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The Adventures of Sir Rupert the Bold: The Unlikely Tale of the Raven Prince: VI-VII
Chapter VI: The Riddling Guardians
Aurelius and Sir Rupert drew near to the tall dark tower. It was without a doubt a foreboding structure with only one door. This door was flanked by statues of lions that were enchanted to roar and snarl at all that approached. This though did not stop Aurelius for both he and Rupert saw that they were made of stone and therefore could not harm them. When they reached the great oaken door, Aurelius inserted the keys into the locks, and the door swung open.
Aurelius and Rupert stepped into a dimly lit room. In the distance they could hear the faint sound of laughter. Suddenly, torches blazed to life. There was a puff of smoke and out of it stepped a creature that could only be a goblin. However, it was not shabbily dressed as most goblins are. In fact, it wore fine clothing, which seemed to be brand new and not somebody else’s trash. The clothing was garishly colored though, and the colors clashed with each other so that it was hard to look at the creature.
The creature smirked at the two heroes and clapped his clawlike hands together. “You’ve done well so far,” he said with a laugh, “but here your story ends. You shall never beat the tower’s guardians, good sir knights, for here you must use your wits.” He waved his hand at three statues that stood along the far wall. “Each of them shall you ask you a riddle, and you must answer. If you fail, you shall die. Turn away from your mad quest.” The goblin then clapped its hands again and vanished in a puff of smoke just as it had appeared.
The First Riddelr
The First Riddler
Slowly, they approached the first statue. It was of a knight in full armor. As they drew near to it, it spoke and said:
It can be said:
To be gold is to be good,
To be stone is to be nothing,
To be glass is to be fragile,
To be cold is to be cruel,
Unmetaphored, what am I?
Aurelius glanced at Sir Rupert in consternation. He had never been particularly good at riddles, but as you might already know, Rupert was not so bad at them. He had in fact answered the riddles of a sylph. If you wish to read more about this, I suggest you read “The Unlikely Tale of the Three Brothers of Bear Castle and the Golden Haired Sylph”. He slowly walked about the knight and wondered to himself, who the statue was of. Then he saw upon the knight’s own shield an insignia that he recognized. With a laugh, he said, “I know the answer, good sir knight. Unmetaphored you are a heart.”
A wave of light fell across the statue, and the stone melted away to reveal a young knight, who fell tiredly to his knees. “How did you know the answer?” he whispered.
“You are Sir Amandus of Zephyria,” Rupert said with a smile. “I recognized your insignia, the golden heart. You are a knight most famous for his goodly heart.”
“Thank you, good sir mouse, but two riddles yet remain to be answered,” the knight said.
The Second Riddler
They walked unto the second statue, which was of a tall and stately woman. Suddenly, the statue spoke and said:
What always runs, but never walks,
Has a mouth, but never talks,
Has a bed, yet never sleeps,
Water flows, though never weeps.
Aurelius glanced once more at Rupert, who was looking at the statue, which seemed to be quite odd. Her dress seemed to ripple like the waters of the sea, and her hair seemed to be made of seaweed. Then Rupert smiled and said, “A river.”
The stone quivered as light fell upon it, and the woman shortly fell to her knees. “What a cruel and unusual thing to do to a naiad,” the creature snapped. “To trap one such as I in stone with a lit torch behind me. Thank you, good sir mouse, for freeing me. I am Laverna of the Watery Depths.”
“I thought that you were water elemental,” Rupert said with a smile. “I am pleased to learn that I was correct.”
“One more riddle have you to answer,” Laverna said as she bowed her head to Sir Rupert.
The Third Riddler
The Third Riddler
Aurelius and Rupert walked to the third statue, which was of an aged man with a long flowing beard. In his hand, he held a staff. Then the statue spoke and said:
Turn us on our backs
And open up our stomachs
You shall be the wisest of men
Though at the start a lummox.
Rupert simply let out a merry laugh and said, “Books.”
Light fell on the statue, and the stone melted away. The old man stepped down from his stand and said, “It is a pleasure to meet you, Sir Rupert, and you as well, Prince Aurelius. I am Old Man Gem, a wizard of no small repute.”
Indeed with these words, Old Man Gem, did speak the truth. He enters into many of the old tales concerning the world of Somnii. It is said that he was the wizard, who taught the great and powerful Merdinus, who sealed away the mad elementals on Elementalis. It is also said that he has traveled among and spoken with the stars, but others say that he is in fact the elemental of a star that has long since burned out in the heavens. I cannot say which of these stories is true, but I do know that there are few wizards as powerful as Old Man Gem.
“Then how did Lady Dagrun take you?” Aurelius asked.
“I allowed her to so that I could meet you,” Gem said with a chuckle, “and now I must away. I have no doubt that things have gone awry throughout the world in my absence.” With that he vanished.
The door on the far side of the room opened to reveal a long staircase.
Chapter VII - The Final Guardian
Our tale draws near its close. Up, up, up the long stairs went Aurelius and Sir Rupert until they came at last to another dimly lit room. In the middle of the room, there was an altar on which sat two lit candelabras. The sides of the room were covered in shadows. On the far side of the room, there was a door. Both of our heroes stepped slowly into the room, for they feared there was yet some trick or trap to be sprung upon them.
Suddenly, the shadows began to writhe, and dark forms moved out of them towards our heroes. Aurelius battled valiantly against them, but whenever he struck down one, it split in two. Then two shadowy knights rose up to face him. Our heroes fell back to the stairs and glanced at each other. “This is surely magic,” Aurelius said with a shake of his head, “which means some spellweaver must command this shadowy army against us.”
Rupert peered into the room for a moment and then said, “If that be so, then we need but strike him down, and the shadows shall leave us in peace.” Then he twitched his nose and said, “I believe I know where he is. Keep the shadows off of me.”
Sir Rupert scampered into the room as only a mouse can do and rushed straight for the altar. Aurelius followed him at once and began to lay about himself wildly with his sword. Shadows fell and rose across the room. Sir Rupert made a daring leap and thrust into the air between the candelabras.
A shriek rose as the goblin in the brightly colored clothing appeared with Rupert’s sword thrust through him. The shadows melted away.
With a sigh of relief, Aurelius began to walk towards the far door. Swinging it open, he found Sigrun lying on her bed and weeping bitter tears. “Sigrun,” he said in a tender voice, and she looked up at him. Slowly a smile came to her face, and she leaped to her feet and rushed into his arms.
What remains of the story is simple to tell in truth. Aurelius and Sigrun accompanied by Fidelis, Elpidius, Valens, and Amandus made their way to Charm and Arvid’s court where they were warmly welcomed by Arvid, Sigrun’s father. There they were wed amidst much rejoicing. I do wish that I could say that they lived happily after, but Lady Dagrun is not one to forget or forgive. Indeed, Aurelius and Sigrun would both still go through many trials for the sake of their love. I can say that they always counted each other worth the trials, but Aurelius and Sigrun’s part in The Adventures of Sir Rupert ended here. Perhaps, I shall relate more of their trials to you at another time.
As for Laverna of the Watery Depths, she returned to the sea from which she had come, and her people, the naiads, welcomed her with open arms. For many a year after they made war on Lady Dagrun for so imprisoning one of their own. Also many more tales began to be told of Old Man Gem, who seemed to have returned to the world not a moment too soon. He helped in driving off many of the nasty creatures that were terrorizing the lands. It is also said that he and Arvid together brought down The Crystal Mountain to help a good knight.
As for Sir Rupert the Bold, he continued on down The Green Path to Verde Wood, where he enjoyed many a fine day until Arvid called him back to court.