Finishing the tale (part 1)

To keep my mind off Tiger, I occupied myself with many things over the next month I really threw myself into my duties (now teaching the little Wavians how to read and write as well as reading them their weekly story), attended many concerts and plays outside the castle and visited Majesteria Palace (getting there by travelling on Eden's unicorn with George).

The first time I went, I flung myself into Adam's arms, apologising for hurting him at Fireland Castle and even crying, though the latter action was more related to my grief over Tiger's lack of interest in me. He was bewildered but apologised himself, greatly upset that he had caused me to feel such guilt.

Each time I visited, we would go and sit in the gardens and talk about the happenings in each of our palaces.  Sometimes I would see Eve and she would converse with us, but she was always eager for Adam and me to spend time alone together.

I attended meetings with Charity for those who disagreed with the Phoenix-Dolphin Conflict. Charity had contacted the Supreme Ruler and he had arranged to meet us in the Wavian forest to see how many allies we'd gathered.

I thought it therefore appropriate to finish reading Henry and Vanessa's tale.

One bright December morning after the engagement, Henry strolled into the room in which his family breakfasted and announced "I am going to be wed to the High Princess of Fireland."

Three faces turned to him in shock.

"I beg your pardon?" his mother asked.

"You heard me correctly, Mother. Vanessa Flame is engaged to be my wife."

"But - But," she spluttered; "She is a Phoenix. Have you lost your mind, Henry?"

Henry's brother and father appeared to have lost the ability to speak.

"Perhaps I have, Mother," he replied. "But I am glad to have done so and will take great pleasure in watching my beloved take her vows and hearing the vicar pronounce us man and wife."

The Queen of Wavia stared at her son in horror.

Regaining her composure, she coolly said "You are aware that the consequences of your actions will be great and last the whole of your life?"

"Yes, Mother," Henry replied. "And I do not fear the consequences of that which I believe to be right, especially since my conviction lies within the heart."

"You would be exiled and we would have no more to do with you." she warned.

"I am sorry you feel that course of action necessary. But I remain undeterred."

"You would let your life fall into ruin for a Phoenix?!" Simon Waterfall cried suddenly, rising to his feet. He was the closest member of the family to Henry and his brother's behaviour concerned him.

Henry sighed, feeling disappointed. Secretly he had hoped that his brother would be the one to stand by him, due to the strength of the bond between them. He was unsurprised by his parents' reactions but his brother's attitude to the news rendered him briefly hapless despite his joy at the thought of marrying Vanessa.

"Yes," Henry murmured, averting his gaze from the fierce blue eyes of his sibling.

"Henry, you cannot," Simon pleaded. "This is not the life you were meant to lead - you are destined to be a great king."

Henry looked up, becoming angry. "I am destined to spend all of my days with Vanessa."

Simon stepped forwards, looking imploring. Their mother had fallen silent and both parents watched their sons' conversation wondering which emotion would win the battle: brotherly affection or Henry's love for Vanessa.

"Henry, you are not only allowing yourself to suffer: your kingdom is being deprived too. Can you really face that?"

Henry's resolve was not weakened. "The kingdom would benefit from a queen like Vanessa - it would be deprived in either circumstance."

"She is a Phoenix," Simon reiterated.

"She is my love," Henry replied. To all of his family, he said "Nothing you can say will change my mind as it will surely fail to change my heart."

With that, he left the room, asking a servant who happened to be passing by to bring his breakfast to his chamber.

*

A similar event was taking place at Fireland Castle, coincidentally on the same day. Vanessa was storming out of her own family's breakfast room after a vicious confrontation with her father. Once in her chambers, her anger subsided into tears.

She had known that her parents would not accept her feelings for Henry - indeed that no Phoenix or Dolphin would - but in her dreamy lovestruck state she had forgotten what injustice and negative attitudes were, allowing these surreal concepts to float behind the mist which love created. And now she had remembered. What a manner to be reminded in. What a shame these things existed. She rose to take a walk in the grounds and found, to her dismay and indignation, that the door had been locked.

*

Meanwhile, in Wavia Palace, Henry sat upon his bed contemplating hatred. The feeling was alien to him, obscured from understanding in much the same way as injustice and negative attitudes had been hidden from Vanessa.

Though partially behind a veil, the concept of hate could be observed, Henry found.

It seemed bizarre to him that such a thing could exist alongside love in this world but at this point he remembered the unpredictability of Nature, whose tendencies were incomprehensible to Dolphins, Dragons, Eagles and Phoenixes alike.

It was a tragic feeling, hate. It caused one to hurt people. Henry was content in the knowledge that love conquered all, but saddened by the fact that its enemy existed in the ones he loved, that it was present in their lives, something negative, a source of ruination. If only there were a way for Henry's family to see the world as he did: without shadow or blemish, with only light in their hearts and breeziness in their souls. But alas, it seemed that this was not to be and that Henry would have to endure the hardship of isolation as he continued down what was unfolding as his Path.

*

The current step on Vanessa's Path was infuriating her. How dare her parents order for her to be locked in her room - as if she was a child! How dare they take away her freedom! They had no right to: no right whatsoever.

But the anger that she felt was no match for the pain. How long would she have to remain here, isolated from the world and, most importantly, Henry? Would she see him again?

The latter question was a foolish one - there was quite a chance that her parents would let her out at some point - but she could not bear the prospect of not seeing his face for more than a month, a time period with which she already struggled.

It was bizarre how comfortable she was with her changed personality. The former Vanessa would have despised depending on a man for her happiness and feeling weak without him. There were conditions for when she displayed her strong will (she should never fight against Henry, never arrive at an argument which could hurt people's feelings and always consider whether an imminent occasion of being strong-willed would render her unworthy of Henry's love). Vanessa smiled as she imagined the reaction she would have had before falling in love with Henry to feeling incomplete whenever the two were apart. This last thought reminded her of her current situation, though, and she frowned, her heart sighing almost mournfully.

*

At Wavia Palace, Henry had finished his meditation of hate and desired now to send his love a letter, knowing this action would in part allay the heartache he felt.

Walking over to his desk, Henry started considering how to express the extent of his love for Vanessa - as it was surely necessary to include this in any form of communication with her.

He sat down before his desk and wrote a message worthy of the divine creature to whom he was blessed to be engaged.

A servant came to his door, alerting Henry of his presence by a knock on the door, and brought to Henry a tray of various food items that had been served at breakfast that morning.

Henry finished the letter, gratefully accepted the tray from the servant, and asked for his most trusted servant - a young man who went by the name of Felix Drop - to be sent to his chambers.

Ten minutes later, Felix was riding in the direction of the Land of Boulders where the letter would be given to Alisha Turfe (the servant of The Dragonian Palace most trusted by Calvin Terra) who would deliver it to Fireland Castle.

Felix and Alisha were two of the four most important servants in the history of the Royal Staff- the other being Phoenicia Fyre and Corint Skylark, a servant who had long ago sworn utter loyalty to Kiana Soar despite the ripeness of his youth at the time. Firm supporters of the views of the High Prince of Wavia, they had delivered the letters responsible for the time Henry and Vanessa had spent together, and Alisha had even had the honour of reserving the hotels in which the two had lodged in her homeland.

At Fireland Castle, Alisha learnt of Vanessa's situation from the maid who answered the door at the servants' entrance. She decided, very wisely, not to deliver the message, realising it could place Henry in some hefty trouble. Instead, she returned to The Dragonian Palace and informed that prince she served directly of the predicament.

The following day, she was sent to Wavia Palace to tell Henry the news. The prince was at first shocked at what had happened and indignant - how dare she be treated as if she were a child! But then he calmed down and wondered how on Thrift he was going to free her without being imprisoned himself. he decided to arrange a rendezvous with Kiana and Calvin as often in these situations several heads were more useful than one.

Hopefully one of the trio would have a brilliant idea.

The End

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