Prelude Part 1

Calm Before the Storm

By Melusine

The Queen -- now can you guess who that could be
(She's a little girl by day, but at night she steals away)?
Well -- it's me!
-- Rose Fyleman "The Fairies"


Yin stood on the balcony of the Northtown castle, her ebony hair whipping around her in the frosty wind. She had never seen snow before, for the weather never changed in the Upper Land, so the sight of the blizzard was mesmerizing. "The Mana Fortress is causing all this?" she asked her husband, Vandole, who was standing beside her.

"No," he laughed. "This is normal Northtown weather for the winter. The Mana Fortress hasn't surfaced yet."

Yin sighed. She and Vandole, both just twenty-two, had been married for four years and had moved to his father's castle in Northtown recently. The ailing Emperor Jaeve was anxious to see his son again and was worried about others taking the throne. She remembered reading the letter and knowing that she would have to leave her home.

"It doesn't seem real, does it? That the Mana Fortress is back, I mean," Prince Vandole smiled. "I was told stories about it as a child and wished that I could see it someday."

"Be careful what you wish for, my love."


Vandole sat by his father's bedside, listening to the frail man's ragged breathing. "Thank you for coming back on such short notice," his voice was a thin whisper.

"It was no trouble, father. Did you know that Yin had never seen snow before?"

"What did she think of it?"

"She loved it. You should have seen the look on her face. . .she looked like a child at Christmas," he sighed.

The old Emperor smiled, creasing a face that was lined from pain. He felt like he was being eaten from the inside out, but tried to hide it from his son. "That's wonderful," Jaeve gasped and began to cough.

"Hang in there, we've sent for a sorcerer who can heal you."


The hooves of the four horses seemed like thunder in the white silence of the blizzard. Barely able to see through the thickly falling snow, the three riders followed their leader, who seemed to be able to look through the storm.

"How much longer?" one of them asked.

The leader was silent and urged his horse to go faster, forcing his companions to do the same or else be lost in the storm. Across hills and plains they sped and through forests they dodged trees and brush that seemed to appear from nowhere. At last they came upon the castle at Northtown, their conjured mounts disappearing like faerie gold in the cold light of morning. The leader of the group put his hand on the locked doors of the castle and the doors flew open. He said a few words in an ancient language and suddenly a fire was blazing in the fireplace and all the torches were lit. The leader smiled behind his hood and mask, he had always enjoyed putting others out of pain. . .or causing it.


Go To Part 2

Return To SoM Fanfic