I see you've stumbled across the first chapter of the novel I wrote for the 2009 NaNoWriMo. That I'm just now starting to edit into something I actually kind of like.
Now, there's a bunch of backstory crap that might leave you, a reader, confused. So I'm going to use my profile as a place to throw all that backstory crap, so you can be at least slightly less confused. My profile will also contain links to various things like, say, maps, (bad) character drawings, stuff like that. And character/relationship info and stuff like that. That being said, please enjoy the first chapter of my revamped pirate novel, Ever Dream.
In which Xarnor is an ass
The castle was quiet, its inhabitants slowly making their way to their beds, servants finishing up their chores for the day. It was quiet, peaceful. Save for the throne room.
"What the hell were you thinking?" Xarnor, king of Arcis, snarled, standing face to face with his twenty one year old nephew. Calyne stood his ground; his eyes staring blankly back at the furious man before him.
"I was studying, Uncle." The crown prince replied softly, "My apologies, Uncle, but if I am to take over the country, I-"
"Do not talk back to me, Calyne." Xarnor snapped back, turning on his heel and stalking back to his throne, "You should be thankful for everything I'm doing for you, after your parents abandoned you like they did."
Calyne inhaled sharply, hands clenching at his side, "My father was killed by an assassin, Uncle, he did not abandon me."
"Perhaps if that assassin had done his job correctly he would have killed you as well. And your beloved mother did abandon you, darling nephew." The king jeered, sarcasm tinting his words as he sunk down into his throne, "Get out of my sight, I will deal with you tomorrow." With a sharp bow, Calyne strode out of the throne room and into the hallway, immediately flanked by his three guards.
"I hate him," Calyne hissed under his breath, barely audible to his companions, "I hate him, and I'm sick of all of this. That is my throne; he has no claim to it any more, he hasn't for years." He received no reply, and the remainder of the walk back to his chambers was silent. As soon as the heavy oak door had slammed shut behind them, however, the conversation began again as though it had never ceased.
"My prince, I doubt he will ever willingly relinquish the throne to you," one of the guards commented softly, his eyes locked on the closed door, fearful and watching.
"I know that, Tesad. I would have to wait out until his death, but I suspect he will have long since had killed me by then." Calyne collapsed into an armchair, resting his forehead on the palm of one hand, "There is nothing else I can do, though." He lifted his head slightly, a sad hint of a smile drawn across his features, "I hope you know how grateful I am to have the three of you, at least. Releo, tonight's your night off, correct?" After receiving a brief nod from the guard in question, the prince continued, "Go home; spend time with your wife."
"I could stay, if you'd like, my prince." Releo offered, heart silently breaking for his charge.
Calyne merely shook his head, "No, I will be fine. Bycal and Tesad will be here, you should go home. I shall see you in the morning, alright? Send my regards to your wife." Releo bowed deeply to his prince, nodded towards both Tesad and Bycal before pulling the door open once again and crossing the threshold.
"My prince, you should get some rest." Bycal advised, "You have had a long day."
The young man pushed himself up from the chair he'd been seated in, but instead of heading to his adjoined bedroom, made his way to the large bookshelf beside his desk. Eyes skimming the numerous titles presented to him, he finally landed on a dusty book, and plucked it from the shelf. Without a word, Calyne sunk into his desk chair, fingers carefully prying apart the pages. Tesad and Bycal exchanged a worried glance, but remained silent as well, watching the prince vigilantly. "My mother used to always read me and Celatta the stories in this book." Calyne eventually stated, a pained undertone to his voice, "Fairy tales, she called them, and they all ended the same. 'And they all lived happily ever after'. No matter what befell the characters, everything ended up alright, and everyone was happy by the end." He glanced up at his guards, his gray eyes sorrowful, "The princes and princesses, they got happy endings. I always assumed I would as well." His eyes looked down at the book, as he gently let it close. A single pale finger traced the lettering on the cover, then the outline of the princess under it, "I never dreamed that all of this would happen. My parents, my sister, my best friend… they have been taken away from me, as has the rest of my country…"
Calyne's head instantly shot up, staring at Bycal as though he were insane, "What?"
"You could run away, my prince. There is no reason why you should be deprived of your happiness, no reason why you should not get your fairy tale ending as well." Bycal could not help the traces of a smile forming on his lips, ideas bursting from his head, "Sybitra is not too far from here, you, and one of us, could leave during the night and be there by the afternoon. We could get you new clothes, give you a new name, you can get on a ship and go to Avel, or Divalte, or Takell, somewhere where it will be less likely for people to recognize you."
"Abandon my country?" Calyne reiterated, his eyes still locked on Bycal's decreasingly excited face.
"My prince, I am sure he meant no harm by it." Tesad interjected, "While it would be abandoning Arcis and your current lifestyle, wouldn't it be better than the inevitable death you'll be facing here?"
Lost in the thought of the proposal, Calyne absent mindedly brushed back some of his light brown hair, book laying forgotten on his lap, "I… I shall think about it." He eventually murmured, setting the book onto his desk, "I'm going to go to bed, we can… discuss this further tomorrow."
No one mentioned the previous night's events when Calyne awoke in the morning, setting about his normal routine. Releo was left clueless when he arrived back, and it was almost as though Bycal had never suggested his plan. It wasn't until the prince left his meeting with his uncle that afternoon that the topic was brought back up, the four men making their way back to Calyne's chambers.
"I am going to do it." He stated bluntly, not so much as pausing in his stride.
"Do… what, my prince?" Releo questioned, though he glanced over at Tesad for the answer.
"Are you sure, my prince?" Bycal added, quickening his pace as they arrived at the chamber door, opening it for Calyne.
Once more, Calyne waited for the four of them to be inside his rooms, the door closed, before he spoke, "Run away, Releo. I am positive. I can't put up with this anymore." His gaze drifted to the large window looking out over the gardens by his desk, "You were right. I cannot continue to live like this, a prisoner in my own country." Releo's jaw dropped at his prince's words, and he stood there numbly.
"We should leave tonight, then, my prince," Bycal stated, "His Majesty does not suspect anything out of the ordinary, he might not even realize that you are gone until tomorrow afternoon and hopefully by then we should be in Sybitra."
"How will you get out, though?" Tesad asked, "It will be near impossible to get you out without notice, and if someone tells His Majesty, I doubt you shall get far."
"We shall just have to make me unrecognizable, then."
The three guards exchanged a worried glance, Releo speaking up with a concerned "My prince?" Silently, Calyne reached back and untied the ribbon holding his long brown hair back, strands falling free. He then moved over to his desk, sliding one drawer out and taking his knife from it, "My prince, what are you-" Releo's response came as a swift thrust of the knife across Calyne's hair, brown locks falling to the floor.
"Tesad, you live in the castle, do you not?" Calyne questioned in return, glancing over at the guard in question.
"Yes, my prince." Tesad answered, though he was not sure how that pertained to their situation.
"Could you go get me some street clothes? With those and with short hair, it will most likely be easier to escape from here." Tesad bowed slightly before turning and leaving the room. "Bycal, will you accompany me to Sybitra? You… might never be able to return to Albion, and I know it is a lot for me to ask of you."
"I would be honored to, my prince,"
"Is there anything you would like me to do, my prince?" Releo asked, blue eyes fixated on the young man.
Calyne gave him a small smile, "Pretend as though you do not know what is going on. I shall ask Tesad to do the same; I do not want either of you to be punished for this. Bycal, I am sorry for the danger I shall be placing you in."
Bycal smiled reassuringly, "It is my duty to protect you, my prince, and my honor. My loyalties lie completely in you."
"I am lucky to have a friend in you, Bycal, as well as you Releo, and Tesad. My only friends since Aleister's death." Setting his knife down onto his desk, Calyne gazed at it sadly, mind flooded with memories of his late friend. It had been a present from Aleister the year of his death, and served as Calyne's sole reminder of the Pelavorian prince. His trance like state was broken as the door creaked open, Tesad crossing the threshold into the room, clothes in hand.
"They will probably be too large on you, my prince," Tesad commented as he handed them to the brunet prince, "but they should allow you to get by unnoticed."
Cloak wrapped tightly around his body, Calyne slipped through one of the smaller doors leading out of the city's walls, Bycal following him closely. The forest surrounding the back of the castle was dense, and with the night as their cover, the two men disappeared quickly into the overgrowth of trees. Calyne fingered the beloved knife hidden in his pocket, drawing reassurance from it, eyes slowly adjusting to the darkness of the forest.
"You are sure about this, my prince?" Bycal asked once again, casting a glance at his charge.
"Yes, Bycal. I'm sure."
Sybitra, a bustling port city, perhaps the largest in all of Arcis, was as busy as it always was. Ships were docking, ships were leaving, sailors roamed about the city, obtaining supplies for their next voyage, optimists were crowded around the docks, hoping and praying that they would be taken aboard their favorite ship. Among all of these ships and crews, there was one that could not help but stand out. Their 80 foot caravel rocked back and forth with the tide, though the men on it paid it no heed.
"Tasva, Garieth and Vhon, come with me, Vanya and Beret go get whatever you guys will need, Zanar and Faar stay on board, and anyone else that needs something feel free to go find it, or stay on the ship." The captain commanded, eyes skimming the ranks of his men, "Dismissed." The sailors broke away, hurrying off to accomplish their tasks, only a tawny haired man staying by the black haired captain.
"Fareus, is it really necessary for me to go with you?"
The captain, Fareus, rolled his eyes, a hint of a smile on his face, "Honestly, Tas, you're going to have to get over your dislike for Vhon sometime. I can't believe you haven't yet, it's been what, four years?"
"Five, and it's not Vhon, Fareus. I just hate when we're back home." Tasva confided, gazing over the city from their ship.
"Sybitra's hardly home, Tas. We're just back in Arcis."
"And I don't like being back in Arcis." The younger man continued, "Why is it that you need me anyways? It is not like I have any control over the food, I wouldn't be a particularly good hand in delivering the cargo, so why does it matter that it's me?"
Fareus let out a deep sigh, running one hand through his jet black hair, "You know Sybitra better than I do, and I don't particularly want to be here any longer than we have to either. I'll drag Raden with me instead, though. Assuming him and Erius haven't disappeared into their room for the rest of the day." That drew a short laugh from Tasva, a smile on his face.
"Thank you, Fareus." The captain responded with a smile of his own, a hand ruffling the younger's hair affectionately.
"Don't mention it, Tas."
"Here we are, my prince. Sybitra." Calyne's eyes were wide as he stared at the immense city before him, a city so very different than the one he had grown up in. "You should have little trouble finding a ship to board that will be leaving the country. But my prince, you can tell no one who you really are. You will be a fugitive now, your uncle may send men to find you and bring you back."
Calyne nodded numbly in response, glancing over at his companion, "You should stop referring to me as that then, Bycal."
"My apologies, my prince, but it would be in bad form to refer to you as anything else." Bycal replied softly. Calyne gave him a sad smile, shaking his head.
"I am not your prince any longer, Bycal. I am no one's prince now." The brunet man hesitantly wrapped his arms around his companion, embracing him awkwardly for a few moments before pulling away. "Thank you, Bycal. For everything."
"You are welcome… Calyne." The elder answered in a hushed tone, offering Calyne a small smile in return, "Use the money I gave you to buy some different clothes, and take care of yourself." He kissed the prince affectionately on the forehead, his gentle smile remaining.
"Where are you going to go?"
Bycal shrugged, "I haven't thought that far. I will go in whatever direction seems best, whichever way your uncle will be less likely to look. Hopefully I will be lucky."
"I… have put you in danger, haven't I?" Calyne murmured, adverting his gaze. Bycal didn't respond, but there was no real need for him to. It was obvious to both of them that it was true, but neither felt to need to say so, out of fear of making it that much truer.
"Take care of yourself, Calyne." Bycal repeated softly, "Now go. Time is not our friend in this." The prince nodded, extending his right hand and shaking the one offered to him in return before turning sharply and disappearing in the mass of people crowding the city.
"Hey, Ivrix!" A red haired man glanced up towards the sound of the voice, a smile hastily making its way across his face, blue eyes lighting up.
"That is in fact me, Zanar." Ivrix stated with a smile as the bard sunk down into the chair next to him, his scarred right eye staring blindly past Ivrix's head.
Zanar swatted his friend lightly across his head, "Don't give me that. I just wanted to know if you've seen Leix around." Zanar questioned in return.
The redhead couldn't help but grin back, clearly enjoying himself, "He's sick. Don't you pay attention to the rest of the crew?
"Well excuse me for being blind." The younger answered snarkily, though there was humor woven into his words, and he pushed himself up from the chair, steadying himself against the ever present rock of the ship, "You break my heart, Iv." With a well place dramatic sniffle, Zanar turned to leave.
"You know that doesn't work on me, Zanar." Ivrix called out, the grin on his face never wavering, as he too got up, following his friend.
As they made their way below deck, Calyne stepped onboard, unseen. Eyes skimming the ship for signs of people, they ended up landing on a pile of wooden crates sitting, seemingly abandoned, backed against a wall. And then he couldn't help but smile.
Oh, and one more thing. People will die. There will be (not very well written) fight scenes, which will lead to death. Not very many deaths, mind you, but still some. If that makes you sadface, I'm sorry. Please have virtual cookies.