"While we were at the Round Table, I was scared that King Canilus would not agree and my idea of peace would be mocked by my father." Sol said while he danced with Aurora in his arms. They waltz together, their legs moving to the rhythm of the instruments that were being played in a melodious harmony.
The ballroom was so bright and colourful, filled with people doing different things. Voices of people laughing, ladies giggling, the guards chasing kids out, people chattering away and trying to get acquainted with one other could be heard.
"Your idea of peace is absolutely excellent and I still haven't even complimented you on your speech. Half way through it, I think I fell in love with you again." She cooed and a spark appeared in Sol's eyes.
He looked down at her how beautiful she looked in her dress. The way her sliver cloured hair fell smoothly on her shoulders and complimented her purple dress.
"I wasn't the one who wrote the speech, you did. What exactly are you complimenting me for?"
"For memorizing it!"
"Now that was an Herculean task!" He lifted his eyebrows dramatically.
She buried her face in his shoulders to stop her from bursting out in laughter but he could still hear her muffled giggles and he grinned.
"I am a really lucky man." She looked up at him and he held her gaze.
"Lucky that you picked me, that you fell in love with me."
"Sol, I am a really lucky woman too. You fell in love..."
"No, this is my moment. Just hush till I am done."
Aurora smiled and pressed her lips together.
"Falling in love with you is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. I am King today because of you. Every moment of peace I have achieved is all because of you. Aurora, I am not good with speeches and I am terrible at the presentation, I just want you to know that I love you, very much."
"Sol..." She raised her hand and touched his cheek while she stared at him with glassy eyes that were filled with love.
"I love you m..."
"No, don't say that. We both know, that is my line." He hushed and when she didn't say anything, he grew impatient. "Okay, say it."
Laughter bubbled in her throat. When she recovered from her laughter, her face turned serious.
"I love you, Sol. In pain, I love you. In misery, I love you. In happiness, I love you. In peace, in agony and in death, I will always love you. In this life and after, I will forever love you."
He watched her for a while with glassy eyes, then his hand wrapped tightly around her waist pressing her to him.
"You just always manage to steal my moment.
She giggled and leaned forward, her hands on both sides of his face, she kissed him.
"Mmmh" someone cleared her throat and they broke apart.
They both called out surprised. Kalsara, the Queen Mother, had her red hair in a tight bun, a little too serious for the occasion but it looked graceful and complimented her tiara but her worried face was a flaw to the elegance.
"I really don't want to disturb this special moment but Sol, I am looking for your father." Her voice almost broke with worry while she fibbled her gown anxiously.
"Oh, mother. Don't let the thoughts of one man ruin this special night for you. What a marvellous dress! And you want to spend your time in it worrying about a man?!" Sol raised his hand in disbelief.
"Sol?" Aurora elbowed his lightly.
"Well, that man is your father and I have been looking for him the whole day." Kalsara rested her hands on her waist. She was still looking all around the room and blinking in worry.
"Well, if he is somewhere being a big baby while he locked himself up to avoid being a catastrophe at my peace treaty ball, why should I worry?"
Kalsara gasped. "Aurora, talk to him! I am going to continue looking for my husband." She snapped and walked away.
"Please be on my side." He begged when she turned to look at him.
"No, I fear we have to look for him."
She pulled him along with her and he started protesting lowly so they couldn't be heard.
"Of course! Since the trouble isn't coming anywhere near us, why not just run to it?"
"As much as I am glad that the peace treaty is going well, I am worried about Father-in-law."
Sol started grumbling, refusing to take part in their worry party. She stopped and turned to him, he looked at her expectantly.
"We have to, at least, know where he is."
Different thoughts turned in his mind and reluctantly, he agreed.
"Alright. Not until I have this one last dance."
"What? It is my common ground." His smirked at her, his eyes once again filled with the glint of fun.
"Alrightttt." She mumbled.
Before they could even return back to the dance floor, Canilus and some of his men busted into the ballroom with a bloody piece of cloth in his fist. While he searched around with his eyes for Sol, Sol saw him then came over.
"What about father-in-law?" She psst at him but he was off and she had to follow him while she grumbled.
"Finally, I was starting to think you won't make it to the ball. Come, King Canilus, my ministers will..."
Canilus didn't share Sol's excitement. He immediately drew his sword and leveled it against Sol's throat. Sol instinctively reached for his sword but he stopped and stared questionably at Canilus. Slowly people noticed and people from both sides drew their swords, ready to attack. Aurora who was still walking towards them, saw the scene and stopped abruptly. She placed her hand on her gown, slowly trying to fill where her dagger should be.
"What is the meaning of this, Canilus?! We signed a peace treaty!"
"Exactly what I wanted to ask you, Sol." He flung the tiny piece of cloth at him, white feathers fell from the cloth and dropped softly to the floor.
"We signed a peace treaty!"
Sol picked up the cloth, trying hard to read the words that were messed up with blood. He couldn't read the language but he soon realized that wasn't what he was supposed to read. The problem was the blood.
Then it clinked, there was a war!
"No, something must be wrong. I didn't do this, I didn't give any order."
"You lured me here just to attack my people and claim my Kingdom. I shouldn't have trusted you! You are your father's son!"
At that Canilus raised his sword, Aurora flung into action. She already got her dagger, she jumped between them and sent the sword flying across the room.
Immediately each side moved into attack, Sol looked around and he gritted his teeth.
"Do not attack!" Sol commanded and his men stopped. Some of Canilus men were already on the floor, weak and defeated.
"This is an accusation, I didn't do anything of such." He patted his body, looking for his specter and his face went blank with realization.
"Where is my father? Look for him! He has my Spectre! Look for him!"
Some warriors immediately left the room in search of his father.
Canilus stepped back confused.
"You didn't do this?! You can't fool me!"
Sol clenched his fists in frustration.
"If I wanted your Kingdom, I have more than enough warriors to get it, I have no use for tricks."
He turned away from Canilus and shouted to the room.
"Look for that man that calls himself my father! Look for that traitor! Nijani, get me some ink and a quill, ride with some men as fast as you can, go and stop that war at my order."
"My people..." Canilus fell to the floor. Feeling weak and powerless, he clenched his fist, sadness swimming in his eyes. Sol wanted to say something that would comfort him but he couldn't.
He looked at his wife who looked at him with questioning eyes, he looked away from her and went out of the room only to return in an armour.
"Gather the men, trusted ones. We are going for war. I think you should come too, Canilus."
Canilus hissed at him in spite but before he could say anything, someone came in.
"I met your messenger," Lucius said, his armour smeared with blood and mud. He had something on his left hand that dripped with thick blood.
"he had the guts to challenge me, so I brought you a little gift."
He threw Nijani's head on the floor and it rolled to Sol's boots, leaving blood on along its path.
For the first time in a long time, Sol felt rage tightening his throat. He felt powerless like the days he looked up at his father sitting on the Throne.
"How dare you?! He challenged your authority? You challenged mine! Who gave you the right to wage a war against Camilus. How dare you even wage a war?!"
"Oh shut up!" Lucius spat blood on floor.
"That is a King's way of acquiring Kingdoms."
"I don't want Kingdoms, I want peace!" Sol walked up to Lucius and snatched the specter from his grip.
Canilus charged at Lucius, taking advantage of the distraction. He tripped over Nijani's head, making his attempt greatly flawed. Immediately, Lucius tackled him to the ground with some of his men that came to assist their King.
"You wanted a peace treaty with this? This disappointment?!"
Sol turned away and walked some distance before he stopped and turned back to everyone.
"You have committed a great sin against Alusa..." Sol started.
Lucius watched his son and his smile fell slowly with realization.
"Y-you can't, I am your father."
"Alusa does not treat treason lightly." He squinted his eyes at Lucius.
"From on, you Lucius Fireburn, are banished from Alusa. The day you step foot into this Kingdom again, you will be killed on sight."
"You can't do this! I am your father!"
"Henceforth, you seize to be."
Lucius looked around in agitation. He sighted Aurora who was still looking at Sol in surprise and rushed to her, "well I might as well take something of yours."
Aurora heard him coming, she turned just in time to drive her danger into him but he slashed her stomach too and she staggered back, losing consiousness. Warriors rushed to them trying to restrain him but that was failing miserably, Kalsara cries for Lucius to stop fell on deaf ears.
Then Lucius felt an arrow struck his back. He reached for it and pulled it out. He turned to see who shot it.
His anger spiked. He started walking towards him but before he got close, he crashed onto the ground and lost consiousness. Kalsara screamed then, she slide to the floor and sobbed siezelessly.
"Take him away!"
Sol ran to his wife immediately. He ripped a part of her gown to bind the cut that was gushing with blood. He reached for her hand and he flinched.
She was cold, so cold. His eyes welled up with tears.
"Summon the doctor!" He shouted.
"Already on his way, Sire." Someone replied.
"Aurora, Aurora please stay with me! Aurora, my love, please don't leave me." He wept into her hair.
Kalsara sobbed quietly, her back on the cold bars of the dungeon that Lucius was bound by chains.
"He won't listen to me." She sniffled.
"He is adamant about sending you away, he will summon the dragon soon to carry you with its talons far away from here." She turned to look at him at that moment, her hands held the bars tightly.
"I will go with you! You are my husband, my Lord! In love and in force, wherever you go, I will follow."
Lucius huffed at that, "Oh, shut up! I want you here safe and who told you that I won't be coming back?"
She stopped crying, her face weaved in confusion.
"Lucius, I don't understand."
"You don't have to. All you need to know, my red flower, is that I will be coming back."
"What is this, Sol? He can't be our son. Adding another to the royal family has to be by blood or marriage, you of all people should know that!"
"He is one of the war's casuality, his parents were my warriors. Aurora...I just thought since we lost..."
"No one can replace the child that I have lost." She snapped, her hands rubbing her belly slowly. She casted her eyes to the throne room's floor, tears welling up in her eyes.
"This is my fault," Sol said quietly.
Aurora turned away, her legs hurt as she walked down the stairs.
"Aurora, let us take him. He will know is as King and Queen, nothing else." Sol watched Aurora's back with hope.
"What is his name?"
Dragon Lord looked out the window, watching the little torches. He couldn't really see them from up here but the memory of the first time he had to look at Alusa from his window kept flashing through his eyes. He could hear his grandfather's cold voice, he could even still feel his rough palm round his neck as he forced him to look.
"Look, I said look! When you doubt it all, look and remember that one of them did it! One of those people your parents used their whole life to worship killed them!"
He could still hear the way he cried, he feared that he would never forget no matter how he tried. He would never forget the terror that ran through his veins that day.
He took a deep breath while he rested on one of the pillars surrounding his bed. His eyes were dark and the candles in the room melted slowly. He had changed into a much simpler robe but he still had his sword by his side.
"Death, how can one yearn for it." He whispered to himself then heard someone requesting for permission to come in at the door. He gave the permission and soon the echoing of someone's boots could be heard.
"Time already, Goben?" He asked with a sad smile.
"Yes, Dragon Lord." Goben had his head all weaved into one long braid that stoped at his mid back. He had also changed his robes too.
"Then what are we waiting for, the food is getting cold and there matters to be discussed."
For them, dinner was never just food. They would talk about different matters and proposals that would be coming up for the great good of Alusa. Today's problem was the mines.
"The stealing in the mines has increased. I suspect that some of them are stealing the materials and selling them illegally." Goben said pushing his food around on his plate.
"And you are doing nothing about that?" DL questioned, anger brewing underneath his calm facade.
"No, Dragon Lord. I already set up a committee to investigate that." Goben defended himself.
"That is good, the mines bring us a lot of revenue. I plan to look for experts that deal in building ships." Nana continued to other topics but Clara cut her off.
"This stealing has being going on for years."
"Clara." Nana tried to caution in a hushed tone but she ignored.
"You punish them each time and they go back to it. The people at the mines are starving and they would do anything to survive. Why don't you just increase their ration?" Clara said thoughtfully.
The table became silent.
"Feeding them less will never make them be at your side, Dragon Lord. You do this to control them but where is that getting you so far? Just increase their ration, your Majesty. They are people too."
DL looked at Clara for a while. She looked down at the table, her shoulders tense while tension clouded the air.
He clapped suddenly, surprising everyone that they jumped in their skin. Clara looked up, a smile tugged at her lips but her eyes filled with uncertainty.
"Brilliant, isn't it! Such great ideas and here the crown is just sitting on my head!"
Clara's smile fell.
"You should be wearing it instead. Why not take it right now?" DL's voice became sinister.
"Your Majesty, no. Please, this is a misunderstanding." Clara pleaded immediately, her eyes begged for help but Nana and Goben looked away.
"Excort the princess to the dungeon, she is not well." DL's cold eyes held her gaze. Guards immediately grabbed her and dragged her away while she screamed and begged.
The table was so silent that when he dropped his goblet back on the table, it echoed.
"Now, Nana, tell me more about those ship experts?
DL looked across the thousands of paperwork, they never reduce since he liked looking into a lot of things personally. The stealing at the mines had still not reduced, in fact it increased from the yesterday's report. He sighed in frustration, this wasn't getting any better.
It was already in the afternoon and he had skipped breakfast still from the looks of things, he might also have to skip lunch but that won't be advisable, an empty stomach will not let him focus.
Then Clara's advise came to him, maybe he was starving the people at the mines too much, maybe he had taken it to the extreme. He thought of the numerous uprisings and couldn't help but admit that Clara had a point. He would increase their ration by a quarter and see what would come out of that.
He was planning to make arrangement for Clara to be released when Goben bursted in.
"DL, Clara fainted. She is in her room now receiving medical attention." Goben reported.
DL stood up and they both headed to her room.
"She has been sick for quite a while now but no one knew. I am just thinking, is she perhaps..." Goben paused and stared at DL suspiciously.
"Pregnant? And where will she get that from?" He asked distastefully.
They entered her room and saw her sleeping on the bed.
"What is wrong, Doctor?" DL asked.
"Nothing much, she had just been skipping her meals and her body couldn't take it anymore." He said as he stood up to leave.
"I already left the medicine and herbs to use and the food timetable she must follow strictly. For now, she must rest." He paused then continued "Dragon Lord, please permit me to speak."
"You are already talking, Rika?" DL rubbed his forehead tiredly.
"Please look after your fiancé, Sure. She is falling into depression."
"I will assign someone to do that. Is that all?" DL and he nodded.
Clara opened her eyes, blinking back tears.
"I will see you to the door, Doctor." Goben offered with a smile and they left. After some minutes, he was back again.
"Starving yourself to get attention now, Clara?" He asked, anger brewing in his eyes.
"I wasn't, I swear Dragon Lord, I wasn't. I just lost my appetite and didn't want to eat. I didn't plan this." She rambled weakly.
"That is alright. I will assign you someone you can talk to about your problems."
He turned to leave then said over his shoulder.
"About the mines, I am working on what you said. If it doesn't work out, you will have yourself to blame."
He closed the door, leaving Goben who waited behind a little to tell her a "get well soon message" before running to catch up with him.
Clara watched them leave sadly as she wondered if this was how she would live the rest of her life. If only...she stopped, banishing the thought.
It would never happen but still, if only...
While they scrolled through the garden someone ran straight to DL and grabbed his robes in her hands. DL looked down at her unmoved.
Goben was some distance behind him, still trying to catch up.
He had heard her coming and the only reason why she hadn't been stopped was his order but her rilled up state didn't allow her to observe that.
"Get your hands off my robes, you slave." He hissed lowly at her. When she refused, he pulled her hands away and she groaned in pain.
"How dare you?! How dare you tie her life with mine?! You know how much she wants to live and you tied our lives together?" Diamant ended, breathing heavily from anger.
Goben caught up with them and stood rigidly at DL's side.
"It is a punishment, you aren't supposed to "like" it. Why are you so surprised?" He lifted an eyebrow at her, pretending to be curious.
"You bastard!" She charged at him and he easily step sided her uncalculated movement. She crashed to the floor but stood up quickly. She charged at him again and he did the same thing, she staggered into the empty space. Goben who was now irritated, made a move to take her away. DL raised his hand, signalling for him to stay put.
This time when she charged at him , she hit a tree instead and her knuckles bled. She cursed under her breath.
"You will regret this, I promise you will." She swore angrily and left. He watched her leave calmly. The minute he could no longer see her, he turned to Goben.
"Your spy is not doing a good job. The next time this occurs, I will have your head." His dark voice felt overpowering that Goben stared at the ground in fear.
DL's eyes glinted in satisfaction and he nodded.
Silence reigned while he enjoyed the fear he controlled.
"Alright, who is hungry?" DL smiled broadly at him.