Chapter 1

To wear the crown of royalty upon his tired head that was supported by a troubled brow, the old king found no comfort in his now gilded cage of a castle. Once filled with laughter and joy from servants to the knights that protected the lands for him, every hall and room remained silent for so long. For it has been like this ever since the old king let his only daughter to be wed the puppet. Yes, a puppet has turned his entire kingdom bleak and desolate. Yet it was only the old king that knew it was the puppet that was behind it all. From the very beginning, going back further than the birth of his daughter, when the old king was once the valiant prince, who rode with his men of valor and were steadfast…

Upon the forest of the red trees, did the valiant prince find a troubled old man trapped under a fallen tree. The old man had cried for help for two days and two nights, but none had come to his aid until now. He told the prince of the wolves howling nearby when the moon had risen, and that of the cries and wails that the banshees would make as they flew with the cold night air. He only prayed for a quick death when all seemed lost, but now with the aid of the prince, he can repay him with kindness and a gift. The prince said that he need not of a gift, for only the old man’s gratitude was enough, but the old man insisted that there should be some way to repay him. With a finger over his mouth, the old man signaled for the prince for a moment of silence, and the old man searched the worn pouch that was tied around his ragged robe. A few breaths later, the old man slowly and carefully lifted a small, wooden puppet with his hands. Holding it like that of a newborn, with tender care and love did he show for the puppet when he presented it to the prince.

Confused with this small gift of kindness, the prince felt the urge to ask the old man about this puppet’s importance. Only a few tears and a smile were to be the old man’s answer, and as the stepped closer to hand off the puppet, the old man fell to his knees as the puppet was now in the hands of the prince. Silence overwhelmed them both as the prince and the old man continued their eye contact, with no other words to trade. Only silence and the puppet. The prince placed the puppet with care into his side pouch and lifted the old man onto his feet, but failed, for the old man was dead…

To be continued.

This story is the property of Eric McVinney. Distribution to any unauthorized persons are prohibited.

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