WONG ZHI SIANG
Every doom-laden thud on the oak door thrust the ailing kingdom a step closer to the edge of the
abyss of oblivion. The relentless thump inflicted upon the door, the last barrier to utter annihilation of
his people, eventually convinced the old Berek of his impending end of his reign. It was ere the door
was crashed open that Berek, dispirited and having lost all valour, sent for her granddaughter for his
last gaze upon her face.
At the gloomy end of a passageway laid deep within the walls sat a beautiful child who never
saw her parents. Her father, a valiant warrior and a virtuous prince, had perished in vain to safeguard
the King’s subjects when she was still in the springtime of life and her mother followed him shortly.
Ever since the great siege begun a score of days ago she whimpered incessantly, as though the whole
world had forsaken her; yet her teary eyes, like eternal and everlasting spring, never ran dry. Upon
calling, she scampered to the King forthwith to allay his sorrow.
“Lyra, my young princess! Come!”
Lyra skittered to his beloved grandfather and stumbled upon her dainty feet. She would have
been the first amongst the garrison to stain the keep floor red if Berek had failed to grasp her tearstained shoulders and forefend her delicate nose from ramming into the ground. A golden pendant fell
out from the neckline of her dress and hung down fetchingly from her neck, gleaming gold in the light
spilling in from the narrow arrow slits. In a trice, the King’s badly wounded hands were healed under
the radiance exuded by the magical pendant. Berek clutched Lyra to his chest and caressed her silvery
hair with great tenderness and with the forlorn hope that this would not be the last cuddle they would
share, though this was beyond the bounds of possibility by now.
“Lyra Belacqua, do not falter now! For I, King Berek Belacqua, have made you Queen of
“My lord, have you summoned me to seek for solace in this dark hour? If it is true, solace will I
requite then, for you have raised me with love.”
“Grant me nothing but the knowledge that you are away from this tottering castle! Leave me to
the dreadful fate that befalls me as neither my people, nor my soldiers, nor even my knights, can
deliver me now. But you, Lyra Belacqua, are of my house; and you will defend the Kingdom of
Aesrialis to the last remnants. Alas and alack, I have bequeathed you a crumbling kingdom!” Berek
assured Lyra that his imminent demise was inevitable.
Albeit with howling reluctance, Lyra fled with Grimbold the Griffin as her King wished. With
Lyra bestriding on his back, Grimbold unfolded his feathered wings and soared up into the clouds. It
was borne in on Lyra, now a griffin rider, that her grandfather’s fate was sealed and unalterable, yet
deep down she began to have an uncanny understanding that she possessed the might to turn the tide of
war. Grimbold brought Lyra over the enemy encirclement and to the Kingdom of Polaris in the north.
There dwelt King Iorek Brynicson, a direct descendant of the legendary King Gregorek the Wise who
had, during his reign, united the clansmen of the region under one banner.
There was a pandemonium when the Aesrialian princess set foot upon the Northland as the
golden pendant became effulgent and its rays gilded the vast icy plains of the land. So enthralled were
the Northern Bears of White, the Northlanders, that they disseminated their sighting amongst their
closest kin, all the way to the very ears of King Iorek. A meeting between Lyra and Iorek was therefore
arranged and held in the hall of the White Citadel.
“What is this pendant of yours endowed with, young maiden? What can this adornment
“It has the power to heal, my lord Iorek.” Lyra replied. “It can heal wounds in the blink of an
“It is more than just a healer, Lyra.” Iorek then recited an old prophecy that had roamed across
his land for ages.
“Behold the child whose advent is loathed!
Adorned with glorious pendant of glittering golden,
For in the fullness of time shall the Bearer brandish
The secret weapon that ousts kings from thrones.”
Now that Lyra knew the pendant had the power to destroy, thoughts of saving her grandfather
sprang to her young but sensible mind. She had now awoken from years of unawareness and had
understood that all this while she was wielding the most precarious and lethal weapon in the world. If
she had known it earlier, the annexation of her kingdom would have been averted. Now a monumental
task lay ahead of Lyra – she must rushed to her grandfather’s rescue ere it was too late.
“I shall now return to my palace even in this dark hour.” Lyra trotted towards Grimbold. “Every
hour dawdled hastens Aesrialis’s defeat.”
“Already feeling impatient to subjugate the world? Do you realise how feeble you are?” Iorek
flashed a crooked smile at Lyra as though she had been seduced by the pendant’s unsurpassed power.
“I have no such desire, Iorek. As feeble as I am, I cannot let my King went unaided. It is
depended on me to hold the defences now.” Lyra’s resoluteness and fortitude astonished Iorek. From
the vulnerable little child, Iorek saw a display of strong character and charisma worthy of a throne.
In a desperate attempt to save the kingdom from the mire, Lyra hexed the enemy soldiers with
the Forgotten Pendant of Aesrialis, the weapon that daunted the enemy tremendously. Nevertheless, the
siege was not halted and Lyra’s power began to wane. Against wrath of the overwhelming hordes of
enemy, Lyra seemed virtually impotent. It was too much for a young warlock to relieve the beleaguered
castle from an army and she was in dire need of reinforcement now, as the decimation of her
grandfather’s garrison would be swift and terrible.
It was in this moment that Iorek and his fellow White Bears, along with the Sea People and the
Unicorns of the Woodland Realms, all Berek’s old allies, arrived at the battlefield with standards raised
high. At last, hope was kindled and Lyra’s reunion with his grandfather would not be long.