Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Catalina by Danny Fahey

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Until then I must walk everywhere,’ groaned Peter.
‘Until we can afford the horse, yes.’
Peter turned back to look out the window and heard his father gently close the door as he left the turret. His father was always gentle—gentle and kind and laughed at by the other powers. Peter scoffed at his use of the term other powers. Caffelthorn had no power, just memories, and memories count for little when you are lying on the ground having horse dung thrown at you, bleeding and bruised from another beating. Even the Barony of Vince to the South laughed at them. Vince! Peter had read the old records. Time was when Vince grovelled to Caffelthorn for protection. That was before the dragon came. He had read the records so he knew the story.
In the time of his great grandfather, a creature from the depths of legend had appeared. A huge black dragon had begun to terrorise the empire of Caffelthorn. There were no recorded sightings of a dragon from the time the empire had first started to write things down. There had been rumours that dragons once existed but they had been hunted to extinction. This dragon was very much alive and it attacked the countryside relentlessly for seven years until there was hardly any farming or famers left.
At first, Caffelthorn had turned to its six powerful wizards to defeat the dragon. Wizards, what a joke; they turned out to be useless old men with weak charms. What chance had they stood against a dragon’s searing flame? In the records Peter had read how the six wizards had confidently strode out of the castle to defeat the dragon. The beast had landed and let them throw all their spells at it. It had let them! Then when they were finished the dragon let loose a huge gush of flame and the wizards were no more. From that day on, there had never been a single wizard working for Caffelthorn. The other collection of Territories, Kingdoms, Baronies and what-have-yous—even the poorest of them—had at least one wizard, but not Caffelthorn. Not since the dragon. Not a one.
Hundreds of knights were lost trying to defeat the beast, even Peter’s great grandfather, and several great uncles, had died under the flame of the dragon. The dragon destroyed the empire of Caffelthorn and then it vanished one day and did not return. No dragons had been seen since.
To the east, the new kingdom of Vermgout spread quickly to absorb the entire western farming lands. To the West, Collessia had done the same. Both countries stopped their territorial growth only when war between the two new powerful and aggressive states seemed imminent. With their respective armies lined up behind them, the Kings of the two empires had met in Caffelthorn to find a way to avoid war. The two Kings agreed to leave the remaining castle and village as neutral ground between them, but Caffelthorn would be taxed by both so that it could never thrive.
Peter sighed as he stared out at the town his family now ruled. As towns go it was large and would perhaps have been prosperous if not for the crippling taxes.
It was not fair that he was a Prince of Nothing. He felt he could be so much more given the chance. He knew he was smart and he wasn’t scared, not even of Robert and his cronies. Not that it mattered; nothing mattered—not when you are a Prince of the weakest territory that ever existed. Pity the dragon hadn’t finished Caffelthorn off completely. Then Peter thought about his family: his mother and father and his sister. Next he considered the people who relied upon his father’s subtle diplomacy. He sighed. The horse could wait another year or two.
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Genre – Fantasy
Rating – PG
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