A wave crashed into the ship and jolted me awake. I sat up and glanced around the small cell that was my current living quarters. As I did so I heard the chain connected to my shackles shift and drag across the ground. I looked down at where the chain was connected to the floor of my cell.
When I did the guard that had taken notice of my movement called out “Don’t get any funny ideas, I’d hate to get my sword bloody, after all I just got it professionally cleaned which isn’t cheap, as I’m sure you’re aware of little prince.” He sneered that last word as if he had some grudge against royalty.
I tried to ignore him, but his words managed to get to me all the same. “Prince” I whispered to myself as I wondered back into my subconscious. That was a title that I had worn with pride such a short time ago. As I felt myself drifting back to sleep, I tried in vain to steer my mind away from the events that would likely haunt my dreams for years to come….
“…..ale” “Prince Gale” my Crownsguard Rupert called out snapping me out of a daydream.
“Actually, I’m not sure if I am a prince anymore” I replied nonchalantly while glancing at my most trusted aid. Sir Rupert was a well-built man whose age was just starting to show. He had black hair that was starting to grey on the sides and a well-trimmed beard that also had grey strands running through it. Though he was shorter than me, his battle worn body caused him to have an aura about him that made him seem larger than he actually was. As for the clothes he was wearing, he was dressed in a perfectly tailored ceremonial garb that he only wore for important occasions.
“Nonsense” he replied. “Your brother's coronation isn’t until this afternoon, and until that crown rests firmly on his brow you are still a prince.” He said rather seriously.
I simply shrugged my shoulders and looked back into the mirror. I stood a head over 6 feet tall and weighed every ounce of 300lbs. Which meant that I had a rather hefty build. This caused my own ceremonial garb to look a bit stretched as if it was struggling to hold my body within it. I sighed and looked at my face, I had a fair complexion that went along with my short brown hair and blue eyes. When combined with my clean-shaven face I looked a bit younger than the 21 years that I had lived. “Well,” I said, “We best get a move on then, I’d hate to be the last one to arrive.”
“Yes, lets” Rupert responded as he opened my door and gestured for me to walk through. As we walked down through my tower and out onto the courtyard that leads to the main castle Rupert spoke to me again “According to my sources Prince Jacorr arrived an hour ago leaving only Prince Tristan yet to arrive.”
“Interesting” I responded “Normally Jacorr is the late one.” I found it hard to imagine Tristan showing up late considering his rather serious personality. I let my mind wonder towards my family as I continued to walk towards the castle.
Reis, that was my family name, and conveniently enough it also happened to be the name of our kingdom. My oldest brother Darius was about to inherit the throne after our father had passed a little over a fortnight ago. He was a kind man who had a peaceful disposition similar to the one our father had. He had married the princess of one of our neighboring countries some time ago and already had two children, a son, and a daughter.
Next up was Tristan. Like Darius, Tristan had married the princess of a neighboring country, but that was it as far as similarities between the two went. Tristan had a very serious personality that contrasted slightly with Darius’ more lighthearted personality. He has also had a reputation of being slightly more inclined to violence and had a ruthless reputation for dealing with criminals in his wife’s kingdom. He had been strict growing up and I personally thought that he felt a bit of resentment growing up in Darius’ shadow.
As for Jacorr, he too married a princess in the last neighboring country to ours. He would be what some would consider the goofy one. Of my brothers he would constantly tell jokes or make witty remarks to get a laugh out of people and to lighten the mood. He never took much of anything very seriously which could cause headaches from time to time. However, that same goofiness of his also made it so that just about everyone who met him ended up as friends with him. He was definitely the most sociable of the and easiest to get along with of my brothers.
Lastly there was me, the youngest living Prince of Reis. I had a quick mind and sharp intellect that enabled me to be considered the smartest of the princes. Unfortunately, I had developed a reputation of being lazy the past few years which was not unfounded. As if you looked at me alongside my brothers you would immediately notice the contrast of my fatness compared to their well-built bodies. In a magicless world I would seem to be the poster child of nobility, however, this was not a magicless world.
You see, in this world, every person is born with a Magic Core, these Magic Cores have various stages, ranging from brown, the weakest, to crystal, the strongest. The stage of your core indicated the maximum amount of mana you could use as well as your control over said mana. Anyone could improve the stage of their core through hard work and diligent training however most people can only improve their core about 4 times before their core would be too powerful for their bodies to handle. You see, using mana causes an impact on your body similar to what cardio does. The more mana you use, the more intense the effect on your body is. Thus, if you focus only on improving your core and don’t improve your body alongside it, then your body won’t be able to handle the effects of using your mana and you usually will end up having a heart attack and dying.
Now, even though everyone is born with a core, not everyone is born at the same stage. For instance, as a member of a powerful royal family myself and my brothers were all born with a white stage core which is just 2 stages below a crystal core. However, as I mentioned, the amount of mana you can use also depends on your body. So, despite the fact that I have a white stage core and technically have access to a tremendous amount of mana, I cannot utilize said mana for very long before my heart bursts and I die. This means that despite my immense potential as a naturally born white core mage I am what one might call, a disappointment.
As for my marriage status I am single, this is due to a mix of politics and my current status as a disappointment. You see, the country of Reis is a large country that is one of the contenders for the title of strongest human Kingdom. The other contender is the Holy Grand Empire. Several generations back when the Empire had started to expand by conquering other human countries one of my forefathers had the great idea to match the Empire by doing the same thing. Thus started a long history of war and conquest in the Kingdom of Reis that only ended when my grandfather took the throne. He was weary of war and put a halt to our expansion. While he did that, he also fostered a healthy alliance with our four remaining neighboring countries. Unfortunately for me, by the time my generation came around only three of the rulers of the neighboring countries had given birth to any daughters. Thus, there was no royalty for me to marry. Normally the nobility of Reis would jump at the opportunity to have me marry one of their daughters, but you see, that is where my status as a disappointment comes into play.
As I was lamenting the tragedy that is my love life, Rupert and I found ourselves walking into the grand hall of the castle. I found myself admiring the view from the door, the large hall was at present lined with tables set up with decorations of red and black coloring, our house colors, and had large decorative banners hanging down from the ceiling with our red lion sigil on a field of black. There was currently a crowd of people in the hall. At the back of the hall looking over everything was the impressive stone throne with ruby lions mounted on both sides that inspired awe in all who laid eyes on it. Despite having seen the throne hundreds of times in my life I have never found the view to be anything less than powerful, almost as if the stone it was made of had been enchanted to cause a feeling of respect in all who stood in its presence.
“Uncle Gale!” a small voice suddenly called out from somewhere to my right. I looked over in time to see a blur of a figure jump at me. I let out an audible sigh as I was hugged tightly by my niece. “Hello little Olive” I said as I looked down at the young girl who had hugged me. Olivia Reis was the younger child and only daughter of my brother Darius. She had a bright smile on her young face, when coupled with her long brown hair and silver eyes that smile could brighten the day of even the grumpiest of people. She had recently turned 10 and was currently wearing a silver dress that matched her eyes.
“Did you oversleep again Uncle?” she asked. Her face turned sour “I was worried you were going to sleep right through dad’s coronation.”
“Cut me some slack now” I said. “I would never miss your father’s big day” I spoke as I reached into my jacket pocket and pulled out a chocolate bar. Her eyes brightened back up as I handed her the candy bar.
“You are going to end up spoiling her if you keep giving her chocolate” Her mother said as she walked up to greet me.
“A growing child needs to eat in order to keep growing” I defended myself as I winked at Olivia before turning to face her mother.
“Lady Silvia” I bowed respectfully as I greeted the woman who now stood before me. Silvia was wearing a silver dress to match her daughters and like her daughter she also had silver eyes, as for her hair though it was a dark black. “Or should I say Queen Silvia” I added to the end of my statement.
“I’m not the Queen quite yet” she responded with a smile as she nodded to Rupert. She then turned and called out to the man of the hour himself. Darius who had his back to us turned when he heard his wife’s voice. He took notice of me and walked toward us. “Gale, I thought for sure you would end up sleeping through this.” He said with a slight smile on his face.
“It would seem I am starting to gain a bad reputation for sleeping in” I responded as I greeted my brother with a slight bow. I looked over my brother with admiration as he was wearing the red and black regal attire that I had seen our father in so many times prior. He had brown hair like my own but unlike me he also had the brown eyes to match it. “You look a great deal like father” I remarked on his attire.
“Hopefully I can also rule like him as well” He responded kindly. “Now allow me to show you to your seat” He gestured for me to follow. I excused myself from Sylvia and Olivia the latter of whom had already begun eating the chocolate I had given her and followed my brother. “As master of coin you will be seated with the other council members” He informed me as we moved towards the table closest to the throne. When we arrived, I took note of the seat he gestured towards before turning to face him.
“I can’t help but notice that neither Jacorr nor Jason are here.” I mentioned. Jason was the name of his son.
“They left shortly before you arrived” he responded. “We received word that Tristan had made it to the city, so they went to greet and escort him to the castl-.” He was interrupted by the doors to the hall slamming open. I turned to look at the noise and saw the lone silhouette of Tristan standing in the doorway. A split moment later Rupert had stepped in front of me and unleashed his mana threateningly towards Tristan. “Rupert what are you…” My voice trailed off as I saw Tristan clearly. He was wearing a full suit of battle armor and had his blade already drawn.
“What is the meaning of this” Darius demanded as he looked toward Tristan.
“Whatever do you mean brother?” Tristan asked. “I thought it was obvious, I am here for my coronation.” He stated loudly for everyone to hear.
The people in the hall gasped in surprise. I however was too fixated on Tristan’s sword to pay close attention to what was being said. Dripping off of his blade was a liquid not too different in color to the red on our sigil. I gulped as I realized that his blade was covered in blood.