Princess Rainna rose from her bed and wrapped herself in a hooded cloak. There was a clap of thunder and a flash of lightning outside her window. Gazing through the metal bars, she could see a storm brewing over the castle. She walked to the bedroom door and pushed. It was locked. Taking a small hair pin from her mirror stand, Rainna began trying to pick the lock.
“Do not fail me now,” she mumbled to herself.
After several attempts, the door creaked open. She looked down the hallway. It was empty. Rainna slowly and carefully began creeping down the stone stairwell toward the castle’s inner chambers.
As she made her way down, Rainna could hear the columns of soldiers marching about the castle. She pulled the hood over her face and avoided making any eye contact with them. Within minutes, she had reached the sorcerer’s chamber undetected.
The room was dark and hauntingly quiet when she entered. In the center of the room, the Book rested on the table. Rainna removed the hood from her face. As she approached, Rainna could not help but be awed by its peaceful beauty. She lifted it off the table with relative ease despite its size. She traced the cross design on the cover with her finger.
“You will be safe,” she whispered. “I will keep you safe.”
“A little late for a stroll, don’t you think Princess?” Murlox said.
Rainna turned quickly and saw the sorcerer standing in the doorway with two fire soldiers.
“I’m taking the Book to a safer place,” Rainna remarked. “Away from you
“I can assure you, there is no place better for that book than Devon Castle,” Murlox answered. “Now be a wise girl and return it to the table.”
“I don’t think so.”
“As you wish then,” Murlox slyly said. “Seize her.”
The fire soldiers stepped forward. Rainna stumbled backwards until she finally struck the wall. Suddenly, there was a blinding flash of light which filled the entire chamber.
“Aaahhh!” Murlox grimaced in pain as he tried vainly to cover his eyes. As
he recovered his sight, Murlox quickly shot glances around the room. All that remained was himself and the two fire soldiers. Rainna and the Book were gone.
“Don’t just stand there!” Murlox gasped in amazement. “After her!”
Rainna raced down the hallway. Up ahead, she could hear the sound of approaching soldiers. Looking around quickly, she noticed another staircase.
“There she is!” Murlox cried, directly behind her. “Do not let her escape!”
Realizing there was nowhere to go but up, Rainna bolted up the stairs. They seemed to go on forever. She knew she could not stop as she could hear the sound of the soldiers behind her. Finally reaching the top, she swung open the wooden door and ran out onto the castle ramparts. The storm was in full force now with rain pouring down and lightning
streaking across the sky. Rainna looked around frantically as she found to her dismay that she was trapped.
“What do I do now?” she whispered, gasping for breath. “I cannot fail my King. I cannot fail the Book.”
Murlox and the fire soldiers appeared in the doorway.
“Wonderful weather we’re having, isn’t it?” Murlox sarcastically remarked.
“Not one step further or I’ll…” Rainna shouted as she lifted the Book over her head.
“Or you’ll do what, Princess?” Murlox heckled. “Go ahead and throw it over the wall and into the moat. We will simply retrieve it from the waters in the morning.”
Rainna looked over the castle wall in panic. In amazement, directly below, she could see her horse waiting, prancing in panic as a bolt of lightning flashed overhead, followed by a clap of thunder.
“You’re trapped, Rainna,” Murlox continued. “There is nowhere left for you to go. Surrender to me now and I will recommend a lighter punishment for you to Lord Flar.”
“No, I will not surrender! I will be your prisoner no longer, Murlox!” Rainna cried. She climbed onto the top of the wall. She could feel the rain streaming down her face.
“Very well then,” Murlox said. He motioned to the two fire soldiers. “I had grown tired of you, Princess, long ago.”
The demonic soldiers drew their swords. The blades immediately engulfed themselves in flames. They approached her with devilish grins on their skeletal faces. As they drew near, one of the soldiers raised his blazing sword to strike her.
“No,” Rainna almost whispered as she closed her eyes to accept her fate. She clutched the Book firmly against her chest. It began to glow.
An arrow streaked through the night sky and struck the fire soldier squarely in the face. He toppled backwards and collapsed to the ground.
“How?” Rainna gasped as she wiped a strand of hair from her face. She rose and gazed out into the stormy night. There, perhaps fifty or sixty yards away, a figure in white robes, basked in radiant light, hovered in the air supported by the flapping of his mighty wings. He held a bow in his hands with a quiver of arrows strapped to his back. He removed another arrow and reloaded the bow. With ease, he pulled the bowstring back.
“Get down! Get down, you fool!” Murlox screamed to the remaining fire soldier.
The second arrow struck the fire soldier in the shoulder. He arched back in pain and stumbled backwards, dropping his sword to the ground.
“Step off, Rainna!” the figure commanded.
“But, I’ll fall!” Rainna cried back.
“Where is thy faith? Step off!”
Rainna reached down and grabbed the fire soldier’s sword. She closed her eyes and stepped off the castle wall into the darkness. To her surprise, she did not fall. Rainna opened her eyes and saw a small, yellow, cushion of energy had formed underneath her feet.
Despite the storm, it lowered her slowly and safely to the ground below and then vanished. The Book was no longer glowing. Rainna carefully placed it in her saddlebag. As she calmed and mounted her giddy horse, she looked up into the night sky to see if her rescuer was still there. To her surprise once again, the figure was gone. Rainna nudged her horse and galloped quickly away through the storm.
Murlox rushed to the castle wall in time to see the princess riding away. The wounded fire soldier stood, the arrow still in his shoulder.
“Speak of this to no one,” Murlox said, brushing the soldier aside. “I know where she is going.”
THE ADVENTURE WILL CONTINUE........