The Crowns Quiver.
Written by: Carys and Charlotte.
Rejena: 13 years
Oralie: 16 years
When I walk outside I notice that my strawberry roan gelding and dusty grey mare are waiting for me. Shadow’s dusty grey coat is groomed to perfection, her mane and tail trimmed for the journey. Peaches’ coarse, flecked, reddy-brown fur is immaculately groomed, not a strand out of place within his soft mane. His white socks and star are glowing in the musky dawn light.
I look closer and see the stable hand loading Shadow with our packs for the long journey South. Shadow is standing as still as a statue, withholding her posture for the routine she has endured so many times before. While the holster is loading up Shadow I go and inspect Peaches. His brown, well-worn saddle girth is nice and tight, and his gleaming metal shoes are screwed in perfectly.
I mount up on peaches and bid farewell to my family preparing to leave Dunsreach, with its many large oaks, and it's crystal clear lake for the Trevian palace. It felt like I had a mountain between my legs sitting there on Peaches oversized back, but I was used to the feeling.
I sit up and stare up to a rotten, wooden ceiling. It is a basic bedroom, a tatty old bed with chipped paint, an old abandoned table and broken floorboards. The wallpaper is peeling off in parts, one by one. It isn't exactly what you'd call homely, but it is my home. I sink back underneath my covers and feel grateful for (unlike most children my age) the fact I don't have school today. I have to drag myself out bed before I began to get dressed into my normal every-day clothes: an old blouse and some breeches.
I walk slowly into my 'room for spare stuff' and grab a flask and a saddle bag. Following that I walk mindfully into the kitchen and fill my two objects with water and food. After all, it will be a long journey. My kitchen isn't the best either; my preparation table is old, chipped and seems to be falling apart. My old, rusty fire oven creaks loudly every now and then. I head to the front door, peer around it and think about my options. I could never make the journey to the Trevian palace on foot.
The long dusty road to the kingdom of Trevia, so far has been full of game such as; rabbits, patrides, deer and boar. I hunt them for dinner with the longbow I got for my thirteenth birthday. It is made of high quality wood and has intricate carvings etched into the sides. My quivers of arrows are both made of plain brown leather, but the arrows inside one of them are anything but plain. Of course I have a quiver of normal arrows, but in the other all the arrows are fletched with feathers I’ve magicked myself with my gift of battle magic, magical war strategies and healing. This means that my magical arrows will go anywhere I want them to go, but I hardly ever use them because they are extremely hard to make. I save them for emergencies only and hide them where only I will find them.
The campouts have run smoothly and swiftly and we are nearly at the river. One of the men at arms from Dunsreach has accompanied me on the journey, on his dark chestnut stallion, called Darkheart. When we reach the river he shall return home. So I guess that means I'll be left to fend for myself during the midterm festivities at the court of the Trevian Palace.
The long and dusty road to the city seems to be deserted as it was still early. The cold, crisp, air bites into my arms as I walked along the winding, twisty road. It was a long walk to the city closest to where I live. I get glimpses of the provost's quarters as the stony, yellowy-White road leads the way into the magnificent city.
I strut into the public stables as if I were a princess. Not that anybody notices me. I stare each horse down, searching for one that is suitable for my standards. One black stallion catches my eye. He sticks out among every other horse. His long, black mane is flowing and dancing in the afternoon light. The pale white star on his forehead looks like it has been painted onto his shining, dark coat. This horse is the one. I peer around the stall door to see if anyone is looking. No one is. I seize my chance and lead him out of his stall and down the cobblestone path. Just as I reach the doors, several shouts of 'stop her!' come from behind me. I leap on to his back and urge him on. If they catch me, they will kill me.
Thunder booms around me in my dream. I wake up but the loaded noise continues to break through the dark sky. I look up. The man at arms is frantically trying to shake me awake. The thunder grows louder. Horses. I lunge for my bow and belt dagger. Friend? It didn't matter. We had to assume foe.
The Dunsreach Man at arms and I move outside and stand back to back as the war- crying ambush of foot and mounted soldiers cross into our path. An unfortunate soldier gets slashed in half by the man at arms broadsword. A fleet of the foot soldiers come my way. I shoot one in the throat and another in the stomach. They're dangerously close now I unsheath my dagger and slash, hitting one in the shoulder and one in the neck. I cause some serious damage to another one's face. There's one soldier left, his copper hair matted with sweat, he limps over to me, gives a final drowsy swing with his sword, and I promptly gut him.
“Wow” the man at arms exclaims, “gutted ‘im like ye meant it.”
“I think I'm going to be sick” I reply already at the bushes
As Destiny and I gallop into the green countryside, the wind tangles my hair and the fading light gets in my eyes. Underneath me, I can feel the horse heaving and puffing. Destiny's hooves thunder against the rock-hard ground as his legs stretch out onto the path ahead of him.
Night falls. The dark sky looms over us as we approach the forest. My hands have tangled themselves into Destiny's Mohawk-like mane (which I had cut so it wouldn't get tangled- not that it really worked) as the trees seem to walk towards us. As we gallop around a corner, I spot a huge log blocking the path. I brace myself for the worst. The log is less than 10 meters away... I close my eyes... Suddenly I have this sensation of being lifted in the air and then falling down again. We have done it. Destiny has jumped over the log.
I slide off Destiny's back. He is puffing heavily after a day's worth of galloping and he certainly deserves a reward- rest.
The day has run smoothly in contrast to the previous night's events.
I have reached and the cold, icy, fast flowing river and the man at arms is a speck in the distance galloping away on his dark mount. Shadow’s and Peaches hooves make a loud clopping noise on the solid, wooden bridge. I can see the city walls. Not long now, I'll be at court soon and I'll be acquainted with many suitables.
I pass the rapid river and now the city walls are looming ahead of me. The walls are made out of stones piled on top of each other and secured by several mages gifts. The wrought iron gates sneer at me as the watch opens them. I take my first steps through the gates. What I see is purely overwhelming.
A day later the forest is in silence. Not an animal in sight, nor is there a friendly part about the forest. Yells echo through the ginormous trees, then a noise like thunder. Horses, maybe? Correct- Dozens of them were being ridden. I urge Destiny into a canter and use the dark trees as cover. Hopefully they don't see us.
The road to the meadow is only about 10 km. We should reach it by the end of the day if
we go at a gallop. Dusk falls. The meadow is full with deer and rabbits- and it might be a good time to get out my pocket knife because my saddle bag and flask are both empty and we are still at least a few days from the trevian palace. I wish I had brought a compass and map. I am tired and thirsty and I bet Destiny is too. Right now the best thing to do is to curl up in the grass and fall asleep underneath the stars with my horse.
As I pass through into the city everyone moves away like I'm something poisonous. They create a pathway for me, a channel through the crowd leading up to the palace. They think I'm one of those stuffy nobles that don't care about anything but their estates and money, I realise. As I reach the marketplace, I can see brightly coloured fruits and other goods, stall owners trying to progress their trade and young gixies and lads playing in the mud of the cesspool. There were Provost Guards in uniform, Children in rags and respectable Commoners wearing respectable cloth.
It's early morning and I'm thirsty. I reach for my flask... As soon as I pick it up I have a horrible sinking feeling as I remember that there is nothing in there except air. I wake Destiny up and jump on his back. The sooner we get to the trevian palace the better.
I bounce up and down on Destiny's back as he gallops towards the towering stone wall defending the trevian palace. For a minute I thought my eyes were failing me. In front of me there was what seems like it came from the realms of the gods: water- a whole river it. There is no word in the world to describe how relieved I am. Destiny seems to know what is in front of him because as soon as I slide off his back to fill my flask he starts to greedily gulp down half the river.
When Destiny's ready I jump back on his back and trot him on to the bridge so we can enter the palace behind the stone wall.
I’ve arrived at the palace, it's tall watchtowers are scraping the sky. The flag, a golden horse rearing on a blue field, is billowing in the wind. The golden horse on the flag represents the queen's ladies and the strength of females in war, and the blue field being of the royal colour. The guards lower the drawbridge, I ride over and they escort Shadow and Peaches to the stables, then open the large wooden doors to the palace.
I look around at the velvety-golden-regal setting. Trying to find my way to the guests wing, I venture down hallways until I come to the stairwell. Having no idea where I am anymore I descend the velvet-carpeted stairs and find myself in the gloomy-dust, biting cold, and what is unmistakably the dungeons.
The city behind the stone wall is bustling and it is full of life. There are stalls selling fruit and veggies, some stalls are selling meat, others are selling liquids and the rest are selling goods like blankets, wood and metal. I trot Destiny through the crowds of people intending to get to the palace behind them. It was then that I felt it. I don't know quite how to describe the pain; constant and stinging. I feel tired and dizzy, then it all fades to black.
I lift my hands up to stretch them, but they feel surprisingly heavy. That's when I realise it. I am in the grey, gloomy castle dungeons. My hands and feet are technically stuck to the wall. I felt guilty and confused. To be honest, I had achieved my goal. I was in the castle. Destiny! I have forgotten about him, and I have no idea where he is.
About to go up the stairs again, I notice a girl. The girl is of about 12-13 years, her hair is a messy, dirty, tangle of ginger locks. Her eyes are a icy-grey blue and she has tanned skin. Her hands are coated with dirt and her nails have dirt beneath them. She has spreading bruises on her arms and shoulders, showing through the shredded blouse and breeches she is wearing. It is hard to see her face under the muck, but she is unmistakably a child, and a young one at that.
“Who are you?” I ask her.
“Rejena, I'm an orphan.” She replies.
“What are you doing here” I enquire.
She doesn’t reply.
I can't stand her being locked away in this cold dusty dungeon, but I can only think of one way to get her out of here.
“Will you agree to be my servant and companion at court, if I get you out of this place?” I ask.
She nods. It's a very slight one, but a nod all the same.
I refuse to eat anything I am given although I was starving. Where is Destiny? Is he all right? All I have is myself and the stuffy dungeon I practically live in. The grey, stone walls are as cold as an iceberg. The iron handcuffs are heavy and chained to the wall. I want a life, a life out of a dungeon. I am woken from my thoughts when I hear a loud clang. The iron doors guarding the dungeons have been opened. I try to see through the iron bars to find out who it is.
It is a girl. She has fair skin and her hair is long, shiny and blonde and flows behind her as she walks. Her eyes are the colour of emeralds. She is wearing an elegant violet, woollen gown and leather slippers. Straight away I know she is a noble.
"Who are you?" She asks me.
"Rejena, I'm an orphan." I reply sullenly.
“What are you doing here?” She enquires.
I don't reply. I am too cold to reply anyway.
“Will you agree to be my servant and companion at court if I get you out of this place?” She asks.
I’m too tired to do anything but nod.
After getting permission, I grab my new servant and companion, and ascend the stairs to the second level, the guests wing. When we get there I set about unpacking, I remove my daggers, spear and longbow, and place them on a weapon rack. I set out my clothes on the clothes press and then finally my books on the bookshelf. Now that I've finished unpacking I look my new recruit over, her hair needs washing and she'll need new clothes, other than the dress and slippers I gave her.
“I'm going to get you some new clothes” I say. “Have a bath and wash your hair. By the time I get back I expect to find you fully washed and clean, or else I'll clean you myself.”
And with that, I left.
I look at the dress I have been given to wear by Oralie, my new 'mistress'. It is green at the skirt, but at the top it is a bright yellow. I suppose it suits my hair. In fact, my hair needs a good brush. I slip out of my breeches and blouse and pull on the dress. I
kind-of ignore the purple leather slippers I have been given; I would rather go bare feet.
"I am going to get you some new clothes." Oralie tells me. "Have a bath and wash your hair. By the time I get back I expect to find you fully washed and clean, or else I'll clean you myself.” She says firmly.
When I am finished with my bath and have strived through getting a comb through my tangled hair, I set off to find Oralie.
I sit on my elegant, silky bed. It has a warm, downy comforter and soft, puffy pillows. I think about my new ‘companion’, what should I do with her? Do I make her do every last bit of work I can possibly think of? Do I leave her alone in her room all day? Or do I take her along with me to court functions?
I am deep in thought when Regina walks in. Her hair is damp but not dripping. The proper colour of her hair is showing without any traces of the dirt it once gave residence to. Her tanned skin is as clean as can be. Without all the muck I can finally see her face, it is quite pretty with a soft nose and full lips.
“Oh, hi regina” I say.
“Ummm, you see” she stumbles, “When I came here I was riding a black stallion named Destiny, and I would like to know if you knew where he is?”
A black stallion? I wonder where she got that from?
“Oh, well he’ll be in the stables of course” I say knowingly.
As soon as I say that, she leaves to head back to her room down the hall and I am alone once more.
I find Oralie in her bedroom. It is a lot more elegant than mine; there is a golden rimmed mirror with elegant patterns, next to that is a dark brown door with a gold handle leading to her dressing room. The carpet is a dark red with gold patterns and there is a dresser the same colour as the door with gold handles. She is sitting on her violet and gold bed and looking out the window at the castle grounds below. I decide it would be best to knock. Thump, thump, thump. Oralie slowly turns her head and looks at me.
"Oh, hi Rejena." She says calmly.
"Ummm, you see, when I came here I was riding a black stallion named Destiny and I would like to know if you know where he is." I say awkwardly.
"Oh, well he'll be in the stables of course." Oralie says as if she already knew everything about the palace.
I head back to my room and look out of my window to try get a glimpse of where the stables were amongst everything else in the castle grounds.
Oralie: first day of midterm festival.
I stare at myself in the mirror, I am wearing a layered boysenberry-coloured dress with a black velvet cape. The cape is thick in terms of fabric and has a jeweled hem and collar. The dress itself is made of lace and silk, and accents my rosy cheeks. My hair is pinned up in a coil of cascading curls made fashionable by the Queen Josianne.
I set out to the ballroom, and am escorted down the velvet steps that lead down from the big fancy doors at the top of the room, by one of the crowns footmen. I sit down at a table of other young unbetrothed noble ladies and watch as one by one they are asked to dance. I stare at the maidens being courted by young, handsome noblemen jealously, how come they get to asked to dance and not me? Right now I am the only one at the table, all there is to do is stare at the billowing skirts of dancing ladies with a wistful look on my face.
“Hi!” comes from behind me.
I look around into sapphire blue eyes set in a tanned-olive face, topped off with a short-cropped layer of dark-chocolaty hair. Of course he is noble, everyone who is in the room is, except the guards, and he certainly isn’t a guard. He almost looks...Regal, the Prince!
I look at him in the eyes, and say something really intelligent like “Ummm….”
“Don’t worry” he replies calmly, “You don’t have to be scared”
Some of the noble ladies in the room are looking at me, mouths wide opens, others are staring at me with envy.
“What’s your name” he asks.
“Oralie, Oralie of Dunsreach.” I say, trying not to let my nerves show.
“I am Prince Liam” He replies coolly.
“Prince Liam, as in Prince Liam of Trevia.”
“Who else? He replies, chuckling.
“Anyway, “Would you like to dance?
Do my ears fail me, or does the Prince of Trevia actually want to dance with me? What kind of question is that?
“Yes, I would love to” I reply.
He takes my arm and leads me to the dance floor, as we prepare to dance the night away.
I am fiddling with the scarlet ball gown that Oralie had given me so I can go to the ball. My ginger hair has been curled and put in a ponytail as well. I don't want to though; I am not a noble, I am a servant. Oralie is very kind to me, but sometimes she goes one step too far. I mean, who would want to dance with a 13-year-old servant? Some things really confuse me. The dark red lace sewn to the hems of the gown are delicate it's tempting to fiddle with it although I know I shouldn't.
My bedroom is pretty much based on Aqua. Aqua wallpaper, Aqua carpet and a Aqua bed. After a while I decide to go support my friend at the ball.
To my surprise I walk in to see Oralie dancing with Prince Liam Of Trevia. I am shocked. I am even more of a shocked when...
"Da u wanna dance with me?" I swivel my head around to see a boy not much older than me, holding his hand out to me. He has a white buttoned up top and breeches on, and is wearing a golden sash around his shoulder and waist. I smile. "Of course." I say, although I never intended to dance tonight.
Oralie: second day of midterm festival.
I find myself once again scrutinising my image in the mirror I am in a dress of emerald silk, setting off my eyes and my glimmering, jewelled sash is swept up into an elegant bow. It's still early in the day but I just can't wait for tonight, with its exquisite food, sparkly jewels on capes and dresses…and Prince Liam.
The day passes on quickly, and I find myself at the top of those big velvety stairs, as I descend I daydream about the night before, only snapping out of it when I stumble and nearly topple down the stairs. I am sure I am bright red, no make that tomato red. I am hoping no one saw, but I know people did. I make one last attempt of going down the final stair and fall. Right into the arms of none other than Prince Liam.
“I enjoyed last night” He says with a million dollar smile, ignoring the fact that I had just fallen down the stairs, twice.
“Uh, uh, me t-t-too” I stammer, silently cursing myself for how stupid I sounded.
“Well, come on then, let’s start off where we left it” He says, taking my arm and leading me to the dance floor.
Once we finish dancing, I look into his sapphire eyes and say, “Let’s go to the gardens” And lead him down the smooth cobblestone path. We sit amongst the roses, laughing and smiling. I hope Rejena’s getting some sleep, It’s been a late night and she looked like the undead this morning, after yesterday. I look into Prince Liam’s eyes once more and he looks into mine. We spend the night under the stars, just me and him.
6:30. I am lying awake in bed, waiting for the dawn light to come streaming through my aqua curtains. You may be wondering why I am up so early when I got to bed at 1:00 this morning after dancing with some teenage boy I had only met a few hours before. I get out of bed, rub my eyes and begin to slumber towards my mirror. Oops. Last night I must have fallen asleep as soon as I collapsed onto my bed. I can't wait to go to court tonight.
I head down to the stables and desperately try to find the black stallion whom I had rode here on. A nicker comes from a stall at the end of long, cobblestone path. I run to the end of the stable and call Destiny. From the way that thumping echoed through the stable I think he might be trying to run through the honey-coloured wooden door.
I try to run down the velvet-carpet stairs without much success. It isn't long before I trip over the white-silk ball gown I am wearing. The court doors are wide open and seem to say come in to anyone who passes. The court is painted in a deep shade of gold and a crystal chandelier hangs above the dance floor. I sit down and wait for something to happen. Oralie (again) is dancing with Prince Liam. All the colour has drained from my face is I realize that I had didn't know the teenage boys name. Well, I think, it doesn't matter now because he won't be here.
"Hello Rejena." A soft voice comes out of nowhere- and I would recognise it anywhere. I smile, stand up and take his hand which is stretching out towards me.
"Let's go to the gardens." I say softly.
Oralie: third day of midterm festival.
I flop on to the bed and let out a big sigh, last night was fantastic. I think about Liam, with his sparkling, sapphire eyes and his all round good looks. I can still remember his eyes gazing into mine under those long dark lashes. On any other man those eyelashes would seem feminine. Not on the prince. It is a shame that all this will blow over and I’ll be gone at the end of the week. But I guess, that gives me more reason to enjoy it while I’m still here. I dance and frolic around my room and to my embarrassment, fall flat on my face.
I open up my clothespress and pull out a lavender dress and a white silk shawl, with lavender embroidery and jewels around the hem. I apply lipstick and eyeshadow of soft shades, and wear my hair flowing down my back. I secure my hair from my face with diamante encrusted hairpins. To set of the look, I put lavender earrings and a matching necklace on. Now I am ready for court.
The next morning I am shattered. Most of the night I was in the castle gardens dancing away. It is a pain that Christmas is still a few months away... But my birthday is a week away...
I don't get out of bed until about 8:30. It is tiring dancing for half a night for seven days in a row. Last night I was too busy thinking about Wulfric (the teenage boy) to realize that: A. My hair was tangled and messy, B. I forgot to put lipstick on and: C. I didn't have any slippers on (like always). The first thing I do is reapply lipstick and search through my wardrobe for something to wear tonight. I pull out a purple gown the shade of plums, smooth out the ruffles and lay it on my bed. I drag myself back into of bed and fall back asleep.
Tonight I actually remember to wear lipstick, have my hair plaited and wear slippers. It is a full moon tonight and the moon shines through the led light windows and against the golden wall. It is not as busy as it has been for past two nights, probably because everybody is so tired. One thing confuses me from last night: how did Wulfric know my name when I never told him? Oh well, I think, I don't need to worry about it. I sit down and wait. And wait. I can see Oralie dancing with prince Liam and- wait a minute. No, it can't be. I think my eyes are failing me. They have to be. Wulfric is actually dancing with somebody else. I blink, and think that it is all a dream. But it is not. I run out of the court, wiping my tears as I did.
I rip off my slippers and gown, put my nightgown on and take my plait out and flop onto my bed, crying as I did so.
Oralie: fourth day of the midterm festival.
I wake up with a dreamers look in my eyes. I pull on a red ballgown with a flowing train, and I slip my feet into sparkly dancing slippers. My hair is done up in a ponytail with bouncy ringlets and I have streaked a line of sparkles in my hair, so when the light hits it I will be even more noticeable to a particular person.
I am still surveying my look when Rejena bursts in. Her eyes were red and puffy like she’d been crying in her sleep and her hair was a knotted mess. I scurry over to her and hold her tight.
“Whats wrong?” I ask, hoping I sound sympathetic enough.
“Last night-” She chokes.
“Last night?...” I ask.
“Wulfric” She manages to spit out his name.
“Isn’t that the boy you’ve been dancing with? I ask.
She nods, though very slightly.
Once she leaves I go to court.
I hope my outfit is a good choice because everyone is staring at me mouths wide open and flabbergasted. I don’t know if that’s a good thing. Prince Liam is waiting for me at the bottom of the steps, he too is staring.
“Um, um, hi?” He stammers
I suppress a giggle, it’s his turn to be at loss of words, I guess my outfit is a hit!
“Hi” I say, and for the first time ever; I say it like a normal, sane person.
The night goes as the previous ones have, just with a few more open mouth starers.
I wake up and feel excited for tonight. I don't have to wait any more than 10 seconds before my common sense kicks in. Second thoughts, I won't be going to court tonight. Tears start running down my face as I feel betrayed and confused. The best thing to do is to visit Oralie and go for a ride with Destiny.
When I burst into her room, Oralie is modelling in front of her mirror in a red ballgown with red, sparkly slippers. I think she noticed how red my eyes were. I had obviously been crying in my sleep. Oralie scurries over to me.
"What's wrong?" She asks sympathetically.
"Last night-" I choke on my own words.
"Last night?" She asks.
"Wulfric." I manage to spit his name out before tears start running down my face.
“Isn’t that the boy you’ve been dancing with?" She asks.
I nod slightly.
I just sit on my bed while I sounds of joy and laughter come from court. I curse myself silently. He is just another heartless boy. I can't even bring myself to say his name anymore. I have been a fool and I know it.
Oralie: fifth day of the midterm festival
I wake up after another long night. I probably look like a monster, the way I’ve been tossing and turning thinking about what I’m going to do when it comes to leaving. I have just finished brushing my hair, when Rejena comes bursting in (again).
“Whats going on?” I demand.
“It’s Wulfric, quick! Otherwise he’ll die!” She says faster than the speed of light.
My blood runs cold. Ice cold. I run out the door as fast as I can and sprint down the hallways. Rejena follows.
We reach the hallway where Wulfric is. I can instantly tell that he has been stabbed and he is losing blood. Fast. His face is pale and he will die in a matter of minutes if I don’t interfere.
“Regina, help me. I am so sorry, so-so” He says weakly from dry cracked lips before Rejena cuts him off.
“That doesn’t matter right now” She says.
It is hard to see in the dawn light, but I still kneel beside him and touch a finger to his wound and the blood disappears.
“Oralie, your a mage! Why didn’t you tell me?” Rejena asks, shocked.
The excitement over, I head to court and apologize to Prince Liam for being late.
The next morning I am up at 6:30 again. I am hungry and thirsty so I go and try to sneak something from the kitchen. The biggest surprise of my life met my eyes on the way there. It was Wulfric. And his new dance partner. I hide behind the wall and (naughtily) begin to eavesdrop on their conversation.
"You told me that I was your first dance partner!" Wulfrics dance partner yells.
"Yes, I know, but I-" Wulfric protests.
"But nothing!" She keeps yelling
"Please Jessica!" Wulfric wails.
"No!" Wulfrics partner draws her dagger. It happens so fast. She holds her dagger above her head and throws. I could see she was aiming for his heart. A scream came from behind the wall. Forget the food and water, I thought, get Oralie! I ran as fast as I could to Oralies bedroom.
"What's going on?" Oralie demands
"It's Wulfric, quick! Otherwise he'll die!" I say as fast I can while puffing.
Oralies face changes from annoyed to horrified. She runs out the door and soon I follow.
When we get to the hallway where Wulfric was stabbed, he is puffing and is losing blood. I must have looked heroic then, because of an open window, my hair is blowing fiercely behind me and the dawn light shines onto my face.
"Rejena, help me. I am sorry, so so-" Wulfric whispered weakly before I cut him off.
"That doesn't matter right now." I smile at him gently. Meanwhile, Oralie was leaning over him and had put a finger to his wound. All the blood and the wound miraculously disappeared. "Oralie, you're a mage! Why didn't you tell me?" I exclaim
I pulled my white silk dress on and combed hair into a ponytail. At the bottom of the velvet stairs, Wulfric is waiting for me. When he sees me, he holds out his hand and I take it. I might as well enjoy the 3rd to last dance with Wulfric. After a while of dancing, we head to the stables and mount our horses and go for a ride in the moonlight.
Oralie: Sixth day of the midterm festival:
I get up and mourn, for it is the second to last day of midterm festival and I’ll be going home soon. As much as I’m looking forward to going home, I can’t bear having to leave my beloved prince. I put on a black and grey number, mourning colours (appropriate given the situation.)
A little birdy told me it was Rejena’s birthday soon, (Wulfric) So I’ve planned to get her some new clothes, a saddle, tack for destiny and a cleaning and polishing kit for the belt dagger she’ll find wrapped up in her dress today. I pull on my slippers and head to court, not a strand of gently curled hair out of place on my head.
As I walk down the velvet stairs I wonder what it will be like coming down here for the last time.
As the night progresses I get wrapped up in dancing and forget about my worries for tomorrow and enjoy my time with Liam.
Only after court in bed, do I start crying.
My birthday is approaching rapidly. But so is going home with Oralie. I think it's funny; the conditions that Oralie said that she get out of dungeons were that I become her servant and companion. But I actually haven't done any servants work. Going home with Oralie will also mean leaving Wulfric. But oh well, he's pretty much just another stupid boy.
I sit up and admire my room for one of the last times. I walk to my wardrobe and pull out my plum-coloured gown.
Oralie: last day of midterm festival.
I mope around my room in my yellow silk clad gown, and silver slippers. At twilight we shall leave the Palace for Dunsreach.
When I walk down the velvet-clad steps into court, I try not to sniffle, now will be my last time with Prince Liam till next year, and by then he will have found another suitable and most likely get married straight away.
I meet Liam at the bottom of the stairs.
“Hi” He says in his usual calm and collected way.
“I, I, we leave at twilight.” I stumble on the words.
He didn’t say anything, but it was obvious he was trying to register what I’d just said.
“Then we’ll make the most of tonight” He decides, and sweeps me off my feet and carries me to the moonlight gardens.
We are followed out by an echo of gasps. We laugh, and smile at each other the whole way out. He places me on one of the exquisitely carved garden benches and kisses me under the stars.
I am to busy packing to come tonight. Well, let's think of the advantages. 1. I am not in some stuffy dungeon. 2. I am not in a stuffy court. 3. I am not in a stuffy ball gown. 4. I am a companion and (hardly) a servant to a noble.
I have to stuff all the dresses into a tiny pack. I think I probably should borrow a pack from Oralie since it was her idea to get me all these dresses and slippers. I am wearing a new pair of breeches and a new blouse. I drag my pack out to the stable and mount Destiny.
I meet Rejena at twilight, in front of the stables. Her cheeks are tear stained, as are mine, for we are leaving our beloved. I don’t mean to be selfish, but I’m leaving the Prince, she’s just leaving some stupid boy.
After I load our packs on Shadow, I mount up Peaches and trot over to Rejena, already mounted on Destiny. We trot through the city. When we approach the sneering wrought iron gates, the night watch opens them for us.
Through the city gates, I urge Peaches into a canter, towards the river. When I reach it I simply dismount and fall to my knees, head in hands.
Desperate to get home, so I could forget about everything that happened at the palace, I urge my mount into a gallop, and head for Dunsreach.
It feels strange, to be leaving the castle. I have mounted Destiny and he needs a bit of exercise. Second thoughts, a lot of exercise. It is a mission to wrap my legs around his chubby belly. I urge him into a gallop and head towards the now-quiet city. I ride side-by-side next to Oralie as she knows her way better than I do. The river is flowing rapidly and I decide to have a bit of fun
I urge Destiny into the river and the water runs against his legs. He neighs so loud I think the people at the palace could hear him. At one point Destiny stumbles and I go flying off his back and I am plunged into the ice-cold water. Oralie just giggles. Soon she leads us to a secret path. I can see Dunsreach fiefdom and we are only a few km away.
I lead Rejena down a shortcut only the nobles of Dunsreach know about. By mid afternoon, we reach the fiefdom.
“Good to be home?” The guard in Dunsreach colours, posted at the gate asks, as we go through.
“Ummm” I reply.
“Well, it's good to have you back” says the guard, “And who is this? Asks the guard, looking at Rejena.
“Rejena, my…companion” I reply, uncertain of what she actually was to me.
We trot to the stables and dismount and the stable hand takes the horses away.
Dunsreach is a grand castle indeed. When we get to the iron gates the guard looks at me curiously.
"Good to be home?" He asks Oralie.
"Ummmm..." Oralie says. She sounds so intelligent. Not.
"Well, it's good to have you back!" The guard tells Oralie. He looks at me again. "And who is this?" He asks curiously.
"Rejena... My companion." She replies uncertainly.
We enter the grand castle as soon as I have been approved by the guard (which took at least 15 minutes). I feel like a noble, the way Oralie treats me. Destiny seems to be sagging as we dismount, probably because the million dresses I have. Soon Oralie shows me where my (again) Aqua bedroom is. There are led light Windows while paintings of horses are faded and there isn't a chip in the Aqua wallpaper among the massive room. My poster bed is golden and Aqua and the pillows are as soft as a bunny. I collapse onto my bed and fall into a deep sleep.
We've been at Dunsreach for a few days now, and I've just been given a letter addressed to me from the Trevian palace. I open it up and this is what it says.
Things are changing at the palace, word got around about that boy who was stabbed. It turns out that the girl who did it, was from Stasia and so father has declared war on that realm.
I've been missing you. Without you at the palace, I have to eat and dance with giggly, unbetrothed noble ladies of the largest families in the realm. They wear these ugly, bad fitting dresses and are very unappealing! All I want to do is spend time with you.
We caught some soldiers from Stasia. They said that they were fought just over a week ago, by a man at arms in what sounds like Dunsreach colours, and a young noble lady which suits your description, Blonde, shiny, flowing hair, deep emerald eyes and fair skin. By any chance could that have been you? If it was, you have been in demand at the palace, mother wants you to join her ladies and go with her to court functions and protect her in battle.
I am missing you lots, I hope I see you again soon,
Liam sent me a letter! I can't believe it!
Maybe there is still something for us.
How are you? The palace has declared war with Stasia which is the land that Jessica comes from. I don't think she will be happy that her old dance partner will be fighting against her! Hopefully it will be my turn to gut her. She is a right maniac, and I think you know it! Back at the castle, all the noble teenage girls giggle, and wear stupid dresses all the time. One of them has 13 sisters. I wouldn't want to live in a family like that! What a nightmare most of those girls are.
I never dreamt Wulfric would write to me like this. In fact, I never dreamt he would write at all!
I race faster than lightning into Rejena’s room, like in the palace it has Aqua wallpaper. The difference it is bigger than her palace room and is has a poster bed, with a draping canopy.
“Rejena, Rejena, Rejena!!!! I yell bursting in and breaking the silence.
“What?” She asks, confused about my sudden outburst.
“I'm wanted at the palace!!” I exclaim.
Rejena stares at me blankly.
“It means I can go see Liam!…And you can see Wulfric!!” I cry, unable to suppress my joy.
I race out of the room and instantly start packing.
"Rejena, Rejena, Rejena!" I swing my head around to see where my name had been spat out 3 times.
"What?" I say confused, and annoyed as I was woken from my thoughts.
"I am wanted at the palace!" she exclaims. I stare at her like she is a 5-year-old getting a new pet.
“It means I can go see Liam!…And you can see Wulfric!!” She yells at the top of her lungs.
"Woo hoo," I yawn "I am so interested." But she has already raced out the door.
I shove everything back in my pack and drag myself up the stairs into Oralies room.
"When do we go?" I mumble.
"Now!" She says happily.
I sprint out the big wooden doors of Dunsreach and head to the stables. I load our packs on Shadow and mount Peaches. The stable holster comes out of the shadows.
“Where are you going my lady?” He asked.
“I’m needed at the palace” I reply.
“Plus” Rejena teases, as she rides up next to me, “Prince Liam is there”
I elbow her sharply in the ribs. She yelps.
The dirty trail of the shortcut to the palace, has weeds flourishing alongside it. The hooves of the horses are kicking up dry dust into the air, creating clouds of a yellowy- grey colour, making everyone sneeze. We urge our mounts into a gallop and head for the Trevian palace at full speed.
All of a sudden the palace pops into view and I feel a surge of relief wash through me. We ride round the corner, but so does a formation of Knights and their pikes, spears and swords. Ahead of me Destiny rears in fright, throwing Rejena of the back, she lands in a crumbled heap in the grass.
I swing myself onto Destiny's back and urge him into a gallop now that I know the way to the trevian palace.
"Come on, Oralie! You were the one who said you were excited to go!" I shout at her, while slowing Destiny into a trot and turning him around. But she doesn't hear. I can see her talking to the stable holster. "Plus, prince Liam is there." I ride over and but in on the conversation and tease her. Oralie elbows me sharply in the ribs.
"Owww!" I Yelp.
The dusty path has weeds growing on the side of it and the overgrown grass covers any presents from animals who have travelled on it.
"C'mon Destiny!" I urge him into a gallop. Dust and stones fly behind him as he eats up the path. The silvery trevian palace flies into view- so do the many Knights riding horses. As we gallop around the corner, so do swords, spears and a square formation of Knights. Destiny throws himself in the air and I slip off his back. I feel winded, and then it fades to black.
I race over to Rejena and try to lift her up, but I can't, she is too heavy. At that moment one of the Knights pushed his way through the crowd, and took his helmet off.
“Oralie?” Came a familiar calm voice.
I run over to him and he swings me around in the air.
“I've missed you so much” Says Liam.
“I've missed you more” I say
He places me back on the ground, wraps me up in a hug and kisses me gently.
After our short reunion, Liam goes picks up Rejena, and gently carries her over to Destiny and places her, leaning against his black, silky neck.
I wake to swaying, like the constant swaying of a boat. I sit up and nearly slip off Destiny's back. I feel dizzy, tired and shaken. Oralie rides Peaches over to me.
"Are you alright?" She asks with a definite concerned tone.
"Yeah, just a bit diz-" I begin. Destiny has swayed to a side.
"Ok, I get it." Oralie says kindly. "We'll be there in a few minutes."
When we arrive Wulfric is leaning against a doorway with his arms crossed. I run up to him and wrap my arms around him.
"Hey, hey, that's enough." Wulfric smiles.
The fire is crackling and white objects fall gently from the grey, cloudy sky.
"So let me get this straight. Prince Liam has declared war against Stasia?!" I ask, both concerned and excited.
"Yeah, pretty much." Wulfric looked solemn.
"Well," I stand up. "We better get training!" I grab my dagger and walk out the room.
The prince takes me to the royal archery court to train. He puts his hands on mine as I hold my bow. He insists that he's just helping me correct my hand positioning, but we both know that's not the reason. Besides, I'm a mean hand at archery.
Shot after shot I hit the bullseye, once I even split an arrow in half by shooting in the exact same place that it was on the target.
The whizz of the arrows flying through the the air makes me even more aware of the battle I will soon participate in.
A noise like a whip echoed through the room. I stared at the archery target with a dagger in the bullseye.
"Wow, you're impressive." Wulfric whistles in amazement.
"It's easy once you practise." I exclaim like an expert.
"Really? Not many girls can do it." He says. "Especially the those boring, girly girls." Wulfric lowers his voice to a whisper.
"Let's see you try then." I stand back and watch him take out his dagger.
"You better take out your dagger." He tells me.
Another noise like a whip echoes through room. This time, the dagger doesn't hit the target. It hits the straw behind it.
"Well your brilliant, aren't you?" I tease Wulfric.
"Yeah, brilliant." He replies sarcastically.
I sit on the velvet carpet on front of flickering flames in the fireplace. Soon Oralie opens the door and walks in.
"Did you hear the news?" She asks grimly.
"Yeah, I did." I reply sadly.
"Looks like we're at war, then?" Oralie, this time her face brightens up.
"Yeah, great." I say sarcastically
"Wulfric tells me you're pretty good with a dagger." She says, ignoring what I just said.
"Now that would sound about right." I stand up and walk towards my wardrobe and pull out my plum-shaded nightgown. "I-" I yawn. "I'm going to bed." I say to Oralie.
I wake late today after practising night long at the archery courts. I dress in breeches and a blouse, for I will be training again today and a dress would be impracticable. I pull my hair up into a ponytail of shiny blonde locks.
I slip my dagger into its sheath and attach it to my belt. About to go out I remember my belt purse and attach it beside my dagger. As I approach the door an envelope pops into view, slipped underneath my door.
I break the seal and pull out the parchment inside. It says:
I have gone out to ride Destiny. Back by 7:00.
I pocket the note and head out to the stables. After all if I'm going to go into battle, I'll need a fit horse.
The hallways are still deserted as it is early. I am wondering around, still in my nightgown, and intending to find a spare piece of parchment and quill and some ink.
I walk into a living room and find a desk with everything I require. I begin to write a note.
I have gone out to ride Destiny. Back by 7:00.
I popped the note in an envelope and put and slipped it underneath Oralies door.
I get into my blouse and breeches and head to the stables. I swing myself onto Destiny's back and he is all hyped up and is ready for a good gallop.
As I gallop down the dusty road, I think about my birthday. Tomorrow I will be 14. I don't know what it is like, to have family and friends support you on your birthday. But I am sure to find out! My curly, ginger locks blow fiercely in the, biting, winter wind and the world is mostly a pale white after a day of constant snowing.
I look at the sun. It is nearly 7:00 so I turn Destiny around and head back to the castle.
I reach the stables and mount up Peaches. I decide to ride a few miles into the royal forest, maybe shoot some game and practise riding in rugged terrain.
The further I go into the dark, somewhat isolated forest, I hear noises. Hooves on packed dirt. I blow the horn hanging on a string round my neck, signaling danger; for the men that mounted the horses were in Stasian colours.
Big mistake. I should only have blown the horn once they had already seen me. Now they are on alert, have spotted me and rapidly approaching.
A large group of soldiers try their luck on me, shouting battle cries. I shoot all of them.
The few soldiers left flee the scene as backup arrives.
It is snowing gently again. I head to the target room and, to my surprise, Wulfric is already in there aimlessly throwing his dagger. I throw my dagger past him and it hits the bullseye (as usual). Wulfric spins his head around in surprise. I don't think he expected a dagger to go flying past his ear.
"Practising again?" I ask in a surprised tone.
"Yup." He replies solemnly. "If there is a huge war, then I will pretty useless."
"Can you use a sword?" I ask. "Or a bow?"
"I am average with a sword."
I chuck a sword that I picked up before at him. "Let's see then." I say smartly.
A noise like a whip echoes through the room.
I wake up and remember it's Rejena's birthday. Instead of getting her the various things I was going to get her, I have decided to get her a bow and quiver, I thought it might be more useful, war and all.
I am to have breakfast with the royal family, I put on a cherry, flowing silk dress and cherry slippers. I was going to do my hair in the style made fashionable by the queen, but I thought better of it, it would seem I was trying too hard. Instead I put it up in a braided coil with ringlets falling down the side of my face. I put on garnet earrings, a similar colour to my dress, and a matching pendant. To finish of I put on a darkish-red lipstick and reddy-roan eyeshadow. I am determined to knock them dead in their
I wake up with sudden joy. It is my birthday. I pull on my white-silk dress, curl my hair and put into a ponytail before I head downstairs for breakfast. The huge oak doors leading into the dining room are open and golden banners are strung across the room. People are sitting down on chairs and chatting and murmuring things to each other. I feel dozens of eyes staring at me as I enter the grand hall.
I sit down uncomfortably and begin to fiddle with the knife and fork that have been laid out in front of me. It isn't long before Wulfric and Oralie come and sit beside me. A few minutes later Prince Liam comes and sits down next to Oralie. I still can't overcome my shock that Oralies, well, friend is the Prince of Trevia. I soon excuse myself from breakfast and I head back to my bedroom.
On my bed are two sets of objects: a bow and a quiver (from Oralie I'm guessing) and a brown, round, oval-like object (which I think might be from Wulfric). I am still trying to figure out what on earth it is. After all, there are the dangerous creatures in our world such as dragons and Pegasus.
I wake up to my door bursting open. I lunge for my dagger and hold it at the ready.
I realise that my intruder is Rejena. She is holding a giant lizard of some description on her shoulder. No, wait, not a lizard, it has wings. A dragon I just stare at her blankly.
"Well, what do you think?" She asks, clearly hoping I approved.
“Well, um, it's a dragon” I slur, probably sounding like a drunk.
“I know, it's a dragon!” She says excitedly.
“Who gave it to you?” I enquire.
“Wulfric” she replies.
It's not that surprising that Wulfric gave it to her, not really. I should have known.
I am woken in the middle of the night by a noise like crackling. I spin my head around my room, trying to find what the source of this noise is. One of my birthday presents is shaking rapidly. I feel slightly amused as I realize what it is. A long neck and a small head emerges out of the oval shaped egg. It is a bright blue, it little wings are curved and he has a spiked tail. My mind desperately searches for a name suitable for him. Spike? No, to common. Aqua? To girly. Dawn? Again, to girly. Dawn Flame? I suppose that will have to do. I walk over to my dresser and pick him up and begin to stroke his scaly back.
As soon as the first streams of light shine through my window, I get into my blouse and breeches and put Dawn Flame on my shoulder like he is a parrot. I rush (without Dawn Flame falling off) to Oralies bedroom to show her my dragon. I barge through the door.
"Well, what do you think?" I ask Oralie after she stares at me blankly for about 5 minutes.
"Well, ummm, it's a dragon!" She says really intelligently.
"I know it's a dragon!"
"Who gave it to you?"
"Wulfric." I reply.
I try to go back to sleep, but the thunder that booms through the night sky, shattering the silence, keeps me up. I decide to go on a starlit trek on Peaches and train for mounted combat.
About to urge Peaches into a canter, I feel a strong arm throw me off my horse. Peaches whinnies and gallops at full speed over to the palace.
Someone or something grabs my arm. I hear the bone snap. I scream. Horns blast from the direction of the palace and I can hear the thundering sound of hooves and the clinking of armour. My attackers break into a run and I race to the stables. I grab an unsuspecting destrier and grab one of the spare bow and arrows that they keep on standby in case of emergencies. In case of this.
A few hours later... Thunder echoes through the grey, uncheerful, cloudy sky. For some reason Dawn Flame has this urge to go outside.
"No, Dawn Flame." I say sternly. He just whimpers. Before I can do anything, Dawn Flame has launched himself in the air. A crashing noise spreads through the room. I just gap like a goldfish as the rain flys through the broken window. For some reason Dawn Flame flew through the window.
I knock on the door. It is soon opened by Wulfric. 2 words.
"He's gone." I say.
"Dawn Flame flew through the window."
"So... You have a broken window." Wulfric says dully.
"Exactly." I reply grimly.
I pull on my plum nightgown and get into bed. We can focus on Dawn Flame in the morning. After all, he is a dragon, one of the mightiest beasts of the land.
The company of Knights that come to my rescue, kill all the attackers. One of them throws me a sword. “In case there's more” he insists.
More like when more come. I can see hundreds of men coming up behind us.
“At the rear!!” I scream and blow the horn around my neck. Soon I can see the queen, all of her ladies, Knights, commoners, squires, pages, the prince, the king, and pretty much anyone who can fight with a dagger, bow, pike, lance, glaive, sword, spear or staff.
The men come, we shoot them and they shoot us, we stab them and they stab us, we skewer them and they skewer us. You get the idea. I look around and see Rejena curled up in a ball of defence, I fly over to her on my destrier, and slash at them with my given sword. Wulfric comes up behind me and finishes of the last of Rejena's attackers.
By the time I get up my curtains are soaking wet. The wind flies through my window and my tangled, curly hair is blowing fiercely. I must have slept in and I would have missed breakfast. My dresser is a little wet and I remember about the sausage. On my dresser is a plate with a sausage on it that I left out for Dawn Flame. I pick up the sausage and begin to munch on it when Wulfric barges in.
"There is an Aqua dragon outside. Any chance it's yours?" Wulfric asks. I race out the door leaving Wulfric standing there, dumbstruck.
Dawn Flame was just sitting on the grass, surveying the gardens. He wasn't much bigger, maybe about half a meter bigger. He gave an ear-threatening growl, not like a baby's whimper, like a male lion's growl.
"Dawn Flame?" I was confused. Was he threatening me? I turn around to see more than a dozen men sneaking up on me. I couldn't do anything. I left my dagger in my bedroom. I curl up in front of Dawn Flame, waiting for something to happen. This was the end of me. Suddenly screams filled the air. I lifted up my head. Men were being stabbed and slashed. I could finally see my rescuers. It was Wulfric and Oralie.
I take charge in carrying the wounded to the infirmary, and heal them with my gift. I look outside our men are winning, but not by much. Just to help, I use my battle magic to knock some of the enemy Knights of their mounts. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, sure those men falling of their horses was funny, but I no doubt killed some of them.
I feel a pulling feeling, one I know all too well. I've overdone it, I’ve used too much of my gift.
I hardly notice when I hit the ground.
Everything goes black.
Dawn Flame looks at Oralie and Wulfric approvingly.
"Dawn Flame, get with the other dragons-out of the way."
He seemed to understand and he spread his wings and sets off into the sky.
"So, what do we do now?" Wulfric asks.
"We fight." I reply.
The stairs leading to my bedroom have muddy footprints covering them and my bedroom door is broken. This can't be good. All of my windows are broken and the curtains are torn. My carpet is smothered in mud and my dagger is missing. I grab my bow and quiver and go to find Oralie. Second thoughts, I go to find Wulfric as I can't find Oralie.
"Do ya have any spare arrows?" I ask.
"Yeah, loads." He replies
"Can I have them?" I soon realize how stupid I sound.
"Forget it." I say calmly, although there is a snap in my arm. I turn around and begin to head out the door.
"Wait!" Somebody shouts from behind me. I turn around to see Wulfric running towards me. "Here... you... go." He passes the arrows to me and is puffing heavily after running down the corridor to catch up with me. "Here are... The arrows..." He repeats. I grab the arrows and head to one of towers at the front of the palace.
I open my eyes up to a worried face, concerned sapphire blue eyes set in a tanned olive face and dark chocolaty hair matted with sweat. And as I lie there on mybed, I can’t stop myself, I grin.
“Do you think this is funny?” He cries.
“No, I just didn’t expect to wake up to this” I say.
For a second, he looks like he’s going to say another exasperated comment. But no, he just smiles.
“Is everyone still fighting?” I ask.
He doesn’t say anything, but I can tell by the look on his face that the answer is yes. Everyone was still out there. In danger.
“Your father and some of the men at arms from Dunsreach are here” He says, trying to find a positive in this mess.
“Uh oh!” I realise.
“You haven’t told him about…...have you”
“No” I reply.
He leans down and his lips touch mine.
“I was worried about you” He says, “Why were you outside anyway?”
“I couldn’t sleep, thunder” I explain.
He leans down and kisses me again just as my father walks in.
He stares at me oddly but knowingly. As sure as sure can be, he definitely saw us. I can feel heat rising in my cheeks, and I want to hide myself under the covers of the bed.
As soon as Liam goes, my dad looks at me.
“So, Prince Liam?” He asks, “I never heard about him.”
Trying to cover my embarrassment I shoot a death stare at him until he leaves.
Soon Rejena walks in.
"How are you?" She asks.
"Fine." I reply glumly.
"Men from Stasia have entered the castle." She replies sadly.
"What?" I say, now jumping to my feet.
"I'm going to fight them off." She says firmly, before running out of my room.
Swarms of men are still rushing through the palace gates. I begin shoot them, one by one but it isn't enough to take them all out. I am soon joined by Wulfric, but by now it is too late and too many men have entered the castle. I know I have to warn Oralie so I leave Wulfric to the rest of the men. When I get to Oralies room I see her dad walking calmly and elegantly down the corridor. I push open the door to see Oralie laying in her bed.
"How are you?" I ask.
"Fine." She replies glumly.
"Men from Stasia have entered the castle." I reply sadly.
"What?" Oralie says, now jumping to her feet.
"I'm going to fight them off." I say firmly, before running out her room.
I hide behind pillars of Quartz and behind doorways, trying not to be seen. That is when I see her. She is walking with a dagger in her hand and she is wearing chain mail armor. It is Jessica.
"Where is he?" She mutters. "Where is he?" She says even louder. I run back down the corridor and up the stairs leading from the first floor to the second floor. The corridor leading to Wulfrics bedroom.
"She's after you." I pant once I am there.
"Who?" Wulfric asks.
"Jess... Jessica." I pant.
"WHAT?" Wulfric yells.
"It's... It's tr... It's true." I pant.
I hop out of bed and wince. I keep going though, I'm not going to lie in bed all day, while our men are suffering and dying. I pull on chain metal armour and cringe as the metal scratches together, making a grating sound. As I walk into the corridor I sheath my sword and find a deceased warrior. I take his helmet. After all it isn't going to be much use to him now.
I race outside to where everything is going on and fight. For my life. For my country. For my honour. For my Prince.
Most of the Knights who try their luck on me end up going to a better place, they better hope the black God gives mercy to their kind in his domain. They take me on thinking that a mere girl wouldn't last a minute. If I could give them any advice, it would be; looks can be deceiving. In the end it's them who don't last a minute.
One of the Trevian Knights rides past me and gives me the news that the palace is on lockdown. No one can get in, no one can get out.
I think of the prince. After the war he’ll never want anything to do with a regular stuffy noble like me. As if to tell me to stop feeling sorry for myself, I narrowly miss being skewered by a lance, only a flash out of the corner of my eye, snaps me back to alertness, and I cut the lance owners head off.
The door barges open.
"Ha, the boy himself!" Jessica snarls.
"How did you know where we where?" Wulfric whines.
"Your little friend was a dead give-away." Jessica sneers.
"Jessica, get out, y-" I begin. Wulfric shoots me a look that I know means that he wants me to get out.
"Go." Wulfric tells me. I nod and exit the room. I run down the corridor and up the stairs towards Oralies room. She isn't there. I run back down the corridor and down the stairs.
I peer out a window that I almost pass and see Oralie stabbing, gutting and beheading people from Stasia.
"Oralie!" I mutter under my breath. A huge thump comes from behind me. I swing my head around to see a 3-meter tall Dawn Flame sitting there, waiting for something to happen.
Afraid to unleash any battle magic, as I am still not regenerated, I just throw my sword about in the air with my unbroken arm. Many of whom that get in the way of my sword, are destined never to return home.
My hair is matted with sweat, and I've already gotten rid of my shredded blouse. Along the way I must have lost one of my boots, for my foot is bare and covered with blood of my own and others.
An enemy Mage throws a ball of fire at my head. I jump to the side, but my hair still gets singed. Alright mate, you can try to kill me, stab me, skewer me. But you do not mess with my hair. I use my battle magic to make the sword the Mage is holding, jump out of his hand, turn around to face him, and go clean through his gut.
I see Peaches galloping towards me. I mount up and yell; “Dunsreach for Trevia!!” And gallop off into the thick of the battle.
The palace is littered with bodies, bones and blood-covered weapons. Oralie is (still) beheading Stasian men. Dawn Flame is drifting behind me, obliviously having no intention to attack.
"Come on Dawn Flame." I say calmly. He has no intention to follow me either. He is busy sniffing bodies of our men. I look over to him and see he is sniffing Jessica's body. I walk over to her and kneel over.
"Sorry, mate. You deserved what you got." Her eyes are deathly pale and are wide open. There are tears in her clothes and her cheeks are white. "You really do deserve what you got." I repeat. Wulfric will be overjoyed. His lunatic dance partner- gone, dead. On the other side of the palace grounds the fighting is still on. Yells, screams and pleads come from the the palace gardens. Lucky the stables are over this side of the palace grounds. OMG! Destiny! I think. The stables!
The stables are a deadly silence when I walk down the cobblestone path. "Destiny?" I call. "Destiny." No return. I suddenly realize the horrible things that could have happened to the horses. They could have been beheaded, they could have been taken hostage, they might even have been stolen for meat. The colour leaves my face and the cobblestone path rushes up to meet me.
Someone slashes my hip and a searing pain runs through me. For a second the whole world turns white. I look around, the Trevians are winning by far. In fact the Stasians are very stupid to come here, because it looks like tonight might be the last night of this war. I can't tell how long we've been fighting, but it has definitely been more than three nights.
One by one the Trevians and I lower the Stasian numbers. Now only a group of people
remain. We've won and they know it, they're not even trying to fight anymore.
Half of them approach me lazily. Any last wishes, lads? I fight them and win. I look around the battle field. No. Stasians. Remain.
We’ve won, we've won, we've won!!!
Something cold and damp touches my hand. My memory slowly returns. The horses. The war. The people. I try to stand up but my legs collapse underneath me. A whinny comes from the corner of the stables. I recognise it immediately.
"Destiny!" I yell, both in joy and relief.
Destiny trots over to me, and I use his mane as a guide to stand up and I swing myself onto his back. He knows where to go. It's up to him now. It's up to him to save the rest of the horses.
The light is fading by the time we have reached the bay. The sound of hooves on sand is drained by the frothing waves. In the distance I can see a forest. And a square formation of men on horses are approaching rapidly. At first I think they are Trevian. Then I realize; they are not Trevian, they are Stasian. And they have the horses.
I urge Destiny into a full gallop straight towards them. I get my bow and arrows and begin to shoot. My aim is perfect. One by one, the men collapse. I try my hardest to not hit the horses so then we can take them back. Soon arrows come flying from behind me. I think it's more Stasian men, but I don't dare turn my head.
"Get back, Rejena!" Somebody yells from behind me. I slow Destiny down and Wulfric goes flying past me on a cremello mare.
I walk the cobblestone path of the stables and get swung into the air by strong arms behind me. I turn around in Liam's arms.
“I'm so glad you're okay” He says, looking into my eyes.
“I was worried you would change after the war” I tell him.
I beam at him, a great big cheesy smile, and he kisses me with royal grace.
I am unprepared for what happens next.
He holds my hands and kneels down.
“Oralie of Dunsreach, will you marry me” He asks, his eyes pleading.
“Tell the world we’re to be betrothed. I reply.
I wake up relieved that I (we actually. I just like having all the credit) saved the horses. All of them. Destiny managed to escape. He told me so (I found out recently that I am a wild mage-I can talk to animals). I actually enjoy having a conversation with Destiny. He is now treated Royally, he actually has his own bedroom because he saved the other horses. As for Dawn Flame, he didn't do much. He just sat on top of one of the towers, watching the war. Lol. I hop out of bed and pull on my white silk dress, and go pay a visit to Wulfric.
Wulfric appeared to still be snoring so I left him without making a sound. He could wait for the surprise later. Oralie is lying in bed and murmuring in her sleep when I go to visit her. I suppose she is having happy dreams about her future.
Destiny is in a good mood and (not surprisingly) wants a sack of apples. And a sack of carrots. And a new room. And a shoulder massage.
"Destiny, you can't have everything!" I complain.
"But I am now horse royalty!" He says in posh mind speak.
"Doesn't mean that you have to be a lazy pig." I say quietly.
"Hmmm? What was that?" He asks me.
"Nothing." I say quickly.