1st Chapter of a short book I'm working on.
Kitlin Waverly was sold at a very young age, too young to remember anything before serving the King. She had never been beyond the castle walls. The royal children treated her as kindly as they would another noble. She is the King's four sons, personal slave and plaything.
She goes and stands against the wall, waiting for him to give her something else to do. Jalaid holds his hand behind his back calling her to him. She set my hand into his obediently. He pulls her to his side holding her around the waist making her watch the training grounds far below them in the arena. She gasps and jerks back to the wall when one of the dragons burns the servant whom it was supposed to be bound to.
"How old are you now, dear.” A lady asks, ignoring everything below. “You look to be almost 16 like Laden.”
"I will soon be 16, ma'am. " She replies respectfully.
"Come here, child," She says. Kitlin looks at Jaliad not sure what to do. He nods permitting her to go to the lady. She looks at her as if She were an old plaything.
"She's such little thing, isn't she?” She asks disgustedly.
“She is still only a child Margie," Gradie the king's oldest says. Embarrassed Kitlin stares down at the floor, wishing she could flee the balcony.
"Kitty will you come here?" Gradie asks expecting obedience. Curtsying to the lady she hurries to his side.
"Sit here,” he says pointing to the floor at his feet.
"Well isn't she an obedient little thing," Margie laughs delightedly clasping her hands together. Kitlin’s face goes red, turning away she hides her face.
The king has four sons Gradie age 19, Darius age 18, Jaliad age 17, and Laden age 16. Kitlin is 15 soon to be 16. The King treats her kindly. The King's wife died two years after she was brought here. The queen treated her as if Kitlin were her own daughter. Kitlin grew up like a princess with Gradie, Jalaid, and Laden. Darius was always sent away on errands for his father. The one thing the King never allowed her to forget was that she was Vargalin and not his daughter.
Laden runs up to the balcony.
"Kitlin come, father says you are allowed to come with me to the orchard." She looks up at Gradie hopefully. Gradie looks between Jalaid, Laden, and Margie thinking.
"You can go Kitty, but you don’t dirty yourself."
"Of course Gradie,” She says excitedly before remembering the lady, Margie.
"Err yes your Highness." She says curtsying to him. Before She can make it out the door Margie calls her back. Kitlin stops and slowly turns.
"It's very offensive to talk to the king's son like that especially in front of a guest. Apologize to me like a lady.” Astonished at her straightforwardness Kitlin walks to stand in front of Margie and curtsies.
"My apologies for any offenses I have made."
Nodding satisfied, the lady turns away and starts a conversation with Gradie. Puzzled, Kitlin shuts the door quietly behind her before yanking her skirts up and chasing after Laden. He quickly takes the lead then easily leaves her behind to meet him in the orchard. Smiling happily to have escaped the lady's criticism. She finds Laden high in a cherry tree reading a book waiting on her. She drops her skirts and scrambles up the tree squirming until she’s comfortable.
"Laden, however did you get your father to allow me to join you?"
“I begged him for something I knew he wouldn't want me to have for a long time then asked if he would allow you to come with me if I let him be, he readily agreed."
Laughing, she picks a few cherries. They watch the dragon handlers teach a few royals from other countries to work with their dragons.
"When is Darius to arrive?" She asks.
"He will be home for supper today. Father wants you to join us for dinner." Laden says. Kitlin sits up quickly hitting her head on a branch. He laughs almost falling out of the tree himself.
"He wants me to join you for dinner?"
"Yes father wants you to join us." He says smiling. She lays back on her branch and relishes the thought of having dinner with the only family she has ever known.
"Who is the Lady talking with Gradie and Jalaid, the King has had her here longer than any other lady?" She asks.
"Err, She, well Kitlin you know how my mother died soon after you arrived. Well father thinks his people need a queen. So he is planning to marry soon."
"He would marry a lady like her?" She asks.
"Oh Kit, she isn't that bad, She is strict but she is able to help father with his work."
"She hates me and she doesn't even know me." Kitlin whines.
"Just try to give her a chance because whether you like her or not father will marry her if he likes."
"Of course your highness," She whispers, hanging her head. He cups her chin.
"Dear girl, don't talk to like that, you’re as much a part of the family as I."
"I have to get ready for supper or Gradie will have my head." She replies. Climbing out of the tree. She starts down the hill leading to the castle.
"Kitlin,” Laden calls. Stopping, she turns to him. “wear something pretty to dinner."
"Why wouldn’t I?" She asks.
"Your Kitty that’s why," Laden says waving her away.
She pulls up her skirts and runs down the hill happy to be free of everything at least for a moment. At the bottom of the hill she twirls her skirts which flare beautifully. Grabbing them up Kitlin bolts into the gardens giggling happily. She dashes around a corner and runs into Darius.
"Oh," She squeaks, stumbling back he catches her elbow steadying her. "My apologies your h-highness," She stutters curtsying. Seeing her, his smile brightens.
"None of that," he says, taking my hand in his and pulling her from her curtsy. Terrified, her heart skips a beat.
"Kitlin, it's been a long time."
“How do you do?” She asks, blushing.
"Has it really been so long?" He asks.
"Ahhh brother, your back!" Gradie calls hitting Darius on the shoulder.
"She doesn't remember me," Darius says, watching her.
"She was very young Darius as were we all."
“Go get ready for dinner Kitty, and put your dress down.” Gradie laughs.
"She is still as adventurous as before." Darius says.
"We haven't had much luck breaking her of that." Gradie hands Darius her journal, "I found this in her rooms, thought it best if you knew some of what you're dealing with."
"Kitlin wait a moment."
Kitlin stops but doesn't turn around knowing what the journal holds. She had written her every thought and recently she had wanted to escape the castle and see beyond the walls.
"Kitlin come here." One of them says. She doesn't move.
"Kitlin,” Darius says more sternly, “come here."
Swallowing hard she turns. Gradie is smirking his eyes full of laughter but Darius is hard faced and upset that she didn't listen the first time. Gradie points beside him wanting her to come. She looks at Jalaid who had just arrived and his eyes twinkle with laughter. She blushes, taking up her skirts she runs unable to stop.
She makes it to the wall collapsing in a heap unable to go any further. She cries wishing she had burnt the journal when she had the chance. Someone touches her back, too tired to care she doesn’t move.
"There is nothing wrong with this journal," Darius whispers in her ear. She flinches.
"Kitly it's alright, '' he says using his nickname for her. “You're not in trouble. What's wrong?" Darius asks.
"Why would he go through my things?" She sob.
"Oh Kitlin,” he says.
"No one was supposed to read it," She stutters. He smiles and tips her face to look into her eyes.
"You have beautiful handwriting, would you help me with something?" She tries to look away but he turns her face back to his.
"If you require anything, all you are to do is to tell me and I shall do as required." She says tilting her head away.
"No Kitlin, I want you to choose.”
"But sir I am only a servant."
"No you are much more." He says. She watches him for a long moment before answering.
"My lord what, may I ask, do you mean?" She questions.
"All my brothers, see you as a little sister and mother took care of you as if you were her own daughter. Father doesn't treat you as a daughter but he has made sure you are better off than even his advisors." He says gently his thumb grazing her throat.
"Darius,” She breathes. “I could never Sir." She says jerking away from him.
"You should get ready for dinner." He says, helping her up.
"Yes my lord," She says curtsying. She hurries away, looking back. She sees him still watching her with a puzzled look.
Kitlin stops picking through her clothes and sits down on the floor frustrated. Someone came and took all her dinner dresses. Laden bursts in. She squeaks, frightened. He laughs flopping onto her bed. Seeing her face he stops.
"what's wrong?" She burst into tears. "Oh Kitlin don't do that. What's wrong?"
"Darius is mad. Your brother scares me and I have no dinner dresses."
"Why would Darius be mad? Which brother. Why don't you have dinner dresses?"
"I told him no. Darius scares me. I don't know why I have no dinner dresses, they're just all gone!"
"Ok ok calm down. First of all Dariu couldn’t ever stay mad at you long, and he is nothing to be scared of. We’ll sort out the dress problem in time for dinner." She nods, wiping my eyes. "Ok stay here She will be right back." He says running out of the room. Gradie walks in a few minutes later.
"Gradie." She says breaking into sobs.
"Kit, it's alright." He kneels down in front of her and brushes her tears away like he did when she was a child. "Come on let's go get you something to wear. Something was sent for you but ended up in my room. You won't need anymore dresses." He says pushing open his door. Kitlin gasps at all the dresses strewn across the room.
"Who sent them?" She breathes.
"They asked to stay unknown."
"But however can I thank them?"
"He said the only thanks he wants is for you to wear them." Gradie replies.
"I will wear them every chance I get." She laughs.
"He also asked me to have you wear this one tonight." Gradie says picking a beautiful blue dress with green creeping up the skirt. "Why don't you try it on?" Gradie asks, gesturing to his closet. She takes it and hurries into the closet. The dress fits perfectly, the sleeves going to the elbow then splitting and grouping back at the wrist. The skirt is full and when she spins it twirls out from her legs. She walks out and twirls for him.
"Wow looks like we might need a personal guard for you tonight. So no one can sweep you away." She giggles watching the skirt twirl around her. He pulls her hair out of it's braid letting it fall over her shoulders.
"Perfect, come on let's find you a guard." Kitlin follows him to an office near the guards barracks.
"Ahh Miss Kitlin, aren't you a pretty sight. The General says.
"I need one of your best men.” Gradie says. “I would like Kitlin to have a guard tonight."
"Yes yes, of course," he says. "Cyrus," he bellows. A young guard runs in.
"Yes sir?" he asks. Seeing the both of us he bows. “My lord forgive me. I didn't see you. How may I be of service?"
"Kitlin needs a guard, there are to be many guests tonight and I would feel better if she had someone watching her at all times."
"I am at your service my lord. I would be honored to be Miss Kitlin's guard." He replies smoothly.
"Wonderful. Keep in mind if she goes missing you will be severely punished."
"Yes your highness, I would hope so." Cyrus agrees earnestly.
Kitlin strolls through the gardens waiting for someone to summon her to dinner. Cyrus trails her silently.
"Kitty," She hears Laden yelling.
"I'm here Laden," She calls.
"Father sent me to fetch you. We have finished three of the courses. I asked him why he didn't bring you right away but he only shushed me." Cyrus raises an eyebrow.
"What is it Cyrus?" Kitlin asks.
"Well I have worked in many places and usually a father brings his daughter in once everyone has settled to show off her beauty before marrying her to a man of his choosing." He says carefully. Laden laughs.
"You don't have to worry about that. Since you are not royal he can't marry you away for a treaty."
We stop at the doors. Laden nods at the doorman and they pull them open. A hush falls over the room. She walks in head high. Doing a perfect curtsy for the King She follows Laden until he stops pulling a chair out for her beside Darius. She hesitates before sitting. Laden sits in the chair next to her and Cyrus stands off behind them out of sight. The king calls for the next course. The servants serve the people in order of importance starting at the King's table serving his honored guests at the same time serving his sons. The servant serving the King's sons stops beside her before serving Laden.
"Oh no, you must serve His highness's sons first." She whispers not wanting the servant to be punished.
"Kings orders miss," he replies. She looks to Laden begging for an explanation. Waiting until the servant leaves he leans over and whispers.
"Father ordered you to be served before me. I'm not sure why. I'll ask Jalaid later."
"It's rude to whisper while others are around." Darius whispers into her ear making her jump.
“I’m sorry I was just asking Laden why I was sitting here. His highness always has me after Laden."
"Well I could tell you the answer but I’ll leave that for later. You look very pretty tonight."
"Thank you, your highness." The courses all served Gradie stands and the room goes quiet.
"Would everyone make their way to the ballroom for dancing and music." He says clearly enough for all to hear. Cyrus pulls her chair out whispering in her ear.
"When we get to the ballroom I won't be able to see you at all times so be careful and don't leave before you find me." She nods following Jalaid out. At the bottom of the dais stairs Darius holds out an arm for her. She takes it not wanting to be scolded later by Gradie who watches silently. He walks her to the dance floor.
"I can't dance,” She whispers, trying to pull away from him dragging her feet.
"Father didn't have you taught?"
"No." She says stiffly, stumbling forward. Jalaid hurries over grabbing her hand pulling her away from Darius and the dance floor. Darius hurries after questioning Jalaid.
"Why didn't Father Kitlin taught how to dance? Where are we going? Jalaid you better start talking." Darius says, when he doesn’t answer.
"Why don't you just go back to wherever you were before.” Jalaid blows up. “She hasn't had to learn about it or how to dance because you weren't here to remind father! Everything was fine when you were gone."
"He hasn't told her?" Darius asks distressed.
"No, there was no reason to! Please Darius don’t ruin her last night." Jalaid begs.
"Fine." Darius says walking away.
"Jalaid what's going on? She asks worriedly.
"Don't worry about it, you will know soon enough." He pulls her behind a heavy curtain into a back room.
"Kit, I've wanted so long to teach you how to dance but I wasn't allowed to. I'm sorry." He bows with a flourish. "May I have this dance."
"Yes you may," She says, taking his outstretched hand with a laugh.
"Now just follow my lead if I press here you go that way and here you go the other way."
"All right," She replies.
She follows his lead tripping occasionally over her own feet. Jalaid spin her away and back too him. She gets tangled in her skirts and falls into him. They both tumble to the floor tangled in skirts. He laughs tripping on her skirts as he tries to get up. Finally climbing to his feet he straightens his jacket and reaches for her hand. When She takes it he pulls her to her feet. His eyes holding hers. She shivers, feeling as if he can see her thoughts. Cyrus comes through the curtain.
"Kitlin? Oh err, I'm sorry your highness." Cyrus says bowing. Jalaid shakes his head glancing at Cyrus.
"No Cyrus, don't apologise." Jalaid nods to himself. He turns to me. "Kitty whatever happens tomorrow please don't hate me. I wish I could tell you more but it's forbidden."
"I couldn't hate you Jalaid, you've always been kind to me." He takes her hand and kisses it. He whispers in my ear as he leaves.
"If you have a chance to leave tonight don't look back." She watches him leave the laughter vanishing from her stomach. Cyrus touches her arm softly.
"Kitlin let us go. I'll take you to your rooms.”
Chapter 2: coming soon