surrounding the interior courtyard of the Iolkosian
royal palace. He gazed intensely at the training
session taking place between his son and his son’s
longtime friend. As dust rose from the ground in
random clouds, kicked up by the swiftly moving
feet of the two sparsely armored young men, the
king wondered how long it would be before his son
would be strong enough to assume command of the
military. A fine prince he was, though unremarkable
and undistinguished as yet.
Prince Caenus, standing a muscular six feet tall
with skin that had been kissed by the sun, dodged and
ran around the huge ten-foot statue of Kheiron, the wise
centaur of lore, which stood at the northern edge of the
courtyard. The statue depicted the half-man/half-horse,
reared up on his hind legs and pulling a bow taut that
looked as if, at any moment, it would launch its arrow
far into the middle of the Gulf of Pagasae.
In a surprising move, Golan, Caenus’ friend,
jumped on Kheiron’s back and swung over to the
other side, cutting off his friend’s evasive maneu-
ver. Again, wood beat against wood, their sparring
swords dancing against one another as if familiar
foes, all to the amusement of the king.
“Is that your best, Caenus?” Golan yelled, duck-
ing a half-hearted swing of his friend’s sword. “Is
there no more fight in you than this peasant’s display
Golan was correct in his questioning assess-
ment. But, at present, Caenus’ soul could not focus
on the sparring. He certainly appreciated the train-
ing, but thoughts of his upcoming eighteenth birth-
day dominated his mind. The son of King Kranos
of Iolkos, brushed his dark chestnut, curly locks of
hair from in front of his soft, inviting brown eyes.
His squared jaw softened as he wiped beads of per-
spiration from the length of his straight nose into
his loincloth that was heavily soiled with dirt from
the sparring session.