I do not own the Magnificent Seven nor do I make any money from this story.
Thanks to my beta readers.
Chris Larabee was sitting outside the saloon having a late afternoon drink; it had been a long and trying day. Everyone had a problem that needed his attention, someone was stealing cattle, someone else was doing this or that. Chris wondered how he and his six friends had become the law of sorts in this town of magic Four Towers.
It must been when they stood up for the rights of the elves and dwarves, who had come looking for work in the then fast growing town. After that everyone had come to them with little problems that had just become bigger over time and they had just become the unofficial lawmen of the town.
From where he sat he has a good view of the main gates and of the courtyard that was surrounded by the four towers.
As Chris tilted his chair back against the wall, closing his eyes for a second. Opening them he saw Vin Tanner coming over,
"Long day?" he asked seeing Chris tense features.
Chris nodded and took a sip of his drink, just then there was a noise by the main gates. Glancing at Vin, the two of them stood up went over to the gates.
As Chris got closer he saw a group of men on horseback, one of them was arguing with the gate keeper, Danlee. The closer Chris got the more he was convinced that they were foreigners from the way they dressed. They all wore bright red and black tunics with black pants. They were also all heavily armed. The one in front wore a plain red tunic with a gold circlet round his head, keeping his long black hair out of his face. He too was armed.
Chris walked up in time to hear him demanding,
"Why was I not greeted?"
"What is going on here?" asked Chris just short of a demand
"Are you in charge here now?" asked the young man, he could not be much older than JD and had cat green eyes with soft features.
Chris thought for a second,
"For the time being, who are you?"
"I ask the questions." said the young man pointing at his chest, "Where is my father?"
"Who is your father?" asked Chris getting more than irritated with the young man. The mans mouth fell open, he stared at Chris then at Danlee,
"I am Prince Vladimir, this is my fathers castle, your King."
There was a heavy silence.
"King?" asked Chris
"This is my home, I grew up here. I have been away on peace talks in the north, I have been gone two months and I come back to this. I was not greeted when I came into my gates, I received insolence from this." he pointed at Danlee, "What have you done?"
Chris was in no mode for this,
"I have done nothing, I have been in Four Towers for almost three years and have never ever heard of you." said Chris
"Four Towers? What is that?" asked Vladimir
"The place where we are standing." said Chris
"The castle is called Kelloft." said Vladimir angrily
"What is the kings name?" asked Chris suddenly
"Our Kings name is Toleski." said one of the riders behind Vladimir
"And you are?" asked Chris
"This is Fargoal, Captain of my Guard." said Vladimir indicating the mounted men.
"Toleski, I know that name." said Vin knowingly
Chris turned to him,
"You do? Who is he?" asked Chris ignoring Vladimir
"He did rule from here but three hundred years ago." Vin pointed at Vladimir, "You never came back, Toleski sent hundreds of men to look for you, all failed. He died of grief."
"How do you know this?" asked Chris confused
"Miz Travis tol me and her son, Billy." explained Vin
Chris and Vin turned to look at Vladimir and his party, they all had a stricken look on their faces.
"My father is dead?" asked Vladimir
Vin nodded. Vladimir looked round the town in a dazed voice he asked,
"What is this place now?"
"Four Towers, institution of Magic." said Chris
"Magic." whispered Vladimir, "Three hundred years." Slowly he got off his horse. Fargoal also got off his horse and went over to where the Prince was standing,
"How can you take what they say to be true?" he asked
Vladimir looked at Fargoal,
"My father was a just ruler, he would not be forgotten unless they did not know him. Something is afoot and I will find out what it is."
Looking at Chris he said,
"Do you have a High Mage I may speak to?"
"Yeah, up at the Towers." said Chris turning and making his way back up the street, not waiting to see if they followed.
+ + + + + + +
Vangelis was sitting at his desk when Chris and Vladimir walked in unannounced, with out looking up he said,
"You had better have a good reason for interrupting me, Mr Larabee."
"Ive got the best reason. May introduce to you Prince Vladimir."
Vangelis head snapped up,
The Prince bowed his head in acknowledgement. Slowly Vangelis stood up and came to the front of his desk, looking at Vladimir the whole time.
"It is you, how are you here? Out of your time?" muttered Vangelis
"You know him?" asked Chris disbelieving
"Yes, Prince Vladimir, son of King Toleski, heir to Kelloft. Kelloft, better know as Four Towers. You stand before me, yet you should be dead. Years ago."
"So I have been told, but we are alive and have come home to find chaos." said Vladimir
Vangelis leaned against his desk, studying the Prince.
"How do you know him if he is suppose to be dead, three hundred years ago?" asked Chris
"I dont know the Prince personally, Mr Larabee. I have just studied the history of this castle. And before you ask I know he tells the truth because I tested him." answered Vangelis
"Your name sir?" asked Vladimir
"Are you the High Mage of this establishment?" asked the Prince
"I am a High Mage of the Council." answered Vangelis carefully
"Well, then I make it your duty to solve this problem and by the end of today." ordered Vladimir
Chris could not help but smile at Vangelis face, which quickly turned to a glare directed at him.
"Vangelis, my men and I need rest and shelter " started Vladimir
"You neednt ask, Mr Larabee and his men will make your stay more than comfortable, wont you Mr Larabee?" asked Vangelis with a smile. Chris frowned.
"I was not asking and he is acceptable." said the Prince
"I am unable to do as my men and I have other tasks that need to be done." said Chris
"Are you saying no to your Prince?" asked Vangelis with a raised brow
"Are you saying I should swear allegiance to a long dead King?" asked Chris mockingly
"Gentlemen," interrupted the Prince, "Leave your arguments for private occasions, I want this sorted out now. If it is as you say, I want a solution."
Vangelis and Chris stared at each other for a few seconds, Vangelis turned first.
"I will need to ask you a few question." said Vangelis
"Ask away." smiled Vladimir
"What is the last thing you remember?" asked Vangelis
"There are no blank spots in my memory. I went on peace talks, which were very successful and then came home to this mess."
"They werent that successful, when you did not return King Toleski sent a war band north fearing that you had been killed. War raged for 20 years, your father only lived through the first five of those years. His nephew, Galeron, continued after his death, war ended when he died of a sword wound. Half the west side of Four Towers had to be rebuild." explained Vangelis
Vladimir was quiet for a long time,
"West." he said suddenly, "The Blacken Wood is to the west."
"Did anything unexplained happen on your way home?" he asked
"No." answered Vladimir
"Did you came across any ancient ruins or temples?" tried Vangelis
"No." sighed the Prince
"Well, did you meet any old women on the way?" asked Vangelis resorting to fairy tale explanations.
"Yes, we did. Awful women." said Vladimir dismissively
It struck Chris how alike Ezra and this Vladimir were, none of them volunteered information and Chris had no time for it.
"Did she say anything to you?" asked Vangelis
"Yes, she said my father had destroyed her home in one of his early raids and she had been waiting for when the time was right. Then she said something about being cursed until the line ran out. I was not really listening." said Vladimir
"You did not think that that qualified as unexplained?" snapped Chris
"Nothing happened." said Vladimir
"Nothing? You wondered the forest for three hundred years." pointed out Chris
Vladimir was silent for a while,
"True. It did not feeling like three hu .. hundred years." stuttered Vladimir, "That is a long time." he finished
"Seeing that you are here, the last of your kin must have died. Thus freeing you from your imprisonment." mused Vangelis
"Did you hear that?" asked Chris
"Here what?" asked Vangelis
"Someone called my name." said Chris
"We are the only ones here." said Vladimir impatiently
"I know ." started Chris
Suddenly something grabbed his arm and started shaking it.
Vangelis stepped forward,
"What on earth is wrong with you?"
Chris eyes snapped open, Vin was shaking him awake.
"You alright there? Ive bin calling you for ages." he asked concerned
Chris rubbed his eyes,
"Yeah, mustve fallen asleep."
"Well, you were out of it." said Vin as he leaned against the support post.
"Some odd world mixed with fairy tale and history assignments. What a day." muttered Chris as he looked toward the setting sun.
"Do you know a Vladimir?" asked Chris
"I never took to history, you only hear one side of the story. Never seemed fair. Ezra might know, he reads all the time or JD, he knows the history of Four Towers well."
"He does?" asked Chris surprised
"Yeah, says he finds it interesting." said Vin
Chris nodded, glancing at his empty glass he lifted it and asked,
"Join me inside for another?"
"Yeah, towns settled for the night, might as well settle too." said Vin pushing himself off the wall as Chris stood up. As they walked through the bar doors, Chris said
"What ever the dawning of the day brings tomorrow I hope it is better than today."
"Every day has to end and when it does, you cant get it back whether it was good or bad."
"Where did you get that" asked Chris
"Made it up." said Vin proudly
"Its a good one." said Chris
"Thanks." said Vin as they sat down at their usual table, they were joined shortly by the others.
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