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Far away, 400 years ago there was a kingdom. The kingdom of Hornae. The next kingdom, which was 3000 miles away was Sprona. To the North of these two kingdoms was the Sea of Empty. If you survived the perilous journey across the Sea of Empty, you would come to the Mountains of Naya. Beyond the Mountains of Naya were the Plains of Sun. There you would find a great treasure, the Sword of Sun, hidden by Elon, Wizard of the North. The Sword may only be wielded by a person of royal birth.
Two young heroes would soon find themselves saving Hornae from the evil king of Sprona. But how would the Sword they set out to find be of any use? The Hornaen king was dead, killed in battle. The queen had thrown herself off the highest tower in grief, and they had no children, no heir to the Hornaen throne.
All hope seemed lost in a world of despair. All light vanished in the darkness. Yet a small crack of light may still be seen, smaller then a spark, it would slowly turn to a bright flame, as these young heroes would find out who they are.
He watched as she ran toward him. Her face was blackened by soot. She was crying.
“What's the matter?” he asked.
“They burned down our cottage and killed Da and Ma.” she replied.
“The Spronans. The king said we'd be safer inside the walls. He said we'd never be attacked by them! Da should've listened.”
As he hugged her, he felt his anger and hatred for the Spronans build up, forming a black wall around his heart. He helped her into the cottage he shared with the blacksmith and his wife.
Rogan had been orphaned at birth, left in a basket on the doorstep of Mogan, Blacksmith. Mogan's wife, Slanya, unable to have children, loved him as she would have loved her own son. Rogan grew up believing he was a blacksmith's son. But one year, just before his 17th birthday, Mogan told him.
Myta, another orphan, found her home in the cottage of Tiln, Woodcutter, and his wife Roma. She knew that she had been orphaned, because she was three when she wandered up to the door of Tiln. They became her mother and father. Now she was 16 and her only friend was Rogan.
“Myta!” Slanya embraced her, even though she was filthy. “What happened?”
“I was picking vegetables with Ma, when we heard Da shout and the cottage went up in flames. She gave me the basket of vegetables and told me to run. So I came to the only place I could think of.”
“The Spronans have been attacking the villages outside of the walls. The king has to be told. He has to start doing something.” Mogan said.
“Do you know how hard it is to get an audience with the these days? They think everyone is a Spronans assassin!” Slanya exclaimed.
“I think I can get in. I'll take Myta with me.” Rogan said.
“I can take these vegetables, as a gift for the king.” Myta suggested.
“They might think they're poisoned.”
“No, the king has servants for that. I heard that they taste the food before it's served to him. If the servant doesn't die, then it's safe.”
They agreed that this was a good idea, and ate supper. Rogan was prepared to give up his room to Myta, but she insisted that she would be fine on the floor in the kitchen. She'd slept in the woods before, so she knew she'd be fine. Slanya gave her a clean dress, and a blanket. She slept like a log that night. However, Rogan couldn't stop tossing and turning. He kept seeing Myta's soot-covered face, Slanya's shocked face, and Mogan's angry face. He knew something had to be done. He had heard the legend of the Sword of Sun. It had been hidden by Elon, the Wizard of the North, to protect the tribes of the South from destroying each other and the Sword. But no matter how hard people tried, they never found it. They were never seen again. The king had a reward for whoever found the Sword. Rogan decide he would be the one to find it, he would make history.
“Two peasant youths here to see thee, Majesty.” the guard announced.
Rogan and Myta bowed.
“Well, why are ye here, children.” the king demanded.
“We are here to speak with you about the problem with the Spronans. They are getting out of hand.” Rogan explained.
One of the king's advisors scowled at this. “What about the Spronans? They have always been a problem.”
“Silence, Quintent! Let the boy finish.” the king ordered.
“My friend has seen what the Spronans do.” Rogan nodded to Myta.
“When your highness sent out a warning to the villages, my Da didn't believe that the Spronans would attack villages. Just one day ago, both of my parents were killed by Spronans and our cottage was burnt to the ground. I heard talk in the village that the Spronans wanted to start a war. All we ask is that you think about the families that have had family members killed by the Spronans. And the families that are homeless.” Myta swallowed as the king pondered this carefully. He nodded.
“Very well, I shall think about this. I will speak about it with my advisors. This afternoon I shall announce it if I will be going to war.”
Myta and Rogan bowed and backed out of the room. Myta handed her basket to a kind looking guard. “Will you give this to the king, sir? I brought them, because I thought he might like fresh vegetables.”
“Aye, lass. I'll see that they get to him.” the guard smiled.
Myta smiled back. “Thank you, sir.”
“Lass, you don't have t' call me 'sir’. I’m not old enough to be called 'sir'. My name's Calden.”
“Thank you, Calden. Come on, Myta, Father's waiting.” Rogan pulled Myta towards the doors.
When they were outside, Rogan gave a relived sigh. He had been holding his breath, hoping the king would listen. So far the king was listening. Maybe, just maybe...
Mogan searched the crowd for Rogan and Myta. They were supposed to meet him at the blacksmith's stall. He had done a lot of hard work this morning. It was almost noon and they still weren't back. Slanya glanced over from the pottery stall where she was shopping. She was worried. Her brown hair fell over her face in wisps and strands. Mogan smiled as he remembered why they fell in love. He went back to his work. He glanced up when he heard running footsteps. Finally, Myta and Rogan were back. Myta had always been faster than Rogan and she was pulling him behind her.
“So, the king didn't have your heads chopped off.” Mogan chuckled.
“No, the king listened. He said that he would think about it and he would announce his decision after he eats his meal.” Myta said.
“I have been alerted to the problem with the Spronans. Today, I have decided that I will go to war against the Spronans. I have also remembered a legend. The legend of the Sword of Sun. I ask a brave man to step forward. If he should return, there shall be a reward. If he should return with the Sword, the reward shall be doubled. Is there anyone who will accept?” the king was standing on the balcony of the throne room that faced the market. He knew that many people had gone on the search for the Sword, but no one had returned. He watched as people began dispersing. It was hopeless. The king of Sprona was stronger than him. The Spronans army was larger than his. Everything about Sprona was bigger and stronger than anything Hornaen. He sighed as he went inside.
“What am I going to do, Quintent?”
“Ye need not worry thyself over such small thing, sire. Only cowards would not accept thy challenge. All we must do is worry about the Spronans.” Quintent tried calming the king down. Instead, the king stopped his pacing and exploded in Quintent's face. “What do ye mean by that. Do ye not see that our only hope is finding the Sword of Sun?”
“Sire, I wish to speak with thee.” a soft voice said from the doorway. Quintent and the king turned around. The queen was standing in the doorway. Quintent bowed. “I take my leave.” he walked out of the room.
“Husband, why do you worry so much. The last time you worried this much, you had a fit and fainted.”
“Yes, I know that. But there is no one who is willing to search for the Sword.”
“That is where you are wrong. There are two children waiting for you just outside of that door. They claim that they have seen you.”
“Yes, there were two children this morning. They caused me to think about this matter.” the king sighed and he sat in the throne. The queen sat in a smaller throne beside him. The doors opened. Myta and Rogan walked in. when they bowed, the king gasped. These were the same children that came this morning.
“Are ye the girl that brought the vegetables?” he asked.
“They were good. Why are ye here?”
“I am here to accept the quest to find the Sword of Sun.” Rogan said.
“What? Ye can't be serious! And I suppose the girl is going with ye?” the king laughed.
Myta put her hand on Rogan's arm. “Your majesties, I chose to go with Rogan because I want to. And yes, he wishes to go search for the Sword, because no one else is brave enough.”
The king turned bright red at her boldness. The queen put her hand on his arm. “Child, you must realize how dangerous this is. No one else has ever returned from this.”
“Yes, your highness, we are fully aware of the risks of this. But we have spoken with his parents and they have agreed to let us go.”
“Very well, ye have my permission and blessing to go.” the king said. “But ye must take one of my soldiers. Choose who ye want, then go the kitchens and tell Cook to give ye enough food for at least two months.”
Myta and Rogan bowed again and backed out of the room. As the doors closed, Myta touched Calden's arm.
“Will you go with us, Calden?”
“Go where, lass?”
“We are going to search for the Sword of Sun.” Rogan said.
“Anything will be better than standing here all day.” Calden smiled.
“Come on. We have to get to the kitchens.” Myta said.
The trip to the kitchens ended swiftly with the cook throwing pots at them because Calden gave her a kiss. Myta, Rogan and Calden stood out of reach of the pots, laughing.
“I haven't had that much fun since I pushed my sister in the loch.” Calden exclaimed.
“We'd better get rest before we start.” Rogan said. He was more serious than Myta or Calden. This was an important quest to Rogan. Calden and Myta were the more relaxed ones. As they parted company, Calden informed them that they would need weapons of some sort, as the journey to the Plains of Sun would be dangerous. As Rogan and Myta turned towards the blacksmith's shop, an old, withered man stepped out from behind a stone pillar. He watched as the two questers laughing together. His eyes glowed as he grew to his full size. The old man's wrinkles were replaced by muscles. He grinned a sinister grin. He had a job to do.
The sun rose, casting a rosy hue on Rogan and Myta as they said their goodbyes to Mogan and Slanya. They had to hurry because Calden was waiting with the weapons. The king had given them a map and the food. They were ready to go. Slanya kept fussing over Myta, while Mogan gave his son advice for the journey. As they turned to leave, Slanya began to cry. She turned her face to Mogan's tunic. The wind whipped her skirts and hair. She looked up and Rogan and Myta were already out of sight.
“They'll come back.” Mogan said, not believing his own words.
Rogan and Myta had made it to the square. Calden was waiting. He handed Myta a dagger and handed Rogan a sword. The sun had risen just enough to make them squint. They headed towards the gate. The guards opened the gate just enough for them to squeeze out. Calden stopped the talk to his fellow guards. Rogan and Myta danced impatiently. They were ready to go. Finally, after what seemed to be at least an hour, Calden came out of the gate. He looked at Rogan and smiled. Rogan gave him a half-hearted smile. Myta noticed and tried to keep the mood cheerful. “We have a long journey ahead. But we can't travel on an empty stomach. Let's go to that hill, and eat.”
“That's a good idea, Myta.” Rogan said, taking the lead. Myta turned it into a race by running ahead of Rogan. Rogan sped up to catch her. Calden, surprised by this, was soon left behind. But he easily caught up. He passed Rogan, who protested, then he caught up with Myta who put on an extra burst of speed. Rogan sped past him. Myta had gotten to the top of the hill. Calden was panting hard. Rogan was slowing down. Both boys caught up with Myta at the same time. She was laughing. She has already set up their breakfast under the single tree on the hill.
“You have unnatural speed, Myta!” Calden panted.
Myta laughed. “It comes from runnin' from the chickens on my farm.”
Rogan collapsed under the tree, claiming that his legs wouldn't work anymore.
“Your legs won't work! You just need some of your ma's medicine!” Myta said, pulling out a jar of green slime.
Rogan jumped up shouting, “It's a miracle! I can walk!”
Calden and Myta laughed as Rogan ran in circles.
Rogan sat down and picked up a chunk of cheese. “We need to get going before too long.”
Myta and Calden agreed with him and they began to eat breakfast. They soon finished and packed up. They headed down the hill on the other side. Myta chattered the entire time. When they got to the bottom of the hill, she stopped and looked at Rogan and Calden. “You two haven't said much.”
“That's because you've not given us any chance to!” Calden replied.
“Well, I don't have much to say anyway. You can talk all you want, Myta.” Rogan glared at Calden.
Myta folded her arms over her chest. “Well, Calden, what did you want to say?”
“I... well... uh...” Calden stammered. He couldn't think of anything to say. He glanced nervously at Rogan, who was clearly angry at him. He looked back at Myta, but she was already walking off.
“Hurry up. I don't want to hang around here.” Myta called back over her shoulder.
He watched them through the bushes he had hidden in. He had seen them stop at the top of the hill. He couldn't get any closer and risk being seen. He waited until they went over the top and he couldn't hear them anymore, then climbed to the crest of the hill. They were going on the direction of the Sea of Empty. They were going to the home of Hohe, Keeper of the Boats. He had to stop them. His master would not be pleased if they succeeded in their mission.
Hohe stood outside the door to his hut. He was a short one, even by the dwarfs’ standards. He and his family had guarded these boats for generations. He couldn't remember the last time he had seen someone other than the cannibal merpeople and the sand lizards. He rubbed his long red beard. He would wait here until he died. He shook his head and sighed as he turned to go in. He looked out the window at the back of the hut. All ten of his boats were still there, gathering seaweed and barnacles. Barnacles and seaweed, the dust of the sea, his enemy. He'd have to go out after his midday rest and clean them.
Rogan, Calden, and Myta were almost to the Sea. They saw the hut of Hohe. They were excited, but fearful. They didn't rush to get to Hohe's hut. Instead, they stopped to eat their lunch.
“Do you think he'll be home?” Myta asked.
“He should be. His job is to keep the boats safe. If he's not then we'll have to wait till he comes back.” Calden replied.
Myta nodded. She stretched out. The sun felt good on her face. Rogan and Calden followed her example. After what seemed like only thirty minutes, Myta woke with a start. Rogan and Calden were still asleep. She didn't know what had woken her. She got up and began gathering their things and packing up. She didn't hear him sneak up. He clamped his hand over her mouth. Myta grabbed the small dagger out of her belt and stabbed his leg. He yelled and let go of her. Rogan and Calden woke up. But he was already limping off.
“What was that about?” Calden wondered.
“I don't know.” Myta replied, pushing Rogan away as he tried to help her. “Rogan, I'm fine.”
“Who was he.” Rogan asked.
“I don't know. But he was very muscular and tall.”
“Let's just go see if the Keeper is home.” Calden suggested.
Hohe looked up from his boats. He saw three not-quite-children, yet not-quite-adults standing behind him.
“What do ya want?” he asked gruffly.
“We were wanting to use a boat, sir.” the girl said.
“What for? You'll only die.” Hohe replied.
“We are on a quest to find the...” she began.
“Myta! That's a secret part!” the taller of the two young men ordered. Hohe noticed that the other boy was angry at the older.
“There wasn't no need to speak like that, boy. I know why yer here. Yer here to get a boat so ya can cross the Sea, so ya can find the Wizard of the North, so ya can find out where the Sword of Sun is.” Hohe told them.
“How did you know that, sir?” Myta asked.
“Oh... I just know.” Hohe replied, smiling mysteriously.
“Look, we don't have much time. Can we just get a boat?” Rogan was obviously frustrated.
“They never have time.” Hohe grumbled. But he turned anyway and led them around the hut to the boats.
He splashed the water in frustration. They had gotten away again. He had stolen a boat from the Keeper. He saw their boat, but he couldn't get to it fast enough. But they were having trouble with some Sea Creatures. Maybe he wouldn't have to do the deed.
“What are these things?” Calden yelled as he stabbed cannibal merpeople.
“I don't know but they sure have an interest in all of us.” Rogan replied.
Myta stabbed at a merman. She missed but he backed off. She noticed that most of the merpeople were ignoring her. She decided to go the other side where the boys were having more trouble.
“Need some help?” she asked.
“That'd be nice.” Calden replied.
The merpeople screeched and backed off and disappeared under the water.
“What was that about?” Rogan asked.
“I don't know. They did that on my side too.” Myta explained.
Well, we should get out of here. The giant loch is dangerous. I heard that there is a monster. Right in the middle.” Calden said.
Myta clamped a hand over his mouth. Rogan smirked as Myta warned, “Be quiet. Just row. There's no reason to scare us all.”
Mho saw him paddling as fast as he could after the three questers. Elon should do a better job of hiding the Sword. The earlier questers had been taken care of. But these questers should get closer to their destination before the vanished.
Rogan splashed through the water, guiding the boat to the shore. As the bottom of the boat scraped across the gravely sand, Calden jumped out and tied the boat to a rope then tied the rope to a scraggly beach bush. He jumped when a sand lizard scurried out of the bush. Myta caught it and gently stroked its head. It hissed. She quickly put it down. It scurried to the bush. Rogan looked up when two lizards came up. They flicked their forked tongues. The taller of the two came forward. “Who are you and why are you on my island?” he rasped.
Calden and Rogan stood as if they were under a spell.
“We don't mean any harm. We're just going to rest here on the' beach and leave first thing in the morning.” Myta explained.
Rogan and Calden had broken out of the spell and were nodding as if to back up what Myta was saying.
The tall lizard turned to the older one and they conversed in hushed hisses.
“Very well, you may ssstay. But only for the night. And I will have three of my warriorsss guard you and take you sssafley to the Mountainsss of Naya. What will you give usss in payment?” the tall one said.
Myta stammered, looking for an answer. All they had were their weapons and their food and they would need those.
“What about the girl?” the old one suggested.
“No!” Calden yelled. “I'll stay here. Myta must help Rogan.”
The lizards slithered off without another word.
The sun was setting when he landed his boat on a small piece of land across from the island were they were. Those lizards were hostile and often wanted payment for even breathing on their island. He was glad that a river of salt water separated the two pieces of land. Maybe the lizards would get rid of them.
“We'll be back to get you.” Rogan whispered in Calden's ear. As much as he disliked him, Rogan left with three and he would go back with three, unless one wished to stay behind.
“I'll be fine, Rogan. Just take care of little Myta.”
“I'm not little! I'm almost seventeen!” Myta yelled indignantly from where she was loading the boat.
“Humansss, we mussst leave now.” one of the lizard warriors hissed.
Rogan came over to the boat and helped Myta climb in. he pushed the boat into the water. As he climbed into the boat, he saw lizard warriors carrying off an unconscious Calden. He frowned. They must have knocked him out to carry him back to their camp.
“Paddle to the river. We will head the right way then.” the lizard guard said.
Rogan and Myta did as he said. When they stopped for a midday meal, the warrior climbed out of the boat.
“Where are you going, Sandslic?” Myta asked.
“I am going to get a fissshhh.” he ducked under the water. He resurfaced holding a large fish. “How did you know my name?” he hissed defensively.
“I don't know. I just knew somehow.”
“The Wizzzard of the North will now. He isss wissse in all the magicsss of the world and all the unusssual things of this country.”
“Would it have something to with the merpeople? They seemed scared of me.”
The lizard didn't say anything else. He continued steering the boat to the east.
He had gone all the way around the island. He was herding them west and they didn't know it. He smiled when he thought of what his reward would be. Maybe gold. Or maybe control of the entire Northern Lands. Maybe he would be given the Sword of Sun. Who cared? His reward would be good.
Elon sighed when he saw Trekkar following them. Mho was up to more tricks. It had been twenty years since he had seen his twin brother. Mho had been hiring evil men of the North for five years, when questers from Sprona and Hornae had been sent out looking for the Sword. Why couldn't these men just leave it alone. He had hidden it for a reason. He didn't want them destroying each other. Many of the questers that came were evil, but some were good and cared for others. They were trying to save the lives of people who were defenseless. But if the kingdoms weren't so different maybe they wouldn't fight. They reminded him of himself and Mho when they were children. He would be reading or helping his parents, while Mho would be throwing mud at the sand lizards or pulling wings off of butterflies. Elon sighed and covered the dish of water. He turned to a his table where his favorite meal sat, a simple loaf of bread and cheese. But something he had seen in the water tickled the back of his mind. The girl. There was something familiar about her. He went back to the pedestal and uncovered the dish. Myta's image shimmered for a minute, then the image changed. To a three year old Myta wandering up to the cottage of the woodcutter. The door of the cottage opened and a kind looking woman stepped out, almost stepping on the collapsed form of Myta. She picked the girl up and took her inside. The image changed to a girl of ten, playing with a boy who looked the same age. The image shimmered and disappeared. Elon knew this girl. He couldn't remember how.
“There's another boat behind us!” Rogan yelled.
As if to confirm his words, Trekkar sped up and rammed the boat. Sandslic was knocked from the boat. He swam silently under the two boats and climbed onto the other boat, unaware that Trekkar had a long knife. He looked over at Myta and Rogan who were defenseless against this overly strong man. His last thought was that he would have liked to see his wife and son again. His dead body sank slowly into the water, shimmering and dissolving in a purple-green blur of golden scales.
Myta and Rogan were helpless as Trekkar tossed their oars in the Sea and tied the boats together. By then, it was close to evening, so Trekkar didn't go one.
“When we get to shore, we'll run. We'll grab our weapons and food and run.” Rogan was confident that his plan would work.
Myta just nodded. She looked down and Rogan could tell she was crying. He put his arm around her shoulders and hugged her.
A small skittering noise came from the bottom of the floor. Myta looked down. The small lizard that she had picked up from the beach had hidden in her bag. Myta picked him up. He had the same golden scales as Sandslic. This was Sandslic's son! Myta smiled as she rubbed his head gently. He made a small noise, like purring.
“What's that noise?” Trekkar demanded from the other boat. Myta put the lizard in her tunic sleeve.
“I asked what that noise is!” Trekkar yelled, turning around.
“He's just snoring. Go back to sleep, Trekkar.” Myta said pointing to Rogan, who was wide awake.
Trekkar grunted. Rogan chuckled. Myta took the lizard out of her sleeve.
“What's your name, little fellow?” she asked, stroking his tail.
“Sslici! Sslici!” the little lizard shrilled.
“Make it stay quiet!” Rogan snapped.
Myta wasn't offended by his sharp tone. She understood the predicament they were in. she found a bread crust to feed Slici and settled down to sleep. Rogan watched her sleep. The last thing he saw before drifting to sleep was the silhouette of Trekkar huddled in his boat.
When Rogan woke up, the sun was shining right in his face. The two boats had drifted closer to the northern shore of the Sea of Empty. Rogan had never really understood why it was called that. Now he knew why. This place drained you of your energy and hope, leaving you empty. It didn't help that he and Myta were basically prisoners. He looked over at Myta who was awake. She was petting Sslici's head.
“Is Trekkar awake?” Rogan asked.
“No. But if he doesn't wake up soon, we'll drift the wrong way.” Myta replied.
“We have to wake him up. Is there something to throw?”
“What about Slici? He could go over and bite him or something.”
Myta looked down at the little lizard. He nodded. “Sslici go.”
Slici skittered over the rope connecting the two boats and got close enough the Trekkar to bit his ear. Trekkar roared as he grabbed his ear. Slici was back in Myta's lap before Trekkar was able to see him. He soon composed himself and began rowing toward the shore.
Thirty minutes later, Trekkar had gotten them all the way to a private dock on a peninsula.
“Let's go.” Trekkar ordered.
Myta picked up their things and steeped out of the boat. They followed Trekkar up to a stone cottage. It wasn't a pleasant cottage. It as hideous and had briars growing around it. A crippled old man came out of the cottage.
“Well done, Trekkar.” the old man rasped.
Trekkar bowed and picked up his things and headed towards the west.
“Rogan, this isn't Elon.” Myta whispered.
“Who is it?”
“I don't know.”
“Stop whispering and come inside. You must be hungry after such a long trip.” the old man said.
Myta and Rogan followed warily. As soon as they stepped inside, the old man quickly shut and locked the door behind them.
Elon shook his head when he saw that Trekkar had completed his mission. Mho had them now. he would probably hold one of them hostage while the other would come see him to find out where the Sword was. Elon covered the dish before the image disappeared. His brother was going to get himself killed someday. He turned to the table, where he had laid out several maps. They were all out of date and unneeded. He tossed them into the fire. He picked up the box of various maps from the mantle. He dug around until he found the map that Hohe, Keeper of the Boats, had given him. It was a current map of The Mountains of Naya and the Plains of Sun. he would give the map to which ever quester came. Now all he had to do was hope that Mho wouldn't kill them.
“Why are you here?” Mho wheezed.
“We are here on a quest. We can't say any more about it.” Rogan said carefully.
“Yes, I see. You do not want to risk anyone's lives.” Mho said.
“Can we just go?” Myta asked. Her normally brown eyes were silver and her normally soft voice was hard and cold.
“No.” Mho said.
Rogan grabbed Myta's hand and pulled her toward the door.
“I said no.” Mho said more forcefully.
“You have to let us go.” Rogan said firmly.
“I am not required to let you go.” Mho's voice had changed from cordial to menacing.
“Why are you keeping us here?”
“Because you are going to find something for me. And for insurance, Myta will stay here.”
“NO!” Rogan shouted. There was no guarantee that Mho wouldn't kill her before he got back.
“Don't worry about it, Rogan. I'll be fine.” Myta told him.
“And to ensure that you don't try to sneak out.” Mho gestured toward her and in a puff of glittering blue dust, Myta was no longer Myta. She was a little bluebird. Mho picked her up and put her in a cage. Rogan picked up his sword and food pack.
“I'm going now. I'll be back. Don't forget that.” Rogan said bitterly.
Elon looked out the window. The boy was walking up the beach. The girl wasn't with him. He knew Mho would do that. Insurance, Mho called it. He did that all the time as a child. Elon stepped out to greet the boy.
Rogan looked up. The wizard was standing in the doorway. He was much younger-looking than Mho. Elon smiled as Rogan stopped in front of him. Rogan immediately liked him.
“I know why you've come.” Elon said.
“You have to tell me where it is. I have to save two of my friends.”
The boy sounded desperate.
“I know. My brother Mho. He is not something to be proud of.” Elon's smile had faded. “I apologize for the trouble that he has given you. Please come inside and have some lunch.”
Rogan followed him inside the pleasant cottage.
Calden hated these lizards. As soon as Myta and Rogan had left, the lizard warriors had knocked him out and when he woke up he found that he was in a dark, cold cave. When he tried getting up he found that he had been chained to the cave wall. He was fed. He had a bed of straw. Nothing more and nothing less than what he had in Hornae. He had tried escaping once, but that failed. There were too many warriors. They had caught him and he had tried to fight back. They overpowered him and he hit his head on a rock. He reached up and touched the deep gash on his head.
“The king wissshhhesss to sssee you.” a warrior had come in and was unlocking the iron ring around Calden's ankle. He tried to stand up, but he was still weak from the fight and collapsed. The warrior called in another warrior and together they dragged Calden to the black stone throne. The tyrant lizard king, who Calden had learned from the guards who were posted outside his cave, was not really supposed to be king. The crown and throne belonged to Sandslic, a lizard who Calden had not yet met. The guards dropped him at the foot of the throne.
“Human, do you know why you were left here by your companiansss?” the king's tongue flicked in and out.
Calden didn't reply.
“You were left becaussse they didn't want you. If they had wanted you, they would have fought for you.”
“That's not true!” Calden shouted. He knew what was happening. The king was trying to turn him against Myta and Rogan. That was something Calden would never do.
“It isss true. If you become one of my warriorsss, you will have a chanccce to fight agianssst the injustice of creaturesss turning agianssst their friendsss.”
“I will not turn against my friends.” Calden lunged forward, barely reaching the king before the guards pulled him back. Then everything went black.
Rogan had gotten the map from Elon. Elon had told him something about Myta. But right now he needed to focus on climbing this cliff. He slipped. He looked down. He was more than halfway up. He couldn't fall now. He would die, and then Myta would stay a bird and Calden would have to stay with the lizards. He swung his arm back up. He felt something grab his arm. He looked up. A dwarf, who looked very much like Hohe.
“Up ye come.” the dwarf said, pulling Rogan over the top of the cliff. “Did ye climb that on your own?”
“Yes.” Rogan panted.
“No ropes or such?” the dwarf was truly amazed.
“Yes. My father's a blacksmith so these arms can handle just about anything.” Rogan flexed the muscles in his arms. He felt that this dwarf was a friend and not a foe.
“Please come inside and have some supper.”
Rogan followed the dwarf inside a cave. He looked around. There was a cradle in one corner and a fireplace in the other. Standing over a pot, was a dwarf woman.
“Roetay, lookit what I found climbing up the rocks.” the dwarf said.
Roetay, apparently the wife, looked over her shoulder. “Why was he climbing up the rocks?”
“Why were ye climbing up the rocks, boy?” the dwarf asked.
“I'm searching for the Sword of Sun.”
“Yer wastin' yer time, I say.” Roetay said. “Fargo, we need more firewood.”
The king of Hornae clutched at the wound in his side. The wound, he knew, was fatal. He staggered as he stood. His sword bearer had helped him as far as the gates before the king had collapsed. When the bearer tried helping him up he stopped him. After resting for ten minutes, they stumbled through the gates. Soldiers rushed to help their king. One particularly strong soldier picked him up and carried him to the castle. Quintus, being not only an advisor, but a doctor also, rushed to the king's side with his bag of healing herbs and bandages. Even though Quintus had much knowledge of healing, the king died one hour later from the loss of blood. The queen, who loved her husband dearly, when told that he was dead, went into shock. The next morning she was found lying on the ground, dead. She had jumped from the highest point she could climb to. The kingdom was in shock. The soldiers retreated back inside the walls, too afraid to go on. The Spronans pillaged the small cluster of villages outside the walls, killing anyone who still lived there. With no one to rule the kingdom, Quintus was left with more responsibilities than he wanted and poisoned himself. None of the other advisors had the authority to rule. There was no heir. The kingdom was slowly dying. There was no hope left, except for the hope of two people. The people who had sent their son and his friend on a quest.
Every night Mogan and Slanya prayed their son would return. It would be a good day when he did. No sword could change the love they had for Rogan. So they waited and watched.
When he woke up, Calden was back in the cave again. He doubted they would risk letting him out again. He listened to the guards whispering about how dangerous he was. There was only one thing to do. Wait.
“I must thank you for your hospitality. You have been so kind. My friend Myta would have liked you.” Rogan was getting ready to leave.
“Take this.” Roetay handed him a food bag full of the mushroom and onion pasties he loved so much.
Rogan grinned. “They'll be gone before I get to the next cliff.”
“They better not be.” Fargo warned. “She'll followed ye to make sure ye don't.”
Rogan waved as he turned around. He had a full day head of him. Fargo had told him of a pass that would make the going easier. He would have to stop for lunch. He had to keep up his strength for the climb. When he looked back, he couldn't see the little cave. There was too much mist. He could see in front of him perfectly. But as he got farther, the mist got thicker, turning into fog. He lit the small lantern Fargo had given him. It did little to cut through the fog. Instead, it created an eerie light over everything he could see.
Before long, he began to get hungry and stopped to pull a pasty out of his bag. He hiked on and soon the fog cleared. Below him were the Plains of Sun. The sun was beginning to set, giving the yellow grass a red hue. The cliff he stood on was too steep to climb in the dark so he sat down with his back of the rock face behind him.
When he woke up, the sun had risen. But it was windy and cold. He pulled his cloak closer around him. He needed to get started. He wanted to find the Sword soon. He had an entire kingdom depending on him. He began climbing down, only to slip and fall three hundred yards.
“Is he breathing?” Rogan heard someone ask.
“Yes. Now go get your father and my medicine bag.” came the angry reply.
Rogan moaned and opened his eyes. “Where am I?”
“You are in my home in the Plains of Sun.” the woman said. “You took quite a fall.”
Rogan tried to sit up. “I have to go.”
“No.” the woman told him.
“You don't understand. I have to go now! It's important.”
“I don't know what's so important to you, but you're in no condition to go anywhere.”
“Mama, Papa's coming. Here's your bag. What's the strange boy's name? Can he play with me?” the little girl asked in one breath.
“No, Wenya. He's hurt.”
“I'm fine. I can't stay here any longer!” Rogan started to stand, only to fall.
“Like I said, you can't go anywhere. You've broken your leg.”
Rogan grimaced at the foul smelling herbs the woman was putting on his leg.
“I'm Edhea, by the way. What's your name?”
“My name's Rogan. When can I walk again?”
“You won't be able to walk for at least two weeks, but a year is best.” Edhea said.
“Edhea, what's the problem?” a man ran up
“This boy fell down the cliff and broke his leg. Wenya and I found him.”
“Wenya made it seem like someone was dying.”
“Well, she always had a dramatic side.”
Rogan looked up at the man who was bending over to pick him up.
“How old are you?” the man asked.
“I thought you were at least twenty.”
“Do I really look that old?” Rogan groaned.
“I've heard worse.”
The man smiled. “Why are you here, anyway?”
“I'm searching for the Sword of Sun. Elon told me where it would be.”
“Why are you looking for something that powerful?”
“The kingdom where I come from is in danger. I have a friend who needs to be rescued. Because she was turned into a bird by Mho, Elon's twin brother...” Rogan proceeded to tell the man everything that had happened since he, Myta and Calden had left Hornae. “ Why am I telling you this? I don't even know your name.”
“You can call me Grasre.” he said as he gently put Rogan down on a bed of soft grasses.
Rogan barely managed to squeak out a 'thank you' before he passed out.
Elon smiled when he saw Grasre and his wife, Edhea caring for Rogan. He laughed when he saw little Wenya's antics. Rogan was laughing with Wenya. Something rare for Rogan, Elon noticed.
Two weeks had passed and Rogan was walking with a limp. He was careful not to put too much weight on his leg. He enjoyed helping Grasre and Edhea with their simple farm. He loved Wenya as a sister. She was always smiling. When he had told Grasre and Edhea that he had to leave, he hoped they would understand. And they did. They wanted to go with him. They knew the Plains like Rogan knew his father's blacksmith's shop. He agreed to let them come. They were halfway there already. They stopped more often than Rogan would have stopped, because Edhea insisted that he rest his leg.
“Rogan, why do you have to find a Sword.” Wenya asked.
“I've already told you.” Rogan picked up the little girl.
“I know, but I like the parts 'bout Myta.”
Rogan smiled as he told her the story he'd already told her a hundred times before.
Edhea and Grasre grew to love Rogan as much as they loved Wenya, but something told them that no matter what they said, Rogan wouldn't stay. He couldn't stay.
“Look!” Wenya had been running ahead. She found a cave.
“That's where I saw the Sword!” Grasre said. He felt like a ten year old, getting this excited.
“No one's going in until we've eaten.” Edhea ordered.
No one protested, as they were all hungry. After they had eaten, Grasre and Rogan went in the cave. They needed a torch for only a few minutes, because they soon came to a cavern were the Sword was. The Sword was giving off a golden glow. Rogan walked over to the wall where it was hanging. The glow got brighter and it began humming.
“Careful.” Grasre warned. “When I found it, it did that and when I touched it, it burned my hand.”
Rogan ignored him and grabbed the hilt. It stopped humming, but the glow was still bright. He took it down and found the scabbard lying on the floor underneath it. He sheathed the Sword and buckled the scabbard around his waist, but the end dragged on the floor, so he slung it on his back. Satisfied, Rogan turned around and left the cavern, with Grasre on his heels.
Calden sighed and looked out the cave entrance. The sun was rising for the nineteenth time, since Rogan and Myta had left. Calden could only hope that they weren't dead. Or had forgotten about him.
Even though she was a bird, she still had the mind of a normal girl. Myta hated Mho. She wasn't scared of him. He gave her seeds, which she discovered she liked, and water. But the cage was small and being a bird made her want to fly. She discovered she liked to sing. So she sang all day, except for when Mho was in the room. She hoped Rogan had found the Sword.
Mogan and Slanya looked out at the chaos of the city. The normally contained animals were wandering everywhere. The normally busy market was empty. There had been hope before. But now there was none, not even from Mogan and Slanya.
Rogan thanked Grasre and Edhea and hugged Wenya before leaving. He had a long way to go. He would go the same way he had come, stopping only to rest and visit Roetay and Fargo. He began climbing. He was glad it wasn't too much strain on his leg. It took him twice as long as usual. He pulled himself up onto the ledge and lay there panting. When his leg stopped throbbing, he got up and went on. Before long he came to the cave home of Fargo and Roetay. He knocked on the little wooden door. The door opened. There was Roetay. When she saw him, her face lit in a bright smile.
“Fargo, come see who's here!”
“Ye found it, then.” Fargo walked up behind his wife.
“Yes.” Rogan replied.
“Come inside. Ye'll be needin' rest.” Roetay was beaming.
“I can't stay long. I have to go.”
“We understand that.” Fargo said. “Ye can just stay the night and ye can leave in the morning.”
“What happened to yer leg?” Roetay brought Rogan and Fargo bowls of soup.
“I fell and broke my leg. I'm fine.”
Roetay was not convinced.
“I'm sorry. I have to get rest so I leave early tomorrow. I hope you'll understand.” Rogan apologized.
Fargo and Roetay nodded and went to their corner of the cave. Rogan settled down on the floor by the fire.
He woke up early, before the sun rose. Roetay was already up and was gathering herbs and eggs from a shelf above the table. Rogan got up and quietly picked up the bags.
“Did I wake you?” Roetay asked.
“No. I was already awake.”
“I suppose you have to leave now.”
“Yes. Tell Fargo I said goodbye?”
“I will. Goodbye.”
Rogan climbed down the cliff, careful not to fall. He didn't want to delay his return any longer.
Elon's spirits lifted when he saw Rogan climbing down the mountain by Mho's home. He had gotten the Sword.
Mho looked out the window and realized that Rogan was coming. Coming for him! He hadn't been joking when he said he'd be back. And he had the Sword. The sword that was more powerful than Mho's magic. More powerful than Elon.
Rogan stopped on the beach. Panting, he walked to the water and washed his hands. The funny thing about the Sea of Empty was that it wasn't salt water, it was fresh. He drank some, frowning at the foul taste. He turned to Mho's cottage. He caught a glimpse of the haggard man ducking past a window. He couldn't have been Elon's twin brother. He was too old. Or maybe it was just that his evil did that to him. Rogan marched up to the door and knocked. “I'm back! Let me in!”
When there was no reply, Rogan kicked the door in. he immediately saw the small cage bird-Myta was in. he walked over and open the cage. She flitted out and around his head, then landed on a chair. Rogan continued his search for Mho. In the kitchen, a small lizard scurried out from under the cold ashes. It climbed up Rogan's leg and arm, stopping on his shoulder.
“Slici? What happened to you?” Rogan noticed that the lizard was considerably thinner, but much taller.
“Nothing. I grew up. Everyone hasss to sssomeday.” Slici replied casually.
“But you were a baby when I left!”
“Go sit with Myta. She got turned into a bluebird. Don't eat her!”
Slici slithered of to find Myta. Rogan turned back to his search for Mho. He walked into a small room, where there was a small fire burning under a black cauldron, in which was boiling a foul smelling concoction. Behind it, Rogan saw Mho. He was huddled in a corner, trying to not be seen.
“Go away!” he said.
“No. You come out and turn Myta back and I'll let you live.” Rogan commanded.
Mho laughed. It was a harsh sound. “You have no place to make demands. I am more powerful than you. I could destroy you with one touch of my little finger.”
Rogan winced. He pulled the Sword out of the scabbard. It was Mho turn to wince. Not only did he wince, he cowered. Rogan couldn't kill someone like that. Suddenly, Mho jumped at him. Before he knew what happened, he pushed Mho's dead body off of him. The Sword was humming loudly and though it was covered in blood, it was glowing brightly. Rogan walked to the kitchen and wiped the blade off with a grimy rag. Them he set the rag on fire and dropped it by a grimy curtain. They caught quickly and the fire began spreading. He ran to the front room and found Myta, back in human form, lying unconscious on the floor, picked her up and carried her to safety. He looked up to see Slici running out of the flames. He had his arms full of food. Rogan shook his head in amusement.
“Myta, are you alright?” Rogan shook her arm.
Myta opened her eyes. Her vision was blurry. Once it focused, she smiled, when she saw Rogan's face. She sat up.
“You got the Sword!”
“Myta! You are awake!” Slici had come over.
“Yes. I'm awake. My head hurts.”
Just then, the cottage exploded in a black cloud. When the cloud cleared, the cottage was gone without a trace. No debris. No burnt spot on the sand. No smoke. Not even a smoke smell.
“Do you think you can walk?” Rogan asked after a moment of surprised silence.
“I think I can still fly.” Myta laughed as Rogan helped her up.
If he hadn't been holding her up, she would have fallen down.
“Slici, can you carry the bag?” Rogan asked.
“Yesss. I can. You mussst help Myta.” Slici replied.
The three of them made their way to Elon's cottage on the other end of the beach. One limping, one leaning, one with an odd gait.
Elon stepped out of the cottage. Rogan was coming. Along with the girl and the lizard.
“Welcome!” Elon ushered them inside.
Rogan helped Myta to a chair, and she immediately collapsed in it. Rogan sat down in another chair and began massaging his leg. Slici went back outside.
“There's something familiar about you.” Myta said to Elon.
“Yes. I've known you since you were born.”
Rogan looked up.
“I have something to tell you, Myta.”
“I am your father. Your mother died the day after you were born. I couldn't care for you and I sent you to Hornae. I found a family that I thought was perfect for you, but the mother neglected you and the father was gone all the time. So I found Tiln and Roma. When they found you, they were overjoyed. They cared for you. They were the perfect ones I was looking for. They taught you things I could never teach you. But the things that I can teach you will be more useful to you now.”
Myta's face had gone pale. Her brown eyes had fleck of gold in them, matching Elon's eyes.
“You're my father?”
Elon nodded. Myta got up and ran outside.
Rogan had stayed quiet through all of this. “Why didn't you learn to care for a child?” he asked quietly.
“I don't know. I just couldn't.”
Rogan got up and limped outside to find Myta.
“Thank you, Slici. I feel better. I'm sorry about your Da.” Myta felt better after talking with Slici.
Myta had expected Slici to feel more sad after she told him about Sandslic.
Myta looked up. Rogan was standing beside her. She stood up.
“Rogan, I've decided to stay here with Elon.”
Rogan opened his mouth to answer, but Myta stopped him. “I want to know why the merpeople were scared of me, why the grass seemed to be greener when I walked on it, why all those strange things happened. Elon will know.”
Rogan didn't reply as he picked up his bag and stomped off to the boat. Slici followed him. Myta watched, wondering if she had lost a friend.
Rogan rowed away from the beach. How could Myta do that? He wanted her to go home with him and Calden, to share the victory.
“You are angry.” Slici broke his thoughts.
“Yes. Myta should have come back with me.”
“But that wasss before ssshhhe found out that Elon wasss her father. You are being ssselfissshhh.”
Rogan realized he was right. The rest of the trip was silent and uneventful.
Calden woke up to the sound of rushing feet. Most of the shouting was in the lizard's language, but some he could understand. A boat was coming. A boat with a man and a lizard. Rogan! He stood up. The guards came in and unlocked the chain. He walked out with them. Sure enough, there was Rogan on the beach. But the lizard they had left with was replaced by a younger looking lizard. The guards pushed him towards Rogan.
“Rogan, the king isn't really the king. The warrior who went with you is.” Calden looked at the younger lizard. “That's not him.”
“No. That's Slici. He's Sandslic's son. He was a stowaway.”
“We have to put Slici back in his place.” Rogan drew the Sword.
“Human, where isss Sssandssslic?” the king came up.
“He died. Protecting us.”
“How did he die?”
“He was stabbed in the neck.”
“Who killed him?”
“I don't answer to you. Instead, you will answer my questions.” Rogan brandished the Sword. Lizards cowered. “Are you the king?”
“You're truly the king?”
“No.” the lizard was trembling.
“Who is the king?”
“Which means his son is now king?” Rogan raised an eyebrow.
“Who is his son?”
Slici turned around from where he had been with his mother. “I am king?”
“Yesss.” the former king was still cowering at the sight of the Sword.
Rogan looked at Sslici’s face. The golden scales were more golden, a sign of excitement. He and Calden pushed the boat off and got in. they had to get back to Hornae.
Myta sighed and went inside. She had tons of questions.
“Myta, come eat supper.” Elon called from the kitchen.
“Why were the merpeople scared of me?”
“Because you have a good kind of magic. They are evil, therefore, your presence scares them.”
Myta nodded. She sampled the stew. It was good. soon after they finished, Elon showed her a trunk full of dresses. Velvet, satin, silk. Myta had never had anything so beautiful in her life. They were her mother's, Elon told her. Her mother had been a princess in a country in the east. She spent the rest of the evening, looking at all the dresses. Elon retired to his bedroom. The following morning, Myta put on a light green silk dress. She liked how it felt, how it shined in the morning sunlight. She was going to have her first lesson in the magic of planting.
Rogan and Calden gave the boat back to Hohe, and began the trek home. Neither of them spoke much. Once they got to the crest of the hill, they saw the destruction and the chaos the Spronans had caused.
“I hope everyone inside the walls are safe.” Calden said.
The lookout watched to two of them. He recognized Calden. The other one was the boy that had gone to find the Sword. He had the Sword!
“Open the gates!” he called down to the gate-openers.
The old gates slowly creaked open. Rogan and Calden walked in. Lining the dirt path were half the people of the city. No one spoke. There were one or two babies that were crying, but there than that there was no noise. Calden broke off when he saw some of his friends, leaving Rogan on his own as he walked up to the castle. The two guards that were guarding the doors, opened them immediately. Rogan walked in, wishing Myta could walk in with him. There was no king in the throne. There was no queen standing beside the throne. There were no advisors standing behind the throne. A figure dressed in black caught Rogan's eye. The man came out. “You have the Sword of Sun?”
“Yes. Where is the king?”
“He is dead.”
“Where is the queen?”
“She is dead.”
“Where is the chief advisor?”
“He is dead.”
“You are in charge, then?”
“Here is the Sword.” Rogan started to give it to him.
“No!” the man shouted. “I could kill me.”
“What do you mean?”
The man sighed. “Long ago, Elon hid the sword because too many people would get a hold of it and kill others. After he hid it, he made it to where only those of royal birth could touch it. Any other person it would kill.”
“But I'm not dead. I've carried it from the Plains of Sun and I've used it.”
That got the man's attention. “How old are you?”
“Come with me.”
Rogan followed the man to the library. The man pulled out a particularly ancient looking scroll. He spread it out on the table. He muttered to himself as he read.
“Ah, yes. Here.” he pointed to something on the page.
Rogan had never really learned to read. “What is it?”
“It says that you're the king.”
“How? I've lived with the blacksmith all my life, because I was orphaned.”
“Yes, well, the queen was too sickly to care for you and the king didn't want to bother with you. So they gave you to a servant who took you there.”
“How do you know this?” Rogan was confused.
“Because the king told me. I was his scribe.”
“And you never looked for the child? Never considered how his or her life could be changed?”
“The king didn't want me too. I tried.”
Rogan couldn't stay mad at this man. “So I'm the only heir to the throne?”
“Yes, unless the Spronans destroy the city.”
“They won't. I have family here. They won't destroy the city.”
“The kingdom has a king!” the scribe, Mantory, announced.
Rogan stood in the throne room with Mogan and Slanya. They were relieved that their son had come back alive. They had been shocked when Rogan told them the Myta had decided to stay with Elon. But they accepted it.
“The one who can wield the Sword is king. It is what Elon wished. So it is what we will do.” Mantory motioned to Rogan. Rogan walked out onto the balcony. The crowd erupted into cheers. Rogan held the Sword high, the sun reflecting off of it. When he lowered the Sword, Mantory placed the crown on his head. It was lighter than he expected. But his joy lasted only a few moments. Calden, promoted to captain, came and whispered in Rogan's ear, “The Spronans are attacking again.”
Rogan turned around and kissed his mother and hugged his father, saying goodbye again. He ran down the hall and the stairs. Calden ran to the barracks to rally the troops. They had new hope, having a king again. They were willing to die to protect their city.
Myta was enjoying herself, but she was bored. She sat outside, growing different flowers. She sighed and went inside. Elon had insisted she learn how to use the dish of water on the pedestal. She uncovered it and gasped. Rogan, she already knew was the new king of Hornae, but she hadn't expected him to be fighting in a war. She ran to find Elon, bumping into him.
“Yes. I know.”
“We have to do something.”
“Myta, long ago I learned that it is best to keep out of the fights of men.”
“Myta, there's nothing I can do.”
Myta ran to her room and buried her face in the pillows.
Rogan whirled around, stopping a Spronan soldier. He looked around. There were more Hornaens than Spronans now that the fighting had been going on for almost three hours. Rogan was surprised at his own energy and strength. The Sword hummed and Rogan found himself blocking a thrust to his back. It was the Spronan king!
“Cowards go for the back. Men go for the front.” Rogan mocked.
“This is no duel. This is war.”
“I could have been one of you own.”
The Spronan swiped at Rogan, who neatly sidestepped. The fighting had ceased and now people where gathered in a ring around the two kings. The few Spronan soldiers were huddled in a small group. The Hornaens cheered Rogan on. But this distracted Rogan and the Spronan king took advantage of the moment, slashing Rogan's leg. The cheers died off. Rogan looked down at the blood running down his leg. He looked around at all the dead bodies. He looked at the Sword in this hand. He looked at the Spronan king. He gritted his teeth as he shifted his weight to his other leg. He slashed out with the Sword, clipping this opponent’s sword arm. The king dropped his sword and grabbed his arm. That was all Rogan needed. He stuck the king in the stomach. The king looked shocked as he fell to his knees. He moved his hand from his arm to his stomach. Then he fell over, dead.
Cheers erupted from the Hornaens. The remaining Spronans ran as fast as they could, in direction of Sprona.
Rogan started to walk, but only go two feet before stumbling. Calden caught him before he hit the ground. He helped Rogan mount his horse. Before mounting his own horse, Calden tied a lead to Rogan's stallion. Leading the whole army of Hornae and Rogan's horse, Calden rode home.
In the gates of the city the crowds lining the streets were silent when they saw Rogan slumped over the saddle. But when he sat up, the entire city echoed with cheers.
Inside the castle courtyard, Mogan helped his son down and inside, where Slanya inspected the wound on his leg. It wasn't serious, just painful. Mantory, who was no longer scribe, but chief advisor, helped Rogan onto the throne. Waiting in the throne room were Elon and Myta. Rogan's face lit up when he saw Myta. She was different. Her eyes drifted from him to the Sword where it had been hung over the throne.
“I hope, your majesty, that the Sword of Sun will only be used in times of war.” Elon said.
“Yes. It will.”
Elon nodded. “I hoped that you will let Myta heal the battlefield.”
Rogan nodded. Myta smiled and walked out of the room. She found Calden and went down to the battlefield. She concentrated on the ground. Grass popped up, spreading over the whole field within ten seconds. Then flowers popped up everywhere. She turned to the horses. Calden helped her mount. She turned to Calden.
“Calden, I want you to become Rogan's personal bodyguard. I've heard grumblings in the market.”
Calden didn't question her. He knew better. “He'll not want that.”
“I can convince him.”
Rogan agreed to Myta's idea. He also issued bodyguards for his parents. The next day Myta and Elon left. Rogan stood looking out the window at the field. The same field where people were killed now had children playing in it.
Hohe was delighted with the gift he had received from the king. He had gotten two large bags of gold, and new boats. He looked out at the water. The merpeople had changed. They weren't cannibals. Hohe suspected it had something to do with the death of Mho.
Fargo and Roetay sat in their cave, staring at the sliver goblets Rogan had sent them. They liked that boy. The mist had cleared. Now the Mountains were clear and they were no longer harassed by the Men of the West.
Grasre loved the tools he had gotten. Edhea loved the herbs she had gotten and Wenya loved the dolls that Rogan had sent. She never knew why he had to leave. But it was safer to play outside now.
Slici received no gift, for the gift of his rightful place was enough for him. He had always hated the tyrant. He had him exiled to the small island, separated by the river.
FIVE YEARS LATER
Myta sat on the beach, watching the sun set. Suddenly she jumped up. She had realized that she was missing a part of her life. She ran inside and gathered her things. She was twenty-one now. Elon had died two years before. She carefully packed the water dish. The pedestal was too big. She would have a new one made. She was going home. Rogan had offered her a place in Hornae. She hoped that offer still stood.
Rogan sat in his bedroom, watching the same sun as Myta had. He saw her running towards the gates, her hair flowing behind her. It brought back memories. This time her face wasn't covered in soot and her dress wasn't torn.
Myta walked into the throne room. Rogan was waiting for her.
“I hope the offer still stands.”
“It does. But if you would like to stay with me forever, I would like you too.”
“I'd love that.”
The wedding was short. There was much to do. Myta ran about the castle, growing flowers in the strangest places. Rogan sat in the throne listening to the troubles of his subjects. Mogan made a crown for the new queen. She wore it lovingly. Before long, added to the sound of everyday life, was the crying of a baby girl. Myta would teach her everything she knew. Rogan would teach her everything he knew. She would become the next ruler of Hornae. But the time to use the sword would come soon and the Sword of Sun would hum louder and glow brighter. Until then, it will hang on the wall and hum and glow softly.