The Heir To Altador
Many Neopians know of the noble and kind King Altador. But not many know that he had a son.
Born while the land now known as Altador was being built, the King’s son was sickly and weak. Fearing that his son would perish in the early and difficult days of the kingdom, King Altador sent his son to a hidden location where he could await the day when the kingdom of Altador arose.
The King left his precious son in the care of a Gelert named Randielia. Though sometimes vain, Randielia was a smart, loyal, and courageous Gelert, and the King trusted that she would raise his son well.
The young Lupe, named Prince Altodar, had a quiet childhood. His frailty prevented him from playing the games that most Lupes enjoy. So instead he filled his days reading books. Every book was a treasure to the Prince. He would spend hours curled up in his bed, reading the days away. When his sickness was at its worst, his only comfort was a good book.
As the years passed, Prince Altodar overcame his sickness. Slowly strength flowed into the illness-weakened bones and muscles of the young Prince. The Lupe expected to see his father come any day to pick him up and return him to his proper home. He’d look out his window at the kingdom of Altador and imagine what it would be like to live there.
Randielia didn’t have the heart to tell the poor boy the truth. At the kingdom’s height, one of the heroes had betrayed King Altador. Her betrayal would have brought chaos to Altador if not for the magic of another hero. But this magic did not come without a cost. In order to prevent The Betrayer, as she came to be called, from corrupting Altador, the magic erased the memories of everyone in the kingdom, including the noble King himself.
But Prince Altodar did not know this. And so each day he would look out and watch the Alabriss and Altalaphus fly by, hoping that his father would finally come to bring him back home.
“I think that today is the day!” Prince Altodar told Griffin cheerfully. Griffin looked up at the Lupe and snorted in the way that only a Vaeolus could. For weeks now the Prince had been saying the same thing, getting his hopes up and then letting them be crushed.
“Really, I do!” Altodar insisted to his companion. “Something about today feels... different.”
Griffin shook his head and chirped.
“Don’t be so doubtful,” Altodar scolded. “I can be right about things occasionally, you know!”
The Vaeolus was just about to make another snide chirp when footsteps were heard outside the room.
“Prince Altodar, I have called you three times already. Come downstairs immediately!”
Altodar looked down at Griffin in mock horror. “Oh no! We have to escape the evil faerie!” And with that the young Lupe rushed off to the hidden door that led to the storage room. Griffin flew after his friend, glad that he had gotten his mind off of the King. There was nothing like a game of Escape to ease the mind.
After his strength had returned, Altodar had taken to living out the stories of his beloved books. His favorite game by far was escaping from the evil faerie Jhudora, aka Randielia. It was in one of these games of Escape that the Prince had found the secret door to the old storage room. It was the perfect place for avoiding chore time, with plenty of forgotten treasures to hide behind.
The heavy wooden door creaked softly as Altodar pushed it open. A musty smell of dust and aging wood emitted from the room, enticing Altodar to step inside. Today was the perfect day for him to continue looking through the many discarded objects that littered the floor. Just the other day, Altodar and Griffin had uncovered a rusted suit of armor. The Prince could only imagine that his father had worn it in his youth. Who knew what else lay hidden among the mess?
Griffin sniffed disdainfully as a mothball landed on his beak. Even though he too enjoyed finding treasures of the past, the Vaeolus could have done without the dust and dirt.
“Look over here, boy!” Altodar called out from behind a stack of boxes. Griffin took flight and joined the Lupe, who was holding a very dusty book. “I thought that I had read all of the books here, but I’ve never seen this one before...”
Griffin chirped unhappily, eyeing the large amount of dust.
“Yes, I know it's old. I’ll be very careful with it,” Altodar reassured him, blowing gently. The dust flew off in a cloud. Prince Altodar and Griffin coughed, clearing the dust from their throats and wiping it out of their eyes.
Blinking, Altodar looked down at the faded red cover. And barely visible was the title, written in a jagged script.
The Prince and Griffin looked at each other gleefully. A book on the kingdom! Randielia had hidden all of them long ago, insisting that Altodar was too young to be reading such heavy history. You wouldn’t be able to understand, little one. That was what she had said when he inquired about their absence.
But now, here it was, a real history book on Altador. And Randielia wasn’t here to take it away.
Chirping impatiently, Griffin nosed the cover of the book open. Another cloud of dust emerged. Once it cleared, Altodar bent down to read the opening header.
Altador: The History of the Lost Kingdom
Altodar stared in disbelief. Lost? It couldn’t be true! Unable to peel his eyes away from those terrible words, the Prince read on, his eyes darting from page to page and only catching fragments of sentences.
Once a successful and prosperous city, the Kingdom of Altador fell after the betrayal... The King and all of his people disappeared... forgotten forever... lost to Neopia...
Altodar backed away from the book, shaking his head in horror. How? How had this happened? And why hadn’t he been told?
Now Altodar knew why the books had been hidden: to protect him from knowing the truth. But now the truth was out, and nothing would ever be the same.
“Prince Altodar, come out right now!”
Randielia’s voice was a whisper behind the waterfall of thoughts in Altodar’s mind. The truth stung like a sting from a Buzzer; his father would never come to get him. Never would the Prince get to return home and find a kingdom awaiting him. And never would Altodar feel like he truly belonged.
Griffin nuzzled his owner’s leg, but Altodar brushed him aside. Unsteady from the knowledge weighing down on him, the young Lupe staggered to the door leading into his room. All usual caution forgotten, Altodar burst through the door and found himself facing Randielia.
“Altodar!” she gasped, clearly not suspecting that he would come through the door. “How did you find that room? You shouldn’t...” Randielia trailed off, seeing the look on his face. It was too late. The damage had been done.
“Why?” he growled, swaying from side to side. “Why didn’t you tell me? Why did you let me go on believing, all these years, that he would come to get me?”
Randielia stared blankly at the boy, at a loss for words. The steely determination in his eyes was the same as his father’s. The time for lies was over. She had to tell him the whole truth, no matter how much it hurt.
“I wanted to protect you,” she started. Altodar narrowed his eyes and prepared to make a nasty comment, but Randielia cut him off. “But I was wrong. I should have told you long ago. You deserve to know the entire truth. So sit down; it’s a long story.”
Grudgingly, Altodar took a seat on the wooden floor, glaring at Randielia. He had trusted her, even loved her, but now...
“It was a few years back, when you were still very sick,” Randielia started sorrowfully. “The kingdom was doing so well, and your father couldn’t wait until the day he could bring you home with him. He sent many messages to me, saying that it was almost time for the heir of Altador to return.
“But then everything fell apart.”
“What happened?” Altodar asked, forgetting his anger towards Randielia. What could have stopped his father?
“The Betrayer...” Randielia whispered, as if even saying her name was a foul deed. “She was one of the heroes, a dark faerie who had saved your father’s life on a hunt. But her thirst for power ruled over her, and she set about to cast a spell to take over the kingdom of Altador. Even worse, her spell also aimed to take out something even more personal to the King.”
“What could be more personal than his kingdom?” Altodar asked, a fear rising up in his chest.
“You.” Randielia confirmed the Prince’s fears.
“Your father came to me late at night, when you were asleep,” she continued gravely. “He told me of the Betrayer’s plans, and of how they intended to stop her. Unfortunately, the only way was to wipe the memories of everyone in the kingdom, including the King. All history books were transported here, and a spell was placed to protect the books... and to protect you.”
“So my father gave up everything. For me?” Prince Altodar asked, his eyes pleading with Randielia that it wasn’t true.
“I’m sorry.” Randielia turned her head away, tears running down her face.
Altodar sat, trembling. His father, who he had never gotten to meet, had forgotten him. Had been forced to wipe his own memory for the sake of his kingdom... and for the sake of his son.
“There must be something I can do!” Altodar stood up, the steely determination back in his eyes. “There has to be some way to defeat the Betrayer and restore the kingdom!”
“There is,” Randielia whispered. Altodar snapped his head to look Randielia straight in the eyes. “But it’s going to be very difficult!” she warned.
“I don’t care. I will do anything to get my father back.”
Randielia searched the boy’s face. How much he looked like his father. Deep down inside, Randielia knew that she wouldn’t be able to change Altodar’s mind, no matter how much she pleaded with him.
“Okay, here’s what you have to do...”
A few hours later, Prince Altodar found himself leaving the only home he knew with just a traveling cloak and his faithful petpet. What he had set out to do would be difficult, but he knew that it would all be worth it if he could get his father back.
Randielia had explained to him that only a true hero could restore the kingdom of Altador. The second part of the King’s spell revealed clues to those worthy of the task. The Prince’s quest was to travel the land, looking for someone to help his cause.
Altodar knew that it might take months, even years, to find just the right person. But he was confident that he would restore his father’s kingdom, and return to his rightful place as the heir to Altador.