EREON’S flying beast arrived at Highland North, and it perched at the rear gates of the city’s great citadel.
The giant steed bowed itself low in a quiet roost, as Ereon and Arstol jumped down the burly thing.
Now the beautiful princess whisked her prince inside the mighty fort with that flight of a frightened dart.
Yet when the two got inside their place of shelter, they knew they’d got to untie their knotted things before anything at all.
Ereon settled in front of a seated Arstol; and she spoke in a low, stern voice.
‘Should I ask it, or you will tell me everything?’
Now Arstol knew he couldn’t hide anymore.
He knew his solemate was asking for nothing short of the truth. Yet the North prince wasn’t prepared to face his princess with that truth.
Arstol stammered. ‘Ereon, I’m… I’m sorry for everything!’
But it was a feeble attempt at placating the North princess.
Arstol paused a bit but Ereon didn’t utter any response.
The prince waited for his princess to say something; but Ereon would keep the awkward silence going on forever.
Indeed, until Arstol was sorry enough to own up to his faults.
Now Prince Arstol could tell with Ereon’s cold silence – he could tell she wasn’t going to let him off with that shallow defense.
He realised Ereon wanted to know everything. And here in front of Ereon, he’d got no place of shelter at all.
OUT 1ST NOVEMBER!
Arstol decided to spill it out, his folly and all. So he broke down, telling Ereon everything from beginning to end.
Arstol told Ereon of his obsession about being like Xandur Breather of Fire. He told her about his desire to battle for bastards, too. Like that Prince of Olde Glassfield.
Also, Arstol told Ereon about his ambition to expand their city with the victory spoils of that battle.
Yes, Arstol told his solemate everything. How he set out on a mission the Father-King didn’t commission him for.
And he related where that paths sadly led him.
‘So, my Princess,’ finished Arstol, ‘I had to be captured by an alien prince’s net, and humbled in bonds in front of him.
‘I had to be so humbled for my eyes to open to where my paths may lead with a self-commissioned mission.’
Arstol’s eyes were regretful and sad.
And not only to the Father-King was the young prince remorseful; but now he was sorry to his only mate and partner… whom he had just let down in the King’s business.
OUT 1ST NOVEMBER!
Ereon spoke up now, and her voice retained the mild sternness.
‘My Prince, if you knew all along and you still went to battle, then I am sure you know now that we have a battle to fight.
‘I am sure you know we must battle that vain obsession first. That vain thirst for glory. And it is that home battle, that self-war, that we must fight!’
Arstol had little resistance inside him now.
‘I agree, Ereon. I really agree!’ he replied. ‘I kept wanting the battle, even now I still desire it in spite of everything.
‘I keep wanting the glory of a warring knight, even when I know where that path would lead a guardian prince.’
Ereon rumpled her hands with the other as she heaved a small sigh in that concerned moment.
Arstol finished his words now – and in submissive low, voice.
‘Now I know that the battle I need to fight is not the battle for bastards. It is rather the battle for me… the battle for my frail self.
‘I need to win over me first! Win over everything Arstol…
‘Not battle to cart bastards home!’ he submitted.
So it was time for Ereon to encourage her solemate. And she went over to his side and gently parted him on the shoulder.
‘Cheer up, my Arstol; cheer up, Prince of Highland North,’ she cooed. ‘I am standing with you through this. I am fighting by you in the battle for you.
‘Do not fear, my Prince. I will fight by you till we end this war!’
Arstol looked up at her courageous princess. His doting gaze spoke many thanks that were never uttered.
Ereon matched her solemate’s eyes with a glowing gaze.
And she whispered, ‘You’re welcome, Arstol.’
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