The Miserable Prince and the Would be Wizard

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Chapter 21

Mordi watched until Hugo and Blaise were lost to sight over the trees. He sighed deeply then went back into the house. He glanced up the stairs and resisted the temptation go and comfort Arric since Blaise had said he wanted to be alone for a bit. He went into the kitchen and slumped into a chair. Timmy came over and pushed his snout into Mordi’s knees and he reflexively scratched the aardvark behind its ears. Mordi sighed again.

“You know Timmikins your daddy and your papa have been guilty of a particular sort of negligence in coming here and shutting themselves up in a happy little bubble and letting Asgreen have free rein in Alcheron.” Timmy grunted and Mordi sighed “I know and you are right; to begin with he caught us by surprise and we were outmanoeuvred. There wasn’t anything we could do about it back then but we should not have turned our backs on the Kingdom. We should have kept on trying instead of putting our energies into things like racing aardvarks and interesting herbal experiences. Our talents give us responsibilities and we’ve been ducking them. The net result is poor Blaise is trapped and Arric is heartbroken. They were so happy yesterday and now their lives have been torn apart and your daddy and papa bear a large part of the blame for the current state of affairs. What to do about it is the question because we have to do something.” He lapsed into silence and sat scratching Timmy behind the ears.

Timmy eventually went back to his basket but Mordi continued to sit pondering his and Hugo’s failure to take action earlier. If Arric hadn’t come and enlisted their help they’d have gone on burying their heads in the sand and poor Blaise would have ended up like his father. He might still do so unless they started fighting back. He got up and went through to the study and as he did so he realised it was sunset. Blaise would be at the palace by now. He also realised that Arric had not yet come down. The book could wait. He went upstairs and stopped outside Arric’s room. As he raised his hand to knock he became aware of muffled thumps and gargling noises. He opened the door and his mouth dropped open at the sight of the figure flopping about on the bed in an effort to free itself.

“Mmmm. Nngh” Blaise vocalised as Mordi hurried across and untied the gag. Blaise’s first words were “I’ll kill him!” Mordi finished untying him and Blaise sat massaging his wrists and ankles. “He laid me out and took my place. Idiot.” He groaned “I’ve a lump on my head and it throbs.”

Mordi placed a hand on Blaise’s head and the lump disappeared and the throbbing stopped.

“He looked just like you. He told me not to come up as Arric wanted to be on his own for a while since he was very upset.”

“Upset! I’ll upset him. Mordi we have to go after them and get him back. He’s put himself in terrible danger.” He swung his legs off the bed and looked at Mordi with an anguished expression “I couldn’t bear it if anything happened to him. Please Mordi we need to go.”

“We will but not immediately. We can’t stop them because they’ll already be at the palace. We could put Arric in more danger by acting hastily. Hugo will be back soon. He needs to know what’s happened. We’ll make a plan of action to get Arric back but he is a very good wizard and he can look after himself. Nothing will happen to him until the wedding and that won’t be tonight.”

“Yes but Mordi he’ll give himself away. He doesn’t know how to be a prince and he doesn’t have my memories.”

“Hush now, fretting and panicking won’t make it any better. We will get him back. It’s time Hugo and I stopped playing happy families in the woods and started fighting. Asgreen and Karmella have to go. Then you and Arric can set up as innkeepers without worrying about the state of Alcheron. Come on Bibikins, a glass of wine and let’s plot the downfall of Asgreen.”

Blaise gave a wobbly smile “You always know how to make me feel better Mordy Wordy.”


When Sir Hugo came in through the kitchen door a couple of hours later he stopped in astonishment.

“He substituted himself for me.”

Mordi stood up “It’s true. Arric appears to have achieved mastery of transformation spells. Supper’s in the oven. I’ll get it then you can tell us what happened at the palace.”

“Not a lot. Asgreen sneered and exuded triumph and I was dismissed. Poor Smitty appears to have suffered a dismal fate at Asgreen’s hands.”

Mordi put the pie on the table “Blaise and I have been planning our campaign. No more pottering about. We fight and if we have to play dirty to get Asgreen’s claws off Alcheron so be it.”

Hugo propped the carpet in the corner and fussed Timmy who’d got out of his basket to greet him. He came and joined them at the table.

“I agree. I felt wretched the whole way there and doubly wretched the whole way back. I failed you all those years ago my boy when I ran away with my tail between my legs. Arric’s a brave person and we won’t let him or you down again. So what have you come up with?”

Blaise sighed “Not a lot to be honest.”

“We had an idea but we need reinforcements. We can’t protect the whole population of Whitecastle from the effects of Asgreen’s curse. There are over thirteen hundred of them and it’s completely random so for the moment there’s no way you or I can go and help the boys.”

Hugo nodded “That’s always been the problem Mordi. The reason we stayed away was the threat not just to Blaise but to a lot of innocent people. Maybe we should have called his bluff.”

“That’s the trouble Hugo, he isn’t bluffing. He is quite prepared to see people die to get his own way. I’ve had a bit of an idea about the reinforcements. I’ll go tomorrow. Blaise has promised not to rush off to Whitecastle before I get back.” He smiled at Blaise who nodded “So now we’re going to stop worrying at the problem and have supper. Then we’re all having an early night because tomorrow is going to be busy.”


Mordi rose an hour before dawn, about the same time as Arric was returning to bed after his night’s activities. Sir Hugo woke as Mordi was getting dressed and despite Mordi telling him there was no need for him to disturb himself he pulled on his dressing gown and went down to make breakfast. Mordi finished dressing and regarded himself in the mirror.

“See you can do normal when you have to.” He said with a smile for the man in the white shirt, black breeches and burgundy waistcoat. He stepped into the plain black silver buckled shoes and picked up his robe which had returned to being the same colour as the waistcoat with black collar and cuffs. The only remnant of his current self was his bright green hair but it was tied back into a neat ponytail. He studied his reflection a moment longer and then the green hair became an unremarkable mid brown.

Hugo had eggs and ham on the go and gestured to Mordi to sit down “Almost done. Tea’s made.” He grinned “Long time since you looked like that.”

“Well it’s a long time since I’ve seen Wym. Thought I’d best be recognisable; he has a short fuse for uninvited guests. I don’t want to be crisped by mistake.”

Hugo chuckled “Surely they can’t still get bothered by idiot knights after all these years?”

Mordi grinned “Probably not but Wym’s anti social at the best of times. I just hope he’ll agree to help because if he doesn’t I’m completely out of ideas that don’t involve a lot of people dying.”

Dawn was still a few minutes off but he’d a long journey ahead so as soon as he’d eaten Mordi departed. Hugo handed him a packet of sandwiches and a water bottle. He kissed him and murmured

“Good luck and I’ll keep Blaise busy.”

Mordi returned the kiss. “I know you will. Here’s hoping.” With that he jumped on to the carpet and lifted into the air, not sitting but surfing. Hugo shook his head but as he watched Mordi sat down and with a wave shot away northwards.

Mordi flew over the vast expanse of the forest of Borland. He and Hugo lived on its south eastern fringes where a sliver of the Principality of Lannedern interposed itself between Alcheron and the Duchy of Borland. He crossed the Gorge of Kemorn in the north of the Duchy and then the Bay of Trespassers where the mighty river Troul flowed into the sea. The sun was high in the sky when he reached the north shore of the bay and the lake country. He could see the towering peaks of the Maelgwyn mountains on the horizon now and he headed directly towards them. He descended into a magnificent upland valley of alpine meadows and rushing streams beneath snow capped peaks. A fairy tale castle of spires and turrets and crenellations was perched on a crag and a track led steeply up to it from the meadow below. He landed in the gravelled courtyard in front of the imposing entrance. The massive oak doors were firmly shut and there was no sign of life.

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