Laughter filled the air, both of adult and child alike as shenanigans were wrought and mischief wreaked. Two tiny sets of bare feet stamped into emerald grass as twin siblings chased after one another, much to the delight of themselves and their parents, who watched from afar on a blanket laden with food and sweets. Royal regalia had been set aside for the day, as the elder members of the family had decided it was much too nice a day to be wasted upon formalities and paperwork; and so they had bundled up their children and rode on horseback to the open expanses of land nearby, close enough to the sea that the waves could be heard crashing into the rocky shore and the salty spray could tickle at one’s nose.
Attention wandered, as it was often wont to do with young children, and before long the little boy of the pair had found himself on an unfamiliar hilltop; rolling green expanses to one side, the open sea to another, and rocky shore-side cliffs filling the remainder. In his distraction, he had gotten lost, had wandered too far away from his sister and the little picnic they’d been having with their parents. He was too young for his sense of direction to be any good, and already the sun was sinking far over the horizon.
The sky soon blackened to a charcoal grey. Darkened stormclouds moved in to cover the previously bright heavens, and a faint drizzle of rain began to fall. True panic did not seem to set in until a loud crack of thunder lashed out at his ears, eliciting a high-pitched, frightened cry from his lungs and causing tears to prick at emerald eyes. Any thought of trying to find his family vanished; all he wanted to do now was run, run ever so far away from the storm.
So he ran; feet leaving footprints in the sand, only for the oncoming tide to sweep them away. He ran for what felt like ages before he found shelter; a larger, craggy cave, slick with rain water near the front but dryer inside. Little chest heaving with fear and exhaustion, he ran inside and collapsed near one of the walls; eyes shutting tight to hold back the true waves of terror he felt.
So consumed was he by his fear that the little prince failed to notice a secondary presence within the cavern; one potentially much more frightening and deadly than that of any storm.