Home > NaNoWriMo 2011, The Serial Box > Day One Hundred and Eighty-four: Prince of the Air 1

Day One Hundred and Eighty-four: Prince of the Air 1

“You’re gonna get killed, you know that.”

Crown Prince Calaris, heir to the throne of Ardenspire, watched his younger brother in exhausted disbelief. The field was full of canvas and wood and hardware, stacked, spilled, and rolled out every which way. At the far end of the field was the Drop, a cliff that led a hundred feet down to rocks and thundering water. In the middle of everything was this… thing. It looked like a bird, if the bird had been designed by someone who’d never actually seen one before. And under the thing was Rissandir.

“I’m not going to get killed,” he said, gently hammering at something. “The model worked, didn’t it?”

“The fifth model worked,” Calaris said. “The other four dropped like stones and smashed to pieces in the courtyard. Much like you’re going to do.”

“Am not. Hand me that brace?” Rissandir gestured vaguely to a piece of metal laying nearby. His brother dropped it into his hand.

“Sand, if you want to fly so badly, why not just ask Canucog? I’m sure he can get you a spell or a potion or a ring or something.” He poked the canvas-covered frame. “Something that works. He’s not busy these days, so come on. We’ll ask Father and you’ll be up in the air in no time.”

Rissandir shook his head. “No magic,” he said. “I want to do this by myself.”

“But why?” He threw up his hands. “Sand, we’ve figured out flying! Hell, Grandfather did it – remember that story? The siege of Thysnamos? He and his twelve guardsmen came right in on top of King Vysoli. The guy never knew what hit him, and it’s been fifty years of peace since then!” He held out a hand to help his brother up. “So come on, Sand. Take this thing apart, and if you want to fly, fly right.”

Rissandir looked at his big brother and wiped his hand on a rag. “Cal, I get it. You’re scared.”

“Yeah – that you’re going to break every bone in your body and then I’m going to have to explain it to father and then he’ll break every bone in mine!” He was starting to shout, and the was usually the sign that things were about to get bad. His brother had been the one to point that out to him, years ago.

The truth was, Rissandir was smart. Smarter than Calaris, definitely smarter than their father, and probably smarter even than Canucog. If anything scared Calaris, it was that. That, and the knowledge that being smart didn’t mean you couldn’t make mistakes.

Rissandir didn’t often make mistakes, though. That was his particular gift – the ability to see the way things should go and to learn from his mistakes. Their father liked to joke that he’d been bespelled to be bright, but Canucog always swore that nothing of the sort had happened. The boy was just a natural.

He also seemed to be without fear. Or common sense. His wood-and-canvas bird thing looked like it would fall apart long before it even found the air. But he’d been working on it for months, putting together models to try and figure out how wings should work and what it would take for it to carry a person. Deep down, Calaris suspected that it just might work, but he also suspected that it would only work briefly.

He looked out at the cliff’s edge. “Please tell me you’re not planning to fly this thing off the cliff,” he said.

“That is, in fact, exactly what I’m planning to do.” Rissandir tightened the knots on his canvas winds and smiled that brilliant, boyish smile of his. “Nearly done,” he said. “Just one more thing I need.”

“A good thump on the head.”

“That, and a way to get this thing moving.” Rissandir walked over to a large black trunk, bound with iron. He grabbed one of the handles and jerked his head towards Calaris. His older brother sighed, trudged over, and got the other handle. The trunk was surprisingly heavy for its size. They carried it over to the flying machine and set it down under one of its wings. “Y’see, I figured something out with those models,” Rissandir said as he unlatched the box.

“Yeah,” Calaris muttered. “I think we all did.”

“This thing will have to be going pretty fast if it’s going to be able to catch the air and lift itself up.”

Calaris clutched his head. “See? This is what I mean! I have no idea what you’re talking about!”

His brother grinned. “It’s okay, Cal. You don’t need to. It works whether you understand it or not.” He reached into the case and pulled out a large silver cylinder. It was open at both ends and about as big around as his thigh. “In order to make this go fast enough, I need a kind of motive power. And that, I’m afraid, is where I have to bend my ‘no magic’ rule a little.”

That caught Calaris’ attention. “What do you mean?” he asked.

Rissandir took what looked like a bracket from the case and started attaching the cylinder to the wing. “I thought about having horses pull it,” he said. “But they can’t go fast enough. And I thought about just dropping it off the cliff, but no matter what you think, Cal, I’m not an idiot.” Calaris’ face reddened, but Rissandir didn’t seem to notice. “So finally I asked Canucog for help.”

That was a shock. The wizard wasn’t the most forthcoming of men, which was normal for wizards. And Calaris had been almost certain that he would have had nothing to do with whatever it was Rissandir was making. “He said it sounded like an interesting project,” Rissandir said, stepping away from the wing and examining his work. “So he agreed.”

Calaris was impressed. He still didn’t think it would work, but if the Royal Wizard was involved, then maybe there was a small chance that it wouldn’t be a complete catastrophe. At his brother’s insistence, he helped carry the case over to the other wing. Surprisingly, it was no lighter for having lost such large cargo. Rissandir lifted an identical cylinder out and started to bolt it to the wing. “I told him what I needed, and he made these.”

After a moment, Calaris couldn’t wait any longer. “And they are…?”

“I call them my portable dragons,” Rissandir said. He took one more item out of the case – a small wand with a bright blue gem on the end of it. “All I need to do is speak a Command Word into this and they’ll go off.” He closed the trunk and dragged it away. Then he jumped up into the machine and pulled a couple of levers in the place where he would probably sit when he finally decided to try it out. “C’mon,” he said, jumping down. “Let’s go off a bit.”

The brothers walked about ten paces from the flying thing, and then Rissandir held up the wand. “I had Canucog set a few different commands for these. Test, go, stop, things like that. I’ll just test for now.” He held up the wand and said, “Coscade.”

The portable dragons roared to life, fire shooting out from their backs. The whole machine seemed to want to leap forward, but it didn’t. It shook and it rattled, and the roar of the dragons was getting louder and louder. Everything behind the dragons blew away down the field, tumbling and flying. “What’s supposed to happen?” Calaris yelled at his brother.

“When they’re at full power,” his brother yelled back, “they should be able to – WOAH!”

The dragons had ripped loose from their wings, tearing the wings half-off in the process. They were dragging wood and canvas behind them, but they were moving at a good speed.

Right towards the edge of the cliff.

The brothers ran after them, and Rissandir had the wand up to his mouth. He was shouting, “Wannek! Wannek!”

The dragons stopped spitting their flame and rolled to a stop within a few feet of the cliff’s edge. Rissandir fell to his knees, breathing heavily. “Oh, thank the gods,” he said.

Calaris walked over to one of the dragons, trying not to look down at the crashing waves and jagged rocks below. “I know,” he said. He touched one of the fire-breathing things and was surprised to find that it was cool. “Canucog probably would have used your skull as a raven’s nest if you lost them.” Rissandir just nodded and picked them up.

They carried the dragons back to the flying machine, which was missing most of its wings. Calaris ran a hand over the front of it. “Sorry your… thing got destroyed, Sand,” he said. “Who knows? It might have worked.” He shrugged and started picking up scraps of wood and canvas. “Oh well. May as well take this thing apart and get home.”

Rissandir started to laugh, and he was actually shaking his head as though Calaris had said something stupid. “I will take it apart, Cal,” he said. “But only to build it better.” He patted the machine with far more affection than Calaris had, and looked at it with the gleam of anticipation in his eyes. “Now I know what the big problem is, I can make it stronger. And when I do, big brother…” He looked over at Calaris, and there was an earnestness, a belief in his eyes that almost – almost – made Calaris want to believe that he could do it.

“When I do,” Rissandir said again, “I will fly.”



Calaris den Raud’s page on 30characters.com

  1. November 22, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    Hey Chris. You convey the relationship between the brothers really well. I’m quite jaded when it comes to fantasy worlds and magic, etc but I enjoyed the characters and I’ll be reading part 2. Nice one.

  1. November 22, 2011 at 6:42 PM
  2. November 24, 2011 at 10:23 PM
  3. December 13, 2011 at 9:02 PM

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