The wind whispered through the trees as old, William, sat in a chair, stroking his white beard. His deep eyes looked through the trees, over the blue lake. He stood up and walked down the hill, towards the water.
The old man lay down on the soft grass, listening to the water wash up against the shore. Suddenly, he heard a different sound. William sat up and saw a basket, floating among the reeds. He picked up the basket and laid it down on the grass.
As he lifted the lid, he gasped softly. A small child lay among blankets; the little girl looked up at him, with shining green eyes. She whined softly and reached out to William.
“Where did you come from, little one?” Picking her up, the old man smiled at her. The girl smiled and giggled as William held her with one arm and picked up her basket with the other hand.
William looked over at the sleeping child, who lay in her basket. She seemed so peaceful after he’d fed her, and she’d fallen right to sleep.
“Well, little one, I do not know where you came from, but I cannot leave you alone to die. You may live with me, until the proper time. “
The infant began to whine so the old man stood up, limping over to the basket. The girl looked up at him and whimpered for his attention. He readily accepted, lifting her into his arms. She smiled up at him and he smiled back.
“You need a name, little one… how about, Alene?” The baby gurgled joyfully. “I think you like it. Very well, then, your name is Alene.”
The young girl, sitting by the lake, turned at the old voice. William stood by the house, looking down at her. “Coming Grandfather!” She ran up the hill, her long brown hair blowing behind her.
“Alene, I told you not to go off on your own.” William’s angry gaze made the girl look away.
“I am sorry, Grandfather.” The two of them went into the house. “But why will you not let me go anywhere alone? I am nearly fourteen years old; I am able to take care of myself.”
The old man shook his head. “My dear girl, there are bad people in these parts, and they have been spreading lies and tricking people.”
“Spreading lies about whom?”
“The king. The good king.” William smiled. “Remember, I have told you stories of him all your life.”
Alene smiled. “King Ansaldo!? I love your stories about him!” She turned her head in confusion. “But why would anyone want to say bad things about him?”
“There is one man, I do not know his true name, but many call him Dolum. He is the king’s enemy; he will do or say anything to make someone turn away or stay away from the king. I have heard that he has been seen near here.” William looked at little Alene and smiled. “Now, do you understand?”
The girl nodded. “You do not want him to trick me.” She stopped for a moment. “But, does everyone know about the king and how good he is?”
“No, many people do not know, and many have already been fooled by Dolum and his men.” William told her. “That is why I told you about him. I wanted you to know what King Ansaldo is like if you ever were to meet Dolum.”
Alene gave an understanding smile. “Of course, Grandfather. I understand, completely. Thank you for telling me.”
“Of course, my dear.”
[Next Week: Alene draws attention the attention of the servant of evil.]