Fatefully Yours (Black Rose) - Chapter One
Posted March 4th, 2013 by mholden
Chapter One – Target on Sight
“AHHG” I lunged forward, plunging my sword into the wooden shield Israel holds in front of me. Falling back, she doesn’t even try and fight back. “How do you expect me to train if you don’t even give me something to work with!”
“How do you expect me to clean, cook, and dress you if I am too sore and bruised to walk tomorrow?” She replies, standing and brushing herself off. The punctured wooden shield drops to the ground beside her as I turn, running my free hand through my hair.
“Smartass” I mutter underneath my breath.
“Tottering flap-mouthed giglet…” She replies. Turning on my heels I squint my eyes driving my sword into the dry ground.
“What does that even mean?”
Israel turns to face me a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth, “It means your beautiful, my lady.” I narrow my eyes, glaring at her with the very same eyes that could make my father spill out the truth faster than a knight could drive his sword into the ground. Of course, it didn’t work on her. Breaking my eyes away from hers I pick up my armor. Naturally, of all the people in the entire kingdom, the only one who I couldn’t control was my slave.
Walking up to me, she pulls the armor from my hands and piles it into her arms. Silently protesting, I attempt to take back my armor. Israel shakes her head, “I’ve got this… besides, don’t you have to go get ready for the banquet?” I groan, my shoulders slacking as I slowly hang my head. It was just another one of my mother’s fancy celebrations in which consisted of lots of food, lots of fake smiles, and lots of dull, uninteresting conversations.
“Do you think they would notice if I didn’t attend?” I question, slightly hopeful for the answer I already knew I wasn’t going to get.
“Prince Harris might notice.” She grins.
I grimace, letting her indulge in her dry humor, “more like prince cocky” I mutter underneath my breath. The very sound of his name made me want to bend over and re-experience the taste of breakfast. My hand slowly rubbed my stomach back and forth, twisting my sword in my hand. “What does my father see in him anyways?”
Israel looked up at me, contemplating whether or not to actually answer the rhetorical question. I knew very well why my father liked the estranged prince. He was strong, some might even say handsome. He was a good fighter and the top strategist in the kingdom. He was also first in line for the throne. It would only be a matter of time before his father’s death, seeing as he was older than dirt itself.
“Your father wants only the best for you,” Israel said, heaving a large sigh as she dropped the armor in a much neater pile then before and picked up the punctured wooden shield.
“Prince Harris is notthe best,” I grunted, slicing my sword through the air. “Besides, he thinks it is disgraceful for a woman to fight!”
“That is simply his opinion,” She replied as she spaced her feet out appropriately, prepared for whatever maneuver I might attempt on the poor girl.
“But you know just as well as I do, when a prince has an ‘opinion’ as soon as he becomes king that turns into a law.”
“Experience!” I reply simply, using whatever strength I had left in my arms to step forward and plunge my sword into the wooden shield. I draw my breath, watching as it sticks through the barrier of protection coming within inches of my servant. She stares blankly, almost as if time has stopped, looking down at what could have possibly been the end of her life. She then looks back up at me.
My shoulders tense slightly as I try to fix my posture, letting go of the sword. It didn’t budge, but instead stayed embedded in the shield. This was precisely why I wasn’t supposed to bring my emotions into the fight.
“Forgive me for speaking out of turn,” Israel said her voice slightly shaky. “But I am starting to respect his opinion.” She waits a few minutes, seeing if I will reply to her comment, though all she heard was silence. “Perhaps we should go get ready for tonight.”
I nod quickly, stepping forward to take both the sword and the shield from her arm, offering her a silent apology. Glaring at me, I can tell from her eyes that she did not accept it. Knowing that she would forgive the action in time we both begin to walk back towards the castle. It was probably time for me to invest in buying a dummy to hold the shield up instead of a human target.
QUEEN ABIGAIL’S PERSPECTIVE
“No, no” My arm outstretched, pointing to the other side of the room. “That decoration goes over there… the floral and curtains will hang from this end…”
The maid, Elise nodded at me smiling sweetly. “Of course, my queen.”
Turning from her, I faced the rest of the ballroom. What an idea: to combine the anniversary of our victory against magic, and the birth of our children all in one night. It would be a spectacular celebration. Though like every year, I was troubled by the knowledge that Gweniever hadn’t really been born this night. It had been a month or so before.
What a night that had been… We had been in want of a boy, and thanks to Jade’s sacrifice for his kingdom we received both a girl and a boy. Faking her birth of course was no easy task, but we did what had to be done.
The amounts of orphans after the war were significant. My husband, the king, and I could not possibly look all those children in the face and say we were only taking in Gwen. But we did what had to be done- that is all that matters. For eighteen years now we had kept her secret. I was sure that we would continue to keep it for the years to come.
“Must you call the entire kingdom to decorate- we still have other things that need to be done around here.” Emmanuel… King Emmanuel that is had come up behind me. Slipping his arms around my waistline I let myself fall back into his arms.
“Today is special, the birth of a new age and the birth of your heir’s,” I explained, managing the same smile that always made him melt. “So yes, I do believe that I must.”
“Well if that is true, and if the celebration will be as radiant as you are, my darling, I believe that this night will be the talk of the year.” Kissing my cheek he abruptly pulls back to look at me, “Speaking of which I don’t remember the last time I saw you this happy.”
He gently strokes me cheek, my only reply being a gentle smile and a kiss to the cheek. “Where are you going?” He questions, as I push myself from his arms.
“Haven’t you heard, I have a castle to decorate…” I always loved his smile, the way his eyes would curve upward every time he grinned. “Find Gwen will you? It would be rather nice if she wasn’t late to tonight?”
Scaling a wall isn’t exactly rocket science, but it’s no cup of tea either. Climbing a few more feet my fingers search around for Gwen’s open window. Again I pull myself up, hoping for better luck. Lifting my chin I see the wooden structure just inches above my left hand. A part of me told me to just let go. It wasn’t worth the extra inch or the prick of yet another rock cutting into my skin. The other part told me to push on, that I hadn’t waited an hour on this God damned wall to just give up now! Reaching as far as my arm could I take hold of the windowsill and anxiously pull myself up. Feeling a hand grip onto my wrist I breathe out a sigh of relief falling through the window and onto the cold stone floor, Israel falling back as well.
Taking a few moments to lay there, I realize how much I enjoy the fact that my life is no longer hanging by my finger tips. I use the remainder of my energy to prop myself up and look back at Israel. Still laying on the ground she takes several labored breathes before sitting herself up against the bed post. “Why can you never use the damn door?”
Breaking into a grin I stand offering her a hand up. She hesitates before slapping her palm into mine and letting me pull her to her feet. Instead of letting go, I hold onto her hand and wait for her to meet my gaze. “You look different.”
She looks me up and down, laughs and begins to brush off my shirt “I could say the same for you.”
“You try scaling a wall for several hours!”
Laughing softly she presses her finger against my arm. I wince. “Your sun burnt…” Momentarily looking into my eyes she walks over to a wooden dresser, pulling a silver bottle from the drawer. Walking back over to me she opens up the top letting a clear gel-like mixture fall onto her hand.
“Take off your shirt,” She instructs, looking me dead in the eye. Confused, yet pleasantly surprised by her request I lifted my tunic up and over my head, tossing it onto the floor beside me. Wrapping my arms around her waist I gently pull her closer to me, expecting her to wrap her arms around my neck. Unfortunately I was too wrapped up in my ego to think that she possibly wanted to dress my burn.
“This is not the time, nor the place Seth.” She scoffed, forcing blood to swarm to my cheeks. She then wiggled from my arms and smacked the gel onto my hand, “here.”
As she turns her body away from mine a soft smile plays itself across her rosy pink lips. Hastily I spread the clear liquid across my body, letting it dry for but a few seconds before putting my tunic back on. I watch Israel for a second. She was tense. She scrambles to put the gel away, not bothering to even so much as look back at me as she walks over to the bed. Her fingers picked nervously at the creases in the blankets.
This was definitely not how I had imagined our reunion would go. It had been a little over four months since they had even communicated, and now, when they finally have a moment to themselves she slaps gel on me and walks away?
“What’s going on?” I question, looking around for a place to dry my hands. Tilting my head I look at Israel then back at the curtain. A little bit of gel wouldn’t hurt the fabric at all right? Putting my hands behind my back I hastily let the fabric run through my hands ridding me of the sticky texture.
I take a few steps away, looking up to find Israel watching me her mouth gaping. Shit.
“Seth!” She shrieks, quickly walking over to the curtains. At least she was talking to me right? “This is a damn lotion! It will completely ruin the silk lining and will definitely smear the gold paint-”
“Whoa chill Israel, it’s just a little bit of gel.”
“My point exactly,” She scoffed, annoyed. Reaching out to touch her shoulder she pulls herself back, glaring at me. I throw my arms up in frustration. What did I say? Or as girls complained about nowadays, what was it that I didn’t say?
“What is going on?” I confront her once again, annoyed by how distant she was acting. “Is it me, or something that happened, you can tell me!” Resting my hand firmly on her shoulder I use my other hand to pick up her chin. She looked into my eyes, her gentle gaze throwing me off. It was much different than the hostile one she had given me just moments before. My thumb strokes her cheek gently before I pull her body to mine, wrapping both arms tightly around her. She does the same, breathing heavy into my shirt, almost as if she were relieved of something. I am hesitant to break my hold on her though it was going to be near to impossible to talk to her with her face buried into my chest. Before I was even given the chance to let go she sprung from my arms as though something had forced her back. My hand flies to my dagger, preparing myself for whatever had scared her.
She quickly rushed back over to me gesturing for me to be quiet as she motions for me to climb underneath the bed. “Be quiet. Don’t move until I tell you it’s safe.” Without hesitating I did as I was told, quickly laying down on the cold tile and sliding underneath the wooden bed frame.
I hear the sound of footsteps get closer, a noise that I wouldn’t have heard had Israel still been in my arms. I take a moment to calm my breathing, fully aware of the quickened pulse and heavy breathing. Putting my head close to the ground I watch Israel’s feet as she moves quickly around the room, probably straightening anything that might be out of place.
I move closer to the edge of the bed frame so I could get a better view of whoever walked through the door. The wooden structure moved forward and I held my breath. The target had entered the room.
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