More Princes

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          The next morning, as they were finishing breakfast, one of the guards hurried in to tell Atamar and her uncle that another prince was approaching. 

The two of them, followed by Prince Relos went to the courtyard to greet the new guest.  He introduced himself as Prince Fretpec from Swap. 

Like Prince Relos, he bowed to Atamar and said, "It is a pleasure to meet you Princess Atamar.  I hope that my visit will bring as much pleasure to you as it already has to me." 

Princess Atamar curtsied as she answered, "Thank you and welcome Prince Fretpec.  We are honored to have you here.  Have you met Prince Relos?"  

The two men nodded to each other as Fretpec answered, "Indeed, we have met several times at tournaments." 

Atamar turned and smiled at her uncle.  "Uncle Ulap, I am sure the three of you will have many enjoyable tournament stories to share.  Since my lessons are about to start, may I leave you to entertain these two young men?" 

Ulap smiled and gave her a quick hug, "I would be happy to do so.  Have fun with your lessons." 

Turning to the two princes he said, "If you'll follow me, we'll head to the reception area and I'll send for some refreshments as we trade tournament tales." 

Atamar hurried away, glad that she would have the morning to herself.  It was hard to pay attention to her teachers.  Her mind kept wandering to the two men wondering how she should entertain them and what kind of people they were. 

She felt the stares of the others and knew that they were as curious as she.  Lessons were just finishing up for the morning when Eticia, who was sitting on Atamar's right, nodded toward the door on the left. 

When Atamar saw the sentry she put her head down and groaned...but she did it quietly so the teacher wouldn't hear.  Eticia gave her a sympathetic smile. 

Handing her school supplies to one of her maids, Atamar hurried to the courtyard to meet another prince.  When she got there, she found not one but two princes. 

Prince Idrew from Skipbo & Prince Gornib from Blitz introduced themselves to her both telling her how stunningly beautiful she was.  During lunch the four princes vied for her attention. 

Idrew, Gornib, & Relos kept sharing tales of their adventures, and Atamar couldn't help but think most of their stories were made up to make them look more impressive than the others. 

Fretpec was different in his attentions.  He was very solicitous for her comfort frequently asking if she needed anything.  His manners were impeccable.  He never interrupted the others and did not complain when they interrupted him. 

After lunch, Atamar turned to the princes and said, "I would like to go for a ride on my dragon this afternoon, and I invite you all to go with me.  However, Prince Idrew & Prince Gornib, I know that you might be tired from your journey, so I will understand if you would rather stay at the palace and rest this afternoon." 

All four eagerly agreed to come for the ride.  Atamar sent Hamori, who was one of her guards, ahead to let Nehat & Enielda know so that they could be there to help saddle the mounts.  

Enielda saddled Trewa for Atamar while Nehat and Hamori, who was always willing to lend a helping hand, saddled the princes mounts.  The four princes were offered the use of one of the palace dragons if they preferred. 

They all accepted the offer since their own mounts would be tired from the journey. 
Since all dragons could speak to Enielda, Atamar asked Trewa to tell Enielda that she wanted her and Nehat to come for the ride as well. 

Enielda nodded to Atamar to show she had received the silent message, and she in turn told Marlef to pass the message to Nehat.  The two of them and Hamori saddled their own dragons quickly. 

Then the company took off.  Atamar enjoyed the freedom she felt while riding on Trewa's back.  She watched the four princes flying nearby, each on a purple dragon so that he could communicate. 

At first they didn't talk because they let the dragons speed along as fast as they could toward the giant oak.  They then curved left and flew over the clear lake and the cattail marsh. 

As they turned back toward the palace, Atamar suggested to Trewa that she set a more leisurely pace.  "After all, I don't know what I'm going to do when we get back." 

As they flew slowly back, Atamar pointed out the landmarks below.  Suddenly she realized that there was a large company on the road and in the air above it.   To Trewa she said, "Please tell me that is not another prince!" 

"I'm sorry, Princess," Trewa replied as she picked up her pace so that Atamar could greet yet another guest...

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