• chapter one

    The rain fell hard from the dark sky in the hour of the king's death. The new prince Theru's fate was forsaken; murder was on the mind of another, and intended for him. The queen Dealtara rode off from her kingdom, the realm of Eltanar, with the prince in hand; from the castle she fled to save her son in that same dark hour of the night. Her sister, the new queen of Eltanar, queen Demoria had taken hold of the throne; Dealtara had suspected Demoria of the murder of the king and her late husband and would do the same to her son, causing her leave. Demoria was warned that the true heir to the throne would send her down from her royalty and rightfully claim the throne for his own. To this, Demoria turned to dark and forbidden magics, soon then after she gave birth to a daughter to forever keep her bloodline on the throne. Still it was not enough to comfort her, and for three years she had sent out riders, faithful servants to her, each night and morning to track down Dealtara and her heir, with orders to kill. But Dealtara had fled to the far north dock island of Tennor on the ice border, where for eighteen years she raised her son in secret; not even was a whisper of her name about in the land of Eltanar.

    Theru had always assumed his father to be late, even without his mother telling him. He learned from the docks men what a father was, whether captain, or fisher, or sea dog the same; he grew up by the one of the harbors on the Sothern most part of the island, where he frequently visited the harbor men and learned their trades. At the age of fourteen he assured himself that indeed his father was past, when it was that he took to notice that the harbor men had fancied his mother, though she turned each of them away no matter their status. Though for the past year his mother had fallen ill and so had been bed-ridden for what she had felt to be a life time. It was at this moment, in the last of her days, that she reveled to her son his true identity, for she must have known her time would be fast approaching.

    "My son," Dealtara called weakly. "come here to my bed side and sit. There is something I must tell you."

    Theru stopped what he was doing in the kitchen and went to his mother's bed side as she had asked. Tenderly she took his hand, and with his thumb he stroked her withered fingers. There, she had told him of his father the late king, of the kingdom of Eltanar and his right by birth to the throne, of how she fled her home that she loved so dearly to save him, and of Demoria and her involvement in the king's murder.

    "I don't understand," Theru said hush like. "Why do you tell me this now?"

    Dealtara turned her face from her son and hid away her sobbing. "I am sorry my son, but here on my death bed, instead of leaving you a castle or to be well endowed, I leave you a burden."

    "Do not say such nonsense. You leave me no burden in the distant years from your death bed; and even so you do not leave me a burden but a privilege, nay a blessing rather. It would be an honor to carry out what ever it is you leave me when the time comes."

    "But my son, I leave you to vanquish Demoria from her throne and liberate the people from her talons to usher into a new age and era of light, and peace, and prosperity; truly this cannot be anymore than a burden, a burden that should have been mine. At times I think back and wish I had stayed to face Demoria so that you would have grown with everything you deserved and more."

    "Nay mother, I cannot blame you for doing what it is you thought was best to protect me at the time when it was given to you alone, nor can I hate you for it but love you as a mother who left the world she loved to save her son. And to this I swear here and now that I will relinquish the throne from Demoria's hold and protect the people of Eltanar. I will save your home, my home, the home of my father. I swear to you that your task, this task you assign me, it will be done so that your spirit may rest in heaven for mine shan't rest until I have succeeded. Demoria had best be afraid and prepare for the storm I will release upon her when that time comes; and that time is in the distant future on your death bed mother, for I swear that it is the dawn after your funeral that I accept your task placed before me today."

    Dealtara looked into her son's eyes, tears began to fall from her own. She feared that this task she had laid before him would be the death of her son, but as she looked deeper into his eyes she could see the same determination and fired spirit that she had seen in his father, and reassured herself that he would not share the same fate as the late king. Carefully she put on a smile for her son and accepted his oath as she would accept it if he were a knight of her realm.

    But the day of Dealtara's death was far soon, in the week following; and the sky mourned for her with a drizzling rain.A funeral was held in her honor; it seemed the entire island had come to mourn Dealtara's death.

    After, the fishermen who knew Theru best since his childhood, gave him they're council in hardship.

    But Theru had remembered his promise to his mother, and packed his few belongings, setting coarse due to the realm of Eltanar. He was lucky enough to know a great captain of a ship, who took to Theru like a son, and was able to find his transport to the foreign homeland.

    "Are you sure lad?" The captain asked. "I think I would know your mother to have wanted you to stay at your home; to stay here on the Tennor."

    "I am doing what she had asked of me," Theru replied sincerely. "She wanted me to return home to 'tie some loose ends' that she had left."

    The captain did not understand, but took Theru's word for all it was worth.

    on the shores and docks, just as the captain's ship "The Ferret" set coarse and began to sail away, the people of the island, his closest friends of all ages saw Theru off. As he looked back at his home he saw the saddened faces of the people he loved; most were trying to keep themselves from crying, though some failed (mostly the young women and small children). He did not speak nor did he wave farewell, how could he? how does one say good bye to those who have been kept dear.

    From the crowd a young woman's voiced echoed out to him. "Come back to us soon Theru!" it called. "Come back in one piece and alive! Promise us!"

    He was too far now to recognize who it was that called out, though in the foggy sunlight he saw the glitter of falling tears. And so, silently to himself, he vowed to return to this place.

    It was two days now. Theru had worked the ship as any other sailor did, wanting to repay the trip he was able to find. The nigh of the second day, he found himself looking out over the sea, lost in his own thoughts. The captain had come to his side in the shadowy dark of the night, and looked out to the open sea as Theru did. A chilled breeze blew over the icy waters, and they rippled with each surfacing of some creature.

    "Do you see them Theru?" he asked.

    Theru broke from thought, looking over first at the captain, then to the water. He saw the motion of the water as it pulled away from whatever lived beneath it, though could not see the creatures themselves.

    "Mermaidens; did you know?"

    Theru remained silent and kept his watch on the water.

    "Beautiful creatures they are. Beautiful, and dangerous. Many of men drown because of their lust for them; the creatures draw them into the ice water, ne'er to return."

    "I myself don't quite understand the need to lust for them. Lust is not more than a criminals game."

    "Ah, a gentleman you are Theru. If you should find yourself in need of help they may be able to do so; they will know you to be a gentleman."

    "How is it that you come to know this? Past experience?"

    "Aye. I was a young man then."

    A long pause passed between them. Theru looked to the captain who kept his eyes out on the ocean perhaps in remembering the event. Finally the captain broke off and began toward his quarters.

    "It's getting late Theru. Be sure to get some sleep; I smell a storm coming soon."

    The sea maidens began to sing not to long after the captain had closed his cabin doors, and left Theru alone on deck.

    "If I'm where your standing
    you can see the sky above
    do you believe
    I'll be waiting for you
    if you still believe in love
    do you believe..."