Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Falling Down

No, not the slightly off-beat Joel Schumacher film with Michael Douglas which carries the same title as this piece.  This is about really falling down. Or very nearly.

There are so many exciting things you can do that involve falling down, or falling.  Jumping out of planes, bungee, abseiling, zorbing, the list is pretty endless.  There are also the not-so-pleasant falling experiences, accidents and the like.  Whilst I’d love to do a few of the first list, I’d never want to be involved in the unpleasant side of falling down that occasions some. But may be I aleady am, and on a daily basis.  For being so dramatic, you’ll probably want to call me a jerk, but I prefer hypnic jerk if you please.

There is a physical reaction that occurs in, they estimate, 70% of people that is known as a hypnic jerk, a moment when the body senses a relaxing of the muscles and tries to protect itself by nudging you, mostly making you jump slightly. It is similar in principal to the jump you make when you’re startled.  I am not startled easily.

The most common time this occurrs is when falling asleep.  It’s that moment when your eyes are closing, your body and mind start to relax then, pop.  Your brain thinks this relaxing is you falling over, or down, and produces a little nudge.  This can be a little shudder, a twitch or even a full-blown jump upright.  I know, I get this most nights.  Let me explain.

Settling down at night, it always happens at the same point in the night-night process.  My body tells me it’s time to sleep, and the eyes will close, and the mind drifts away to somewhere else, somewhere……….

………. and I’m falling. I don’t know where I am. I don’t have time to remember who I am.  I can feel the sensation as my body falls through space and I’m powerless to stop it.  My mind races.  How can I save myself, I’m falling, the ground will be approaching fast, the end will be approaching quickly, I’m falling.  There’s no wind that I can feel, and my mind can’t compute that. All is black, all is dark, and I’m falling.  There is not a single thing I can do to save myself.

A fraction of a second later, I’ve twitched, shook or jumped outright from my fall and in to a shocked reality.  I quickly realise the falling has happened again, and I settle down, breathing just a little quicker than before.  The whole episode lasted nothing more than a millisecond, but for me in my stupor it lasted an eternity.  A horrible, tumbling, falling eternity.  If I’m lucky, there will be only one.  On a bad night there can be as many as three, with each as bad as the one the preceeded it.  And on a bad night I will jump bolt upright, shaking, swearing, breathing heavily.

It’s as uncomfortable for me as the one that shares the space with me.  Mrs drop4three often jumps too, feeding off my surprise, my shock.  She, unlike me, is startled easily. On the odd occasion when I have a big jump she will shout out in surprise.

But I’d still love to throw myself out of a perfectly good airplane with a rag on my back.  I’d love to jump from a great height with a rubber band round my ankles.  These are the things I’d do willingly for fun, for the rush.

And an hour or so from now, it’s likely I’ll be getting the rush again.  Not one that I asked for, not one that I wanted.  But there’s little I can do about it as I go tumbling and falling to eternity again.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

17 Days

It was all so right
But looking back it seemd so wrong
We had all the words we needed
But we sang a different song

We were so close
And through the problems you were by my side
Together hand in hand
We'd fight the rising tide

And now the water's have receeded
What was storm has turned to fair
Sanctuary found and rescued us
And gave the answer to our prayer

I hear you talk of them often
Those magical 17 days
Where it all became so clear to us
And just may be we changed our ways

And I smile now when I listen
For you're just so full of praise
For that time we had together
Those magical 17 days

And looking back now
I know it's crazy, but it seems so right
All those summer days together
And every lonely winter night

Sitting on the phone
Reaching out from miles away
And now I'm thankful for
Each and every single day

And now the waters are forgotten
And the weather's forever fair
We have never left the sanctuary
That was the answer to our prayer

I hear you talk of them often
Those magical 17 days
Where it all became so clear to us
And just may be we changed our ways

And I smile now when I listen
For you're just so full of praise
For that time we had together
Those magical 17 days

For REG.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010


And all that remains
Are the questions I ask myself
The interrogation will continue
Long after the time of you

And all that remains
Is the sceptic that is me
Exposed and irrelevant
I served my purpose

And the journey was great
But I never left the place you started from
It took the good times and the bad
But I never knew the difference
And the taste in my mouth
Isn’t so pleasant after all

And all that remains now
Is the doubt
My footsteps faultering, my words uncertain
Disbelieving only in myself

And the journey was great
But I never left the place you started from
And the end was just a mirage
That I would never get to see or grasp
It took the good times and the bad
But I never knew the difference
And the taste in my mouth
Isn’t so pleasant after all

Note to Self

Sometimes I think I'll never learn
To be a better me
So many things I want to change
I want to be happy

So many things I've tried to fix
My clothes, my shoes, my hair
But staring in the mirror now
It's just me standing there

Feel so very lost, and so lonely
Write a note to self, keep me company

You want to make me perfect
Then take me away from me
I'm not part of the equation
You want me make me better
Then get me away from here
It won't take much persuasion

So I'll gather up the notes to self
Surround myself with me
Drink in all my instructions
Try to be happy

Fixing up my hair and shoes
Is just a tiny part of me
I know the things I have to fix
Must be done internally

Feel so very lost, and so lonely
Write a note to self, keep me company

You want to make me perfect
Then take me away from me
I'm not part of the equation
You want me make me better
Then get me away from here
It won't take much persuasion


Don't give up waiting
He'll return one day
They'll tell you that he's missing
What do they know anyway?

He loves you Beth
He talks about you all the time
You're what keeps him going
I promise you he's fine

Promise me you'll wait Beth
Wait for him to come on home
The good times will return again
You won't need to be alone

I didn't do the right thing
When I was here before
I know he tried to guide me
To stop you walking out the door
So I came back to change this
Put right what once went wrong
It hurt to see you all alone
Dancing to your favourite song

Don't cry Beth, he's alive
Hard to believe it but it's true
The only thought that keeps him going
Is returning home to you

It may be a while yet
Before he's back and holding you
Don't break his heart, please Beth
Remember when he said "I do"

I didn't do the right thing
When I was here before
I know he tried to guide me
To stop you walking out the door
So I came back to change this
Put right what once went wrong
It hurt to see you all alone
Dancing to your favourite song

Inspired by "Quantum Leap"

Saturday, 20 March 2010


Reach for the heights
There's no need to say goodbye
The sun will be your friend and guide
As you climb in to the sky

Don't look down
There's  no need to fear the sea
Your dreams will be your friend and guide
As they always were to me

And even though you'd be set free
I hoped that you'd come back to me

Dreams are melted
In the blink of an eye
A car crashes on the freeway
No reason why
Dreams are ruined
They turn to dust and die
As disease takes all before it
No reason why

I can't forget what happened
The day you learned to fly
When I wasn't there to guide you
And you fell out of the sky

And even now I still remember
All the pain that you went through
My love was your guide and comfort
But now you've fallen too

And even though you'd be set free
I hoped that you would stay with me

Dreams are melted
In the blink of an eye
A car crashes on the freeway
No reason why
Dreams are ruined
They turn to dust and die
As disease takes all before it
No reason why

Put away those wings
My days to soar like birds are gone
Put away my dreams for you
The died when the sun shone

Dreams are melted
In the blink of an eye
A car crashes on the freeway
No reason why
Dreams are ruined
They turn to dust and die
As disease takes all before it
No reason why
No reason why

For Ellwood.

Friday, 19 March 2010

The Man in the Boat

It was a time of legends.  A time that would be talked about for centuries.  One that would be written about, documented in every detail so that those that followed would know what had occurred.  Songs would be sung about this time at night by crackling fires.  Children would be taught the story from an early age.  It was something not to be forgotten.  The Man in the Boat would never be forgotten. 

It was time.  The signs were there for those that took a moment to stop, look and watch, and those that new the history of Carradon.  The ravens were first.  The circular swirl of black as they flew together through the sky at first light, caught those who saw it immediately.  They looked like mini-twisters, spiralling round and round until they hit the ground. Their impossibly tight formation taking them to their destruction.

Next were the clouds.  Dark, thick, hideous clouds rolling in from the sea like a blanket destined to smother all of Carradon.  There were no raindrops, there was no wind.  As foretold centuries before, these were the first signals of the beginning of the end. The Day of Damourite.
The Man in the Boat calmly watched.  He was ready.  He had prepared for this every single day of his life. 
The ground shook as he strode across towards to their gathering place.  It always shook when Boulder, King of the Giants trolled across the land.  A giant amongst giants, he towered above even the tallest of the small band of giants there were left on Carradon.  His voice carried his authority.

"Rufall, are we ready?  You have seen the signs.  It will not be long.” Rufall nodded respectfully as Boulder continued.

“The Sword will form soon and if our enemies reach it first, that will be the end of Carradon and us.  Whilst our friends have promised help, we must be ready to tackle this on our own. I pray the gods look favourably on us today"

He paced.  He was nervous.  When he was nervous he paced.  Paced and wore his hat.  He felt better in his hat. It gave him an air, an air he believed in, could feel it's warmth and security.  Prince Jennin was worried.  He'd seen the signs.  He knew he was vital to the safety and security of Carradon.  It was the task his father, King Dropped, had assigned him from birth.  He was equal to the task, he knew, he hoped.  There was only one thing that bothered him, that gave him sleepless nights.  Carlyonna.  He had loved her from the moment he was old enough to remember her name. From the moment he heard about her powers, buried deep in her flowing red hair, he knew he would save himself for her.  He never thought the prophecy would come true, but now that it was, he had to face his fear or failure with the chance of finding, meeting the one he had always loved.  The dilemma was clear on his serious, studious face.  Inside he felt different, but they would never notice.
They called her The Chaplin. She was revered for her power, she was feared for how she would use it. Her army was gathered before her. She look down on them, smiling laughing and screamed


The mass cheered back. Today would be their day.

“I have built you strong, I have built you fearless, you are my warriors, and I will be there by your side. But he is mine, I alone must destroy him. Part of me will die this day too. He is my brother, but I must destroy him”


The ground thundered as the giants ran across the land. It felt as if the very earth they blazed across would explode beneath them.

“Faster, faster, we must get there before them.”


The charm protecting The Cauldron, the place it would happen, would have to be lifted soon, he knew. Only he and one other could break it, but the Goddess would not be needed today. Or so the Man in the Boat thought.


“This is a good day to die” he screamed at the hoard in front of him. 

They oozed back. They were already dead, but that didn't matter. His army of zombies was ready. He had spent years gathering them, ready for the Day of Damourite, when the Sword of Sarahling would be released. Whoever claimed the sword would rule Carradon forever, unchallenged. He feared nothing. Nothing. Nothing, except her. She'd always known there was something evil inside him. He saw the way she'd looked at him, and how an air always hung over her when she talked to him, smiled at him. She would die. She was his sister, but she would die by his hands today. Revenge would be his.


The clouds grew ever denser, the sunlight almost failing to pierce through. The land was in almost total darkness. Each of them moved as swiftly and as silently as possible towards The Cauldron. They knew the battle would be fierce. The static generated by the clouds fired lightening bolts out in every direction. They bounced off the shield protecting The Cauldron and scorched the earth around it. It was time.


Prince Jennin gathered himself. He knew he had to go, and go now. It would commence at any moment. He knew who held the power to release the charm, but he had only ever been talked about in whispers. He did not fear the Man in the Boat, he knew he was good. His only fear was that of failure, could he sacrifice Carradon for her? He knew he would have to make the choice. He loved Carlyonna, he loved Carradon. He would have to choose. He whispered one last word.



They were all assembled. They waited, ready for the carnage to begin. It would be bloody. They had no idea. They had forgotten the sisters. It would be to their cost.

It was time. The Man in the Boat spoke softly, his words would carry, he knew.

“I release you”

The heavens opened that very second. Hail and lightening reigned down on them all, as sun blazed through the disappearing clouds. The earth ripped open before them in the centre of The Cauldron and light blazed upwards, tearing the sky with a deafening screech. Hands and paws covered ears, lest they be shattered by the sound. The charm was lifted.

Shimmering particles appeared in the stream of light, gathering in to a ball high above the ground. Eyes were transfixed, it was amazingly beautiful and terrible all at the same time. All knew the Sword of Sarahling was forming, and what it meant. The particles swarmed around, gathering pace, blinding everyone with their brilliance.



The battle was a scene from hell. The Chaplin unleashed her creatures, giant six-foot tall demented rabbits, no-one would ever call them bunnies. Their paws were covered with shining steel claws, ready to rip anything to shreds. Their teeth were long, razor-sharp, and they bounded across the ground with a pace that belied their bulk. They were fearsome indeed. The Chaplin herself waded in, firing spells in every direction, occasionally hitting one of her own. She didn't care, she wanted the sword, wanted it more than anything else. She hated the giants above all, would do anything to destroy them. She had never forgiven their leader, Boulder, for spurning her years before. This would be the day he paid, paid with his life.

The giants waded in, their enormous clubs swathing through the rabbits and zombies like they weren't there at all. Boulder was surrounded by them, his club swung and connected with two rabbits, sending them flying in to the air, crashing in to the onrushing hoard. He screamed as one sunk it's sharp teeth in to his back. There were too many of them, he knew. Rufall was already lost to the enemy. It pained him to see his friend go, but he would not let them win.

“You will never win, Chaplin”

Wytch and her army of mechanical zombies entered the fray. She's promised Boulder that they would be there for them, help them survive the battle and claim the Sword. She would be happy for the giants to rule. She immediately sent a battalion to him, surrounded as he was, and the rest of her legions towards The Chaplin. The were other zombies on the battlefield that were not hers, but she could not see him yet. But she could feel her brother's presence. She could feel his glare.

A great noise echoed around The Cauldron as Prince Jennin arrived with his legions. They all knew he was key to the day's events. Both Wytch and Boulder made a beeline for him, knowing he would be a target. They were not the only ones.

“You are my prisoner Jennin”

Seemingly from nowhere, Kirstin Queen of the Vampires, swept down and snatched Jennin from the grasp of his guards.

“He's mine now, and the Sword will be too, ha ha ha” And as she carried Jennin off, her throng waded in to the battle, laughing, thinking they had won.

It was bedlam. Bodies of all sides littered the field while the devastation continued. Rabbits swarmed everywhere, there was more of them than the other sides combined. Their claws and teeth were reeking havoc and despite the best efforts of the giants, they were winning. The Chaplin was in her element, screeching as she watched her hoard destroy the opposition. Wytch battled valiantly with her inventions, but she was running out of ideas and support. They were doomed.

The glittering ball began to form the shape of an enormous, beautiful, shimmering sword, and as it solidified, it began to vibrate emitting a call that only the man chosen to release it could hear, Prince Jennin.

His head snapped round when he heard it. The sound he had waited for all his life. But he'd given too much away.

“You hear it? You hear the Sword! It is calling to you. You will release it for me or I will kill you”

“Then you will never have the Sword, Kirstin”

“Do you think I don't know who you desire? Do you think I don't know who you have waited for all of your life? To touch her, to look deep in to her eyes and soul? To kiss her?” His face drained on hearing her words. How did she know?
“Carlyonna, my sister, yes my sister will be here today. Do you wish to die before you see her?”

Jennin was torn. He wanted more than anything to see her, touch her, but how could he release the Sword to Kirstin? She would destroy the land but he desired Carlyonna so.


The Man in the Boat could feel the vibrations. He could feel the indecision. It was this moment he feared.


Time froze as she appeared. Carlyonna, red hair blowing gently in the breeze, piercing steely-blue eyes beholding all who saw them, stood on the top of the hill surveying the devastation below.
As she watched, the melee resumed it's frantic pace. She had to find him, save him, kiss him.

She had searched everywhere for him, but her brother was not to be found. His zombies were still tearing life and limb from anything they could grasp, but he was invisible. Wytch turned to see Boulder grab The Chaplin by the throat and lift her clean off the floor. The rabbits immediately turned on him, swarming all over him. Wytch tried to help him, but was sent sprawling by the surge heading towards them. As she rolled on to her back, a foot planted itself firmly on her chest, pinning her down.


“Get off me, get off me now” she screamed.

“I like your army, pity they're not as good as mine. Pity you'll not live to see what happens”

“I feel sorry for you brother. You'll never be happy. You can kill me and part of you will die too. There's good in you Rich, you know there is. Where is the love we shared when we were kids?”

“Ha ha, you think you can distract me sister? You think I have any good in my soul? Let me show you how good I am?” And he raised his sword, preparing to strike.

 And he uttered one more word.



He felt the warmth on his wrist as her hand wrapped round his. He turned to see a beautiful, raven-haired woman staring straight in to his eyes.

“Spare your sister. You cannot survive without her. Spare her or I cannot spare you”

But his anger and hatred, built up over so many years was not to be put aside.

“No, she will die now, at my hands” 

He tried to free her grip, but she was too strong. As he wrestled, her grip intensified, but not only on his wrist. As her hand tightened he felt his internal organs being squeezed, squashed. He couldn't let go, he couldn't breathe, he couldn't let the anger go, wanting to strike his sister down. And as he fought, his rage consumed every last ounce of his life.


She could feel him. The quickening of her heart told her he was close. The man she'd waited for, knowing she would meet him this day. She had to save him.


Tears fell from her eyes as she looked down at him, his hand still round her throat.

“Why did you never love me, Boulder? Why?”

But he couldn't answer, he looked in to her eyes as the creatures attacked him, speared him. He saw the tears and stopped, paralysed by what he saw. He couldn't take any more punishment, and as their eyes locked, the creatures sank their claws in one last time. The giant fell, crushing several of the rabbits and The Chaplin as he died.


The mayhem continued. Leaderless, the zombies and rabbits lost control, attacking anything and everything. The situation was becoming desperate. So intent on searching for him, she failed to notice the vampires waiting for her.

“I know you can feel her, as I can. But I have captured her, your precious Carlyonna. Release the Sword of Sarahling or I will kill her before your very eyes.”

He had no choice. He couldn't live without the thought of her. He knew Kirsten would destroy the land. He didn't know what to do.

“Trust your heart, Prince”

He didn't know who the voice was, where it was, but it spoke to him again.

“Prince, trust your heart, there is only goodness in there”

“No, I will never give you the Sword. I would rather die”

“I would never give you that pleasure, Prince, you will watch her die instead then”

They hoisted Carlyonna up for him to see, and for the very first time, their eyes met. She was bound and held, unable to move, but her beauty reached out to him, melting his soul.

“Trust your heart, release the Sword. We will save Carradon”

“No, I can........ I cannot, I..........”

But he could not see her die. To be this close, to have looked deep in to her eyes and not been able to be near her would destroy him. He trusted the voice that spoke to him, though he knew not who it was. How could he abandon the land of his fathers to this, this monster? He didn't know which way to turn.

“I release you”

A clap of thunder shook the earth. The bond surrounding the Sword of Sarahling was broken, it was free, unlocked from it's chains of thousands of years. The holder of this sword would rule Carradon. As it fell and landed in soft earth, Kirsten reached out and grabbed the handle, lifting it high in the air.

“It is mine”

The ground shook, and the skies grew dark. Lightening bolts flew across the sky as her voice rang out.

“Carradon is mine” 

A great wind swept across the battlefield, gathering all the creatures still alive. In a second, they were all gone and the only sounds were the rushing of the wind which carried Kirsten's laughter.

“We cannot let that happen sister”

And there in front of Kirsten stood her three sisters, Carlyonna, Goddess and Clarity.

“You think you can match my powers now I have this Sword?”

And with those words, she shot spells out of each of them. They battled hard, the three against the one, but it was soon clear they were now no match for them.


He waited. It was almost time.


“I shall finish you all now. You will die knowing I am the better one, I am....”

“The Sword was meant to rule in peace, Kirsten”

She turned, the only one she feared stood facing her.

“You cannot defeat me. I have the sword, you cannot”

“Surely as I stand here, I can defeat you.”

“But they only way is to sacrifice yourself. Why would you, for these people, they mean nothing to you.”

“Don't make me angry.  You won't like me when I'm angry." He closed his eyes to begin.

The wind whistled around them, spiralling round him, lifting him up, spinning him. It was if if the wind was filling him with energy, with life, with power. When he could consume no more, it ended.

The earth shook one last time, and a cold wind ripped across the plain.

As the clouds cleared and bright warm sunshine returned, he was gone. Queen Kirsten had also disappeared, never to return to the land of Carradon. The Man in the Boat had won.

Clarity found the Sword at her feet, and hoisted it high above her head, it's blade glinting in the beautiful sunshine.

"There will be peace in Carradon forever."

She turned to hug the Goddess, and they both turned to see the scene they had longed for for years.

“My Prince.”

“My Carlyonna.”

And as they stared deep in to each other's eyes and kissed, peace returned to the land of Carradon.

The End.

Thank god.

Thursday, 18 March 2010


I would have smashed the door down
If she hadn’t let me in
I knew that you were in there
And all the pain that you were in

I didn’t spot the signals
I missed them all somehow
And came home to find your letter
And I still regret that now

I rushed straight round
Hoping I could do some good
Trying to save you from your fate
Like a best friend should

Didn’t want to wear a necktie
To go with the darkened suit
Didn’t want to have to stand around
Feeling quiet and strangely mute
Didn’t want to wear a necktie
And have to put you in the ground
Just wanted to wake up every day
And know my friend was still around

I’m glad he smashed the door down
He knew the pain that you were in
You’d done so much together
Both been though it, thick and thin

If we had only known it was so wrong
If only we had listened more
We could have saved you both from this fate
No best friend should endure

I rushed straight there
Knowing I could do no good
Praying to god almighty
Like I never knew I could

Didn’t want to wear a necktie
To go with the darkened suit
Didn’t want to have to stand around
Feeling quiet and strangely mute
Didn’t want to wear a necktie
And have to put you in the ground
Just wanted to wake up every day
And know my bro was still around

Didn’t want to wear a necktie
And have to put you in the ground
Just wanted them to wake up every day
And know their father’s still around

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

So, who you gonna be this time?

Game on.

After post-Valiant discussions, and a why the hell not, let's have Round 2.

You're mad enough to contribute your thoughts on your character, plotlines, love-interest, and such like (including how big your part should be, cough cough).  I'm stupid enough to jumble it all up together in to a story.  Remember, if you all want a part as big as Valiant this time, you need to eat more sweetco, er I mean you need to be prepared for a longer story this time.  

So send me your thoughts, fresh avatar pics (for those in perpetual motion), and we'll do it again. Post them here, tag them #ValiantPt2 or just be idle and reply to my tweet (the hastag is Valiant, but let's do something different this time).  Published Friday.

Captain - you mention "tea" or "nuclear explosions" and you'll die a horrible death in the opening scene.

My name's Peter Serafinowicz, good night.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Prince Valiant

Cast List

Prince Junior – RDJ
Valiant - @AndyBold
The Sorceress - @Hedgewytch
Princess Harmony - @cooda
Clarissa - @ClareyBo
Captain Squall - @CaptRJSpaulding
Merlin - @markofrespect
Captain Red - @oneandonlycarly
Rar – the dragon
Rainey – Johnny Depp
Sir Boov - @iBoov

In Lone Star castle, high above the sea of Trannet, Prince Junior waits, impatiently waits, for the arrival of his most trusted advisor, Valiant. The doors to the main hall are thrown open and Valiant, a tall purposeful man, strides in, sword gently clanking on his armour as he closes in on the Prince.

“News, brave Valiant?”

“It is true Sire, it is true. She is being held on Whisper Island, on the other side of the Massflow Strait. The dragon is fierce, but we've faced fear before Sire. Our problem lies in getting there. The straits have never been crossed. The Sorceress ensures no man will ever cross.”

“Can we not defeat her Valiant? Cannot even Merlin assist in our quest?”

“Sire, she controls the sea, the wind, and no man, no magician can prevent her wrath. It is told that many years ago, her heart was lost as her lover drowned in a storm. She bade to forever curse the seas where he departed”

“How will we ever rescue the Princess, Valiant? I have never laid eyes on her, yet I know she is the most beautiful, most precious thing in the world. I desire her like I have no other. Food will have no taste, drink no potency until she is mine”

The court trumpeters piped up, surprising both of them, as a voice rang out.

“Enough of your nonsense, let me to the Prince!”

Valiant strides forward to intercept the man, blocking the path to the Prince. The stranger just laughs.

“Do you not know who I am man? I am Captain Squall, the only Captain who can sail to Whisper Island”

“Impossible, no man can sail the Strait of Massflow. The Sorceress sees that any ship trying to cross the Strait is doomed, with all hands lost”

The Captain just laughed more.

“She may control the wind, she may control the tide. But I, Valiant, have the rain. I will get you to Whisper Island. I know what you seek is there. My terms, all the treasure belongs to me”

Prince Junior could hardly contain his excitement, he rushed forward to grab the Captain's hand, grasping it tightly, staring straight in to the Captain's eyes.

“Captain, whatever treasure or gold is there is yours with my blessing. Bring me Princess Harmony and the freedom of my land is yours forever. Let us set sail”


She knew they would be approaching. The winds told her in breathless whispers as it rushed on by. The waves grew restless, as did The Sorceress. But she did not speak back. She spoke no more. But they would not pass. She knew they would not pass.


It was a beautiful place, of that she had no doubt. She had good food, water, and the freedom of this small island. But she was captive. She had been now for several weeks, taken from her home on the other side of the sea by what had initially seemed a fearful dragon, and brought here to it's home.

As time passed, she began to realise the dragon was far from fearful. She thought on two occasions she had noticed tears in the dragon's eyes as the sun was setting over the horizon. It was always this time the dragon would pace out to the water's edge, rest as the waves gently lapped at her body and watched as the sun disappeared for another day.

She knew the tales of the Strait, had listened to the stories of The Sorceress as a child, and deep down knew that she would never leave here. Princess Harmony watched as the dragon padded out to the water's edge and alone in their loneliness, they both silently shed their tears.


“I want to be sailing those waves in 5 minutes crew. Now go” He shouted.

But it was clear he was a kind and goodly Captain, knowing when to chide his crew along. He knew they would be scared at the thought of crossing the Strait. No one knew what he meant when he said “I have the rain” but he still whispered it to the odd crew man, knowing they would pass it on, knowing they would think he had a plan to defeat The Sorceress. He had no intention to battle The Sorceress, for he knew he could not defeat her. He knew, however, that he could cross the Strait. He had the rain.

“The rain cannot surely see us across the madness, surely Valiant?”

“Sire, I have no wish to perish here, but will go with your lead. This is the Captain's task, mine is waiting for me on the Island”

Valiant nodded politely to his Prince and headed off to check on his men and their preparations. He did not want to delay the sailing. He'd always had a special place in his heart for dragons, and slaying them was something he lived for. He had once lived for something else but no more. He paused to turn and watch the sun go down. It used to be his favourite part of the day.


They'd exchanged very few words before. It had taken Harmony several days to notice the dragon could actually speak. She mistook the mummers in the sleep as simply snoring, but it turned out the dragon would talk whilst slumbering, muttering away to herself. She didn't know why today she approached, why she wanted to ask questions, but today she did.

“Why do you cry, dragon?”

“Rar, my name is Rar”

“Why do you cry Rar? I have seen you several times. Your reputation is of a fearful, deadly dragon. You do not seem as such. You weep when the sun goes down.”

“Like you, Princess, I am alone. You may be rescued, which will bring an end to my loneliness, but till then I have nothing”

“But why did you take me, knowing that warriors will come to save me and kill you?”

Rar paused, the tears building in her eyes.

“I know who desires you, Princess. I know he will do anything in his powers to save you from me. I know the men he will bring with him. One man. I know what will happen to me. But I will be saved, Harmony, I will see him one more time”

And Rar turned, head bowed and trudged slowly away from the water's edge.


He could feel the change in the air. He could sometimes read The Sorceress' thoughts, when she was angry or sad. He knew there were plans. Unpleasant plans, but there was something else too, something even his great powers could not fully sense. The destination bothered him greatly. Whisper. He'd learnt a long time ago that his powers were greatly diminished on that island, and it bothered him that he didn't know why. He hoped the plan he'd set in motion years earlier would suffice. What would happen after he had no control over. Merlin summoned his greatest warrior. He would need help if what he suspected was to occur.


The trip continued in an uneventful manner for 3 days and nights. They didn't need any adventure, this was supposed to be the easy part. The trouble would start the next morning as they approached the Strait. The Prince was scared. He could have stayed back at the castle, but no, he could not sent his men to almost certain death without being by their side. He never had. Valiant had supported him on many long campaigns, battles and adventures, even after the death of his wife, to, of all things, a dragon. The Prince knew Valiant had a special place in his heart for dragons and hoped that one day his most trusted servant, no, his most trusted friend would live for himself again.


It started not long after dawn broke. The earlier strong winds had carried them quickly to the edge of the Strait through the night. The crew manned their battle stations, not knowing what to expect, other than death. The sun cut through the light mist, all was calm, everyone was silent. Hearts pounded as the water gently splashed the sides of the ship.

A great gust of wind caught the ship from behind, speeding it up rapidly. Crewmen grabbed for lines, rigging, anything to hold on. The seas rose dramatically, quickly, the ship rolling, pitching in every directions. Enormous waves crashed over the bow, drenching all those on the deck. The hull creaked, groaning in protest at the stress being placed on it. The Captain merely laughed.

“Sorceress! Is that your best? Is that your best?” He laughed even louder.

And in reply to his taunts, the wind grew, the waves rose, hammering in to the ship. Bodies, supplies scattered everywhere. Men flew overboard unable to hang on. The Captain laughed harder.

“Show yourself, Sorceress. I want to see your face before I defeat you” he bellowed.

The clouds gathered ever more, swirling round and round it to a tight, dark circle. The rain belted down, hurting everyone with the force of it's impact. The tempest grew, tossing the ship like it was nothing more than a child's discarded toy. The waves formed as one, lifting the ship skyward, 60, 80, 100 feet above the sea, the boat resting on a rolling rollicking wave. And out of the circle, a face began to appear. Dark, reddish hair swirled round with the winds. The eyes pierced all those that looked at them. Those that turned away felt them burning their backs. There was no expression on the face, no anger, no malice. The image grew and grew, moving closer to the ship as if to swallow it whole. When the crew could almost reach out and touch The Sorceress, the Captain shouted one single word.


Seemingly from nowhere, a figure walked along the deck towards the bow, towards The Sorceress. She was oblivious to him, her eyes just blazing away. Until he spoke.

“Sorceress. Sorceress. Where have you been?”

In an instant the expressionless face changed before them. She was no longer something to be feared, to run and hide from. She was a person, and the confusion of emotion, fear, and the sudden recollection of thoughts she had long tried to forget was etched in her face and eyes. She tried to speak, but could barely utter the words.


“Yes, Sorceress, it's me. I've missed you.”

“No, no, it can't be you, you,..... y”

“Merlin saved me Sorceress. It took all of his powers and many years, but he saved me. He knew you would have to be shown this way, that this was the only way you'd believe it. It had to be this way. I've missed you, Sorceress.”

And in the blink of the eye, the clouds had parted, the seas had calmed and the ship was once again resting on the gentle waves. The Sorceress stood on the deck, her arms around Rainey. She knew it was him from the look in his eyes, the gentle timbre of his voice.

The collective sigh of the crew as the ship hit the shoreline was audible over the noise of the surf. Their job was complete. For Valiant, his job was just beginning. He assured the Prince he would return with Harmony, and set off to find the dragon and do battle

He quickly found the lair, an enormous cavern near the waters edge. The size of the lair made him wary, this would be no easy task. The heavy footfalls behind him told him everything. He spun round to be faced with an enormous, dark, scaled dragon, but one not ready for battle. He waited no time at all in raising his sword to strike. At that moment a voice screamed out.

“Do not kill the dragon”

Valiant took a step back. This had never happened before. He knew the lady before him to be Princess Harmony. The Princess that the dragon had stole and imprisoned for weeks.

“She's not mean, she hadn't hurt me at all. She even talks” The Princess looked over to Ra. “Talk to him Rar.”

But she couldn't. The words clung to her throat, and couldn't escape. She knew this man had come to kill her. She had waited for this day, planned for this day, caused this day. She hung her head as the sword was lifted again.

“No! Have you no love in your heart? Can't you see the dragon's lost something close to them? Have you never felt that love?” Valiant turned and spoke with a passion that had only ever been seen in battle before.

“I had love. I had love in my heart. I had a wife, a kind and loving wife. We shared our lives, every minute of every day that we could. I loved her like I will never love anyone. She was taken from me, by, by, by them” he said pointing the tip of his sword at Ra as the tears streamed down his face “And I will never get her back. And now I have nothing. We shared every sunset together at the water's edge. And now I stand there alone, with tears on my face. I have nothing left in my heart.”

The Princess stopped. She couldn't believe what she'd just heard. No, it could be. Valiant turned back, rage clear in his eyes and in the way he raised his sword to strike. Ra finally managed to utter one single word. The Princess screamed as the blade swung towards Ra as she whispered “Valiant”

A mighty clang of metal on metal filled the air as a glimmering blade blocked the path of Valiant's sword to the dragon.

“You do not want to do that, my friend” the gentle voice said.

“Step back Sir, this is not your battle. Stand back.”

“Do you not see what is there in front of you, Valiant?

“Stand back Sir, I do not want to hurt you.” And then a voice from behind him said.

“You cannot hurt him, Valiant. He is Sir Boov”

“Valiant, do you not see what is before you? You see a dragon, I see your wife.” The princess came running over.

“Yes, yes, it is. Every night she walks down to the water's edge to watch the sunset, and cries.”

“Valiant, my husband, it is me.”

Valiant stood rooted to the spot. He'd come with hatred in his heart. He could hear her voice in the words that she said, in the way she said his name. He new it was his wife, his Clarissa. He longed to believe.

Merlin explained to the group that instead of being killed by a dragon, the blood of a dragon in her veins had slowed turned her what they saw before them now.

“My powers are useless on this island. I cannot turn Clarissa back. The Sorceress should be able to, but we will break the spell on the island and release the demon inside. The consequences could be fateful for us all until we reach land”

The Captain quickly prepared the boat for departure while The Sorceress and Merlin considered the best way to break the spell. One other meeting took place.

“My lady, my Princess, I have waited every moment of my life to be here with you right now.”

“You took your time. Bitch”

“Let me take you away from this place, to my castle, where we can spend forever together.”

“I can think of nothing I would like more, Prince Junior.”

The boat was ready. The crew was ready, and as The Sorceress cast the spell to release Clarissa, the boat moved away to the sounds of enormous rumblings from deep inside the island.

Rocks burst up from the centre, fire and ash spitting out everywhere. The boat hadn't moved off too far as the island erupted, seemingly to chase after them. Merlin's powers were still zapped by the island so could do nothing. The Sorceress tried to delay the demons progress, but it was catching them rapidly. The boat would not go any faster. The demon was gaining, a wall of fire now reaching out over the waves to them. It was inches from the stern.

“Tally ho Captain” called Captain Red, throwing lines from her ship, The Smiley, the fastest ship in the world. “Thought you'd need a hand.”

The extra speed from the The Smiley was taking them to safety, out of the reach of the demon. Captain Red had saved them all.  One last enormous explosion from the island send a huge wave chasing after them. Fast as they were now, they would not outrun this. The big wave quickly swept them up and carried then onwards and ever close to land. What would have been 3 days sailing was reduced to a mere couple of hours.

As they touched down on land, hugs, kisses and handshakes were exchanged, and a few knees were bent.

“Princess Harmony, will you marry me?”

“I would be honoured, Prince Junior”

“Sorceress, let us never be parted, or changed.”

And as Valiant and Clarissa hugged, Prince Junior touched him gently on the shoulder.

“Valiant, you have served your country and your prince with honour, arise Sir Valiant”

“It has been a day of adventure, but one more thing Sir Boov, follow me.”

“Remind me, why am I following you?”

And as the gathering turned their minds to the celebration ball, the sparkle, the outfits, Captain Red turned and said.

“I'm thirsty Captain Squall. Time for you to go make the tea.”