Chapter 1: the beginning
Fire that my first memory of my home. Fire and the smell of blood, the screams of those who are dying, and those of loss. This is a time of darkness. The time of the Dark Warlock, not many were willing to stand up to him. I tried once when I was young, but I was too weak. And I am still willing to take the fight to him because he can’t rule this world much longer. He is killing anyone who could become a threat to him, almost everyone in the lands. There are still kingdoms around to stand against him, but I don’t think there will be much longer. I was taken in by the Queen of Moonhaven, one of the few kingdoms willing to stand against him. She took me in when I had nothing left, and I was all alone. Now she is giving me a chance to take the Dark Warlock down and free everyone. I’ve spent my whole life from the age of five training and enhancing my magic and fighting skills. Now that I am 19 years old, I have to be reliable. If I’m not, how can these people depend on me If I’m not strong? Because the queen wants me to lead them one day, which is why they rely on me. But it is a tough road for them to completely believe in me, but I don’t care. I will protect them all.
Today I’m out on a scouting mission to find more information on the Dark warlock and his armies. I’m out in my scouting clothes, a dark green knee high dress and dark pants underneath that cover my legs, a scarf wrapped around my neck, gloves on my hands, and a cloak with a hood. I’m walking through the woods with my horse Midnight. That’s when I hear someone scream for help, so I run towards the sound, leaving Midnight behind in the woods. I am not afraid that she will leave me behind and come when I call for her. When I reach the sound, there is fire. That is all I can see a town engulfed in flames, and the smell of blood is everywhere. That is all I can smell, it burns my nose, so I take my scarf wrapped around my neck and cover my nose. It helps some. Still, the stench is horrific. There are a lot of deaths here; I can smell it. I touch my neckless saying, “Moonlight, come to me.” My staff comes to me its silver with a perfect crescent moon on top of it, and it glows lightly with my magic.
I make my way down to the village, quickly hearing the scream yet again. When I get there, as I walk, taking in the horrific sight before me. The village people are dead or dying everywhere. None of which I can help, and it kills me on the inside because there is nothing I can do for them. I noticed that the enemy is fleeing, then I finally see where the scream came from. It’s a girl about the age of 18. She’s crying over a dead body. I kneel down next to her, staff in hand. The first thing I notice is she is a demon. I rest my hand on her shoulder and say with care and concern in my voice, “They’re gone I’m sorry, but we have to leave now before the clean-up comes with the Dark Warlock for him to claim this land.” She just cries louder I start to pull her up off the ground. I whistle, calling my horse Midnight. And she comes trotting up to us. Once Midnight has stopped, I help the girl up on my horse and climb up behind her as she just weeps for those she knew and loved. I take the cloak draped around my shoulders and pull the hood up over my head as I kick Midnight to go. We travel through the woods with the flames and the dead all behind us, and all I can think is the Dark warlock is coming closer to home to Moonhaven. We travel through the night on Midnight’s back. It’s a long quiet ride after the demon girl cries herself to sleep. The whole ride, I keep thinking of ways to improve my armies and who all could help me to lead them.
We don’t reach the gates until dawn, and a guard’s voice cries out, “State your business here!” I take my hood off and say, “I’m your princess, Lutillia Fletea Respiria. Now let me in, you fool.” He does as I say quickly, and the gate begins to creak with them opening it, and Midnight walks in through the gate with the girl and me on her back. Once we make it through, the gate slams shut with a loud thud, this wakes the girl up, and once I hear the sound, I dismount Midnight. I look to one of my soldiers and say, “Summon Silvia and Richards. I need their help with our new guest.” I take the reins with the girl still on Midnight and lead them to the stables.
Once I get there, Silvia and Richards are both there waiting for me. I speak to them with certainty “make sure she gets anything she needs food, water, a change of clothes. If she wants a place to mourn for the destroyed village, make a place for it in the garden of souls where we put a place for every village and take her there. I want her to have time to mourn appropriately. Then when she is done, I would like to speak with her. Now I must head off to see my mother and tell my findings. Please take good care of her” they both nod their head before I then walk off to the throne room where my mother, the queen, is at. Reporting to her what my scouting mission has been discovered is my top priority and could help us change the tides of war. The halls are winding as I make my way to the throne room, and once I am face to face with the throne room, I look to the guards at the door, and they open the large wooden doors, and I walk-in still in my scouting clothes.
I make my way into the room until I’m face to face with my mother. I kneel in front of her to speak, “My Queen The Dark Warlock is moving in closer to our lands. He has ordered the sunset village destroyed, and there was sadly only one survivor, for I was late to arrive, and the village was engulfed in flames. I plan to give the survivor time to mourn before questioning her if that is all right with you, mother.” My mother, the queen, ponders for a moment then speaks without flaw. “I agree with you, my child, for this survivor could become a powerful ally to us to take down our enemy. Now I have another situation I need to discuss with you.” She gets up and continues, “Come with me, child.” We leave through the secret exit for the royal family only then she continues as we walk through the secret halls, “Luna, look my child, you need to stop going out every time you want to scout something the Dark Warlock is doing. You are my heir, which means you need to pick your retainers to follow you and help you lead. These are trying times we are in, which just makes this that much more critical that when your time comes, you can take my place and become Moonhaven’s queen.” I nod my head and speak to her. “I have been working on it. I just need to be sure of my decision if I just make one because I have to. I know it will be the wrong one. That is why I have made specific steps to find the perfect group to protect this kingdom. I just need a little more time.” She smiles, saying, “ I knew I had nothing to worry about. You are going to make an incredible leader.” We then part ways I make my way to the archery range.
I sit in the shade, watching the archers. There is one that has had my eye for a while. This person isn’t the best nor the most accurate, but there is something about her that she never gives up, and it intrigues me. She never stops trying, which is one of the characteristics I’m looking for in my retainers. To I walk down, take a stance, and summon a bow and quiver. I take a few shots watching the archer’s reaction, but she pays no mind. So once I feel I have seen enough, I leave towards the sword combat fields. Once I make it there, I have a seat in the shade again. I watch them every strike, swing, and movement. The one I have been watching here isn’t the worst but isn’t the best, but his conviction never changes. He wants to save lives. That much is obvious, and he would give his life to do so. I then walk down to the combat fields and grab a wooden practice sword, then face the soldier I’ve had my eye on thought sword combat isn’t my strong point, I still need to see what he can do first hand.
I take a stance, swinging my sword with one hand to test it out, then use it to challenge the soldier I’ve had my eye on. He looks to his instructor, who just nods, so the soldier charges at me. I can tell he is calculating his moves as he moves and strikes. I deflect it with my sword, then I moved to strike, and he just manages to dodge. This goes on for a bit until I feel I have seen enough. I stop, then I smile at him, saying, “I’ve seen enough. What is your name, soldier!” he looks worried, saying, “I am sorry to have disappointed you, my princess, but please give me another chance” I laugh, saying, “quite the opposite I would like you to be the first of my retainers” the soldier is in shock as he speaks “there are better soldiers than I, my princess so why me ?” I smile, saying, “The team I’m building is never going to waiver from the job at hand.”I start to think. That is why it’s taking me so long to choose my retainers. I won’t lose to the Dark Warlock more than I must. I then say, “come with me. We have much to discuss.”I walk-off towards the castle, and he follows. I then seak again, “what is your name, soldier?” he then says, “Jack Devarin, my princess.” I continue towards my study with jack in tow. I sit in my chair, looking at him, saying, “look, I know that you have much improvement yet to be made, but I can see that you are kind, loyal, and honorable. I can also see conviction the kind that many can miss, so who is it you are wanting to get revenge on or for or wanting to protect?” he starts to give me a sheepish look. He says, “the Dark Warlock he destroyed all that my family had. I’m worried that he will come again and take more than our home and livelihood” I look to him and say, “then join me. We can end this war together with the others that I will soon choose as my retainer. You will have access to more resources than that of a soldier because you will be my knight and commander of my armies from now on. However, I will give these rolls to you slowly because I know that it is a big jump from your current position.” He nods, then bows down to a single knee and says, “milady, I will be your sword and shield if you tell me to move a mountain I will find a way just tell me how you wish to use me. I will gladly serve you.” I smile, saying, “very well, I’ll hold you to that, and I want you to become the best knight you can, so I will get you started on some private classes with combat tutors.” He then bows, saying, “I will leave then to begin milady.” He leaves, and I start writing papers to make his promotion official. Once I finish, I walk over to the window and see the demon girl outside beating up a bush. I watch her movements, and she has some speed to her. I leave my study and make my way outside where the girl is, and I watch her from a distance. Even from this distance, I can see the conviction in her eyes unwavering conviction. I walk over to her and speak carefully to her, “what is your name?” she then says, “Ravensha Sencara.” I smile, saying, “try going to the combat fields and training fields. The instructors there might be able to help you with not destroying the castle bushes.” She then nods, and I leave. To end my day and start a new one.
The next day I go to the balcony before the sunrises to look out to the kingdom that I grew up in, the place that I hope to protect from the Dark Warlock and from myself. I can feel a pull to evil every day I fight this battle within me, but that is something I keep from everyone because I will beat this. I have to keep everyone safe. My magic is tainted with darkness. It has been this way since I tried to fight the Dark Warlock by myself when I was just a child. I start to see the sunrise, and I lose my train of thought. The colors in the sky are amazing that of reds, golds, and purples. Then I hear jack’s voice. My new knight says, “you are up early, milady. Did you have trouble sleeping?”
I smile, looking out at the kingdom, saying, “no, I just always get up early enough to watch the sunrise over the kingdom. It’s how I get ready for my daily tasks. I find that it is a lovely way to start the day.” I then turn to him, saying, “ well, let up go get breakfast,” he then says, “milady, I am not worthy of eating with you and the queen.” I then say, “nonsense, you are a royal guard now and the captain of my armies. You are required to eat with the queen and I now, and that’s an order.” I smile, knowing he will follow my order, and I make my way to the dining hall where my mother has a plate being brought to her. I then go to the counter and start piling food on my plate, but just what I need, and jack takes a minimal amount, then I walk over next to my mother, and jack stands and tries to eat at the same time. My mother looks to me and says, “ who might this be, my dear child?” I look to her then say, “ this is my first retainer. He may not look like much, but he has a conviction that proves his loyalty. With that, after some proper and excellent training from the best swordsmen in the kingdom, he will be the most powerful ally we could ask for.” Then my mother looks to him and says, “ Child, you are a retainer now you are to sit near your princess for she is the one who is taking the time and effort to make you her knight and captain of her armies now come sit.” He does right next to me. Then my mother starts to go over the list of studies she would like to go over with me.
When my mother finishes her list, and I finish my breakfast, I leave with jack in tow to my study. As we walk through the winding halls, Richards passes me by and says, “princess, why are you still in your scouting clothes?” I hadn’t even noticed. I bet I smell like I haven’t bathed in years, considering all the mud and muck that I went through to not get seen by enemies or just regular villagers just in case they were to be questioned by the enemy. I don’t want them to have to lie for me. I look to him and say, “Richards have a bath and a fresh change of clothes ready for me. Also, get Silvia. I think I will wash my hair, as well.” Richards nods and says, “ I will come to get you when it is ready, princess.” When the conversation is over, we arrive at my studies door. Jack opens the door for me and lets me go in first. I make my way to my desk and sit down; grabbing a quill and paper, I write down a mission for my knight. I look to him and say, “ first, finish your training, then give this note to your trainer, and he will help you complete this task I have for you, then come find me and report your findings.” He gives a quick bow then leaves to go train. After a while, Richards comes in, and I am finishing reviewing some reports from when I was gone. Richards says, “princess, your bath is ready.” I get up and walk with him to my chambers and to my bath area.
Once we get there, I start to undress, and Richards leaves to prepare my lunch. Before I get into the bath, Silvia checks the water to make sure it isn’t too hot, even though I wouldn’t care. As I sit in the tub, Silvia washes my hair with much care. In contrast, I wash my body all the dirt, grime, and soot from being out in the elements and assisting with buring villages for 14 days and nights. By the time we finished getting me clean, the water was almost black. It was gross. But I guess that Is what happens when you don’t have time to get clean. I step out of the water, and Silvia pulls a large bucket of clean water out of nowhere and pours it over the top of my head to rinse the dirty water off. Then I towel dry as Silvia drys my hair and puts it into a braid over my shoulder. She then gets me into a lavender dress with white flowers covering the bottom and the left side. I stand in front of the mirror as Silvia finishes lacing up the back. It’s the first time in a long time I actually looked at myself in the mirror. My hair was blonde with white streaks in it. I used magic to change it once, then I close my eyes, and when I open them, the white starts to turn a dark purple. And Silvia just smiles at me when she is done.
We enter my chambers, and Richards is there with a meat and cheese plate and some tea. Once I sit down, there is a knock on my door. Richards opens it; Jack, my new knight, is standing there. I smile as he comes in, and I put a piece of cheese in my mouth. After chewing carefully and swallowing, I speak, “is it done already? I would have thought it would take longer.” I look him directly in the eyes and continue, “I was expecting it to take at least until tomorrow morning” he looks confused, handing me his report saying, “have I done something wrong?” I read over his report while eating my lunch. When I finish reading it, I stop eating and smile, saying, “ no, you have impressed me, my knight, you have exceeded my expectations and even did extra work I can see. Now I know for sure that when you’re fully trained, you will be the best leader that the soldiers could ask for.” I then hear running in the hallway. Then my door slams open, and jack draws his sword its one of my scouts. He’s badly injured. I look to him saying “report!” he says weakly “ t..the vill…age u..under…a..attack.” then he falls from exhaustion and pain. I look to Jack. He runs to get his armor on I start running saying “moonlight come forth” my outfit changes to an armored dress that is midnight purple that stops midthigh then my shoes change from heels so knee-high high heeled boots then as I make it to the outside jack is there with the horses. My staff appears in my hand. I jump up to mount my horse. I take the reins and take off the other will follow. I think to myself, there is no time to waste. Jack catches up, saying, “what is the plan, milady?” I say, “tell the soldiers to protect the town and its people and not to back down no matter what, then join me to find the source of the madness.” He nods and stops at the edge of the town to give the order. I continue but slow Midnight down and quickly realizes that I would make it through faster on foot.
I weave my way through the panic of the villagers to the center of it all. It’s a large man holding an even larger ax swinging it around, then slamming it, causing much panic. I stand there, staff in hand, saying a quick spell. “Strength of my enemy decrease” he then drops his ax on the ground. He then sees me standing there and charges me with his fists, but before he can land a punch, Jack is there and knocks him to the side. I’m focusing on my spell, keeping him weak. He gets injured, but I am using a lot of magic on this spell to sustain it. There is someone else trying to counter my spell, but I don’t see anyone else. During my distraction, I see that jack has the ax-wielding man running in pain. I then stop using my magic; I feel slightly weak from using so much magic, but I had to neither jack nor beat him right now I need to enlist the other and now. I look to jack, tired, saying, “call them to my study” he knows who I am talking about because I sent him to investigate them further. I wanted to add them to each one by one, but I don’t have time. The Dark Warlock I closer, and he is ready for a fight, and we need to give it to him.
We walk in, and I go over to my desk to sit still in my armor, a dress that goes to my knees, which is the color of midnight purple, and knee-high high heeled boots. I sit there and grab some papers. The two that I called for come in and say, “princess, have we done something wrong, or are we not strong enough.” I smile and shake my head, speaking with exhaustion in my voice, “ no, in fact, you three have impressed me, and the three of you will now be working for me as my retainers. So with that being said, I need the three of you to work harder on your training because you will be helping me lead the front lines when it comes time to go up against the enemy himself.” Two of them start to object to me. Before I can say anything, Jack speaks up, “The princess is giving us an opportunity to see this through to the end, so we must do so for this kingdom because this place is all that is standing between the Dark Warlock and his victory. We can’t let her down. She must have chosen us for a reason” this makes them change their minds. The first to speak, though, is the archer, and she says, “The elves snuck me away to give them aide before the Dark Warlock could reach them. I’m Flahera Ivaria, and I’m with you until the end.” She bows before me. Then Ravensha speaks. “I’m Ravensha, and I’m with you until the very end.” She bows as well, then so does Jack.
A year later, we work perfectly together. We’re in sync and balanced. We can take on any threat that comes our way. During our trust-building, my mother allowed us to go on some rescue missions to get field experience together because that’s the only way we can improve. Today we are on our first solo mission together. We are reclaiming one of the captive villages from the Dark Warlock. The village we are saving is Sillia. It’s a coastal village of mermaids and fairies. It’s an access point to get supplies to and from our lands regaining, this would be one step in the right direction for victory. I look to my retainers and say, “Everyone ready, it’s just us we need to perform one of our miracles that we have done so many times in just this past year. Let’s go” Flaherea stays behind to get a good archery point as the rest of us sneak down into the village, pulling our cloaks above our heads. We walk through the village, trying to find the Dark Warlock’s general controlling this area. Then we find the general captain Gregory Millstream. I take a step towards him. All we have to do is run him out of here with his tail between his legs, then the battle will be won.
I remove my cloak to provide a distraction, then say, “Hello, I’m looking for the idiot with the ax that no one can use, not even him but still carries it around because he thinks it looks cool on him but just make him look stupid….” He then yells, “shut it. I’ll show you just how well I can use this ax in the battle against the most annoying brat in the Dark Warlocks kingdom” I look to him, saying, “hold it, his kingdom. I’m pretty sure that he has yet to beat the most fearsome team in all of the MOONHAVEN. My team has taken out how many of your outposts with others, of course, but we still lead the missions. Just imagine how well we will do without anyone holding us back. So until there is nothing left, and I mean nothing and no one from my team, we will continue to fight because we are just that good, and we love our home, but justice must be met! And I plan to deliver it!” Then I give the signal by firing a beam of light into the sky; with the signal glowing high into the sky, arrows start to fly from every direction though it’s just a trick then his men get to throw at his feet dead or mortally wounded, we run him out in fear, not realizing what just happened, but I know exactly what happened.
Once the enemy’s remanence is run out of the village, we help the villagers get back on their feet and send word back to the castle for one hundred soldiers to be sent to protect the village. But until they come, we will be staying until they arrive, and I am sure the village is protected. If we were to lose this village again, the morale would plummet, and we might not be able to get back on our feet. That is why I saw this through. Jack walks up to me, saying, “Milady, are you alright you seem in deep thought.” I smile, saying, “don’t worry, my friend. I’m just thinking of what we can do to prevent this place from getting retaken. I just know that if we lose this place again, then it will be the end of the war and not in a good way. I just know that we will…” Jack interrupts me, “we can’t think like that. You are strong, and I will always follow you, and I know that the others will too. We have been through so much in the past year, and we will always be at your side until the end.” The others come and repeat, “Until the end,” this has become their way of saying that they trust my judgment, whatever it may be. We stay the night as the villagers celebrate their newfound freedom. They sing and dance about well into the night as my retainers, and I take shifts through the night to protect them. When the sun rises the next day, my soldiers start to arrive. I start giving them instructions on how to protect the village and instructions for the villages to start to get food and other supplies ready for them to send to assist with the war to come. Once the job is done, we mount our horses and leave to go back to the castle, back home.
When we reach the village on the castle walls’ outskirts, the villagers greet us all happily for our victorious return home. We make our way up to the walls, the guards letting us in where the welcome party is waiting, along with my mother, the queen. Once we stop, she speaks, “this has become one of many victories we need to overcome to win the war. Each challenge I send your way, you all find a way through the challenges. Tonight there will be a feast to celebrate. Tomorrow I would like each of you to take hold of the studies that you have been assigned for when this war is over. I wish for a new leader to reign with a new beginning.” Just when we think everything is beautiful, the vegetables we have planted in the courtyard to wither and die. Why would this happen, and now of all? This must be the Dark Warlock’s handy work. This must be because we’ve become the best that my mother, the queen, could send.