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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spectrum: Chapter One 4/5

   It wasn’t too far from here to the Royal City of Mandala, and Seles and Clara made their way there with little trouble. Despite her difficult personality, Seles found his journey much easier with Clara there to assist him; she soon revealed that her Magical Rod could fire out bursts of magical energy, which were far more powerful than they looked. The Whackoons, Piggapods, and Wood Birds were no match.

   Mandala was a large, glittering marvel of architecture, overflowing with flying buttresses, stained-glass windows, and delicate spires. It was truly a lovely place. However, even this place of such beauty was not untainted by cruelty, as Seles and Clara came across a young boy being tormented by his peers just feet away from the city entrance. About to intervene, Seles was beaten to it by a woman with dark skin and golden hair who sent the bullies howling for home with one sharp reprimand. When Seles inquired, the rescued boy was happy to inform him that the woman had been Princess Pyre, the heir to the throne of Mandala.

   Although Seles asked many people around Mandala as to the whereabouts of Agatha, none could tell him anything very helpful. All of them, however, suggested that he try at the palace; the royal family was traditionally the protector and defender of Mandala, and anybody as potentially dangerous as a witch (Seles fumed to hear this, but kept silent) would certainly be under close scrutiny by the King and Queen. Several townspeople mentioned the recent wicked deeds of the Witch of the Mountain, whom Seles had never heard of.

   Entering the palace, Seles and Clara sought an audience with King Merope, ruler of Mandala. Clara presented her amnesia to the King first, and asked if there was any way he could help her return to her home kingdom. The King, however, had no idea where Clara hailed from, and informed her that he could not spare the resources it would take to find out. He was rallying together an army to go and kill the wicked Witch Agatha of the Mountain even as they spoke!

   Horrified, Seles and Clara withdrew from the audience chamber. Clara was distraught, and Seles feared for Agatha’s life. Quickly they hurried down the hall to exit the palace, but out of the shadows stepped none other than the Princess Pyre, who had been present—albeit silent—in the throne room during their speech. Pyre asked if it was true that Seles knew Agatha; it turned out that King Merope planned to lead the army after the Wicked Witch himself despite his age, and Pyre was extremely concerned for his safety. When she learned that Seles was the foster son of the Good Witch of the Woods, who would vouch for Agatha’s purity of spirit, Pyre decided that she would accompany Seles to Agatha’s home in the Opal Mountains in an attempt to stop her diabolical schemes peacefully before Merope would be forced to end things with violence.

   Pyre had armed herself with a sword and a pair of brass knuckles before ambushing Seles; she most kindly offered Seles and Clara the use of them if they pleased, as she certainly couldn’t use both of them at once. When they visited the Mandalan stores, the shopkeepers were horrified at the idea of taking money offered by Pyre, offering their goods at half-price only under strict duress from Pyre herself.

    Weapons and discounts were not all that Pyre brought to the table, however. She also had a Map of the World, with which she pointed out the Opal Mountains, which were accessible through the Tellah Forest. Just outside of the Tellah Forest—at the edge of the plains that surrounded Mandala—was a monastery known as the Sanctuary at which they would be able to rest before tackling the forest, the mountains, and Agatha.

   After taking a rest at the inn in Mandala (for free, courtesy of Pyre,) the trio headed across the plains towards the Sanctuary.

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