Meet the Characters
Dylan felt a strong gaze on the back of his head. His shoulders shot upwards. Goosebumps ran up and down his arms as slowly, unsurely, he looked over his shoulder.
Six people blinked, staring back at him, all with wide, gray eyes.
“AHH!” Dylan stumbled back, clutching his little sister close to him. “PLEASE DON’T HURT US, WE’RE SORRY!”
“Hey, kid, calm down,” one of the women said, holding up both hands. She was dressed in fitted silver armor with red and gold decor, a sword strapped to her hip. The badges on her chest displayed high ranking. She had brown, almost golden hair, tied back into a braid. Freckles spotted her upright nose. She held herself in the most regal of postures, and despite the calm look in her gray eyes, she still looked threatening.
“What’s going on? Where are we?!” another woman asked. This one had short, black hair, chopped into a messy pixie cut. She was practically dressed in rags, sporting raggedy brown pants and a white, stained t-shirt. She seemed to be the most normally dressed out of the group, but the small, black lizard on her shoulder didn’t help her “normalcy” case.
One Hispanic woman was dressed like a true princess, a small tiara perched in her fancy updo, and a nice, poofy pink dress. At least, that’s what it must have been like. Now, her updo was loosened and tousled, and her dress was dirty and torn. It looks like she had walked through a storm as she let her head fall into her hands, mumbling to herself in Spanish.
“What an odd hut,” the first man said. He was tall, very tall, taller than everyone else. His eyes were as gray as the rest, but there was something different about them. They were more catlike, more...wicked. He was done up in a white tailcoat and dashing black dress shoes. Perched on top of his slicked-back black hair was a dapper white top hat, and on his neck was a black bow tie. His skin was deathly pale, and he leaned against a nice black cane. In fact, he almost looked entirely black and white, and he gave Dylan a sick feeling in his stomach. “This is quite a peculiar situation indeed.”
“You can say that again,” the other man agreed. He was dressed in a blue tuxedo, and a big, golden crown was on top of his neatly trimmed blonde hair. A golden sash was draped across his chest and, like the armored girl and the Hispanic woman, he held himself in a regal manner. Dylan inferred that he was royalty, a pretty obvious hypothesis on his part.
The last person was a dark-skinned woman, and, adding to the strange diversity of the group, she was done up as a pirate. She had the whole get-up, from a red tailcoat and black leggings to the strappy, knee-high brown boots. Her right eye was covered with a black eyepatch, but a long scar could still be seen peeking out from underneath. Her black, curly hair bounced around her head, untameable, and pressed down with a red headband. Noticing the Spanish muttering, she whacked the girl on the arm.
“There’s something wrong!” the one in the torn-up pink dress finally stopped muttering to herself in Spanish. “M-My memory, it’s fuzzy!”
“What?” Dylan gasped.
“Me too,” the pirate said, rubbing her forehead. “I remember taking Princess Sofia for ransom,” she pointed to the Spanish princess. “And then things get a little fuzzy...the last thing I can remember was wandering around on an island with you,” she looked at the princess, whose name was apparently Sofia.
“That’s all I can remember as well,” she nodded. She paced back and forth, walking the length of the attic with forceful steps, wringing her hands together nervously.
"Keep it together, mate," the pirate grabbed Sofia's shoulder, yanking her to a stop.
While they were talking, Ella had crawled onto the ground and was doubled over the book.
“What’s going on?” the girl in the ratty clothes with the lizard on her shoulder asked. “‘Cause I can’t remember anything either, and I don’t know you two,” she pointed to Sofia and the pirate.
“Dyl?” Ella whispered from the ground.
“This is so-”
“Dyl!” Ella snapped.
“What?!” he glared down at his sister.
“Look,” she held up the book.
“Ella, not right now-”
“JUST LOOK!” Ella shoved the book into his arms. Dylan looked down and his eyes instantly caught the illustration on the cover. His brown eyes widened with realization, looking between the six strange people and the book, people, book, people, book. “Oh, god.”
“What?” the pirate snatched the book from him and her jaw dropped. “That’s us!” she practically screamed to Sofia, pointing at two of the six people illustrated on the cover.
“And that’s us!” lizard-girl gasped.
“It’s all of you,” Dylan rubbed his chin in thought. His hand ached for a pen to tap on his cheek or to chew on, both terrible habits of his when he was deep in thought. “You guys must be the main characters of the story, that’s why you were the only ones that appeared in this room!”
“These stories are about...us?” Sofia grabbed the book and opened to the inside cover page. “The Princess and the Demon, the Princess and the Pirate, the Princess and the Dragon?!” she read the titles of the ministories.
“It’s missing pages,” the pirate commented, pulling the book out of Sofia's hands.
“Give it here,” Dylan took the book back, flipping through the pages. “Here’s the Princess and the Pirate. Only the first page and what looks like one of the middle pages are here,” he said, studying the story. “Sofia Valentina,” he pointed at the princess. “And you must be Captain Alexandria?” he asked the pirate.
“That’s me!” she gasped.
“And you said you only remember kidnapping her, and then walking on an island,” Dylan repeated before looking down at his sisters. “The only two pages here, they’re both about the kidnapping of Princess Sofia and them walking on an island together.”
“Wait, what you’re saying is that we only remember what the pages in the book say?” the girl dressed in the armor asked.
“What’s your name?” Dylan asked.
“I’m Princess Rebecca Evergreen,” she said, her chin tilting upwards slightly with pride.
Dylan began to flip through the few pages of the book again. “Rebecca Evergreen,” he stopped on a page and pointed. “You’re in the Princess and the Demon.”
“Makes sense,” Rebecca glanced at the man next to her.
“You’re the demon, then?” Dylan asked, quickly scanning the page. “Kyros?”
Kyros, the man in the white tuxedo and top hat, nodded. “That’s me...I think.”
Dylan looked up at Kyros and met with his demon eyes, his pupils sharp and pointy diamonds. They were filled with both wisdom and confusion. “You think?” Dylan asked, looking back down at the book nervously.
“I cannot remember much,” Kyros pinched the bridge of his nose. “I know I am a demon...but what are my powers? What can I do?” he looked down at his hands. “And why was I fighting her?” he looked up at Rebecca.
“That’s all I can remember as well,” Rebecca said. “I was fighting you for some reason.”
“Yeah, that’s the only page in your story,” Dylan said as he read. “Princess Rebecca chased the floating Kyros throughout the castle hallways. Swerving left and right, Kyros effortlessly dodged every swipe of the warrior’s mighty sword.”
Rebecca patted her sword on her hip, giving a warning glare to Kyros. The demon smirked and twirled his cane.
“‘FIGHT BACK, DEMON!’ Rebecca commanded. ‘STOP DODGING LIKE A COWARD!’
‘Am I dodging like a coward?’ Kyros hissed maliciously. ‘Or are you just missing?’”
“I can’t remember why we were fighting, though,” Rebecca told Kyros. “But I guess we’re enemies.”
“Looks like our memories have something in common,” the lizard girl said. “All I can remember is hating him,” she pointed as what looked like the princely character in the blue suit.
“Sera!” the prince scolded.
“That must be the common denominator in all three stories,” Dylan supposed, tapping his chin. “They’re about a princess and her enemy. The pirate that kidnaps the princess, the demon that terrorizes the princess, and…” he flipped to the last story. “The Princess and the Dragon?” he looked up at the last two people, the prince and the lizard woman, Sera. “Wait, how on Earth do y’all connect with that?”
“Princess and a dragon, huh?” Sera nodded. “Yeah, that does make sense.”
“What? How?! He’s a prince, and I see no dragon,” Dylan said.
“Hey, bud, the dragon’s right here!” a new voice shot in. Dylan and Ella jumped. In fact, everyone but Sera jumped at the sound of the low voice.
“Who was that?”
“On the shoulder, pal.”
Dylan glanced back at the lizard on Sera’s shoulder. He took a closer look at the creature and realized that it wasn’t a lizard at all. It bared its glinting white fangs, two black wings erect in anger. The black scales rattled as it shook its head, which Dylan now realized had two small horns poking out right above the gray eyes.
“Y-You’re a dragon?!” Dylan gasped.
“It’s so cute!” Ella moved to run over, but Dylan grabbed her arm and held her back.
“No, Ella, you’re stayin’ by me,” Dylan said protectively.
“This is Lilith, the dragon of darkness,” Sera introduced. “And the princess you’re looking for, pal, is me!”
Dylan looked the girl up and down. At her baggy, stained t-shirt and torn pants. He took note that she was also the only one barefoot, her feet blackened with dirt. “Oh.”
“Technically, she has no royal status anymore,” the prince cut in. “This is my older sister, Serafina. I am Prince Zachary.”
Dylan’s eyes scanned the page. “Only the first few pages of y’all’s story is in here. Y’all’s backstory, and then a small introduction to Serafina’s current lifestyle, but it’s cut off after ‘She decided to go and check out what all the commotion at the gate.’”
“That explains why I feel like I know so much,” Sera said. “I still know my backstory.” She turned to glare at her brother. “It’s not a fun one.”
“My father banished Serafina when she was just a baby,” Zachary explained to everyone else. “It’s because she was bonded with the long-exiled Lilith.”
“Every member of the royal family, upon birth, would have a large bonding ceremony. The dragons of the land would come, and one’s soul will be bonded with the newborn child, thus blessing them with a mentor, and the alliance with the dragons and the humans lives on,” Dylan read.
Sera glanced down at Lilith on her shoulder. “He used to be so big and powerful,” she sighed. “But an unknown force had drained his powers, and left him the size of my hand. He still trained me, though! And now I’m known throughout the world of the banished as the baddest one in the land!” she winked. “The infamous Shadow Princess!”
“Sera, you truly have a big head,” the prince shook his head in disappointment. “When I was born, I bonded with Haelstrom, the dragon of ice. My coronation to become king was coming up and then...and then…” he pinched his nose. “I can’t remember!”
“Join the club,” the pirate, Alexandria, spat.
“Real live princesses…” Ella murmured in awe.
“This isn’t happening,” Dylan let the book fall from his hands, onto the floor. “I’m dreaming! This just isn’t logical! How could this have-?!” he looked down at the book and realized it had opened up to the inside back cover, revealing the strange symbol and letters. He crouched back down and closed the book. “The Author. That’s it!”
“What’s it?” Rebecca asked.
Dylan raised the book, showing off the cover. “I think I know where we can find the rest of your memories!”
Out of all the situations the Maklif siblings have gotten themselves into, this one had to be the strangest. There was something holding Dylan back, and he could feel it. He took Ella's hand and began to lead them out of the attic, but as he did he couldn't help but feel unconscious, like it was all a dream. As a twelve year old boy, it wasn't that hard for him to believe in magic, and for Ella it was perfectly easy. But, unlike the magic they had read in fairytales and seen in movies, this one felt different. As Dylan snuck out the back entrance, avoiding his grandparents, he couldn't help but feel that the crazy old people of Cliffhaven, and their wild beliefs, were on to something.