The Lost King
Published by: FyreSyde Publishing
Publication date: November 10th 2020
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
In an ancient place, in an ancient time…
King Athan vanishes at sea. His children, prince Thalos and princess Thara, drift apart with age, their kingdom falling into ruin. Thalos stubbornly clings to the past; Thara, resentful of her father, looks to the future. In the wake of this decline, a beautiful enchantress usurps the throne from the estranged siblings. She exiles Thalos to the edge of the world and slowly enslaves Thara’s mind.
In his exile, Thalos finds another castaway—an old comrade of his father. Together they begin a voyage in search of the lost king. Thara, meanwhile, resists the new queen’s coercive spells and finds a resistance of creatures still loyal to her father.
With a vast world of enchanted islands and beings between them, Thalos and Thara struggle to restore their family and rekindle the hope of the true king’s return.
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Step by cautious step, he returned to the throne room to see his father’s seat—which had been empty for fifteen years—occupied.
The most beautiful woman he had ever seen sat on the throne. Legs that gleamed like golden honey peeked out of a blood-red peplos embroidered with golden needlework. There was no imperfection on her face, which was held high and proud. Her dark hair cascaded behind her neck and down to her shoulders like a waterfall at midnight, her hair melding with her sable cape. Bare arms, though rigid with solemnity, glittered and jingled with the music of bright jewelry, red-gold rings, and rubies.
But she was not alone. A Phantom-like figure stepped out of the shadows of a colonnade and joined her. The tread of his boots resounded upon the marble, but the rustle of his scarlet robes was like the sound of leaves blown across stone. His entire head was wrapped, and his face hidden behind an emotionless golden mask. An engraved rivulet of tears descended from the right eye-hole. This Phantom figure was silent but for the thin, rasping breath that issued from the mouth-slit of his mask.
The man stared at the lady upon his father’s throne, motionless, for many moments. She attracted him, despite the realization that she must be behind the horrors witnessed, the horrors he’d heard rumors of while away from home. She was beautiful, and his heart swelled with lust for her before he remembered his purpose and saw her beauty as a mask for a sinister heart. Her red-robed bodyguard loomed at her side. The sight of the lurking red Phantom infuriated the man. Anger rose so hotly within him that he felt adrenaline course through his pulsing veins, his face flushed.
Someone appeared off to the side—his sister, Thara. He realized now how grown up she was, how much she looked like their mother. She was shapely and compact now, not the stick-thin little sister he used to play hide-and-seek with. Thara no longer wore her black hair in the unkempt curly mass that she ran around with as a child. Her hair was brushed and held by a thin tiara. Although her face was the mirror-image of their mother’s, her skin had the coppery glow of their father’s people. She looked uncomfortable in brocade. Her acorn-brown eyes were dulled by some sort of mind-altering spell.
“What’s happened here?” asked the man, taking in all the changes.
Thara, in a lifeless monotone voice, said, “Queen Sundra arrived on our shores the day after you left for your training. She came with tidings of our father’s death. His ship washed up on her shores, and he died in her arms. Now we can give up waiting for him to come home.”
A servant in a white tunic marched toward the man bearing a terracotta urn and a bronze xiphos sword—his father’s sword.
“The throne has been relinquished to Queen Sundra for safekeeping,” said Thara.
“Welcome, Prince Thalos,” said Sundra in a lofty voice, standing. “It is an honor to finally meet you. How were your travels?”
The man, Prince Thalos, son of the lost King Athan, grabbed the urn and removed the lid. Inside was a mound of gray ash. He laid it down, then took his father’s sword. After staring in disbelief, he laid the sword down next to the urn. Could it really be that his father was nothing more than ashes and dust?
“My father,” said Thalos, “like all our Kings, wore a special signet ring that he never removed, the look of which only the royal line has seen. Strange that this was not also brought with the sword?”
Sundra shot daggers with her beautiful eyes. And Thalos knew he’d bested her, for what magic could help her create a ring she’d never seen? “Believe me, Prince Thalos, the ring is in the urn, with your father’s ashes.”
“Then I shall examine them.” He removed the lid.
“My Prince!” cried Sundra. “Would you disturb your father’s ashes?”
“That remains to be seen.” Thalos picked up the urn and poured out its contents, a fine, gray dust hissing as it struck the marble floor. They waited to hear a thud, but there was no ring—even when Thalos sifted through the dust with his foot.
“Of course,” said Sundra, affecting a sudden remembrance. “My servants forgot to place the ring inside the urn. They’ll be whipped for this, I assure you.”
“You will remove yourself from my father’s throne,” said Thalos, undeterred.
“Is this how you would speak to the one who has safeguarded your home?”
“Safeguarded?” asked Thalos. The audacity of the word almost pitched him into battle. The blood-stained ropes dangling from the branches of the Ancient Oak flashed in his mind. “What kind of guardian ties her enemies to a tree and tortures them? Who was it that you bound to the Ancient Oak and murdered?”
“Your old nurse,” Sundra said offhandedly.
Thalos felt a wave of searing anger blur his vision. Thalos’ and Thara’s nurse had been tough on them, but she didn’t deserve being lashed to the Ancient Oak and murdered. Thalos never once doubted her love for him or his sister.
“And what,” Thalos asked, his voice choked in restraint of tears, “was her crime?” His hand gripped the hilt of his sword with whitened knuckles.
“She spoke the name of the old King, and swore fealty to him, an act that is now punishable by death. Now, where are your manners, Thalos?”
He stood, resolute and quiet, his chin thrust out in defiance. The desire to draw his sword and kill this witch would soon boil over the walls of self-control. But he could now see her darkly clad bandits lurking, pacing, behind the throne and between the pillars of the hall, watching his every move. And then, there was her Red Phantom as well, whose sheer size intimidated Thalos.
Without hesitating, Thalos drew his glittering bronze sword, and the ring of it was like music to his ears.
He lunged forward, aiming for the heart of the Queen.
Along with creating his own mythological backdrop for his stories, Frazier is an amateur calligrapher, map-maker, and artist. He is currently working on his master’s in Medieval Literature at the University of North Texas.
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