprised while the tiger sniffed her hair, yawned again and opened his chocolate-like eyes. He looked at the girl, meowed and hid his head in her hair.
“And now, come!” said Sargon.
The girl walked side by side with her father through a maze of corridors to the Training Ground, a huge place where the noble boys train.
Dressed in black pants, with a brown shirt and a tight black leather tunic and a pair of brown bots she didn’t look like a princess. Only two people recognized her: her father’s armourer and his apprentice – a boy younger than her. And, as he let her know he didn’t like the king or his daughter. But her father liked Colt and he wanted that boy to be his apprentice.
The girl looked around the camp studying all the fights that were taking place. She also looked at the small square from a corner of the training ground – that place was reserved for the warlocks and magicians. They were just a small group of people, but she knew that at least one of them – Klaus – was capable to blow up the camp with just one word.
“Colt, I brought my daughter here because I want you to train her how to use a sword, a bow and, if you will have time, everything that is necessary for her to become a great warrior.”
“In a month, your Majesty, I believe that you will be satisfied with the results, especially if she will do her best.”
“I will study much more than any other students.” she promised.
“That’s good! But you will not be studying with me, princess, but with that man over there.” said Colt pointing to a man from the middle of the training ground.
In that moment, that man turned and looked at her seriously. She turned to her father only to see his tense face.
“Are you sure?” asked the king.
“He is the best swordsman and the best fighter there is, my lord. He will train her.”
“I trust you. Well, my daughter, I must get back to the palace. Make me proud!”
“I will.” she promised.
After the king left, Colt took the Princess in the middle of the training ground to that man. He had a fierce look on his face and a huge scar next to his right eye.
“Here we are. This is Thanatos. He will be your teacher.” said Colt.
“Hello Thanatos!” she said.
“Why, if it isn’t our little princess!” he said mockingly.
She looked at him frowned.
“My name is Emma. And I’m not a little princess. I am here because I was told that you were the best around. Is that true?” she asked.
“My, my! A princess with an attitude! I must say… you look a lot like your father.”
“We are not discussing my father. Can you teach me, or not?”
“Hmmm, I’m not sure. Why should I bother? You look like trouble.”
“Very well then.” She said while turning. “Colt, you must find me another teacher. This one is not available, it seems. Like I care!”
“B-but, I promised your father that he would teach you. He is the only one who can – I-I didn’t wanted to offend you, of course.”
She turned slowly.
“Why? What is it so special about him?”
“I could ask the same thing.” said Thanatos. “What’s so special about you that even the king wants me to train you? What are you exactly?”
“Are you trying to be funny? What do you mean – what are you? I’m just a girl.”
“Exactly! You’re just a girl. So why should I bother train you. You can’t even punch properly.”
“Well then it’s your job to teach me, isn’t it?”
“You talk a lot! You’re annoying!”
“Not as annoying as you are. But my father wants me to train. So I will ask you one more time. Will you train me?”
He hesitated, while he was staring at that little girl. Then, eventually he said:
“Very well. But I have some conditions first. If you can accomplish them, then I shall agree to teach you. If not…”
“Yeah yeah, I know. You won’t. What’s your condition?”
“First, I will not address you with <<princess>>. Your name…”
“Yes, you’ve said that before.”
“Just checking.” She said smiling.
“Second, you will no longer interrupt me. When I speak, you listen. Third…”
“There is a third condition?” she asked.
“You are not to interrupt me! Now, as I was saying, third, when I give you an order, you obey – immediately. Without talking. And forth, you will do exactly what I say. You will wake up every morning and you go to sleep when I tell you to.”
“Is that all?” she asked calmly.
He looked at her surprised.
“No comments? You will obey?”
“Yes, I will obey. When do we start?”
“Tomorrow morning. Be here at 5 in the morning. And don’t be late.”
The she turned and walked away.
“That’s a nice tiger you got there. What’s his name?” asked Thanatos.
“As in thunder, right? It’s a suitable name for him.”
“Thank you!” she said while looking at her tiger then started to walk.
“I’ve got everything I wanted. I am starting my training tomorrow morning with one of the best warriors out there. But then why do I feel like this. It’s like I have this stupid feeling that something bad will happen. And today Klaus looked at me awkward. I don’t know what’s with him. Maybe he’s really crazy. But the worst part is that my teacher is having a lot of fun doing nothing. What’s wrong with the world?
Well, I’d better have some sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a long day…”
She put her journal under her pillow and looked at Donner. He was asleep.
“Sleep tight my little tiger. Soon you’ll start to transform, and then you’re going to have to train as well.
~As a Warrior~ (part one)
Emma woke up the next morning and rushed through the castle towards the training ground. Only a few guards were awake and they were surprised to see her up at that hour. While she was running past them she said
They answered amused.
Half an hour later she was standing in the center of the training ground waiting for her teacher. It was nearly 5 in the morning.
“I am so not waking up at this hour again!” she thought while she was yawning. “I’m so sleepy…”
“Why, you’re up early!” said a voice. “I never thought I’d see our little princess at this hour here. Are you lost?”
“Klaus!” said the girl while turning around. “What are you doing here?”
“What are YOU doing here?” he said mockingly.
“Is there a problem here?” said a man.
“Thanatos!” said Emma.
“Why are you talking with my student?” he asked Klaus.
“Thanatos… what a… pleasant surprise. I was just asking her majesty what she is doing here.”
“She has come to study! And I don’t see why is that any business of yours?!”
“Anything that happens here is my business! But I am not in the mood to argue with some… Good bye!” he said and then he left.
“That was… interesting.” said Thanatos.
“Thanks for stepping in. I don’t know what’s wrong with him. He’s been acting so weird lately…”
“Nah, don’t worry. Klaus is always looking for an argue with someone. He’s an annoying fellow.”
“Well, since we’re here… should we get started?”
“Of course! I see you’re looking forward.”
“As always!” she said smiling. Then she thought “Well, he’s not that bad!”
~As a warrior~ (part two)
“We shall begin with the sword, as your father said. Agreed?”
“Whatever you say. I would only like to remind you that I’m a complete novice in this and I have no idea how to swing a sword.”
“Really? You never hold a sword in you hand?” he asked surprised.
“Nope.” She blushed.
“Well then…that complicates things.” he said. “Well, let’s start with the beginning. We need to find a proper sword for you.”
“Why? Aren’t every sword the same?” she asked.
Thanatos glared at her. Then he sighed.
“Of course not! Silly girl. Every sword is made for a particular type. It depends on how much strength you can lift, the power of the blow, if you’re right or left-handed, whether you will use one or two hands on the hilt and so on. Finding the right sword is an art and not many master it.”
Emma listened fascinated to his explanations. They were slowly going towards the armory while Thanatos was still explaining the difference between a single handed and two handed swords.
“Ah, here we are. Colt! Are you in here?” asked Thantos while entering the cottage.
“Yes, I’m here!” said Colt with a faint voice. “I’m in the back.”
Emma followed her teacher inside. Colt whipped the ash from his hands and went towards them.
“Can I help you with something?”
“I need you to find a proper sword for my student.” said Thanatos. “The best you can find. And I really mean THE BEST! I have heard that you’ve come into the possession of some black crystal recently…”
Colt glared at him.
“How… Who told you that?”
“I have… connections.”
“Yes that’s true b-but I’m not supposed to give away swords made from this kind of crystal. You know it’s very rare. The king will have my head if I give away the sword I made. I’m afraid it’s not possible.” He said quickly.
“Come now, my friend. It’s for his daughter. Do you think that he’ll refuse to give his own child one of the best weapons?”
“I don’t know. He had specified that nobody should know about them.”
“As a friend, I will ask you to give this girl a back crystal sword.” Then he moved closer to Cold and whispered “Do you really think that she will be able to discover her potential with just an ordinary sword?”
Colt hesitated for a moment… He didn’t know what to do.
“I can not give you the kings’ weapons. But I can give you another. If you will both swear not to tell the king about it. He must not know of its existence.” He said while looking at Emma.
She sighed, knowing that something like that was not possible but… the risk, the danger of breaking the rules was too tempting.
“I swear that I will not let my father know of the sword nor will I tell him – if he ever sees it- who gave it to me. But, if it’s not a sword that looks obviously different I don’t think I’ll have problems with it. My father is busy dealing with the orcs now and he will not pay that much attention.” said Emma.
“Very well. I trust you, your highness. Wait here!”
Thanatos looked at her surprised.
“I never thought I’d see the day when the daughter of Sargon the Dark would go against her father. I’m surprised and…”
“Here we are!” said Colt interrupting Thanatos. “This is for you, and I believe it will suit you perfectly.”
Then he pulled out of a thick cloth something that appeared to be a 3 and a half foot long sword. It rested in its black sheath which had some strange carvings on it. Emma slowly took the sword and pulled it out. It started to emit a dim light and slowly vibrated. The hilt suited her perfectly and the base of it had a large black diamond.
“This is perfect. It’s like it was made for me!” she said enthusiastic.
“This is Morrigan! It belonged to the last Dragon Lord. I have recently found it buried under a hidden tomb in the Middle Desert. I do not know what the markings mean and I doubt that anyone but the elves do. And I don’t think that you will ever find one to tell you. I would ask you, to keep it hidden. It must not fall into the wrong hands. Keep it out of sight. Especially from that vermin Klaus…he’d love to get his hand on it. It has more secrets than you know. But I’m not going to share them. That is Thanatos’ work. Go now. And keep it hidden! Keep it safe!”
Emma stared at the blade she was holding. The sword started to vibrate again as she said her name: Morrigan – Goddes of Death.
~ High standards (part one) ~
She repeated the move with trembling hands. It was nearly midnight. She had to do the same exercise over and over again until her hands started to feel numb. But she wasn’t going to complain. Tomorrow was to be her birthday and she still wasn’t doing as well as she has hoped to. Not once has she managed to defeat her teacher even though she tried with all her might. Then suddenly she slipped and fell and Thanatos put his sword next to her neck.
“You’re dead…again. I think we should call it a night. You’re tired meaning that you’re not improving.” He said while looking at the other side of the camp.
“No. Just one more time.” She said with trembling voice.
“Emma, you’re exhausted. You can’t keep going like this.”
“I can take it. I’ll be fine. I want to make my father proud. Tomorrow is my birthday and I have promised myself that, by the time I get seventeen I would have defeated you at least once.”
“Keep dreaming.” He smiled. “But let’s begin. Take your position. Now!” he shouted.
Emma turned furiously and hit with her sword towards Thanatos’s right arm.
“Good, you’re improvising. That’s good. But not enough!” he shouted while attacking.
She lost track of how many minutes they were fighting. It could have been ages. The sword started to feel heavier and just when she wanted to quit she felt something different inside of her. Her gut was telling her that the situation was about to change. Her master was getting tired. She could feel it in his attacks that were getting weaker and weaker. Then, suddenly she twisted and hit so hard that Thanatos’s swor flew out of his hand and hit a tree nearby.
“You’re dead!” she said quietly. “I’ve defeated you!”
“Yes you have!” said Thanatos. “Yes you have… Now, if you please, help me get up and bring me my sword.”
She helped him and then she slowly picked up his sword with trembling hands.
“I think we can go to sleep now.”
“Yeah. I suppose we could.” Said Emma.
“You did good. Happy birthday Emma!”
“Thank you!” she said shy.
~ High standards (part two) ~“You must get out of here! Go! Don’t wait for me. Go!” shouted the woman.
“Mum, I don’t want to leave you!” I said.
“You must! Please. He must not catch you! Go!”
“Do it for me! Run!”
And then she fell. Upon her was standing a man dressed in a familiar black robe.
“Emma, get up! You can’t be late for your own birthday!”
“Oh!” she gasped. “It was just a dream!” said the girl while getting up. Then she took her head into her hands and stayed like that for a while.
“My dear, are you well?” asked her nana.
“I’m fine. Just a bad dream.”
“Are you sure? You look pale.”
“I’m fine nana!” she said while snatching the dress from her nana’s hands. “Ugh! Do I have to wear this?”
“I’m afraid you do. Besides, you’re seventeen now. You can’t show up dressed inappropriately. You are the Princess of Avalon!”
“Yeah, yeah… I know….”
“Yes!” said quickly the old woman.
“You must say yes! Not yeah!”
“Yeah, I mean yes, nana!”
“Good! Now get dressed for crying out loud. You’re late!”
“You know, I’m trying. How on Earth am I supposed to wear this? I can’t breath!”
“That’s a corset. You would be used to it if you wore it every day. But whose fault is it that you don’t dress up properly?”
Emma groaned. After a few more minutes she finally got out of her closet. She was wearing a long, red dress embroidered with gold and silver threads. Her hair was curled slightly to the middle of her back. She turned a bit on sides to check if everything was where it was supposed to and then she smile shyly to her nana. The old woman gasped.
“You look… you look…” she said nearly bursting into tears.
“What? Awful, ugly? You know? I’d prefer a pair of black pants and a brown shirt.”
“Don’t be silly! You look so beautiful. How you have grown… I can’t believe it.”
“Stop… you’re making me blush.” She said smiling.
A sudden knock in the door stopped them.
“Princess, your father is waiting for you.” said a manly voice.
“I’m coming.” she said and then she inched to the door.
“Emma! Aren’t you forgetting something?” said her nana pointing to her bare feet.
“Oh, right. Um… I’m pretty sure I had some red shoes in here somewhere.”
“My goodness child. Where you raised by a pack of wolves? You must act like a lady. A lady should be more elegant!”
Emma rolled her eyes and kept looking. Finally she found them, put them on and walked down the stairs.
In the Throne Room, many people were waiting for her and on a black throne stood King Sargon, her father holding a tiny golden crown. Donner walked proudly behind her slightly waving his tail.