X Marks the Spot

In which Dylan and Dougall debate an exciting enterprise

This 500 word short story/flash fiction could be the start of something big.  I have a destiny for the brothers, the Princelings of the North, but am nowhere near ready for them to embark on it. Dylan being Dylan, he has to get in everywhere, though.

Castle Haunn“It’s a map, look! A treasure map!”

Dougall looked at the scrap of paper his brother Dylan had smoothed out on their bed.

“How do you know it’s a map?”

Dylan sighed, but pointed out the lines. “There’s the outline of the island, and the rocky inlet where the boats go in, and the wiggly lines are where the creek goes into the marshes. And there’s an X for where the treasure is buried!” he finished, leaping off the bed. “Oh, why can’t we go now? It’s ages till dawn!”

“But where did you get it?” Dougall was not one to act without all the facts.

“It got washed into the tide pool down near the Ensay Burn. I fished it out. It was in a bottle.  I saw it glinting green and bobbing about.  I thought it had a stick inside it, but it broke when I dropped it on the way back and I found the paper!”

Dougall had not yet caught his brother’s enthusiasm, much to Dylan’s irritation.

“But why do you think it’s a treasure map?”

“It’s got an X on it, look!”

“It could mean anything, X.”

“Like what?”

Dougall thought for a bit.  He wasn’t familiar with maps, except of the night sky, since he was one of the star-watching team at the castle.  He didn’t go out of the castle much, except onto the crags above to check the solar cells or the turbine flow. It was Dylan who went all over the island, running messages. He’d been most places.

“Have you been to this place?” he asked Dylan, wondering whether he really did know what he was talking about after all.

“Umm, not exactly.  It’s pretty much on the way to Tober Hold, but I usually go a bit further up the glen, and keep to the high ground.  This bit’s all wet,” he added, pointing to the network of lines he’d described as the creek.

“And there’s nothing there that could be marked as a cross?”

Dylan thought for a bit.  Then he looked at the map again and looked at his feet. “There’s a crossroads,” he mumbled.

Dougall looked closer at the map. “Well, nobody’s marked the roads going into and out of the cross,” he said. “You might still be right.  Is it the right place for the crossroads?”

It was Dylan’s turn to study the map closely. “Yes,” he concluded. He stared at it before a thought came to him. “Why would anyone…”

“… mark a cross on a map and not the roads leading up to it?” finished Dougall, looking at him.  “How long will it take us to get there?”

Such an innocent question, but it started a chain of events that would lead to the overthrow of the entire governance system of the Realms. A pebble can start an avalanche.  An X in the wrong spot can start a revolution.

 

(c) Princelings Publications 2013

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4 thoughts on “X Marks the Spot

  1. Perfect length for a blog entry, and leaves us wanting more. Doug is adorable. Very level-headed and pragmatic. He reminds me a bit of George. ❤

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