Fairy Tale: Captured James
Long ago, in the Kingdom of Nah’habaka, lived a strong king named King Barthelium. King Barthelium was loved by all and the most honest and trustworthy of kings, though he never left his castle. He had only one son, only one indeed. The lovely queen had passed many years ago, leaving Barthelium to raise the boy himself. His son, Prince James, was young and so sickly he could not afford his boy to leave the castle or even leave his room for that matter. He had to be watched and protected at all times.
Prince James would complain to his father that he wasn’t sick. He didn’t feel bad at all. But the dull white-grey of his hair spoke otherwise. His pale thin face and pale pink eyes showed a sickness he couldn’t feel.
“Can I go out today, father?” James asked politely.
“You have a disease, my boy.” The king would say. “This is for your own protection.” He left the room after bringing his son his lunch for the day.
Guards blocked the doors, but other than that, he was all alone as he had always been in his seventeen years. “I want to explore the world…fell that glowing heat on my face…dance with squirrels and the birds…run with the horses…” Prince James’s mind fantasized.
“Golgren’s men are at the Palace entrance!” He heard a man shout. One of the guards looked back at James through the small rectangular window before disappearing down the hall.
“Golgren’s men?” James, the albino boy, thought before realizing this could be his chance to break out, to escape.
He quickly tied his bed sheets together in a line and tossed it out into the open field just behind the village walls. Spiraling down the escape route, he landed into the green sea of grass that waved on for miles, crashing and tickling against his legs.
James was finally free. With that, he took advantage of the moment and swam across the plains. The clouds were low and sobbing and minuscule tear drops sprinkled the town. The forest was a known danger that he could venture through now that he was free. Greedy for independence, he traveled further into the depths of its darkness. The roots began coiling around James, trapping him. The vines and thick wood twisted around his weak body and squeezing him like a baby lemon. He wanted to scream, but he didn’t want to be found. Finally, the compression was too much and he cried out.
Not long after, the sound of snapping branches resounded nearly until something in the shadows moved and a man covered by darkness rose before him. He held an enchanted sword, drawn by light that he used to whip through the dark magic that transformed the trees into such dark forces.
“You…saved me…” James gasped in relief, breathing deeply.
“You will come with me.” The dark knight demanded coldly.
James was taken away to the edge of the forest, still part of the kingdom. He was taken to a small cottage-like home, camouflaged by nature’s greenery.
“You will stay here.” The knight said in a deep voice.
“But I—.” Before James could finish, the dark knight vanished. Something was approaching from outside the house. He could hear, what sounded like mixed chatter. James crawled over to a nearby window, ducking just under it so the travelers passing by wouldn’t see him. He listened in on their conversation.
“Can you believe that?” One of them said. “Abandoning the castle like that, just to find that son of his?”
“I wonder if he may be going insane,” said another. “No one’s ever even seen this son of his. How do we even know he has one?”
“So he’s searching all by himself?”
“No, he is looking with a group of five or six guardsmen.” That was the last thing he heard as they drifted off in the distance.
“He already knows I’m missing?” James thought out loud. “And he abandoned the castle, just to find me?” He felt a horrible sting in his heart. He must have hurt his father more than he thought he would.
“My sister,” said a voice, startling James further onto the floor. It was the knight from before. “She is coming. You will marry her.”
“What?” James looked toward the shadowed figure in bewilderment.
“She can be a bit cruel, so be on your best behavior…” Then the knight vanished once again.
He was too young to marry…he didn’t want someone, he wanted to live was all he ever asked for. Unfortunately, the idea he came up with involved just the opposite. On one of the many shelves in the cottage, James found a sleep potion that read, “…will cause deep slumber for one hour and one hour only. Any further uses of the potion will, and probably, cause dangerous side effects, including death.” Hopefully all he would need is an hour.
Knock! Knock! Knock! James jumped, almost sending the bottle out of his hand. He hastily chugged a gulp or two down and tossed it back on the shelf. He watched as the handle of the door began to turn, but then it kept turning, spinning until he was whirling into darkness.
Not sure how much time had passed; James became aware of his senses once again. He could feel a body around him, so he kept his eyes closed. There was a woman’s voice, crying over him as if she knew him. The clocking and neighing of horses reverberated in his ears as large pounding fists slammed the door.
“Your highness…” The woman whispered. “We just found him like this, I promise!” By the ‘we’, James guessed that her brother, the knight was there, as well. “There is still no sign of what could have happened…” She sobbed.
“I can’t believe this!” It was his father—the King. His voice was furious. He stampeded out the door, or what sounded like he did.
“Should we have them killed, sire?” He heard a more subtle voice ask. It must have been one of his guardsmen.
“Shut up.” King Barthelium muttered. “Just let me think.” His voice grew quiet as he left further from the building. He heard the horses again and the shuffling of someone mounting on one of them.
Quickly, before his father left him, James opened his eyes and dashed out the door without looking back. His eyes still hadn’t adjusted and he wobbled after the dark blur. “Father? Father!”
“James?” The king twisted around. His face beamed like the sun on a hot summer day once their eyes met. “My son!” He leaped off his horse to pull the boy into his arms. He didn’t even question. “I’m sorry, my boy. I shouldn’t have been so overprotective. I didn’t realize it would lead you to do all this!”
So, with that, the king banished the knight and his sister—leaving them alive to feel the guilt for capturing the king’s only son. James was able to roam the village. The king only watched proudly from afar as his son head off into the town, by himself.
© Copyright 2016 Brooke Chicoine. All rights reserved.