Part 38

A pretty cage is still a cage

The room had been laid out nicely enough,  a small bed made up with warm blankets,  a table set with a jug and bowl for bathing. A stool, books, a selection of warm clothes and a hairbrush. All simple humble items, everything and nothing at all… The windows were barred and high up the wall, impossible to see any view from, yet the wind howled around the tall ceiling. At times crows would caw at the bars, dancing across the rafters, to fly free again with their mocking cry taunting the Princess prisoner curled up on the rickety bed, wrapped in a military jacket. Her tears had dried upon her cheeks and she felt like there were no more tears to shed. Alleia trembled, cold and afraid. Watching the crows with envy.

The bolt slid back upon the heavy iron door, Alleia flinched, sinking deeper into the jacket as two heavily armed barbarians bustled in with Pepe. “You have ten minutes.” The taller brute barked gruffly. Leaving Pepe alone with his wife, the two thugs waited beyond the door.

“Are you here to gloat?” Alleia sniffed.

Pepe sat on the bed with a creak, gone was his immaculate golden curls, his fine silks, exotic satins and lace he favored. His hair was clipped and styled more masculine, clad instead in a smart suit. “No Alleia, I’m not here to gloat.” He had dropped his former camp tone and sighed heavily. “Your have no idea how badly I desired you and how much it  pained me to learn about your affair.” He ran his fingers absently through her hair.

“Was our entire marriage a lie?”

“Yes, of course. A lie built on greed, a hunger for power, for land. Land your father wanted to control, my land. You were a sweet bargaining tool, nothing more and I had different plans for you, rest assured. Then you went and got yourself pregnant by a soldier,  a common guard.” Pepe spat.

“It wasn’t an affair.” Her words felt hollow.

Pepe grabbed her face by her chin. “Do not waste your breath on bitter lies.”

“You planned this all along?”

“No, Fendor planned this all along. When you got pregnant, I didn’t want you anymore, you were tainted, touched by another man… I had waited so long to possess you, to claim your body as my own, to drop the whole act, I was waiting for… hummmmm… I’ve said too much, you don’t need to know…” Pepe released her face and reached into his suit pocket to draw out a carefully folded document.

Alleia felt her baby kick.

“I can not save your life, precious, but I can save your unborn.”


“I have my reasons and I have no reason to explain myself to you.” Pepe handed her the document. “I need you to sign this.”

Alleia unfolded the parchment, reading through the legal document. It relinquished any rights the child might have to the throne and named Pepe as guardian.

“You expect me to sign this? To sign my child away as your property?” More tears fell then.

“Yes, Alleia.” He placed a fountain pen into her hand.

“Sign and I shall protect the baby. Refuse and you both die, the guards outside the door have orders to behead you should I leave this room with this paper unsigned. Therefore, if you have any passion for your child, you will sign.”

Alleia sobbed, the pen trembling in her hand. “I hate you.”

She signed her name, broken hearted and torn.


Anne Harrison 04.03.17

Part 32

Alone in the night…

Pepe was not there when Alleia returned to their lavish quarters, he had mentioned an evening engagement and she assumed it was with one of his male companions. Not that it bothered Alleia, she felt dreadfully hormonal and her little one was wriggling playfully. So she curled up, wearing Kane’s uniform,  unable to eat, unable to sleep,  restless and forlorn.

Absently she plunged her hands deep into the jacket pockets and found items forgotten therein.  Curious,  she sat up and pulled out the contents upon the sheets before her…

Discovering a tobacco pouch and tinderbox,  a few coins, a handful of scrap parchment and three new arrow heads wrapped in oiled leather…

Unfolding the parchment Alleia discovered basic child-like attempts of writing, scribbled practiced alphabet and short simple words – Cat – Dog – Rock – Man – Kane …  He had been trying to teach himself to write.

However,  turning the parchment over, she uncovered a collection of sketches,  charcoal and chalk. The hand drawn pictures were breathtaking, each one her portrait. They must have been drawn from memory,  yet each one was so finely detailed, a mole on her throat,  freckles, curved smile line,  single nose ring. All tiny features carefully recalled.

An older,  dog eared parchment was jumbled in with the rest,  yet this portrait was not of Alleia… She frowned, a lock of hair tumbled free, a shot of jealousy cut through her core… His pictures clearly indicated an unspoken affection,  yet her own reaction to the mysterious girl caused Alleia to question her own emotions…

It took a while to identify the last sketch and her jealousy subsidised as she realised the image as ‘The Child of Prophecy’… A gasp escaped her lips as she clutched the hair, realising that the blonde Curls must have once belonged to the most magical creature ever to have graced the land…  Deep within her own womb, her unborn fluttered and twitched…

“You cunning bastard Kane…”  Alleia mused to herself,  carefully tucking the hair and sketch away…
Anne Harrison 21.02.17

Part 24

Split Decision


General Fendor, his mind troubled, was part way betwixt the maze and the castle when the sudden blue flare erupted from the banqueting hall with alarmed cries and a crack like thunder. He dashed forwards, heart racing… then paused… his instinct screaming at him to turn back, so he spun on his heel and inched back towards the mouth of the maze.

A dull red glow crept across the ground, like a thick mist enveloping all it touched with tendrils of light. Fendor’s anger swelled as he gathered up discarded clothes, turning the twisting path through the tall hedges, appalled by the naked figures wrapped in a red glow, oblivious to his arrival until he threw down the clothes and caught Kane by a fistful of hair, dragging the young soldier to his feet.

Instinctively Kane turned to defend himself, the Princess yelped and reached for concealing clothes, Fendor was swifter and blocked any attack snarling at Kane with pure fury. “Are you a total fucking idiot?!” He shook the lad. “What the fuck were you thinking?!”

The pale blue glow from the tallest towers was slowly starting to dissipate, but alarms were resounding through the Royal Palace, guards launching into action, sprinting to the grand hall at haste.

The Princess stepped up to Kane’s side, attracted to the chaos in the tower… “What is it?” She whispered… The red light surrounding them started to dissolve…

Fendor sighed and let lose his grip on Kane’s hair… “I don’t know and I don’t know what you two think you are playing at. ” He struggled to maintain respectful to the Princess, yet his anger was slipping away… “I know we don’t have time to stand and debate the esoteric and I know I don’t need to stick my neck out for you!” He poked Kane in the chest. “We could both be hung for this now!” Fendor paused thinking swiftly…

“Get dressed and get to the barracks.”

Kane hesitated, he turned to the trembling Princess… “Will I see you again?”

Fendor slapped him across the back of his head… “Could you be anymore stupid?!”

Yet Alleia kissed Kane deeply, a silent promise… He pulled his clothes on then, swiftly before he got another crack on his skull, yet despite all the trouble they were in, both lovers kept grinning… Alleia was still grinning after Kane had fled…

“My gown is ruined.” There was fear behind her smile now, she was shaking.

“Everyone is distracted if come to my quarters, I can furnish you with some of my late wife’s garments. You were at a party right? We can say you were sick and ruined your dress, too much fine wine and exotic food can turn the stomach, besides it would explain your absence.” Fendor slipped off his jacket and placed it around her slender shoulders. “We should make haste.”


Anne Harrison 03.02.17

Part 23

Magical Stirrings – The twin stones awake…


Pride of place, upon a high centerpiece upon the banquet table, The clear blue crystal, presented to the King by his triumphant Son in a dressed up farce of a ceremony, stood as crowning glory at the celebration, which was showing no sign of slowing down any time before dawn. Lords and Ladies, Viscounts and neighboring Kings congratulated the Prince, admired the captured stone and lusted over it’s mythological magical properties.

The story of recovering the crystal was recounted and exaggerated as the evening became more drunken, the death of the Child of Prophecy and her Guardian were seen as the end of the war – incidentally, the Prince also took credit for the death of The Guardian too – The whole affair was disgusting to Hera, who remained by the Priests side, acting as his loyal consort, the only way she could stay safe and hidden was right among the people she despised.

The Prince appeared forlorn, having ceased drinking hours ago, a resigned embarrassment consumed his dull thoughts. Hera picked up on this when he displayed mercy for the Phoenix, she would watch that young man with interest… Had her magical healing altered his conscience?

Without warning the blue stone started to hum upon its perch, most party goers was unaware of this subtle action. Then it stared to vibrate and finally glow, a bright blinding light erupted from its heart with a ear piercing cry, like nails on a chalkboard.

People dropped glasses to cover their ears as the cry intensified, the glow enveloping the whole hall…


The red stone was kept wrapped in cloth in Kane’s left hand pocket, though his clothes were currently discarded along a grassy path in a twisting maze, the magical stone was connected to him. It pulsed, like a steady heartbeat, rolling free from the fabric, glowing and moaning to be with its owner. Finally resting against the lovers bare flesh, Kane felt its call and reached out a hand to grasp his ‘lucky charm’ the power from it wrapped them both in a deep red light, magic flowing through the common soldier, the married Princess. Their lust reached it’s peak Kane held the crystal to Alleia’s breast, over her heart…

As they cried out together, the crystal sank into her flesh…


Anne Harrison 01.02.17


Part 22

Brief Encounters…


“Who are you?” Alleia breathed, her eyes boldly met Kane’s without hesitation.

“Nobody.” He smiled, holding her gaze.

Silence followed, they just paused there in the corner of the courtyard, the remaining troops left the training ground and the silence intensified.

General Fendor leaned against the cool wall out of sight and hesitated, he fought the urge to leave, knowing that he was expected at the celebrations, yet as a Royal Guard, he felt a duty to watch over the Princess.

Alleia stepped by Kane, her gown lightly brushing against his bare skin, she still maintained eye contact and without a word invited him to join her on a walk through the elaborate gardens beyond the courtyard walls. Kane simply followed.

It was forbidden for the common soldiers to step foot in the Royal Grounds, Kane could be lashed for merely walking alongside the Princess as she tiptoed barefoot through the wild grasses, yet the smile still played upon the corner of his lips as he casually slipped an arm around her waist. He was dirty from fighting, grime stained the silken robe with fresh blood and sweat. Neither cared, nor noticed the contamination of perfection.

She leaned against his body pausing mid step to turn into his arms, there was no hesitation, no words and no care. The silk was torn as they tumbled into the concealing high hedges of a long lingering maze.

General Fendor ceased to follow them at that point…


Anne Harrison 01.02.17


Part 20

Ooh how the other half live…

… If the shock of the poverty within the slums and tumble down cottages within the city wasn’t enough to distress Hera, then the banquet that awaited the Kings elite men – Not the common soldiers – just those dressed up hogs at the top of the food chain, would turn her stomach.

Before them, generous golden platters were presented heavily laden with various exotic dishes, meats and fishes, game birds, wild boar a whole venison, fresh rabbit and peacock and swan. Fruits and cakes were brought in next and the wine never ceased to flow. There was far too much food for the handful of men around the table, yet they tore into the feast like rabid dogs. Hera picked, feeling sick, sat by the side of her fiance listening to the lies and bull shit which danced on greedy tongues, spreading wild exaggeration about recent events. Painting the prince Regent to be the hero he clearly was not.

The Prince himself sat to the left of his mother in reigned silence, occasionally he glanced over to Hera, sharing her distaste for the gossip, hardly touching his food. A bumbling fool dressed up to be a hero, mended by a witches magic, his mind healed and opened to the falsehood of his life. His sisters danced, entertaining their noble husbands who had traveled far for this celebration. The re-capture of the stone of prophecy signified victory for these foul heaving mass of greed and vulgar depravity… Hera feared for the people living in filth far below these high towers.

A display of captured creatures following the dancing Princesses as entertainment, for the rich to poke and scoff at. Rare beasts, wild beauties, exotic magical animals, paraded in gilded cages, new exhibits for the Kings personal zoo…

Among them a Phoenix, cramped in glittering jewels, no room to spread his rainbow wings, his beak tied up with a chain, eyes dead, hollow, haunted. Hera gasped, her disgust masked as awe, she stepped forth approaching the cage desiring nothing more than to free the magnificent bird, but was halted by it’s stern glare. The Phoenix was a creature of magic, he would sense and see beyond the illusion which dressed Hera, he would see her pure thoughts, her wild heart. He understood any action would cause them both unnecessary conflict and told her this by his thoughts, clear as crystal captured sunlight, his voice reached out to the disguised witch and promised action at the right point in time. Not before…

Hera nodded to herself and glanced over to the Prince in sudden alarm, he was altered by magic, would he have heard the silent conversation?

The Prince just smiled…


Anne Harrison 25.01.17


Writing Prompt, Part 19 and a Part…


Musing Mind Mould…


Sometimes you need to come across those precious snippets of information found on tumblr to spur you into action, to cast off the suffocating chains of writers block and find my spark again, but finding inspiration doesn’t always light that spark and creativity can wonder off in a world of it’s own and meanwhile my collection of characters are in story limbo land waiting for something to do. I almost imagine them playing cards or smoking a long clay pipe awaiting direction from my finger strokes…

My tangent has been a series of ten abstract paintings and two mixed media pictures… All of which have poems attached to them (or will have – three are written) … I’m not sure how I’ve ended on this path, but I have discovered a tangled route, barely visible, a little messy and altogether pointless! I’m no artist, I can’t paint an abstract painting any more than I can write a sonnet (which I tried once – I liked it) … I’m no artist, but I will paint… I’m no writer, but I love to write and here I am, sat at my desk once more, facing that blank screen and searching my mind for the words I want to share today…


…Writing Prompt, Part 19 and a Part…


The caravan ambled through the narrow city streets winding their way towards the Royal Castle that overlooked the land dark and imposing, vicious fangs of black stone reaching up to the sky, blotting out the low sun, high towers circled with birds of prey which roosted in the tall rafters. Onlookers regarded the troops with curiosity and forlorn broken expressions, a society broken by the news that had reached the city before the caravan. The child of prophecy had died, the King victorious, triumphant – His people numb, they lived in the hope that the magical spirit of the child would free them from the strangling grip of oppression, poverty and starvation. While fine Lords and Royalty lived in perfect luxury, separated by thick stone and a considerable quantity of armed forces.

The troops following the caravan home were indifferent to the scenes surrounding them as they marched in practiced uniform step behind the oxen drawn wagons. Those captured, those dragged along behind, met the gazes of the broken, broken resigned to be broken. The slaves, the citizens … little actually separated their fate …

Upon a filthy broken wall someone had chalked bitter words of contempt, the unknown author hung nearby from a rotten tree a bitter reminder for anyone who spoke out against Royalty decaying a putrid.

“Welcome to your Kingdom!” Hera said sarcastically to the Prince sat by her side. She had exerted her powers to healing the youth, stitching together the split threads of his sanity so he could present the stolen gem to his father, to be magnificent in the eyes of his people. Hera herself wore the image of a mature hansom woman of a ripe age and full of figure, thick auburn hair was tied up in elegant knots, she was the consort to the Priest and a wedding would be announced along side the Princes victory.

“Rejoice young Prince, you will be a hero to these people!” Her sarcasm grated upon his nerves, but he had forgotten how grizzly it was within the city. This was not the heroic return he had envisioned, he saw only hatred and with each step closer to the castle his growing anticipation of facing his father grew, until panic threatened to overwhelm his fragile mind. Hera placed a cold hand upon his arm, somehow easing his thoughts, a calmness encased him.

‘You will do the right thing one day.’ Her voice resounded within his thoughts… A promise he felt was too massive to fulfill…


Anne Harrison 24.01.17



Part 18

*Of Crystals and Kings*


He paced, alone across cold marble tiles, his steps echoed throughout the rafters of the tall tower. Occasionally he would approach the narrow diamond leaded glass window to watch the steady journey of the caravan. His anticipation was heavily laced with anxiety, excitement and apprehension. His mind racing with a thousand possible outcomes, what to say? What to do? How to resolve and problems which might arise… All of which were non-existent beyond his over active thoughts. Yet he felt obliged to play out every circumstance in his mind, so he could be mentally prepared for any possible situation.

A long heavy sigh escaped his lips as he turned away from the window once again to resume his pacing. A subtle cough drew attention from his swirling mind to the fact that he was no longer alone. His wife, the Queen, stepped forth to stand before him, absently straightening the cravat of his uniform without looking up to face him. “You are never usually nervous My Lord.” She spoke softly, yet it felt as though her very words resonated around the tower like a church bell toll. It grated upon his resolve, she was of course, correct. “Nervous to see our son?” Said as a question, yet this was another correct observation, for the King and Prince had parted upon ill terms and now the arrogant youth returned with the Crystal of Legend, potentially successfully ending the lingering war. Triumph was so closely in grasp and still the King feared his bumbling child would ruin this victory. He simply nodded his accord.

The Queen looked up from under feather tinted lashes and perched on tip toe to kiss the end of his nose, her smile warm and the action resulted in a wide grin from the nervous King. She was far younger than him, her youth still evident in her actions, her graceful manners and carefree flow. She was loved by her Lord and by the people he reigned, yet she had only borne one son from six children. Their daughters, as hansom as their mother, as regal as their father were scattered throughout surrounding lands, sealing many treaties and contracts with neighboring Lords through marriage.

The Prince was the youngest child, the sole male and the most difficult to raise. His arrogance was insufferable, so he was sent off into the wilds, flanked by a loyal General and wise Priest on an impossible mission to seek the fabled Crystal, stolen years ago, the story, near a legend now, yet it was this theft which had triggered the war. The King hardly anticipated the Princes success, news of which had reached him ahead of the returning caravan.

“Be a Father first, My Lord, then King.” His Queen spoke with a soft smile and once again he simply nodded his accord…


Anne Harrison 10.01.17


Part 17

*A convenient proposal*


It was a dirty day, the sky ash grey, full of moisture but not rain. A dense fog rolled around the hills, languid and stagnant as the caravan turned into the valley which lead as a natural path towards the capital city, which towered even above the fog like fierce knives stabbing the sky.

Hera rode with Sharmara at the head of his personal trailer. He had been silent, brooding, deep in thought since an in depth conversation with Fendor earlier that morning. The two men had engaged in several serious councils frequently and Hera just knew that this was relating to the mysterious stone and the broken Prince.

“What if I said I could heal The Prince before we arrive to see his father?” Hera spoke softly.

“Are you really that good?” The Priest had a stammer in his voice, the issue was clearly perplexing .

“I have faith in my abilities.”

Sharmara scoffed “I expect your demands will be high?” The conversation developed into negotiations, with the city in sight the situation with His Royal Highness was becoming impossible to ignore and even more impossible to conclude to a reasonable solution.

“Well? Name your price?”

Hera pondered over the question carefully, knowing that this could signify her freedom, but what would freedom actually mean if her kind were still persecuted…

“I want to be your wife.”

Sharmara near fell from his perch upon the van. “Wife?”

“You are a Kannrok Priest are you not? The Kannrok order has no demands of celibacy, their Priests may marry, some even have multiple wives.”

“Would you not prefer your freedom, money, property?”

“What good are these if I can still be hunted? I could be arrested, my assets seized and myself put to death. Your offer is generous, but I would be safer in the city as your wife.You need not expose my true nature, I can even change my outward appearance to relieve you of my hideous visage. You know my powers and I know you can hide me within plain sight.”

“… And you can fully heal The Prince?”

Hera nodded “I can even manifest a replica stone for the young Prince to present to his Father. I know yourself and Fendor are musing over the nature of the crystal and I understand neither of you feel this is safe in the hands of the immature Prince.”

“How do you know that?” Sharmara frowned…

“I really am that good.” She smiled, her appearance shifted  as she changed expression, exposing a hidden beauty under the grime.

Sharmara blinked but the illusion was gone, a subtle promise of the beauty his wife could behold by his side.

“If you really are that good, if you can heal The prince, if you can fool the King. Then I shall make you my Bride Hera.” He replied with sincere honestly.


Anne Harrison 13.12.16


Part 16

*Of grief, of revenge, of strength, of madness*


Hera knew the exact moment The Guardian died, she knew exactly how he died, where and by whose hand. Her skills with the sight were so fine, she felt it in her heart, witnessed it through her minds eye and throughout her grief remained silent as the caravan journeyed forth upon the trail back to the capital city, to the awaiting triumphant King and victory.

The Priest was a constant companion, he was her protector and no one dared harass the Witch in his care. This proved useful, yet also frustrating, his constant questions and demands upon her abilities were draining, but he was entertained with simple parlor tricks and slight of hand so Hera had no fear of letting any true magic fall into his hands. It also presented her with the opportunity to get close to events unfolding upon the road. The Princes insanity being the most pressing urgency, he played with his marbles and jabbered, drooling broken minded.

Hera had deduced that Fendor and Kane both held halves of the gem without one each others knowledge. Kane remained within the ranks of the common soldiers, hidden in plain sight, concealing the power he held. Though his fellow troopers clearly held him in high regards after he had so coldly dispatched of The Guardian, but even this had fallen under the attention of his superiors.

Fendor was of a stronger mind than the fragile Prince and when alone he would consult with the blue stone he carried. His logic overwhelmed his fear, he was not a superstitious man, yet respected magic even if he did not fully understand it.

So, he sat alone upon the humble bunk in his own caravan, off duty, relaxed with a sweet mead.  Fendor took the stone from his pocket and laid it upon the blankets before him, seated himself crossed legged and sprinkled the stone with mead, a custom he had witnessed his Mother enact many a moon ago. Though the details now escaped his memory, it felt like the right thing to do and the stone reacted, she shuddered, humming into life before his very eyes. A deep inner flame sparkled and pulsed, as the mead was absorbed, the offering gratefully accepted.

“Who are you?” Fendor whispered, initially feeling idiotic addressing a rock.

“I do not have a name.”

“I can not just call you blue stone, now can I?”

“What would you like to call me?” The voice was so sweet, musical.

“Beryl is blue, I shall call you Beryl.”


If a stone could smile, Fendor imagined she did.

“You said you wanted to be whole, when I first held you, care to elaborate?”

“I’m broken, there is a second half to me, scarlet and powerful. We were split when our host died, but we can not be whole again without another host.” Beryl wove her sad tale to the soldier, unaware of the danger she could be placing herself in, she trusted the man before her more than the weak minded Prince.

Fendor could be quite useful, she mused silently …


Anne Harrison 08.12.16