The night was calm. There wasn't a single breeze drifting through the cool summer air or an animal stirring from its sleep. Overhead, the full moon glistened in the clear midnight blue sky, brightening parts of the large Kingdom below. The scene was dark, however, under the canopies of green foliage, with shadows concealing anyone who wanted to remain unseen. The many branches underneath, joined into fat tree trunks, where they continued down deep beneath the ground, and were rooted closely together as if they were all connected, forming a vast forest.
Braxton Bridgeway broke the stillness of the late night hours in the forest, riding ferociously upon the back of his black horse. He wore a dark cloak that flapped in the wind they had created, over his clothing and he was leaning over the saddle, his butt in the air, standing in leather boots that were firmly placed in the stirrups. His hair was a soft brown appearing to be black under the shadows of the trees. It fell over his ears, his bangs falling just short of his brown eyes, and his expression was of determination. He retained urgent news to report to the King and Queen of the land, involving their safety.
"Whoa, girl." He said softly, pulling back firmly on the reins. She slowed down to a trot before coming to a complete stop. They had finally reached their destination. A few yards ahead of them, the trees were oddly positioned. They were spread further apart than the others around them and in a straight line extending out to the left and also to the right, acting as a gate.
Braxton dismounted from his horse, his feet smacking to the dirt, and he patted the side of her head for comfort. Everything would be okay, hopefully. He raised both of his gloved hands to his face, the back of his hand facing him. "Arcem, quam quaerimus, indicia occulta sunt oculis. Vestibulum ante me in locis tutis dicam, quoniam semper amicus eris," he muttered quietly under his breath. The inside of his palm lit up instantly, expanding to the surrounding earth around him. Out of thin air, an entrance appeared, doors opening to allow them through. Taking ahold of the reins again, they proceeded forward.
The gate disappeared after they had entered the grounds and the protective charms were cast on their own as they were originally. The forest continued on for miles, taking much longer as they walked more slowly on foot and it seemed to be even more dead now than it ever was before. Eventually, it widened out into a shoreline to a large lake. Even at night, the water was a clear blue, showing the millions of tiny fish swimming this way and that beneath the surface. Tall snow-capped mountains surrounded the remaining sides of the lake making it utterly impossible for there to be another entrance into the valley. In the center of the lake was an island, a luxurious castle with several turrets and towers, sitting atop it, and a bridge connecting the outer edge to where Braxton and his horse were standing.
The first sight that other life existed on this side of the barrier, came when four guards, dressed in war gear, spotted Braxton immediately from the outer wall, and approached him to guide him along the rest of the way. On the island, a path stretched a few feet ahead to the edge of a moat. The water, here, wasn't nearly as clean as the lakes and Braxton could sense the dangerous creatures swarming within its depth. On the interior side of the drawbridge, there was a square courtyard that had views on either side of the lake beyond. Two of the guards had accepted the horse's reins from Braxton's hands and directed her off to a stable for some food and some water. The remaining two guards continued escorting him forward to the Entrance Hall of the castle which was set behind double doors tall enough to fit a twenty foot giant comfortably. Inside, a wide corridor lead to the left and right leading off to more passageways and chambers. And in front of him was a duplicate set of double doors, that opened up into the Throne Chamber.
A golden chandelier hung from the center of the ceiling, illuminating the chamber with color. Down the middle of the natural stone floor, was a long red carpet leading to the elevated platform at the head of the chamber, where the King and Queen presently occupied the throne directly opposite the double doors. On either side of the carpet were empty seats that were meant for the common folk. They looked as if they had been vacant for many years.
The King and Queen both wore traditional robes that symbolized their royalty. It had gold specks that went well with the red of the material, and brought out the crystalline crown on the King's head. They had brown hair, though the King's was short and looked like Braxton's, and the Queen's was usually long, dropping well below her shoulders. Now, however, it had been professionally done, being curled and placed into a bun behind her silver tiara.
The guards carried off to their stations after leaving Braxton alone. He stepped forward rather quickly down the center of the chamber, stopping just before the steps, and giving a quick bow from the neck for his respect. The King then stood up from his chair. "Evening, Braxton. What news do you bring us so late into the night?"
"The Others, they know, your Majesty."
"How do you mean?" The Queen now stood, joining her husband.
"This castle is no longer 'hidden' to them. They have learned of the enchantment to gain entrance and they are on their way as we speak!"
"What are we to do, Victor?!" The Queen looked over to her Husband, fear clearly etched upon her painted face.
His expression looked grave. "All we can do, Ellen."
"And what of the Twins?"
"We get them back."
"You don't mean...stay...here an-and fight?" Braxton stared in their direction with disbelief.
"That's exactly what I mean."
"You can't! They have an edge on us and you know it! Ever since they gained the-"
"Nothing gives you the right to speak to us like that! Who do you think you are?!"
"Victor! He's only trying to help! Continue, Braxton."
"Ever since they gained the Twins, we have been vulnerable, and under their mercy. They have extraordinary power and now that they have succeeded in finding us, we're no match to them. Your guards will die. You will die. And that's the last thing we need. We have to abandon this place!"
"Guards," The King hollered.
"What are you doing, Victor?!" He ignored the Queen's question.
"Yes, your Majesty?"
"Call for Sage."
"Yes, your Majesty."
"Go!" The guards rushed out of the Throne Chamber as fast as their legs would carry them, and turned left in the corridor.
"Why do you need the Seer?"
"I need a second opinion."
"What for, Victor, I agree with Braxton." Braxton, meanwhile remained silent during their ongoing discussion. "We have to leave if this place is no longer safe!"
"Leave?! Leave where exactly, Ellen?!"
"I know of a place," Braxton spoke up.
"Where is it?" The Queen descended the steps needed to be level with Braxton and strode over to him, her cape dragging behind her, to place a hand on his shoulder.
He stared just above her hazel eyes then raised his own brown irises to the tiara placed atop of her head."It's difficult."
"Because first, your Majesty, we need to locate a Time Traveler."
"A Time Traveler?" The King stepped forward standing beside his wife? "Where can we find one of those?"
"We summon them."
"What time would we travel too?" The Queen asked. She had a thought forming in her mind. Maybe, just maybe it could work, would work.
"That won't work, my dear." The King and Queen raised their attention to the newcomer in the room. Braxton had also turned to look to find the Seer. She appeared to be really old with silver hair that curtained her wrinkly face and reached down to the middle of her rear. Her eyes were the most creepy, others avoiding them altogether. They were a misty blue color looking as if she were blind, but that was not the case. Her clothing was tattered and baggy and seemed to look a size too big. She stepped forward into the light.
"How long have you been listening?" The Queen asked.
"I have just arrived."
"What won't work, then?"
"Time travel. It is a delicate branch of magic to perform and to mess with, I warn you. I can see in your eyes how you want to use it and it shouldn't be done. Traveling back in time to reverse the events that have already taken place, it is strictly forbidden."
"Are you saying you are a Time Traveler," Braxton asked.
"No, but I have cooperated with a few in my lifetime. It is much like being a Seer, but with different concepts."
"What about advancing in time? The Queen was confused. "Doesn't that create problems as well."
"Sure it can, but frankly, that's your safest option for the next step."
"What time shall we go to?"
"The furthest time you can, my dear." Sage stared into the King's matching hazel eyes as the Queens. "Is that why I am here, then, your Majesty?"
"Indeed, it is."
"Tell me, what do you have planned for your staff," she continued as if the King hadn't said a word before. "You can't take them with you. They'll just slow you down."
"What are you suggesting?"
"Let me take them."
"But we need you," the Queen cut in.
"You don't actually. Braxton can help you." She turned to him. "You do know how to summon them?" He nodded. "Besides, someone needs to stay behind to fight back."
"Where will you go?" The King asked.
"To a secret place."
"Why can't we just come with you?"
"Your duty is to reign over our Kingdom. And in order to do that, you both must stay safe. No matter where you go, the Others will always be able to track you down." Both the King and Queen didn't understand. How could they be tracked? And how did the others learn of their whereabouts? The Twins, they thought. Sage continued turning to Braxton. "This is where I leave you, Braxton, summon a Time Traveler and get out within the hour. In the meantime, I will round up the rest of the staff and get them to safety. Now get going, we are running out of time!" It was the truth, they were running out of much needed time.
She twisted around to face Braxton. "Yes?"
"Take my horse."
"Of course." She smiled and wished them all good luck, then made a start for the Entrance Hall.
"Wait!" The Queen rushed after her. "Will we ever see you and the Twins again?"
"I am not sure, dear.The future is always foggy and unpredictable, but do not let that lessen your faith. This isn't the end, not yet." A tear dripped out of the Queen's eyes, streaming down her face to her chin. Sage wiped her face with her thumb. "It's okay, my daughter."
She turned on her heal and vanished from sight. The King came over to calm her crying. "Come on, dear, we need to get going. Braxton! Summon the Time Traveler, now!"
"I've never achieved it before, but here goes," he said more to himself than to the King or the Queen.
'A Drifter through the times of our lifetime, we need.
Beckoning to all whom will help us succeed.
I ask out of kindness and not out of greed.
For thou to come, I thankfully plead.'
At the end of Braxton's enchantment, a light shone brightly right where Sage had been standing moments earlier. A male Time Traveler had appeared out of thin air, replacing Sage in her spot. He wore a white tunic that had long sleeves protecting his arms, a black vest over that with three fastened buttons down the middle, and finishing with matching black trousers that tucked into his knee high leather boots. Around his neck, was a golden chain, a clock resting at his chest and on his short blond hair was a top hat with odd looking gears placed on either side of it.
"Hello to all. My name is Nate Temporis and to whom do I owe this great pleasure?"
"Quick, we need your help," the King commanded.
"And what do I get out of it, your Majesty?"
"I'll pay you, anything."
"I do not need your money."
"Quit stalling, we're wasting time," Braxton said looking between the King and the Time Traveler. "Are you going to help us or not?"
"Ah, not very friendly, now are we? Well, my service always comes with a price."
"What do you want," the Queen asked.
"Oh, I do not know. Magic maybe."
"Absolutely not," the King stormed threateningly. "That's against regulations with which you do not exceed!"
"I will be on my way then."
"NO! Don't go. We'll give you what you want," The Queen begged.
Nate hesitated, about to spin out of sight. He turned, regarding her for a few seconds. "I am waiting."
"This is ridiculous," Braxton shouted with rage. "The Others are coming. We need to leave now!"
"The Others, you say," the Time Traveler returned.
"They," he paused, "are coming?"
"Yes! They have discovered our location and will be here within the hour, I predict."
"Then you better hurry up with my magic or you all are in trouble."
"Why you shrewd little-" Braxton began to enchant the nastiest words known to man to punish Nate for what he was.
"Braxton! Stop! That's an order," the King demanded. Braxton became silent at once. The King turned to Nate. "Now you listen up, I am the King and you will do what I bid. If that involves helping us escape this time for another, you will grant it and to the best of your abilities. As for an exchange, I will give you what you desire in the end, but anything you do to mislead us or to lose our complete trust in you and I will easily take that back along with your time traveling ability. Now, carry on with what you were summoned to do."
Nate nodded in response and grabbed ahold of the clock connected to his chain. He flicked it open and turned a central dial in a clockwise spin. "Is there a particular time you wish to travel to?" He looked up, his words spoken more softly than ever before, as if he had never been controlled by anyone more superior than himself. His facial expression was calm, but it did not, however, express regret.
"Sage mentioned something about going to the farthest time possible. But that's impossible, isn't it?" The King questioned, he was looking around the room for an answer.
"It is not, for I have just found it," Nate said.
"When is it?" The King looked confused and surprised.
"December twenty-first, Two thousand and Twelve."
© Copyright 2016 Cris Ryen Blakeney. All rights reserved.