Black Arrow

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A young prince must prove to be as his brothers were in the yearly hunt, but things go awry and soon leads to one disastrous thing after another. This tale is the first of Three Acts.

First 10 Pages


For two weeks; after the start of the Summer solstice, the yearly Summer Hunt takes place in the arid savannah plains of the Southern Kingdom. Regarded as a coming of age event - young male nobles from the age of ten and highly dignified guests would be invited to participate.

From the first day, the excited young men sought to be the one to have the first significant kill. This feat, a coveted prize, for it is greatly rewarded.

It went without saying that the weeks' sport was mainly a display of skill and strength and power, especially so for those of nobility. Primarily so, for the…



The eldest of the Three Princes - The Crown Prince. Who since in the days of his youth bore an air of great importance. While his stature was not built to appear overly intimidating; for he was tall yet slender - his overall countenance and forbearance was.

His facial expression, though neutral, would cause one to wonder if he was either plotting their demise, bored and uninterested with whatever proceedings he had sat in on or mentally rehearsing his swordplay. Maybe he did all of the aforementioned or maybe he did neither, no one would ever know for certain. Dark haired with deep grey eyes, he greatly resembled his father- The Southern King and fair skinned as his mother – The Southern Queen.


The middle child. Second in line to the Southern Kingdom’s throne. His hair is an ashy grey with eyes the colour of a blue grey stone; often found on the southern shores of the Black Sea. Tall and quite broad - his stature is exactly that of his father.

Though younger than the Crown Prince - many often would mistake him for being the older one.

Unlike Roman, he openly and readily displays concern and affection towards his family - most of all his baby brother.


The youngest of the Princes. He is also affectionately called by the name ‘Alex’, especially so, by his mother, whom he takes after in every way .

Silvery white hair, with ice cold blue eyes and pale skin. Slim in build; he at most times, carries himself tall.



Bathed in the glow of the red orb above, the Southern kingdom was scorched by the heat of the midday sun high above. However, green and cool the grounds of the kingdom’s castle were and within its gardens, a naughty and curious boy of four years excitedly ran away from his caretaker.

A familiar cabin, south of the castle, the little boy came upon. And in finding the door slightly ajar, he peered inside cautiously; his cool blue eyes searching. Marking no one present, he still called: “Brother?” There was no reply and so he happily let himself in.

It was during that same time, having much research to do, the little boy’s brother was returning from his visit to the main library to his cabin which served primarily as his laboratory. Currently, he was devising a potion; a poison, to be exact. And now, armed with the books he acquired in his satchel, his manservant alongside him, he became absorbed in the words and immersed in his own musings as they both approached the cobbled lane.

Behind him the manservant observed saying, “Your Highness, the door.”

Only then, did the crown prince take notice of his surroundings. And at once, observing the door open wide, he stuffed his book away and stomped toward the doorway and shouted: “Alex!”

The tables were high. And the little boy wondered what strange things did his brother have atop them today?

Things such as smelly bugs and plants and colourful liquids were usually found there. With his small hands, he struggled somewhat as he dragged a tall stool across to one of the tables. And in placing it close, he climbed upon it.

Black and bulbous. A ceramic bowl full of shiny juicy berries greeted him.

‘If I took one or maybe just five, brother may not notice’ the little boy thought

Tall upon the stool he stood and stretched; reaching in with his tiny fingers he grabbed a few plump ones. The juice immediately stained his hands.

He sat to enjoy his reward when his brother’s voice startled him, causing him to spill a few of the berries.

“Alex! What are you doing?!”

Swift was the crown prince in removing the satchel from around him, before slamming it down onto one of the tables. His brother was grasping at something and some of those ‘somethings’ were also on the floor below him.

With eyes wide in panic, he ran over and grabbed his little brother’s arms; wringing free the berries from his tiny grip.

“What are you doing?!,” he demanded yet again.

“I just wanted to see-”

“Did you eat any?!”


“Tell me the truth!!” screamed the crown prince as he squeezed his brother’s cheeks revealing the insides of his mouth. “Did you eat any?!!?”

“Ow! No. Brother…you’re hurting me”

Then the crown prince shouted into his brother’s face: “How many times have I told you?! Over and over again. Do not enter my cabin!!”

“I’m sorry”

Alex’s caretaker appeared suddenly, out of breath and quite flustered exclaimed: “There you are!”

And the caretaker upon noticing the crown prince’s peeved disposition, hastily apologised saying: “a-Apologies, Your Royal Highness. I lost sight of the young prince for only a moment. It won’t happen again.”

Alex squirmed in his brother’s hand, teary eyed, as he dragged him along. Turning upon the man, the young prince yelled: “You lost sight of him?! Do you know what could’ve happened?!! You can be certain that I’ll be reporting you to Father.”

Then the caretaker, bowing and pleading said: “p-Please, my Prince. I beg you…it was- My deepest apologies. I promise-”

“Here!” he said, thrusting his little brother into the servant’s direction, “Take him back to mother at once!”

That afternoon, inside the King’s study, the accused caretaker, youngest Prince, the Crown Prince and his manservant met before the King. Here, they all stood, save for the trembling caretaker on his knees

“y-Your m-Majesty?”

“I asked, what should I do with you? Any suggestions?”

But at this the man whimpered as the king continued: “Clearly the future of this Kingdom cannot be left in the hands of someone as incompetent as you.”

“p-Please. Your Majesty!” cried the caretaker, “i-I won’t- it shan’t happen again,” and he began to weep.

“I heard those words last time as well. But, today you are correct. You indeed shall not ever do it again. And to assist you with remembering…” said the King. And with a simple wave of his hand, he ordered: “Take him to the shed and introduce him to the furnace there. Have his hands forever serve him as a reminder.”

The Crown Prince, with his manservant, Cyrus, at his back observed from a corner of his father’s study with a sense of delight as the man was dragged away, sobbing uncontrollably.

To his youngest, the King now turned. “Alexander..”, he began calmly, looming over the little boy.

“Y-yes father?”

“You disobeyed. Again. Refusing to listen to your brother. And when you disobey Roman, you disobey me. Do you understand Alexander?”

“… yes, father.”

“Good!” the King said, pleased with son’s answer as he removed from the top drawer of his desk, a broad flat stick. “To help you remember this time- stretch forth your hand.”

But on seeing this, the Crown Prince interjected: “Father? Alex promised me that he won’t ever do it again.”

“Oh?” remarked the King. “So, you mean for me to spare him? Again?” he questioned sternly of his eldest who gave no reply. “Leave now Roman. Cyrus?”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

Then Cyrus gently took hold of the prince’s shoulders to lead him out. But before his departure, Roman marked the trembling of his baby brother. Thusly, he began to feel a stinging sensation in his eyes and so, quickly turned away his face as he walked past.

Fair was the next day, Alex found himself seated at his desk awaiting his tutor for he had studies to tend to despite his wounded hand. Cradling his tiny arm in the other, he attempted to wiggle his finger but winced as the pain shot through him.

Unexpectedly, the door eased open, creaking as it did. And instead of his teacher, he was met by his favourite brother; who loudly stated upon entering the classroom: “No more sword or archery practice for you for a while baby brother!”

“Damian!”cried Alex.

Damian sauntered in smilingly and kneeling beside Alex, he took hold of his brother’s bandaged hand. He made a hissing sound before exclaiming: “Ooo!… Still hurts?” he asked concernedly.

“M-hm. And I can't play the piano with mother either”

“Hmm…there is that as well, but you’re okay.” said Damian, who smiled and dishevelled his brother’s short, silvery white hair.



“Father said,” began Alex sadly, “that I wasn’t allowed to stay with mother anymore and I won’t see her ever again.”

“Hmm, father is simply a little angry right now. I don’t think he meant it.” Damian comforted him by saying.

“You think so?”

“Of course!”

“Oh, okay.” said Alex. But then he questioned again, “Brother?”


“I don’t think brother likes me very much. Do you think he hates me?”

“Why do you say that?” asked Damian. But his brother remained quiet, unanswering with his head hanging low. “Alex?” addressed Damian, “Roman told me what happened. He was only protecting you. And besides, he pleaded with father last time. Have you forgotten?”

Alex gave no reply. Damian however, smiled and spoke gently saying: “I know that he could seem a bit mean, but he really isn’t.”

“Then why did he tell father on me?”

“Well... it’s because he’s the big brother and you did something wrong, so he had to tell father.” answered Damian. “So, next time, if he tells you not to do something, you listen, okay?”

“Okay” Alex replied softly before he questioned again, “But brother?”


“Do you always listen to big brother?”

Taken aback, Damian scratched his head and fell silent.

[2 years later]



[The following are journal entries penned by

Crown Prince - Roman A. DuMont]

24th June 18xx

Along with father, I accompanied Damian on his first hunt today. He is surprisingly extremely skilled with the bow, however, I did not make mention of this to him.

Father, though, was openly impressed and grandly made promises of rewarding him at his ‘Crowning ceremony’.


31st August 18xx

At Damian’s Crowning ceremony*, father gifted him, in the presence of all the ministers and invited nobles, and clansmen - a great long sword. Made of black iron. It was truly magnificent.

I begrudgingly congratulated him. And I admit that I was and still am jealous of him for receiving such a thing. And the manner in which he did. But I also felt another feeling that evening. It was quite strange, and it was lodged in my chest. Warm and nagging at my insides.

Perhaps I drank too much wine that evening.


*Crowning ceremony - For the Royals of the Southern Kingdom, this is whereby upon coming of age, at having only just 10 years, a Prince or a Princess is presented to the nobility and gentry at a special ball. Held usually in the month of August, when the weather is fair, it is then, the young royal is fully recognised and addressed by their title accordingly.

Xxth October 18xx

As part of father's overall plan, we attacked one of the Empire's villages soon after sundown on xxth October. It was one of the longest raids that I’ve been on. Father left me in charge of carrying it out.

This village was by far one of the largest ones we’ve attacked, therefore, I was careful and quite mindful to execute the plan effectively.

I felt proud, knowing that father entrusted me to get it done and done correctly.

Damian was placed into my care - under my command. And it was his first raid as an official Prince. I often forget that he is only 10 years of age and that he still has much to learn.

On the battlefield- (as I keenly observed) he oftentimes would either fail to or become hesitant in swiftly dispatching the villagers which he encountered. One such moment angered me greatly.

Therefore, I did what I had to. And in cases where he hesitated, I killed them myself.

Of course, I reported his behaviour to father ahead of our return home. I will notify Damian of such before we break camp.


Xxrd October 18xx

If I could have, I would’ve killed him - right then and there! He dares to question my loyalty? Accusing me of blindly following orders. Can he not see the responsibilities of which I am required to bear?

He has absolutely no idea. No idea of the expectations placed on me- resting on my shoulders - Everyday! And dares to accuse me of being fearful. Afraid of losing face, and that I live for no other reason but to please father.

Does he truly understand how our family is perceived by those vipers? One wrong move and it reflects poorly on our father. Is that what he wants?

How I restrained my wrath towards him- he also has no idea.

Father agreed with me. Direct orders were not adhered to. Damian was punished. He received 30 lashes the very evening upon which we returned.

Though he intensely hates me for what I did, I solely did it for his own benefit. He would not see this now, but maybe in the future, he shall.


16th March 18xx

Damian knew that I would never apologise and he should never expect me to ever do so. Therefore, he came, albeit many months later, to speak with me about his behaviour during the raid.

I was in my study today, preoccupied with my current research, so I listened as he tried to apologise. But he took offence to me for not looking at him as he did. I then gave him my full attention.

He lacks discipline and he needs to remember his place before ever questioning me again.

I often wonder if father should be told entirely of his treasonous speech and behaviour.



For Alexander: A lifelong lesson to be learned


Now Alex’s coming of age hunt drew near. The Summer Hunt usually took place from the last week in June and ran for a week more into July; of which the Royal family would only participate in but one of those weeks.

And in preparation for this, he tirelessly practised his archery while on horseback, within the confines of the Castle’s large training grounds.

On this day, he was proudly being watched, unknown to him at first, by his brother Damian; late afternoon it was and though the sun was low in the sky, the air was uncomfortably warm.

“Hey, Alex!”

“Damian!” Alex exclaimed, taken by surprise as he unsteadily brought his horse to a stop. “Were you- were you there this entire time?”

Then Damian laughed and said: “Yeah. And I must say, you’re looking like a fine warrior on that horse.”

“Hehe, you think so?”

“Certainly. I almost did not recognize you.”

“Brother,” Alex said as he shook his head. “Now you’re simply making fun of me.”

He then dismounted the steed and made his way out of the enclosure. Damian grinning widely, questioned: “And what if I am?” He then pulled his brother close into a headlock and playfully tousled his hair saying: “I’m so proud of you- My baby all grown up..look at you.”

In his attempt to free himself, Alex cried: “Dami-n! You’re uffo-ating m-!”

“Liar. You don’t want me hugging you, is all that this is.”

“No.” said Alex, finally free. “You’re sweaty and you..smell.” he muttered lastly under his breath.

“What’d you say?”

“Nothing.” Alex laughed as he flattened his hair.

“Ha! You liar. Besides, you’re sweaty as well and you smell even more than I.”

And as Damian spoke, he received a small towel from a servant. Swiftly he threw it at Alex’s face and asked of him: “Excited for next week’s hunt?”

But Alex caught it and grinned before patting his face dry he admitted, “I am! But I don’t think that I’m as good as you,.. or brother.”

“Not true!” stated Damian. “That is all in your head. If only you can see yourself, then you’d believe differently. As I do.”

“Thank you”

Then they both sat; one to a wooden stool, the other on a small boulder, and the pair was given a drink of cool water. Damian then added reassuringly: “Besides, each of us…we’re unique. Never compare yourself to me and especially not to Roman. We’re brothers, but never will we be exactly the same.”

“I suppose that’s true…”


“…but Brother accomplished a lot of great things at my age and even before. And father gave to you your treasured sword after your first hunt.”

“Then,” said Damian, “that simply leaves you to do something great as well.”

But another thought entered Alex’s mind as his brother questioned: “What would you want to do?

“I want…umm, I want, hear the story of your first hunt.” beamed Alex.

“Again? Did I not tell you this story many times already?”

“Can you tell it again please?”

And in not wanting to further dishearten his brother, he gave in and said: “Fine. Okay, very well, I'll tell you a shortened version of it.”

Alex smiled and Damian pleased, he began his tale saying: “Alright, so, on my first hunt, that day was really hot, even hotter than today and it was almost as soon as we had begun that I encountered a wild boar.