Once upon a time in land less far far away then long long ago a dried up well existed that as legend had it would trade a wish for ones most valued trinket. This wishing well sat on the border between two of the Kings most valued knights. Sir Caleb Hughes and Sir Warburton Kensington, this however is not their story it is the story of their sons. This is a tale of their sons' adventures, their trials and tribulations and most of all of their love.
The young Padraig Kensington with his jet black hair rushed through tall green corn stalks away from his family's farm. The boy dropped a brown sack on the ground. He was scrawny but had the potential to become a strong man. He leaned over the wishing well wall and looked down into the darkness.
"I wish..." he said bluntly, reached into his bag for a trinket, dropping it down the well. Then whispered the rest of his sentence as quietly as possible. He sat down on the edge of the well after he finished wishing, crossed his arms and waited. Nothing was happening. He waited, and waited, very impatiently, huffing and growing agitated. He stood back up, and leaned over to look down at the darkness of the well again.
"I said I wish..." and again he reached into the bag pulled out another trinket dropping it into the well. He whispered the rest of his words as gently as he could. He sat on the ground against the wall this time, twisting his leather boots around in the dirt and fiddling with his shirt sleeves. Waiting for what seemed to him like hours, still his wish was not fulfilled. He grabbed the bucket and rope from beside the well and set it up.
"You must not have heard me the first two times, do I have to come down there?" He said bravely. The boy put one foot in the bucket grabbed the sack and started to lower himself down into the well.
"I wish...," He attempted again as he lowered himself.
"I wish..." echoed his voice getting deeper down the well, then he hit the bottom. He twisted his head fast and hit it on the wall letting go of the sack and its contents.
"Ouch." The well echoed. He had wasted all his energy slowly lowering himself down the well, so when he tried to pull himself back up, he could not.
"Uhm, I think I change my wish. I wish..." He teased and whispered the rest of his new wish. Again nothing happened.
"Is it because I'm whispering? I wish to be out of this well." He demanded.
"I wish to be able to fly?" He questioned.
"I wish to go home, how about that, will that work?"
"Fine I give up I wish for help please, please someone help me... it is cold and dark down here. I hit my head, there's a bit of a lump growing." And fortunately enough for him another boy about his age was also approaching the well when he heard the wish for help.
"Is someone down there?" The new voice said.
"I am can you please help me out?"
"Who is I am?"
"My name is Padraig."
"Hello Padraig, I'm Galloway. I am going to start pulling the rope up, do you have a foot in the bucket?"
"Yes Galloway." And in a few minutes the boys met face to face. Galloway had eyes so blue they glowed and light blonde hair.
"That lump looks painful."
"It isn't so bad, it could have been worse."
"I think we have met before." Said Galloway.
"At court, your father is Sir Hughes."
"And yours is Sir Kenly."
"Yep that's my dad bravest Knight in the kingdom."
"Brave enough to climb down a wishing well?" Galloway gently mocked.
"Uhm yes but he would have been able to get out too."
"You got out with some help, you were very brave. How long were you down there for?"
"A few minutes, there are plenty of bugs down there and it's a bit moist, but you are right I was brave." Padraig smiled
"I was going to make a wish."
"I think this well is broken, we will have to find another one."
"Huh? Wait what did you wish for...?"
"It doesn't really matter it was something silly."
"Alright but promise to tell me one day?" Galloway said.
"As long as I remember and you swear to be my friend and ally."
"Of course we will be knights together and roam the kingdom saving it from every foe we can."
"Deal." Padraig spit on his hand and extended it to shake Galloway's. Galloway looked a little bit disgusted but did the same and they shook.
A half a year passed by like a lightning storm. The boys had grown closer in the half a year, almost inseparable. Their father's began to take them to the castle to play hide and go seek with the King's stubbornly snobby thirteen year old son. The two would always be forced into losing as the prince knew the castle and all its nooks and crannies. Galloway and Padraig had ruled out most of the castle for this game all they had left to search was the library. Padraig lifted chairs and moved aside tables as an out of place book caught Galloway's eye. He walked over sweeping his blonde hair out of his face. He felt the spine of the book as Padraig stood closely behind him. Galloway pushed the book fully onto the bookcase. Clicking noises could be heard from beyond the wall. Galloway jumped back as the bookcase swung open. Padraig caught him and stopped him from falling onto the ground. Cobwebs snapped as the void behind the bookcase grew. Galloway let Padraig lead the way with a lantern down a spiral staircase staying right behind him with a hand on his back.
"I don't think he came down here Padraig. The floor is all dusty, no foot prints."
"We can't stop now, look the bottom is only a few more steps." Padraig said as Galloway's mind grew far too curious about the strange tapestries that surrounded the room. The first was of a young King Rue riding a horse into a foreign village. A family of yellow creatures begged for help seemingly suffering from an unknown affliction. The King at first seemed to refuse assistance. A young yellow man about the king's age begged harder to help his people. The king did simply rode off as the yellow man's family fell down. On the last tapestry the yellow man seemed to be casting magic at the King as he rode off into the distance never to return. Behind them they heard someone on the stairs. They turned slowly.
"You two are not the ones I seek. Your blood is the wrong breed, not nearly as sour as it should be for being in these walls." The yellow man was there smiling at them. His head turned as they heard smaller feet rushing down the stairs, it was the prince. He tripped but never hit the ground. The yellow man used magic to stop him and hold him in the air. A toy sword in the prince's hand waved around as he screamed uselessly no words emitted from his mouth.
"This is the one I seek, he is spoiled as his father was so he will be coming with me and you two will forget every detail about this day." The prince vanished, the yellow man walked down to the two boys slowly.
"You will run now boys..." he waved his hands and they rushed off the second they reached the top of the stairs the bookcase closed behind them and their memories of the adventure vanished. However the fact that the prince was now missing was not something that would be easily forgotten. When they told their fathers they could not find him they were brought to the King for punishment.
"I wish to see the boys on their own." King La Rue said. So Sir Warburton and Sir Caleb left the room. The King stayed silent for a few moments.
"I do not need to ask you where my son is. I already know." He sighed. "I will ask you to inform me of all you know."
"We were playing hide and seek, we had run out of places to look outside of the library, but we simply could not find him. It was like he vanished."
"I cannot punish you boys for this, it is not your fault. I will ask you to hold you silence as if you were punished however never speak of this day again. We shall tell your fathers he has simply run off he was known for being far too arrogant." The King rose and walked to the doors leaving the boys standing there confused. King La Rue nodded his as he entered the room again, Galloway and Padraig nodded their heads back making a promise.
To keep them from causing any more mischief their father's put them to work at the King's stables. This took up a good chunk of their day from then on out, they would work a hard day cleaning and tending to the horses as well as the riders that came and went.
Another few years passed the boys became teenagers.
One day when their father's along with the rest of the knights were out there was a fire in a hut near by the stables. Padraig, growing braver and stronger by the day rushed right into the hut as Galloway watched seemingly frozen for a minute. Galloway bolted for the town well yelling for help the whole way there. When he returned with other villagers and buckets of water Padraig was outside the hut a family of four coughing close by. Galloway led the bucket brigade to put out the smoldering smoking hut. In the end the hut was still standing, it had been saved along with the lives of two children, their mother and their great aunt. Galloway took a bucket over to Padraig and helped him was his face off.
"You could have died you know." He said
"If I didn't do something they could have died."
"True, I didn't act very fast."
"You really helped though, I just rushed in, you went to get help, we make a good team."
"Yes I guess we do." Galloway said hesitant.
"I will see you tomorrow Galloway I need to go wash off my mother will kill me if I show up all ashy to dinner." Padraig said walking away.
Galloway walked home on his own, thinking over the fire and how he should have acted faster, he should have been braver. The first thought he could think of is that he wanted to run away, that was his instinct.
"But Padraig rushed right in and saved people's lives" This thought played in his head on repeat. His father had come home that night in time for dinner. His mother placed hot soup in front of him and his father sat down nearby. They both looked at their son as they ate.
"I heard you and Padraig saved some lives and a house today. You will be knights in no time." Sir Caleb said
"How do I become brave?"
"You helped saved someone's house today, and their lives, you are brave."
"No I panicked and ran away, not like Padraig, he rushed right in and pulled the family out."
"Well we are each brave in our own way, and it is up to each person in which manner they will be brave."
"When did you discover your way to be brave?"
"When I met your mother I found my bravery, she was being held captive by a dragon. She inspired me in a way I had never been inspired so I tricked the dragon into a lake and tied a stone to its tail underwater so that it drowned. She still inspires me to be brave every single day of my life."
"How old where you?"
"Only a few years older than yourself, sixteen at oldest. Son do not fear you will find your bravery, you will find your strength I promise." Sir Caleb said, and Galloway went back to eating. His mind was thinking thousands of thoughts a second, which was pretty typical for him. These thoughts all focused on finding courage, finding his way to be brave. He finished eating and went up to his bedroom. He kneeled down by his window so that he could contemplate with the stars. There it was right in front of him, a way to find courage.
On the edge of his families land, on the opposite side of the wishing well and the corn fields there was an old tower. Inside the old tower a wizard lived in solitude, Galloway had never seen him come or go, but he did know that the lamp in the tower's solitary window had been lit some nights and not others. His father had always asked him to stay away from the Wizard's tower, Galloway had never tried to push the topic. Tonight he felt he should do the opposite however. He rushed downstairs to find his father by the roaring fire place.
"Where are you off to at this time of night?"
"Galloway I have asked you to keep your distance the man inside asks not to be disturbed."
"He might be able to help me." Galloway puffed up his chest as much as he could.
"He might also punish you for offending the deal I made with him."
"The Wizard in that tower has lived there since long before I was born, when the king granted our family this land, tower and all I approached the tower not to kick him out but to say that I knew the bit of land was his so I would leave him be if he let me be."
"That sounds very just and fair, but I father am not you." Galloway was lowering his voice uncomfortably, he was trying to act like Padraig would.
"It will be your punishment then if he should decide to give you one."
I understand." Galloway said and rushed for the door, practically jumping into his boots, then out like lightning.
"Be back before the fire goes out Galloway..." His father beckoned after him.
Galloway ran as fast as he could until he was within a stone's throw from the Tower then he stopped on a dime. He shivered in the brisk night air, the lamp in the window was glowing warmly way up above him. He would never be able to climb up, that was for sure. He paced around the tower seeing only hedges. Something was odd about the hedges, they grew thicker the closer he was, but if he took even a hair of a step back they retreated almost completely. He did not wish to enter unannounced he felt that might be pushing his luck.
"Excuse me Wizard my name is Galloway I need your help with something, please."
"Go away boy only those of intelligence beyond your years can enter." A voice called back.
"My mother says I'm the most intelligent young man in the kingdom."
"All mother's say that sorry to tell you boy." The wizard responded, as Galloway walked slowly around the tower still, he had found the arch way for the door but was trying to figure out how to get past the hedges.
"If I can figure out how to enter your tower without any help will that prove my intelligence?"
"If you enter I will assist you, good luck." The wizard laughed down somewhat amused.
Galloway would leap forward and take a hair of a step back, the growth of vines was confused it grew then retreated. Galloway repeated his little leap and shuffle step. Two more and if he wanted to he could reach his hand in, he was not sure yet how he should maneuver from here. Then something clicked. He turned backwards and jumped backwards in through the arch the hedges did not interrupt him. He dashed up the tower stairs to the room with the one window. The room was small and circular with a bed a desk plenty of books, a cauldron and a chair that was facing the window occupied by the wizard.
"I have made it now you must assist me."
"I will keep my promise." The wizard said. He stood from his chair, and turned to look at Galloway. The wizard was not what Galloway had expected him to be. He looked like he was agelessly twenty years old, with caramel sun kissed skin brown hair and almond shaped brown eyes so dark Galloway could fall in and get lost. He wore all silver and white robes, with a small hat, and a necklace that resembled clouds that changed shape as slowly as they would in the sky. Galloway bowed immediately.
"Hello sir, again my name is Galloway Hughes. I require your assistance."
"So nice to meet you Gall. I hope you don't mind if I call you that. I am Doon Dahilsa Salamangka, call me Doon."
"Yes sir, I mean Doon." The wizard chuckled lightly.
"How may I assist you Gall?" Doon said. Galloway instantly liked the way Doon called him Gall. He felt comfortable, he felt he could do anything.
"I need to find courage, strength. I fear that I have none."
"I see. A young man on a mission, desperate enough to seek out a wizard that asked to be left alone. The young man might have been punished but now that he has shown a bit of cleverness will be rewarded. I will help you if you never ask what courage is."
"Well how can that help?"
"I will teach you many things Gall but no one who ever asked for courage has been handed it. Courage and strength are earned. You shall earn them over time with my guidance."
"Agreed, I shall never ask, not even mention the word..." he did not say courage "I swear on my heart and soul."
"Good then, tomorrow night return here. Read this, as much of it as you can." Doon pulled a small blue book out from a shelf and handed it to Galloway. Galloway nodded and rushed down the stairs turning back once he was outside the tower to yell.
"Thank you Doon Inabayan Mabayag." That night he would read the whole book without blinking an eye.
In the next few weeks Doon would give Galloway more books, scrolls and even a few works in other languages. Sometimes Galloway did not think he understood them but he read them to the best of his abilities and when Doon would question him on them he would spout out the answers as if he had written the words himself.
As the moon beamed in through the tower window Galloway laid stomach down on the floor, his father's boots hung off his feet as he scribed out notes, Doon the wizard watching from his desk.
"Padraig keeps questioning where I go most nights. Am I allowed to tell him?"
"That is up to you Gall. Do you feel he needs to know?"
"Not all the time, but sometimes he will give me this look and I will want to tell him every tiny detail about anything he asks."
"Sounds like you would even reveal that secret you have been trying to hide."
"What, no I don't have..." Galloway blushed.
"Secrets are not a bad thing, we all have them. I have plenty myself. I want to tell you a small secret. Will you share it with anyone?"
"Secrets build magic."
"My secret can make magic."
"Have you ever been afraid of the dark so you light a fire, then the fire will die of its own accord?"
"A few times in the middle of winter."
"In the darkness, when your fire has almost gone out all you have to do is to tell the fire your darkest secret, if you are honest the fire will reignite."
Galloway thought of his secret. The last person he wanted knowing his secret right now would be Doon. Second would be Padraig, and currently those were the only two people that could come to mind. The torches on the walls of the tower grew stronger as he thought. That night he slept in the tower on the floor, one of Doon's spare cloaks draped over him.
Another few months passed.
On the Kenly's land Padriag was riding one of his father's horses practicing his jousting when one of the other knights rode past him at full gallop. Padraig followed the knight back to the families' home. The knight knocked on the door and Sir Warburton answered the door.
"Sir Juniper what is wrong?"
"The king has summoned all his knights to his side as soon as possible." Sir Juniper said as Padraig dismounted his horse. There was a very urgent manner at hand. Padraig's mother quickly gathered a bit of food as his father collected his armor taking the horse that Padraig had been riding.
"I will be back as soon as I can be." Sir Warburton said, kissing Lady Jane on the cheek.
"What is the problem?" Padraig said fast.
"Not this time boy, your father will tell you when he returns."
"As always..." Padraig said and the two knights rode off. Padraig waited with his mother until the two knights were out of sight. Padraig took a step away from the house.
"Not this time Padraig," said his mother "Go find Galloway if your father's need you two then you will be ready." Padraig smiled and headed off to find Galloway.
A day passed by Sir Warburton and Sir Caleb did not return.
A few more days passed by, but no word had come about what the knight's had been sent off to do. The nights had grown longer with each passing moon.
Padraig woke up in what he thought was the middle of the night, but was actually supposed to be the morning.
"What time is it," He said as his mother looked out the kitchen window.
"It should be past breakfast, I wonder if your father is alright."
"I am not waiting anymore, I am going to fetch Galloway and we will go to see the king."
Padraig was out the door, on a spare horse, galloping across the corn field and knocking at the Hughes's front door in no time. Galloway's mother Lady Claudia answered the door looking distraught. Padraig could see the pain in her eyes he could see the tears dried on her skin.
"Come in Padraig please, don't mind me I will fetch Galloway."
"No that is alright you have been through enough Lady Claudia, if you tell me where he is I can go get him myself."
"At the tower he has been spending too much time with the wizard."
Padraig left his horse tied up by the house and ran to the tower where he met up with Galloway. Galloway was exiting the tower, the hedges filled in the space behind him.
"It's magic Padg." He said.
"The night time is from magic?" Responded Padraig.
"From who I do not know, I'm sure the King will know, I am also positive our fathers have gone to try and resolve whatever problem has caused it."
"Get a horse then we must rush off."
"My father took his, the others are not fit to ride."
"My horse can take two, hurry up." Padraig said and the two hurried back to the house mounted the horse, riding to see the King.
King Charlotte Le Rue waited on his throne while two of his children stormed around behind him, Padraig and Galloway had met other children of the Kings but they never remained in the castle long for a reason unknown to them. They shrugged off the children, and talked directly to the King.
"King Rue, please tell us what is happening."
"I do not think you are old enough to help boys, my knights have so forth failed at fixing this plague of night."
"We are not our father's your majesty."
"That is understood,.." The King paused and thought. "This all started up in the valley of Kohln a dark warrior, Seff Jascquin. He cast darkness and at first it was just over the small village. When I sent your fathers up the darkness spread, and kept spreading. Now as you know it envelops most of our kingdom. He must be stopped but if my best Knights cannot do it I do not know who will."
"We will." said Padraig stepping up.
"You have no armor, nor horses how will you stop Seff?"
"You can give us spare armor, I know our fathers have some in the stables. The horses are easy as well the kingdom has plenty. We will find our fathers and stop this man."
"You boys could get hurt or worse."
"People could starve." Galloway said. The King knew he was right.
"Get them suited up." The King summoned to a few servants. The two were taken to the stables and given spare armor of their father's. The armor was far too large, it would have to do for now. They were given horses and feed enough for three days' time. A messenger had arrived with two statues on the back of a cart. King Rue was out examining them in the court when the two knights walked their horses out.
"This is what he can do boys... this is Siff's magic." The two knights looked at the men, they knew them. They were fortunately not their fathers.
"We need to stop him."
"Go then young ones." The King said sending off Padraig and Galloway.
As they rode off toward the north east Padraig turned to Galloway.
"If we succeed... the King will make us knights for sure." Galloway sensed Padraig might have wanted to say something else. They rode on.
The farther they rode the darker the night got. Stars slowly stopped shining. Even the moon began to dim.
"It is too dark up ahead Padraig we will get lost."
"We must stop Siff." Padraig grunted.
"Hold back a bit, I have an idea." Galloway's studies were about to come into handy. He dismounted his horse and searched the ground. He picked up an old dead branch, a stone and as much dried up weeds as he could. He began to make a fire. He tore off fabric that was hanging from the horse's saddle for decoration tying it around the top of the branch. Galloway lit it using the fire, he handed the torch to Padraig. Galloway remounted his horse smiling proudly, the two began to ride again. As they progressed the fire as bright as it was seemed to dim, like the stars and moon before it. When it was almost a flicker the two stopped.
"Any more tricks Gall?"
"You can't tell anyone though..." Galloway said
"Alright I won't, what are you going to do?"
"I swear." As soon as Padraig swore Galloway took the torch pulled it close to his face and whispered some words as he waved his hand around the flame. The flame grew back to its original strength.
"You know magic? Why didn't you tell me you know magic?"
"It isn't something I like using."
"How did you do it?"
"It is a secret, please do not tell anyone."
"I swore, let's keep going." Padraig said. The two rode off once more. The fire did not dim again. Galloway's heart raced hoping Padraig would not question him farther.
Farther along their path they came upon a very creepy sight. Many other knights had come out at the King's request. Most of them were now frozen in stone, their horses not too far away from them.
"Padraig this Siff is clearly dangerous."
"How do you figure he turns people to stone?"
"I am not sure yet, none of these men seem to be running, or aware of the situation at hand." They dismounted their horses. Both young men examined the Knights further checking to see if their fathers were among them. Again they were not.
"Let's get going Galloway we have to stop this menace."
More is coming.. this is getting close to a final version