“The sandstorm whipped the man’s eyes from beneath his cowl. His cloak fluttered behind him as he trudged on through the desert. His dark blue cloak stood out in the vast pale wasteland. As he climbed up a sand dune, he noticed a small settlement off in the distance. He then slowly made his way towards the town.”
The sandstorm whipped the man’s eyes from beneath his cowl. His cloak fluttered behind him as he trudged on through the desert. His dark blue cloak stood out in the vast pale wasteland. As he climbed up a sand dune, he noticed a small settlement off in the distance. He then slowly made his way towards the town. As he approached the first group of buildings, he noticed that there were large oak and cedar trees nearby. In the desert, seeing trees was a sign that you were nearing the edge of the desert. Right before he entered the town, he muttered very silently three words. As he spoke the air seemed to shimmer around him. When he was done, the air shimmered whenever he moved. He then walked in.
His first priority was to find an inn or tavern to get something to eat and drink. The man saw a large circular building near the edge of the settlement. He also noticed that there was a large flowing river not far behind the inn. It was strange to see so much water in such a dry place, but it didn’t matter to the man in the blue cloak.
When he opened the inn’s door, the thick musky smell of beer and ale wafted towards him. As he made his way inside, he looked at all the men and women seated around tables. Most were yelling or banging their tankards together, while others were just talking to each other. He made his way to the back of the bar (near the exit) so he could see the whole inn. Once he was seated, the bartender, a bald man of medium height and tan skin, came up up to him and said, “Welcome to the Dune Sea, what would ya’ like?”
“Water please,” the blue cloaked man replied. As the bartender poured water into a clay mug, the blue cloaked man stared at the entrance to the inn.
“Here ya’ go,” the bartender said as he placed the mug down in front of the blue cloaked man.
“Thanks,” the cloaked man replied as he picked up the mug and drank. The cold water was much more refreshing than the muddy water that he had been drinking for the last 2 weeks.
“The name’s Clay. What are ya’ doing in the desert?” the bartender asked.
“Nothing much, just traveling,” the blue cloaked man replied. The bartender laughed and said, “Likely story, but if you were traveling through the desert, you’d need a reason to travel.”
The cloaked man smiled and said, “Let’s just say that I needed to do a little digging and clear something up.”
Clay grinned and replied, ”I like ya’ kid, so what might your name be?”
“It’s not always wise to give your name to someone you just met,” the blue cloaked man stated. Clay laughed and walked away to help another customer. As the man sipped his mug he saw the inn’s door creak open as someone walked in. The man was tall and had long sandy hair. He carried a sword at his hip and wore light leather trousers. He wore a gold colored tunic with long sleeves that each had a slash of red on them. But his most distinguishing feature was his blood red cloak. The blue cloaked man placed his mug down along with two copper coins and walked slowly towards the back door. As he walked out the back door, the blue cloaked man smiled because even though he was almost caught, anyone who saw him today would forget that they ever talked, or saw him in the town.
Chapter 1 Mysteries and Preparation
“Come on, what do you want?” Abby asked while she threw up her hands.
“It’s just my birthday, nothing special about that!” Arya replied as she walked ahead of the group.
“But you’re the the crown princess of all Ayraleseia and you’re turning 18 in two days!” Julia replied.
“It’s not a big deal!” Arya said as she threw up her hands, exasperated. Arya Orthora was a tall slender girl, with golden blonde hair with the edges hinted with red that fell to the middle of her back in waves. She walked with such grace and beauty that people tended to watch when she moved. But she could be quick witted and determined if she needed or wanted to. Turning 18 in Ayraleseia was a big deal because now you could start your own family. But Arya didn’t see what was the point in making this huge celebration for her birthday, if she didn’t want it to happen. Her two ladies in waiting were Julia and Abby Corran. Julia had curly blonde hair slightly past her shoulders. Abby had straight fox fur red colored hair down to her shoulders. But other than that they both had the same energetic and happy personality. Their brother Andras was less energetic than his sisters and was a good scribe who was trying to get into the Society of Scholars.
“You have to want something!” Abby said.
“I want you two to stop asking about it!” Arya exclaimed. Suddenly the girls stopped talking and stood staring at something ahead of them. Arya looked up and saw her older brother. Arthur Othora was the perfect image of a prince. He had the same hair color as his sister and they were both tall, but that’s where the similarities ended. He was well-muscled from warrior training. He had a brilliant smile that made girls flock around him in minutes. He was also extremely cocky and always played the part of the perfect prince. Both Abby and Julia were madly in love with him. As he turned his head and saw his sister he broke into a grin. He rested his practice sword on his shoulder and walked over to them. As he approached, Abby and Julia batted both of their eyelashes and smiled at him as they said in unison, “Hello, Prince Arthur.”
“Hello Abby, hello Julia. You’re both looking as beautiful as ever,” Arthur said while grinning.
Both Abby and Julia clapped their hands over their mouths and started giggling. Taylor rolled her eyes at her friends’ silly behavior.
“So what does my little sister want for her birthday?” Arthur asked.
“I don’t know, why does everyone keep asking!” Ayra exclaimed.
“Everyone keeps asking because you’re turning 18!” replied her brother. Arya moaned and started walking away from her brother and her friends. “ But what do you really want Arya?” someone said from the stairs to the courtyard. Arya turned and saw her father walking down the steps towards them.
“Your Highness,” Abby and Julia said while bowing.
“Dad!” Arya exclaimed running as fast as her dress would let her. Her father laughed and picked her up swinging her around and then putting her back down. “Dad, how is everything,” Arya asked, impatient to know when he got back from a meeting at Hafcsein.
“Everything is alright, just some minor dispute that I had to deal with,” the king said. “But enough about me, what have you been doing young lady?” the king asked. King Daedulan Orthora was a good, just man who had ruled for 20 years and had not been mistrusted once. He was a loving man who cared very much for his children.
“You know, reading, running, studying with tutors, running,” Arya replied to her father.
“That’s very good, now if you’ll excuse me I need to have a chat with your brother,” the king replied.
“Ok see you tonight,” Arya said glad to see that her father was back.
“Hey Arya, Abby and I are going to go find Andras because we need to ask him some questions, so see you later.” Julia said as the headed off. Arya sighed and was going to go to her room when a hand tapped her on the shoulder. She turned around to see that lord Tyran Searsan was there smiling. “ Why hello Arya how are you doing today?” Tyran asked. Lord Tyran Searsan was a boy of average height with short black hair and sharp green eyes. His father owned a large estate near the palace and was one of the king’s most loyal advisers and was also a well-known warrior.
“Hello Tyran, I’m doing well thank you,” Arya said. Tyran flirted with many girls, but he flirted with Arya the most. Ayra thought he was nice, but he could be annoying and he treated peasants horribly. Arya thought he was a good person, she would never want to be in the same house as him.
“Well what does the gorgeous princess of Ayraleseia want for her 18th birthday?” He asked with a mischievous grin on his face.
Arya sighed and said, “I really don’t care about my stupid birthday right now because if everyone makes a big deal about it, it feels more like they just want an excuse to go to a party.”
“How about you and I go for a walk and discuss this somewhere more peaceful,” he asked.
Arya considered saying no, but then she shrugged her shoulders and said, “Why not.” Tyran smiled and held out his hand and she took it. They both walked towards the gardens so they could have somewhere peaceful to converse. In the gardens, Tyran told her how he had helped his father with the taxing of people of the estate. He also told her about how he had defeated three opponents in the arena two days ago. Arya thought this was boring, but it at least helped get her mind off things. But then he told her something that caught her off guard.
“So did you hear about the attack in the Ducardaan desert?” he asked.
She frowned. “I didn’t know this. What happened?”