It had been months since our secret portal appeared in the basement floor letting Kal and myself off to some break. Maybe it had appeared while we were busy juggling kids, jobs, life. It was Thanksgiving night when I went down stairs to check the last load of laundry when I noticed the door was open. When had Kal come down here? After an exhausting day of making dinner and cleaning up as well as making Christmas plans a nice quiet evening by the fire sounded wonderful. I hope there weren’t any guests. Descending the stairs I checked the door to the den, it opened for me but when I saw Kal asleep with some football game playing I quickly closed the door. I did not feel like playing spy tonight.
Ascending the stairs I could barely make out the door in the ceiling to the cottage floor. I had forgotten a flashlight. The door opened and all appeared dark and quiet. I felt around for the side table where a lamp and matches were kept. Lighting the lamp took some time but the room finally filled with light. The task of building a fire came next and soon the room was crackling and warm. I pulled out the wool knit blankets, knitted by careful hands, and got cozy and warm on the couch. Grabbing a book from the basket below the end table I began to read the book of secrets as Ree had called it. The Title page only said, “Tales of Wibet Guf.” The hand painted art work was truly amazing. Then I began to read, “King Teo’s daughter.”
Upon the high rise of above the valley Maloon dwelt the king in his fortress of brick and stick. A mighty army camped outside the kingdom’s walls. High summer was always the time when the new recruits were put into their ranks of ten thousand. The King had vast lands to protect and would gather young men from every village and farm, city and palace from Arey to Bangh and Resoun to the sea. They were required to serve for five years. Some men loved war and would stay on but most, if they lived would return to their lands. Invaders would sometimes come by sea but mostly they came from the Rigoa, a vicious people constantly trying to take from the peacable people of Asgar, or at least that is how the king saw it. King Teo was already consulting his advisors and preparing strategies and fortifications. Asgar’s spies had reported that the Rigoa were building a fleet of three ships, which were more like very large rowboats, and they were also planning to attack by one of the borders but no one knew where. The King was building fortifications on every border and sending guards and spies for every road and forest. The King was confident in his preparations until five ships much larger than they thought sailed into the bay at the end of September.
The troops waited and prepared for battle. Near a small abandoned farm near the border of Asgar in the forest of Jeil a young newly appointed captain by the name of Pokey stood guard with two hundred men in various locations. A spy was coming towards captain Pokey at a fast pace. “Trap. ‘ey ur comin’. Muuv back. Gath…” His message punctuated with an arrow through his back. Captain Pokey’s men needed no words and he directed them with hand signals and whoops and calls. The Rigoa soldiers were much older generally and very experienced. They were usually soldiers for life. Many rode horses painted with gold and black to look like flames.
The battle was fierce and Pokey’s troops had to flee, many were slaughtered in only a few short hours. Pokey could see they intended to carve a path to the Castle at Maloon. He slew a Rigoa soldier and stole his horse to ride to warn the king and get reinforcements. His two hundred were about eighty now and largely ignored by the thousands of soldiers streaming over the border and heading straight to Maloon.
Pokey arrived at the palace and spoke to Alama, the king’s war advisor. A council was convened but before they could proceed cries rang out. The castle was under siege. The King of Rigoa had heard that Asgar had a princess of marrying age, she would marry King Een’s son the prince Ris. The siege lasted until the end of the eleventh month, the sixth day of the week. It was a black day as the prince, who was also a sorcerer stood outside the gate as the princess Maia walked out without any ladies-in-waiting or guards. The prince took her hand and in front of every one he gave her a drink. She turned into a black dragon with iron talons and flames. The prince sent a message to King Teo,”Your daughter will be released by true loves kiss. Until then she is under my control for I will rule Asgar now and you will all obey me.” He laughed a vile laugh like vultures about to devour everything in their path.