Title: Clovers and Fire
Author: Lauralee Jacks
Genre: Children’s Books, Fantasy
Prince Chauncey and his best friend, Sir Phillip, have always dreamed of becoming heroes. One day, they set out to win the hand of the most beautiful girl in the world. Little do they know that it will soon become the adventure of their lifetime. As they go about their quest, they find that their friendship is tested. Could Prince Chauncey and Sir Phillip learn the basis of their friendship before it is too late?
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (of course, back then, with no cars, everything over a few miles was far, far away!) there was a beautiful kingdom named Cloveland. Cloveland got its name from all of the fields of green clovers that grew there, and the land was always filled with the sweet smell of the leaves. And, with all of those four leaf clovers scattered in the fields, it brought the kingdom good luck…at least for a while.
Cloveland was governed by King Stefan. King Stefan was a kindly man, with the frizziest mane of hair anybody had ever seen. He was tall and very muscular, with blue eyes as deep as the night sky. Everyone who ever met King Stefan said that he reminded them of a lion in the form of a man (and King Stefan liked this comparison very much!). The king had a wonderful smile when he used it, but unfortunately he did not smile very often. That’s because King Stefan was a lonely man, with no Queen to share his life with.
One day, King Stefan called in his Royal Advisor, Gregory. Gregory was more than just an advisor to the king, he was King Stefan’s best friend. Gregory always laughed at all of the king’s jokes (even the bad ones) and did his best to keep the king cheerful. Gregory had a wonderful laugh, a big belly, rosy cheeks, a nose the size of a small balloon, and the longest beard in the kingdom. It was rumored that a whole family of elves lived in his beard, but no one could confirm it.
“If I do not find a wife soon, Gregory, I will surely die of loneliness! My poor heart grieves for someone to love.”
“Your majesty,” said Gregory, “I will do all I can to help you find a Queen, I swear it!”
Lauralee Jacks has graduated from St, Mary's College of California with a BA of Liberal Arts. She is currently working on her masters in elementary teaching. She is a DJ and a small talk show host at a local radio station, 105.5 WYTM. She lives in Fayetteville, TN.
As Prince Chauncey grew older, the people of Cloveland did not forget his defeat of the ravenhog, even though six years had now passed. And, with Phillip’s legendary battle with the troll, there were two heroes in Cloveland for the people to sing about. Prince Chauncey and Sir Phillip’s names were spread far and wide across several kingdoms. This was a good thing sometimes, as now there were several young maidens who had heard of them and wanted to meet the handsome young men. However, the drawback was that now every time someone in the kingdom DID have a spidermouse in their house, a rabid dog in their yard, or even a distressed cow, they would run to Sir Phillip or implore Prince Chauncey to help them. As a result, Prince Chauncey and Sir Phillip spent nearly all of their time hunting and disposing of ordinary household pests instead of meeting the maidens.
“This knight life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” said Sir Phillip as he disposed of another horseroach. “I mean, here we are, two of the most famous people in the lands, and we spend our time fighting nothing more dangerous than a flying jibberbug.”
“I know,” said Prince Chauncey. “Maybe it is time we go out into the world together and seek wives. After all, Father is getting very old and soon I shall become king. I would like to find a wife before that day comes.”
“Absolutely!” exclaimed Sir Phillip. “Love and adventure await us. Of course, my wife will be more beautiful than yours.”
“In your dreams, my friend,” teased Prince Chauncey, “After all, which of us two is the most handsome, Sir Pig Face?”
“I am, of course,” laughed Sir Phillip.
In truth, both of the young men were the catch of the kingdom.
As they grew nearer and nearer, they saw that the swirls were not air and water. Instead, they were ghosts. Hundreds….no, thousands of ghosts floating and flowing within the shroud of sea foam and darkened light, as if the sun itself could not penetrate the gruesome atmosphere. The men of the crew cried out, and even Prince Chauncey and Sir Phillip were afraid.
When the ship sailed fully into the mist, the air became as cold as the grave. The sun was veiled and very little light made it through. All about the terrified sailors were the ghostly specters, swooping around the ship’s mast and melting through the wood below deck. The wind that had carried their progress this far was suddenly gone and the boat was dead in the water, not moving an inch. As ghastly as they were, their sorrowful cries were worse. The sound chilled every man's heart, and many covered their ears to try and block out the cacophony of noise.
“Men, to your oars!” shouted the Captain. “Do not be afraid! Do your duty! To the oars!”
The men went to the oars and started to row, but the air and the water were so thick, the boat made hardly any headway. Suddenly, a loud voice was heard on the wind.
“Who enters the misty realm of the Legion of the Dead?”
“Prince Chauncey, Sir Phillip, and our ship of brave, hearty sailors,” shouted Prince Chauncey to the invisible entity, “and we are not afraid.”
“Speak for yourself,” muttered Sir Phillip, who was trembling all over.
“Your oars will do very little good, as we are the ones holding back your ship,” rumbled the voice. “We are the remains of all of the sailors who have been consumed by the whirlpools. Our fate will be your fate, too.”
“We are aware of the dangers of the water and we will not let you frighten us,” Prince Chauncey said.