Meeting Prince Crenip

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          After lunch, Atamar explained the afternoon arrangements to Crenip.  She offered to give him his 30 minutes at the end so that he could have time to plan an activity.  Prince Crenip thanked her. 

Then Prince Relos hurried her off for his allotted time.  While he waited for his turn, Prince Crenip explored the palace grounds.  He found the practice grounds for archery where he met Noj Vidad and Thalanein. 

Prince Crenip introduced himself and spent the next 30 minutes talking to the two.  He was very interested when he heard that they hoped to join the palace guard when they turned 18. 

The three talked about their training, and Prince Crenip gave the other two several good laughs as he told about some of his mishaps in his own training sessions.  After he moved on, Noj Vidad voiced his thoughts.  "Wow, he sure is different from the others.  They pretty much ignore us, but he treated us as his friends." 

Thalanein nodded.  "At first, I thought he was talking to us because he wanted to find out about the princess or about his competition.  But he didn't say a word about them, and he didn't ask any questions about her.  I like him.  I hope he'll stick around." 

From the archery range, Prince Crenip headed toward the youth stable to check on Glith.  As expected, he found his dragon resting comfortably in his stall.  Crenip went in and scratched Glith's forehead. 

Glith's glow brightened in contentment.  Crenip heard a voice behind him "Is there anything your dragon needs, your highness?"  Crenip turned to see a young man standing at the stall door. 

"No, but thank you Nehat.  I can see that you are taking good care of Glith." 

Nehat gave a start of surprise on hearing his name.  "How did you know my name, your highness?" 

"I ate with Mitym & Enielda.  Enielda mentioned that she and her brother Nehat were in charge of this stable.  Since you stopped to check on my dragon, and I can see a family resemblance, it wasn't hard to guess your identity. 

It looks like you are carrying a saddle, were you about to go for a ride?" 

"Yes, I go riding with my dragon Marlef every afternoon that I can."

"I can't blame you for that.  I too love riding dragon back.  I'm glad that you can find time for it despite having a stable to run.  Do you hope to be stablemaster all your life?"

"Finding time isn't so bad.  The palace youth are all responsible for caring for their own mounts, so my job is more making sure that the others do their jobs properly, that the stable is always stocked with necessary supplies, and then for caring for the mounts of younger guests like you and the other princes. 

I enjoy caring for the animals, but I would much rather be a guide and an adventurer than a stablemaster.  While I am out each day, I try to practice the necessary skills like tracking, trapping, hunting, plant recognition, shelter building, finding water, etc." 

"It sounds like you know what you want and are going after it in the right way.  I hope that you have a pleasant ride and that you are able to get in some good practice today. 

Thank you again for caring for Glith.  Tomorrow, I will begin taking care of him myself like all the other young people.  I don't want to cause you extra work, and besides, I like caring for him myself." 

As he later soared through the air on Marlef's back toward the spot where he knew he would find his ogre friend, Nehat couldn't help thinking about Prince Crenip and how different he was from the others.

"None of the others has ever talked to me except about caring for their mounts or asking questions about the princess.  I wonder why Crenip is so unlike the others..."  Nehat, didn't know why he was different, all he knew was that he liked the change. 

Sometime later, Prince Crenip met Eticia & Isoje in the elf herb garden.  He once again introduced himself and then he helped them gather some of the plants, asking them about their uses, and telling them about some of the medicinal plants they used in Signs. 

When they finished gathering the needed plants, he carried the basket back to the healing rooms for them.  After he left, Isoje turned to Eticia and said, "I wish more humans acted like him.  I know that Signs is our closest ally.  If the king and his subjects are like Prince Crenip, I can understand why." 

Eticia nodded.  "Mitym sat with him at lunch, and afterwards, he came and told me how wonderful he was.  I wondered if the Prince could truly be all that Mitym claimed. 

Now I know that Mitym was right.  Mitym did tell me that Enielda is worried because the Prince seemed to show no interest in Atamar.  I hope Enielda is just being a typical human, worrying about nothing."...

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