THE twilight sky had the crimson hues over both Arstol’s North city and Xandur’s Olde Glassfield.
There in Highland North, Arstol strode with slow, gentle steps along the border path of the city’s Garden of Honour.
Also in distant plains in Olde Glassfield, Xandur paced round the huge fountain at his city’s own Honour Garden.
Both princes were down and heavy with thoughts. But neither of them would ever know about now.
That they were today at the same place over several mountains and plains… dreadfully wanting each other.
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Arstol had just finished with a council meeting at the citadel of Highland North. So he thought to think through the new idea of expanding his city.
Yet the city expansion wasn’t the real thing for the North prince. And never had it really been.
For ever since the day Arstol saw the unconquered terrains at the city’s east gate, he’d so desired to plunder the Dungeon of Fears outside the Heirsen realm.
And from that dreaded dungeon he hoped to cart home several captured bastards. And go on to expand his city over the new terrains with their numbers.
Yes, Arstol wanted to win home a thousand captured bastards. Like Xandur of Olde Glassfield. Like that conqueror with the tongue of fire.
But Arstol wasn’t installed a warring knight, when he was capped Protector of Highland North by the Father and King.
Arstol was made guardian and custodian of his own people. He wasn’t made a battlefield knight at all.
Yet Arstol of the North had always adored Prince Xandur, and right from his juvenescence in fact. And he’d always admired the older heirsen’s acclaim. His great acclaim in battle.
So now that the Prince of Highland North strolled along the garden path, he just fancied how so noble Xandur must be feeling right then.
How so noble and honourable the valiant soldier must be.
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No, Olde Glassfield’s Garden of Honour was all dreary that quiet twilight, where Xandur sat at the round edge of the Grand Fountain.
Indeed, the huge fountain oozed out some sparkling spring that just shimmered in winey hues against the sunset. But neither the silvery sparkles nor the crimson shines could spark up Xandur’s lifeless night.
Xandur of Olde Glassfield had got a full tide to make a fateful decision. It was about that pact with Dalleon of Waterfort; so he could hack down stumbling stones like Arstol.
But then the price for gaining such a lofty height to be able to step on the likes of Arstol… the price was losing that costliest pearl he’d got left with him. It was the priceless tongue of flames and fire.
Xandur looked down into the pool of water beneath the fountain flow, and he glared at his reflection in the waters. He saw his gold tainted armour of crystal glass and he felt so sad about himself.
The old prince could not bear to look so long at what’d become. He felt too dirty and foul, when he started to recall and consider where he’d fallen.
But just when Xandur was about to slide into that state where he’d feel remorseful enough to retrace his spiral descent back up…
Just then, the sober heirsen snapped out of everything contrite. Then he loathed and accused Arstol and the likes of him for everything him.
‘Those arrogant kids! Those proud, condescending zealots!’ he fumed, taking his eyes away from the reflection of himself in water.
Now Xandur was more determined to get back the honour he’d lost. But he couldn’t help that fear that kept creeping up the wall of his defenses.
Xandur couldn’t help the fear skulking up to him ever since he’d been musing on trading that precious gift. Trading it to Dalleon of Waterfort.
Yet again Xandur knew he’d achieved everything he had only because he’d got that treasure with him.
That tongue of fire that only the Father-King bestowed to an heir and son. Yes, Prince Xandur knew it all too well.
So now, the old prince admitted there was no justifiable excuse to let go of that costly gift from the Father-of-All.
But still he felt he desperately needed to buy back a lost honour now. Irrespective of the price that Dalleon was willing to sell it.
Thus, like a wounded soldier Xandur was willing to swing around his blade of blames in a desperate wave at nothing. He was ready to hack down just anything his weary hand could hit upon.
Now he needed just one justification. He needed something to blame at least.
So his mind turned to Arstol again. But he couldn’t settle with the young heirsen this time.
Then frustrated, he searched breathlessly for something else that could make a hefty defense.
That could make the reason to sell a priceless thing.
He hissed and hissed again. ‘Arstol’s too small a thing to worth that reason!’
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Arstol in Highland North was still submerged in the thoughts of his childhood hero, where he was walking at the North’s Garden of Honour.
His relaxed feet soon dragged to a slow halt, as he found himself a seat on a large boulder.
Soon the young heirsen’s thoughts wandered to a distant tide of childhood memories.
To that very day he first saw Xandur of Olde Glassfield. That acclaimed Breather of Fire.
It was when the young Prince of Highland North was just a regular boy.
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© July 2021 Kayode & Tola Olla