Kingdom of Atuphratī

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     "You are quite the excited one. Yet I must inform you that we are not to venture to the higher expanse, at least not this time." Fireball's inner flamed dimmed. "We are to meet Queen Nūĕisa and King Vuqaĭs at the palace-you as well." The two piles on Dasarēan's shoulders heard the princess' words. They were ready to become their weaponized form, not that they perceived a threat, but only to adorn the hands of their masters properly. The small piles of flame and waters believed the most respectful form in the presence of their Graces given their recent battle with the breach of the kingdom's sanctity. In a matter of moments they arrived. The stone transport lowered itself to the ground. The Vaeran palace was four times the size of their castle. The land was vast and each of the four main gardens. In the center of one was a large fountain. Its waters poured from four openings within the Vaeran atmosphere and into the surface of the ground. Moments later, the water pulled itself through the tips of foliage and grass. Each time droplets combined with that which sprang forth anew, they make twinkling imagery appear. Another of the main gardens contained four fires suspended in mid-air. These were of a pale ombré of ivory to violet hue. Two flames on opposite sides were raised higher than the other pair. They flickered sparks that collided with one another and fed into the lower two. This was the garden that Fireball initially reacted to. Its extended tips of its flames upward and released sparks.

    "I think Fireball has inclined to its most kindred," Prince Dasarēan said. Soon after it returned to its most normal shape, but plopped a bit lower before scrambling back into its proper place. "Are you alright, Fireball. We will pass that garden first." It rotated and settled. Water and fire piles stretched their small forms upwards, curious as to any changes that the battle had caused to the kingdom. The gates encircling the palace grounds were of a strong Vaeran metal.  Some claimed that this metal was forged within the atmosphere when the Sacred Four graced its presence to create their world. Others believed that the metal was so strong it had not originated from theirs or any other world, but rain down from beyond the heavens in the form of waters, seeping into the ground until the earliest inhabitants were able to discover it in random mountains surrounding the borders of the Kingdom of Vaera. Of course, this metal was found in the other three kingdoms, each one having their own lore of how it originated as well. Its appearance was of a natural ivory, a duplicitous trait in which most would assume it could not bear much. Yet it was a fortress which in its intricate design filtered the auras of those who entered, the elements which traveled here and through, as well as a balance for the palace grounds itself. Its design and formation held secrets. Those who erected it eons ago only followed the perimeter and the king's initial instructions. As they dug holes and ploughed, the design of the gate itself formed seemingly on its own. They measured from where they had begun, knowing that they did not lay all of the gate. The works watched as the metal multiplied, following a pattern sent forth by unknown ancients until it reached the starting point again. When they reported what they had witnessed to the Vaeran's palace guards who could only transmit their observations to the advisors, the king and queen of that time smiled and raised their right hand.
    "For this land is sacred, and these grounds hold but only one key," the Vaeran queen of yore said. She and the king decided to reward the workers with great fortune, for they were of pure hearts. None could have begun the laying of the gate had they been chosen for a reason. The two piles observed the gate as much as Fireball displayed a keen interest in the gardens. Prince Dasarēan and Princess Yuestasīa walked slowly as their regal garb dragged along the grounds. It was not until they reached halfway to the entrance of the palace that they heard thunderous roar. Many of the Vaeran gentry were present. Most of the Vaeran people had gathered.
     "My princess, mother and father await for our arrival," Prince Dasarēan said. They continued their trek onward. Vaeran royal guards began to appear more frequently the closer they appeared toward the main doors. These doors were even more grandiose than that of their castle. Princess Yuestasīa's mouth fell open. She lived simply, though most of her life much better than other Vaerans. Still she had never thought that she would stand on the threshold of such a place. The master took hold of her hands and faced her. "So beautiful and kind. Whenever you desire, we may stay here as guests of mother and father." She nodded her head 'no'. Yuestasīa only desired to focus on her life with her bonded mate in the consecrated abode yet to be explored. She believed that they could explore to learn more of the grand palace and its grandeur another day, unless fate dictated otherwise. Four guards appeared right before the prince and princess. Yuestasīa held onto Dasarēan's hand. He squeezed her delicate fingers to give her reassurance.
     "Prince Dasarēan, Princess Yuestasīa, your king and queen awaits," one guard said.  He immediately stepped to Dasarēan's left and bowed. Another offer to assist the princess. She turned to face the master. Yuestasīa was not accustomed to no one else touching her. The prince gently stroke the top of her hand while he addressed the other guard. "The princess will be assisted only by me," he said. 

Prince Dasarēan and Princess Yuestasīa visit Palace Luenueva to greet King Vuqaĭs and Queen Nūĕisa. They celebrate this momentous victory with the rest of the Kingdom of Vaera; for an enemy great has been defeated. Vīalī and Xanalī, along with their children are among the masses where feasts and good cheer abound. Suddenly a great stirring begins. Vīalī steadies her palms flat against the ground and sends forth four pebbles. An offensive wind threatens the land. In its interior appears something great, a jewel not of this world. The pebbles capture the winds. Vīalī takes hold within the palace exists a special chamber. It holds secrets and perhaps a gateway to an ethereal sanctum. Silken strands greet the prince and princess. Stone emerges and present them with a staff of sorts. They accept. A woman present in the celebration, an innocent, decides to return to her abode. She is pursued by a stranger, one who believes that she has the answers to unlocking a great power that the offending winds teased of. As she attempts to escape, she ventures into an area where a man named Leathīas lives. He takes her into her abode. She is afraid. (H)anatēa is a master of an alchemy, and so is Leathīas, though he does not give much weight to it. It is not until they become better acquainted that his understanding is reignited. (H)anatēa convalesces, Leathīas observes. The following morning he notices that she fails to awaken. He waits a few moments. (H)anatēa returns, though for several moments it appeared as if she wasn't. Another woman, a regal young one is awakened suddenly from her slumber. Her mother and father enter her elaborate chambers to awaken her. Princess Tanalīa revered her father, the King of Atuphratī. It was her mother, who would prove her uneasy instinct correct. While these two women slept, distinct and unknown to one another, the princess reveals that she and (H)anatēa bonded. Tanalīa has a specific sort of bond with her ethereal pet creature, Nueamaĭa. When a convergence of migration of important persons take place, the princess directs Nueamaĭa to connect with (H)anatēa. The man who attempts to kidnap her a second time while she is mounted on transport with Leathīas, fails. The winds he used to break free of his prison and to capture her, escapes and becomes an element at her command. Princess Yuestasīa and Prince Dasarēan take flight with the special instrument with silken ends. The Vaeran princess is careful of her hold of the starburst. This gem is more alive than before, continuously interacting with the instrument. The bands of Yīalans and Vaerans arrive at the focal point where the airy wheel has now settled. Ancient writing still emanates. Combat with the use of winds, the flame, and the land ensues. The kidnapper is prepared to harness a great power. King Nījeau and Queen Aiēna of Atuphratī arrive. This king realizes a double-betrayal at the hands of his wife. Four couples take hold of pebbles that Vīalī had directed early on to capture the offending winds that threatened the Kingdom of Vaera. The starburst becomes more active. Fireball senses its power. It opens its layers of flames in near full bloom at the sight. The starburst is affixed to the wheel. The gem stretches and reaches and forms itself into a great being, taking hold of the staff with silken ends. It warns of a great opening between the Four Kingdoms of this world and other worlds. (H)anatēa's  kidnapper believes he is to rejuvenate his waning power of alchemy mastery. Queen Aiēna believes she has no further use for him. It was she who attempted to murder her daughter without the slightest tangible touch while Princess Tanalīa slumbered. As one man meets his end, will one queen live as a sign of a new dawning has awakened?

Patricia M. Muhammad © All rights reserved 2022-2023
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