Prologue

She paced from one end of the room to the other, her mind rotting with boredom. She looked at the room, still pacing, looking first at the window. The rain still beat down. She glared at the window, as if by simply glancing at the world outside would make the rain stop. But, as if to make a point that her boredom would not do anything of the kind, the world lit up with a flash of light followed by a loud bang of emphrase that echoed through the room.

With a jump of fright she stopped pacing, and looked elsewhere for a release to her boredom. But, hard as she looked at the cold stone walls, blazing fire, crack rimmed jugs filled with different things and hard-wooden dining table and chairs, nothing would present itself to her.

With a groan of annoyance she dumped herself into one of the chairs, and jumped up three times quicker when she landed on a splinter. She plucked the splinter out of her behind and examined it. Flicking it aside she decided she would look in her bedroom at the end of the hallway for something to do.

She strolled to her room as if she had nothing else better to do (for in fact she didn't, as of yet). As she passed her father's room she looked inside. Still walking she bent her head around the doorframe to keep looking. She stopped with her head still bent around the doorframe.

Though there were many things in her father's room that should interest a girl her age, for she was only ten, she had only eyes for the parchment and writing implements on his workbench. He was a writer or scribe, as the nobles liked to call him; she herself liked to call him scribbler. She called him this because most of the time his writing just looked like a bunch of scribbles on the page, that was, of course, when he wasn't trying to be neat.

"No," she said. "No more writing!" She advised herself shaking her head.

Her feet, unfortunately, did not listen to her and carried her over to the workbench. She inspected the chair before sitting, no splinters this time. Still she did not pick up the quill. But finally her want to write overcame her fear to write. She took up the quill and dipped it in the ink before starting to write. She didn't even have to mull over an idea; it just came to her.

If anyone found out she could write she would be in deep trouble. This was because the only women allowed to write were the noble and royal ladies. But in fact though the common men were allowed to write they didn't usually know how. Among the few commons that knew how to write were scribes and people who needed to know for their businesses.

The only reason she knew how to write was because her father taught her. When she wrote she was a lot like her father. So often she had seen her father sitting where she was writing down one of the many stories he came up with.

The writing overtook her, putting her in to a trance. She felt the story flowing out of her. Heard the scratch of the quill on the parchment, forming the words, with the occasional plop as she put more ink on her quill. She smelt the strong ink and special herbs that protected the parchment, which both had a strong aroma. She even saw the words forming on the page as her hand passed quickly over it. With all her senses flooded she lost track of time, and wrote sentence after sentence.

Suddenly she was jolted out of her trance. There the noise came again, was someone knocking? Who on earth would come in the middle of a thunderstorm?

"Reginald!" She growled under her breath. Really she was thankful, what would if she had kept writing? She folded the pages of parchment she had written on and put them into the pocket of her faded blue, badly fixed dress, her own handiwork.

Her mother had disappeared when she was two, so she had to figure out how to sew on her own. People often asked her if she missed her mother, Maria, but truth was she didn't even remember her.

Reginald was still knocking. She shook her head, trust Reg to turn up in the middle of a storm, that was best friends for you.

"Letti!" He started yelling. "Letti, open the door!"

"Well it mustn't be that wet out side if he hasn't started calling me by full name yet" she whispered to herself.

"Atlantia, open the damn door! I'm soaked to the bloody bone!" he ironically screamed through the door.

She shook her head with a small smile. "So much for that thought." She said rolling her eyes. Atlantia finally got to the door. She grabbed the jam holding the door shut, meanwhile screaming through the door. "Shut up now Reg, I'm here!"

The jam was stuck tight, a few more tugs. It came free with a burst and flung her to the floor.

The door opened and Reg came in. His eyes flew around the room and quickly found what they wished to find.

"Letti are you alright?" he asked frantically shutting the door and flinging himself to the floor by her side.

"I'm fine" she murmured the lie for that's what it was. Her backside throbbed so highly from the fall, and the splinter earlier made it worse. As she sat up a bit of blood smudged on her shirt.

"No you're not" he caught her out before he saw the blood.

'How does he do that?' She thought. She answered herself, 'that's what happens when you've known someone since you were one and a half, they know you to well.'

"Letti you're bleeding!" He blurted in surprise. He jumped up and went for the bandages, knowing the house inside and out.

"It's all right," she called after him, "it's just a mere scratch!" She didn't bother arguing any more then that, she knew he wouldn't listen. "The door jam keeps getting stuck, I think I'll tell father to get it fixed."

He just nodded in reply as he came back with the bandages. "Is he out at some job?" He asked

"Is he out at a job?" She corrected him before answering, "yes."

"What's he doin' this time?" He inquired as he started bandaging her arm.

She rolled her eyes at his improper grammar, he never learns, but she did have quite high standards. Her father had taught her, since she was young, to talk like a noble. "I'm not sure" she finally answered. Flinching as Reg bandaged her arm. "Not so ti-!" She stopped mid-sentence when the door flung open.

Lightening struck, ironically, illuminating the figure in the doorway. "What happened here?" The figure asked as he closed the door. He then bent over and started examining Atlantia's arm. "Let me guess . . . the door jammed again?" He asked guessing correctly, catching sight of the door jam lying on the floor arms reach from Atlantia.

Both children nodded and he went on. "I also notice," he began, "that Regi was kind enough to fetch bandages and bind your arm but not help you to a seat. Even though your behind is probably hurting more than your arm right now. Though it was very kind of you, Regi."

Reginald flushed with embarrassment at his stupidity. He then decided that helping her to a chair was a good idea and helped Atlantia to her feet. The figure straitened up and walked over to the chairs with them, Atlantia more limping then walking. Atlantia then inspected the chair, no splinters, then sat down. The figure sat net to her and Reg sat across from her.

"What shall we do to pass this dark and stormy night?" Asked the figure

Straght away Reg answered. "Why don' ya tell us a story Fabrizio."

Once again Atlantia rolled her eyes, but this time was accompanied by Fabrizio. She then agreed "Yes, Father tell a story, do." She pleaded adding a little correction for Reg.

"You really want to hear a story?" He asked sounding serious but if you looked into his eyes, deep brown pools, you could see an amused twinkle.

"Please" he heard the uniting voices of Regi and Letti, Letti opening her eyes so as to look sweet and innocent with those lovely irises. Regi and Letti's voice was joined by another sound of agreement.

"Row" that was Cleopatra, Atlantia's faithful cat for ten years.

At that moment she jumped up onto the table, right past Reg and near scaring him out of his skin. Cleopatra then moved across the table and curled up in Atlantia's lap looking up at Fabrizio expectantly.

"I think Pat wants to hear one too." Atlantia informed her Father uselessly.

"Alright then, which one do you want to hear tonight?" Fabrizio asked, still retaining his amused glanced.

Letti looked thoughtful, obviously thinking about which of her father's stories she would like to hear tonight. It was Regi, whom had recovered from his fright, who answered.

Obviously a very thoughtful answer, "Dunno."

A still amused Fabrizio made a thoughtful sound and pretended to be thoughtful. He glanced around the room, oh how much Letti looked like her long lost mother, Maria. With a cat on her lap and the dark brown hair, curling gently past her shoulders, so brown and beautiful. Fighting the hairpin he had given her mother. It was Maria's favourite, but the day she had disappeared she hadn't been wearing it. So Letti now wore it even though she could not remember her mother.

"How about 'The Lonely Dragon Who Made friends With the Friendly Prince?'" He asked the children and cat.

Both children shook their heads, "too childish and tame." Letti Declared. Reg nodded in agreement and Pat gave another of the agreeing "Row" sounds.

By now Fabrizio had all three sets of eyes looking at him, emerald green from a small set of cat eyes, blue from the sandy-blond haired expecting Reginald and a lovely deep brown with a tinge of green for Atlantia's. The brown she had inherited from him but her mothers had been green that's how she got the tinge.

"Too tame?" He mulled, "well then how about 'The Sea Monster As Big As Gruber That Was Conquered By The Fearsome Pirate?'" He suggested.

"No way" said Letti, Reg again nodding in agreement with her.

"Row" obviously Pat didn't want to hear that one. Then there was a strange sound "slurp, slurp," they all looked down to see Pat licking her lips.

Letti was the first to speak, "soon enough the pirate will be able to sail down the streets of Gruber, as much as Pat would like it." Letti was obviously referring to the rain and how looked about to flood the town, and Pat's hunger for some fish.

"Well the only other . . . nah" said Fabrizio, now with a fleck of mischief in his still amused eyes.

"Oh, what story Father?" Letti inquired, a twinkle of wonder in the way she looked at him.

"Well I was just thinking, and the only other story that comes to mind is . . ." he drew out the suspense. With the children hanging on his words he finally said, "'The Worrier Princess and the Prince', but you guys don't want to hear that one. You-"

He was stopped short by Reg, "no we want to hear that one! Don't we Lett?" He asked her, she just nodded enthusiastically. Both children were looking at him with hope, Pat too had raised her head and was looking at him with the same hope. He looked at their faces and saw the pleading that he couldn't resist.

But he managed to pretend, "but you've heard it so often, it must be so boring."

"We haven't heard it nearly enough, and it can never be boring. Isn't that right Reg?" This time it was his turn to nod enthusiastically.

"Row" Pat obviously agreed with them in this matter, of course. Pat had been with Letti since she was born; they had been inseparable ever since. Her mother had had a cat exactly the same; in fact Pat was born in a litter from Maria's third cat that was pitch black as well. That cat had disappeared on the same day as its owner . . . such mystery.

"Oh, all right" He gave in not so reluctantly though he sounded as if he was. But he always loved telling them stories he had made up and also his eyes showed his joy. "Ok everyone comfy?" The children arranged themselves. Letti moving her chair so she could lean on him he then put his arm around her. Reg had chosen to cross his arms on the table so he could put his chin on them. Pat on the other hand had managed to maintain a perfect position on Letti's lap, even while she moved the chair. "Everyone comfy?" He asked again.

This time he received nods an a stretched out "rooowwww."

"Good lets start." He said

There was a crash of thunder, to emphrase the point, as if the whole world was excited to hear the story. The group only took a moment's notice.

"Once upon a time" Fabrizio began, as all fairy tales do. "In a land called Dorania a Kingdom where there are fairies, unicorns, dragons and in the sea, on their coast, there is even mermaids." When Fabrizio had come up with this story it was only he and Maria, she had loved mermaids.

With the quick thought of Maria he brushed his medium brown hair behind his ear, which was easy with hair down to his chin. He did this as if the simple movement like that could wipe the thoughts away. He looked down at Letti; her hair was darker than his was and curly. Maria had had such dark brown hair that it was not far off black but you could still tell it was brown. His Hair was strait so Letti obviously got the curly hair from her mother again, but it was just a little lighter, a mix of both parents.

After a few seconds pause from the story he picked up again. "But there aren't just those creatures in Dorania there are many, many more, in some parts there are even giants. In this great land there is a King and Queen, as there is in every kingdom. The King and Queen had a son, he is brave and also very handsome." At this Letti poked her toung out, she was not yet at the age when you think about boys. Amused again he kept telling the story "As I said he was very brave, he proved this many a time. Many dragons are friendly and the Prince is friends with many of them. But when need be he would fight one of the unfriendly dragons to protect the Kingdom. It was the same with giants, he would do anything to protect the happy people of Dorania. The Prince has brown hair and green eyes and though he is a prince he wears commoners clothes. A white shirt and black pants with seafarers boots.

One day the Prince got word of a terrible wizard in the country next to Dorania, so he and his trusty stead, a unicorn, rode to defeat the fearsome foe.

The unicorn, as white as the moon, was said to be incredibly troublesome, as cheeky as you two put together." Fabrizio said referring to Letti and Reg, for this he received a gentle elbow in the stomach from a smiling girl. Both Letti and Reg were smiling they were known all around town for troublesome behaviour. "So the Prince and the unicorn rode through the Dragon's Mouth Pass through the mountains, to the next kingdom." Fabrizio went on telling the story with a smile. "That night he stopped to sleep in a cave. When he got into the cave he felt cold steel against his throat. 'I mean no harm' the Prince told the stranger, taking his luck he said 'I have come to defeat the wizard that has taken hold of this kingdom.' He was answered by a strange voice 'what, your not going to kill the witch as well?' At this moment he no longer felt the sword on his skin and he heard it being seethed. He turned not to see a worrier but a woman, or was she a worrier.

She wore a red dress and her hair is brown and streaked with red. Her eyes were the most unusual eyes he had ever seen, they were purple with flecks of red, and behind her shoulder she had a tattoo of a sword with a flower twining around it. What the Prince could not see was that under her dress she wore black commoners' pants and seafarers boots.

She told him all she knew of their foes, which turned out to be a lot. She called the foes 'The Witch and Wizard of Death' because they loved to kill. She too wished to defeat this evil. So the Prince and the Girl joined forces. Over the night she told him everything even what they looked like

The Witch wore a wide strip of cloth that only covered her chest, this was black. She also wore a long skirt from the hips down. She also womanly fashioned high heels that were also black. Her nails were long and as everything else she wore, black. Her hair also black, was short and worn in many ponytails, and at first glance looked like snakes. She had many piercings all with black stones; red eyes were the only touch of on her face. She like the girl had a tattoo, but this one looked evil. The tattoo was of two snakes coiling around her waist and coming up around her sides to have their heads pointing towards her throat with moths open, looking as if poised to strike.

The Wizard also had black hair and only black cloths. He wore expensive material and a cape that followed him along the ground. His black hair was worn long and tied back in a horse tail. He too had many piercings. But his eyes were brown to add to the darkness.

It's believed that the Witch was the brains, the wizard was not the smartest, but he was the strength. 'What draws them together is their lust for death. My mission is to destroy them.' The girl concluded. 'Anyway it's a long journey to the castle we should get some rest.'

The next day the Prince woke to see the girl watching him and plating her hair. She gave him some food and they left.

'How are we going to get there if you don't have a horse?' The Prince asked

'I was going to ask you the same question' with that she put her fingers to her mouth and gave a whistle. Out of nowhere a pitch-black horse appeared. She then mounted as the prince got his unicorn.

So the pair left on their black and white steeds. The Prince saw now that her hair came down to her waist, well around about its hard to tell when its tied up." Fabrizio stopped to catch his breath. Looking at Reg and Letti he could tell they were hanging on his every word.

"Come on Father keep telling the story" urged Letti.

"I'm sure you two know the story word for word anyway." He said. "Where was I . . .? The Girl was right it was a long journey, it took the pair a week. Over that week the Prince found out a lot about the girl like she is an incredible fighter. He even started falling in love.

The girl seemed happy enough even with her land under the new rule of the evil Lord and Lady of Death. But truly her dreams are haunted with beauty tainted by death. She hoped that the elimination of the Witch and Wizard would also eliminate those dreams.

Finally the day came for battle-"

"YES!" What an interruption.

"Let him tell us the story Reg," Letti told him. "Come on tell the rest of the story"

"All right, the Prince, insight of the castle, felt his blood run cold. 'The castle use to be bright, peaceful and joyous." The Girl informed him noticing his fear.

'Wish it was like that now' he replied.

'Me too' said the girl with a sigh. 'Now, the Witch is mine to fight. You deal with the wizard'

'Ok, why?' The Prince wondered

The Girl decided she would tell him. 'Because she, with her own hand, killed my parents. I may not be able to poison her but I will still avenge them'

'I will not deny you that right' said the prince understanding

'All right let's go' said the Girl impatient to kill her enemy."

Fabrizio stopped because Letti and Reg were giggling and Pat was rolling back and forth on his and Letti's laps. They loved his voices, he couldn't help smiling.

Once everyone had recovered he continued. "The battle raged for a day and a night, the ringing clash of swords rang through the castle. The Prince and the Wizard used strength against strength. But the Girl used wit and movement against the Witch's quick strokes and terrible taunts.

When the battle was over the Prince and the Girl went out through the gates side by side. The castle returning to the ways of old, when it was bright, peaceful and joyous, around them. Light touched every corner that was previously dark. Their swords shone and the remnants of the Witch and Wizard's blood dripped off, drip, drip, drip.

Once they stepped through the gates they were greeted by cheers, 'The Worrier Princess has saved us all!'

The Prince asked whom they were calling Princess. 'Me silly! The Worrier Princess, my parents were the King and Queen.'

Because they had fallen in love with each other the Worrier Princess and the Prince got married. They had a number of adventures as they travelled everywhere eliminating evil and ruling over the kingdom. In their rule evil has never taken over the kingdom again and they will live happily ever after!" Fabrizio finished, "All right the storys over, time for some sleep, don't you think?"

"NO WAY!" Reg and Letti said together

Letti tried to suppress a yawn without luck. "I think so," said Fabrizio. "The rain hasn't stopped yet so you better sleep here Regi. Letti and I will take you home tomorrow morning and explain"

"Besides, Reg, if you try to get home now-" stopping to suppress yet another yawn. Letti picked up exactly where she left off; "you will probably get soaked to the bone and catch your death. Then who will I have to help me terrorise the town." Said Letti justifying his staying the night.

"Yeah especially Mrs Webber" said Reg with a laugh.

"I knew you two were still up to your tricks on her, she's getting old you know." Fabrizio told them with a not so disapproving glance. 'Their only kids' he thought 'they will grow out of it, until then they will always get into trouble.'

"We're sorry Father, aren't we Reg?" She said giving Reg an elbow in the side; they were all standing up by now.

"Err . . . yeah, Fabrizio" Said Reg not to convincingly.

Fabrizio gave a chuckle as Letti said, "I'm going to go get changed." She ran off down the hallway closing her door behind her.

Once in her room she hid the pieces of parchment she had written on, if that was found by the wrong person her father and her would be arrested. She then put on her night clothes and called for Reg and her Father. Pat was already in her room, as inseparable as they were. Her father brought in an extra pillow and lay it at the end of the bed. Reg and Letti lay side by side with their heads at different ends, under the covers. "Good night!" they said in unison.

Pat put in a bit of a purr.

"Good night you three, sleep well." With that Fabrizio kissed Letti on the forehead and gave them a smile before closing the door behind him.

"Letti, you'll always be my best friend" Said Reg after Fabrizio had left.

"You'll always be mine too, Reg" she replied with a smile. "Ow . . . you to Pat" Letti said when Pat bit her finger.

With that pat curled up between Letti's arm and torso and gave a content sound before lightly purring.

"Friends for life" Reg and Letti said at the same time. Letti then leaned over and blew out the candle.