Once upon a time, King Roland lived in the castle of Yule, a kingdom just above the sea, bordered by the Mountains of Eternity. He looked for a wife over the borders of his country, forced by his people’s customs. He travelled through the mountains only to end up in a land nobody knew of, they only knew the name, Linea, meaning, The land of Peace.
Once the King arrived with his retinue from the mountains, they were all frozen and some even had died from the cold up there. King Roland immediately realised his messengers had never returned to him, because of the stabbing cold. Once you got halfway, you wouldn’t be able to survive on your own, only the strongest would survive.
In the first town the party passed they were welcomed as if they had been on a long journey. Everyone in Yara was nice, and King Roland was soon to discover the tales of Linea being the land of peace, were correct. As they explained who they were, and where they came from, the master of the tavern immediately sent word to the town’s magician, hoping she would be able to contact the king.
King Roland and his people made themselves comfortable as the villagers of Yara told them how it was done in their country. It seemed that nobody had ever gone to war, but that nearly everyone knew how to fight. Each year there was hold a tournament, in which everyone could participate, woman, man, it didn’t matter. It seemed the people fought for honour and their ranking of their cities in the kingdom, but at the same time everyone was equal. Children were taught how to farm once they were able to walk, and same went with fighting. The few chosen ones that had potential for magic were put under the wings of the local magicians. Once they were old enough, they were send to the unknown castle of the royal family, in which they were educated further, and were given the honour of becoming the magician of one of the cities or villages close by, or somewhere further away, if there was a city in need of a magician.
The royal family, the villagers told King Roland one day by the bonfire, was one of the eldest family known in the whole kingdom. Yet they followed the same rules, but there was something special. The were the centre of all the magicians, and their castle was in a hidden space somewhere in the centre of the kingdom. All the magicians knew where the castle was, because all of them had to pledge loyalty to the King once they turned 23 and finished their master magician studies. This royal family was also the one educating the magicians to become real masters. In the middle of the kingdom, yet not too close to the castle, was a sort of small house that led into the ground, known as the Magician’s Keeper. It was there that a huge amount of people were able to stay to finish their studies and be assigned to a village by the King.
The villagers never told what kind of magic their magicians possessed though, since that was an unspoken rule in Linea, no outsider gets to know how complex and well evolved the magic in the kingdom was. It had been like this for years, and this was one of the reasons the kingdom had never been at war. Countries and kingdoms surrounding them had tried, yet nobody succeeded because magic was not only used to come to a civil agreement, it was also used to manipulate people, and to make sure nothing bad would happen to no foe nor enemy.
After what looked like eternity the King of Linea arrived together with his two daughters. The magician of Yara had contacted him through her mind, explaining the situation. The King of Linea, Laurence, knew exactly why the king of the other kingdom had come. There had been enough signs to know what he was up to, and a powerful magician as he was, he had sensed the party crossing the Mountains of Eternity. It had taken him a lot of power to make sure that nearly all of them survived, but yet he hadn’t been able to prevent some of the weaker people freezing to death.
It was a sunny day as the two Kings met for the first time. The plaza of Yara had been cleared, even though it was marking day, and everyone was wondering what the king was up to. If the King of Linea had an audience with a high placed member of another kingdom or country, this was usually done in one of the cities closest at the borders, because the citizens of Linea didn’t like foreigners exploring their kingdom if it wasn’t really necessary, they rather had everyone stay at the borders in peace. The King had also cast a enchantment over the plaza, meaning everyone was able to see the two Kings, but nobody would be able to hear what they were saying, except the ones with magic. It was done because of one of the old customs of the country.
“I welcome you to this country, King of Yule, I hope you were welcomed pleasantly in the border city Yara.”
“I thank you, King of Linea, let us refer ourselves by our name, as we are equals in rank. I am Roland of Yula, pleasure to make you acquaintance.” King Laurence nodded and he introduced himself as well. With that all formalities were gone and the Kings could speak freely.
“I think I have to explain why I came from so far, Laurence, as nobody has ever crossed the Mountains of Eternity before, as history tells us.”
“You don’t need to Roland. I am a man of fewer words, but none the least a magician as well, I know why you came here, and I know I am in no state to neglect you what you seek, that’s why I brought my two daughters with me, so you could meet them. But remember, the final decision of who is going with you is not mine, but its theirs to decide.” King Laurence had read the thoughts of King Roland, but not all, as that went against the rules of his country, all he saw was the desperation of finding a queen who had noble blood, but was a magician at the same time. It seemed his own citizens had forsaken him, as only noble boys had been born in his era.
“Both of my daughters will spend one week with you each, and then after two weeks you will return over the Mountains of Eternity, as if you had never been here before. It custom of my people that foreigners don’t cross the border cities, and I gave them my word to keep that custom when I was crowned to king.”
“I understand. I thank you Laurence, for listening to me.” Roland was relieved that his search had come to an end. In two weeks he would have found himself a queen, but above all, he would have done something none of his line had ever done before, and he would go down in history.
“Tomorrow my youngest daughter will pick you up and show you the beauty of her voice, and her knowledge. She will stay in the same tavern you are, I am sure you won’t miss use any of the privileges I’ve granted you.” Laurence looked Roland in the eyes, and saw that he wouldn’t. With that the enchantment of the King of Linea came to an end, and the two of the kings parted their ways.
On the plaza all the people were wondering what their King had decided, but they knew to be patient. Usually the whole kingdom knew what the King had discussed with the foreigners, but it would only become public after the persons in question had left the country again, so nobody would do something out of rash emotion. But today was different, and everyone knew so as they heard the king speak. The enchantment of the dome had ended, but there was a new one. This one was hearable on every plaza just as the first enchantment made the two Kings visible on every plaza in the whole kingdom, but nobody had told the foreigners that, even though all of the villagers knew it.
“Dear citizens of Linea, I am hereby announcing that King Roland of the Kingdom of Yule, which lies after the Mountains of Eternity, has asked for one of my daughter’s hand in marriage. We have come upon an agreement in which our princesses will decide who goes with him. We wish the lucky princess a happy life in the unknown, and she had her husband may live on forever.” As the king stopped speaking the enchantment faded as well, and the citizens were perplex. So far, everyone who tried to approach the king for the hand of one of his daughters had been neglected, but this time he had accepted the offer. In the whispered around the plaza you could hear the unbelievable voices of the citizens spread, but the magician of Yara made sure no foreigner would be able to hear those.
The following morning Princess Lianne entered the tavern, she demanded no special treatment like the southern king had demanded in his body language, and the master of the tavern knew better than to treat her like a special guest. She got a room next to the King’s and knocked on his door.
“Hello, I am Princess Lianne, daughter of Linea.” With that, the servant of the king let her in and she introduced herself again to King Roland.
“I welcome you, Princess of Linea, into my small residence.” With that King Roland gestured to his servant to leave the two of them alone, yet a female servant remained, at the request of the Princess. She didn’t want anything to happen, nor that people would talk about the fact she had been alone with the King for a while.
In the week that followed Lianne and Roland got to know each other better, they didn’t differ much in age, as Roland was 25 years old, and Lianne was 23. The two of them rode on horseback and Lianne showed Roland some of the farms that were in the area, but she was also careful that she didn’t show her heritage nor the ones of the people. Roland asked her about the different customs and why things were that way, but mostly he asked about how she was, what did she like, and how could he have never heard of the fact that the people here were really so peaceful.
As the week ended Roland hoped this princess would come back with him. He had grown to like her, as she was the sweet kind of girl you would want to tend for you kids, and who would not speak up in an argument. It would be a fitting queen on his side, as he was looking to make all the important decisions himself, just like his father has done before him. Yet this wasn’t really the custom in his kingdom, it was said that the King and Queen held an equal power, but his family line was trying to change that.
Lianne left the room she had been staying in and returned to the unknown place as she hugged her sister while they crossed each other’s path. The two sisters didn’t really need to talk about anything, as they shared a magical bound. It was something only known by twin sisters, who had magical abilities. There weren’t a lot twins around with magical abilities and the princesses where rare in that case. Having twins meant that the love of the parents was real, and this was very common in Linea to appear, yet they had heard, this was not the case in Yule at all, as people where often forced into marriage.
Lissandra already knew a lot about King Roland because she had heard a lot from her sister during the nights she was in her own room. For Lissandra the choice was clear, she was going to go with King Roland, because of his character, even though now he appeared all nice towards her sister, she knew that could change in a minute if she wasn’t there to save her sister. Lianne was afraid of hurting anyone, and Lissandra had always been protecting her because it was her little sister. She could not stand the fact to see Lianne hurt, as much again. She promised her mum she would always protect her sister when her mum’s disease caught up with the time.
Their mother had lived a happy live with the two girls, yet a terrible disease took her away when the girls where just 12 years old. Lianne had been broken, and Lissandra knew she never wanted to see her sister like that ever again, so she had taken up the job to protect her sister, and she had done ever since.
Lissandra knocked the same door as her sister had done last week and introduced herself.
“I am Princess Lissandra, Daughter of Linea.” Her voice sounded more secure that her sister’s and she felt the anger of King Roland because of the fact that he wasn’t allowed to make the own decision. She then realised her sister wasn’t allowed to go with him, and that she would prevent everything so that wouldn’t happen. She knew Roland would eventually destroy her beloved sister.
The week was one with King Roland was one of the worst weeks Lissandra had ever experienced, and she and Roland never really got to know each other that well. He was cold towards her and didn’t want to say a thing. On the third day Lissandra had enough of it and she did something that was actually forbidden by the laws of her customs. She looked into the heart of King Roland and saw the darkness his father left him with, but also the fact he just wanted to have Lianne because she would be able to follow him without friction, so he would be able to rule on his own. It was there she decided she was not only going to save her sister, but she also going to save the Kingdom of Yule. It was time for her to let go of her true love and fulfil her destiny as saviour.
King Roland really tried to give the second princess the worst week of her life, but he didn’t understand that was that even how much hatred he showed towards her, she would not let go of the fact that she wanted to protect her sister. One day the sisters even switched places, but Roland didn’t realise as he was just thinking of another miserable day with who he had called the second princess. He treated Lianne, who took the place of her sister, like garbage, and it was only then that Lianne realised her sister was right. This wasn’t the man he showed her he was. He was, in fact, the cruelty himself, and even though she had taken a liking towards him, she now knew it was impossible for her to go with him, because she would be threatened much differently once she would arrive at the palace.
At the end of the week the King and Lianne joined Lissandra and King Roland for dinner, yet before that the two girls had a secret gathering in a pass a bit up in the mountain. It was freezingly cold there, but the two of them used the magic their mother learnt them to keep warm.
“Sister, you shouldn’t go with him.” Lissandra started as they finished checking the areas on anyone listening in on them.
“My heart says I want to, but it I look how he threatened you, hoping I would go with you instead, he’s wrong.” Lianne had tears in her eyes, and was doomed to lose the man she had taken a liking to.
“But… Sister, what about your fiancé? Won’t he be upset? I mean, what the two of you had, it’s something really rare.” Lianne was pointing towards something obvious, true love, and she knew her sister sneaked away every year to be with the guy in question for a month.
“He will be devastated sister… But I cannot let you go, I cannot let you stay with that creep. I won’t be able to reach you when you are that far away, and who knows when you need help. Besides, the people love you here, you will most likely be chosen to be the new Queen once father dies. They need you.” A tear rolled over Lissandra’s face as she thought of Thomas, her loved one, who lived in The Kingdom of Yule, just at the edge of the Mountains of Eternity, as he father was born there, but his mother was born in Linea.
“But I still cannot let you go.” Lianne felt the emotion through her sister and knew she was right, even though it pained her heart so much. The two of them went down the mountain and reached for the city of Yara, knowing this would be their last day together in a very long time.
“Ah daughters, there you are. I was wondering where the two of you went. King Roland has been looking for us, it’s time to join him in the dinning room for our last meal together.” The two sisters nodded at their father and gave him a hug. He had a hard time as well, he knew tomorrow there would only be one daughter left, and the other one would go and fulfil the destiny the stars had shown him when he last looked at them, the day that his wife died.
Lissandra and Lianne looked at each other as they talked through the connection they had as twins. The two of them knew very well how their father felt, and they felt the same way, but it was necessary for one of them to leave, but their connection would hold on.
“Not a word about Thomas Lia, father doesn’t know and he will not let me go if he knew I am giving up my true love to save you.”
“Okay then Liss, I will not say a word.” Lianne sounded angry but she knew her sister was right, as usual, even though that didn’t mean she had to agree with her.
The tree of them entered the dining hall at the same time. The local magician had outdone herself and made sure there was a feast prepared in the town hall, but it didn’t look like a town hall anymore. There were large tables everywhere and the whole town was invited, it truly looked like a feast as if there was a wedding going on.
“Welcome King Roland of Yule, King Laurence of Linea, and Princesses Lianne and Lissandra, Daughters of Linea. I am Yalene Magician of Yara, Border City of the Mountains of Eternity.” Yalene took a breath and gestured them to the places on the honourable table where there was one chair left free for herself after she would be done speaking.
“Tonight we have prepared a feast in order to celebrate the engagement between King Roland of Yule and Princess Lissandra, Daughter of Linea.” As Yalene was speaking Lissandra chanted in her mind who was going to go down south with King Roland. Yalene never flinched a bit as she spoke out the name of the princess that would be leaving Linea, but inside she was also very upset one of the two beloved daughters of Linea would be leaving.
King Roland’s face was devastated once he heard the name of the Princess who would be joining him, and Laurence saw that, so he became very worried about his daughter from the one of the other feeling, yet he knew he could not back of his word, as that would meant he’d go against what the stars had told him. He stood up and decided it was time for him to say something.
“As we all know now, our beloved Daughter of Linea will leave us to become a Queen in a different Kingdom, bordering ours. Before she starts her long journey I would like to give her my blessing. Please stand up, Princess Lissandra, Daughter of Linea. I will hereby grant you the royal title Princess of Hope, as has been written in the stars. May you carry out this title with great pride, and never forget where you came from.”
With that King Laurence said that down and all the people of the village started to cheer and clap loudly. He knew in his heart that he had made the right decision to give his daughter the title or Princess of Hope, even though that usually given in a time that everyone needed the hope. It had not even occurred before that someone had gotten that title, but he knew that the time was right, and she was the one who needed that title.
The feast lasted the world night and after that was done everyone was sound asleep. Lissandra just hugged her sister one more time as the two of them wished each other save travels, and then turned towards her dad. She slept in the room next to King Roland as she was in the meaning of their people now married to him, yet there still had to be an official wedding at King Roland’s castle for the two of them to be really married.
The following day Princess Lissandra left with King Roland, and his party. It was her duty to make sure all of the gifts, packages, servants, horses and other things would make it safely through the pass. She was going to use the magic her mother had learnt her for this, but it also meant nobody was allowed to know she was helping everyone to stay warm and away from the darkness the blizzards in the Mountains of Eternity could call on. Her mother had taught her this when she was just a little girl, and she and Lianne practised a lot until they were fully fluent with this skill. Then their mother would tell them to find a pack of rabbits and guide them into the snow. It was their task to keep them warm, and to make sure they all stayed alive. The girls thought this was awful, but at the same time they knew there was no other choice than to practise with the rabbits as if they had been practising with real people there could be real danger.
“Thank you mother.” Lissandra whispered as she prepared herself to use all her energy to make sure everything was covered. It was time for her to travel through the mountains once more, and this time not to visit her beloved one, but to dive into a new adventure.
Lissandra waved at her own kingdom as she followed the party into the mountains. This was going to be the last glimpse she would have of her own country and she made a picture of it in her mind. She said to herself that it was never to be forgotten, no matter what times were going to follow. It was time for her to live up to her full potential and to make sure everyone was going to be alright, no matter how much she had come to hate King Roland already. She would never feel that hatred for the whole kingdom, it was simply the hatred for the king.
“Goodbye Sister. Goodbye Kingdom, I was glad to server you from the start.” With that the Princess of Hope faded into the mountains, not to be seen again for a long time.