At night I tend to dream about a far off world called Ayrtha. There I am a princess of an economic power house called Ulluminate but I still haven’t lost my lust for power. For some reason I’m a bit younger than I was back on Earth, like I’m in my early twenties. I’m not married and I don’t have any children, which in itself is a surprise because my father keeps saying that I need to marry a man by the next year. However most male suitors say that I am far too picky that I only want to use them for procreation purposes, which is very much true. I would only want a husband just so I can have my kids just like I do on Earth. However I’m well aware that if I marry a man I most likely will be queen of another country. Wait … not even that, I’m most likely gonna be off with a duke or lord who has less power than the king. My brother would most likely get a princess to marry and become king, unless he dies. Even then it will go to another brother and when my father runs out of sons it will go to a male cousin. Then I would have absolutely no power unless I either throw a coup or manage to kill every possible male heir. In that case power would have to transfer over to my mother and all the girls in the family. However throwing a coup against your family sounds very stupid and killing every male in the family is just impractical so I stick to bribes and manipulation. Speaking of which I am currently consulting with one of the higher council men. A real old geezer that is really close with my dad, I tell him that I can run the country much better than my brothers and I am far more knowledgeable about the Ulluminate’s economics … well economics in general, than my brothers.
“But Milady, we need you to marry a foreign lord to maintain relations between our allies.” He tried to argue.
“Oh and them marrying a foreign lady won’t?” I retorted staring at a gold coin, which is a hundred Pieces or a hundred of the currency coins of the country, that I was playing with between my fingers I look up occasionally to see that he is staring at the coin and he will continue to stare as long as the coin is insight.
“They will.” He admits, “But …” He tries to retort again, but I don’t listen because whatever comes out of his mouth is gonna sound mind numbingly stupid. It’s a grace that I’m not listening to him embarrass himself.
“Let us not delay this any longer.” I finally say, “The both of us know you are very loyal to my father. However, we also know that you yourself are greedy.” I wave the coin back and forth. His eyes are moving to the direction of the coin and his fingers twitch ever so slightly. It is painful to him but very amusing to me, so amusing that it’s hard to not crack a smile. “How about we make a deal, you get the hundred pieces.” I said putting the coin up to his face to see if he’ll try to grab it. I smirk now knowing that he is more resilient than I originally thought. “In exchange, you convince my father to have Samuel marry the Duchess of Liiga putting everything I told you into your own words. Do we have a deal.”
“Yes milady. I shall discuss this to the king.” He says before leaving.
“One more thing.” I say. “If you fall back on your word I will find out and you will pay some serious consequences.” I make a slashing motion across my throat.
“I understand.” He replies with a bow before leaving. I leave down the hall opposite to him to meet my personal maid, Lien.
“Ah, Lien, what did you tell my father?” I ask.
“You are being a good lady and you are not consulting the people.” She said.
“And?” I say.
“And that you are wanting to see suitors.” She admits.
“I see, did you send for the Lord of Reem?” I ask.
“Yes Milady.” She replied. “But why do want him?”
“It is an easy divorce.” I say.
“Is this because of the rumors that he isn’t interested in women?” She asks.
“Precisely.” I reply. “I can use him to produce a couple of heirs and then we can separate. Though we do have to make arrangements about the children, but since this country prefers males I’ll take no more than two sons and a daughter. He can take the other sons and daughters.”
“What if your daughters end up being as diabolical as you?”
“Then I will be proud and they can rule.” I say just as we got to the garden. The sun was shining, it was very warm outside and there were a few clouds in the sky. “Lovely day.” I say.
“Yes milady.” Lien replies, like she always does because it’s her job. Then we saw the palace guards going through the gardens with a prisoner struggling to get away. Me and Lien went up to see what was going on.
“Let go of me! I need to see the princess!” The prisoner cried.
“To kill her I bet.” Said one of the guards. “Why else would you sneak in?”
“Now wait a minute.” I say stepping in. “This young man has made an appointment with me, I bet he got tired and climbed over the wall.”
“Your highness, he crawled through a hole in the wall.”
“Details.” I dismissed. “Now I’ll shall speak to the man while you two fix the hole in the wall.”
“Yes milady.” The guards replied simultaneously.
“Good.” I said walking over to Lien with the prisoner following me. “Bring your spear just in case he is an assassin.” I whisper to her. She nodded and left while me and the prisoner walk up to my bedroom I shut the door and left it unlocked for Lien. I pulled a chair.
“Sit down.” I order, and he obeys. I tried to get a good look at his face but it’s totally obscured by the hood he wore, and I couldn’t tell what his body looked like because his cloak covered every detail on the body. I backed away slowly to my dresser and got my unloaded pistol out of the top drawer and hid it behind my back. I watched him as he sat there unmoving.
“Now, do you know what this is?” I ask revealing my pistol. He remained silent. “If you try anything I will shoot you.” I warned pointing it at him when Lien came in armed.
“Has he try to harm you milady?” She asks.
“No, not at all.” I say. I go up to him and point the pistol right next to his head. “It would be unwise to attack two armed women. Talk. What are you here for?”
“… I need to fulfill a prophecy.” He answers. I press my gun to his head.
“Do you think I am a fool?” I question him cocking the gun. “Who would try to fulfill a prophecy by the ancients centuries ago? They’re nothing but frauds.”
“This one has some truth!” He claimed. “When the peoples riot the grim dragon will awaken and all shall fall, turning Ayrtha to dust.” He recited.
“Ah yes, a prophecy from the Church of the Creation Dragons I am well aware that there are various racial disputes and the war over the ‘bridge’ continent is making matters worse. I highly doubt that it brings the resurrection of a mythical doom bringer.” I say, Ulluminate tends to be home to several different religions due to it being a huge trading center, so people from around the world come by and even stay. However the most prominent is the Church of the Creation Dragons with the belief that every facet of the world including all the races began with the dragons laying an egg or something. They also believe in an evil dragon named Raginite that once raged against the other creators and tried to destroy the world. However legend has it that the creators defeated Raginite and trapped his soul or something like that.
“Additionally, Raginite has been dug up when I was a little girl and there has been no magic emitting from him and according to necromancers there is no spark of life that could bring it back.” I informed. “The grim dragon is not coming back.”
“But there’s more to the prophecy!” The intruder claimed.
“Yes, sure there is.” I say sarcastically.
“In the event the grim dragon returns a small army of sixteen double walkers must be found.” He recited. I raise an eyebrow I had not heard of that one before, Lien almost lunges forward but I put my hand in front of her. I don’t blame her for being protective but now is not the time to act hostile … well not yet anyway.
“Double walkers? I had not heard of these.” I tell him.
“That’s because they are from secret texts only the most devoted scholars know of these.” He says.
“You are a scholar from the Church?” I ask. He nods. However I couldn’t help but think that he’s lying. “Why would you not share this information like any other scholar? I’m sure even the Church of the Creation Dragons would not mind this shared information.”
“It is risky business.” He replies. “It is forbidden to share that information from the church because they know that the people will try to find these double walkers and harass them. Plus there are people who are going for the resurrection of the grim dragon so they’ll try to kill them.”
“What exactly is a double walker?” I ask
“Someone who leads two lives, one while awake and one while asleep.” He explains. “While dreaming they’re in another world, much different than ours where no magic exists and it’s only humans.” My eyes widen.
‘Holy shit! This might not be a dream if they’re aware of that world!’ I thought. ‘But then again this world it could be catering to my desire to rule, so it’s still a dream, there’s no way there’s fifteen others that manage to share the same dream as me.’ However for some reason Lien seems noticeably uncomfortable but I brush it off.
“Does this prophecy, for some convenient reason say who these Double Walkers are?” I ask.
“No, but it does leave hints about their possible identities.” Said the man.
“All right what are they?”
“Three of nature born, friend to the trees, three of the small ones of the mountain, three of the small ones that love to play, three of the beasts among the people, three among the common and one of a people bred for evil but now walk the land.” He said.
“That is saying that among the sixteen that there are three of elves, dwarves, hobbits, beastpeople, and humans, and one orc. Is there anything else more specific?” I ask. I look over to Lien to see that she made no move against our um … guest … I guess.
“Only four are pale as pale as the moon.” He said.
“Anything else?” I ask again.
“Only three are of royal blood.” He said.
“So basically there are thee of each of the most populous races and an orc. Out of the sixteen, four are white skinned and three are royalty.” I summarize while thinking out loud that I am a human, that might be dreaming about this place defining what he said a double walker is. Also according to the hints so far, I am white and royalty. “Can “white” and “royal” overlap?” I question.
“It never says if they can or cannot overlap, but I figure that it would be acceptable if they did.” He says which convinces me that in these dreams I am this Double Walker thing, assuming that it is not a dream.
“I see, why have you come to me about this you got any hunches that one of the sixteen could be me?” I tease. He’s quiet for a moment.
“… No.” He replies. “I and another companion need help finding them. And we would ask if we could have financial support for this.” I raise an eyebrow and look over to Lien, she is doing the same. “We need some help with transportation, lodgings when we get them and food.”
“I would like to meet this companion.” I say. He stays quiet for a while again.
“Very well, I’ll take you to her.” He replies getting up.
“Perfect.” I say. “Lien, come.”
“Milady, are you sure this is a good idea?” She asks. “This could be a trap.”
“I know, but if it is not I could use more information about these double walkers.” I reply. “Plus if it is a trap we could just kill them and claim it was an act of self-defense.”
“Fair enough milady, I assume that you need ammunition?” She asks pulling a cartridge of bullets and gunpowder out of the top of her maid uniform.
“Yes, thank you.” I say grabbing it. When we went outside the castle gates a masked woman ran up to our guest and hugged him.
“Oh thank the gods you are unharmed!” She cried. “I was so worried when I saw you climb over the castle wall! I thought the guards had caught you and thrown you in the dungeon or worse, killed you!”
“I’m sorry sis.” He cooed hugging her back.
“Am I right to assume that your sister here is your traveling companion?” I ask ending this reunion from being separated for twenty minutes.
“Yes.” He replied.
“You managed to be in the audience with Princess Lavender?” I heard her whisper.
“I see, is she also aware of this double walker business?” I ask.
“Y-yes milady.” She replies.
“Do you have any more knowledge on them than your brother?” I ask.
“I’m afraid not.” She answers.
“Do either of you have any idea where to look?” I ask.
“No.” The two said rather bluntly. I sigh knowing that their quest is highly likely going to fail due to the fact that they don’t know where they’re going.
“You know to make your quest slightly simpler I’ll say this, I am most likely one of the double walkers you’re looking for.” I say. Lien looks over to me in shock and the two stood silent.
“Well …” Said the male guest. “I guess you’re either really cocky, lying, or see this as a joke.”
“Well I guess it could be, but only time can tell if I was right.” I teased. “Plus with no direction or whereabouts about any other double walker I figure that I would help you out by traveling. Plus it would be impractical to roam around with a band of sixteen. I raises too much suspicion, so I propose that we arrange a meeting place for them, like for instance a certain royal family summer home in the south that is indistinguishable from the other buildings in the area would raise less suspicion if several people go over there. I know where it is and I can take you to said possible hideout.” Plus if this is a dream and not a world where I have some sort of psychic connection with this uh … body I could will everyone to forget what I told them.
“Milady is this an excuse to get away from your father for a while?” Lien asks.
“To an extent it is, if my bribe doesn’t end up working.” I shrug. “Mostly I am interested in these double walkers and what they’re supposed to do. Since after all I doubt that they’re supposed to kill off a resurrected version of a long dead mad dragon.”
“Very well Milady, but when do you suppose you want to head to said location?” The woman asked.
“I can try to arrange for a carriage there tomorrow.” I say.
“Ah, thank you milady, we shall stay at an inn nearby.” The woman replies
“Very well, shall I see you tomorrow?” I ask.
“Yes.” The man replied and then the two left.