Arron sat with his ship mates as the storm raged on outside. It had been two months since he had joined the crew and storms still had him on edge. They were telling stories of the jungle where they'd grown up, and the fantastic beasts that roamed there. They did this every evening; tonight's story was about the Impundulu, an impossible bird of lightning and thirst for blood. They spoke so often of magic because they knew it made him uneasy. The crew didn't like newcomers and couldn't wait to reach Albion to dump him.
Faraj was the closest thing he had to a friend on the ship, a kind older man of a deep tan complexion and quiet strength. Over his travels, Arron had met many people but meeting Faraj had felt like destiny. He met him on the streets of a dessert city, he told tales of a place that had outlawed magic years before and had since lifted the ban. He didn't know much more, only that there was a ship setting sail for it out of the harbor and that it was said to be the native land of dragons. At the mention of dragons, Arron had tensed. Unsure why, he knew he had to go. That unease always seemed to mean that he was getting closer to answers.
"Arron, are we boring you with our story tonight?" Asked Gwala. He was a cynical man; he liked to pick fights with Arron. His only explanation for why was that Arron made him uneasy.
"I'm just thinking about Albion."
"That's right. You've never been." He smirked at the others. "You know the thing about Albion? It use to be little more than a city, ruled over by the Pendragon line."
Faraj, who was sitting next to Arron rolled his eyes, "Not this again."
"What?" Arron had never heard this.
Faraj waved his hand in dismissal, "An old wife's tale. Meant to send the kiddies to sleep at night."
Gwala laughed, "Pendragon was cocky- going to war against all of magic. A large group of mercenaries- the Traijans- were hired by a witch to attack the coast and bring the Pendragon out of his fortress."
"Traijans?" Arron asked, leaning in.
"Aye, boy. They were once from the same land as my people, but many years ago they left in search for wealth and power. When they heard of the price they were in. The King had a son, Arthur. He was a brave soul of incredible skill and strength. He led the troops onto the shore on a storm filled evening- just like this one- when suddenly BAM!" Gwala smacked the table. "Chaos. The Traijans had been hiding behind a powerful invisibility spell. The Prince was captured and dragged onto one of the enemy's ships… That's when things got scary. No one knows how, but all the Traijans on the shore vanished, turned to dust and dissolved, mixing with the sand. The ships sunk into the ocean as if they were taken out as if by God himself. No one on board survived."
"What happened to Pendragon's forces?"
Gwala laughed, "All the ones still alive were untouched. Some say it was magic. No one but the King and his knights knows for sure. None will say. But there is a lot of talk as to who it was."
"What happened after that?"
"The King mourned heavily for four days. On the fifth day, his ward- and the only heir left to the throne- tried to claim his life and kingdom."
Arron leaned closer, "Did he succeed?"
"She. The ward was the witch who hired the Traijans. She did not kill the King and fled the city."
"And the King?"
Gwala shrugged, "Sought a new heir. He found one too. A young man of the Ambrosius line that had long since died out in the male side and he was almost a too convenient find, the only problem was he was a sorcerer."
Arron gawked at him, "And the King allowed it?"
"He had no other choice. He was old, dying of a broken heart. They say he was tired of the bloodshed. After losing all he had held dear, he saw the madness everyone else had seen in himself. With the help of his new ward, he made peace with the people of magic in his land. Soon after that he died."
"What happened to the Ambrosius?"
"He's ruling now as Steward. The people love him, the knights love him. He has not only brought peace but prosperity to the land. He united the entire isle and calls it Albion… But there are still the whispers." Arron didn't interrupt this time. "It's said the Steward was the one who destroyed the Traijan force that day when he realized they had taken the prince- that the Steward was a mere servant. They say the king lied because he would rather resurrect a dead line then admit the truth- that the Steward is a Dragonlord." Gwala laughed a bit. "It's like the entire city of Camelot knows this big secret and no one is willing to tell it. But they know. The only one who might have been willing to say was the witch and the Steward's first order as ruler was to have her tracked down and locked beneath the castle."
Faraj sighed. "And what of the rumors?" Arron looked to his friend who shook his head, grinning. "This is Gwala's favorite part."
"The rumors! They pour out of the city like water over a cliff. The prince's body was never found."
"Never found! It was probably eaten by sharks." Faraj scoffed.
"But what if it wasn't? There are some who say the prince still walks this earth."
Arron's eyes went wide, "Surely if he were alive he would have made it back to his kingdom by now."
Gwala sighed. "No one knows. But if the Steward didn't believe the rumors, why not just call himself king?"
Faraj's face went grave. Graver then he'd ever seen it. "Because the prince was his friend."
Gwala laughed, "Yea right. He's probably just afraid that the prince will come back and have him beheaded or something." He sighed, picking up his mead glass and raising it towards Arron. "This is the most you've probably said of anything since you've come on board."
Arron blinked, surprised. "I was just… Curious."
Gwala shrugged setting down his mead and standing. "The captain says we arrive in Port Balinor in the morning. Better get some shut eye."
Faraj patted Arron on the shoulder as his ship mates all turned in for the night. Arron was wide awake. Once they were all asleep Arron pulled out a torn piece of cloth from his pocket: A gold dragon patched onto a piece of tattered red cloth. Albion- the home of the dragons. He felt the material between his fingers and closed his eyes, hoping beyond all hope he was finally heading in the right direction.
Maybe Albion the home he had search for all these years.