Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chapter 2: Swift Greetings

Sighing deeply, Christophor looked outside the carriage windows. The guards were finalizing the route to Cerenia whilst the servants placed the boxes full of the prince’s items into the carriages. His eyes sought to find a comforting face – there were none -, only to see those of his personal guards.

“Rivan,” he called out after he opened the carriage window.

The armored guard broke away from the group he was in and made his way to the prince.

“Are my sisters coming to send me off?” Christophor asked, trying to mask the sadness in his voice.

“I’ll go check again. Do not worry Prince Christophor, I am sure they would come.” Rivan replied, bowing to take his leave.

The sun had yet to rise, the sky was still dark and yet half of the castle staff were already awake. Christophor had to leave today for Cerenia, it was a three-day journey, therefore, the King had instructed them to leave as early as possible.

Looking down at the white rose in his hand, he felt his heart ache. He would not be able to visit her again. Biting his lower lip, he closed his eyes as he felt the hot liquid gather at the corners of his eyes. He was going to miss this place; all the childhood memories, the days he spent with his mother practicing his violin.

“My violin!” he remembered.

Pushing open the carriage door, Christophor leapt out of the carriage and ran towards the palace. Forgotten, the white rose fell to the ground, stepped on by the servants hurrying to finish loading the baggage. A while later, the prince returned, holding onto a black case; a small smile on his face.

However, with the return of the guard, Christophor’s smile faded away as the command for the carriages to leave the castle ground and begin the journey sounded. As the heavy carriages passed, the white rose laid crumbled in the mud.

Lightening flashed in the distance, followed by a roar of thunder; the dark rain clouds loomed like a dark cloak shielding the sun. The horses neighed nervously as they continued on their ay to Cerenia; the carriages rocking vigorously as they traveled over the uneven country road.

Christophor sighed deeply as he turned away from the window and allowed the white-silk curtains fall back into place. They had been on the road for almost two days already, he was tired of staying in the carriage; he wanted to enjoy his surroundings before he reached the palace. Closing his eyes, Christophor recalled the times he used to have playing the violin for his sisters and his mother. Biting his lip, Christophor felt his eyes sting beneath his eyelids. Slowly, Christophor drifted off to slumber, allowing his siblings to invade his dreams…

“Your highness. Prince Christophor, its dinner time.” Came a soothing voice.

Unfocused, Christophor stirred from his sleep and looked at Rivan who was standing by the door beckoning him to leave the carriage. The scenery had changed, instead of the endless sea of lush green fields, large trees towered over them all. Little sunlight broke through the canopies, the voices of nature were far and few – Have we crossed the borders? Christophor asked himself.

Exiting the carriage, Christophor realized that the soldiers had already set up camp., fires had been started and the aroma of cooked lamb drifted towards him. His stomach growled deeply reminding him that he was hungry and that the lamb was waiting for him to consume.

“How long more to Cerenia?” Christophor asked as he approached his dining tent.

“If we travel without stopping at all, we would arrive at Cerenia by noon tomorrow. Otherwise, if we do stop to rest, we would arrive at Cerenia by sunset at most. “ Rivan replied as he pushed the flap away to allow Christophor to enter.

Settling down, Christophor sighed deeply. He could not escape what was installed for him. He looked at Rivan pitifully; hoping that he would be able to help him in any way. Yet, Rivan just smiled apologetically back at Christophor.

“Sit down and dine with me Rivan,” Christophor said, indicating the empty seat beside him.

“Shall I be nice and arrive at noon?”

“Christophor, it is not whether you want to or not you know you need to arrive there as early as possible, least the King gets unhappy.” Rivan replied, formalities missing from his voice as he gazed from the piece of lamb just given by one of the servants to his childhood best friend.

“I know… But, Rivan, the person I am betrothed to is a male!” Christophor cried out.

“I do not know how I am supposed to be like. I can grow to love a woman, but how am I supposed to love a fellow male?”

“Christophor, even if you tell me this, what can I do? I am only a soldier, I do not have the right to even have a say in a matter like this. All I can tell you is that, no matter what happens, I will always be there to protect you okay?” Rivan replied, smiling gently at the tearing boy.

“You better!” Christophor muttered as tears streamed down from his azure-blue irises.

“What are we doing here again may I ask?” Nathan asked, irritation etched upon his handsome features.

“Why must I be here? I’m also not the one getting married!” Damien – fifth and youngest child of the Cersario family – whined.

Beads of sweat rolled down the side of his face as a vein twitched in his jaw. Why did he have to come and welcome the damn enemy, and in this kind of weather. Not to forget, his head was throbbing painfully and the velvet covering him was killing him.

“Can you two be quiet? It is warm enough out here; your voices are making the situation even worse if you did not notice!” Davien – third son of the Cersario family – snapped.

“Damn it. If that bastard doesn’t get here right now, I’m going to kill him when I see him!” Anderes screamed within.

In the distance, a dark spot appeared as it made its way towards the royal siblings. The carriages and the royal guard were traveling at a very fast pace. In a matter of minutes, the entire convoy was just a few feet away from the royal siblings.

“Why isn’t it slowing down?” Elsie asked anxiously.

Just as she finished her question, the carriages and its guard raced past the royal siblings and sped towards the kingdom of Cerenia. Only one horseman slowed to a stop before them. Removing his helmet, dark black hair fell onto his shoulders; his jet black eyes burned with anxiety as he bowed with respect to the royal siblings.

“I am Rivan Henson, head of Prince Christophor’s own guard. My apologies for the sudden change of plan. Because of the sudden drastic change of climate, Prince Christophor has fallen ill. I have just instructed my men to send his highness to see a physician. I will see to it that Prince Christophor will enter the palace by nightfall.” Turning, Rivan replaced his helmet, remounted his horse and hurried off to catch up with the rest of the convoy.

“What the hell?’ Nathan muttered.

Chuckling to himself, Christophor lifted the white silk curtains slightly; they were leaving the ‘welcoming’ party behind. He watched as Rivan rode up by the carriage smirking at him as they shared a silent victory cheer as the convoy moved on.

“We did it!” Christophor laughed as he opened the window slightly.

“Yes, your highness, we did-“ Rivan replied before he was interrupted.

“Stop the carriage!” Anderes commanded as he pushed his horse forward.

Hearing this, the blood drained from Christophor’s face as he slammed the window shut. The last thing he saw was the frightened look in Rivan’s eyes. Falling back onto the seats, Christophor felt his mouth go dry as the carriage slowed to a stop. Beads of cold sweat rolled down the side of his face as he tried his best to calm his heart; it felt as though it was rising up through his throat and it made him breathless.

“May I ask what the problem may be, your highness?” Rivan asked.

“Open the door, ask your prince to come out and let me see him.” Anderes spat bitterly.

Hearing this, Christophor felt the tips of his fingers go numb. The temperature around him seemed to have dropped suddenly as his skin prickled with anxiety. He felt light-headed; small black dots were beginning to materialize out of nowhere; and they seemed to be dancing in front of his eyes.

“Prince Christophor is not feeling well, I’m afraid I can’t allow you to see him.” Rivan replied.

It started with just one, but in a split second, the sound of swords leaving their sheaths broke the silence. Outside, Rivan glanced at the tip of the sword at the base of his neck to the person holding it. His dark eyes were burning with ferocity. Around him, his fellow guards had drawn their swords as well, ready to fight the prince if he struck, similarly, the prince’s own guards and presumably his siblings had drawn their own swords, poised to attack.

“Open it.” Anderes ordered.

“Over my dead body, your highness.” Rivan snarled.

“I shall grant it then..!” Anderes muttered as he pushed the tip of his sword closer causing a slight red line to appear.

Rivan glared at Anderes with hate-filled eyes when the opening of the carriage door attracted their attentions. Eyes followed the pale-looking teen that climbed slowly out of the carriage. Christophor was covered in cold sweat. His throat was mighty dry, his lips pale and chapped. His brows furrowed as he tried his best to cling on to the carriage door for support.

Glaring weakly at Anderes then the others, he said “And you must be the one who asked for my presence, the one who threatened my personal guard with death? For what reason may I inquire? For not allowing you to see me?” tucking his fringe behind his ear. His voice was tired, but he showed no sign of being frightened, even in the midst of an entire group of armed assailants-to-be.

“Your highness!” Rivan yelled before Anderes stopped him by pushing his sword forward enlarging the red line.

Anderes eyed Christophor suspiciously before Rivan pushed him aside to reach his best friend who had just collapsed into a coughing fit.

“Rivan, I think I am really sick…” Christophor muttered weakly.

“It’s fine Chris, do not worry, I’ll get you to a physician right away,” Rivan uttered as he carried his prince and best friend and laid him back down within the carriage. “If you are done causing enough harm, his highness has to be looked at now. We shall be going now.” Rivan said matter-of-factly as he closed the carriage door, ignoring the other party totally before climbing back onto his horse.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Chapter 1: Every Story has a Beginning

The night was young and the moon was full. It hung like a yellow orb high up in the dark sky, thousands of stars dotted the dark canvas. The figure took a step forward, causing the fallen leaves to shatter under his foot. He ran a hand through his silk-like hair as his azure-blue orbs followed the path before him.

There before him, stood a lone grave. Surrounding it were carefully bred white roses, encasing the grave in an aura-like way. A smile grew on his lips as he kneeled down; muttering a soft greeting.

His fingers ran across the surface of the grave, caressing the little bumps gently as though they were jewels. His dark eyes trailed the words as memories played once again in his mind. He remembered the soft touch on his skin, the warm breath on his neck, the warm lips on his lips, the gentle voice saying his name.

Pain filled his heart as he silenced the yell threatening to come out. He did not understand why he had to lose his love. He glared at the full moon; it seemed to be taunting him, mocking the fragility of humans.

The sound of birds chirping awaked him along with the voice, asking him to rise.

“Your highness, His Majesty wishes to se you. Your highness, please, awaken,” the voice became clear – a female. “His Majesty wishes to see you in the dining hall.”

He blinked a couple of times trying to focus on his surroundings. He realized, he had fallen asleep in front of the grave the previous night, as he rubbed sleep out of his eyes. The maid repeated the request hoping that the prince would quickly get up and go see the King. They all knew what the King’s temper was like and did not want him to get angry.

The prince stood up, bowing to the grave before he turned and hurried to go meet his father…

“Were you at the grave again?” the King, King Benedik asked as he finished his drink.

The prince bowed his head and took in a deep breath. He could smell the scent of roses on his clothes, he had no excuse now; he was in trouble.

“How many times do I have to repeat myself? Time and time again, I warned you about visiting your mother’s grave and you keep defying me!” the King roared slamming his goblet onto the floor.

“Father, Christophor misses her. Just let him be.” Anastasia, the prince’s oldest sister said.

“When your mother was alive, she spoiled him, treated him like a jewel. You three, as his older sisters are spoiling him the same way your mother did, now look at him, he is almost female!” the King retorted angrily.

“He is our darling baby brother.” Emily said, grinning at Christophor.

“Like you said, brother. So shouldn’t he act more like a man instead of a woman? Instead of playing dress-up with you three, he should learn how to fight,” the king uttered, staring at Christophor. “This is linked to the issue which I am about to address.”

With this, Christophor sat up straight, placed his utensils down and looked at his father. His azure-blue eyes stared into emerald-green orbs; they seemed so cold, so distant that Christophor looked away. He had inherited most of his mother’s looks; her blue eyes and light-purple hair.

“We all know that the peace treaty between our country Zanela and Cerenia is not very strong. The peace that we currently have would not last unless we do something. Therefore, the King of Cerenia and I have come the decision that you, Prince Christophor Anderson of Zanela is to wed King Henson’s second son, Prince Anderes Cersario.” The King announced.

Metal hit porcelain, gasps sounded. Christophor tried o process the information, he could not believe it while Cassandra stood up – speechless.

“Father, you-you betrothed Christophor to a man?” Cassandra asked, her voice shaking.

“Prince Anderes prefers males, and Christophor is almost female. To ensure the peace between our two countries, this is how it has to be. Christophor, you’ll be leaving for Cerenia in two days time. I will assign a special guard for you; your wedding would be decided by the other party. You will not be allowed to return her after that. Understand?” the King said wiping his mouth.

“Father! You cannot do this!” Anastasia said standing up.

“Not Christophor! He’s only nineteen! He should not be sent to the gallows for this! Please father-“

Emily said before the King interrupted.

“For our country, this is a must. If Christophor was more like a man, I would never do this. Blame it on the fact that he never tried to stand up for himself.” The King roared.


“This breakfast is over! Christophor, you are going to Cerenia whether you like it or not!” the King bellowed as he stood up and marched out of the room.

Christophor felt his eyes sting as hot tears formed at the corners of his eyes. He did not want to leave Zanela; he did not want to marry some gay who was in fact the enemy. His vision blurred as he felt a drop on his hand, his sisters crowded around him, tears in their eyes, trying their best to comfort their little brother.

“Christophor, don’t cry. I’ll go talk to father again, don’t cry dear…” Anastasia muttered hugging her brother.

“Father cannot do this, he cannot! How can he just hand you over to the enemy? How-” Emily sobbed.

Cassandra placed her arm around Christophor, tears trailing down her cheeks. Christophor felt his world crumble, his clothes crunched up in his fists, hell was breaking loose.

“Anderes…” he moaned as their lips met and is tongue entered the familiar place.

“Anderes. Hey Anderes!” a voice called.

He opened his eye and looked at the person who called him. His jet-black orbs met fiery red ones. Even though they were related to each other by blood, Anderes could see how different he looked compared to his older brother, the Crown Prince of Cerenia, Prince Nathan. Anderes was a year and a half younger than Nathan; he had shoulder-length black hair in contrast to his brother’s deep red hair.

A grin grew on Nathan’s face as he settled down beside Anderes on the steps leading to the courtyard.

“It is true then?” Nathan asked.

“What’s true? That you have an idiotic grin?” Anderes asked, breaking into a similar smile.

“So do you,” Nathan laughed.

“I’ve heard that, father has betrothed you to some prince from Zanela, and that he would be arriving in five days time.”

Anderes kept quiet. Anger flashed in his eyes as he recalled his father deciding on the decision without his permission. A slap on the back indicated to Anderes that another sibling had joined them on the steps.

“What are you two talking about out here?” she asked.

“Don’t worry Anderes, I’ll make it hell for that poor soul who would be coming.” Nathan proposed, cracking his knuckles in excitement.

Elsie delivered a hard blow onto the side of Nathan’s head before settling down on the other side of Anderes. Anderes knew that among the five children, Elsie was the voice of reason even though she was the second youngest child.

“He must be having a worse time. He has to move away from his country, his people, his family, and come and join us here. People whom he was taught was enemies till recent years and, he is only nineteen, a mere two years older than me. Imagine how he must be feeling.” Her red irises shining brightly as she looked out towards the horizon.

The rising sun splashed the sky with bright orange and red, causing the puffy white clouds to look slightly roasted. Anderes sighed and looked at the clouds, it reminded him of past memories, those that would never happen again.

“Are you thinking about Savan?” Nathan asked cautiously.

Anderes smiled, he could remember all the memories he had with Savan. His gentle touch, his loving voice calling his name, his warm kisses, nothing would be able to make him forget Savan.

“Would you shut up some time?” Elsie yelled as she delivered another blow onto Nathan’s head.

Anderes laughed. Being the only girl in between four brothers did not help Elsie to become a proper princess. He pitied Nathan as Elsie’s blows were unusually painful, but he knew she only used force because she wanted to help.

When Savan died, he did not shed a single tear during the burial, everyone though he was alright, that he accepted the fact that Savan was gone. Elsie, she was the only one who came to him after the burial, she was the only one who realized the real pain he was suffering inside, the tears that were falling – inside.

“It’s alright Elsie. I’m happy to say that I am thinking about Savan. I loved him and I still do. Even though he is gone, I’m very sure that he is still in here.” Anderes said pointing to his heart.

An image of Savan came into his mind. His blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail, his purple eyes radiating gentleness, his smile grinning brightly.

“Be happy Anderes!” he waved and disappeared.

Anderes stood up and stretched. The sun had risen and it was time to go get ready for the day ahead. He had to finalize he plans for Christophor’s arrival, and to decide on what he could do to make the younger boy wish he was never born…