A prince must rescue a king and his daughter by someone demanding an unthinkable ransom.
“Princess Athinia is not your usual date Jaden,” said his friend Nithose.
“Don’t remind me! My father says it’s of the good of the whole realm; should a man marry without affection?”
“I agree Jaden. Your father is thinking of the future. If our house is joined to Athinia’s, it would strengthen our kingdoms.”
Jaden sneered. “This “date” is just a formality. Can’t I just let the dreaded day come!”
Nithose tilted his head and raised his eyebrow. “Avoid the meeting may offend her father.”
“So be it!”
Jaden pounded his fist on a polished oak desk as his voice echoed around his vast personal chambers.
“You’re gritting your teeth.” I have never seen you so upset,” said Nithose.
“My whole life could be complete misery with Athinia.”
A knock came from his door. “My Lord, your father requests your presence in the meeting chamber.” the voice came through the door.
“Now what?” said Jaden. He dawned his royal scarlet and gold embroidered cloak. “We will talk later Nithose.”
Jaden exited his room walked towards the west wing. He walked down a long corridor with walls hung with portraits of past kings and other royalty. He ascended a set of stairs going up. At the top was metal door.
Jaden opened it and walked into the circular chamber. With his father, King Diotrephes, was a top nobleman named Barnabas from Princess Athinia’s kingdom. They were standing about a round table.
“Where is King Vorten?” asked Jaden.
The other two men looked down.
“What has happened?” asked Jaden.
“Tell him Barnabas,” said king Diotrephes.
“King Vorten and Princess Athinia have been abducted.”
Jaden Gasped. “When? Why? By whom?”
“Those who stole him demand a ransom,” said Barnabas.
“What is it?”.
“Do we tell him?” asked the nobleman.
Diotrephes nodded and Barnabas walked away from the table. He approached a bookcase against the wall. He touched the spines of books in a sequence and the bookcase opened.
Inside was a small space with a glowing emerald on a pedestal.
“What is that!” said Jaden with wide eyes and a gaping mouth.
Diotrephes motioned his son to come to him and Barnabas took the jewel to the table.
“This is called the Heart of Zealous. It was named after the most powerful wizard who lived a thousand years ago.”
“What does it do?”
“It controls elements of nature: earthquakes: tornados, hails storms and on,” said Diotrephes. “Few in the whole realm know of it.”
“What will you do now?”
“A secret rescuer must be dispatched to pass the Lake of Areth to the Divine Forest and save them.”
“How do you know they are there?” asked Jaden.
“The parchment that the kidnapper’s sent is made from a Drake Tree. That is the only place they grow,” said Barnabas.
“I have sent you,” said Diotrephes.
“You are the best swordsman I have matched by your horsemanship.”
Jaden opened his mouth to speak then stopped. He looked down then he took a deep breath. “Very well father.”
“Leave at dusk,” Diotrephes.
Jaden packed his essentials and paced for some time until dusk was near. He got a horse and left with haste to the Lake of Areth. It lay inside a steep valley where the lake was. It was not so large. He decided to skirt around it and make it to the forest.
In the sky, a large bird flew over Jaden. It began to descend right for Jaden’s spot. It was a phoenix. “Hello Jaden, son of Diotrephes.”
“You know me?”
“Years ago, you father nursed me to health as a youngling with a with a broken wing. Do you desire to go to the opposite side of the lake?”
“I could fly you to it. It is a repayment for your father’s help. Climb on to my back.”
“Jaden did so and the Phoenix burst not the air. It soared above the lake and below and ahead was the Divine Forest. The phoenix landed at its borders and Jaden got off the bird’s back. “Good luck to you.” The bird flew away.
Jaden entered the forest. He walked past trees, vines, bushes and tall grass. After rummaging through, he entered an open grove. In the middle, a stone cross stood.
He neared it and a being in a white robe and wings appeared. “Be at peace. I’m here to give you this. It is the shield of Faith. It wards off the attacks against evil beasts and wizards. But, you must wield it in faith. Now go.” The being disappeared.
Jaden continued and soon saw a hut with smoke coming from a chimney. He neared it and knocked on the door. An old man came out and muttered a few strange and Jaden went flying back, hitting a tree.
“You bear the Shield of Faith! But can you use it?” coaxed the man.
“Who are you?” Jaden coughed.
“I’m Vorta, the descendent of Zealous. I will make swift work of you!”
“A bolt of lightning shot from Vorta’s hand. It struck the shield, pushing Jaden backwards.
“Good excels evil as light excels darkness. Righteousness will prevail with the power of God!” said Jaden.
Vorta reeled back. “Such power! Who are you! I’ll kill you anyway! Die!” He was seeing red in anger as the blood filled his eyes.
The wizard made a whirlwind of fire that moved towards Jaden, but it was expunged by the shield with the faith he had.
“This cannot be!” said Vorta.
Jaden lunged at Vorta and bashed him with the shield as he cried out as if he was in pain. Then his body became a pillar of stone and fell to pieces.
Jaden ran in the hut and Athinia and her father were there.
“We are free! Thank you, Jaden.”
“My Lord, I cannot marry your daughter. I don’t love her.”
“As you will. This act deserves any wish.”
Jaden smiled “Thank you. Let us go home.”