This is the beginning of something that has been knocking around in my head for a while.
|It was black. Black like the darkest night, like a void, swallowing all light, and the curiosity Forbed felt made the tips of his fingers feel like they were on fire. He jumped down from his steed and crouched by the babbling stream to get a closer look before reaching down, somehow not of his own accord, and picking up the stone. Water ran down the palm of his hand as he studied it closely. Could it be? A rustling came from the bushes behind him but Forbed couldn't bring himself to move. The smooth black rock wouldn't let his eyes leave its surface and there was something more, like a vibration only he could feel. It brought a pleasure to him he had never felt before.
"Forbed! Forbed, everyone has been looking for you your highness." A voice came from behind him. A familiar voice. What was his name again? Forbed tried to turn his head to look at the man but the stone held him still. It wasn't until a hand landed on his shoulder and shook him from his trance that his eyes could again move of their own free will.
"Aren? Oh, I just stopped to let Hammond here get a drink and..." Forbed trailed off. Aren looked at him expectantly, one eyebrow raised in curiosity. "Nevermind, it isn't of import. Shall we continue our ride?" Forbed smiled and slipped the stone away secretly, feeling the weight of it when it landed in the bottom of his pocket, pulling at him and off-setting his balance as if he was carrying far more than just a small black stone. This made it difficult for him to clamber back on top of his horse and Aren rolled his eyes before offering help to his prince.
"It would seem you've had a bit to drink as well. I thought the king forbade such drinks after the last, uh, incident." The last word that came from Aren's lips made the prince chuckle. Aren boosted him back onto his horse with a grunt.
"Oh, Aren, my sweetest Aren, ever the prude. You never were this dull when we were children. I seem to recall most of these incidents being your fault." Forbed grasped at Hammond's mane as he pulled himself the rest of the way up to the saddle, sitting unsteadily and laughing at the hard face he was met with from his friend.
"They never were my fault, you just said they were my fault. I received a lot of grief from my mother because of you. Like the incident with the priests and the honey? I seem to recall that being your idea."
"Yes, but you helped. I wouldn't have had enough feathers if it hadn't been for you sacrificing your pillow." Forbed prodded. Although it was true that he was usually at fault he had always shifted blame onto his friend. "We should get back before everyone else starts to worry."
Aren mounted his horse and the two of them set off to find the rest of the riding group before suspicion arose at their absence. The clopping sound of the horses hooves was offset by the rustle of the wind shaking the leaves on the trees and the robins chirping and twittering. 'They must be arguing about something' Forbed mused. Soon they found the others, Aren's twin brother Dearen, and Gothed, a tall and muscular knight who seemed out of place due to his stature. Forbed looked at Gothed's horse, feeling sorry for the weight it had to bare.
"Gods, Gothed, when are they going to give you a stallion who can actually handle your girth? My back hurts just looking at that poor creature."
Gothed laughed and gave a gentle pat to his horses neck. "Dalia here doesn't mind a bit of extra weight. But if you have concern, your highness, why don't you discuss it with your father?"
Aren's face contorted as he looked at Gothed in disbelief. All of them knew the fragile nature of the relationship between the prince and his father. The hairs stood up on the back of Aren's neck and his stomach churned as he looked to Forbed, waiting for his reaction with shallow breaths.