Fairytale for the lonely heart, chapter 100

Helen gripped Castor’s shoulder, “are you alright? You seem upset.” Helen held the horses reins as she lead the party to the edge of Pyropolis. It was still dark when they left that morning but they had walked slowly and now the sun was high in the sky. A beautiful sunny like today would be a blessing to most countries but most countries were not mostly desert and hot air.

“I am fine,” muttered Castor, “it is just that… I guess I failed right? I couldn’t bring a flower back. I was so close.. but then Pollux got in the way.”

“You don’t really think THAT is what he intended?”

“What else am I suppose to think?” grumbled Castor. He kicked a stone on the ground which rolled a foot away. Anneli held Castor’s hand tighter than usual.

“It could be worse,” replied Helen.

“It can always be worse, it doesn’t make me feel any better udade.”

“Have faith,” replied Helen and slapped Castor on the back. It stung more than she intended. Castor’s wounds besides his cracked rib had already healed but he was still sore. “Wait for me here,” instructed Helen, “I’ll see about getting some camels.”

Castor leaned against a tall fence which enclosed around a group of horses and llamas. Helen entered a small stone building, with a wooden sign above the door proclaiming ‘CAMELS AND HORSES FOR TRADE, SALE AND RENTING’ in three languages. The air was dense with the musty pungent smell of wet sweaty fur and animal refuse. Disgruntled horses neighed and kicked in their overcrowded and overheated lodgings. A camel in the fenced plot in front of Castor stared at him for an extended minute silently judging him while it chew cud.

Fairytale for the lonely heart, chapter 98

“So what? We should do nothing?” growled Helen. She stood up and paced up and down the five feet of the cell. “We can break out of here. These old rusted cages will be easy to shatter.”

“No. If we break out and run away they will hunt us down. They will continue to chase us for god knows how long. And even when they finally give up we will still be looking over our shoulders. Right now, we wait for them to make the first move.”

“But Pollux-”

“Pollux won’t dare hurt us!” snarled Castor. “He is too soft. Unlike father he is too soft to hurt us.”

Helen glared at Castor and tapped her foot against the ground. Anneli felt a breeze as the stale air began to swirl around her.

“Helen stop making a fuss, we will get out eventually.”

“But when Castor? WHEN?”

chink 

The sound of clinking metal rung through the hollow dungeons. Heavy steps, clinking metal and softly crackling fire grew closer. A orange glow in the darkness approached their cell, a hooded figure holding a ring of thirty keys. The figure hung their lamp on a hook by the cell and then systematically checked each key in the ring with the lock on the iron bar door. Castor glanced at Helen who was creating a whirl of wind around her fingers.

“Excuse me, but who are you?” asked Anneli.

“Oh sorry,” chirped the figure, who then removed their hood and let their half braided hair tumble out.

“ARALIYA?” exclaimed Helen.

“Shhhh! Be quiet!” whispered Araliya. “There are still guards upstairs, they might hear.”

The lock cracked open at the twelfth key. The door creaked as it was slowly pushed open. “Follow me,” whispered Araliya as she took her lamp off the hook. They followed her along the dark narrow passages deeper and deeper into the dungeon bowels. The air got more humid and the ground got wetter as they walked. After what felt like hours they arrived at a decrepit door. Thin slivers of light passed through cracks and holes in the wood. It took Araliya a few tries until she finally shoved the door open.

Their eyes stung as they were bathed in the Pyropolis sunlight. The sound of gulls, waves and chatter surrounded them.

Castor looked around in absolute disbelief. “How… how did we get to port?”

“The dungeons have passages that lead all over the city,” said a familiar voice.

Castor froze as his brother embraced him. Pollux had barely looked at him these past years and Castor could never imagine his brother would touch him. When he let go all Castor do nothing but laughed.

“What’s going on?” demanded Helen, stamped her foot and clenched her hands.

“We are helping you escape,” replied Pollux.

“You are the one who arrested us in the first place!”

“That’s because you’re the dumb ass who stomped into the palace after leaving and returning with an unregistered razor ship. Everyone already found out about it and I can’t let them know that I helped you. I told you to be subtle and you are everything but that!” retorted Pollux and for once Helen was quiet.

“Castor…” began Pollux, “I’m sorry for all that I have done all these years. I was wrong I realize that now. Everything is going to change now.”

“What are you planning on doing?”  asked Castor.

“First of all, I will handle everything and get you two…three out of the city as quietly and quickly as possible. Don’t worry about your arrest, they were my guards and the ministers already know what father did. And secondly, father’s behavior is unacceptable we won’t let him get away with it.”

Fairytale for the lonely heart, chapter 96

Castor put his arms underneath Anneli, carrying him as he stood up. He stepped to the bed with Anneli in his arms and pushed the sword onto the ground. Castor placed Anneli on the bed and climbed onto the old bed. It creaked and the mattress was so thin the bed frame could be felt through it. Anneli looked at Castor on top of him, not sure what to do or to say. His heat thumped in his chest and echoed in his ears. Shadows obscured Castor’s features, Anneli felt anxious at not being able to see Castor’s eyes. Castor grabbed the fabric of Anneli’s cape.

“What are you doing Castor?”

Castor chuckled. Anneli could hear the painful surrender in Castor’s voice as a part of him stopped caring about the world he lived in.

“I don’t know,” whined Castor, burying his face in Anneli’s chest. There was a sudden bang at the door. Castor and Anneli stared at the door for a moment.

BANG!

“Is that Helen?” whispered Anneli.

BANG!

“I don’t -”

BANG! The rickety door was broken open and Pyropolis soldiers flooded in. Castor dived for his knife but was rammed by a soldier and thrown onto the floor.

“It would be best if you come quietly Prince Castor,” said the soldier holding the bladed end of a spear to Castor’s throat. Castor looked at Anneli who had already been caught. Castor allowed his hands to be tied, his face covered and dragged to god knows where. When the bag was removed from his head Castor found himself in the dark, leaky dungeon cell underneath the royal palace. In the small cramped cell was Helen, Anneli and himself.

“What in the world happened?!” cried Castor, tugging at his bound limbs.

Helen glared at him, “Pollux happened.”

Fairytale for the lonely heart, chapter 92 waves

Eventually Anneli grew accustom to the constant rocking of the boat and the overwhelming salty scent of the sea which permeated every crevice of the boat. Anneli stood on the deck leaning against the rails staring into the sea. The deep blue waves flowed far into the horizon yet still beat against the body of the ship.

“Hey”

Anneli turned and saw Helen walk up to him. She stood beside him and looked in to the ocean together.

“Have you been avoiding Castor?”

“No, why?”

“Because Castor said you were. Did something happen yesterday?”

“No, nothing,” replied Anneli with a sigh. The eastern wind blew over them bringing the scent of a distant land.

“So,” began Helen, “why are you traveling with my brother.”

Anneli smirked,”am I in trouble?”

“Depends, did you do something?”

Anneli turned to Helen and looked into the eyes that were so similar to Castor’s. “No I didn’t. Castor promised to take me to the desert if I helped him find a rose.”

“Why do you want to go to the desert?”

“Because two magic fish told me if I go the desert I will find love.”

Helen choked stifling her laughter. “What? Really? You believed them.”

“Well yes. Besides the only reason Castor even went to find a rose is because some fortune teller said he should be king.”

“Fair enough,” said Helen with a smile and shrug of the shoulders. “But you have to admit your fortune was rather vague.”

“Yes but there was nothing much for me back home, so any hope of a better life is a good reason to leave.”

“Mn…” Helen looked at the blue infinity and the swirling uncertain sky. “He told you about that stuff did he? I mean about becoming the king and about father and Pollux.”

“Yeah. He spoke about you as well. He said he was jealous of you.”

“Really? He’s jealous?”

Anneli nodded. “Castor said he wished he was brave enough to run away himself, but he cared too much about what other people thought and wanted to prove himself.”

“He must really trust you to tell you all those things.”

“I don’t know if he trusts me,” replied Anneli. “He did not tell me anything about himself until just recently. Even then it was because he was in a really bad state.”

“Still, he never opens up to anyone, not even me.”

Anneli was silent of a moment, hesitating whether to tell Helen what he wanted to. “Helen, Castor said he does not want to be king.”

“I figured, especially after what our father tried to do and considering how Castor was treated in the past.”

“But his behavior doesn’t make any sense- why would he risk his life to get the rose and go back to your country if he did not want to become king? He could have run away to anywhere else.”

“Well… no one but Castor really knows what’s going on his head. He can be manipulative and two-face…you should be careful as well.”

“What are you two talking about?” announced Castor as he approached them. He leaned against the rails placing his hands on either side of Anneli.

“Were you talking about me?” asked Castor with a grin and then placed his chin on Anneli’s head.

“Our lives don’t revolve around you Castor,” replied Helen her words dripping with sarcasm.

Castor laughed, “does that mean you were?”

“Maybe- so you are jealous of me Castor?” asked Helen. Castor stared at Helen for a second perplexed.

“What did he tell you? What did you tell her?”

Helen laughed. “I was told that you were jealous because you wanted to run away like me.”

“Anneli why would you tell her that? I told you that in confidence,” chuckled Castor.

“How are you feeling?” asked Anneli softly.

“I’m alright. Well….not much better but I was bored in my room all alone,” muttered Castor.

“You should go back and rest, your injuries are still bad,” replied Anneli.

“Are you coming as well?”

“Not just yet.”

“What? Are you saying the sea is more interesting than I am?” whined Castor.

Anneli paused for a moment then said,”yes.”

 

Fairytale for the lonely heart, Chapter 87 The rescue

The shouting voices became louder and louder. A young soldier ran back to the room, looking disheartened and stressed. “S-sir, we have a problem,” he stuttered.

“What’s going on?” whispered one of the soldiers to another. The middle aged soldier, with medals pined to the breast of his uniform stood up from his chair and shut his book with a clap.

“What is the commotion?” asked the older soldier.

“Well, you see there is this person. They are making a fuss and we can’t seem to calm them down.”

The older man sighed, “really now.”

The thundering sound of heavy boots reverberated through the building as the mysterious person came closer. Castor on the other hand was thoroughly amused and if the soldiers had been nicer to him he may have attempted not two show his pleasure at that distress. A figure in a long dark coat appeared in the door way, with a large hood obscuring their face.

“By Fidim Castor! Why did you go and get yourself arrested?” proclaimed the figure in a booming voice.

“HELEN?”

The figure removed their hood and standing in the doorway was the most beautiful woman any of the soldiers had ever seen. Many of them gasped only now realizing that the loud and violent person was in fact a woman.

“Helen, what are you doing here? HOW did you get here?”

All the soldiers stared at Helen as if she were manna from heaven and they were starving in the desert. They were entranced by her deep dark eyes and glistening umber skin…..

“Castor, that is not important. What did you do to get arrested? And HOW did you get all these injuries?”

……until she spoke and they were swiftly snapped back to reality. They remembered that she had forcefully entered a military building. They remembered that she was loud, violent and rude but those eyes were a snare they did not want to escape.

“What did he do to get arrested?” asked Helen turning to the soldier who was still holding Castor by the shoulder.

“What- I um… uh-”

“What’s wrong are you having a fit?”

“No Helen. You seem to have forgotten that the sight of you knocks Muktaba out of the heads of lesser men.”

“What?” said the soldier furiously glaring at Castor and tightening his grip.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” replied Castor to his captor, “Muktaba is a god of wisdom and learning. One says ‘Muktaba has been knocked out of ones head’ if one is acting like a complete dumb ass.”

“Castor please stop angering the local military, we don’t want this to escalate into a international conflict. Though these men probably have as much influence in international politics as a termite in a chess game.”

“He was fighting in public,” said a voice in the room.

“Who was what now?” asked Helen who was only half-paying attention.

“That was why he was arrested,” said the older soldier and punctuating his sentence with a cough for good measure.

“Oh,” remarked Helen. “How much is his fine? I can pay it now.”

“It is not that simple,” said the soldier, “this is the second time he got arrested so he needs to have a judge look over his case.”

“Alright, what did he do the first time?” asked Helen nearing the end of her patience.

“He was in possession of a large amount of money and a magic jeweled knife. Items thought to have been stolen by him,” replied the soldier.

Helen sighed loudly exasperated and rolled her eyes, “Castor- how did you get arrested for stealing your own things?”

“I don’t Helen! The people here are mad and they won’t listen to a word I say!”

Helen turned to the older soldier and pointed to Castor, “you know he is a prince right? I don’t know if you WANT to be the people arrested the future king of Apophis. You know the Fidiom are known to be vengeful and bloodthirsty. Do you really want to insight the wrath of the people blessed by the gods?”

“He wasn’t lying about being a Prince?” sputtered the older soldier.

“Your gods gave you ears and brains. Why not use them?”

“Let him go,” said the older soldier.

“But what if she is lying as well? They might be accomplices,” argued the soldier not letting go of Castor’s shoulder.

“Well,” said Helen reaching into the pocket of her coat, “I, unlike my brother, actually brought proof of my identity.” From within her pocket Helen too out a gold disk with a delicate geometric emblem etched on it. “This is my emblem. You see the lion, that means I am part of the royal family of Pyropolis.”

The soldiers came closer and stared at the golden disk.

“I can’t believe they let you take that out of the palace,” said Castor just as shocked to see Helen’s seal.

“Well, I would not say they ‘let’ me take it. But I needed some proof of who I was and they won’t mind me borrowing it.”

The older soldier sighed, “let him go,” he repeated. This time the soldier quickly withdrew his hand and stepped back.

“Where are my things?” demanded Castor and a soldier scurried away to get Castor’s belongings. Castor walked over to Helen with a goofy smile. “Thank you for saving me udade.”

“I’m just glad you are alright,” replied Helen, gripping Castor’s forearm affectionately.

Fairytale for the Lonely Heart, Chapter 84 Caged

The Saxon soldiers roughly grabbed Castor but the arm and dragged him to a crumbling stone building along with the other three Pyropolis soldiers. Thankfully they were placed in separate cells however all his possessions, including his knife and all his money was confiscated. The cell his was placed in was a small room with a iron door and a tiny window with iron bars. It was dark, damp and over all very unpleasant. He sat on the lone bench in the room and let himself wallow in self-pity. He ignored the pain of his injuries and let them bleed and wondered if bleeding to death would be simpler. After being left alone for what felt like an hour a Saxon soldier unlocked the heavy door and entered the room followed by a short old man. The old man opened his large bag full all kinds of bandages and bottles.

“Take of you shirt,” instructed the man.

Castor who had this point had pretty much given up on everything slowly took of his shirt unfazed by his bleeding wounds or fractured ribs. He felt numb, everything felt numb. He had lost everything, he felt hopeless. Anneli was gone now, taking the rose with him. His money and knife was taken away and Castor had very little expectation of getting it back. After Castor disrobed the old man cleaned his wounds with water and alcohol and stitched up the stab wound in his abdomen. The stab wound in his back was not as deep so the old man simply dressed it with iodide and a gauze after cleaning it.

“This bruise?” asked the old man.

“That is from before, I cracked a rib.”

“Do you get into fight often?” chuckled the old man.

“Admittedly, far more than I liked.”

“You speak Saxon very well.”

“Thank you.”

The soldier standing at the edge of the room coughed, suggesting the old man be faster and to stop chatting.

“Sorry, I must go treat the others.” The old man nodded his head and repacked his bag.

“Thank you,” said Castor politely. The soldier and the old man left the cell, locking the door behind him. Castor re-wore his torn and blood soaked shirt but did not bother to button it up. Before a he could once again sink into sadness a small voice came from the window.

“Castor,” said a soft whispering voice. Castor turned and saw Anneli’s face pressed against the bars of the window.

“Anneli!” Castor’s heart tried to leap out of his chest, his chest filled with butterflies and he could once again see in color.

“Anneli! What are you doing here?”

“I followed you here. Are you alright?”

“More or less.How are you doing Anneli?”

“I’m fine. The rose plant id also fine. I did not let go of it!” said Anneli proudly but Castor could not care less about the plant right now. “What are you going to do now Castor?”

“I don’t know, but I will figure it out. You should just focus on staying safe until then.”

“What about your knife?”

“They took it away but I don’t think I can fight my way out of this situation. It will just make things worse. I will try and talk to them and hope they listen to me.”

“Will that work?”

“Hopefully.”

“What about the other men who attacked you?”

“Some of them got caught as well and some get away. They are probably going to tell the Saxon soldiers that I am a criminal and try to get me executed. Oh- don’t make that face Anneli.”

Castor’s heart ached seeing Anneli’s sad eyes. “I’ll be fine Anneli.” Castor stroked Anneli through the iron bars.

“What should I do?” asked Anneli. Castor had no words, he could neither think nor speak words at this moment. A part of him wanted to cry but that would upset Anneli. A part of him wanted to use his lightning and turn the whole building to ash but would not solve anything. A part of him want to shout and punch and make a fuss but he knew he should not. He looked at Anneli who was as desperate to save Castor as he had tried so long ago the last time he had gotten caught. Castor knew if he misspoke Anneli might try and break him out even if in reality could do nothing.

“I will be fine Anneli, just try to stay safe.”

The sound of the iron door unlocking echoed through the small room.

“Go now Anneli!” whispered Castor.

“But Castor-”

“Go now!”

The door swung open. “Who are you talking to?” demanded the Saxon soldier in a loud booming voice.

“No one, I was just talking to myself.”

Fidiom Myths :Part 1 The beginning

In the beginning there was only the eternal sea Zala which spread across all of eternity. From the center of Zala the great snake Fidim emerged. Fidim had left an emptiness in Zala which drained the eternal sea creating a funnel. This funnel caused everything around it to spin. The spinning made Fidim dizzy so he shed his skin to remove the toxins. The toxic discarded split into two creating Charodis and Pikros. Charodis is time and matter and takes the form of the eternal bull. Pikros is virtue and power and takes the form of the perpetual fish, who dies and is reborn every thousand years. Charodis and Pikros despite being siblings would fight constantly about who is more powerful and important. Fidim annoyed by their bickering swallowed them both whole. To finally decide who was better Charodis and Pikros had a contest to see who could create more wonderful things. Charodis broke off a piece of his horn created and the earth, the moon, the sun, and all eight other planets. Pikros created light, music, and language using his scales. All this commotion gave Fidim is stomach ache so he spat out Charodis, Pikros and all of their creations. Charodis and Pikros demanded Fidim to decide who between them was better. Fidim using a drop of venom from his fangs created a hundred thousand stars, nebular, galaxies and planetary bodies. Then from a tear Fidim created love, fear, anger, surprise, happiness, sadness, jealousy, curiosity, knowledge, wisdom, bravery, loyalty, honesty, lies, warmth, cold and anxiety. Fidim told Charodis and Pikros that both of them had lost. Fidim then breathed over what had been made and created life in the planetary bodies and cursed them with the emotions and sensations that he and Pikros created. Fidim punished Charodis and Pikros by forcing them to now take care of the life that had been created because of them. Soon Charodis and Pikros were overwhelmed as there were too many lives on too many planets so they decided make the new gods.

Writing an outline

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Everyone has a different approach to writing stories, some just get down to writing and other make a detailed plan before even tying a letter. Personally, my approach falls somewhere in between.

Method 1 

  1. Write a list of key events, characters, foreshadowing, plot points etc…

Is that all you need? Then you are done.

Method 2

  1. Write Character profiles
  2. Write a key events and plot points
  3. Order events and separate into chapters and arcs
  4. Fill in the details, backstories, subplots and connecting events
  5. Order everything again
  6. Write a timeline of events and figure out how long they take and how they overlap
  7. Write a summary with a lot of detail

Method 3

  1. Write summary. Start from the beginning and write to the end in order. Write what feels natural and flows best.
  2. Read what you have written
  3. Re-write the summary
  4. Repeat step 2 and 3 until you are satisfied

Did you get stuck? Write something to get to the next event even if it is silly or contrived and come back to it later and change it in the re-write.

Method 4

  1. Start writing

Yeah, sometimes just writing works too. Did you get stuck? Write something, anything and come back to it during editing. Hey, if you wanted to be organized you would have chosen a different method and started with a game plan.

Method 5

Do whatever you want. It is your story do what works for you!

 

I use method 3 because I think it creates some organisation but is very dynamic and the least stressful. I also end up adding the most random stuff to the story which end up being my favorite parts. I have recently been writing the outline for a new story which ends with an abrupt alien invasion. I do not know where it came from but it just fit.

Chapter 83 uncertain dawn

Anneli and Castor did not sleep that night. Castor cautiously watched the door as if the soldiers would be banging on the door any minute. For the first time since they had been travelling Castor opened up to Anneli. As if a sluice gate had been opened and all his feeling and opinions were rushing out.

Castor talked about his brother, who he was jealous of and resented. About his sisters who both ran away from the suffocating palace. Castor hated his father for his judgmental and cruel personality but also himself for always wanting his father’s approval. He talked about the royal court, their condescending attitudes and how shunned him. He disliked how dishonest and ruthless everyone was. How he was either a pawn or player in a vile game for power. How everyone in the palace cared more about appearances than values. He resented how even though he hated it, he was also a part of it and could never truly loose the mind-set that had been ingrained in him.

“I don’t even really want to go back but I hate it if they look down on me for failing. I just want to wipe their smug expressions. I swear some of them have a perpetual smirk on their face and an arrogant air around them. I just want to go back and prove all of them wrong. But that means that I care what they think and I don’t want to care.”

Castor hugged Anneli closer, “I’m sorry.”

“Why are you sorry?”

“Because- because I’ve been ranting about myself for so long.”

“It’s alright, as long as it makes you feel better.”

“Why are you so nice to me?” Castor chuckled and buried his face in the nape of Anneli’s neck.

When the first rays of morning crept from the east Castor and Anneli gathered their things to leave.

“Where are we going now?”

“I don’t know Anneli we will figure it out. Maybe we can try to go to Stratus and see where we will go from there.”

“What you said… about the running away.”

“Yeah, I was just really upset. I don’t want to runaway anymore. I’m going to finish what I started, besides I promised to take you to the desert.”

“I know.”

Anneli’s felt heavy and nauseous. He dragged his feet as they left the small shabby inn. As they left Anneli caught sight of a firefly weakly bobbing in the air.

“A firefly.”

“What is it Anneli?” asked Castor not really hearing what Anneli said.

“Nothing.” It was not nothing. A firefly during the day was a bad omen. He gripped Castor’s coat as they walked towards the city gates. A few stray drunkards, a police and merchants setting up their stalls dotted the streets. As they got closer to the gate there were fewer and fewer people on the street until it was only the two of them on a silent empty street.

Trumpf trumpf trumpf

The sound of loud stomping boots surrounded them. Anneli gripped Castor’s coat tighter as five large men surrounded them. Castor recognized them as Pyropolis soldiers wearing their typical black and red uniform.

“Hello Prince Castor,” greeted one of the men with a sinister smile. Castor had met him yesterday and he had obviously still held a grudge. Castor slowly reached into his bag and touched the hilt of his knife. The soldiers themselves were brandishing various swords and daggers. In their red bloodshot eyes Castor only saw anger and blood lust. The men rushed at him, Castor swung his knife sending stray sparks everywhere. Cracking white lightning was pouring out of the knife. The men stepped back and circled him looking for a way to attack. Anneli made himself small and hid behind Castor instinctively.

One of the soldiers lunged forward and Castor sent a bolt of lightning. The solider barely dodged. They grinned. The soldiers realized that Castor did not want to kill them or hurt them if he could. They however had no intention of leave the Prince alive. Two men swung their blades forward, Castor blocked one but was not fast enough and was stabbed on his side.

“Arg!” cried Castor as the man twisted the blade before tearing it out. Blood began to gush from the wound. Castor was starting to stagger. Castor focused his electricity on the tip of his blade creating a long stream of lightning. He swung it like a whip and slashing two of the soldiers leaving large red and brown burn marks on their arms. Castor continued to whip the soldiers with his lightning, driving them farther away from him. He hit their arms and legs but they still persisted. One solider stepped forward and swung his blade at Anneli. Anneli jumped back and fell down near one of soldiers who grabbed him by the arm and pulled him up.

“Anneli!” Castor swung his whip at the soldier holding Anneli. The whip warped around his elbow and the man cried out as the electricity burned his is arm inside and out. He let go and Anneli was dropped to the floor.

“RUN ANNELI!” shouted Castor and Anneli filled with fear was his own life ran away and left Castor behind. Pain surged down his arm as he was stabbed in the shoulder. The knife fell from his shaking hand.

“OI! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING?”

Two men in  Saxon military uniform ran up to them. Two of the Pyropolis soldiers ran away while the other three and Castor were arrested.

 

 

Chapter 82 kindles hope

Helen sat in the corner of a small dimly lit room. She could clearly hear the sound of the beating waves outside. In her hand she played with a white and black stones. With a flick of her fingers the stones floated into the air and spun drunkenly. The rickety wooden door crackled when pushed open. Pollux looked at his sister and the floating rocks.

“Urim and Thummim?” asked Pollux.

“Yes,” murmured Helen and flicked her finger again, making the stones spin faster and faster.

“Have you ever used them?”

“No, but it was the only thing grandfather left for me.”

“It was more than what he left for me,” chuckled Pollux.

“He left you a kingdom Pollux.” The stones fell back into her palm. She tucked them in her cloak pocket. “Did you manage to get me a ship?”

“Yes, I did!” said Pollux taking a piece of paper from his bag and showing it to Helen. “It is one of the fastest ships of the armada.”

“Did father find out I arrived?”

“We managed to stop the news before it reached him. Thankfully he was not in the palace at the time. Your brazen behavior did not help.”

“I thought Castor was dead at that time.”

“He might still be dead.”

“I still have hope.” Helen glared at Pollux, hiding her fear behind a mask of fury.

“There is still a problem. I happened to be in father’s room-”

“You were snooping.”

“Yes, I was snooping in father’s room,” said Pollux. “There was a coded message sent from a port called Cumulus, twelve days after Castor left. I don’t know what the message sent but father arranged for another ship to go to Cumulus.”

“When did it leave?”

“I don’t know- maybe a few days ago, maybe a over a week ago.”

“Shit.”

“If Castor is still alive, I am sure he will manage to fight his way out of it.”

“Shut up Pollux. I am still going. Even if he is dead, even if he is fine. I am still going to find out for myself.”

“If he is dead-”

“He is not dead!”

“If! If he is dead, I need you here in Pyropolis with me. I know you want to return to your oasis in the desert but I need you here with me.”

“What are you planning on doing?”

Pollux did not say anything, but Helen could see in his dark trembling eyes that he was afraid. Helen felt a pang of sadness in her chest looking at a face so similar to Castor’s. Even if she did not want to admit it she knew that Castor must be long gone by now and she had no intention of losing Pollux as well.

“Are you saying you want to coup? That is crazy!”

“How can you say that? After what he did to Castor.”

“Stop it Pollux! The desert is already on the verge of war any instability will crush us.”

“That is why I need you here with me. If it is the both of us-”

“No Pollux!”

“If we do it soon then-”

“Why now?”

“Father…father collapsed yesterday.”

“So you want do you want to do? Kill him? Make it seem like a sickness or an accident? Pollux you are a good man, you are not someone who will kill his own father out of revenge.”

“If I can’t even do that. Maybe…maybe I am not meant to be king!”

“What are you talking about?”

“I am not meant to be king.” Pollux exhaled deeply as if a great weight had been lifted from his shoulders. ” The fortune teller said that Castor is meant to be king not me. That is why father did all of this.”

Helen for once was at a loss for words. Pollux paced up and down near the door and then final walked to the corned and sat in front of Helen.

“So, what should we do?”