The Last Prophet (Chapter 1)

Chapter 1

Grayson sat at the bar, nursing his drink. He stared down into his beer, letting his mind wander over the disaster of his life. Just this week, he found out his parents were getting divorced. His grades were in a steady decline, and now, just this morning, he walked in on his boyfriend cheating on him.

Maybe breaking up with Sebastian would help him study more and bring his grades up, he chuckled. There you go, Gray put a positive spin on it. The sound of the door opening in the nearly empty bar caught his attention. It brought his focus back to his present surroundings.

He glanced towards the door, and his jaw dropped. The man from his dreams stood framed in the doorway. Gray always had weird dreams, but for the last week or so, they were exceptionally weird. And a guy who looked exactly like this guy in the doorway was in every single one of them. Gray looked away before the guy caught him staring.

The man walked up and sat down right next to Gray. Gray finished his beer and tried to concentrate on the TV over the bar. He heard the man say, “Bartender, two beers. One for me and a refill for my new friend here.” Just the voice alone sent shivers down his spine. Gray turned, and the man was smiling at him.

“I thought it looked like you needed another one. You look a little stressed.” The man said.

“Thanks. Its been a long week. I’m Grayson… well, just Gray is fine.” Gray took a good look at the man beside him. Tall, over six feet, jet black hair, and deep dark chocolate brown eyes. The eyes held Gray’s gaze. For just a second Gray thought he saw bright crimson sparks at the center of the eyes, but then the sparks were gone.

“Nice to meet you, Gray. Different people have called me by different names, but you can call me Luke.” He smiled and extended his hand.

Gray shook his hand. “Very mysterious answer, Luke. Do you go to college here? You look familiar.”

“No. I just got to town today. I’ve traveled around a lot in my lifetime, but this is my first time here.” Luke said.

“What brings you to this boring, tiny town? Not much here but the college and this bar.” Gray laughed.

“I guess you could call it a family drama. I am looking for my Father. No one has heard from Him in quite a while.” Luke said.

“I hope you find him, and everything is ok. I know how rough families can be. I just found out that my parents are getting divorced.” Gray rolled his eyes.

“Thanks. The sooner I find him, the better it will be for everyone.” Luke said and then leaned in close to Gray and placed his hand on his knee. “So, do you have a boyfriend?”

Gray smiled a crooked half-smile. His eyes flicked down to Luke’s hand and then right back up to his eyes. “What makes you think it would be a boyfriend and not a girlfriend?”

Luke slid his hand halfway up Grayson’s leg as he leaned in even closer. “Because, ever since I walked in the door, you have looked at me like you’ve wanted to take a bite out of me.”

Luke smirked, then he added, “Do you have somewhere private we can continue this conversation?”

Gray knew he would probably regret it, but he said, “I should say no, but yeah. Follow me.” He led Luke out of the bar and two blocks over to his small apartment, just off the college campus.

The barely got in the apartment and closed the door, and Gray was kicking off his shoes and grabbing for Luke’s shirt. After removing the shirt, he pushed him into the small bedroom and down onto the bed. Luke was taller and had a more muscled body than Gray, but Gray was eager and determined to work off some of his built-up stress from the last week.

He crawled up Luke’s body, planting kisses along his chest and neck. He covered the other man’s mouth with his own, and then he felt Luke’s hands in between them. Luke gently pushed Gray up to a sitting position and looked deep into his eyes. “Gray, slow down a minute. We need to talk.”

Gray tried to push Luke back down. “Talk later. There are other things I’d rather do right now.” He leaned in and nipped at Luke’s ear with his teeth.

Luke pushed back again. “You’re not making it easy to stop.” He nearly growled. “But we have to talk. It’s important.”

Gray looked a little hurt. “What’s wrong? Don’t you want this? Don’t you want me?”

Luke took his face between his two strong hands. “Baby, I want you more than I’ve wanted anyone in over a millennium, but that’s why we have to talk now. Before we go any further. I want you to know what you’re getting yourself into. There’s a lot we have to talk about.”

Gray looked completely confused. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. You aren’t making any sense.”

Luke grabbed Gray’s hips and flipped him over on his back as easy as flipping over a piece of paper, then he sat upon the edge of the bed. Gray sat up and leaned back against the wall, waiting for Luke to speak.

Luke sighed and began. “Remember, I said I have gone by many names?” Gray nodded, a curious look on his face. “The names you humans most commonly call me are Devil, Satan, or Fallen One. The name my Father gave me upon my creation was Lucifer.”

Gray laughed out loud. “Come on. Did you interrupt the hottest sex of my life to tell jokes? I thought you had something serious to say.”

Luke rolled his eyes and stretched out his right arm, then he snapped his fingers and opened his hand. A small ball of fire appeared, hovering over his palm. “Is this a joke? May I continue?”

Gray’s eyes widened in shock and fear, he scooted back against the wall. He started to get up, but Luke stopped him. “Please stay. I would never hurt you. What I have to tell you is vitally important.”

Gray relaxed back against the wall again, mumbling to himself. “I can’t believe I just made out with Satan.”

Luke chuckled. “Whatever!” Then he continued. “My Father, God, has not been seen or heard from since the time of Creation. I tried to keep order the way I knew he would have wanted, but my brothers disagreed with my decisions. It was not God who cast me out of Heaven. It was my brother, Gabriel. Once he got Raphael and Michael on his side, the others all fell in line. The few lesser angels that tried to help me were cast out with me.”

“Wait. Wait. Wait. So, you’re saying that they cast you out of Heaven because of sibling rivalry, not because you are pure evil and tried to overthrow God?” Gray asked, mouth agape.

“Yes. My Father had no part in my banishment. I tried to honor Him the best way I knew. Gabriel is power-hungry. Always was and still is. It is Gabriel who has spread the lies and propaganda about me to you humans.” Luke said.

Grayson sat there, shaking his head. “I’m trying to soak this all in. Keep going.”

“I was cast out along with a handful of loyal lesser angels. We couldn’t stay on Earth, so we were forced into the Inferno dimension.” Luke looked pointedly at Gray. “Though a substantial portion of the Inferno is indeed a fiery prison for evil souls, I have fashioned a Paradise separate from the Fire Pits. Not all the souls barred from Heaven’s Gate deserve torture. The Inferno accepts any who wish to enter. Once there, we judge your soul and process you into either Paradise, the Fire Pits, or Limbo.”

Gray looked lost deep in thought. “That sounds fair, to be honest.”

“Thank you for your approval, kind sir.” Lucifer scoffed.

Gray smiled shyly.

“There is so much more I need to tell you, but we are pressed for time. Gabriel’s thirst for power reached a new level three days ago. He sent a force of angels into the Inferno, where they united with a force of traitorous demons. Their combined army is marching against my loyalists at the Fire Pits. Gabriel wants to set all the damned souls loose upon the Earth. He wants the humans destroyed in such a way that he can blame me. Then he will swoop in as a savior. He will destroy the damned souls, and he will have won Heaven, Earth, and the Inferno.”

Gray was shocked. He didn’t even know what to say or how to respond. “Luke, why are you even telling me this? Angels and demons are real. God is missing in action. The Archangel Gabriel is a dick who wants to take over the world, and the Devil himself is half-naked in my bed. Why me? Why are you here? You should be out leading your army and saving the world.”

Luke stared at Gray with a look of fierce determination. “My army can hold the Pits without me. At least I hope so. But here’s the thing. The only way we stop Gabriel now is with my Father’s help, and you are going to help me find him.”

If anything, Gray looked even more shocked. “How am I going to find God if you can’t?”

Luke grinned at him. “Because you are the last Prophet of God.”

Gray laughed despite everything. “What are you talking about? My life is a disaster. How am I a Prophet?”

Luke cocked his head to one side. “Have you ever had dreams that came true? Or you were somewhere, and something happened, and you felt like you’d seen it before even though you knew you’d never been there?”

Gray thought for a minute. “Now that you say it like that, yes. Those things happen often. And you have been in every one of my dreams for the last week.”

Luke smiled. “You have been touched by God. You have a connection to Him. You will help me find Him. We just have to make sure that Gabriel or his goons don’t find you first, but based on your dreams, it sounds like I was meant to find you, and you are meant to help me.”

Gray nearly screamed. “What?! Does Gabriel know about me? Are they coming after me? What should I do?”

“We leave this town first thing in the morning,” Luke said.

“I suppose I don’t have a choice, do I?” Gray asked.

“Gray, I need your help. God has chosen you. If you learn to focus, I believe you can lead me to Him. You can help me save all of humanity.” Luke said.

“And when I brought you back to my apartment, all I wanted was to get laid.” Gray laughed.

Luke joined in the laughter. “Let’s get some sleep. We should start early tomorrow. We have more to talk about as we travel.” Lucifer lay back on the bed and pulled Gray close to his side. “Is this ok?”

Gray cuddled in close. “It’s probably a huge mistake, I mean you are the Devil after all, but yeah, I’m ok with it. Wait, are you even gay? Was all this a big plan to get me to help you?”

Luke heaved a big sigh. “There is no label to describe me. Over the centuries, I have slept with countless men and countless women. There have been few, however, that I have cared for. A kind and loving soul attracts me, not sex. Man, woman, angel, demon… these things do not matter if the soul inside is pure. Do you understand?”

“I think I do. That was actually a really great answer.” Grayson said as he drifted off to sleep wrapped in Lucifer’s arms.

Rise of the Cursed Twins (Chapter 1)

Chapter 1

The door shuddered within its frame just seconds before shattering into thousands of tiny splinters. The woman inside the room barely had time to cover her face before being showered with the demolished remains of her front door. An overwhelming scent of decay hit her, and she looked up as a cloaked and hooded figure stepped inside the room. The shadow creature, known as a Varekejo spoke with a low gravelly voice “Kylia Ztalpo, bow before her Majesty, Queen of the Enkali, Andharia!”

Kylia could hardly believe what she heard, but she considered the red glowing eyes of the Varekejo and complied without question. She fell to her knees and bowed her head towards what remained of the door to her hut. Queen Andharia stepped through the doorway and glared down at the woman before her with a look of pure contempt.

“Human woman, do you know why I have come to you?” asked Andharia.

Shaking with awe and fear, Kylia spoke, her voice faltering and cracking. “My Queen, I know not why you have come to my humble home.”

Andharia shook her head in disgust. “I am not surprised that he is as deceitful with you as he always is with me. The man you have lain with these last three nights is my husband, your King, Bahaar.”

“No! I did not know! He did not tell me he was the king! Please do not kill me, your Majesty!” Kylia’s eyes were wide with terror and her hands were raised in front of her face as if to ward off an attack.

“Child, I will not harm you.” Andharia placed her hand on Kylia’s stomach. “His seed grows within your belly. Even I dare not kill a child of Bahaar, but this act cannot go unpunished.”

Kylia felt her entire body tingle as the ancient magic flowed from Andharia and into Kylia’s abdomen. Kylia gasped, ” What… what are you doing to me?”

Andharia stood over Kylia and spoke. “Your child will be born healthy and live the long full life of a child of the Enkali, however he will be cursed with a deep hatred for all those around him. The blackness of his soul will be reflected in his outward appearance.” With that said, Andharia looked once more at Kylia, then turned and left the hut.

Kylia huddled into the corner of the room and cried for the dismal fate of her unborn child. She would not see Andharia or Bahaar again until the day she gave birth.

————————————————————————————————————

Screams filled the air, echoing throughout the village. Word reached the Enkali that Kylia was in labor. Bahaar, Andharia, and two of the Varekejo gathered just outside of her hut, awaiting the birth. As the sun passed the midpoint of the sky, the screams inside of the hut reached a crescendo and then stopped. A midwife, looking extremely pale and fearful, staggered out of the hut carrying a baby wrapped tightly in a bundle of cloth. She bowed her head and extended the baby towards Bahaar.

Bahaar looked at the baby and recoiled in disgust. “What is this monstrosity? Where is my child? Take this beast away and give me my child, human!” The king was enraged and glaring at the midwife.

Andharia spoke from behind Bahaar. “That is your son, husband. I warned you that your infidelities would have dire consequences. Your child is as grotesque as the act which created him.” Andharia smiled even as Bahaar grew even angrier.

“You will pay dearly for this, wife.” Bahaar scowled as he turned away from Andharia. He motioned for the two Varekejo to come closer to him and he gave each a command. The first one he sent to the northern mountains to summon Colossus, the ancient dragon. To the other Varekejo he said, “Go into that hut and dispose of those two humans. I cannot kill my own son, but none can know that this deformed beast is of my blood.”

The first Varekejo mounted his horse and rode off to the north as the second entered Kylia’s hut. Moments later he returned to King Bahaar. “Master, the humans fled. Their tracks lead to the eastern forests. Shall I follow?”

“Go. Track them down. Do not return to me until both are dead.” said Bahaar. The Varekejo turned and left, following the tracks into the forest.

————————————————————————————————————

Colossus could smell the stench of the Varekejo before he saw him. He despised the Varekejo. Colossus thought about older times while the unnatural creature made his way up to the dragon’s den. Colossus was among the last of the dragons who remembered when the Varekejo and Enkali came to this land. He longed for the old days when it was just the dragons, the dreigiau, and the elves. The elves took heavy losses in the war between the Varekejo and Enkali. Before the war was over, the elves decided that enough was enough and had left Talamh Arsa, never to return. Sometimes Colossus wished he left with them.  He tried and failed to convince the other dragons to leave Talamh Arsa with the elves. The other dragons argued that they could not leave their smaller dragon cousins, the dreigiau, alone in a land now filled with powerful magical races at war with each other. Colossus thought that the dreigiau were more than capable of defending themselves, but he stayed with his kin. Dreigiau are much smaller than dragons but are fierce fighters. Dreigiau, about twenty feet in height at the shoulder, have small legs in comparison to their body size which gave them a low center of gravity and make them nearly impossible to beat on the ground. The dragons, on the other hand, are fifty feet at the shoulder with longer legs and large heavy wings. The air belongs to the dragons. Colossus’s thoughts were then interrupted as the Varekejo reached his den and called out to him.

Colossus wrinkled his nose in distaste as all he could smell was the foul odor of the dark magic eating through the skin of the Varekejo from the inside out. Colossus only tolerated the creature because he knew Bahaar sent it to him. Colossus stepped into the light at the entrance to his den and spoke. “What is it that the king asks of me this time, foul creature?”

After listening to what the Varekejo had to say, Colossus stepped past him and with a thrust of his heavily muscled legs and a flap of his enormous green wings, Colossus was airborne and flying quickly to the south to where Bahaar waited. Minutes later, Colossus landed on the outskirts of the human village. He bowed his powerful neck low to the ground. “Your Majesty, you called for me? How may I be of service?”

Bahaar told Colossus about the birth of his son and of the effects of Andharia’s curse upon the boy. “Colossus, my old friend, I cannot kill my own son, but I cannot have it known that this wretched beast is of my royal blood. Take him far away from here but watch over him. If he does the evil deeds that the curse suggests that he may, do what you judge appropriate. I would not ask this of you if I did not feel that it was of the utmost importance.”

Colossus bowed his head again. “It shall be done, my King. I will take the beast past the eastern desert and will find a suitable place for him in a new land. I will watch for any signs of evil that he may cause.” Colossus carefully took the baby in one giant claw and flew back towards his den.

————————————————————————————————————

The Varekejo called Ihlvo, tracked the two human females deep into the forest. Soon after entering the forest, he did not even have to bother looking for footprints.  The smell of blood overwhelmed his senses. He could have tracked it from miles away. Ihlvo heard screams off in the distance, in the same direction as the blood smell, and quickened his pace. Ihlvo entered the clearing unnoticed and watched the human called Kylia give birth to another baby. He saw that this baby was not malformed like the other one, but he could sense the dark magic of the curse flowing through the baby. Ihlvo, being a creature of dark magic himself, could sense what happened to Andharia’s curse. The curse was directed at a single child. Because the woman had given birth to two, the curse split between the twins. The first child had the effects of the curse flowing on the outside of his body, therefore this one must have the dark magic inside of him. Ihlvo smiled to himself as many thoughts went through his mind. His centuries long search for a way to free himself and his brethren from their enslavement at the hands of the Enkali may be at an end. Maybe, just maybe, Bahaar’s own child could turn out to be the key to their freedom. Still unnoticed by the two humans, Ihlvo stalked up behind them, snapping the neck of the midwife before either human was even aware of his presence.

Kylia heard a cracking sound and then a loud thump. She glanced up from looking at her baby and saw the midwife sprawled at her feet with her neck bent at an unusual angle. Standing over the body was a Varekejo. Kylia screamed in fear, clutching the baby closer to her chest.

Ihlvo stepped over the fallen body of the midwife and stood directly over Kylia. “Give the child to me, human, and he will not only live, he will accomplish great things. Bahaar banished your other child from the kingdom, but I will hide this one from him. Bahaar will never know he exists.”

Kylia looked at Ihlvo in confusion. “Why would you want to help my baby? What would you get out of this? Have you not come here at Bahaar’s orders to kill me?”

“Yes. I have been ordered to kill you. However, Bahaar knows nothing of your second child. Therefore, I was not given any orders at all concerning him. I sense great potential in him. Give him to me if you want him to survive.” Ihlvo reached towards Kylia.

Kylia shuddered as the Varekejo reached for her. “I know I have no other choice. Take him. His name is Bartholomew. I know I will die but I want my sons to live. If it is not too late, please hide his brother as well. Name him Zachariah. I saw what he looked like before he was taken away from me, but I do not care. I love both my sons and want them to live.”

“The dragon, Colossus, has taken Zachariah away already. There is nothing I can

do for him even if I wanted to. He will not be killed but he will be taken across

the eastern desert, far from this kingdom.” Ihlvo reached down and took

Bartholomew from Kylia’s grasp. With the baby cradled in one arm, he drew his

sword with the other and plunged it deep into Kylia’s chest.

Ihlvo withdrew the sword and slid it back into its scabbard. Holding the baby close, he disappeared into the forest.

————————————————————————————————————

Colossus arrived back at his den still thinking over the instruction given to him by King Bahaar. His mate, Atlantia, greeted him, the late afternoon sunlight sparkling off her bright blue scales. The ice dragon looked up at her mate. “You seem anxious, dear one. What has the King asked of you this time?”

“You know my moods better than even I, my love.” Colossus nearly purred. Then he sighed and dropped a cloth covered bundle from his left foreclaw onto the ground in front of her. The bundle moved and then started to cry.

She nudged the bundle gently with her snout. The cloth moved and revealed the baby’s face. Atlantia pulled back quickly, a look of shock on her face. “What is it, Colossus? Why has the king given you this beast?” Before he could even reply, she sniffed the air and bent down close to the baby again. “I smell the taint of dark magic.” She looked questioningly at her mate, waiting for an explanation.

“The beast is Bahaar’s son by a mortal woman. The dark magic is a curse cast by Andharia. The king could not bear to destroy his own son, so he has asked me to take him out of this land and across the Endless Desert.” Colossus said.

Atlantia shook her head. “Cheating men and jealous women. Even the gods are not immune to such things. When shall we leave?” Atlantia asked.

“Not we. Me. I need you to stay here, Atlantia. I sense momentous events unfolding. I need you here to lead the other dragons and defend the dreigiau. They will follow you the same as they follow me.” Colossus said.

Atlantia looked thoughtful. “I don’t like the idea of you going across the desert by yourself, but I trust your judgement, dear one. Hurry with your task and come home to me.”

“I may have to stay there for quite some time, but I will send you dream messages with my progress. I will come home as soon as I can be sure that the beast will cause no harm.” Colossus said.

“Be safe, dear one.” Atlantia disappeared back into the den.

With that, Colossus turned and disappeared into the bright blue sky.

The Evil Mage

The noonday sky as dark as night.

Nary a sun or star in sight.

Every head turned toward the sky.

We all thought we might soon die.

Where did the bright sun go?

When will new light begin to show?

An evil mage made his claim.

For the darkness, he took the blame.

He set out to rule the land.

With a plan that’s bold and grand.

He led his army to secure his rule.

To oppose him, you’d be a fool.

The mage’s power continued to grow.

But signs of resistance began to show.

The darkened sun showed new light.

The knights of old rejoined the fight.

The sun’s bright light, shining in the dark,

Strengthened that small rebellious spark.

A bright blue sky now held sway.

The mage’s army was swept away.

The King

Screams of terror filled the air,

chaos reigned at the county fair.

Dragon fire burned each place,

even many a helpless face.

The dragon rampaged through the town,

knocking every building down.

The people tried their best to flee,

but many never ever got free.

Then one boy stood to fight,

he did not fear the dragon’s might.

The boy looked, and he finally found,

a bow and arrows upon the ground.

He picked up the bow, dropped to one knee,

pulled back an arrow and let it fly free.

The arrow flew just like a dart,

and struck the dragon in the heart.

The dragon fell right to the ground,

never making another sound.

The townspeople could now return,

and try to save what did not burn.

The town, once small, now grew and grew,

becoming a town that everyone knew.

Though the boy did not seek fame,

a king is what he soon became.

The Frog’s Prince

The Frog Prince

Once upon a time in a land far away, there was a boy named Jonah. Jonah sat in the shadow of the old oak tree and chuckled quietly to himself. He watched the parade of prancing princesses proceed down to the pond, kiss the poor frog, and then storm angrily away when nothing happened. He chuckled because he knew his best friend in the entire world, Lucas, was having yet another dreadful day. He continued to watch until all the princesses were gone, and the frog sat alone by the edge of the pond. Jonah left his hiding spot and walked down to the pond and sat facing the poor little frog. 

“No luck again today I see, Lucas. Just how many princesses are there in the world anyway?” Jonah grinned down at the frog.

“Ribbit.” Said the frog. The frog made a face as close to annoyance as a frog’s face can get.

“Oh, yeah, sorry,” Jonah said and reached down and touched the frog’s head.

“UGH! Thanks. That’s much better. I still can’t figure out why that only works for you. I can’t even talk to my father or brother. As far as the princesses go, there seems to be an unending supply! I wish one would finally break this spell. I’m sick of being a frog!” The frog darted its head to the side, flicked out its tongue and caught and ate a fly.

“That’s so gross, Lucas!” Jonah pretended to gag but ended up laughing.

“I know, right! But I can’t help it. It seems to be instinct for this body. This curse really sucks!” Lucas groaned.

“Why were you cursed, Luke? We’ve never talked about that. Obviously, I know you are the prince of this kingdom, is that why she cursed you?” Jonah asked.

“Get me out of this pond for a while. Let’s go for a walk, and I’ll tell you.” Lucas said. Jonah reached over and picked up his friend. He set the frog on his left shoulder, stood and walked onto the path into the woods.

Lucas began his story. “Even as a small child, I was a spoiled rotten brat. My dad always told me that I’m meant to lead our glorious kingdom, but all I wanted to do was play and have fun. Book learning and army training were boring. I avoided my duties as often as I could. Then I turned thirteen, and my mind switched from my toys to girls. If I’m honest with you, I didn’t treat the girls any better than I treated my toys. They were princesses who were sent to woo me and win the heart of the crown prince of Lerithia, and I played silly games with their hearts, kissed them once or twice and sent them on their way.“ Lucas blushed, well as much as a frog can be said to blush.

“That just doesn’t sound like the Lucas that I know.” Jonah turned his head, so he was looking at Lucas. “You’ve changed so much. Cut yourself some slack. Hell, maybe being a frog has been good for you.” Jonah snickered.

“Anyway.” Lucas rolled his little froggy eyes at Jonah. “To continue my story, I was mean to a lot of people, especially girls. One night at dinner, this old lady burst into our dining hall and pointed right at me. She shouted at me about how I broke her granddaughter’s heart.” Lucas sighed. “Jonah, I couldn’t even remember what her granddaughter looked like. Anyway, then she drew a wand out of her cloak and pointed it at me. My father’s guards reacted, but not in time. The wand glowed, and she said ‘Shallow Prince with much vanity, like a frog you’ll now be. No cure for you shall they find until True Love’s Kiss clears your mind. If no love finds you before eighteen, you’ll end your days with skin of green.’” Lucas sighed again. “I’m doomed, Jonah. Tomorrow is my eighteenth birthday!”

Jonah let out a gasp and sat down on the side of the trail on an old tree stump. “Oh my god, Luke. Why didn’t you say something before? Tomorrow? Is that why your dad has been bringing in even more princesses than usual the last couple of weeks?”

“Yeah. My dad thinks if enough girls kiss me, one will be the right one. Trouble is, I can’t even talk to any of them like I can talk with you. How can I know if it’s true love? Do I want some silly spell to decide my future even if the curse is broken?” Lucas sounded depressed even in his froggy voice.

Jonah wanted so bad to reach out and comfort him, but how do you hug a frog? “What kind of girl would you want it to be if you could choose?” Jonah thought maybe he could get Lucas talking and get his mind off tomorrow.

“Someone kind and caring and compassionate. Someone who listens to me and doesn’t just want to talk about herself and her clothes. Someone… well someone just like you, Jonah. Why can’t you be a beautiful princess?” Lucas laughed.

Now it was Jonah’s turn to blush. “Shut up, Luke. I’m trying to help figure this out for you.” Jonah got back up and started walking back towards the pond. Suddenly, Kings Guards burst through the trees. One scooped Lucas off Jonah’s shoulder, and two more grabbed Jonah by the arms. The one in charge said, “Aha! We’ve found you! How dare you kidnap Prince Lucas. To the dungeon with you!”

Lucas was yelling at the top of his lungs for them to unhand his friend, but all they heard was the ribbiting of a frog. Jonah proclaimed his innocence, but they wouldn’t listen and dragged him off to the castle dungeons. Jonah was yelling, “You don’t understand! He’s my friend! You don’t know what’s going on. You don’t even know who I am!” The guards refused to even talk to him and locked him away in the dungeon.

That night and the next day passed slowly for both Lucas and Jonah. Jonah couldn’t find a way out of the dungeon. No one even came to talk to him. He was concerned and scared for his friend. He wanted to be with him, especially since it was such an important day for Lucas.

Lucas was also worried about Jonah and blamed himself for Jonah getting locked in the dungeon, possibly forever. If he couldn’t break this curse, and talk to his father, there would be no way to convince his dad to free Jonah. So, in hopes of miraculously breaking the curse, instead of running off to be with Jonah, Lucas stayed in his pond and submitted himself to today’s parade of princesses.

Night fell without the curse breaking. The princesses were gone, and the guards were out of sight. Lucas decided that, since he didn’t know if he’d still be able to talk to Jonah after the curse became permanent, he wanted to spend his last few hours before midnight with his best friend. He hopped out of his pond and headed for the tree line. Once in the trees, he hopped as fast as he could towards the castle. Lucas knew precisely where his dad would have locked up Jonah, and Lucas knew how he could get to him. He snuck in, undetected, through the back-kitchen doors when the cooks were bringing the night’s trash out. He stayed hidden amongst the pots and pans and brooms and finally found his chance to sneak into the cellar when a cook left the door open. From the basement, he made his way to the dungeons. He hopped right into Jonah’s cell. Jonah curled tightly into a ball and crying, didn’t see Lucas at first. Lucas hopped over to him. “I’m here, Jonah, I’m here.”

Jonah looked up and saw Lucas was still a frog and started crying even harder. Through his tears, he said, “No luck with the princesses again? I’m so sorry, Luke. I’m just so sorry. If that witch could see you now, maybe she’d undo the spell herself. You’re not a spoiled, arrogant brat anymore. You’re the kindest, sweetest guy I’ve ever met.”

Lucas blushed. “Thanks, Jonah. You’re a pretty great guy yourself.”

“Luke, it’s almost midnight. What’s going to happen? Will I still hear you like now?” Jonah asked.

“I don’t know. I hope so, but I just don’t know. I’ve never understood why you’re the only one who hears me anyway.” Lucas said.

Jonah reached down and picked up Lucas. He stared directly into the frog’s eyes. “If this is our last conversation, then I have to say this out loud for you to hear. I love you so much, Luke. More than you know. You’re my best friend in the entire world. I… I think if you were a boy and not a frog that I might love you even more than that.” Jonah blushed a deep, bright red. “You have an amazing soul, Lucas. I’ll love you forever.” He bent down and kissed the frog.

Electricity crackled around the boy, and the frog and a purplish colored smoke swirled around them. When the smoke cleared, Jonah was looking up into the bright, crystal blue eyes of, a now human, Prince Lucas. Lucas brought both hands up and cupped Jonah’s face between his hands. He bent down and kissed Jonah. After he broke the kiss, Lucas smiled and said, “I love you, too, Jonah.”

——————————————————————————————————————————–

A small army led by the neighboring King entering his lands, interrupted King Samuel’s night of worry over his son Lucas’s predicament. King Samuel personally led a small force out to greet the other king. King Edmond rode out from his army and greeted King Samuel.

“My guards last saw my son, Prince Jonah, entering your kingdom, King Samuel, and he has not returned home. I’ve come looking for him. Have you or any of your people seen him?” Edmond described Jonah to Samuel. One of the King’s Guards spoke up and told his King what had happened at the pond and that he thought Jonah might be that boy. Samuel relayed that information to Edmond with his apologies, and they rode together to the castle.

The two kings walked together into the dungeon, turned the corner, and saw the two boys curled up together, sound asleep in each other’s arms. Both kings were speechless for a moment, and then King Samuel yelled out, “Lucas! You’ve broken the spell! How? Who broke the spell? Why are you in this cell? Guards, unlock this cell at once!”

The boys, shocked by the sudden intrusion, untangled from each other’s embrace and stood up. Jonah noticed his father standing behind the other king. Lucas spoke first. “Dad!” He ran and hugged his father as soon as the guards opened the cell door. “I hopped in here when I was still a frog. I wanted to spend my last few hours with Jonah. Then, just before midnight, Jonah kissed me and broke the spell!”

Both kings audibly gasped and turned and looked at each other. Samuel looked back at his son. “How do you feel about this son? Do you feel like he is your True Love? The spell said only True Love’s Kiss could break the enchantment.”

Lucas blushed and looked down. “Yes, dad. I’m in love with Jonah, and he’s in love with me. We want to be married. You always told me that whoever broke the enchantment was who I would marry. I couldn’t talk to you, but I heard everything you said to me. I want you to keep your word. I want to marry Jonah.” Lucas told his father that, for the last year, Jonah could hear him, and they talked for hours every evening after the princesses left. He told his father everything.

“Jonah? Son, is this what you want also?” King Edmond asked, stepping forward.

King Samuel stepped aside to let King Edmond to the front. Samuel said to Lucas, “Lucas, this is King Edmond from Garlandia. He is Prince Jonah’s father.”

Lucas’s jaw dropped, and he turned to Jonah. “Prince Jonah? You never told me!”

“It wasn’t and still isn’t the most important thing about me. I love you, not your kingdom and I wanted the same in return. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, but I didn’t want it to get in the way of our friendship.” Jonah said.

“It’s fine, Jonah, I definitely understand,” Lucas said.

Jonah turned towards his father. “Dad, to answer your question. Yes. This is what I want. I know I’m just sixteen. I know you planned on me marrying some princess and having lots of babies, but I’ve never wanted those things. I just didn’t know how to tell you. I’m in love with Luke. Like head over heels type in love. The love I still see between you and mom. Please let me have this.” Jonah was looking at his father, but his hands were gripping Lucas’s arm, and he was leaning into the taller boy.

The two kings looked at each other and nodded in silent agreement. King Samuel spoke. “I’ll put the proclamation out to the other kingdoms. The marriage of our sons, the crown princes of Lerithia and Garlandia, will take place one month from today. May fortune smile on you both and upon both our kingdoms.”

Even with both their fathers and a dozen guards right there, Lucas pressed his forehead against Jonah’s and whispered: “I love you.” Jonah leaned in, and they kissed.

The Hero

Evil spread, the land grew dark.

Good was absent, there was no spark.

Demons and monsters ruled it all.

Empires crumbled, kingdoms did fall.

A hero rose from out of the night.

Into the dark he brought the fight.

Sword and shield, he fought the horde.

Demons and monsters, their black blood poured.

The hero grew weary, but his strength never waned.

He kept on fighting, though his body was pained.

The people who saw him decided to fight.

Darkness began fading, the land growing bright.

Each town they encountered, their numbers grew fast.

The light’s power was growing, the dark’s time was past.

The hero and his army marched on through the night.

Evil was frightened, what had been dark was now light.

The army searched throughout all the caves.

Darkness was conquered, every troll, gnome and knave.

The lord of the darkness made his last stand.

The hero destroyed him and saved the land.