To celebrate the completion of Leagende as a series, I will post the openings to all the books.
All rights reserved.
Copyright (c) 2018 Cat Hartliebe
King Zeus was an elf who owned the entire land. Beyond the mountains were humans. Beyond the sea was an isle of others. But protected by water and mountains sat the kingdom of Leagende. Until Zeus died, every elf could go wherever they wished. It was peaceful and serene.
After the mighty king was killed by a waylaid arrow, his children could not decide the best path for the kingdom. Not a single prince or princess could take reins as Zeus once did. The kingdom was split: Leagende, Compast, Cardenil, and Dereksean.
Soon it was not just elves fighting elves. Humans entered from the mountains taking over piece after piece. The four kingdoms were rigid in their ways. Zeus was a name in history books. Not a single elf alive even remembers the numerous celebrations the last great king offered. It has been far too long since things broke apart.
With the addition of demons coming in from the south attacking Compast, a new king of the elves has decided to come forward. Prince Adain of Leagende as his naming day approaches makes the final decision set before him his entire life: a second coming of King Zeus.
His family half planned on giving him the title of king upon his naming day. His grandmother did not wish to rule and his father cannot rule. Half elves cannot rule an elven kingdom. Adain knew what his next step was. He must bring back the kingdom to what it truly should be. Since his sister could not take on the title of Queen, he would become King Zeus.
“Turn back the hands of time.” Adain stares at the sky on the ramparts. He is out checking on guards and protections. With him is one of his preferred mages, Joshua. Since his naming day, Adain has been called king more than he ever was called prince.
“You still refuse to answer us.” Joshua sighs nodding to a passing soldier. “Castella needs to know when the best day for the wedding would be.”
“Stop making it such a big deal. Just sign the papers and be done with it.” Adain waves his hand absently.
“Where are your wedding details? The kingdom needs to know the next generation starts,” Joshua complains. “So where is the female of your choosing? Anyone would jump the chance to be named the king’s wife.”
After the event with his last choice for wife, Adain has not had any desire for a female in Leagende. “Marriage is a pressing matter. I would not think to joke about such a thing, but there is concern jumping can create. You know of the stories between arranged matches. It almost killed your chances with Castella.”
A glare from Joshua shocks the new king. “Someone denied telling her that she would not be Queen. She wanted to care for the kingdom and for you. At least Juite apologized for asking. Unlike her big brother who still denies he did anything wrong.”
“You ask for too much, Joshua.” Adain stares out at the sky again. “You need to marry quickly so we can begin our journey.”
“We?” Joshua places a hand on Adain’s shoulder. “I will not leave Castella here. She may only be eighteen, but…”
“We as in the three of us. Father will be handling the courts while we travel.”
“You leave the half elf as makeshift king?” Joshua shakes Adain. “What happened the last time that happened?”
Adain grins hopping off the rampart to begin his walk inside. “We are not captured. We are going on a journey to greet the other kingdoms.”
Joshua blinks following the young king. “Do you deny the danger that can bring? The other kingdoms do not look upon Leagende too fondly.”
Adain nods. “Fond or not, we will go. Uncle Hank can return to handle things alongside Father. So get married quickly. Until you marry, we wait. This cannot wait forever.” Adain pats his friend’s back before walking off without him.
The new king nods to the various elves working diligently. They all have orders to follow. As does he. He handles the court while he is here. Adain sees it half way between fun and boring.
Once he gained access to Joshua and Castella’s powers, he cannot see a threat. As long as one of them stays out of court, they can all use magic. Actually, he has tempted to try switching quickly between passes through the scanner. The magic will not be blocked if there is no magic to be had. He has not willed himself to try it. Yet.
“King Zeus, we need a second of your time.”
Adain nods at them waiting. Everyone needs the king’s time. “Yes?”
“Her Majesty, I mean, Alaenia has been refusing to eat.” They bow quickly. “What should we do?”
“Remind her if she is not strong enough she will miss her granddaughter’s wedding. Afterwards, we leave.” Adain waves them off. They salute and continue on their way. “Grandmother needs to leave. She has been caught here. She needs the freedom of open sky and air.” He rubs his eyes. “When will those two get married?”
For the rest of the day, it seems nothing is amiss. Adain focuses on his work and come evening hour, he meets with his closest advisor: Bludi, his father. “Father…”
Bludi turns to Adain. “I swear I did not do it on purpose.” He steps back glancing about.
“Do what?” Adain questions moving closer to his father. “How could you manage to do anything that is threatening?”
“The news has yet to reach you?” Bludi perks up. “I mean, of course, you did not hear. It is not that important of information to tell the king. They left it to me to handle the situation, I guess. Which is, of course, proper…,” Bludi blabbers on.
Adain rubs his forehead. “Father, you need to just tell me the trouble. I can help fix it if I know what it is.”
Bludi stops staring at Adain with humor. “You cannot fix this. Ellone is pregnant again.” He grins watching his son’s face cringe a little. “You will have a new brother.”
“I have not acquired one of those before.” Adain rubs his chin then shrugs. “Well, you are right. I cannot fix that. Now I would like your opinion on…”
Several days pass by and finally the word of the wedding becomes a day. In a week. Adain turns on his sister and her chosen man. “In a week? We have been waiting what feels like forever to get the queen out of her dungeons. She will be happier in the boondocks than the castle.”
Castella grips Joshua’s hand. “We had to let the kingdom plan it. It will be the first royal wedding in a while. You did know Daddy and Mother did not have a wedding set for the kingdom, right? The last one was Grandmother and her first husband.”
“Telling me all this…” Adain rubs his face. “Okay, one week. Be ready to leave the day after. We cannot keep her waiting.”
“Or you, Your Majesty.” Joshua snickers. “I see how much being trapped in the castle hurts you.”
Adain glares at his future brother in law. “You do not know what my plans truly entail.”
“You are right, I do not. Please enlighten me.” Joshua bows. “Your Majesty has plans I am included in and will not explain the truth in the manner.”
“First goal, as I stated several times, is to get Grandmother out of the castle and safely somewhere else.” Adain sighs motioning the pair to follow. “You want to understand my plan. My goals. I made it perfectly clear what I want to do.”
Joshua butts in, “But not how you want to do it. Are we going to war with the other nations?”
“No.” Adain glances at them while they settle into a side room. He makes sure no one is around before continuing. “My first step will be to claim my position as King of Germania.”
“Wait, what?” Joshua jumps forward staring him down. “How can you…?”
“I was already born when my father was called dead by Germanian officials. I should have been king then if they knew about it. Nothing in their books say the king must be human or even mostly human. Just that they are the direct descendant of the previous king. I should be able to make a stand against King Wilhelm. Claim myself Bludi’s oldest son and thus the true king.”
“That is insanity.” Joshua shakes it off looking over at Castella. “Why have you not said anything?”
Adain waves that off. “Castella is in shock. If they considered females worthwhile, she could also fight for the title.” Adain stands pacing. “It is only step one. Then we will head to Compast to handle the demons. They will either lose to the demons first and we will fight off the demons, or they will accept me as their king. I can handle those guys as long as you two are with me.” Adain frowns. “I think at first they will refuse.”
“This is crazy talk, Adain. You cannot exchange service for protection.”
“What do you think the people of our nation pay for? They pay their taxes so we can protect them. And if we do not protect them, they come before the court and demand a fair price.” Adain waves that off. “Compast will not wish to become Leagende. Not at first. After we offer our suggestion, we will return here to Kee. I can explain more of Dereksean and Cardenil after we handle the first two countries. Germania will be the easiest. After I get the rest of the nations together, I will send the humans back over the mountains where they belong. I figured I will start by handing part of the Germania treasury to anyone who wishes to leave the country. Humans are not stupid enough to miss the goal of that.”
Joshua drops into a chair holding his head up. “My head hurts.”
Adain stops his pacing to stare at his sister, still in shock, and his friend, overwhelmed. “I have been planning this for years. If Grandmother could have handled the crown until Castella could take it, I would have explained things then and began my travels. Now, I am the rightful king. I will be playing this a little differently.”
Castella inhales. “You mean, you still wanted me as queen?”
“Yes.” Adain pats his sister’s head. “But you had other plans. I figured with Dereksean controlled by Aunt Anna and Leagende controlled by my sister, I would have no issue gaining Germania. Then with the backing of the three nations, I would take over Compast and Cardenil. The demons will make Compast slightly different and an earlier target.” He rubs his chin sitting down. “Do you have any suggestions?”
Joshua shakes his head. “Does Rick know about this?” Considering Rick should be their main guard during the trip, it would be assumed he knows.
“Yes. But he did not grasp it. He does not have my brains.” Adain leans back steepling his hands. “Castella… Do you regret not becoming queen?”
“No.” Castella glances to Joshua and his weak smile. “How could I regret that? You were always Crown Prince in my mind, Adain. I wanted you to become King. I liked the idea of title and the power it granted, but I truly am not the one who should be queen.”
Adain chuckles. “You know Father is the perfect king. He can handle everything. Without any bonus power. I have watched him and he has guided me. I am bringing the countries together for him, you know.” Adain gets up quickly. “Time to plan your wedding. We must have you two hitched before the capital. Then onwards to our journey.”