Rumors of a Floating City

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Layne tells the story of Prince Mellios and his quest for the floating city of balance.

Submitted: December 05, 2016

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Submitted: December 05, 2016

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“All right, all right,” Layne laughed. “I have a story to tell if you’re done, Roman.”

Roman cut off his story. “But I was just getting to the good part!” he complained.

“But we’ve already heard the story about the old ghost. Let Layne tell her story,” Roman’s brother, Rhett, shut Roman down.

Layne got comfortable in front of the fire and made sure that the four-people sitting around the fire had their eyes on her. She started, “Once upon a time— “

“Oh come on!” It was Roman interrupting again. “That’s the beginning of a fairy tale, not a ghost story.”

Layne mustered her best glare at him. “Well, if I could get past the first four words, it wouldn’t be a fairy tale, all right?”

Rhett punched Roman in the arm before Roman could even think about responding.

Satisfied, Layne took up her story once more. “Once upon a time, there was a wondrous world filled with all sorts of creatures and plants that can’t be found here on Earth. At the edge of this world lay a lake so large that a person standing on one shore couldn’t even glimpse the far shore. It was known as the Endless Lake—for obvious reasons—and there was rumored to be a city somewhere in the middle of the Endless Lake. No one had ever seen the floating city, but rumors circulated throughout the land of the great powers the city’s people had.

“One day, a brave prince by the name of Mellios decided to try to find the floating city. He traveled over many days through the land before he reached the Endless Lake. At its edge sat a young girl. The girl was soaking wet and shivering in the cold air. She begged Prince Mellios to help her, but he refused. His quest had no room for little girls foolish enough to fall into a lake in winter.”

“Prince Mellios went on with his quest without a second thought. However, a few days into their lake voyage, they were halted by a strange sight. An elderly lake serpent was resting along the surface of the lake. His body stretched for at least four miles in either direction, and there was no place to pass. Prince Mellios was annoyed at the serpent for halting the quest, and demanded that the serpent move out of the way.

“The serpent replied that he was just trying to snooze and that he’d be on his way as soon as his tired old scales were rested.

“But Prince Mellios was relentless, and with great agony, the serpent made way to the Prince and his ship.

“A week of easy sailing went by without any interruption or sight of the floating city. The crew was growing disheartened with their quest, but Prince Mellios stood firm. He would find the city one way or another.

“Then, they were accosted by a tiny fishing boat that had somehow drifted out into the lake. Inside sat a young boy who couldn’t be more than four years old. He didn’t say a word, just stared up at the large ship passing him by. Prince Mellios glared down at the silent child and ordered his crew on. The tiny boat with the tiny boy soon faded into the horizon.

“As the night rose and fell, the lookout call out, ‘Land ahoy!’

“But he hadn’t spoken quite right for it wasn’t land but a mish-mosh of weather beaten docks and ramshackle buildings that floated along the surface of the lake like a bundle of driftwood. They had arrived at the floating city.

“The dock creaked as the ship anchored, and Prince Mellios was the first onto the dock. The dock had a pungent smell of fish and salty lake air that had been around during the voyage but never this strong.

“A man waited at the end of the dock. Two small children clung to his sides. Spread out beyond were rows of people. These were the citizens of the floating city, and the man was the Lord. Prince Mellios approached the Lord without a second glance at the other people gathered.

“’Is this the floating city of balance from the rumors?’ Prince Mellios demanded.

“The Lord merely inclined his head without a word. The little girl at his side spoke up. ‘That’s him! Remember, the one who wouldn’t help me after I took a swim and got cold.’

“The little boy pointed excitedly at Prince Mellios like he was agreeing with the girl.

“’And Yntarr says that it’s the man who left him in the fishing boat after Yntarr drifted off,’ the girl added.

“The Lord regarded Prince Mellios, but Prince Mellios wasn’t about to let a couple squalling children get in his way. ‘I don’t know what they’re talking about,’ he proclaimed. ‘I’ve never seen either of those children in my life.’

“The Lord’s eyes narrowed. A silence stretched out before the Lord deemed it fit for himself to speak. ‘What brings you here, young man? What do you seek from my city?’

Prince Mellios puffed his chest. The nerve of that old man to not call Prince Mellios by his proper title. ‘I am Prince Mellios of Kaesis. I seek to reveal the mystery of the floating city, and I demand that I be given the respect I deserve.’

“The Lord was unimpressed by Prince Mellios’s proclamation. He merely lifted his carved wooden staff into the air and stated, ‘Then you will get the respect you deserve.’

“Mist unraveled around the Lord and engulfed both him, the little girl, Yntarr, the citizens of the city, and Prince Mellios and his crew.”

With Layne’s words, a great plume of smoke rose from the fire and covered the group. Ignoring the smoke from the fire and her friends attempts to bat it away, Layne continued her story.

“As the mist cleared, the Lord and all of the citizens of the city were gone. But before Prince Mellios and his crew could register that it was just the four of them, the elderly serpent exploded out of the water. Although the serpent no longer seemed elderly, in fact it appeared that he was at his prime. With a might crash, the serpent sent a tidal wave of water towards Prince Mellios. The water crashed down on him.”

Suddenly, leaves were dumped on the listeners. Deaf to their shrieks, Layne stood and dramatically spread her arms.

“Prince Mellios sank to the bottom of the lake. Balance was restored for the evil had been rewarded and equality ruled over all. The end.”

Layne turned to her friends who were all covered in leaves and had finally batted away the last of the smoke.

“What was that?” Roman exclaimed.

For once, Rhett didn’t send a retort at his brother. He was too busy shaking leaves out of his hair.

“I think Layne wins,” Ashlynn said faintly.

Scotti nodded her head in agreement.

Grinning in triumph, Layne motioned towards the shadows lingering beyond the light cast by the fire. “All right, you all can come out now.”

Four people seemed to melt from the shadows. Each of them was dressed in all black and carried an empty bucket. They were also all howling with laughter.

“Did you see their faces?” one cried.

“Oh no! It’s the serpent come to drown me!” another shrieked while imitating the listeners’ batting hands.

“Not bad, you guys,” Layne told the foursome.

“Not bad?” the first spoke. “We completely freaked them out! So, you owe us, Layne.”

“Fine,” Layne sighed. Pulling something from her pocket she held it out. “Here’s your reward.”

Layne’s four younger siblings eagerly peered at their reward and were equally disappointed.

"This is an expired coupon for that nail place,” one complained. “That isn’t a reward.”

“Didn’t you listen to my story? Balance is restored,” Layne spread her arms, stepped back and seemed to disappear into the darkness.

The four siblings looked to see where she had gone but couldn’t tell. Layne’s friends around the fire suppressed their laughs as the dejected kids made their leave.

“That was the best part of your story, Layne,” Rhett grinned.

“Thanks,” she replied appearing from the darkness right behind him. “I try.”

 

Word Count: 1375


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