Upon his forehead sat the royal seal, in the very center was a black wing. With his jetblack hair and forest green eyes, Zalair was always the talk of the city. But not because he was fine and noble, and handsom and clever. No, it was because he was very quiet and very laidback.
Living in a moderate climate in a bustling royal city, you'd think the prince would have more to do. That isn't the case. With the Queen Rose always gabbing with her fellow polygamy wives about their children and meaningless nothings, and the King Yoh always busy with the politics of the monarchy and country, Zalair really had little to do.
He'd long ago finished learning all the laws and customs. He'd finished all the sword, bow and spear training. Horseback, carriage, wagons, jogging and running were also all scratched off the list. Really, he'd learnt it all already. Though he never had a stuck-up air about him.
In truth, Zalair was just bored. He hated wearing the traditional clothes of the prince: some long sleeved shirt and long baggy pants, with a shirt covering only the front and back and tied at the waist - it was far too much like a Gung Xi outfit. It lacked all ideals of taste the prince craved.
Instead he wore a smooth cyan blue jacket and top sewn with silver silk thread, and calm pants. Trimmed in gold of yellow and orange, and red tassles tied with more gold. The outfit also showed off ten fine rubies of the cleanest circular cut. Two small ones at the cuffs of his pants, three at the center of his shirt after the waist, two along each side of the waist, two at each piece of fabric at the back of the hand and one final large on at his collar bone.
It was highest of the class, elegant, expensive, and something he wore so much that everyone was amazed it never got dirty or smelled.
But, seeing as how the prince did nothing, but wander the halls of the palace aimlessly, all anyone could do was shout at him to make better use of his time.
"Why?" he would ask.
His father and mother were in great health, the neighboring countries were at mostly-peace, and he was the eldest of all the twelve children.
Twelve children named for constellations in the sky. Zalair, Flanoir, Rosern, Lettale, Aghast, Jazoon, Elone, Tilo'ne, Takanel, Manike, Rutherine and Celeb. It wasn't a surprise, with the Number One wife, the queen, having bared only the first two, and the other four wives the rest.
All the other siblings were too young to even dream of taking the throne. They were still too concerned with their preadolescent fantasies of druids and knights. That, at three of the last were still under four years of age.
Zalair was hardly under any threat.
But then, the dice rolled against Zalair's luck one day during an emergency council King Yoh had to listen to.
Zalair, sitting in the courtyard watching the white small birds, turned his ear to listen as his father and mother argued at the stone alcove not far away. He couldn't make out what they were saying, but didn't really care to.
Then, the two royal members approached Zalair slowly, holding each other in their arms.
"Zalair," said the Queen, "We have something important to tell you."
"You're having another child?" Zalair replied, looking to her with a slightly amused face.
"Zalair! We're serious!" the King raised his voice.
Zalair stood slowly up to his full height of five-foot-eight-inches. "Oh, really? Let me take in the shock for a moment, please, dear Father."
The two waited a moment before continuing. "We have to send you to Dragon's Bane..."
"Why?" Zalair blinked, recalling his geography. Clerincile, his home country, sat on the western coast in a moderate climate, while Dragon's Bane- better known as Moita, was farther inland of a desert and mountains.
"The heir to the throne is refusing all suitors, so..." the Queen explained.
"So?" Zalair raised a brow. Was he really to be wed off to some girl he'd never met?
"King Chevis has asked that you wed his heir." the King answered.
Zalair thought a moment. He'd never met the heir, or even heard of the heir honestly. He knew she was older than him by at least two years though. "Why would you think she'd marry me?"
"You're quiet and clever, and very kind at heart." the Queen nodded with a smile.
The King nodded with her, "Yes, you've got a heart of gold!"
"Why do I have to?" Zalair breathed annoyance.
"King Chevis is very ill," the Queen sighed, "And soon his heir will have to take over for him. But you see, he's got no favor of our kingdom."
"You mean he just wants to conquer us in some bloody war, right." Zalair asked, not one to mince words much.
"So, if you marry the heir, that'll spare the deaths." the King answered.
Zalair sighed, putting his hands on his hips with his eyes closed. "I've never even met her."
"Why not marry off Lettale?" Zalair grunted, looking to the side completely annoyed. "He's almost thirteen..."
The King shouted, "No! You are the only one close enough in age! As your King, I order this of you!"
"And if I decline?"
"Then you'll be sent into the knight's service and will fight in the war." came the King's instant reply.
Zalair wasn't one for fights, if anything, he'd avoid them at all costs. Things weren't looking so good for the prince. If marrying some bratty princess who wanted to rule his country the only way to get out of a war, then fine. She was probably a stuck-up brat with no sense of kindness or nobilty.
"Fine, I'll at least go meet this bratty heir," Zalair concluded to not decide until he met this supposed future-fiancee. He wasn't about to get married to someone who'd murder him in his sleep, or someone he'd have to exile. That'd be great! He thought, Exile my wife as my first declaration as King of Dragon's Bane.
"Terrific!" the King applauded. "You'll leave tomorrow at noon!"
"Fine, whatever." Zalair groaned, starting to walk away.
"He'll make a fine husband!" said the Queen.
It wasn't until later that Zalair found out that his mother hadn't been referring to him.