Chapter 6 : Prince Horace of Araluen
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With that, the Doctor shooed us out of the TARDIS and waved goodbye before shutting the door behind him.
“Doctor!” I called. “Where are we?”
The TARDIS started to dematerialize and make its whooshing noise. James reached out to grab the door handle.
I slapped his hand away. “No. That’ll contaminate the time vortex. We don’t want to have the Serenity crashing five million years too early into this lovely forest.”
“But we don’t know where we are!” bemoaned James.
Smirking, I reached into my pocket and pulled out the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver. “Oh he’ll be back.”
“May as well make ourselves comfortable,” suggested Heather, sitting down against a tree.
“Not a bad idea Ms. Hawkins,” said James, grinning. He sat down next to her.
I glanced at Finnick Odair, who was gaping at where the TARIDS had dematerialized. “It just disappeared. Not just become invisible. It’s gone.”
Wrapping my arm around his shoulder, I laughed. “It’s a spaceship. And a time machine.”
Finnick looked bewildered. “So where the hell are we?”
“Redmont Fief. And I’d guard my tongue if I were you,” a man’s voice said.
Immediately, Heather and James jumped up with their wands extended. “Show yourself!”
“Put those away,” I snarled at them. Raising my voice I said, “We’re only passing through. Perhaps spending a few days here.”
Reluctantly, Heather and James put their wands back in their pockets as a young muscular man riding a horse trotted into the clearing. He was brown haired and had blue, guileless eyes.
“Excellent, would you like to continue with me to Wensley Village? My horse isn’t the best for conversation and I’ve traveled long,” he said. “My name’s Horace Altman.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Sir Horace,” I said, noticing the captain’s bars on his shoulders.
Horace grinned sheepishly as he dismounted the horse. “Actually it’s Prince Horace of Araluen.”
My eyebrows sharpened. “Araluen?”
“Yes,” he said. “The Araluen Kingdom. Are you feeling well?”
“Fine,” I snapped, closing my eyes. “Who’s the current monarch?”
“King Duncan. How can you not know this?” Horace pressed.
Thinking furiously I tried to remember my Araluen history. Duncan was the son of Wently the Second. He married Lady Irene of Trantle. And was famous for his defeat of Morgarath. Made allies with Skandia, Arrida, and Nihon-Ja. Ushered in a golden age for Araluen. His daughter was Cassandra. Who married Horace. Horace! This Horace! The one who killed Morgarath. One of the finest swordsmen in all of time and space.
I sank to my knees and beckoned the others to follow my lead. “Your majesty.”
Looking quite concerned, Horace pulled me back to my feet. “I am Horace.”
I smiled faintly. “As you wish.”
Horace shook his head and looked up to the sky briefly. “You are a peculiar woman. What is your name?”
“Angela of the Vortex,” I said. “These are my… companions. James and Heather of Hogwarts. Finnick of Panem.”
“It’s a… pleasure to make your acquaintance,” said Horace cautiously. “Would you like to accompany me to Castle Redmont?”
“Would you be so kind as to take us the Ranger?” I asked. “We’re here to see him.”
“Well I can’t leave a fair maiden by herself in the forest. Which Ranger. Will or Halt?” he asked.
“Both, if possible. And could you bring them here actually? I don’t think it would be wise for us to enter the village yet. What I have to say is for the ears of a Ranger only,” I said mysteriously.
“You speak in riddles, Angela of the Vortex,” said Horace slowly. “As you wish, I shall bring them to you.”
“Alive,” I said sharply. Horace looked at me strangely before mounting the horse and muttering to himself about being a prince and becoming a messenger.
“I’ve always wanted to say that,” I said, smiling.
“Explain,” said Heather, the moment Horace was out of earshot.
“The Doctor and I were here hundreds of years ago. We fought off the Sycorax as they tried to colonize this solar system. After we defeated them, the Doctor founded the Ranger Corps to protect this world from other incursions. As time went on, the Rangers took on more responsibility and became the protectors of the kingdom from other countries as well. But the Rangers are still taught their original initiative. And it is believed by the Rangers that when the Doctor and Angelina Jones return, the end of the world has come.”
“So this should be a lovely visit then shouldn’t it,” said James.
“I’m sorry,” interrupted Finnick, “but hundreds of years ago?”
“The TARDIS is a time machine, remember Finnick?” I replied shortly. “Do keep up.”
“I still don’t believe you,” said Finnick.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out a book. I tossed it to him. “Read the title.”
“The Second Rebellion and the Fall of the Capitol,” he read aloud.
He flipped to it and began to read aloud. “Perhaps the strangest mystery of the Rebellion is that of Finnick Odair. After winning the 65th Hunger Games, Odair returned to District 4 where he lived in luxury. He was well known for his strings of lovers in the Capital. It was revealed 11 years later that this was all a show by President Snow. Reaped in the 75th Hunger Games, Odair quickly befriended Peeta Mellark and Katniss Everdeen. They allied in the Games along with Wiress Wensle and Beetee Jakal from District 3, Johanna Mason from District 7, and Mags Cesium from District 4. Jakal, Everdeen, and Odair were rescued from the arena with the help of District 13. While in 13, Odair was in and out of the hospital. When the Rebels raided the Capitol and rescued Mellark, Annie Cresta from 4 was also saved. Cresta and Odair were soon married. Days afterward, Odair was sent to the front lines along with Everdeen and Gale Hawthorne. While on a secret mission, Odair was reported to have died by Everdeen. Everdeen stated that while traveling in the Capitol, they were attacked by lizard mutts and Odair was beheaded. However, Odair’s remains were never found. Many scholars believe that if Odair had died that day his remains would’ve been found. Perhaps he still lives and is lost in the labyrinth beneath the Capitol or died that day. Odair is survived by wife Annie Cresta and son Finnick Odair, Jr.”
Suddenly, he threw the book down. “They think I’m dead?”
“I’m sorry you had to find out like that,” I murmured.
“You’re sorry? Oh okay. I forgive you. No hard feelings,” ranted Finnick. “I just found out I have a son who think I’m dead by reading my biography!”
I glanced at James and Heather and jerked my head. They took the hint and walked down the path somberly, holding the other’s hand tightly.
“Take me back,” demanded Finnick. “Whenever the Doctor comes back, tell him to take me back.”
“He can’t,” I said sadly. “It’s a fixed point in time. You disappeared then and you will always disappear then.”
“Why did you take me?” cried Finnick. “Why didn’t you just let me die there?”
“Because Finnick, people need our help. Millions upon billions upon trillions of people need your help,” I said coldly. “Millions of those people will die if you don’t help the Doctor. We need you. You can leave and live out your days in misery or you can save the universe.”
A/N: The Doctor will play a minor part in the next couple of chapters. The Doctor will go from here to The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe. And then to Season 7.
HP goes to the brilliant JK Rowling, Inheritance to the talented Christopher Paolini, Doctor Who to the fantastic BBC, Hunger Games to the great Suzanne Collins, and Ranger’s Apprentice to the superb John Flanagan, and Firefly belongs to Joss Whedon!
“The Ranger Corps is at your service m’lady,” said Halt as he bowed.
“That’s more like it,” I said, nodding. “Bout time someone showed some respect for this woman.”
“I’ll take a bow too,” barked Heather.
“I’m sorry ma’am. Who are you?” asked Halt.
“I’m Lady Heather of Hawkins representing the good people of Hogwarts,” she snapped. “Bow now.”
Halt bowed deeply and I nodded approvingly, while whispering into James’s ear. “You’re learning.”