January 2011 Archives


Chapter Fifty-One

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Princess Angelina learned of the battle with Lakeland well after the incident. She was in the southern part of her kingdom inspecting the river boats when the fight took place. She was thankful that her people took the initiative to be ready for battle. However, this left Lakeland without a leader.

The civil war against Prince Bjorn had led to chaos in Lakeland. Now, as far as the Princess knew, there was no heir to the Lakeland throne. No one in Lakeland believed there was an heir to the throne. Without a known heir, many of the Lakeland nobles restarted the civil war. Each attempted to make his claim on the throne; however, none of them had much support among the people. It looked like Lakeland would remain in chaos for a bit longer. A state that the commoners could ill afford.

The Princess took one of the challenging boats north up the great river. If the Lakeland civil war was to rage again, there would be more refugees. She wanted to prepare for this eventuality. There was a limited amount of supplies that she could provide for the people of Lakeland. She needed to determine how the refugees were managing.

While she was there, she wanted to meet with her generals. They were the ones who waged the victory. She had reason to believe that the victor of any future Lakeland civil war would attempt to reclaim her kingdom just as Prince Bjorn had. They could claim she attacked Bjorn to gain support. Also, she did not wish to be caught off guard a second time.

The refugees cheered her arrival. The ovation caught her by surprise. She was attending to other things when the battle occurred, and had nothing to do with the victory. Yet, the people gave her the credit. Perhaps they were grateful that they helped them.

Nonetheless, she greeted her people warmly and with gratitude. She realized that her policy of welcoming deserting soldiers into her army worked to her advantage. These soldiers were responsible for the defeat of Prince Bjorn. They were familiar with his tactics and took advantage of them.

To the cheering crowds, the Princess saluted the soldiers and generals responsible for the defeat of Prince Bjorn. She also saluted those that had fallen. However, she found out that few on her side had died. It was a very lopsided victory. Thus, she decided to include the fallen on the other side in her salute. After all, the crowd was largely from Lakeland, and some may know the slain.

When she met privately with those directly responsible for the victory, they urged her to "end the chaos" in Lakeland. They urged her to claim the Lakeland throne. After all, she was from a royal line, and thus more qualified than any of the nobles.

Further, she could reunite Lakeland herself. In addition, she had defeated the sovereign of Lakeland; thus, she had a claim to the throne. As far as anyone knew, there was no legitimate heir to the throne, and she could claim it with quite a bit of support. It could bring a quick end to the current situation in Lakeland.

The Princess did not think she should simply invade. She did not want people to call her Angelina the Conqueror. However, she knew she had wide support of her people and many people in Lakeland. In her tour of surrounding kingdoms, the people of Lakeland rallied and cheered. Hence, she decided to talk to the refugees discretely. They would be the best judge for this course of action.

She found that the refugees overwhelming supported her becoming sovereign of all of Lakeland. Everyone she talked to urged her to reign over a reunited Lakeland. Moreover, they were willing to fight for her. She reminded them that this invasion would no longer be a safe refuge in her kingdom. In fact, there was no place where they could run to if things got bad. They would have to live in one war torn country or another, but they were overwhelmingly resolute. They did not wish to have any other ruler. They knew the nobles of their land, and they did not find any of them suitable.

After a several discrete conversations with random citizens of Lakeland, she would take the conversation to the crowd. It was one thing to gain the support of a few people here and there, but how would the entire crowd react? Despite her fears, they cheered and would have rushed to the border at that time. She had overwhelming support of the refugees, and the few citizens of her own kingdom that were present. Thus, she felt it was a course of action she not only could take but should take. She gathered her advisors and generals together and began making plans.

Lakeland had little in the way of an army. Most of the trained soldiers had deserted or had been killed in the civil war. The fighting nobles did not have much with which to work. What they did have to work with were ill trained. Therefore, when Princess Angelina's forces crossed the boarder, they surrendered readily. He units swelled instead of shrank as she moved north.

In fact, as her army did not engage in any battles. As her army approached, any Lakeland forces put down their weapons and surrendered. Her soldiers did not have to fire a single shot. The Princess marched uncontested into the capitol of Lakeland. There were some nobles that complained about her invasion, but they could not do anything about it.

The Princess had overwhelming support from the peasants, the army, and even most nobles. Thus, she marched into power into a reunited Lakeland. She began to prepare for her coronation. She would abandon her castle complex, and move into King Thorbjorn's castle. There was nothing standing in her way, when Prince William showed up.

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Chapter Fifty-Two

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Prince William was in Princess Angelina's territory. He had been there for weeks. However, he was far from any civilization. Further, he was fairly certain that Prince Bjorn had sent people out to kill him. Thus, any sound he heard or movement he spotted in the woods made him jump. His increased caution slowed his progress greatly. It was going to take him a while to reach a major city.

He thought about moving by night. In this way, he could move more quickly. No one would able to identify him in the dark. Thus, it would be safer for him.

On the other hand, he would have to find a good place to hide and sleep during the day. He would be very vulnerable at this time. This vulnerability would likely prevent him from sleeping soundly. Therefore, he decided that moving by day was the best option.

The Prince began moving along the river. However, he noticed a lot more movement there. Something was happening, but he did not know what. He just knew he had better get away from the river. He decided to follow a road west towards the Princess's castle complex. He would not walk on the road, he would follow it as close as he could but remain hidden.

It was very slow going. While making his way along the road, he also had to find food. Fortunately, he still had the tools he had gathered. His brother's man was kind enough to dump them on the ground rather than sending them with the raft. Thus, he could make and repair his hunting gear.

The Prince continued west slowly. He walked for a few days, and neared a town. As he got near the town, he found it strangely deserted. He wondered where the people were. As he walked along, he had avoided a few people who were farming some fields. However, he thought he would find a town teaming with life. Further, he was hungry and tired. In the town, he thought he might be able to barter for a room for the night. However, he found all of the businesses closed.

The Prince thought this was an odd situation. It would not be so odd if the Princess were at war. Hence, he concluded that the civil war in Lakeland was over, but the victor had decided to attack the Princess. In this way, the citizens would rally around the Princess and defend her land. A majority of the townspeople would head north towards Lakeland to aid in the war effort. The Prince thought that this was the most likely reason for the town to be empty.

It did not imply that he was safe to walk around openly. In fact, he could be in even more danger. He was almost an enemy to both kingdoms. He may be able to talk his way out of a confrontation, but they may not stop to make any determination. He quietly left the town.

After a few days more of travel, he crossed paths with a caravan headed north. It seemed to him that it was a military group heading to the war. Being as exhausted as he was, he was going to take a chance. He needed a good meal and some rest. Therefore, he would attempt to infiltrate the group. He would pretend to be a citizen joining their march.

"I have finally caught up to you," the Prince stated to one of the citizens marching north.

"Welcome," the young man returned. "You should speak to General Cheavers."

"I will. What word from Lakeland?"

"Have you not heard?"

"I was on a hunting expedition when word came to head north. I did not bother to ask for specifics."

"Bjorn is dead. He attacked our kingdom and was soundly defeated. The Princess has decided to claim the crown of Lakeland."

"What of the heirs?"

"There are none."

"Where would I find the General?" the Prince asked.

"He will be somewhere up front."

"Thanks!" the Prince said as he hurried towards the front of the convoy.

Resting and eating would now have to wait. With Bjorn and his brothers dead, everything had changed. From what he could tell, he was the sole heir to Lakeland. It was now his chance. He could have the kingdom that he had always wanted. However, it depended on what the Princess did, and it may be too late.

"General Cheaver, what would you say if I told you that there was an heir to the Lakeland throne."

"I would tell you to keep it to yourself."

"But, I am Prince William the heir to the throne of Lakeland!"

"I would not say that too loudly," replied the General.

"What? Why?"

"Our Angelina has claimed the Lakeland throne. The Thorbjorn family no longer rules."

"Then why are you marching this army north?"

"We are going to the coronation of our new sovereign. If you are truly an heir to the Lakeland throne, it is my duty to remove you from contention."

"I do not wish to make trouble," replied the Prince.

That is good, because if you plan to make trouble, your life will end here and now."

"Princess Angelina and I are lifelong friends. I wish her no harm, and she certainly would wish me none."

"Then you are William and you can forget about this heir to the throne business."

"I understand General."

Thus, Prince William joined the group heading towards the Princess's coronation. Perhaps now she would marry him. She was a popular and powerful sovereign. He knew that they both had feelings towards each other. He believed that she would be happy that he was still alive. She may even be happy to see him.

Hence, he did what he was told and hid his identity. Once again, he survived on the graciousness (or ignorance) of a person in power. His brother Bjorn did not kill him when he had the chance. Now, General Cheaver did not kill him. It was on the condition that he did not make trouble. Therefore, he did what the General told him to do. He traveled on and even looked forward to seeing Angelina again.

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If me and my friends had super-powers... Which one would be Wes?

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Chapter Fifty-Three

By Douglas E. Gogerty

The people of Lakeland were gathering to witness the coronation of the Princess. She was to be crowned the sovereign of all of their kingdom. The town by the castle of Lakeland was crowded with well-wishers. The coronation was going to be the biggest event in Lakeland history. After all, Lakeland was larger and more powerful now than it had been for King Thorbjorn's coronation. Further, the citizenry were tired of war. They looked forward to a celebration.

The castle was being decorated for the occasion. The Princess loved plants, and so the decorators placed pots of flowering plants all around the grounds. Moreover, the stage where the ceremony would take place had been completed months before hand. The vines planted to cover it had begun to take hold. There would be plenty of plants and flowers decorating the castle.

Everywhere you looked, there were crowds. The inns were full. Temporary housing was being constructed in every possible location. It was as if the entire country was gathering in one place to see the coronation. So many of the citizens of the kingdom gathered there, that entire towns stood empty.

Food had been arriving for weeks. The riverboats, that the Princess had ordered, began to run in earnest. They brought up supplies from the southern most parts of the kingdom. Instead of taking the food to the refugee camps, the food went into the town. This allowed the inns to feed the gathering celebrants. Now that the civil war was over, the merchants could use what they learned to manage supplies. It was fortunate that the Lakeland castle sat upon the great river.

The Prince arrived with the group from the south. He went right into the castle to see Princess Angelina. She saw him and gave him a big hug.

"I was afraid that Bjorn had -- well -- killed you," the Princess said after their long embrace.

"He had the opportunity," replied Prince William. "But, for some reason he decided to pass."

"That was lucky! Many of your siblings were not so lucky."

"It was a terrible thing for him to do."

"I am just glad you are all right."

"Perhaps now you will consent to marry me," the Prince stated boldly.

"I thought we had a bet, and you lost it."

"I -- it is just that since then so much has changed."

"Has it?" the Princess asked coldly.

"All of Lakeland is at your feet."

"That does not change the realities of ruling."

"You are going to be the ruler of Lakeland. What more could you want?"

"That is my point. I am going to be the ruler -- not you."

"We could rule together..."

"We have been over this before, yet you still do not understand."

"I suppose I do not."

"I care about you. I do!"

"The feeling is mutual," the Prince interrupted.

"Having said that, I am ruling Lakeland. Me. That is what I want, and that is the way it is going to be."


"And, if we were married, how would my rule reflect upon you?"

"I do not care about that."

"You say that, but you and I both know that it is not true."

"How can you say that?"

"Let us say that there is a decision to be made and we disagree. How would you feel if I always got my way?"

"I do not think that always..."

"Always! It is my decision. I get to have my way."

"I guess I would feel a bit -- I do not know -- ignored."

"While that is not the word I would use, that is the idea. That is how it would be. I am the ruler of Lakeland. If you are going to make trouble..."

"I promised I would not make trouble."

"Then, drop this marriage bit. After all, you did lose the bet."

"All right, I will drop it. However, where am I to go? Can I not live in my own kingdom?"

"You are certainly welcome to live here. I may even let you live in the castle if you wish. However, it is simply out of courtesy."


"Well -- and my feelings for you."

"If I stay, do you expect me to be some sort of consort?"

"Now you are getting the feeling that I want you to get."

"I see," the Prince said with a downtrodden look.

"Do not take it that way. It is the only way we can remain friends."

"Friends? I do not think I could take seeing you, and -- well -- you know."

"I like having you around..."

"Do not patronize me. I can tell when I am not wanted."

"Please, do not go."

"I will see your coronation, but then I will find my own way."

"As you wish," replied the Princess with a touch of sadness.

The day of the coronation drew near, and Princess Angelina and Prince William did not speak for the remainder of that time. The Princess felt that William was avoiding her. However, she had plenty of work to accomplish. There were always arrangements to be made. She always had to make this decision or that. Everything was coming along well.

As all of the things began to fall into place, she began to wonder what could go wrong. The process had been smooth up to that point. Even the unpredictable plants did as expected. The plants were green and alive. Fewer than expected died. Everything was looking great. Nonetheless, the Princess had a fear that something would go wrong.

A week before the coronation, she heard that the eastern kingdoms were meeting with each other. She thought they were going to release a joint statement in celebration of her coronation. While the meeting did seem unusual, she was not concerned about the event. However, she should have been.

With everyone gathered in one place, much of the kingdom was unprotected. Further, Lakeland had just gone through a bloody civil war. Thus, the ranks of their army was greatly reduced. The surrounding kingdoms decided this would be an ideal time to attack.

Reports of the kingdoms' invasions came to the Princess just days before her coronation day. Thus, the Princess needed to postpone the ceremony and take her army east.

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