Kingdoms

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Summary

Kings, Queens, Knights, Castles, this story has it all! Follow several royals and commoners through their complicated lives, involving romances, magic, and tensions between Kingdoms!

Genre:
Fantasy / Adventure
Author:
Alena
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
7
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
18+

Prologue - Tibar

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, a world in which the lands are divided into many kingdoms. A world in which everything is possible; Magic, monsters, adventure...you name it.
Like any other world, there is unrest between and within the kingdoms. We follow the trouble of multiple kingdoms, starting with the Tibar Kingdom. A small kingdom stuck between three troubled kingdoms to the north, east and west and a vast desert to the south. Their rulers, King Lucas and Queen Alice. They were modest rulers, with good relations and hardworking, loving people. They flew a purple banner, their family crest guarded by three rabbits. There was all kinds of symbolism behind it, but that’s not important now. Despite sharing a border with the desert, they had a strong agriculture. Through clever infrastructure and irrigation, they turned large parts of the barren sands into fertile soil, and traded their goods with the desert dwellers of the south.
King Lucas was the thirty-second king of Tibar, but so far not yet the most memorable. He waged no wars, he didn’t go on extravagant excursions or quests, and he didn’t rule over his people with iron hand. If anything, he could be known for his kindness and understanding. However, it was the Queen that stole the spotlight instead. King Lucas was mostly known, for wedding one of the most beautiful women in the world. Her hair and eyes were as if they were made of the purest silver, her complexion so pale she could reflect even moonlight. It was a rare sight for a kingdom with three summer seasons and one rainy season, but she really was native to the kingdom. However, the Queen had a rare genetic disorder, and her body couldn’t create pigments to colour her hair, eyes or skin. But genetics is a complicated subject, especially in this world, so the more common story was that she was blessed by the moon goddess. What else could possibly explain her silver hair. Besides, the two princes of Tibar looked more like their father, even if they were only less than half his age. Brown hair and eyes, if anything, a little plain compared to the Queen.
Their oldest son, the crown prince, Prince Luke, named after his father, was twenty-one years old. And his younger brother, Prince Lyall, would be turning seventeen in a few months, making him four years younger. Prince Lyall was a carefree young man, living under the pretense that he wouldn’t have the same burdens as his older brother...until today. The King summoned him out of the blue. Of course, he spoke to his parents more often, but a summons meant official business, so he donned his best outfit, proudly wearing their signature purple colour, and headed to the throne room. The King and Queen were all dressed up as well, surrounded by their advisors, all ready with quills to take notes. The young prince remembered all his etiquette lessons, walking towards the monarchs, bowing politely, and stating his business.
“You summoned me, father?” he said. King Lucas nodded, wearing a similar purple jacket, Queen Alice beside him, smiling encouragingly, looking radiant in her golden coloured dress.
“We’ve received word of our ally, King Cedric of the Seaside Kingdom,” King Lucas said.
“Er...what for?” the young prince asked, a little confused as to why he would be summoned regarding relations with their allies.
“You remember his daughter?” King Lucas asked.
“Oh! Fal—I mean—Princess Faline, yes, I remember,” Lyall said.
“She is an only child, meaning King Cedric has no male heir,” King Lucas slowly continued, “and to promote the good relation between our kingdoms, and considering you’re of the same age...”
“You’ve arranged for a marriage, haven’t you?” Lyall finished.
“It was the logical step to take,” the King said, “your brother already has his future laid out for him here, and with you marrying the princess, our line will be secured for not one, but two kingdoms. King Cedric is a powerful ally, so his lands—not to mention the harbour—will be a powerful addition.”
“I-I understand,” Lyall said. He knew the princess well, as she was a close friend of his, but a marriage...
“I know you will make us proud,” King Lucas said, “but before you wed, you must complete an education fit for a king. You will attend the Royal Academy in the Seaside Kingdom. King Cedric has reserved chambers for you at his palace, and during your stay there you are expected to court the princess.”
“When do I leave?” Lyall asked.
“After the harvest festival,” the King said, “meanwhile King Cedric was kind enough to lend us some of his knights to escort you on your journey. I’ve requested one close your age to...break the ice a little.”
“Thank you, father. That’s very considerate,” Lyall said, resisting the urge to show his disappointment. Great, so he was to attend some stuffy school, flirt with his closest friend, and he had to travel together with some stuck up sir wearing a tin suit.
“If their travels are fortunate, they should arrive some time today. Perhaps you could welcome them to break the ice?” King Lucas suggested. It seemed he had found his favourite phrase of the day, or perhaps he just craved some ice on this warm day.
“Of course, father,” Lyall said, “I’ll be looking forward to their arrival.”
“Very good. It’s decided then,” the King said, “you’re dismissed until the knights from the Seaside Kingdom arrive.”
Lyall bowed again, kissed his mother’s hand, who then broke the rules a little to give him a hug, before he was allowed to return to his chambers, where the first thing he did was kicking a bucket. “Fuck!” he growled, wanting to rip his formal jacket off, when he could hear the trumpets, announcing an important guest. He sighed exasperatedly and stepped out on his balcony, which had a lovely view of their castle’s courtyard. The large gate separating them from the common folk was opened for a group of knights, donned in shiny armour and carrying a red banner with a white crest, adorned with golden fish. That was the crest of house Leblanc. King Cedric’s crest. It seemed their knights had had a very fortunate journey if they were arriving already. Sure enough, there was the castle’s errand boy knocking on Prince Lyall’s door to pass on his father’s request to return to the throne room to receive their guests. He straightened his outfit and started heading back. He took his place by his father’s side, though he had to leave open a space for his brother, even though he would surely not be attending, considering he was traveling around the world pretty much. HIs mother sent her maid over to tidy his hair a bit, before she hurriedly took her place at the Queen’s side while the doors opened as the knights walked in. Lyall just quietly listened as their names were announced, leaving the talking to his father. He eyed the knights, wondering if they would all escort him on his journey, or just one of them. Two looked fairly young. Father did say King Cedric promised to send someone close to his age, right?
“Your highness!”
The soft hiss from the errand boy snapped Lyall out of his thoughts, and he found his parents and the visiting knights all staring at him.
“Were you listening, Lyall?” King Lucas asked.
“Ah...I’m afraid my mind was wandering,” Lyall admitted, “I apologise.”
“I was introducing you to Sir Achilles,” the King said, gesturing to the most nervous-looking young knight. His dark brown hair stuck to his head a little, somewhat drenched with sweat. His arm clutched feverishly around his helmet, as his dark green eyes tried to look anywhere but too straight at the prince.
“He will be escorting you on your travels after the festival,” King Lucas added.
“Of course.” Lyall said, “Pleasure to make your acquaintance.” He stepped forward, holding out his hand. The young knight seemed a little hesitant, until one of his companions whispered to him what to do. He stepped towards the young prince, taking his hand in his right hand and bowed respectfully.
“At your service, your highness,” he said. It was evident he was fairly new at the job. Especially since he didn’t move, as he hand no idea when he was supposed to step back. Lyall felt sorry for him, and decided to help him out, by making conversation.
“So. What are your plans to make my journey a safe one?” he asked, before adding in a whisper, “you may rise, by the way.”
“Ah!” the young knight said, standing up straight and slowly letting go of the prince’s hand, “we shall travel incognito, with two scouts—Sir Frances and Sir Dilan—riding ahead to make sure our road is safe. We will keep in contact with them via carrier pigeon.”
“I see...and should our journey turn perilous after all? Will you be able to defend me?”
“Lyall!” King Lucas said, “such a question is an insult to King Cedric’s royal guard!”
“Come now, it is a very valid question, dearest,” Queen Alice pointed out, before turning to the knights, “I propose a duel. Your best knights against ours, as a showcase of your strength and ability to protect our son. After all, it is tradition to open the annual harvest festival with a duel.”
King Lucas discreetly gripped the armrest of his chair, a little nervous for the knights’ reaction. However, they seemed excited and gladly accepted. “It would be an honour to us, Your Majesties,” one of them said.
“Does this settle you, Lyall?” the Queen asked.
“I’ll await the duel before offering any comments,” Lyall replied coolly.
“Until then, I propose you spend some time with your personal escort,” King Lucas said, “it will make your journey more pleasant.”
“Very well,” Lyall said, “in that case, might I invite you to accompany me after we’re done here?”
“Er...a-as you wish, your highness,” the young knight said, before taking his place back with the others as the King started a small speech about wanting them to feel at home, though, not all of them would stay, leaving only Achilles, Frances and Dilan for the duel and the journey. Then the King dismissed them so they could rest, to which Lyall gestured for the young knight to follow him. He stayed quiet as they moved through the corridors of the castle, trying to get a better impression of the young knight. It seemed they had drilled him on the rules and etiquettes specific to their court, as he could tell the young knight was counting his steps to make sure he stayed at least three steps behind him, but no more than five, until Lyall spoke up.
“You may walk beside me so we can converse properly,” he said.
“A-are you sure?”
Lyall stopped and turned to look at the young knight, who quickly bowed.
“I apologise for questioning your order, your highness!” he said.
“It’s alright,” Lyall said, “you’re...fairly new at this, aren’t you?”
“...it shows, doesn’t it?” the knight admitted.
“Well, I was promised someone close to my age, and you seem to hesitate before every move or answer,” Lyall explained, “it isn’t hard to put two and two together...in this context at least.”
“Ah...w-well, you’re right, your highness, I was knighted especially for this quest, however I promise you I’m up to the task! I wouldn’t want to disappoint my King, o-or you!”
“...why would King Cedric choose you rather than someone with a little more experience?” Lyall asked.
“Er...I understand the princess made the choice, actually,” Achilles admitted, “she thought I would be a better match personality-wise?”
“Is that so?” Lyall asked, “how very considerate of her.”
“She truly is kind— Ah, if I may speak so freely, of course!”
“It is alright,” Lyall said, continuing his way, needing to give a little glance to remind Achilles that he had asked him to walk beside him. “If we are to travel incognito I presume it will be best to get accustomed to address each other more casually,” he continued, “if we want to give off the impression that we are not a prince and his knight, that is.”
“Excellent idea, your highness,” Achilles said, immensely relieved that he wouldn’t have to suggest this to the foreign prince now.
“Which means that we will drop all proper titles. To practice I want you to refer to me as Lyall in private and I will simply drop the ‘sir’ in your case,” Lyall continued.
“As you wish, your highness.”
“As well as the endless agreeing with all I say.”
“Of course— I-I mean...”
“And to loosen up a little...” Lyall smirked as Achilles panicked slightly, but seeing the prince’s grin he relaxed significantly.
“Er...so when are we ‘in private’?” he asked, glancing at the guards they passed in each corridor.
“Within the castle walls, outside of formal events such as receiving guests,” Lyall explained, “a general rule of thumb I use personally is formalities are for the throne room and meals. Everything besides that is free range.”
“But...the guards...?”
“They can be considered furniture,” Lyall said, “they are here to stand guard, not to eavesdrop. Ah, these are my chambers.”
He stopped at a set of large double doors, which were opened by the guards. Both bowing politely at the prince and his guest as they entered the room, after which the doors were gently closed as to not disturb them.
“Now we are truly alone,” Lyall declared, slouching a bit before finally taking off the restricting jacket. Achilles looked around a bit in awe. He had seen plenty of impressive rooms in King Cedric’s palace, but he had never been inside the bedchambers of royalty before. It was richly decorated with their official colour; the drapes, the canopy of the massive four-poster bed, the sheets, the carpets, even the prince’s morning robe that hung loosely over the chair by his desk, which was quite untidy. Achilles smiled a bit to himself. It seemed the prince was not as princely in private...
“What’s the kingdom like?” Lyall suddenly asked. Achilles snapped awake and turned to face him, only to find the prince was now shirtless. His body was so small and frail-looking, his skin so fair...
“Achilles?”
Achilles jumped a bit as Lyall called out his name.
“I-I’m sorry, what?” he replied.
“You’re looking a bit feverish, perhaps you should rest first?” Lyall said.
“W-what? N-no, I just er...it’s a bit hot in here. Quite warm for the time of the year, y-yeah that’s it,” Achilles said.
“It’s really not, but I recall the Seaside Kingdom has a cooler climate, I should consider that when packing my things,” Lyall said, moving past the young knight to put on his morning robe, allowing Achilles to concentrate again.
“R-right...oh you were asking about the country? Ah, weren’t you close friends with the princess? Haven’t you been there before?”
“Yes, but never outside the palace walls besides the harbour and the carriage ride into the main city,” Lyall said, sitting down in his desk chair, “the harbour being the most recent part I’ve seen, when my brother left for the other continent across the sea to maintain diplomatic relations. Father hopes to form a strong allience with the Heart Kingdom when my brother takes the throne.”
“Your father is a great king,” Achilles commented, “King Cedric speaks highly of him.”
“But of course,” Lyall said, “his kingdom’s future rests on my marriage to the princess.”
“Right...are you excited to be wed? If I may be so bold,” Achilles asked.
“Father could have made a more unfortunate match,” Lyall said, “though I was under the impression that marriage would not be any part of my duties for a long time. Now all of a sudden I am to receive the same education as my brother so I will be a fit king for a kingdom I know nothing about!”
“You seem anxious your— L-Lyall...”
“It will pass,” Lyall said, wringing his hands a bit, “distract me, tell me of your kingdom, and don’t try to sell it to me, I want the harsh truth.”
“The harsh truth?” Achilles repeated, “er...that would be that there isn’t that much bac to tell about our kingdom. I’ve lived a happy life there with my family, though my brother and I lost our birth parents in an unfortunate accident, we soon found the love of our adoptive parents, who supported us in any way. I...was supposed to be a mage, like my brother, but when I expressed I wanted to be a knight, they did everything they could to make my dream come true.”
“That’s lovely...I’m sorry about your birth parents, but I’m happy to hear you found good adoptive parents,” Lyall said, “so...your kingdom is one of opportunities, or were you just incredibly fortunate in your fate?”
“I like to think it’s the former,” Achilles said, “for example...I actually met your brother. He was in my father’s class at the Royal Academy. He too preferred to be addressed casually outside of formal settings. In fact, when my parents had him over for dinner, I had no idea we were in the company of royalty until my father revealed so afterwards. My brother and I were quite taken aback.”
“...is your father a nobleman?” Lyall asked.
“He bears no title, if that’s what you mean,” Achilles said.
“How on earth did a commoner manage to attend a Royal Academy?” Lyall asked.
“Kingdom of opportunity,” Achilles said, smiling, “he explained he was accepted for his exemplary grades. Now he tutors there.”
“And your mother?”
“I have none,” Achilles said, “not anymore at least.”
“...but you mentioned having adoptive parents, plural,” Lyall said.
“...is it not common for men to be wed and adopt children in your kingdom?” Achilles asked.
“I...I wouldn’t know,” Lyall admitted, “my education doesn’t exactly extend to marriage laws.”
“I see...well, it was only recently legalized in our kingdom, and the practice is somewhat uncommon so the King was unaware it was illegal until it was pointed out, to which he changed it as soon as possible.”
“Truly a kind gesture,” Lyall commented, “I hope I can live up to his image.”
“Don’t you worry about that just yet. From what I’ve heard he’s by far not ready to abdicate yet,” Achilles assured him.
“Ugh...then why such a hurry for my education and marriage?” Lyall sighed.
“Because one never knows what the future holds,” Achilles said, “both Kings are eager to be prepared for the worst case scenario.”
“I know,” Lyall sighed, still looking quite down. Achilles looked around a bit, hoping to find something that might cheer the prince up.
“Um...might there be some other way I can help distract you?” he asked.
“...do you like games?” Lyall asked.
“...g-games?”
“Like a duel, but through other means than weaponry,” Lyall explained.
“Like chess?” Achilles asked.
“Perhaps, but outdoors and a little more active. Can you move properly in that getup, or do you wish to change into something more comfortable?” Lyall said.
“Ah...I’m afraid this will have to do,” Achilles said, “anything more comfortable than this are my night garments.”
“You could lend some from me if those shoulders are secretly just a piece of armour,” Lyall said, “I have quite the slim built.”
“Don’t worry, I’m fine with my current garments,” Achilles quickly assured.
“Very well then!” Lyall said, throwing his robe at Achilles as he pulled out a loose-fitting shirt for himself, and thankfully diving behind a screen to get changed properly. Achilles gingerly placed the robe back on the chair and waited patiently for Lyall to finish changing before following him to the playing field.

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