Hern Growing Up: Age 5

~PROLOGUE~

Hern is a mischievous and adventurous five year old boy. Had been a handful since he was born but king Azaiah thought that his adventurous spirit would make him a wiser leader when he took the throne. It made his mother fill with worry frequently but she enjoyed he had such a huge spirit in him. Hern was almost always by his mothers side, taking her all around the kingdom to explore and learn about things. Hern liked his father but resented how little time he spent with the two of them.

The only time Hern really got with his dad was when he was teaching him something. Those were very fun times to Hern. He wasn’t that interested in ruling the kingdom but it meant time with his father. On days Azaiah would teach Hern he’d actually come in with his mother to read him to sleep.

~Chapter 1~

Hern woke up as the sun was just starting to rise and ran to his parents room. He quietly opened the door to see his mother sleeping alone again. Hern figured his father was passed out in his office like usual. Hern ran and leaped onto the bed. He began to jump up and down saying “good morning mommy!” over and over. Sonata woke smiling at her son. “Good morning my handsome boy. Can I meet you in the dining hall for breakfast after I find your father?”

“Sure mom!” He got on his hands and knees then kissed his mothers cheek “I love you”

“I love you too little one” Hern was gone in a flash. Sonata got dressed and went to her husbands study. She opened the door and there he was slumped over his desk. Sonata went over and ran her fingers through his hair “Good morning my love” He stirred but didn’t wake. She hugged him “Come on sweetheart” He jumped slightly “It’s morning? I’m so sorry.”

“No need to apologize. I just wanted to get you up. Go lay in our bed.”

“Will you come with me?”

“I promised Hern I’d eat breakfast with him.” Azaiah sighed “alright” He kissed her then walked out. She followed until they had to turn different routes. Hern was eating ravenously “My dear boy, where are your princely manners?”

“Mom, I don’t think I’m going to be king so I don’t need my manners.”

“You will represent your father my boy. It wont matter if you’re king or not, when you are anywhere you are representing your father. Now please eat like a prince should”

“For you mother”

“Thank you Hern” She kissed his head before sitting down. “What would you like to do today my son?”

“You promised you’d start teaching me the harp. Can we go out to Fladesent Mountain and practice there! It’s so beautiful mom!”

“That sounds spectacular. I’ll let your father know we’ll be gone the whole day then.”

“Can’t we spend the night?”

“That sounds perfect. That way I wont have to rush your lesson to be able to get back by dinner”

“Can Mrs Fallon come?”

“We’ll ask her if she wants to on our way out.” The two of them got up from the table and checked to see if the king was awake. He was sound asleep so Sonata gently moved him by the shoulder. He sleepily looked up at her “yes my dear?”

“Hern and I are going to Fladesent Mountain. We wont be home until tomorrow.”

“Have fun” He said rolling onto his stomach to sleep more. Hern scoffed. He thought his mother deserved at least a hug goodbye. Sonata lifted her son and harp then walked out of the room. Sonata asked one of the servants to get them a bag ready and bring it to the courtyard. They respectfully bowed and took off. Sonata sat with her son playing with his long hair. Her harp laying by her feet. “You shouldn’t let dad sleep like that”

“Why not? He works so hard.”

“I guess” Hern said in an annoyed tone. Sonata let out a sad sigh “He means well. He’s just trying to make sure the kingdom runs as it should. He loves us both very much. He doesn’t know how to express it Hern. His father wasn’t a very loving man so he never learned how to love. He never even knew his mother because she died before he had the chance. Please don’t judge him so harshly.”

“wow he didn’t know his mommy”

“Sadly no.”

“I hope I never lose you” Hern hugged her tightly “I’ll be here for you as many years as I can be”

“I’ll never let anything happen to you so you’ll be around forever” Sonata smiled brightly “You are so sweet. I’m proud to have a boy such as you” The servant cleared his throat and handed the queen her bag “Be safe your highness. Would you like guards to accompany you?”

“No, they make things so formal and I can take care of myself”

“I didn’t mean to imply” The servant said panicked. “I know you didn’t” Sonata said calmly. She threw the bag over her shoulder and held her sons hand as they walked to Fallon’s home. Fallon greeted them with enthusiasm. “To what do I owe this visit? Wanting to practice some more magic my queen?”

“You know I like you to call me Sonata”

“Sorry Sonata”

“It’s fine, would you like to come with us to Fladesent mountain?”

“I think you’ve learned to read minds. I need to go there anyway to collect some herbs. I’ll be needing a bunch from there soon.”

“Why is that?” Sonata looked at Fallon in confusion. “The guards are going to Valokopa. They’ll need something for the stench.”

“What’re they going there for?”

“It’s not a good topic around the boy” Fallon said glancing at Hern who was listening intently. He looked indignant now “I’m five I’m not a baby”

“We know Hern” Sonata said softly. “Just some things are meant for only grown men’s ears” Hern crossed his arms pouting. “Don’t you cut up for your momma Hern. You must always respect your mother.” Fallon was the only other woman brave enough to correct the prince. Fallon and Sonata were very close friends and had been since they were small girls. It’s why it upset Sonata so much when Fallon referred to her as the queen instead of using her name.

Fallon prepared her own bag and grabbed some empty bottles. As soon as she was ready they walked out the door “Can I ride on your back Fallon?”

“Of course you can” Fallon smiled and leaned down. Hern was as close to a son as she had. Fallon wasn’t able to have children of her own. It was something that had weighed heavy on her heart until Hern came along. Fallon spent nearly every day with Hern and Sonata. Especially now, sometimes it was hard for Fallon to with-hold what the future was going to bring. It killed her more that something horrible would happen to Sonata in the next couple years and she wasn’t allowed to do a thing to stop it. Fallon sighed and cleared it out of her head. She focused on the blessing that she knew what was going to happen so knew to take advantage of the time she had with Sonata and the happy Hern that would be lost with her.

Like normal Hern got down frequently to explore things they passed by. His eyes in awe making him look adorable. “Come Hern! We can see this stuff every day!” Hern laughed “sorry mommy!” He ran up grabbing Sonatas hand and kissed it. “How close are we?”

“Still an hour. You forgot how far away it is?”

“Yeah, we haven’t been in since I was four.”

“Would you like to go more often?”

“Please” Hern said squeezing his mothers hand. “Of course, you know I’ll take you anywhere you want.” Hern started skipping, Sonata and Fallon followed suite. They all laughed and skipped the rest of the way there. Finally they could see the mountain. Hern took off running. Sonata and Fallon ran after trying to keep up with him. They didn’t want him to be caught off guard by anything that could cause him harm. When they caught up Sonata grabbed Hern “Warn me before you run. Have I not taught you what lurks out here?”

“Sorry mom I was so excited.”

“I know baby but please next time warn us.”

“I promise” Hern looked sad. He absolutely hated making his mother upset at him. Sonata hugged Hern “It’s okay, I just couldn’t bare if anything happened to you.”

“What would be foolish enough to harm a prince?”

“Creatures who aren’t of as high thinking. Some creatures only think of their next meal my son”

“Can’t we teach them to think?”

“You could maybe do that as king.”

“Yuck, I meant dad.” Fallon laughed “You’re more suited for king than you know Hern.”

~Chapter 2~

“If being king means being like my dad then I don’t want it.”

“Hern” Sonata said in a very upset voice. “I love him mom but he doesn’t play with me anymore. He couldn’t even get up to hug you before we left. I don’t want a job that will make me like that.” This was supposed to be fun so Sonata didn’t discuss it further with her son. It saddened her to hear Hern talk like that. She was going to have a serious discussion with her husband when they got back. She didn’t care what Azaiah was doing.

When they were about halfway up the mountain Hern said “I’m hungry, lets stop at those cherry trees we found last time.”

“I see you remember something about here then.” Fallon added “He’s a growing boy, of course he remembers food.” She said it matter-of-factly which made it even funnier. Sonata laughed and lifted her son. She gave him a kiss on the forehead. “We aren’t far from those trees so don’t fret.” Sonata hummed to her son until they reached the cherry trees. “Let me get them mom!” Hern said jumping out of her arms and climbing up the nearest tree. He grabbed as many as he could carry then climbed down handing some to both Fallon and his mother.

They quickly ate so they could reach Sonatas favorite spot. It was a beautiful area on the mountain filled with flowers and small friendly creatures. It seemed their was every color in the world in that area. Sonata often spoke of wishing she could fly to hover over to see how amazing it would look from the sky. It wasn’t much longer and there they were. What seemed like endless flowers and wildlife. Sonatas eyes filled with wonder as her whole body relaxed at the sight. Hern liked the blue mixed with red ones the best. He had taken some home the last time they were there.

“Lets get started Hern. Are you ready?”

“Of course!” Sonata sat down and her son sat between her legs. Sonata placed the harp between Hern’s thighs and gently placed her hands on the strings. “Please put your hands on mine.” Hern did as he was told. Fallon sat across from them. She loved Sonatas sweet music. It was the best sound in the world. Fallon was glad to know Hern would become even more skilled with it than his mother. Sadness crept in again at what she knew the future held. She pushed it away again. There would be no way to explain why she was crying if she allowed herself to now. She knew her future sight would be taken away if she told and she knew how much her gift would mean to Hern’s future so she had to keep quiet.

Hern and Sonata laughed every time they made a mistake “Stop trying to guide my hands silly”

“Sorry mom it’s hard not to” She kissed her little ones cheek “Would you like to try on your own?”

“Sure!” Hern began to strum until he was messing up pretty badly. He hunched over frowning. “It’s okay Hern. The harp isn’t as easy as it looks”

“Don’t I know it…I’ll never be as good as you” Hern said sadly. “Come on, place your hands on mine again” They played for hours until a slight breeze started rolling over the mountain. It ruffled the flowers pushing their sweet scent over Fallon, Hern and Sonata. “Lets play mom!” Sonata got up with Hern and he took off running. Sonata ran after him while Fallon began gathering what she needed for the kings men. The laughter of Sonata and Hern filled the air. Fallon just took it all in. She felt as if she was in paradise with the sweet smells and the sound of her best friends and Hern’s laughter.

Eventually Hern and Sonata collapsed into the flowers looking up at the sky. “What do you see Hern?”

“A rabbit being chased by a fox. What do you see mom?”

“You kissing a girl” she teased. Hern made a throwing up noise. “I’ll never kiss a girl. They’ll just hold my fun back. All I need is you and nature. Besides only future kings need wives.” Sonata laughed along with Fallon who was walking towards them “Got everything you need Fallon?”

“Sure do.” Fallon said smiling then laid down in the flowers with them.They were still until the sun began to fall. The stars looked magnificent from on top of the mountain. Hern’s mouth dropped open with a “woah”

“Oh I know, we need to come here at least once a month. What do you say Fallon?”

“We really should. Drag that husband of yours next time.”

“I’ll try” They all fell asleep gazing at the stars. The cool air making their bodies a very comfortable temperature for sleep. Owls and crickets making their music. A sweet lullaby to their ears.

~Chapter 3~

Hern woke up first like always. He never wanted to miss anything. He got up quietly walking over to the harp. He picked it up being careful not to touch a string. He silently walked far away from his mom and Fallon. He could still see them but it was far enough away not to disturb their slumber. He kept in mind the movements of his mothers hands and was heedful in repeating them. He got excited when the song was actually playing right. Regretfully his excitement got the better of him and he pulled a string too hard breaking it. Hern gasped “oh no! What have I done!?”

Sonata got up looking over at her panicking son. She walked over to him and he hid the harp behind his back. “What’s wrong Hern?”

“I…I”

“Yes my sweet child?” He sorrowfully pulled the harp from behind his back “I was just trying to practice…I was doing so good too.” Sonata hugged her son. “It can be fixed Hern don’t worry. We just wont be able to practice until it’s fixed. Lets wake Fallon and go look at the Vultions.” Hern excitedly ran over to Fallon waking her up. “Lets go see those cute little Vultions! Come on Fallon!”Fallon stood up adjusting her clothing then sleepily followed Hern and Sonata a little ways into a wooded area to see the adorable little Vultions that lived near a small pond on the mountain.

They were small orange creatures with large ears as big as their heads. They had a medium length snout that was tipped with a mixture of pink and purple. Their eyes were a deep blue. They had razor sharp claws but didn’t use them to hurt. They were only to protect against bigger creatures. Hern picked one up and started petting it. It took to Hern instantly, rubbing its face against his. Hern smiled and hugged the animal gently.

Herns tummy started rumbling again. Fallon got up “I’ll go find the snerble trees. You two have fun.”

“Thanks Fallon” Sonata said cheerily.About an hour later Fallon was back. Hern had black from the berries all over his face. Sonata laughed. “What is it mom?”

“If only you could see your face. So cute,it’s moments like these I wish I could save somhow. Lets go back to the castle now my dear son. We’ll play in the hot spring and let it wash away that juice on your face.”

“Can I take one home?”

“No they’d miss their family. Would you like it if sombody thought I was cute and took me home and away from you?”

“Not at all.” Hern said placing the creature on its feet. “Carry me mommy!” She scooped Hern up holding him close. Hern wrapped his hands around his mothers neck. Sonata carried him all the way home. Fallon went back to her own house to give Hern alone time with his mother. They quickly ran to the hot spring and sank in. “Oh I love this thing.” Sonata said laying her head back on the ground. Hern just splashed and swam around.

Once it was getting late they got out of the water. The two of them were pruny from head to toe. Hern laughed “You’re an old woman mom!” Sonata laughed aswell and they went inside. Sonata got Hern ready for bed then told him a story about a little girl and a camping trip she went on. When she was done Hern asked “why do you tell me stories about a human girl?”

“They are stories Fallon tells me. She says that girl will be very important some day. Somtimes when I’m helping her make potions for her stock she’ll tell me stories about a little human girl”

“What’s her name?”

“Fallon wont tell me. She isn’t aloud to, she can’t tell me why she’ll be important either. Do you like the stories?”

“Yeah, she sounds silly and fun. I wish she could be my friend.”

“Maybe she will some day my son. Who knows why a human girl will be relevant to our world. It perplexes me”

“Oh well, goodnight mom!”

“Goodnight my little prince. Sweet dreams” Sonata walked out to find her husband. She was planning on scolding him about his lack of time with Hern. He was at his desk like always. “Azaiah! We need to talk”

“Yes my queen?”

“Tomorrow you’re spending time with your son and that is that.”

“I can’t” she interrupted him “You will.” Her voice stern and filled with her anger. “What’s wrong? You know what I’m dealing with lately.”

“Your son is more important than anything. You can’t give your own flesh and blood one day?” Sonata scoffed and turned her head away. She was too upset to look at him. Azaiah stood up and walked to her “My sweet, please” He tried to turn her head but she wouldn’t budge. “Okay, okay, calm down. I will. I’m very sorry”

“Are you? I sometimes wonder if you’re the man I agreed to marry.” She walked out. Her words stabbing into his heart. He straightened his papers then made his way down to their room knowing she’d be there. She was laying in bed gripping the covers. “I didn’t know I was upsetting you so much. Please don’t be so cross with me.”

“If you only knew what your son thought of you. He doesn’t want to be king because he doesn’t want to be you.” He felt another dagger in his chest. Sonata could see his pain so she hugged him “Just please make some time for him. For me? If you’re anything left of the man I married.”

“I am Sonata. I still love you more than anything. You two will have my day tomorrow.”

“Good, we better” He held Sonata until they were both asleep. Hern dreamed the story his mother told him. He loved all her stories. It didn’t matter if they were about their kingdom or somebody else’s. When Hern got up he went to his parents room like always. he was surprised to see his dad in bed with his mom. He shut the door back and went to breakfast alone. When he was almost done his parents entered. “why didn’t you wake us?” Sonata asked. “I saw dad in bed and thought I’d leave you alone.”

“That was very thoughtful of you Hern. Sonata smiled and Hern smiled back. Azaiah chimed in “I’ll be spending the day with the two of you. What would you like to do my boy?”

“Really?” Herns eyes lit up. “No teaching just fun?”

“Yes” Azaiah smiled at his son. “Hurry and eat then you two!” Hern ran to his room to get ready while his parents ate. When he was up the stairs Sonata said “see how much he misses you?”

“I’m sorry” Food was served to them and they ate. Hern was waiting impatiently as they got dressed for the day. When they stepped out of their room Hern said “Geez! Finally slow pokes! Lets go into the ever winter forrest!”

“Sounds like fun” his parents said at the same time.

~Chapter 4~

They put on their animal skin jackets then left the castle. Hern was happy to see his parents holding hands. They walked slowly through fields and across brooks of waters. Hern always jump in the water because he liked to see the fish dart in different directions. A chill hung in the hair so Hern knew they were close. Hern thought to himself finally, it felt like we were walking forever. “Can I meet you in the woods please? I want to run!”

“Of course you can.” She hugged him then he took off. Azaiah smiled “Always running”

“I know, by the way my love. I’m sorry I was so cross last night it’s just” Azaiah interrupted her “I know it’s the only way to make me listen lately. I’ll do better.” Azaiah kissed Sonata then they walked into the ever winter forest to find Hern when he quit running. Her was going as fast as he could. He loved the cool snow hitting hitting his face. He always felt best when he was running.

Hern stopped when he came across a Povu Bear. This one was white with orange spots. Each Povu Bear was white with different color spots. Hern liked the ones with green spots the best. He held out his hand asking permission to pet it and the creature bowed its head. Hern walked over, he scratched its back and ran his hands along its sides. While he was stalled by the bear his mother and father caught up “How cute” Sonata said looking around for more.

“Thank you” Hern said hugging the bear. It walked off into the snow filled forest. “What would you like to do son?” Azaiah asked. Hern thought “snowball fight?” Sonata leaned down to make one and Hern laughed taking off. They spent hours running around throwing snow at each other. Hern finally didn’t have any energy left and asked to go home. “Ok, we can have a late lunch.” Sonata said picking up her son and cradling him.

Hern fell asleep on the way back to the castle “isn’t he just so handsome Azaiah?”

“Of course he is. He takes after his father.” Azaiah winked making Sonata smile. “I hope he changes his mind about getting married. A man needs a wife by his side.”

“He’s young Sonata. I’m sure he will change his mind when he gets older. Your boy wont be alone forever. There comes a time in every mans life when he realizes nothing is worth it without someone to love” They made it back and laid Hern in his bed. They went to the orchard and got some fruit for when he woke up. They ate a few themselves not able to wait. Hern woke about a half hour later and searched for his mom. He found her laying down outside. “Good morning baby. Hungry?”

“very”

“Come with me” She took him to the kitchen where the fruit was and he ate every last one. “Where do you put it son.” Hern laughed “Is the harp fixed?”

“I can check.” Sonata and Hern walked to her friend Bulnas house. She could fix nearly any instrument. “How’s my harp coming?”

“Oh it was an easy fix.” Bulma disappeared and came back with Sonatas harp. “Lets play for dad!”

“Alright, bye Bulna! Thanks so much”

“Not a problem.” They found Herns father and he followed them outside to play. Hern put his hands on his mothers and they played a beautiful tune. It relaxed Azaiah to the point he almost drifted off. Every muscle in his body was at ease which rarely happened. “That was amazing.” Aziah said when they quit playing. “There’s still a few hours of day left. What would my two men like to do?”

“Tell a story, about the elves please.”

“Would you like to hear a story my husband?” He nodded while smiling. Azaiah opened his arms “sit with me son.” Hern ran over plopping in his fathers lap. Sonata told him of a brave elven princess. She had many adventures around her kingdom. This time Sonata was having her search for a missing elven child. Hern listened intently. He hung on his mothers every word. Azaiah wished he’d be so interested when he was trying to teach Hern about ruling the kingdom.

When that story ended Hern said “another! Please!”

“Still about the elves?”

“About the Bourhns!”

“Alright, about the Bourhns then” She told story after story until the sun was starting to fall out of sight. The last rays of orange and red playing on the horizon away. They went in for dinner and then played with Hern in his room until the small boy had no energy left. Sonata tucked him in and kissed his head. “Good night my sweet child” She said then walked out of the room with her husband. “Wasn’t that much more fun than working all day?”

“Yes it was. I promise to give you two at the very minimum twice a week.”

“Thank you my love” Sonata kissed him. Azaiah held her close just taking in the moment. There was no feeling greater than his wife’s lips against his. He didn’t know what he’d do without her. “Thank you for being such a patient wife with me.”

“You’re an amazing man, a great king. I can’t punish you for doing your job. I know you just sometimes get lost in all the politics and don’t realize you aren’t spending time with us. I’m sure you didn’t want to sleep on your desk.” He carried her to their room and they slept wrapped around each other. Hern’s dreams were the stories his mother told him.

~Chapter 5~

Two of the kings knights woke the sleeping couple “Sir we must head into Valokopa now. More children have been taken it seems. The numbers are growing daily. We have no more time to think.”

“Very well men, get all you need from Fallon. I trust she has it all ready. If not request that she finishes up as quick as possible.”

“Yes sir” They two said taking off. The king sighed somberly. Sonata hugged him “I was hoping we wouldn’t have to kill the creatures taking the children but it has to stop before more innocent lives are destroyed.”

“I’m sorry, I was hoping it wouldn’t resort to this, that you’d have more time to figure out why they are targeting and killing off the Valokopa children. It’s better to save the lives of the children than to worry about the mindless beasts. You did your best to give them time my love” He held her tighter “You are my only comfort in times like this Sonata.”

“I do my best” She pulled back and smiled. Azaiah pulled her into a kiss. “I must go and help. Stay here and mind our son. I worry so much they might decide to move on to another land and get our precious Hern”

“I have too. He’s a brave little boy though. Already a good fighter, very fast and cunning.”

“I know, he makes me so proud.”

“I can see the pride in your eyes when you look at him. You’d do well to show him more how much you love and think of him”

“I’ve never been good at such things. I promise you I try.”

“You do amazing for someone who grew up with a father like yours. I think he was the worst king this place has ever seen.” Azaiah kissed his wife one more time and then exited. Sonata went to her sons room to check on him. Hern was sound a sleep talking. She sat by his bed to listen. He was apparently taunting some creatures he was fighting. Her mouth started to hurt from her huge grin at how cute it was. She began to pray for her husbands and his guards safety.

Fallon had all they needed ready and explained what each thing was for. A guard named Chisler looked worried. Fallon couldn’t help but ask “what is ailing you my boy?”

“My son Loki. I’m worried about him with all this.”

“The beasts have only been attacking the Valkopa children. He’ll be fine.”

“I hope this matter will be taken care of quickly and easily.”

“You are all strong. The queen and I have faith in every one of you. To ease your mind I’ll go to the queen when you leave and have her meet up with your wife to have a play date between the boys.”

“That would be an honor.” The guard bowed. “well if tradition serves he’ll be Hern’s guard when he is king. So they may as well spend time together now.”

“Thank you Fallon.” Sonata and Hern were eating breakfast when Fallon entered the castle “Good morning Fallon” said sonata in almost a singsong voice. “I thought it might be nice if prince Hern played with Loki today.”

“Who’s Loki?” Sonata turned to him “He’s the son of one of your dads guards. If you decide to be king he’ll be your guard when you take the thrown.”

“Really?”

“Yep when a new king takes over, all the guards who have sons retire and their sons take over guarding the king. Some still want to stay and work though. Those become knights for the king. The youngest and the smartest stay by the kings side at all times to make sure he’s well protected.”

“Do all the guards have sons?”

“All but one, Richmond and his wife are still trying. Aren’t they Fallon?”

“Yes mam, have you heard the name they plan to give their son when they have one?”

“Oh they’ve picked a name, please tell me.”

“It will be Rain”

“I love that name.” She looked over at Hern “but I like Hern better”

“I do have the best name in the world.” Hern said pridefully. Both Fallon and Sonata laughed. Sonata stood “lets go find Loki and his mother Hern.” They all started on their way to Linas house and there they were playing in the yard. As soon as they saw the queen and prince they bowed. “What do we owe this honor?”

“My son would like to play with yours. Please don’t bow in my presence. I wish us to be friends.” Linas eyes glowed “That’s wonderful my queen”

“Sonata please, The prince is Hern” Loki came up to Hern offering a hand. Hern shook it “want to play chase?”

“I love chase! Can I run first?”

“Yep” Loki took off and Hern followed. “want to have a drink? I can boil water and tea leaves”

“Please” Said Sonata and Fallon. Fallon got a small fire going and Lina got to work. They just sat and talked as the boys took turns catching eachother. “They seem to be having so much fun. We should have done this sooner” Sonata said “You’re welcome any time. It’s funny you choose today. I was just explaining to Loki how he was going to be the princes guard when he was king. Lokis very excited.”

“I’m glad to hear it. I’m surprised he can keep up with Hern.”

“I’m glad he can. What’s a guard who can’t keep up with their king.” Lina smiled obviously very proud. “We should get the other children together too and have bigger play dates.”

“I’m sure they’d love that. We should invite Richmonds wife Tulip even though she hasn’t had a son yet. I hate making her feel unincluded in things.”

“She doesn’t even have daughters?”

“No, they are beginning to worry she can’t bare a child.” Lina looked sad for her and Sonata felt a tug at her heart. Fallon felt the most though. She knew what it was like to not be able to have a child “I’ll send her all the blessings I can Lina”

“That would be good of you Fallon. Tulip would make such a good mom and I love the name she picked.”

“Us too” Sonata said.

~ Chapter 6 ~

When Sonata called to Hern for them to come so they could return home. The boys stopped mere inches in front of her. “Goodness I thought you were just going to run me down for a second there.”

“We wanted to show you how good we are” The boys smiled “You two are amazing.”

“Can Loki come spend the night with me mom?”

“If his mother wont mind.”

“I wouldn’t atall. You two have fun.” The boys high fived eachother and Loki ran in to grab some clothes. “You sure you don’t mind my son?”

“I’m glad to see Hern playing with children his age finally. Would you get a play date with all the mothers and children together?”

“I will arrange it as soon as possible Sonata.” Sonata didn’t like how uneasy people were around her at first. She wasn’t born a knight or guards daughter. Azaiah was one of the first to choose a bride that wasn’t noble. She had just been a simple regular girl when she met Azaiah. Now everybody treated her like she was a regular blue blood. Loki came out and the boys followed Sonata and Fallon home. “You staying Fallon?”

“I’ll need to be in my home incase a wounded man comes back in need of me”

“alright, try and get some rest.”

“I will” Fallon got down and hugged Hern. “Be good for your mother.” Fallon walked off and Sonata went inside with the boys. “Lets have some dinner shall we?”

“All that running made us starving!” Loki and Hern sat together while Sonata sat in front of them. Food came out and they all ate. “Can we go on a night walk mom?” Hern asked eagerly. “Does your mother allow you out at night Loki?”

“With my dad but I’m sure she wont mind if I go with the two of you. She’s very impressed by your magic my lady”

“Sonata sweetheart.”

“Sorry Mrs Sonata.”

“Finish eating and we will go.” The two boys cleaned their plates and they went outside. They walked a little ways away from the castle and then Sonata guided them back. “To bed you two.”

“Yes mam” they both said running up the stairs. Sonata didn’t want to do their bedtime routine out of fear it would embarrass her son. Sonata hoped her husband was ok. He had been gone since morning. She went looking for her favorite maid Carletta. “The boys are in Herns room. Would you mind just keeping an ear out for them. I want to see Fallon.”

“Yes mam”

“Thank you, I’ll make sure my husband gives you a good bit more money for doing that for me.”

“Oh mam I love your little boy it’s alright.”

“You’d argue with your queen?” Sonata said smiling. The maid smiled back “thank you Sonata.” Fallon was looking through the future. She had to know if Tulip would ever get her Rain. She was happy to see she had a good possibility of it. There would only be one event that could happen to cause her never to bare her son and it was unlikely. It would only not happen if a stream of bad choices happened. Fallon was worn. It would be a very long time before Tulip had rain and delving that far into the future was a toll on her body. Curiosity would kill her one of these days.

She heard somone knocking at her door. She prayed it wasn’t a wounded man. Relief shot through her when she saw it was only Sonata. “where are the young men?”

“In Herns room. I have Carletta keeping an ear out for them.”

“What are you here for?”

“I just had to make sure no wounded men were here. I’m worried with them being gone all day like this.”

“Your husband is wise. He’s probably still trying to spare as much life as possible. They will return home fine.”

“I just worry because you’ve been weird the past couple months.”

“Weird?”

“Like you’ve seen something coming you don’t like. I can tell it involves my family. It just makes me worried about my husband.”

“I’m sorry I’ve put you on edge. All is well Sonata.”

“Good, not that you could tell me if it wasn’t huh?”

“You are right, knowing the future isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

“I guess, I know I wouldn’t want the burden. By the way do you know who you’ll give the gift to when you die? I remember when you got it from your mother she had willed it to you. That you too will decide when you’re dieing who it will belong to.”

“The curse you mean” Fallon winked. “I’m not sure, it’s a big burden. I’ve got to make sure the woman I give it to can handle it.”

“Woman?”

“It’s customarily given to a female. It’s why i had five brothers but she chose me. Her youngest baby. My mothet told me men can’t handle it. The one in history it was given to was driven made by knowing what the future held.” Sonata laughed “that’s why men need us”

“Isn’t it the truth”

“I’ll head back to my boys now Fallon.” As Sonata approached Fallons door she said “one more question.”

“Yes Sonata?”

“My son asked me about the human girl you’ve told me stories about. Can I even know if I’ll meet her? Like is she already alive?”

“I can’t tell you if you’ll meet her but no she  isn’t alive.wont be born for some time. I know so much because of my curiosity. I passed out going as far as I did.”

“Try not to hurt yourself Fallon” Fallon laughed “I know I’ve got to tame my curious mind”

~ Chapter 7 ~

Fallon had indeed already decided she was going to give her sight to a woman of Sonatas line. If Hern had a daughter somday he’d gladly give it to her. She knew Sonata and the king weren’t planning any more children. Most kings stop once they have a boy so there’s no chance of turmoil in the castle over who has the thrown. Besides marrying a girl not of noble blood Azaiah stuck to the book how a king was expected to do things.

Sonata made it home and found Carletta. “Did the boys stay in their room “Yes mam, not the slightest trouble.”

“Good, thank you so much. Please go home for the night.”

“But mam I havent been here long.”

“I know your work schedule. Please go rest with your husband.”

“Thank you mam” Carletta almost ran. Sonata peeked in Herns door. Both boys were curled up on the bed. They looked so precious. She shut the door as gently as she could then went to her room. She layed down on the bed hoping sleep would claim her mind soon. This late her husband wouldn’t return until morning. Slowly but surely her bedroom began to fade and she found herself dreaming. Hern and Loki got up early and ran to breakfast. When Sonata didn’t arrive Hern said “Lets go check on my mom”

“Alright.” Loki got up following Hern “The castle is so amazing. Better than daddy describes it.”

“We should play lots together.”

“Mmhmm” Loki said excitedly. They arrived at his mothers door and Hern knocked. Sonata jolted awake. The sun was higher than normal when she got up. She answered the door “So sorry son. Mommy was very tired.”

“We were just checking on you. Go back to sleep. We’ll go to Lokis house and play.”

“I don’t want you two out alone. Play around the castle ok? You can be anywhere as long as the castle is still in your sight”

“Yes mam” The boys said running off. Sonata wanted a bit more rest. She laid down hugging her husbands pillow. The boys ran around laughing until they saw a soldier carrying the king to Fallons. “dad! Hern exclaimed. Hern and Loki ran after them to spite Sonatas command. The two knights not holding the king saw the children and halted while the guard kept going “what’re you boys doing?”

“What happened to my dad?” Each Knight lifted a boy “You mustn’t see your father this way. Your eyes are still too young. We are taking you home my prince.” Hern protested the whole way. They knocked on Sonatas door. “What’s wrong?” She looked terrified. “Your husband been wounded. The fool was trying to talk a creature down form eating one of the children and he got badly wounded trying to save the little one. A Knight stepped forward “I’ll take the boys to Chislers home.” the other one spoke “I’ll escort you to Fallons”

“Thank you” One knight took both boys and the other lifted the queen and took off. He set the queen down at Fallons door. “How is he?”

“He’ll be fine don’t fret.”

“Everything’s over now my dear. Most of them retreated and wont be attacking the people again. Sadly a few had to be vanquished.”

“That doesn’t matter right now. A few tears in her eyes.”

“No Sonata please don’t Fallon is making me good as new. I thought I told you knights not to bother my wife.”

“We couldn’t help it sir. The prince saw us and was running after. We took him and Loki to Chisels house.”

“I see, I can overlook this then. So the future guard of our son is getting to know our Hern? Does that mean Hern has decided to be king?”

“I’m afraid not. Hern just needed a play date.” The king looked sad. “Well maybe a friendship with Loki will make him more inclined to want the thrown.” Fallon gave him some stuff to drink in the mornings for a few days and sent him home. The knight helped the King and Sonata followed. He laid the king in his bed and bowed before exiting.”are you sure they wont attack again?”

“Very sure my queen, calm down now. May I hold you awhile or are you busy?”

“Never too busy to cuddle you” Azaiah smiled and wrapped his arms around Sonata. “They want to have a celebration for what I’ve done in a weeks time. They want us to travel there. They will set up everything.”

“That sounds wonderful.”

“Maybe we could bring Chisel, Loki and Lina as guests.”

“That would be fun, Fallon too right?”

“She’s your childhood friend my love. Isn’t she invited to everything?” Sonata giggled “I guess silly question”

“I love your silliness.” The king said shutting his eyes and enjoying his wife.

~ Chapter 8 ~

When the knight brought Hern and Loki to Linas door she told them to let the queen knoiw she’d look after Hern until she came to get him. Hern and Loki were excited about another sleep over. Hern noticed Lina had a harp “Can I show you guys what my moms been teaching me?”

“Of course” Lina sat down holding Loki. The small boy pushed out of his mothers arms. He wanted to impress Hern not look like he was still a baby. He wanted Hern confident in his abilities when he served as his guard. Hern messed up minimally. Lina and Loki clapped when he finished. Her filled with pride. “My moms the best teacher”

“I bet” Lina said smiling. Her husband came in the door obviously exhausted. “Prince Hern is here?” Chisel said noticing him right away. “Loki and I are friends now. Your sons my very first friend.”

“That’s wonderful, I hope you’ll excuse me. I need to rest.”

“sleep well” Hern turned to Loki “lets play outside so we don’t bother your dad.”

“Ok” Lina smiled and told the boys to stay close. She followed her husband into the bedroom. “How’s everything?”

“It’s all handled. I’m glad to know my boys safe now.”

“Me too.”

“It’s a pleasant surprise to see him playing with the prince.”

“Oh I know, I couldn’t believe when Sonata came over and asked if our boys could play.”

“Yeah, Fallon mentioned brining it up to her but I didn’t think she really would”

“Herns staying here tonight. I didn’t think you’d mind.”

“Tell Sonata he’s welcome anytime. Tonight I know they needed it. Azaiah is hurt badly.”

“Will he be ok?”

“Yes my love but he needs rest. Our king is very brave and honorable. I’m proud to serve him. My father is too to spite how much he loathed Azaiahs father. Azaiah is truly a great leader. I hope Hern is as great as his father when he rules.”

“He seems like a very good boy. I’m sure he will be. Have you heard the rumor Hern doesn’t want to be king?”

“A princes tantrum my love.” Chisel yawned “He’ll change his mind before the time comes to rule. It’s happened in the past with other princes.”

“I hope so, he’s there only son. What will become of the kingdom if their has to be a new electing of a royal line? It will be chaos and.”

“Shh my love don’t talk like that. Hern will rule when the time comes.” Lina layed down with her husband. The boys horsed around in the yard. They were laughing and letting out playful growls. When her husband was finally napping she got up to make lunch for the boys. She watched them play through the kitchen window. She whistled for them to come in when it was ready “That was really good. Thank you mam.”

“No problem Hern.” The two of them got up “Can we go to the lake? Pleeeeeeeeease” Loki said “Alright, lead the way.” The three of them left the small home and went to the lake. They played there the rest of the day. Hern stayed with Loki and his family for three days. That wa show long it took for the king to be back to his normal self. When it was time to take Hern home Sonata asked if the three of them would be their guests at the celebration. “We’d be honored.” Lina said blushing.

~ Chapter 9 ~

When Hern and Sonata got home the king greeted them happily. “I’m all yours until the celebration my boy. No work period”

“Really?” Hern said excitedly. “yes” the king replied happily. “Can we play Gibbit?”

“I’d love that. Let me find a pinecone.” The king and Hern went off into the woods. Sonata made her way to Fallons. She felt Hern needed some alone time with his father. Sonata knocked and Fallon answered “Hello, shouldn’t you be with Azaiah.”

“He’s playing with Hern.” Sonata stepped in “were many men hurt?”

“Yes but not too badly, certainly not as much as your husband.”

“That’s good to hear.”

“What’s wrong Sonata?”

“Just tired lately is all. Can’t seem to shake it. Maybe my age is catching up with me. Who knows.”

“Porbably just age.” Fallon said masking her sadness. Sonata was already ill. Sadly by the time anybody would know something was wrong with her it would be too late. It was the way of the Vulern Bug. Only five others in all their history had gotten it and Fallons future sight told her Sonata was the sixth. You simply tire easily for a year or two and then you become drastically ill. So Ill you can’t move but to throw up. It was an evil sickness. Torturing it’s victims to the point they are begging to die in the end. Sonata didn’t deserve such a death. It wasn’t fair. If she knew how to really help her she may just brake the code of having future sight but there wasn’t a cure. Fallon was already trying to find one but was having trouble. Especially with nobody to test the results on.

She knew Sonata would allow her to experiment when she was ill to maybe save lives in the future but it didn’t make a big difference to Fallon. All she could think about was wanting to save her friend whom she had known since she was a little girl. The mother who brought such joy to the kingdom. If only Sonata was younger Fallon thought. Then it would be odd she was easily tired  and Fallon could start trying to treat her but Sonata was very old. Much older than Fallon. She always knew her because Sonata had been Fallons babysitter. They became friends when Fallon became a teenager. Fallon felt grateful to live in such a world as this. People didn’t really die of old age. You pretty much only went if you died in battle or got ill. You would get slower as the years packed on but not die or become unable to take care of yourself.

Most of Fallons time was going into how people got it. Since only five people before Sonata got it there wasn’t much to compare what was going on. Especially in their world since their isn’t saved record of everything. It was just stories passed down from one generation of future seeers and medicine woman. Each one passing down their knowledge of medicine and how to handle the sight.

The boys found a pinecone and began their game. Their laughter drifting through the woods. Hern had forgotten how much fun it was to play with his father but he wished his mother had joined them. He figured she needed rest again. His mother needed a nap atleast once during the day. They played and played until the sun was setting. The king lifted Hern on his shoulders.

“Can we play again tomorrow dad?”

“Of course we can my boy”

“Lets bring momma next time!”

“Alright” When the king and prince arrived home Sonata wasn’t there. “Lets have dinner and wait on her.” As they were eating Sonata returned. “Visiting Fallon?”

“Yes, she’s still acting strangely around me”

“Fallon is a strange woman. Don’t fret about it. Will you join us?”

“I think I’ll just go to bed my love. Tell Hern a story please.”

“Of course” Sonata walked off and went into her bedroom. Almost instantly going to sleep. Hern was disappointed. He preferred when his mommy told him stories but he was getting time with his dad so he didn’t say anything. They ate then Azaiah carried Hern upstairs and began telling him a story from when he was a boy. Hern actually found it really interesting. When his father finished he stood “wait daddy one more! Tell me how you met mom.”

“That’s a long story. I’ll tell it tomorrow.”

“Awe, okay” Hern frowned. Azaiah left the room to lay with his wife. He quietly entered and laid beside her letting sleep claim him.

~ Chapter 10 ~

The next day they all played in the woods again. Lokis family joined them. When the adults were ready to rest the boys still had tons of energy. “Can we please stay out here?”

“As long as the two of you promise to be back at the castle before the sun is gone.”

“Promise” they said in unison. The two of them played chase again. It was their favorite thing to do. In the castle the four of them talked about how they’d travel. They just planned to ride in the royal carriage. Lina almost blushed. That was a very high honor even for a guards family. Sonata showed Lina around the castle while Azaiah and Chisle talked about those monstrous creatures that were eating those poor little children.

Lina could barely believe her eyes walking around the castle. It was gorgeous to her. “You sure are lucky Sonata. You’re the first common girl to be a queen. I hope that didn’t come across the wrong way” Lina added wishing she could take it back “It didn’t, I am very lucky. As blessed as a woman could ever be. Dont be afraid to speak with me. I wont have you put to death or anything crazy” Lina laughed “Ok Sonata”

The sun was setting and the boys both frowned “I dont want to go home” said Hern “we’ll get in trouble if we don’t” Replied Loki. “Hern grunted “when I’m a man I’m going to live out here.” Loki laughed “You’re going to be king though.”

“No I’m not, I dont want to be.”

“Why wouldn’t you want to be? I’d love to be king.”

“It’s not all that great.” Hern said looking away. The boys sulkily ran back to the castle for their impending bedtime. When they were outside Hern said “thanks for being my friend.”

“I’m having lots of fun”

“Good” Hern smiled. Both their mothers came out and greeted them “Can i spend the night here?” Loki asked his mom. Lina looked at Sonata “yes he can” The two small boys ran to Herns room. “They are like brothers aren’t they.” Sonata smiled “Yes, I’m glad they’ve taken to eachother so well.”

“You two should sleep here aswell. We’re leaving at noon.”

“If that’s ok with you I’d love to.”

“Come with me. We must get supplies from Fallon for our journey.”

“Yes I heard it smells there.”

“Very badly, it’s a blessing to have Fallons potion to fill our noses with flowers.” When they arrived Fallon quickly got a small bag together. “Come home with me Fallon. You might aswell since you’re coming too.”

“Sure, just give me a few more moments to make up and over night bag.” As they waited Linas eyes darted around. Fallons home was almost as interesting to her as Sonatas. “You are a curious one huh?” Sonata said cheerily. “Yes, I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, Fallon is too.”

“I’m what?” Fallon said re entering the room. “Curious all the time” Fallon laughed “oh yes, this is very true.” The three woman walked back to Sonatas and she showed them each a guest room. Soon Chisle joined his wife “feel the bed!” Lina said excitedly to him. Chisle smiled “I know, I’ve slept here before remember?”

“It’s amazing” Chisle climbed on the bed and held his wife. “go to sleep now my sweet” She snuggled up to him and drifted off. He followed soon after. Fallon slept very well too. She slept through the night. She couldn’t remember the last time that happened. In the morning they all ate breakfast and loaded the carriage to set off for Valskopa.

~ Chapter 11 ~

The boys sat across from each other. They talked non stop the whole ride. Sonata laid her head on her husbands shoulder. He held her hand tightly. They all took their potions when they were thirty minuets out to make sure it was in effect so they wouldn’t offend the people and creatures who lived there. They were greeted with a warm welcome by many creatures. Hern was surprised to see other Satyrs there. A small girl ran up to them right away “Hi!” Loki greeted her enthusiastically but Hern only acknowledged her presence enough to be polite. Hern honestly didn’t have the slightest interest in girls.

Loki hung all over her attention the whole day. Hern got annoyed by it. He felt she was stealing his friend. He couldn’t say anything though so he wouldn’t embarrass his father. Hern was mortified when he saw another girl their age walking up. “This is my sister Rayna”

“Hi” They both said at the same time. Once again Loki more excited than Hern. Rayna thought Hern was very handsome. After one of the performances she gave Hern a kiss on the cheek. Hern had to hold back an eye roll. He heard his mother let out an awe so he especially tried hard not to be rude even though he hated her presence. He couldn’t see what was so special about any girl but his mother.

When Hern stood to tour a huge garden they had on the edge of their hand the girl put her arm around his. Hern kept soothing himself in his head you can do this Hern. Be nice to her for your mother. It’s only a day. Maybe she’ll even get the hint and stop touching me. I just want friends not a girlfriend. His thoughts were interupted by the girls voice “How old are you?”

“Five” Hern responded. “I’m six”

“That’s cool” Hern replied knowing he needed to say somthing. She kept glancing at him as they walked so he finally asked “what?”

“Sorry, you’re very cute”

“Thanks” he said looking away. He felt like running and thought she was being rude. It had to be obvious how much he didn’t want her attention but she didn’t seem to care. Hern sighed collecting himself. Once again he said do this for your mom. He turned around seeing his mother watching them. They made it to the flowers and she finally let him go to play in them. His mother bent down “arent you going to play too?”

“Do I have to?”

“No you don’t. Can I hold you?”

“Please” He was glad she offered. That girl couldn’t touch him in his mothers arms. He clung to her hoping she wouldn’t put him down. He didn’t want to be at Reynas mercy again. The day seemed to drag for Hern until it was finally dinner. Table after table was lined up. Everybody sat down to a huge feast. The food tasted amazing and they thanked the people many times before jumping in their carriage to go home.

Sonata planned on thanking her son when they could be alone. She had felt how much that little girl had bothered him. He handled it well, just as a prince should. Hern looked out the window because Loki fell asleep with his head on his mothers lap. Herns thoughts filled with the stories of the human girl his mother told him about. She sounded like so much fun to him. The kind of girl who would just play with him and not try all that lovey dovey crap.

He thought about her all all the way home. The carriage took the Vowter family home. Herns mom carried Hern to his room. When the door was shut Sonata said “Thank you son for keeping your manners when that girl bothered you.”

“You noticed.”

“Of course I did, I’m your mom. I’m very proud of how you handled it.”

“Thanks, I tried so hard.”

“I could see that.”

“Could you sleep with me tonight mom?”

“Sure just let me go say goodnight to your father.”

“Alright, please hurry.”

“I will.” Sonata soon returned and crawled into bed. She hummed to her son until he was fast asleep. She shut her eyes and rested herself. She was very hopeful for her sons future. She just knew he’d be an amazing king one day. She could feel that one day he’d change his mind. Even if he didn’t Sonata only wanted her boy to be happy. No matter what it was she wanted him to live a life that brought him joy.

~The End ~

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