The Mourning Prince
small jet began its descent into the break in the winter clouds and on
through into the predawn darkness. The instant the jet entered the
clouds, the jet was buffeted by turbulence, tossing the jet around like
a toy. After the first few tense moments the turbulence seemed to
subside and the pilot was able to level the jet off. Inside the cockpit
the pilot was finally able to turn his attention to the man screaming on
the other end of the headset;
"...Hello is anybody there!" the air traffic controller screamed.
"Yeah I'm here," the pilot answered.
"Well its about damn time you answered. I told you when you entered our airspace not to attempt to land because the airport is closed because of the weather. Just who do you think you are endangering the lives of your passengers not to mention the people on the ground?!"
The pilot turned off his headset for moment and turned his attention to his copilot. "Do me favor would you. Go back and tell His Excellency that we are having a slight problem with the airport personnel on the ground about our landing." The copilot nodded agreement, got up from his seat and made his way back to the passenger cabin. The cabin area was dimly lit so it took the copilot's eyes several seconds to adjust to the dimness. Once his eyes had adjusted, he still could barely make out the other occupant of the jet. The copilot noticed that the man appeared to be sleeping but he also noticed that something seemed to be a little odd. There appeared to be a purplish light coming from the man's left hand. Knowing it was important that he wake the man, he made his way closer to him. But before he could get closer, the man spoke.
"There is no need to wake me, I'm already awake. What seems to be the trouble?"
"Well Your Excellency, it seems that we are have a little trouble with the air traffic control about letting us land and the pilot thought you should be made aware of the situation."
"Thank you for letting me know, but tell him that it is most important that we land. Tell him to land by any means necessary."
"Yes, Your Excellency, I'll tell him."
"Well, what did he say?" the pilot asked as the copilot returned to his seat."
"He said that it was most important that we land, and that you were to use any means necessary to do it."
"Oh great," The pilot sighed "I thought maybe he would change his mind about landing in Sioux City. I was hoping he would consider rerouting to Omaha or Sioux Falls. This is going to be fun trying to explain to the people on the ground. By the way, have you noticed the lack of turbulence since we started our descent?"
"You know something, I hadn't noticed it until you said something just now, but the turbulence is much less and we are flying more smoothly so I guess you had better tell that idiot controller that we're landing anyway."
"Gee thanks for reminding me," the pilot responded, with sarcasm in his voice.
It took several more minutes for the pilot to convince the controller to allow them to land, and he knew they would have some heavy explaining to do once they did. After they had landed and began there taxi to the small airport terminal the full force of the winter storm struck the jet. The pilot fought to keep the jet from sliding off the icy taxiway. Finally bringing the jet to a complete stop at the terminal entrance, the pilot and copilot began to shut down the jet's systems.
The passenger cabin was brightly lit now and the other occupant of the jet could be clearly seen. The man was still seated, dressed from head to toe in black, with a clerical collar at his throat, and a cross hanging around his neck. The man had black hair with a little gray at the temples and gray eyes. He appeared to be exhausted.
"Well Your Excellency, it seems we've landed with little or no problems, but now we have to deal with the people of this lovely little airport," the pilot said as he entered the passenger cabin.
"Don't worry captain, I will speak to them, I can be quite persuasive," Camber Haldane, Bishop of free Corwyn and Carthmoor, finally said.
Inside the small airport terminal, a tall skinny man with blue eyes and light brown hair with gray beginning to show at the temples waited patiently. He stood in his green and brown camouflage uniform with his hands clasped behind his back. As he waited for the passengers to disembark, he noticed a small group of irate men arriving and pushing their way in front of him. The small group of men instantly surged forward, bombarding the newcomers with questions as they made their way into the terminal area.
"Just who do you think you are, demanding to land in a blizzard like this ?!"
"You could have gotten yourselves killed!"
"What were you thinking. Are you stupid or what?!"
"Please calm down gentlemen," Camber said moving forward, "I am the one who insisted that we land."
"So you're the idiot that insisted you land?!" the man at the front of the group exclaimed, his face going red with rage.
"You had better have a good explanation for this!"
Camber could see that these men were going to give him trouble, but he was sure he could 'convince' them otherwise. Camber sized up the group and decided to focus his 'attention' on the man at the head of the small group, who was obviously in charge. Moving towards him with a smile, he reached out with his left hand and placed it on the man's right shoulder, exerting his powers ever so slightly.
"As a matter of fact I do." Camber crooned as the man's eyes began to glaze over. "I have a nephew who lives in your fair city, and I have urgent business with him."
"Well, since you put it that way, there is no real harm done. I hope you enjoy your stay in Sioux City," the man replied, to the shock of the rest of the group.
"Why thank you sir, I will certainly try," Camber said with a smile. With that, Camber, the pilot, and copilot made their way from the group towards the man in camouflage who was obviously waiting for them.
As they moved away, the others in the group surrounded the lead man.
"What the hell are you doing you idiot?!"
"You moron, what did you do that for?!"
"Are you on drugs or something?!"
The still entranced man smiled. "No, I'm fine, they didn't really do any harm."
Camber just smiled as they reached the man in camouflage. The man returned the smile and shook his head as Camber and the jet crew approached him. He had seen this type of thing happen before. The man spoke as he stepped forward extending his hand, "Hello, Your Excellency, I am Harold Matthews, I'm a friend of your nephew. He called me last night and asked me if I could pick you up this morning."
Ever so gently Camber quested forth with his powers to ascertain that this man was who he said he was, but instantly met a protective wall.
"It's nice to meet you Harold," Camber replied, slightly stunned that his nephew had somehow put a protective wall around this man.
As the two shook hands, the pilot, still stunned by what he just witness, finally had the courage to speak. "I don't know how you did that Your Excellency, but I think it would be a good idea if we get our luggage and get the hell out of here. That guy might change his mind."
"Don't worry he won't, "Camber responded with a smile.
After picking up the luggage and depositing the pilot and copilot at a local hotel, Harold and Camber began to make their way toward the nearby interstate in a military type vehicle.
"Thank you for picking me up like this," Camber said, "it was most kind. I hope it wasn't to much of an imposition?"
"Not a problem, and it was no imposition at all. I am staying at a place real close to the airport."
As they approached the entrance ramp to get onto the interstate, Camber noticed that Harold was still smiling.
"May I inquire as to why you're still smiling?" Camber asked, as he himself starting to grin.
"Nothing really," Harold said, slightly embarrassed. "It's just that I haven't really seen anybody else do what you did, back at the airport, except for your nephew."
As they drove down the interstate, Harold could see the curious look on Camber's face via the lights on the instrument panel. "Oh don't get me wrong, he doesn't do it that often, and not in front of so many people."
"I really don't do it very often myself. And as far as doing it in front of so many people, I thought it was necessary to get us out of that possibly sticky situation. Harold, do you mind if we change the subject? I feel a little uncomfortable talking about my 'abilities' with someone I just met?"
"Surely Your Excellency." "Please call me Camber. Your Excellency sounds so 'formal' and. what do Americans call it?. 'Stuffy'."
"Alright Camber," Harold chuckled, "you sounded like your nephew just now. He doesn't like that 'stuffiness' either."
"Before I ask what my nephew has been up too in the last ten years, could you tell me how far away he lives and how long it will take us to get there? It seems it might take awhile with the weather the way it is."
"Well, it's not far at all, about ten miles, which on a nice day, would take about fifteen to twenty minutes. But with the weather like it is, it could take forty-five minutes to an hour."
"Why so long?"
"The highway patrol closed part of the highway just north of where your nephew lives, so we might have to take some side streets and take the long way around."
"You seemed to be having no problem at the moment staying on the road."
"Well this vehicle is pretty heavy and has good traction."
"Since this apparently is going to take awhile, why don't we get to know each other, if you don't mind?"
"Fine with me, "Harold replied, "I am kind of curious as to why your nephew never mentioned that he had any living family. I never even knew he had any family until he called last night and asked me to pick you up this morning. Is there some sort of bad blood between your nephew and the rest of your family?"
"Not that I'm aware of. Did you ever ask if he had any family?"
"Numerous times. He either changed the subject or flat out ignored me. And in all the years I've known him, which is totally unlike him. As a matter of fact, I about had a heart attack when he called me and asked me to pick up his uncle the bishop."
"That is odd that he hasn't told anybody about his family."
"Since he hasn't, would you care to enlighten me about the rest of his family?" Harold asked with a smile as if fishing for information.
"I'll make you a counter proposal. I'll tell you what I know, if you'll tell me what my nephew has been up to in the last ten years?"
Harold seemed to hesitate at that, his face appearing to sadden in dimly lit vehicle. But before Camber could ask about the sudden change in Harold's mood, Harold began to tell him about his nephew.