The Ledoran Guard
As he looked around the large meadow of beautiful flowers into which we had just stepped, Harry posed a question.
‘Where are we?’
Taking the map out of the left front pocket of my jean-shorts, I opened it up and searched out the large black cross marking our location.
‘Ah! Here we are’ I exclaimed, pointing to the X marked in black on a section of the map labelled as The Southern Meadow, in calligraphy.
‘Well, that’s a start.’
I chuckled, and studied the path leading away from the meadow. ‘From looking at the map, if we follow this river ninety degrees and then head north, we should reach the location marked between these trees by nightfall’ I stated, running my finger along the map as I spoke.
‘Let’s get going’ he answered, a grin spreading across his face as he grabbed my hand, and we started walking.
‘Did the note in your journal say how your guides to the palace would know when you arrived?’ Harry asked as we stopped for a break beside the river, having already walked for almost two hours.
I shook my head as I drank the last drops of my water. ‘I don’t remember it mentioning anything, I guess that when we came through the portal, it let them know somehow.’
‘You’re probably right’ he agreed with a nod as we returned our bottles to the backpack. ‘How far do we still have to go?’
I consulted the map – but before I opened my mouth to answer him, I spotted some fast-approaching mounted figures less than a league from where we were resting.
‘Harry, do you see that?’
He turned his attention to where I was pointing and nodded. ‘I see them. It appears your guides home have arrived before we reached the meeting point’ he observed, stretching his arms and crossing them behind his head.
‘Are you sure? I have no idea what the Ledoran flag looks like’ I answered.
Soon a rider astride a tall, proud dark brown stallion, followed by several other men astride bay horses, came into view and closed the distance between us so quickly that within a minute Harry and I found ourselves standing between two lines of six, and looking head-on at their leader who gracefully dismounted his tall steed and made his way over to us.
He had to be at least twenty, for he was several inches taller than Harry – who at nineteen, was a foot and a half taller than me – and had relatively short raven black hair, shaved a little at the sides, and deeply tanned skin.
‘Good afternoon Princess Oraelia. I am Jaron, Captain of the Ledoran Guard. We have been sent by your parents, our beloved King and Queen, to bring you home’ he announced, bowing at the waist.
‘How did you know we had arrived?’ I asked, my calm demeanour surprising Harry as well as myself.
Jaron smiled knowingly and went on to explain.
‘When the trinkets were created, some of your DNA was enclosed within each stone, as well as a fully formed mechanism that your parents have always kept with them. As you collected each adornment the corresponding section would glow…’
‘Today a symbol at the centre of your parents’ glowed, and your own materialised beside it. When that happened, the Ledoran Guard were sent out and…here we are ’ finished a young man with similar features to Jaron, his hair a soft shade of brown with a red hue, rather than raven black, and pulled into a low hanging ponytail.
‘What is your name?’ I asked softly but loudly.
‘Kenton, Your Highness; Jaron’s younger brother.’
I smiled at him and then turned my gaze back on Jaron, who had a look of unsuppressed brotherly pride on his face.
‘Shall we be going then?’ I suggested kindly. ‘I’d hate to keep my parents waiting.’
He bowed again, ‘of course, Your Highness. We have brought two extra horses along with us. Can you ride?’
‘I can – but Harry has never been confident on them’ I replied as Harry’s cheeks reddened, and he nervously scratched the back of his neck.
Jaron smiled, ‘that’s okay, he can ride with you.’
‘Are you all right with that Harry?’ I asked.
He nodded, cheeks still a little red.
As they escorted us to Ledoran, Jaron, Kenton, and their friends asked Harry – sat behind me on the silver mare, his arms wrapped tightly around my waist – and myself questions about life in the human world.
‘So…you use phones, computers, and laptops to communicate with others – even if they don’t live very far from you?’ Tarrent, who was the eldest of our party with fair skin and spiky reddish hair, asked in awe.
‘Yes. Unfortunately, pen and paper aren’t such a popular method of communication anymore’ I replied, chuckling at the expression on his face.
‘What type of sports are played, where you’re from?’ Kenton asked Harry as he spurred his horse, so he was riding alongside us.
‘Well, there’s football and basketball, tennis and badminton, swimming…quite a few.’
‘Which sports are played over here? Are they similar?’ I added.
‘I’m not sure,’ Jaron replied turning to his brother, who shrugged.
‘I’m guessing sparring, jousting and fencing aren’t popular past-times amongst the common folk anymore – I mean, those who are not knights and such?’
‘People do go to fencing classes nowadays, but no one spars or jousts anymore unless it’s at a medieval fair – and a knighthood is more honorary these days’ Harry replied, gripping my waist tighter as the horses trotted uphill.
‘We do play things like football and cricket’ Tarrent offered proudly.
‘Really? We should play some time’ Harry grinned.
‘Plus, I think we’ll need to spend at least an hour to discuss the ways of the human world, since you guys aren’t going to have learnt about any of them enough on this short journal to really understand them – especially the technology’ I suggested, glancing around at them all.
‘Sounds like a good idea, I definitely need more informing on human world technology’ Jaron replied, just as we rounded a tall oak tree and bringing a large town surrounded by trees coming into view.
Standing tall and proud away from the bustling streets of the town was a magnificent palace, shimmering brilliantly – yet curiously – in the fading sunlight.
Upon seeing my amazed expression Jaron smiled, swept his hand across the view in front of us, and announced, ‘welcome home, my lady.’