Posted by: Phil Anderson | June 23, 2013

Forbidden – Part One

This week I’m introducing the first part of a short story entitled “Forbidden.” It takes place in the Kingdom of Theran, the setting of my next book, though it actually has little to do with it. It’s the result of my exploration of the geography and politics of Theran. Enjoy.



by Philip Anderson

“Maelo, would you please help me get dinner on the table? Your father will be home soon.”

“It’s Pregio’s turn,” Maelo replied. “I did it last time.”

His mother turned and glared at him with dark eyes. “Pregio’s not here right now; he’s with your father. I’m asking you to do it.”

Maelo sulkily got out four carved bowls and brought them to the fireplace where his mother was stirring the contents of the iron pot that hung there. He was a little taller, and watched over her shoulder as she ladled soup. The small, seaside fishing hut filled with the tantalizing aroma as Maelo set the brimming bowls on the rough wooden table where the family ate.

The door opened. “Castella, we’re home!” Maelo’s father called out. “And we brought a guest.”

Maelo looked up and saw his father and younger brother, and Sir Bentay, a former nobleman who had left the district capital and settled near the sea in the hut next door. The old man was short, shorter than Castella, but in his youth had been a burly, stalwart sailor. Now he hobbled with a crutch under his arm to support his weak left leg. His hair was gray, but he had a lot of it, from his thick, hoary head to his bushy, white beard. Even his bare forearms seemed to be covered with silvery fur.

“I hope I’m not imposing,” the old man said to Maelo’s mother, “but Prumo said you were making chowder, and you know I can’t turn that down.”

“You’re welcome any time,” Castella said graciously. “Maelo, please get another bowl.”

Maelo knew better than to complain in front of a guest, but he scowled even as he obeyed.

As they ate, conversation quickly turned to the family business. “How has the fishing been, Prumo?” Bentay asked.

Prumo shrugged and grimaced wryly. “We struggle to make ends meet,” he admitted. “More and more the fishmongers only buy from the larger crews. There’s just the four of us, and in a few years the boys will be out on their own. It’s hard to compete anymore.”

“I’ve been out a little myself, and I know what you’re  talking about. You need to find an advantage,” Bentay suggested. “The fishing’s always good in the shoals near Sapota Island. Have you tried there?”

Prumo dabbed some chowder from the whisker stubble near his mouth. “Haven’t you heard?” he replied. “Overlord Dolpus has forbidden anyone from going to Sapota Island.”

“No boats are permitted even to sail anywhere near it,” Castella added, her brown eyes flashing.

“My brother Dolpus,” Bentay said, shaking his head. “If only the king had put me in charge of the fishing district instead of him. I wouldn’t enact such ridiculous laws.”

“Maybe there’s a good reason to stay away from Sapota,” Prumo said, shrugging his broad shoulders. “Who are we to question the overlord?”

“He’s my little brother,” Bentay chuckled cynically. “I saw his ship near there not long ago. He probably just wants to keep all that good fishing to himself.”


The next morning before dawn, the family boarded their fishing boat, which they had named Jardino. It had been a member of the family for years, once new but by now an old craft, worn and well-used but still sturdy, with a single mast and sail. The small hold was loaded with nets and equipment, in preparation for a long day’s work.

“Which way should we go today?” Prumo asked as he hoisted the sail, his muscled arms straining at the lines.

Castella finished tying her long braid and tossed it over her shoulder. “I’ve been considering what Bentay said last night,” she replied, “and I think we should go to Sapota. There’s no good reason not to.”

“Overlord Dolpus has forbidden it,” Pregio reminded them. His worried eyebrows disappeared up into his dark, curly bangs.

“Shut up,” Maelo said to his brother. “Don’t be a pilot fish.”

Prumo followed his wife’s suggestion and by mid-morning they were dropping their nets within sight of the forbidden island. Sapota was surrounded by rocky outcroppings that stood out from the sea like shark’s teeth. The cliffs around the edges of the island gave way to thick forest in the interior. The fishing was very good, as Bentay had promised, and by high sun they were on their way to a very profitable day’s work.

To be continued next week. Please comment and let me know what you think so far.


  1. […] Part Two of my short story. (Part one can be found here.) […]

  2. […] intense and there’s no good place to break it. If you haven’t already, you should read Part One and Part Two […]

  3. […] weeks ago I posted a three-part short story called “Forbidden”, and at the end there was a subtle challenge to identify my inspiration for the story. No one […]

  4. […] yet, you should do so now, since this week’s post has lots of spoilers. You can find it here: Part One, Part Two, Part […]

  5. […] series which have led to some short stories that take place in that same world. I’ve posted “Forbidden” here on this blog, I’m still developing one called “Salvation”, and I have ideas […]

  6. […] My next book is a little easier. It’s basically a fantasy novel in the mode of The Chronicles of Narnia or The Lord of the Rings, except that there’s very little magic involved. No talking animals or magical creatures; no elves, dwarfs, or dragons; no wizards or sorcerers. Just castles and sword fighting, lords and peasants in a pre-industrial kingdom at war with its neighbors and itself. You can read an example of what I mean in the short story, “Forbidden.” […]

  7. […] another daughter’s High School AP Literature class about allegories. We read my short story, “Forbidden”, and then talked about some of the symbolism I used in writing it. I got to discuss my ideas and […]

  8. […] – Part 1, Part 2, Part […]

  9. […] my series of “Tales of Theran” was called “Forbidden” and you can read it here. I haven’t settled on a title for this one, so makes suggestions or leave comments below. […]

  10. […] of Theran” short story. You can (and should) read part one here and you can also read Forbidden, the first story in the […]

  11. […] conclusion of the second “Tale of Theran.” You can start at the beginning by clicking here. Leave a comment and tell me what you think, or leave a suggestion for a […]

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