An Old Friend

Destran thought that he must surely know how it felt to be in the centre of a rainbow. He was surrounded by dresses of all different colours, and within them were the women who wanted to dance with him, because he was the future king. He accepted his duty, and danced with many of the fine women, all of whom held some title or other. But he felt lost in a sea of colour, and was finding it difficult to remember the names of each individual. It was therefore a relief to him when the announcement that dinner was served came, and he took his place at the right hand of his father. The King proposed a toast to his son, and then the feast began. As Destran ate, he began to sweep the room. There were subjects of his father everywhere, all of whom held a title of some sort. They all ate so delicately, and were stiff; their conversation limited. Destran found himself a little bored, and he considered that he was too used to court by now and therefore bored of the conversation offered.

When at last the grand meal was finished, Destran stood, for he was expected to make a speech.

"Good friends. I am honoured that you accepted the invitation to this ball, held for my birthday. I hope that one day, I will be a good king to you and the rest of my people, as my father has been before me, and will, I hope continue to be for some time. He is a great man, and so, I wish to propse a toast, to my father, King Stephan!"

The toast was met, and then the guests began to retire to the parlours, where the guests would be allowed to talk in small groups of their choosing. Destran hung back, unwilling to join any group, but knowing that since it was his party he had to be there the entire time.

Several hours later, the last guest had left the castle, and Destran wished his parents goodnight before trudging up to his room. As he stepped in and shut the door, the white curtains at his balcony fluttered. He went across to them and breathed in the fresh air. Then he cast his eyes out at the sea.

For seconds he admired the soft lulling of the waves, and the effect of the two moons on the water. And then, as he was turning to go to his room, he spotted a figure leaping from the waves. He gripped the stone of the balcony and searched the sea for more movement. Seconds later, another figure leapt from the waves, sending spray up as it twisted in the air and then dove straight back in to the sea.

Destran waited not a moment longer, and ran from his room, down through the palace and out of the serving door. He climbed down the hill and headed for the beach which lay below the castle.

The wind whispered and watched.

The End

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