The Amazing Tales of Princess Amelia
It was mid-morning and very few had managed any sleep at all. Princess Amelia looked up at the sky, desperately waiting to see Tallia return. She worried that no one had heard from her or Merklin over the Talk-Box for a long while, even with repeated messages going out to them. Great gasps and yells rent the air every time another section of the destroyed mother ship was seen flaming in the skies, as each piece burned up in the atmosphere, often followed by a loud thunderous roar. Tallia had been careful to ensure that no piece of the alien mother-ship or halo craft remain large enough to crash to Earth and cause damage.
“Why are they not back or answering our messages?” Amelia asked her Anthon.
“Perhaps she had to chase the enemy around the other side of the world and cannot speak to us from that distance” he replied, picking her up gently “I’m sure they’re absolutely fine. Let’s not worry unnecessarily my angel. Why not join your brother and cousins on the dance floor? I will go back in and listen out for Tallia and Merklin and let you know as soon as I hear anything from them, ok?”
Amelia’s frown disappeared and with a pretty smile at her ‘Poppy,’ grandfather Duke Anthon, she rushed down to one of the maypoles erected in the dance area of the courtyard. She joined the kids and adults holding the colourful ribbons and skipping in and out in opposite directions creating a weaved pattern down the pole from the top. Through the joyful shouting, a variety of dogs barking and the sounds of merriment, she could hear chorus yells of thanks to the ‘Red Wasp’, ‘Red Witch’, ‘Saviour of us all’ or ‘Tallia our Saviour’ as people made up many happy songs of thanks. All the awful alien cylinders had been moved away in carts, down to Trash valley. They would decide what to do with them later.
Even amongst the loud merriment, there was a growing fear in some that Tallia and Merklin may not return. Almost seven hours had passed since they raced off after the five remaining Halo craft. Various members of the Royal family, advisors, friends and military leaders returned to the Prime Room, a large decorated hall with high painted ceilings, after ensuring that the supplies and celebrations continue on track as best as possible.
Most of the Royals and advisors sat around the large circular meeting table, many standing alongside, discussing the varied matters of interest and importance, interrupted occasionally, and sometimes rushing back outside to view burnings in the sky when yells and clapping got particularly loud. They discussed possible scenarios that may have caused the delay, such as Tallia’s craft running out of weapons and being attacked, or the power to her craft running low forcing them to land somewhere far away. Another suggestion was that the on-board Terraloon may have gone crazy and attacked them, as well as many other rather wild possible outcomes. Also of great concern was the possibility that if Tallia and Merklin could not return, perhaps some surviving Halo craft might do so, in which case what action could be taken? There was no formality to the meeting and some of the kids and others would come and go as they wished. In one of his short visits to the Prime Room, Bastion Grey wisely proposed that any surviving Halo craft would surely no longer have purpose, now that the mother ship was destroyed, and would thus be unlikely to return to seek revenge.
Messengers had been arriving all morning from surrounding villages. They reported on the numbers of lives lost, the large number of injuries sustained as many desperately attacked the cylinders that had been pushing their loved ones away, and the scale of building damage such as doors, fences, windows and walls smashed in. Considering the large hostile attack, the losses of life were tragic but thankfully relatively few. Jewel Castle, in the King’s village of Apple, had sustained major damage as the alien cylinders destroyed the drawbridge and many of the thick external stone walls as well as many of the inner walls to gain access to the inhabitants and villagers seeking shelter. They seemed to know exactly where people were hiding and their numbers. The massive lock-down timbers to doors and window openings had surprisingly proved stronger than the actual stone walls in many cases.
Anthon and Mathem sat close to the Talk-Box awaiting some sound, both becoming more concerned. This communication device sat on a square table some twenty feet from the meeting table. Suddenly there was a loud screech over the Talk-Box and some high-pitched whistling sounds! Everyone quickly gathered around, hoping for good news. King Jaygon and Prince Eltor rushed back in from the outer court on hearing Anthon yell out. Amelia heard the commotion too and she yelled to the other kids as she bolted up the steps, across the sandstone paved terrace and through the large arched double doorway into the hall. After a long minute or two Tallia’s voice came through strong and clear.
“Success and more! We are fifteen minutes away! We request landing in the large grass lawns directly behind the dance court area. Please clear the area! Merlin, I’m warning you!” she giggled girlishly.
“Don’t fall for the witch’s slander!” Merklin yelled playfully in the background “I am a well behaved and respectable old wizard. My Lords, what an adventure we’ve had. Cannot wait to regale our tales over a good tumbler of your finest. See you soon.”
“Over and out!” they yelled together.
As the word got out, people rushed to surround the great lawn, all eyes raised to scan the blue skies for the first signs of the returning heroes who had saved the Kingdom, and in reality the whole world, from the awful off-world alien invaders. The royal party stood at the edge of the raised paved terrace, overlooking the dance area and garden lawns, while the remainder of the guards, soldiers and villagers continued to fan out around the edges of the field lawn. Merry excitement was building as was the rising volume of children yelling, adults chatting loudly and laughing, all building to a happy crescendo.
Just then many began shouting loudly, screaming and pointing as the yellow craft could be seen approaching from the southeast, glinting in the morning sunlight, followed by a large plumed contrail, occasionally weaving aside to dodge another flaming piece of debris, falling from space. The crowd began roaring continuously, clapping and singing, many jumping up and down on the spot and others crying with overflowing emotion.
Within a minute and a roar like thunder, Tallia Mog’s yellow spacecraft halted and hung silently in the air before gently dropping to the ground, disturbing not even the fallen leaves beneath. An oval shaped opening appeared and silvery blue stairs seemed to pour to the ground like liquid. The radiant Tallia and smiling Merklin appeared in the opening a moment later, and looked down at the large crowd in astonishment and a growing sense of joyous pride, as the tumultuous cheering, jumping, loud clapping, whistling, and crying continued unabated for many minutes until Tallia raised her hand for silence. She looked around at all the faces and settled on little Amelia for a few seconds, feeling an overwhelming feeling of relief and an almost motherly joy.
Amelia was standing at the front of the royal families, with brother Grey and the other young princes, princesses and nobles. Her mother Emeralda had her hands on her shoulders. When she saw Tallia look directly at her she felt a rush of such emotion that she wanted to scream with elation, but overcome she started happily crying instead. Grey noticed and gave her a big hug.
“Royal Highnesses, Nobles, and all you wonderful people of the kingdoms. Thank you for such a wonderful welcome. We feel touched and honoured more than you would know. Merlin and I have great pleasure in announcing that the threat is entirely over” A great cheer burst from the crowd. She then continued in her soft melodious voice, which could be heard clearly, even at a great distance “We pursued the alien craft across the world. Three attacked simultaneously, almost catching us by surprise, one hid fairly well under deep ice and the other in a mountain range which took some time to find. Four are entirely obliterated. The one craft remains whole for further study as requested by my dear companion” she said touching Merklin’s arm with a brilliant smile. The stair they stood on began moving down to the ground, as though through honey. People gasped in wonder as they alighted and approached the Royal family across the lawn and sunlit smoothed stone outside dance area. Crowds opened a pathway before them, then closed in on all sides behind, all bubbling with awe and excitement, with many touching them as they passed.
Amelia was not going to wait! Without waiting for her parents to formally greet them, she ran as fast as she could and jumped into the waiting arms of Tallia and kissed her on the cheek, smiling at Merklin who looked happier than she had ever seen him.
“I have a big surprise for you Amelia!” Tallia whispered in her ear. “Let’s go inside and after telling everyone of our adventure, I will tell you what it is, ok?”. She put Amelia down gently and the three walked hand in hand through the welcoming but noisy human corridor formed between the walls of villagers and soldiers, towards the King, Queen and Royal family.
Before moving inside, Tallia and Merklin first stood on the raised terrace overlooking the Dance court to address the crowds and relay some of the highlights of the chase. After a brief account to the silent and awestruck peoples, and a whispered chat with Merklin, Tallia then decided to add a little more drama and announced that they should all look back toward her craft but not be afraid. She would like to introduce her most loyal protector and friend, without whom the battle may not have gone so well. He had operated the on-board attack and defense system, with faster reaction time than possible by any human. He was quite safe, obedient to her commands and would hurt no-one, she promised.
She raised her hand and out of the craft the biggest surviving and most advanced of her Terraloons Mog appeared, jumping down from the craft opening and just standing tall and absolutely still for a full minute at the base of the ramp. People started nervously moving back unsure of what to expect. Suddenly with a roar, he dramatically leaped toward the edge of the crowd, in just two massive jumps of over seventy feet. There he stood calmly in all his massive terrible majesty staring ahead across the crowds. The public reactions varied from gasps, shrieks, some distant muted applause and some feinting into the arms of loved ones. Most had heard the many tales of the terrible monsters that had controlled the Fire Bees and created carnage across the kingdoms. However, to see one in reality shocked most people to the core of their being, as the uncontrollable fear sank in. People rapidly moved aside to create a corridor for the dark creature, and unsurprisingly this corridor was much wider than for the passage of Tallia, Merklin and Amelia. Many in the crowd moved behind others or just rushed off to the furthest point in the large courtyard, dragging their children away.
Mog sensed the fear and knelt down onto one knee and slightly bowed his head. Tallia again reassured the public and the unsettled military that Mog was no longer a threat to anyone, but deserved great praise for his part in conquering the off-world enemy. Many began quietly cheering as Mog stood once again, looming at twice the height of the tallest man. As he strode gently and slowly toward Tallia, the cheers and songs got louder and more joyous, as courage returned to many. Just before alighting the stairs up to the terrace the great and powerful Mog turned back toward the crowd and stood silently just looking over the crowd with his deep penetrating eyes, until everyone fell completely silent. Then his incredibly loud and deep voice boomed out, each word clear and separate, catching them all by surprise.
“I serve my lady Talia first. Now I also serve your kingdoms and mankind. May you forgive my kin and I for harm in the past.” He placed his hand on his chest and bowed his head. After a long pause, when the crowd realized that his speech was over, clapping started and then a massive cheer rose up from the people. He then turned toward the terrace and before alighting the wide five-foot high stairway, he set his deep eyes on Grey and nodded his head in a gesture Grey knew was his personal apology, and he remembered well the terror he felt with Rook and Merklin.
It was a strange sight indeed, witnessing the giant Terraloon looming over the Royalty and their guests on the terrace. Being the last of the most formidable, dangerous and feared creatures they had ever encountered, he was now honoured and respected as saviour and ally. He knelt again to reduce his height. Even so, very few felt brave enough to come forward and touch his enormous proffered hand. Every instinct warned the senses for humans to keep their distance. But eventually the whole royal party respectfully and with genuine relief and thanks, came up in turns and touched parts of his hand or arm, which was surprisingly warm.
Tallia beamed with pride and love for her surviving guardsman and personally introduced Amelia who bravely held one of his fingers between her hands, but worried that her charm might react at that moment and turn him to sand, as with the other Terraloon who had tried to eat her. Grey moved forward by instinct to protect his sister. Calmly and gently Mog wrapped his fingers around Bastion Grey and lifted him up high above his head, standing at the same time. They looked into one another’s eyes for a few seconds and after the initial exhilaration of the lift, Grey felt a sudden deep and inexplicable bond with the creature.
“Friends forever” Mog growled deeply “we will be”, placing him back down on the floor.
Queen Emeralda’s nails that had been deeply biting into King Jaygon’s forearm for the last few long minutes, during both her daughter and son’s interaction with the creature, now finally eased up as she felt more reassured of their safety. But still! She would have words with her husband a little later, of that he could be sure!
The evening feast in the Great Hall continued late into the night, with performers entertaining richly in dance and song, raucous tales and laughter. Before the youngsters were moved to their own dining hall area, out of earshot, Tallia and Merklin had told many tales of their adventure, so all could hear. Mog sat on a large cushion at one end of the table, saying little but occasionally laughing at a volume that shook many a cup and plate. His booming laughs could be heard above all else in the Kids dining hall, during their meals later on, which set them off with their own loud uncontrolled laughter and shrieks, some of which in turn could be heard back in the Great Hall, causing many a smile and merriment.
The following bright and sunny mid-morning, walks were enjoyed in the Great Gardens, with the splendour of the vast variety of flowers, shrubs and trees, and the vivid accompaniment of birdsong. Tallia had privately spoken to the adult royals with the attendance of Merklin, who she still called Merlin but who, even more oddly, was born Michael, a very long time ago. The truth of the age of ancient wizard was now known only to Tallia and to a far lesser extent by Anthon, his close friend. It seemed that he may have discovered a form of almost immortal longevity to have lived so long, similar to her own people. He was a most mysterious man indeed.
She was given approval to inform Grey and Amelia of some wondrous news and chose this moment during the walk to draw them aside, with Anthon and Merklin following some distance behind, involved in their own discussions of the same topic.
“Remember the surprise I mentioned Amelia?” Tallia asked in her expressive singsong voice which always sent strange thrills up Amelias spine “well now I will tell you both, Grey and Amelia, and only you may decide who else to confide in. Your parents know, as does your grandfather Anthon and Merlin, and they agree that we talk about it.” They came across an old wooden bench aside a slow-moving stream and Tallia had them sit beside her on either side. Anthon and Merklin stopped a small distance away and sat on some large rocks, watching some ducks and swans swimming about the little island opposite, that the stream diverted around.
“As I mentioned briefly, we were ambushed by the three haloed craft. Now I will explain in a little more detail. The aliens had led us into a trap of sorts in broad daylight, even though it was still night-time here, above a mountainous land area on the other side of the world. They came in against us from different heights and direction, one directly in line with the sun, thinking we could not see them all with time to defend ourselves. However even though my people’s science is very old, it is thankfully more advanced than theirs, and we managed to ward off the attack and destroy them entirely”. Amelia and Grey were completely enamoured and entranced by Tallia’s voice and breathless beauty, attentive to every word.
“Our next target had escaped below the icesheet at the very top of the world, where the seas are frozen solid and hundreds of feet thick. We had to dive into the sea, using our smaller destroyer pod, and hunt it down amongst the underwater icebergs.”
“Weren’t you terrified under the water? That sounds so scary!” blurted Amelia “Aren’t there monsters under the sea?”
While his sister shot out questions Grey just sat holding his tongue with his imagination calling up images of undersea monsters, icebergs in the dark and the big scary alien ship hiding and waiting to attack with no warning.
“There are indeed! But we stayed in my ship and operated the destroyer pod by seeing through its eyes and telling it what to do. A little like the Talk-Box but more complicated. Grey, I can see that this interests you a great deal, and Anthon and Merlin have told me of your great interest and abilities with mechanical things. This is a little different but I will show you soon and explain how this science works. Ok?” Grey nodded enthusiastically and blurted out
“Yes please! Thank you! You told me it all sounds like magic until you learn the science properly. I can’t wait”. He was now looking over at Grandpa Anthon and Merklin sitting on their rocks, knowing that they would help guide him too.
“Once our destroyer got in close enough, we destroyed all the alien craft workings, the androids and cylinder weapons on board and cut it into small pieces, which sank to the bottom of the sea. We lost a few hours on this chase and had yet to track down the final haloed craft, which we know had fled a very long way south. My concern was that it may swing back and attack your kingdom in revenge, so we watched it carefully from the eyes of our little pods I had released up in space, after we had destroyed their big mothership.” The children had heard some of this story last night before dinner, but not in so much detail.
“And now I will tell you the part of our chase that we did not relate to the crowds last night. The big secret! So listen carefully!” she whispered and they leaned in closer “Boo!” she suddenly yelled and they screamed with fright before bursting out in laughter.
“That’s unfair” yelled Grey “That’s not a secret!”
“I can’t believe you did that!” laughed Amelia smacking Tallia on the leg.
“Ok, ok!” she said with her beautiful smile radiating out at the kids, who were totally in love with her. “When we had travelled to the far south location, in amongst the large mountain ranges, we came across a totally unknown smallish glowing white sphere, only about twenty feet in diameter, which was hovering in front of the haloed craft, which was about a hundred times bigger, seemingly just holding it in place in the air. As we drew closer the white sphere blinked us a message that it was a friend to us, not foe. Mog was ready to attack but I commanded he hold off. The haloed craft had been made inoperable and it was slowly lowered to the ground. Then the white sphere also descended to the ground below and two figures in shiny white clothes climbed out and waved to our craft. Who on Earth were they?
We descended to a flat area nearby. I decided to meet them alone, until I was certain that they posed no threat. They were Azlantid hybrid descendants, man and woman, Addam and Ovelyn, who claimed that their remaining goddess Athena had witnessed what we had done for the world and would like to offer the hand of friendship.”
“Wasn’t she the remaining ancient Goddess from the secret caves?” asked Amelia in awe.
“Yes, she is the secret I wanted to tell you about. I was invited to visit her in her new home, if I agreed to accompany them unarmed and alone. Mog and Merlin would wait in the ship. The remaining Haloed alien craft would for now be left disabled but sealed and untouched until they return.”
“What about the alien creatures on board?” asked Grey “Were they still alive? And those cylinder things?”
“Yes!” piped Amelia, excitedly jumping up and down on the bench “couldn’t they fix the ship while you were away and fly off to hide? Or blow up your ship?”
Tallia patted them both on their thighs and continued her tale “The three creatures on board were androids, which looks like people but are actually clever machines. We disabled them and also the hundreds of war cylinders which they attempted to release whilst their craft was being lowered by Addam and Ovelyn. We decided to keep the craft intact for further study, which is another of the big secrets for now.” Tallia quickly showed them a few images of the alien ship on a square screen she took out of her bag, much to Amelia and Grey’s gasps of delight and wonder, but then put it away for later.
“I readily agreed with the request by the beautiful Addam and Ovelyn, on behalf of Athena, and after discussion with Merlin and Mog I travelled with them in their craft they call ‘Pea’, to meet this last goddess. Their ‘Pea’ craft was really beautiful inside, with a gold and green interior, turquoise seating that rose from a warm flat floor on command, and a large voluminous space, seemingly far greater in size than portrayed by the outer shell. The controls for flight were two simple molded levers, one on each armrest of every seat, including mine, which obviously I didn’t use, but seemingly as many as twenty people can be seated and anyone control the flight and functions.” She paused for awhile, deep in thought. “Perhaps I am going into too much detail.”
“No way! What else Tallia? This is so interesting!” Grey interjected. Amelia looked up at her with her big blue eyes and little frown of expectation. Tallia smiled and took a deep breath.
“OK! As we readied for flight the entire sphere turned completely transparent. We could only see one other inside the Pea, but saw the entire view of the outside world. It felt strange seeing the ground moving away below us as we shot into the air, with almost no sense of motion, and watched the mountains, rivers and clouds race past. Addam and Ovelyn showed me how to adjust my personal view if I wished, such as making the walls and floor partially or wholly visible, but I enjoyed it as it was. My own craft requires helmets or screens to achieve the same, so I was suitably impressed with their technology.”
“Wow, didn’t you feel funny flying so fast and so high up?” asked Amelia, watching her Poppy Anthon stand up and flick a flat stone to skip about nine times across the water, to the applause of Merklin, who decided not to be outdone by his friend, as also rose up off the rock seat to find a suitable stone.
“In craft like ours there is very little physical feeling of speed or movement my dear heart, just the select views racing past, which you soon get used to. But to continue, before we are called in for our luncheon, we flew over some islands and came across a tall reddish-coloured mountain, split vertically right down the middle as though by a giant’s sword, and overlooking a wide sandy beach cove. This split which looked about fifty feet wide, runs right through the red mountain from top to bottom in a straight line. Pea flew directly above this narrow gap, which then opened out into a beautiful wide lush green valley, full of little streams and waterfalls trickling down the sunlit mountain slopes on both sides, with fields of crops, vineyards and orchards along the valley floor. It is most definitely a real paradise. On the opposite side of this valley, facing the back of the red mountain but at least a mile away, there is a high golden rockface wall which stretches across the entire width of the valley. This rather magical looking rockface sparkled with myriads of reflective smooth crystal faces, of different shapes and sizes like cut jewels.”
“Please can we go see this place?” pleaded Amelia
“You will have to ask that question and gain permission of the king and queen little ones. Your grandfather has also shown great interest in travelling there in time to come and I know he would love some eager travel companions. However..”
“Why can’t you take us Tallia?” interrupted Grey “You’re not going to leave us are you?”
“No!” yelled Amelia “Promise you’ll never leave us!” she added, beginning to feel fear of such an event arising. In all the great excitement, she had not once thought about that possibility, and yet realized now that it was inevitable. Tallia would want to go home to her own people.
Tallia looked down at the faces of the two beloved children staring up at her, Amelia with tears welling in her eyes, and she felt such a deep pang of sadness overwhelm her. She put her arms around the kids and hugged them against her. After this special warm moment in time, she released them but then held their hands and took a deep breath.
“I really don’t know with any certainty how things will unfold over the next while my dears, because I still have to plan so much, and consider a variety of options. However, I promise I will still be with you all for a good while and teach your people all I can. After all, young prince Grey has much to learn about advanced machines and I think you will both benefit from the sciences I wish to teach you.” Merklin and Anthon stood up and stretched. Tallia decided to finish her tale quickly so that they could move on to the fine luncheon spread she saw being prepared.
“I will continue the amazing tale of meeting the great Athena, but will keep it brief until we discuss it further this evening. As the craft Pea approached the golden rockface, a great opening appeared, as two massive faces of rock moved aside, and we flew into the interior. A large group of happy looking folk welcomed us and led us through beautiful rooms toward what I guess was the Throne room. As we moved through, the views out into the valley were through a variety of clear panels, angled and tinted in various colours to suit the rooms. Hopefully you will see this magnificence so I shan’t ruin the surprise.
As we approached the last bend to the Throne room, I could hear the melodious tinkling of bells and a golden light poured out of the large arched doorway. And there she stood in all her glowing gold radiance;- the stunning Azlantid Goddess, the very last of her kind.”
I was so struck by her beauty and presence, that I stood mesmerized. Then my feelings of remorse set in. I had killed so many Azlantids in my war of revenge, including her brother, at least 300 years earlier. She had been my sworn enemy, and I hers, but now I believe we both recognised face to face in that moment, the importance of a peaceful relationship. I felt a wistful sadness that it had taken so long. In that moment I felt like crying. I knew she understood my realization as she smiled gently and with open arms beckoned me to come forward.”
The lunch bell interrupted them at that moment and Amelia saw a big fish jump out the water directly in front of her Poppy and Merklin. Poppy almost fell off the rock in surprise! He looked over and saw Amelia in a fit of laughter. That set them all off and they all began laughing and stood up ready to head over to the luncheon tables set up under a gazebo in the gardens.
“Well, did you two scallywags decide yet” Poppy asked Amelia and Grey as he approached.
“What?” they both blurted out at the same time, feeling rather excited
“We hadn’t quite finished the story dear Duke but I have a feeling they will both jump at the chance of the adventurous journey you plan. They will both now know how to recognize the Split Red mountain”.
“Do you really mean what I think you mean Grandpa?” asked Grey leaping off the bench. Amelia quickly joined her brother and leaped to his side.
“Yes please!” she yelled “We’ve decided!”
They began strolling the path toward the tables, Amelia and Bastion Grey either side of their Poppy and Tallia following a few paces behind arm in arm with the wizard, all in a happy cloud of excited voices. Would their cousins be joining them? Would Merklin too?