The Treasured Diary: Part Two
Fenmere was lifting the leather bound cover when Sophia
gasped and dropped the candle, plunging the room into darkness.
Fenmere followed her terrified gaze and his eyes
There, perched on the windowsill of his chamber
was a tall and sinewy Draik, wings outstretched, its figure silhouetted in the
"GUAR-" Fenmere started to shout, when the Draik
flew at him in a blur of red and stifled his cry with an icy claw.
"Don't scream," he ordered Sophia who nodded
Then to Fenmere he whispered, "Have you read
He shook his head. How did he know about the
"Have you showed it to anyone?"
Fenmere pointed a shaky paw at Sophia.
"Anyone else?" His grip tightened threateningly.
The prince shook his head and cried a defensive
"No!" that was muffled under the Draik's claw.
"Good. Now we just need to get your father."
My father? Fenmere wondered in terror.
Suddenly the crash of the wooden palace doors
bursting open sounded from below.
The Draik groaned. "Too late."
While still holding onto Fenmere, he shoved the
diary into his tunic, grabbed Sophia under his other arm and leapt onto the
window sill. Sophia screamed despite herself as they stared down at a staggering
drop of over two hundred feet.
What on earth was going on!? Fenmere's
mind was racing. Who had just come in through the doors? Where was his father?
The Draik jumped.
For one horrifying moment they were weightless,
plummeting towards the dark ground. Then the intruder's huge wings caught the
thermals and they were airborne.
The scene below was beautiful, even if Fenmere
couldn't really appreciate it in his current state. The villages of Gansvere
were aglow with the light of peaceful fireplaces. He could imagine families
gathered round sharing stories, safe and sound, completely unaware that their
Prince was being kidnapped and that Gallion's Keep was under siege.
Fenmere tried to turn his head to see if Sophia
was okay but he couldn't see her face behind the constant beating of the Draik's
wings. He wondered how much longer their kidnapper could hold onto them.
He was answered a few minutes later as they touched
down in the middle of a vast field. The Draik was smart; he'd made sure to land
where he knew his captors would have nowhere to run.
Once his feet were planted firmly on the ground,
Fenmere came out of his state of shock. As a child of royalty, the Prince was
not accustomed to being pressed (let alone forced) into anything. He was furious.
"Who do you think you are?! Do you have any idea
who I am?"
The Draik looked at him bemusedly. "Why? Do you
not know yourself?"
Fenmere's lips curled into a snarl. "I hope whatever
ransom you're collecting is worth it, scum," he said furiously. "You'll hang
The Draik ignored him and said, "Follow me,"
before pushing through the tall grass.
"I'm not moving an inch, nor do I plan on taking
any orders from the likes of you," Fenmere insisted, hands on his hips.
Sophia turned to him shakily, her white face
looking even whiter.
"Just do what he says," she hissed, "or who know
what he'll do to us?"
But Fenmere was stubborn; he'd forgotten his
title meant nothing outside the palace walls. He turned back to their kidnapper.
"I want an explanation!" he shouted.
"And you'll get one," the Draik was getting
impatient, "if you follow me."
They took a few steps forward before their kidnapper
stopped suddenly and began stomping his foot on the ground. One spot echoed
back with a hollow sound. With a look of satisfaction, the Draik bent over and
tapped three times on the hollowed spot.
The dirt promptly swung open on a wooden trapdoor,
revealing a gaping black hole.
"Well," said the Draik, "get in."
Fenmere looked at the seemingly bottomless pit
incredulously. First he'd found some ancient diary behind his fireplace, then
he'd been snatched right out of his chamber, and now some criminal was asking
him to jump into a hole.
"Are you insane? There's no way I'm going into
that filthy place!"
The Draik rolled his eyes and gave the Prince
Fenmere was sent reeling into the darkness, his
stomach in his throat. Then the hole sloped and he was sliding down the dirt
tunnel at a breakneck speed. A sharp yelp let him know that Sophia was coming
fast behind him.
There was a burst of light and he was sent flying
into a burrow-like hollow. With a sharp thud he collided with the dirt ground.
He rubbed the grime from his eyes and took in his surroundings.
The room was carved entirely out of the dirt
and was held up only by several wooden beams on the ceiling. It was bare with
the exception of a single wooden table in the center and three pets sitting
In one was a small brown Ixi dressed in worn
tan pants, her large eyes glaring at him distrustfully. Next to her sat an intelligent
looking Shadow Nimmo, tapping the table apathetically, and a particularly noble
looking Red Moehog. He wore soft-looking blue trousers with a matching blue
tunic and an expensive looking fur cap. He looked vaguely familiar somehow.
A moment later Sophia came tumbling out of the
hole, her usually immaculate white fur covered in dirt. The Draik fluttered
down gracefully behind her. He'd obviously been down that hole many times before.
Everyone immediately forgot he was there.
"Well done, Jase," said the Nimmo, standing
up to shake hands with the tired looking Draik. "I wasn't sure if recovering
them would be possible."
"Recovering us?" echoed Fenmere quietly. No
Jase rubbed his temples in frustrated disappointment.
"They got there before I could get the King."
Fenmere glanced back and forth between the shocked
faces of the three. The Moehog looked as if he'd been slapped.
"Wait, who got there? What's going on?" he asked,
The conversation continued.
"Did you get the diary?" the Ixi asked looking
fearful. Jase nodded and she breathed a sigh of relief.
Fenmere stood up now, his face red and furious.
He was not used to being ignored. "And how do you even know about the diary?
Who are you people? What do you want with me? Why am I at the bottom of a hole?"
His shouts halted the discussion abruptly and
all eyes turned to him.
"Ah, young Fenmere," said the Nimmo in a calm,
youthful voice, looking at him intently.
"You'd do well to call me by my proper title,"
growled the Gelert, doing his best to stand tall and regal.
The Nimmo chuckled. "Yes, of course, Your Highness."
His tone was surprisingly sincere. He pulled out a chair and offered it to the
Prince. "You may want to sit down."
Fenmere eyed him warily but eventually took
"I suppose I should introduce myself," said
the Nimmo. "My name is Hayden." He pointed to the Ixi. "This is Ramaya," she
nodded curtly, "and this is Lord Cayleb Cyril." Lord Cyril offered a weak and
frightened smile in his direction.
A Lord, marveled Fenmere. No wonder he'd
looked familiar. He realized that this was big; you didn't get the hierarchy
involved in for a petty ransom.
"We are all members of a very ancient group,
a secret society if you will," he continued, "called The Paladins of Strain."
For a moment Fenmere just stared blankly at
him. Then he burst out laughing.
"That Paladins of Strain?" he snorted. Even
Sophia, whose wide eyes were still bulging frightfully, seemed to be somewhat
amused. "I didn't know the pathetic group still had living members. You're some
kind of treasure hunters then, right?"
The Ixi fixed an icy glare on him.
"Yes," said Hayden after a long pause, "I suppose
we are. But the treasure we seek is very old, and very, very important. Its
value is much greater than gold or silver."
"Do elaborate," said Fenmere sardonically.
Hayden's face lit up with the prospect of doing
so. "Well, it all started two hundred years ago with a stubborn royal Gelert
named Arin." The others seemed bored, as if they'd heard this story many times.
"Arin was the sole heir to Gansvere, and because she was a female, royal law
stated that she must be married in order to rule the Kingdom. Now Arin was both
clever and inflexible, she didn't like the idea of being forced to share her
power with someone else, especially someone that was not of her choosing. At
the time, such a thing was completely unacceptable. The royal court selected
a husband they saw fit for the position, a real brute as the historians say.
Needless to say, she was quite unhappy."
Fenmere eyeballed him quizzically. "I'm not sure
what that has to do with me, or how it merits my being kidnapped in the middle
of the night."
Jase pulled from his tunic the diary Fenmere
had found in his fireplace. He handed it to the Nimmo who opened the cover and
slid it across the table.
Fenmere read the words scrawled in the corner
of the inside cover with wide eyes:
"This Book and all the contents within is the
sole property of Queen Arin Elise Bavarian."
Beneath it, a poem was written in elegant cursive:
Within these pages, held and bound
Lies Gansvere's treasure still unfound
True, I hid it out of spite
But pity me dearly for my sad plight
Whilst you read this, my body's long away
And I realized the treasure should return someday.
If the reader is worthy and thy knowledge is
Then this now bitter Kingdom, can have back its
So read these pages, held and bound
And remove the greatest treasure from the unforgiving
Fenmere read it again. "What treasure is she
"Scholars could only make assumptions," said
Hayden, "but most of them didn't believe the myth anyways. After all, the only
person to have ever laid eyes on the Treasured Diary before today was the Queen
who wrote it. Supposedly she hid the treasure because she didn't believe the
new King was worthy of owning it. The purpose of the Diary was so that the treasure
could find its way back into the hands of one of her descendants." He paused
for a moment and scratched his chin. "It's a treasure map, if you will."
"My Treasured Diary," Fenmere mused over the
The Nimmo chuckled. "Yes, Arin loved a good
play on words."
Fenmere nodded absently. Now this was a fascinating
book. He could only imagine the knowledge within, details of ancient passageways
and secret catacombs, and started to turn the old yellowed page.
Jase suddenly shot across the table, painfully
yanking back his paw.
"I don't think you should read any further,"
"And I don't think you should continue giving
orders to a Prince!" snapped Fenmere. "Unhand me!"
"He is right, young Prince," said Hayden forcefully.
"There are forces at work here that you don't understand."
"Enlighten me," he said scathingly.
Hayden nodded. "Arin didn't hide the treasure
alone," he said. "She enlisted the help of her most loyal servants and made
them take an oath to keep its location a secret. Those servants called themselves
The Queen's Confidants, and they passed their knowledge along to their descendants
so that the secrecy of the treasure could be protected forever."
Fenmere paled. "The people that burst into the
"The Queen's Confidants," he nodded. "They heard
that the Treasured Diary had been found and so they came after you. Luckily,
we too have spies in high places."
Jase winked at Fenmere and batted his wings.
"So you didn't kidnap me?" Fenmere asked him
"I'd say it was more of an interception," the
"The point is," Hayden continued, "that the
Confidants want that Diary. If you want to read it, I won't stop you. But know
this: they will stop at nothing to keep their sacred oath, and they will silence
anyone who'd tell their secrets."
To be continued...