Alia and her companions sat on their horses as they rode hard against the clearing towards the mountains of Faira Springs. The spring was a vast under ground forest consisting of mazes and lost citys hidden under the massive mountains of Faira. The inside of the mountains were carved out by the mother of all dragons, Faira Ginger. She was the Guardian of the mountains and of all life within them. Protecting the inhabitants from the evil of the outside world.
The group soften their pace as they neared the tall mountains. Lucian stopped in disbelief. “My eyes must decieve me or am I staring at a moving mountain.” He said in amazement. The mountain vibrated as if the world shuddered at its size. It went beyond the clouds and looked as if it could transcend time and space.
“We will have to dismount, the horses can not travel the terrain”. Xion said mechanically. She sighed and took a deep breath. “My qu– Alia” she blushed “I sense a strange presence from the moutains.” She said.
“I believe your right, its as if someone has been watching us. Stay close, do not alarm the gentlemen until we are sure.” She smiled. Xion pouted and Alia blinked confused at the sudden expression. “What is it?”
“You are still angry with my father?”
“Well yes, he lied, which is never a good thing to do.” Alia said and looked down at the child who glared unconvinced of her reason. Alia averted her eyes towards their route. “We’re finally here.” She said aloud.
At the foot of the moutain stood a gate that one would usually put up outside of a castle. Granite carved doors and rocky pillars held up tall menacing walls. Gold markings of flowers and trees covered the top of it. The group haulted at the magnificent gate.
“We go in from here?” Asked Lucian looking at his small daughter climbing down her horse. She jumped down and landed gracefully.
“No the gate can only be opened from the inside. Theres a man made opening right here.” Xion said as she went behind the post of the front gate. The adults followed. They stood infront of a side gap only a child could fit through.
“You are the only one that could possibly fit.” Dahlon said.
“Possibly, I could be the one to open the door.” Xion said as she looked at her father. He looked back disproving the idea of sending his daughter into the unknown.
“No, you don’t know the danger that awaits.” Lucian said and walked away to the horses.
“But she’s the only one who will fit!” Alia yelled.
“I will not let her go in there!” He yelled back.
“What is the worst that could happen?”
“She could get hurt!” He yelled.
“And what if she doesn’t?” Alia yelled. Lucian looked back and glared.
“No, I’ve made my decision she is not to go inside!” He yelled.
“She went inside!” Dahlon yelled from behind the post. Lucian ran around the post and looked to find is daughters foot dissapearing into the gap.
“You let her go?” Lucian screamed. “You let my daughter go into that damned place with no one to help her? You could be so careless?” He screamed slamming Dahlon into the gate. The gate rumbled and shook as if the earth were about to open under him. The granite gate creaked and buckled until it burst open.
“I told you I could do it!” She said as she burst between the doors covered in leaves and dust. Lucian dropped Dahlon and ran and picked her up. He squeezed her tight in his arms and released her.
“Are you mad child, I should cut a switch and beat you.” He yelled and hit the top of her head.
“You worry too much, not everything is dangerous.” She said as she crossed her arms. She looked confident, with dirt and leafs in her hair, but could not be taken seriously.
“This is why I worry.” He said and sighed. He looked to the child, “Which way do we go now?”
“Just follow me.” Xion said and walked through the gates.
Inside the mountain the ceiling were low and rocky with leaves greener then any grass Alia had ever seen. They walked for a while until the ceiling rose and strecthed until it looked as if they had no end. They saw trees as tall as men, the trees taller the houses and trees bigger and taller than any castle that paved the golden dirt under their feet.
Water dripped from tree tops that could go on miles. Faira springs was like a fever dream with flowers of colors bright and deep that could blind anyone who stared to long. Light shone through invisible holes in the moutain that no one could possibly could see from outside. As they walked they saw even wilder and impossible things: young women sat on stumps and dead branches and sprouted wings and fluttered away. Small beared men hopped onto one anothers heads to form a single man, eight feet tall. He winked at Alia and shook Lucians and Dahlons hands and handed a luminescent pink flower to Xion.
“What a wonderfully strange encounter.” Xion said as she lead them through a row of small bushes.
“Faria springs is a wonderfully strange encounter in its self. I can not belive that I am in a place were women have wings, small men become one, and flowers glow.” Alia said and gasped when she saw naked men bathing in a lake.
“Stop staring.” Lucian said as she stumbled. She looked away and covered her face in embarrassment. Only to peek in amazement through her fingers.
“Why are they naked?” Xion said as she looked. One submerged into the water and dissapeared only to resurface as a man with a horses body. He walked to shore and smiled as he walked past Alia and frowned Lucian.
“Mother of the all saints” Alia gasped as a trail of centaurs walked behind the first. Their dark skin and short hair made them look almost like Syburin men but their pointed ears excluded them. Their horse halfs came in every color imaginable. Spotted, black, grey, white, tan, and even deep red.
“Your staring too much my lady.” Lucian said as Alia stood wide eyes at the handsome centaurs as they galoped past.
“Who would dare to try and look away we are handsome and Majestic” said one with skin dark as Alias and horse half black as night. “May I ask why you are here outsiders?” He said.
“How do you know if we’ve come from outside?” Lucian asked and glared.
“You do not have horns, a animal half, wings, ears that point to the great Faira or legs that turn to a mist. You are from outside and you are out if place.” He said and crossed his arms. His jawline clenched in a irritated manner.
“We come in peace and only wish to pass safely through your realm sir.” Lucian said.
“I see but unfortunately your companions are trespassing. So your companions are to be confronted by the Spring Army and held prisoner until the great Faira determines their fate.” He said as two centaurs grabbed hold of Dahlon and Xion. The centaurs tied their hands and flung them onto their hard backs and rode off.
“Xion!? Dahlon!?” she turned and screamed as they were captured. “Where are you taking them?” Alia pancicked as everything happen quickly. “Why am I not to be taken? Where are you taking my companions?” She demanded and unslethed her sword to point it at his thick neck. Lucian chased the centaur that carried his daughter but was immediately kicked and knocked out.
“Racktu are regarded with special care when entering Fairas domain. You will be escorted to Fairas castle where you will be able to meet Faria herself.” The centaur said. He gestured for Alia to follow him and walked over to pull up a disoriented Lucian. Who mumbled curses at the man swearing to kill him if he touched his daughter. Alia hesitated to follow her companions captors. She panicked, with her Queendom in panic and her companions captured, Alia was over whelmed. She clenched her fist and took a deep breath. She understood her circumstances and decided not to do anything rash.
They arrived at a tall tower stretching arcoss a vast clearing. White granite spotted with imperfections and golden drawings of Faira Springs inhabitants bowing to Faira herself. Alia was in awe and could hardly breath she never would have imagined this stood inside if a mountain. Heavy blood red doors opened allowing them to enter into a pearl interior. Soft blue couches and a long rug the color of clouds in the evening paved the inside. Alia gasped and softened her gaze at the sight of her surroundings. “Magnificent.” She whispered under her breath as they walked foward up steps that spirled to high balconies. “Where are you taking us?” Lucian mumbled interrupting her trance.
“To your suite, of course, you are guests after all.” The centaur said.
“Where is my daughter?”
“You daughter along with your male companion are in the dungeon awaiting trial.” The centaur said. “May I ask your names?”
“Alia of Syburin, you may adress me as you wish.” Alia said quickly.
“Alia, such a beautiful sound like the rain splashing over the mountains.” He said in a soothing deep voice. “And you sir, what is your name?” He asked Lucian who had been laying across the centaurs back. His eyes were closed and he laid limp. He could of been mistaken as dead if he weren’t talking and mumbling to himself.
“My name is Lucian Alstom and my daughter is Xion Alstom. Please release her and let us go.” He said irritated. He’d been kicked in the chest and was not in a ideal state to fight. He felt humiliated being carried by another man, no matter the species.
“You are guest! Stay and enjoy the Faira spring life style.” the centaur chuckled. His laugh boomed through the quiet halls and rang in ears of everyone around him.
“What makes us your guest and my daughter your captive?” Lucian asked
“You and your queen are Rackti, a mighty race of human. You are like us here in Faira springs, different.” He said and turned down a hallway with 4 doors. He went to the furthest down the hall and opened the door. Sliver and white lace decorated the high walls, bed, and furniture. ” Your rooms are next to each other and if you daughter and companion are given freedom they are welcomed to use the other remaining rooms.” He said.
He removed Lucian from his back, who let out a groan, and layed him flat on the bed. “How careless of me” the Centaur said. “My apologies and I’ve even forgotten to introduce myself. I am Gavion Hill Captian of the Spring army eighth platoon.” He said and bowed. “Please excuse me I have things to attend to.” He bowed and exited.
The room was silent as Alia stood beside the door. She hadn’t expected to be outed by some chance encounter with a seven foot centurion captian. Lucian opened his eyes and sat up letting out a groan. Alia went over to help but was glared at. She stepped back and sighed.
“You never told me you were Racktu.” Lucian said.
“I never intended for you to know.” She said.
Lucian sighed and looked down. “You must have your reasons for not telling me. Though I did lie to you once, I thought you trusted me just like I trust you.”
“I trusted you aswell until I was told that you are a prince, a father and pronounced dead by your entire kingdom.” She lashed out. “You lied to me so you have no right to tell me I had an obligation to tell you.”
“Your obligated to tell me if I am of use to you.” He yelled and winced.
“Calm your self Lucian you’re not in the state to argue.” She soften and went over to help him.
He waved her off, “You are not in the state to be weary of my injuries. Why am I even here when you have the ability of a hundred soldiers?”
“I required trust in someone other than myself. Or rather, I required company in my endeavors.” She said straightening herself. This man would undo her if she told him the truth.
“You wanted a pet and you took me a such.” He said and looked at her with suken and hurt eyes.
“No I only saw you as a guard.” She said and looked down. She felt as if she were about to burst. Her eyes felt strained and her throat tight. She relaxed and looked up to the ceiling then at Lucian baring down as his body repaired its self. A painful process of strained and accelerated healing.
“So I am worth little to you?” He puffed and looked at her with hurt and spiteful eyes.
“No.” She whimpered and turning around and taking a deep breath. He howled in pain and relaxed. He breathed hard and looked to her and swallowed.
“Then what, what was my purpose?” He demanded an answer in his weak voice.
“Lucian all you had to be was yourself and protect me. I wanted nothing more, when you told me you wanted to be my gaurd. I would have excepted that at some point you’d find me out.” She said and turned to him. He was sitting up straight now. One leg settled at the edge of the bed.
“Then why hide it? He asked “why hide any of it.”
“Becuase I am a fraud!” She said. She sobbed and held herself and crumbled into the dark grey carpet. “I am forever in my fathers debt for being alive. My mother had an affair with her guard and had me. When he found out and my mother became delirious and wanted to kill me, he saved me.” She explained. “He decided the best option was to raise me as his own and have me succeed him. But he never knew what I was or what I was capable of doing. In the end I was a fraud and lied to everyone. I have so much to be thankful for but I don’t deserve any of it. I am hiding such a lie.” She said and looked at Lucian.
“You are still apart of the most prized race ever. Racktu are a proud race and are celebrated. You have no reason to be afraid of the truth.” He said and came to her. He stood her up and brought her to the bed. “You are my queen and I have no other wish than to serve you.” A knock at the door interrupted them and a young woman with short curly red hair walked in and bowed. She walked in shyly and bowed again. “Forgive me, I was told to fetch you for the trial of the human intruders.” She said. Her green eyes beaming at the two. “Faira wishes to meet you personally before the trial. She requests that you dress appropriately.”
“What would be appropriate?” Asked Lucian. The young lady face turned completely red and she turned her head towards the sky. She looked back down and grinned shyly.
“For you sir, Faira request that you are shirtless.”