Chapter 1

"Mistress! Mistress! I have the discovered the most grievous of betrayals," says the young lady servant named Mary with long curly brunette hair and hazel eyes, who is visibly shaking.

"Please, Mary, speak of it so we may rectify the situation."

"Lady Avril, the Scepter of Power has been stolen!"

"WHAT!" Screams the pretty Princess of Azure with long straight brunette hair and soft and warm blue eyes jumping out of bed already dropping her nightgown. Her heart is pumping so hard and she is thinking so fast that everything begins to move in slow motion. "Call the Captain of the Guard at once and get me my battle outfit immediately. Now, Mary, do it at once! The safety of the world depends on it." Her own voice sounds to her as if it is hollow and coming from the abyss.

"Mistress, the Captain of the Guard has already been summoned. He will be here momentarily. I will grab your green tartan near knee length skirt with the dark green leggings and the deep blood red wine color shirt. Here, Mistress, put on your dark brown calf length traveling boots."

The very pretty sharp featured Princess is a fashion free spirit and her kingdom of Azure often leads the way for girls to dress pretty. The Princess's tartan skirts that are described as near knee length rest two marks above the knee as she gladly challenges any old beliefs that says the beauty that is woman must be buried under a pile of material, but she is not thinking about that now. The fate of the world rests in her hands and the decisions she makes in the very near future could either usher in another century of grandeur or end it all in a fiery explosion.

There is an explosive banging knock on the princess's door. "Enter!"

"Your Majesty, you have summoned me."

"The Scepter of Power has been stolen! Close the castle immediately and search it!"

"WHAT!" The six foot six blond-haired and blue-eyed very muscular forty-year-old Captain of the Guard screams. "I will close down the city, Lady Avril." And then he turns around and starts running down the long hall that is lined with paintings of former princesses and queens who were also the Protectors of the Scepter of Power. "To arms! To arms brothers and sisters our world Perennial is in danger."

Moments later the castle bells start echoing across the city and countryside.

Princess Avril turns to her most trusted and favored servant and friend, "Tell me what you know, Mary."

"As is my routine, Mistress, on my way here to wake you for the coming day I looked in on the Scepter of Power as I always do to give my praise to start off another day and it was gone. I could not believe my eyes. I ran up to the alter hoping that it had fallen off the display case. When I couldn't find it anywhere I ran here to you as fast as I could."

Princess Avril finishes lacing up her boots and stands up. The very fit princess may stand at only five foot two, but she is a well-trained master swordswoman and a very powerful sorceress to top it off.

Because Avril is of the Magic Kind that means she is tied into nature and creation. Though her hair is always very long, straight and naturally brunette, when her emotions get stirred up her hair changes color. Because the fate of the world now hangs in the balance she is annoyed and enraged so her hair is raven black and the tips are red. Through it all her soft and warm powerful blue eyes shine bright. The only thing that matches this princess's beauty is her heart and her mind.

"Here, Mistress, strap on your sword."

Just then a young houseboy comes running in with tears streaming down his cheeks. "Calm yourself, Brand."

"Yes, Mistress."

"Brand, run and get my horse ready."

"Yes, Lady Avril." And with that he is gone like a shot.

"Mary, I think I better bring my bow."

"At once, Mistress."

As the princess of Azure and her maiden Mary are hurrying down the long hall Avril stops and turns to her great grandmother's portrait who was also a Protector of the Scepter of Power and tears fill her eyes. Avril reaches out to the painting, touches it with reverence and says, "I'm sorry, grandmother. I will not bring down shame on the house of Serene or the Ophelia Coven, of that I promise the winds."

"Fear not, Mistress, we will find it."

Avril nods her head in appreciation for the kind words and they continue down the hall. With each portrait Avril passes she feels a surge of confidence and pride. As Avril is of the Ophelia Coven her powers are entwined with nature and positive thoughts breed positive energy. From every portrait of a woman who was a sister witch and chosen as the Protector of the Scepter of Power by destiny just like her she takes in an influx of power and belief.

About half way down the hall the Captain of the Guard with twenty other soldiers comes running at her full bore. The booted feet on the cold gray stone sounds like a stampede. Not even the fine red and gold carpet can soften their intent.

"Speak, Captain Jack."

"We have found a dead guard at one of the servants entrances, in fact through the Kitchen. The change of guard happened at two in the morning so we know it was stolen some time after that and between five when Mary discovered it missing."

"Three hours! They could be many leagues away by now. Send out a hundred patrols immediately and send messengers to all our Friendly nations and inform them of the grave danger we all now face."

"The patrols are already scouring the countryside, Mistress, but I will send both bird and rider to our Friends. They will mobilize with great force, Lady Avril, and we will return the Scepter of Power to you, my Princess. Our Friends will send their greatest warriors to stand at your side, milady."

"Please, Captain, scour the countryside and the world if need be and get my personal guard ready. I will go out myself also after I contact my sisters."

As Avril makes her way down the hall finally the last door on the left of the very long hall comes into view. Unless you are coming up the hall and then the door would be the first one on the right. Either way it is Avril's personal study and meditation room.

She none-to-gently throws opens the door, but still with reverence in her heart she kneels before a collage of soil, leaves, sticks, stones, precious gems and several bones of animal who died fulfilling their destiny. The power of the Ophelia Coven is directly tied into nature and the collage she now kneels before is a portal to that power and her coven.

On her knees in her green tartan skirt, with dark green leggings, and her deep red shirt she bows to the Focal Point of power of her coven. She reaches out and lays her shaking hand upon the creation and when she touches the collage it glitters with power and then she speaks these words, "Glistening diamonds of redemption come to me now for the need is dire."

When a soft warm wind starts blowing inside the room Princess Avril knows she is connected to creation and time. Avril's long, straight, back to brunette hair starts blowing about her as she continues saying, "Sisters, the Scepter of Power has been stolen and the world is in the gravest of dangers. Gather the coven and go to the Center.

"All must start putting positive vibrations into the Web of Existence so I will have the strength to endure any all trials and tribulations and save the world once more. Thank Our Mother for me as I must now take a direct hand." And with that Princess Avril pulls her hand from her coven's symbol of beauty and power and stands up and hurries out of the castle.

As soon as Avril leaves the castle at full speed on her white stallion, she turns northwest and starts heading towards the High Territory of Free Range Stray.

The High Territory of Free Range Stray is one of two territories on the continent of Zebrina set aside for animal life to exist in relative peace while the sentient beings of the world Perennial continue to grow in population. It is entirely mountainous, and by far the most treacherous terrain on the continent of Zebrina.

"Are you sure they would come this way, Lady Avril?"

"Well, Sergeant Emry, I'm not a hundred percent sure of anything at the moment, and yes the terrain will slow them down significantly, but it will also give them endless places to avoid our pursuit. Either way, we have patrols going out in concentric circles in all directions, so it is up to us to cover this region."

"Yes, Mistress."

They ride all that day without stopping to eat. They only stop to search every home, every wagon and single rider. Every clump of trees and every rock outcropping are searched for any signs of recent activity that might signal that the thief or thieves were here not so long ago. Riding with Princess Avril is her personal guard of twenty soldiers, and Sergeant Emry is a master tracker.

Finally the sergeant gets Avril to at least eat some food and rest the horses at a stream that runs through the mountainous portion of her kingdom of Azure. She does not stop fidgeting the whole half an hour they spend there. If not for the love and the connection Princess Avril has for nature and for the horses because she is a witch of the Ophelia Coven, she would not have stopped that long.

"Mistress, we must wait until morning."

"Nonsense, it is just passed a full moon and we have plenty of light to see by."

"Yes, Mistress."

By the time the sun rises, the gargantuan mountains of the High Territory tower before them. They waste no time going for elevation.

"Mistress, please, we have seen no evidence of anybody coming this way," the sergeant is pleading with the princess to turn around.

Exhausted beyond reason, Princess Avril lowers her head in defeat, but a moment later she brings it up with a look of determination and defiance on her sharp featured very pretty face and says, "I will not accept defeat! We move forward, for faltering is not a choice!"

"Please, Mistress, then let me take ten men and we will search for the Scepter of Power. Soon our Friends will be sending help and they will be wanting to see you." The sergeant is looking at her with a hopeful look.

Avril sighs, "Continue the search, sergeant Emry, and I will return to Peachtree and my castle. Good luck."

"Thank you, Mistress." The sergeant splits their forces and kicks his group into action and disappears into the rugged Brittle Mountains, before his princess can change her stubborn mind.

Avril Serene, Princess of Azure, Protector of the Scepter of Power, Wielder of the Sword of Fire, Sorceress of Light and the Singer of the Tales of her tribe the Ophelias, zigzags back and forth looking for any signs of the Scepter of Power.

As they are riding along in silence, Avril is wondering what it could all mean. The Scepter of Power has a huge blue sapphire as the focal point of its power and is priceless, but nobody could buy it or possess it on this continent without somebody finding out eventually.

As soon as possible her Friends will be closing down all shipping so it cannot leave the continent. Avril's greatest concern is that a dark power has taken the Scepter of Power to prevent it and her from reaching their destiny.

By the time Avril and her patrol return to the capitol city of Peachtree in the kingdom of Azure, Avril is tired, dirty, and her long hair is wild as it has gone days without a brushing or washing, and it will take many hours to get all the knots out from the hard traveling.

By the time they ride up to the castle it is mid-morning and Maiden Mary is on the steps waiting for her anxiously. "Mistress."

"What is the latest word?"

"There has been no word or sign, Lady Avril."

"Damn it!" says Avril, as she is dismounting her stallion.

Avril gets down off her horse and plops down on the steps of her castle and screams at the top of her lungs. She screams for an unbelievably long time.

"Feel better?"

"Not really. Damn it!" She shakes it off and stands and starts making her way into the castle. As they are making their way, Avril then asks, "Any news from our Friends?"

"No, Mistress."

Just then the stable boy who is taken her horse away to care for it yells out, "Mistress, look, it is a dragon!" Everybody follows his gaze upward.

As they are standing there on the steps watching the golden dragon slowly spiraling down, Avril says, "Finally, some help."

As the dragon is preparing to land Avril notices there is a person sitting on the back of him or her. The golden dragon spreads its wings wide and gives one final thrust of power as he and his rider land none-too-gently on the ground in the courtyard. A huge cloud of dust goes airborne and envelops the princess and everybody else.

The rider quickly and expertly dismounts the dragon and comes walking towards the princess. He is amazingly agile in his battle armor. He is waving his hand to clear the air as he says, "Stupid dragon. Sorry about that. Oh, hi, I'm Roy Bane, knight of the kingdom of Montgomery and leader of the Clans of the Northern Warlords." Then he walks up the stairs and gives the Maiden Mary a big smile and a bigger hug.

Mary smiles, but tilts her head towards Princess Avril. The knight Roy Bane looks the dirty and disheveled princess up and down and then shrugs his shoulders and gives her a big hug.

The princess isn't quite offended by the action, but she does think it odd.

It is the Maiden Mary who speaks up for propriety, "Sir knight, that is Princess Avril Serene."

"Cool! Anyway, Princess, word has been sent to all Friends and all shipping has been shut down, and the blockhead here has his kind circumventing the continent to make sure no ships or dark creatures make it off this island. Has there been any word?"

The princess shakes her head no. When she does so, the knight notices that her brunette hair gets streaks of raven through it, but as he looks to investigate it further it returns to normal.

"No? Oh well. Not to fret, lovely lady, we will find your Scepter of Power soon enough. You there, young lad, see to my dragon."

Of course the dragon doesn't actually need seeing to, but Roy just likes to see the looks on peoples faces when he does it.

"Just kidding. Anyway, show me where the Scepter of Power was stolen from!" then he starts walking up the stairs. About half way up he realizes no body is following him, so he turns around looking down at the princess. "What?"

For the rest of this story, you need to Log In or Register

Story tagged with:
Werewolves / Fantasy / Dragons / Dwarves / Magic / Knights /