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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/campfires/item_id/1449506-Steal-Away
Rated: 13+ · Campfire Creative · Fiction · Action/Adventure · #1449506
Two girls that will do anything to escape forced marriage.
[Introduction] Girls who live in the third world country of Varminlar are auctioned off for marriage once they turn 15. Adelina is auctioned off to the prince of Varminlar, and her best friend, Aceline, to his advisor. But the prince is up to something evil, and Adelina finds out what. They the girls are introduced to a Christian secret society. With the help of Aceline's brother, Colston, they escape to America, where they find hope, true love, and trouble. But when the prince finds out what happened to them and follows them, the girls secretly find legal help to get them out of their marriages. Can they escape the prince's evil clutches and marry the ones they love, or will time run out?

Here are the main characters up for playing:
Name: Adelina (name means-noble, sweet, and decoration) {Taken by Black Rose}
Age:15
Bio:Like her name, she is noble and sweet. She loves anything with nature. She is a strong merchant's daughter. Her mother died of Varia when she was 5. Aceline is her best friend, who helped the prince choose her.
Appearance: She has long (butt length) golden blond, wavy, hair that is soft to the touch. She is 5'4 and slender with medium size chest and butt. She has a soft beautiful complexions that are stunning. Especially her big, and bright turquoise eyes. The only thing odd, is that she has eye teeth that are long, and sharp.

(Whoever plays this guy HAS to be able to be evil!!! but hide it really well...)
Name: Larik. Prince of Varminlar {taken by White Fire} (name means- highborn ruler, rough and fierce)
Age: 33
Bio: He's dark and evil, and shows no kindness, to anyone. This shows when he plots to kill his father. He hides his evilness quite well by acting kind, sweet and loving. A dead give away though, his eyes never match his happiness when hiding his cruelty.
Appearance: He has short, fair, wavy brown hair, a muscular face with handsome complexions and fierce, ice blue eyes.

Name: Aceline (name means high born) {Taken by Renee Katz}
Age: 15
Personality: Aceline is shy and sweet but can be adventurous and rebelious when she wants. She's very cautious.
Bio: She lives with her mother and her older brother, Colston. Her dead father was a merchant with her best friend's father, the friend being Adelina. She likes to read and write.
Looks: Long wavy dark brown hair, freckles in the summer months, dark golden almond shaped eyes, thin and petite.

Name: Colston {taken by Fantasy}
Age: 19
Personality: Sweet boy, has a major soft spot for his sister and is concerned for her when she is chosen for a bride to the advisor to the prince, and check up on her from time to time.
Bio: same as Aceline (even the studious bits)
Looks: short golden hair, light blue eyes, and a dimple when he smiles. Looks like Peter Pevensie.

Name: Marlea (name means bitter) {taken by cloverine}
Age: 15
Personaily: She's a witch. Spoiled and evil. She is the other choice for the prince, beside Adelina.
Bio: lives a very spoiled and grand life with her mother, father, and grandparents, along with her freakish little dog.
Looks: long luscious blonde hair, almost platinum. Icy blue eyes, thick red lips and very tall.

Name: Baldric (name means brave ruler) {taken by LoneWolf}
Age: 36
Personality: Evil, because he is helping the prince. Grandfatherly, because he cares for Aceline. Lecherous because he's touch feely and eager in that way.
Bio: Was married before, and his wife and two children drowned. last in the long line of advisors to the royalty of Varminlar, unless Aceline or a future wife bears him a son.
Looks: long slightly curly brown hair, often back in a ponytail. Soft brown eyes, muscular build for his age. Really short beard and mustache.

Other characters who will be significant near the middle of the story:

Alison: the legal helper to Adelina and Aceline. {taken by cloverine}
Laurie: the guy Adelina falls in love with. {taken by Sammi-Jo}
Erik: The guy Aceline falls in love with. {taken by LoneWolf}

--------------prologue------------------
It was a warm summer day. Everything seemed peaceful. Aceline had come over to play with Adelina. They were playing with a super bouncy ball, that Colston given Adelina. It bounced into the next room, which was her mother's bedroom. Her mother had fallen ill with Varia earlier that year, and needed her own room. Varia had various symptoms, of which her mother had large fevers and delusions. Adelina went to go retrieve the ball. As she was about to leave, her mother tuned her head and smiled at her daughter. Her mom took a deep breath and told her, "Never trust someone with an evil glare, my sweet Adelina." Then her mom closed her eyes and fell asleep, which she never woke up from. As Adelina left her mom's room to go play with her friend, she never forgot her words, or how true they were..........
It was Adalina's and Aceline's 15th birthdays. With her father being busy, Adalina hoped she could pass this day and others with out a word of getting married. She wished this because it was custom for girls on their 15th birthdays to dress well and stand with their father, brother or guardian on a large stage set up in the park year round and be chosen and bough by on looking men who are in search of a wife. So she sat alone in her room, while her father was ready to go out, when the door bell rang. It was her friend Aceline. "Oh no." Adalina thought. She forgot to tell her best friend about her plan. She hurried to the door, but her father got there first. "Well, I'll be." He said."I completely forgot about the day." He turned to look at his daughter. "Hurry and get dressed, Ady, your friend just reminded me." With a cold stare at Aceline, Adalina left to put on her mothers worn out, but still pretty and use able, pale blue blouse and skirt.
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"Are you al right? You seem fridged and unhappy." Aceline whispered to Adalina as they stood on the platform in the park side by side. "No, I was hoping to surpass this day and never look back." Adalina hissed. "Well, sorry, I had no idea." "I'm sorry Ace, I should have told you, but I forgot." Adalina glanced at her friend. "You look lovely by the way." Aceline smiled. "Thank you. Mum made it for me." Aceline was wearing a long sea green dress that had sequins on the top. The girls fell silent as a large group of men walked up to the platform. "Oh, no." Adalina whispered in fear. "What is it?" her friend asked, concerned. "The prince. He's in the crowd." Aceline smirked. "Are you still worried about your mothers words. They are old words that mean nothing. She had Varia and was loopy, Ady. Don't worry." Adalina rolled her eyes. "I do not care that she was loopy, my mother loved me, and always knew what was going to happen before it did. I will not let them go."
Aceline only shook her head slightly as a tall, muscular man walked up to the girls and focused on Aceline who tried to show no emotion. "How much do you want for her?" He said in a commanding voice. Colston, Aceline's older brother, looked at his sister with concern. "80 zercies." He said. Baldric, the man buying Aceline nodded and gave Colston the money. "Off we go dear." He said extending his hand out to Aceline, who quickly looked back at Adalina before disappearing into the crowd. Adalina let out a sad sigh. "See your friend got chosen by the princes adviser." The girl to the left of Adalina told her. "Really, Marlea, how tragic." Marlea smirked. "Who do you suppose will choose you?" She asked in a mocking tone. "Anyone but the prince that is for sure." Adalina said trying to find her friend in the crowd. Marlea smiled evily. "Why not, he is quite handsome and rich. I would surely love to have a husband like him." "Then best of luck, because you can have him." Their conversation ended when the prince came on the platform and walked towards them. Marlea smiled prettily, but he surpassed her and stopped in front of Adalina. "Oh, no." She though, trying hard to show no emotion. The prince looked over her for a moment and asked her father, "How much?" Her father looked at the prince and smiled. "1000 zercies." You could hear a loud gasp come from the crowd. "1000 zercies. Why such a heavy price, for such a poor girl?" "She has more than fair complections your highness." Her father swallowed. "Her name also means decoration." The princes feathers lit up, and determination pierced the prince's ice blue eyes. "Alright then, 1000 zercies it is." The prince payed Adalina's father, but before she could be escorted away from the platform, she fainted, and was luckily cough by Colston.
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Aceline was glad she'd been bought on the first day- her mother told her she'd had to wait 20 days until father had picked her. Standing on that stage was tiresome. As Aceline sat in the bedroom she'd been appointed to, staring out the window, she caught sight of her brother. Soon he entered the room. "Hey, Ace, how are you?" he asked. Aceline smiled. "Good. How's Adelina? Who bought her?" she asked. Colston smiled. "Adelina's good, as of last time we met, and Prince Larik bought her." Aceline gasped. "Well, I'm glad! I told his advisor that he should pick Adelina. Well, more like mentioned it to him. I have to go find her, she's still worrying over her mother's advice from when we were small." Aceline bid her brother farewell and then went to look for her friend.
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Colston sank into his desk chair, somewhere between frustrated and heart broken. He had expected to have more time with his sister, despite her beauty. It could have been that his selfishness was clouding his judgement, but he didn't trust the prince's advisor.

A fit of anger took him, and he swept his books from the surface, sending them crashing to the floor. If anyone heard, they stayed away. Except for Aceline.

She opened the door so quietly that he almost didn't hear it. He turned around, ashamed at how this must look. Her face was so innocent. He couldn't bear it.

"I'm sorry. I- I slipped." He couldn't have her last memory be that her brother was insane. "I didn't mean to wake you."

"It's alright. I was already up." She sat down on her favorite cushioned chair, watching as he stacked the books back on his desk. "What were you doing."

"I was, ah, trying to find a book." He picked one randomly from the pile. "Here it is."

"So in your spare time you read about politics?" She shook her head. "I don't think so."

He sighed. "Okay, I was worried about you. This was always a tradition I hated, no matter how well it works sometimes. All it takes is for it to go wrong once. I don't want you to be in that position."

She knelt next to him and hugged him. "You always worried too much. I'll be just fine."

Colston bit his tongue to keep from saying anything else. If only she knew what he did.
Adelina awoke in a bed chamber that was unfamiliar to her. She remembered everything that had happened. "Dear God, help me." She whispered when she heard two men talking in a joined room. She quickly and silently got out of bed and looked at everything around the room. Suddenly scared, she looked down at her body and let out a sigh of relief in seeing she still had her mothers cloths on. In touring the room, she came to the closet where the most beautiful gowns were placed. She picked out a pale blue gown and tried it on. It fit perfectly, so she kept it on. Soon after the two voices came nearer and more distinctive, and she froze. "I have not the slightest idea when she will awake, but when she does, she must get a tour of her new home, Baldric." "As you wish, my Prince." They soon came into view. In seeing Adelina up and dressed, Larik shooed Baldric away and attended to his mistress. "Did you have a fine sleep?" He asked casually. She nodded quickly. He smiled warmly. "Then you must have something to eat." He was about to ring one of the many bells placed for orders in the far left corner of the room, when Adelina spoke; "Oh, no, please. I am not hungry at the moment." He looked at her with a questioning stare, "No?" "No." She said more definitly. "Well then, you need the grand tour of the castle, and who better than the Prince himself." Larik then took Adelina's hand and lead her out of the room.
Name:Erik

Age: 16

Personality: He is out going, and just can't let someone who's shy not do something a little crazy sometimes. He can be a bit of a rebel, but always does what's right. Erik has a heart of gold, and always tries to protect those he cares about

Bio:Erik and his aunt after losing his mother and father in a freak horse accident, he spends most of his time running errands for his aunt who can't get around as well as she used to.

Looks:Tall for his age at 5'10, he has short brown hair, slim body build, his eyes are a rare blue/green color, when he looks at you sometimes you might see them as blue, or sometimes as green.
________________________________________________________________________

Erik was out and about going from different merchants making runs for his aunt who was at home waiting for him. He felt horrible for the way she had to stay at home while he went out to do the things that she once did on an everyday basis. He did not mind doing these things for her because she had taken him in when he lost his parents. He was lost in his thoughts as he walked down the street when he bumped into someone knocking her off her feet.

"I'm so sorry." Erik said, offering a hand to the girl he knocked down.

He noticed that she was very beautiful, with long wavy dark brown hair, freckles, and dark golden almond shaped eyes, not to mention she was thin and petite.

"No, it's okay, it was my fault entirely." she said not really looking at him, but at the packages that were sprawled all over the ground.

"Please, let me help you up. My name is Erik." Erik offered.

Finally looking up at him she faltered for a moment looking at him as if she knew him.

"I-I'm Aceline."
---
Erik woke with a start after hearing Aceline's name. His aunt always told him that
his family was gifted with the ability to see the one they were meant to be with, but
Erik never paid any of that any attention and thought secretly that his aunt was losing her mind.

"Maybe, just maybe she's not losing her mind." Erik said, aloud to no one
in-particular.

Sitting up in bed whenever he would close his eyes he could see her beautiful face
illuminated by a light that only enhanced her beautiful features all the more, but what
really astonished him was that he could hear her repeating her name over and over again
in his head.

Aceline
________________________________________________________________________
Baldric

How dare he shoo me away! ME! Baldric thought angrily

As he walked down the long corridor of the castle where his room was located, his cape he tied at his neck flapped in an invisible wind as he walked.

Hopefully, he can do what needs to be done, so an heir can be sired for the throne in case something unfortunate happens to him. Baldric thought, with a sly smile.





A Non-Existent User
Colston took his favorite book into the woods, but found he couldn't concentrate. The words swam before his eyes, blurring into thin black streaks. Frustrated, he set it beside him and dropped onto his back. Soft clouds were moving fast above him, but the trees blocked all but the slightest breeze that ruffled his hair.

He put his hand beneath his head to ward off the sharp twigs. At least when they bit his arms, it would be less painful.

He didn't know how long he stayed there, but by the way the sun rolled across the sky, he supposed it was several hours. They would be worried about him now, he should go. But he couldn't make himself return to a house empty of Aceline's laughter.

He had to do something besides pray.
Adalina was thankful when Larik had to go. She was left walking the empty halls as Larik and Baldrik talked. She sighed heavily. "I wish Aceline was whith me." Adalina breathed as she walked toward the library. Once she got there, though, she found her friend sitting casualy in a chair. Adalina's face lit up as she saw her friend and ran over to her calling, "Aceline!"
Baldric was still pissed over being dismissed in such a way as he laid on his bed then his thoughts went to his wife and children. He remembered the feel of his wife’s body against his as they laid in their bed of love. He remembered the his children’s faces as they would play around the castle. His heart ached at the thought, and then he began thinking about how his royal line would end when he died.

Getting up from the bed he rushed from the room to find Prince Larik. Baldric moved down the empty hallways’ at a speed that surprised him for his age as he is not as young as he used to be. Going into the hall leading to the Grand ball room he found Prince Larik guiding the beautiful Adelina while showing her the differing paintings that adorned the hall. They were paintings of all the former Kings and Queens including his deceased mother and father.

“Your Majesty, I need to speak with you urgently.” Baldric insisted, seeing the usually go away I’m trying to win this girl over look played across his face.

Adelina stood there watching paying attention, and continued looking at the paintings while the two men talked to one another.
“Adelina, my sweet, would you hate me if I took leave from my grand tour to deal with some urgent business? I promise to make up for it.” He finished with a warm smile flashing his teeth as he did so.

“Umm…no, I would not mind at all. Can I continue looking around?” She asked looking every bit as beautiful as a princess would be.

“Of course my dear. I’ll come find you afterward.” Prince Larkin said, taking her hand in his then kissing her palm ever so tenderly.

As Baldric watched Adelina walk away looking this way and that. He felt the familiar twinge from his manhood as he watched her hips sway to and fro. Turning back to Prince Larkin he found that was not in the least happy.

“What is it that could not wait!” Prince Larkin said in a strained whisper. So Adelina could not hear.

“I realized that I have no heir, and that when I die I shall be the last of the Royal Advisors.” Baldric explained.

“Yes, this I know, and what do you expect me to do about it?” Prince Larkin snapped.

“Well, I was hoping you could help me find a diamond as beautiful your Adelina. So, I may have a strong heir.” Baldric confessed as his skin turned a beet red.

“Oh, I see what you want. You dirty old man.” Larkin chided. “You just want one of those young girls for your own bedroom fun.” The Prince continued, “Come to think of it she did have a friend I saw standing with her. She didn’t look bad at all. If I could have picked them both I would have, but alas I must abide by the rules.” Prince Larkin finished with a sigh.

“So, you’ll talk to Adalina about her friend?” Baldric asked hopeful.

“Of course uncle what would I do without your bloodline around?” The Prince smiled. “But, you do know that once the girl is pregnant we must share her?” The Prince smiled a slyly.

“Wha-what? No, that is unacceptable!” Baldric said aghast. “Unless you are willing to share Adelina?” Baldric said with a smile that matched The Prince.

“Hmm….done.” The Prince said with an evil laugh. One that Baldric joined him on.

“Let’s go find that precious Adelina.” The Prince said with a voice so sweet it was quite unlike himself.
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Aceline was wandering about in the courtyards, lifting her face to let it be kissed by the wavering sunlight. A cool stream ran past her, and she trailed her fingers in it, wishing so badly that she could jump in. She remembered playing in the brook with Colston when they were young, pretending to drown and save each other. Even before father died they had frolicked in the cool waters near their home. Aceline sighed. But not anymore. Now she was here in the castle, with only her best friend and a prince that Adelina claimed evil beyond forgiveness. Oh, and the advisor. She was always on her guard with him around. Adelina stood, her dress swishing around her feet. She hated the rule that banned her ankles from the sweet sunlight. All dresses must cover the feet of the maidens, and they shall not wear men's attire. Aceline had read it in one of Colston's many books, and heard Adelina's father chide them for it when they were young. Oh, to be carefree and young again.
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Colston shuddered as his bare feet slapped against the stone. He would catch it for sure this time, yet he did not care. He had to speak with someone that could help him. If nothing else, he would pay his sister a visit.

His mind savored that idea above all others. He smiled as he reached the decision. Perhaps he could protect her in some way. He jumped up the steps, racing to pull together his things as quickly as possible.

Wouldn't Aceline be surprised.
Adelina sat reading one of the millions of books she found in the grand library. She had a hard time taking in that one person could have that many books and not take the time to read them, for more than only a few had collected dust. She was on the seventh chapter of seventy-four, when Prince Larik and Sir Baldric, had come in. 'What a surprise.' She though as she did her best in pretending not to see them. This would have worked, if she were not the thing they were looking for. "Adelina, my dear." Larik cooed as he sat on his heals to become level with her. She put down her book and stared at him quizically. "Yes?" She asked curious. "Were may Sir Baldric find his wife, Aceline?" Adelina did her best to keep a straight face. "She left nearly five minutes ago to the courtyards. She complained about needing fresh air."
Larik and Baldrick smiled as they presumed to leave. Adelina, happy that the Prince was leaving, went to resume her reading, but became annoyed when at the last second the Larik came over and tugged her out of the room to follow.
Baldric smiled as he thought of how he would win Aceline over so that the deed may be done, and his heir would be on its way. Larik had agreed to help him get Adelina to talk Aceline into doing what was right by her husband. The all burst out of the doors that lead to the courtyards not seeing any sign of Aceline at all.

"W-where is she? I thought you said she would be out here." Baldric stated in defeated tones.

"Don't worry we'll find her. Won't we Adelina?" Prince Larik asked with a sly smile.

Adelina looked uncomfortable, but smiled and said, "Of course we'll find her she can't have gone too far.
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Aceline followed Colston through a thick cropping of trees at the far edge of the courtyard. "What was it you needed to speak to me about, Colston?" Aceline asked. Her brother sighed, and looked as though he couldn't find the right words. "Aceline, I think I may have found a way to get you and Adelina and I out of Varminlar forever," he said in a rush. Aceline was astonished. "How?"
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Colston pulled her aside, making sure no one was listening. "You have to go to America." he whispered. "It's not safe here, and I have friends we can stay with. I know it will be hard, but I cannot stand to see you suffer the way I have seen other women do. You are too good for that. So, please, do this for me?"
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Prince Larik frowned, his gaze wandering the lush courtyard. Aceline, it appeared, was no where to be seen. He could see that Baldric was growing impatient, folding his arms across his chest and tapping his foot rapidly.

“Come, come, Baldric, my good friend,” he teased with a smile. “We will find her. It is a big palace, indeed, but she must be within.” He glanced at Adelina. By the gods she was sweet looking woman. Any woman could have served his purpose, but he could not deny that he was most pleased with her. He would enjoy taking his time getting to know her immensely.

“Perhaps she went to the stables,” thought Baldric aloud.

“Could have. You’re her best friend, Adelina, where do you suppose she would’ve gone?” He turned to the girl.

“Um…I am not sure.”

Larik felt a pang of annoyance. The woman’s hesitation was beginning to irritate him. He would soon have to curb such tendencies in her. A prince’s woman should be obedient, eager to serve him in every way and docile, as he knew.

“I will take a look,” decided Baldric suddenly. “Are you coming?” His eyes were hard as ice as looked at the Prince.

Larik despised that frigid gaze. More than once, he wanted to punch the man in the face because of it, but alas he needed him. “We will follow in a short while,” Larik assured him.

“Prince Larik, I was hoping…”

He looked Baldric in the eyes. “We will follow shortly, Baldric. If you please, I’d like a moment alone with my bride.”

Baldric nodded stiffly and turned on his heals, leaving them.

Putting on his most charming smile, Larik returned his attentions to Adelina. “Perhaps we could take a quick turn in the garden? There is something I wish to discuss with you.” He offered his arm.

After an uncertain look at him, she accepted, seeming to resolve that she didn’t have much of a choice.

After leading her slowly to the more flowery part of the grounds, not saying a word as if he was merely enjoying her company, Larik sat her down on a bench under a stone arch with vines climbing up its length. He knelt at her feet as he had done before, looking up into those bright, aquamarine eyes of her’s.

“What did you want to talk about?” Her voice was slightly colder than he would’ve like. In order for this to work, she needed to trust him…perhaps even love him a little.

“Darling,” he let the endearment hang in the air like a sweet, soft wind.

Adelina shifted uncomfortably, which made him growl inside. Seriously, what would it take for this woman to start treating him correctly? She should be grateful for his attention if not awed by it!

“You have been here for nearly two days and I fear I have been neglecting you already.”

Her eyes grew wide at this statement and she hurriedly assured him, “I have felt nothing of neglect, Prince Larik.”

“Please, call me Larik. I do believe our relationship does allow such familiarity…I hope it does.”

“Very well…Larik.” His name sounded empty and rigid in her mouth.

Larik let it slide, knowing it would take a while. Softly, he put his hand atop of her’s. “I had reason to avoid you, Adelina, to be truthful. You see, I feared I might not be acceptable to you, being more than twice your senior. Not only that, I was concerned that such a change of environment, from your home to the palace, would stress you, and I didn’t want to make the transition any harder. But, as you can see, I am unable to keep away. Though I have only known you for a short time, Adelina, you must know I have a sincere affection for you. It was awakened the first time I saw you, captured by your angelic beauty and your kind nature.” He delivered each line perfectly, though he hardly meant a word of it. Inside he was gagging. Such sweet nothings sickened him, especially when he had to utter them. But they had their use, when said in the right tone and, more importantly, the right ear.

“Um…” Adelina began awkwardly. “Thank you. I am flattered…but.”

“I - We should go find Aceline, don’t you think?” She hopped up, pulling her hand from his. “As you promised Baldric we would.”

He had been expecting a better response to his advances. It seemed this simple merchant’s daughter and her heart would be slightly more difficult to buy than he thought. Larik smiled as sweetly as he could and agreed with a nod. “Yes. Very good. Let’s go.”






Adalina felt uncomfortable as she stood beside Larik, and Baldric. They had made it to the stables, but Aceline was no where to be found. Adalina stood still, hoping they would not lash out at her, for they looked like they would.
"Where could she be!?" Baldric yelled out into the semi-empty stables. Larik nodded and they looked at Adalina. "Yes, dear. Where would your friend be?"
Adalina shifted from her position to look behind her, hopeing for any sight of Aceline. "I-I do not know." She turned back to face the men. "I swear this is unlike her." Larik, not showing any expression, looked at Baldric. "Where do you think she would be?" Baldric, giving a sarcastic laugh, shook his head. "I know no more than your Adalina!" Larik frowned at Baldric, but sweetly smiled at Adalina, hoping it would keep her calm. "Then let us keep looking. We will find her aventually."
A Non-Existent User
Aceline listened intently as Colston told her of the group of Varminlarian Christians that would be able to take them to America in safety. She nodded. "When and where?" she asked finally. She could see the relief in Colston's smile. "Tomorrow night, at the old shelter, about five miles from here. I shall come for you and Adelina at midnight." Aceline nodded. She heard Aceline's voice calling her. "Oh damn, I've been missed. See you tomrrow night, brother," and she left with a smile.
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Colston reluctantly let his sister go, watching after her anxiously. He hated to return her to the hands of such men that froze his blood. His sweet sister, so naive in her youth. He clasped his hands behind his neck and sighed through his teeth. Perhaps he should have come with a better plan, one to ensure that his sister could reach him that night. Please God, he prayed, answer me well just this once.
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At the sight of Aceline walking from the cover of the bushes, Larik gave a small smile. She approached, though obviously reluctantly with her eyes defiantly cast down at her feet, refusing to meet Baldric's gaze. Adelina rushed forward, greeting her friend with a hand on her shoulder and words said too quietly to be heard by anyone but themselves. Larik didn't like the way they spoke in whispers; he needed to know exactly what they said, but he feigned indifference to their private conversation and only smiled.

"Aceline, we thought we lost you," he confessed, offering a shallow dip of his head in greetings. She responded with silence, but Adelina did speak.

"Aceline is tired, Larik. She needs rest," though her words were said with a sweet smile, he could tell she only used them so he would, as she knew, respond in the gentlemanly manner he had been displaying all along. In other words, she was playing his own act against him. The realization angered him and yet also intrigued him.

"Yes," he agreed. "Perhaps you best take her in...We can talk later."

"Thank you, Larik." Another honeyed smile, and she departed with Aceline.

"Prince Larik, were we not going to discuss a certain matter with them?!" Baldric growled.

"Indeed, Baldric, but let me assure you it was not the best time. They were obviously not comfortable."

"If you're planning on waiting till you win her heart, I think you best reevaluate your tactics. She doesn't like you!"

Larik frowned. "You're correct, Baldric. She seems utterly impervious to my attentions to her...even repelled by them. It is strange. You would think someone of my status and charm would easily persuade a girl like her into at least approving of me." Why she did not eluded him. He had used almost every strategy and trick he had learned on her and still she was distant.

He laughed softly, making Baldric glare.

"This is hardly funny!"

"No, I suppose not, but she is rather fascinating is she not?" He rubbed his chin in amused thought. "I do enjoy a good challenge and it seems at last I have one worthy of my time."

"I hope you do not waste my time and your own because of a 'good challenge', Larik. It seems somewhat careless."

"Careful, Baldric. You may be my adviser, but I'm still the Crown Prince." He grinned haughtily, and then turned away. "We will begin tomorrow morning."

"Begin what?"

Larik chuckled. "Wooing our wives."





"Good Gosh Aceline, you had us running all over the castle!" Adalina let herself raise her voice once they were by themselves in Aceline's bed chamber. "Oh, I had not known I was missed." Aceline sat on the bed as Adalina stood in front of her. Adalina only shook her head. "These men-." She paused, not knowing what to say. "These men." She sighed. "What was their reason for wanting me?" Aceline looked up from her lap. Adlian shook her head. "I have no idea. All I know is they interupted me as I was reading and intertwined me in the madness of needing to find you." Adalina turned her head is if she heard something, "I have no idea what they wanted you for." Aceline only nodded and sighed. After about three minutes did she speak. "Adalina." "Yes, Aceline." "I have to tel you something." Adalina looked at her curiously. "Something very important."
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Aceline checked out the door to make sure no one was listening or looking. "Adelina, this is very important, okay? You must tell no one, or let on that you know anything of this, okay?" Adelina nodded. Aceline glanced around again suspiciously before ducking into the closet and pulling Adelina with her. She closed the door and lit a candle. "When you all were looking for me, I was talking with Colston. He has found a Christian group that will help us escape from here. I promised him that we would slip out of the castle tomorrow night at midnight to meet him. It is very secret and we must be very cautious. Do you understand?" Adenlina nodded and Aceline stood and let them out of the closet. "Good."
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Colston should have returned home, but found himself setting up camp just outside the prince's home. He still refused to call it Aceline's home. He had not brought the warmest clothes, but thankfully the night was not too cold. That meant he would not have to light a fire, which would only draw attention to him, which he did not want. He sighed and pulled his knees up to his chest, watching from a distance, should anything go wrong.
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“Father,” Larik greeted the old man with the warmest smile he could conjure. The King hadn’t been expected to return to the palace for another two weeks. His sudden appearance alarmed the Prince greatly.

“Son…” The King acknowledged him with a shallow dip of his chin and an irritated look. “It seems whilst I was gone you got yourself betrothed to a peasant girl. Please tell me that rumor is incorrect.” He strode into Larik’s quarters.

Larik bit down a snide remark. “It is incorrect…”

The man sighed with relief, making Larik laugh inwardly.

“We’re not betrothed. The marriage ceremony has already taken place. We are married.”

His father stilled, the anger in his eyes all too recognizable. The attendants watched with interest. Raising his wrinkly hand, he ordered them to leave him with his son. The King watched the door till it clicked completely close, and then swung around, slapping Larik across the face.

Larik had expected such a reaction, but took the blow proudly. Blood trickled down his cheek where the man’s gnarled fingernail had bitten into his flesh. He touched the place and looked at the blood on his fingers. Rubbing them together, he smiled. “Good to see you, too, Papa.”

“Quiet…you insolent…” His father, so enraged, struggled to form the most suiting, degrading accusation. “How dare you! You are the Crown Prince of Varminlar – you have no right to get married!”

“Well, gee, you haven’t even met her.”

“And I never will. You will get rid of her as soon as possible, do you understand!?”

Larik sighed, settling into one of the red velvet chairs. “I can’t do that.”

“And why is that?” For now the King’s rage was in check, but it wouldn’t take much to get him yelling and screaming again.

“I’m a man of my word.”

The King sniffed. “Don’t pull that on me, Larik. I know what sort of man you are.” He too sat. “So why did you do it? I assume you have a plan, some dastardly scheme…or did you do it just to anger me?”

“Good idea, Dad,” Larik chuckled. “But it is for neither reason. You see, I really do like her.”

His father laughed. “You can’t fool me, Larik. If I know you, like has nothing to do with it. You’re using her. For what, is the mystery.”

“Is it so hard to believe that I might be in love?” asked Larik in feigned offense.

“Yes,” answered the King promptly. “I didn’t raise you to love. I raised you to rule.”

“And I will.”



Adelina had heard about the Kings early arrival, and within fear, she followed Aceline on her now daily trip to the courtyard and in to the garden.
"Oh I am frightened Aceline." Adelina said as she sat twirling a rose with her fingers, not minding the pricks from the thorns. "You will be completely fine, Adelina." Aceline said encouragingly as she sat next to her on a stone bench some where in the middle of the garden. Adelina shook her head violently. "I am a merchants daughter, Aceline! How can the King ever approve of me!" Adelina felt tears build in her eyes. She quickly wiped them away, and waited for Aceline's reply. Aceline, giving no answer, only looked at her. "I do not know what to tell you." She said after about three minutes of silence. Adelina, frustrated, threw down the rose, "Why?!" She yelled at the sky. "What have I done to deserve this!" Tears started to build again, and soon she knelt to her knees and started to brawl. Aceline, quickly got up and pulled Adelina to her feet. "Adelina. Please, you will be all right." Adelina only shook her head and continued to cry. Aceline sighed and had Adelina sit on the stone bench, repeating, "You will be all right. Somehow."
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Aceline had heard from some gossip the maids were spreading around that the King was none too pleased about coming home to find his son married to a merchant's daughter. So, she figured the best plan of action was to keep Adelina out of the line of fire, AKA as far away from his majesty as possible. Plus they were already avoiding Larik and Baldric as well.

She and Adelina took their daily walk and then Aceline decided to challenge her friend to a very long and tiring game of Snapping Crocodile, an old card game that Colston had taught her, which could go on for hours. When the maid came to summon them for dinner, Aceline yawned. "Pray, relay a message on to their highnesses. The princess and I have quite wore ourselves out with the day's activities and will not be dining with hem tonight. Thank you," she said, and curtly closed the door in the maid's face.

Near eleven thirty, Aceline shook Adelina awake. It was time to fly- somehow they might be able to save themselves, and it all rested upon this meeting.
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Colston picked his way carefully down the path. It was unusually unkempt for part of the royal grounds. He mulled this over, along with his correspondent's instructions. He clutched the paper tightly, already worn with his sweat and grip.

Aceline should be near the stables by now. At least, if nothing went wrong. His fingernails bit into his palm with worry.

He quickened his pace until the familiar whinnies greeted him. There was no sight of Aceline. He leaned against the wall so that he was in the shadows and waited. If she was not here within a quarter hour, he was going after her himself.
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Larik peered out into the night, watching the two figures, hand in hand, dash across the courtyard, escapees hoping for reprieve from his watchful eye. Anger mounted in his chest. He grabbed his cloak, settling it on his shoulders, and ran out of the door. It would be best if he dealt with this on his own. A guard, even Baldric, could let it spill that his blushing bride hated him, and that would not be good for business.

As he walk briskly down the spiraling steps away from his quarters, he sighed, irritated. His patients had almost been completely spent. He had been hoping Adelina would come to accept him on her own, but it appeared he would have to impress himself upon her, “persuade” her that loving him was in her best interest.

It wasn’t long before he plunged into the cool midnight air, his cloak trailing behind him as he ran. He spotted the two girls just as they disappeared into the brush. Smiling slightly, he sped after them. As he came to the bushes, he slowed his pace, choosing stealth over speed. Quietly, he stalked them from a distance through the small wood, keeping to the dark shadows the crescent moon cast.

They came to a halt, meeting a taller, obviously male figure.

In the deep silence, he heard the stranger whisper, “Are you ready?”

Aceline’s voice came, broken with wheezes as she struggled to catch her breath. “Yes, we must hurry; it won’t be long before someone notices we’ve gone.”

“No, not long at all,” Larik whispered, with a wicked smile. He gripped the hilt of his rapier tightly. Though it was only meant to be ornamental, it would do the job. Slowly, he began to draw it.

“Sshh! Did you hear that?” this time it was Adelina. If honey was a sound, it would be her voice. He sighed.

“Yes. What was that?” the fellow said.

Larik stepped forward, revealing himself to them.

As one, they drew back, surprised and frightened.

“You honestly didn’t think I’d let you leave and make a fool out of me, did you, Adelina?” he spoke in a mild, amused tone. “The moment I chose you, you belonged to me, and what belongs to me stays with me. You should be proud to counted among my property. I am, after all, the Crown Prince of Varminlar; You’ll be Queen, eventually.”

“Leave her alone!” the boy spoke out fiercely.

Larik looked at him gravely. “Trespassing on the King’s land is not a crime you want to commit lightly, boy. You may have thought of the consequences before doing so. Ten years in prison, a sentence almost as good as death, especially for one so young.”

The young man growled angrily.

“Now, how ‘bout you two ladies go back inside and wait for me. I’ll be up presently after I take care of this delinquent.” He trained his blade on the boy threateningly.

In his furry, the boy slapped the sword aside, but Larik flicked it up again, catching his cheek, drawing a line of blood from his brow to his jaw. Surprised, he touched the wound and looked at his bloodied fingers.

“Larik!” Adelina yelled, running forward. She clutched his arm, looking up at him, eyes full of pleading. “Please, stop, we’ll go. Just let him go. Please…”

Larik felt his resolve weaken as he glanced at her. Her eyes glistened with unshed tears, and something softened inside him. Smiling, he dropped his arm. “Fine then. He can go – but if I ever see you again on my father’s land, no one will be able to save you, not even Lady Adelina.” With a satisfied leer, he sheathed his weapon. “After you, ladies.”

Aceline flashed him a hateful look as she passed, taking Adelina’s hand. They began walking ahead. Larik turned again to the lad. “Never again…” he warned, and swung around to follow after the two. Suddenly pain erupted in his head, and he fell, his vision blurring. He grasped for consciousness…but to no avail; slowly it faded away and he was engulfed by blackness.
Quickly turning to see if Larik would let Colston truly go, she was shocked by what she saw. In eyeing Larik on the ground, she screamed at the top of her lungs. "Adelina." Aceline yelled at her in disbelief as Adelina let go of her hand and ran to the prince. "What are you doing?" Aceline added. "I have no idea." Adelina responded as she sat hurriedly down next to the unconscious prince. Blood was pouring heavily from a head wound, so she tour a long strip from the bottom of her dress to help stop the bleeding. "Colston, what have you done!?" Adelina cried in disbelief as she eyeing him as he still held his blood stained sword. "I-I." Colston stammered. "I acted on an impulse. He admitted half ashamed because he was being scolded for it. "Oh you fool." Aceline teased seriously as she sat next to her friend. "I never meant for this to happen." Adelina mumbled quickly in disbelief at how fearful for Larik's life she was. "Do you know what the penalty is if he dies?" Adelina continued to yell. "The King will have your head if he finds out." As Adelina continued pressing with as much force as possible on the prince's wound, it taking her attention away from Colston, they heard a group of people hurriedly coming toward them. "Get out of here now!" Adelina and Aceline yelled at once. "As long as your gone, we'll be able to make up a story." Aceline told her brother quickly. So Colston left, sword and all and was well away from the girls and the half dead prince by the time Baldric, a few maids, and the royal medical official arrived.
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Aceline stared at her brother in disbelief. Had Colston just injured the crowned Prince of Varminlar for her and Adelina? "Wow . . . Colston I didn't know you even knew how to use a weapon," she said, still gazing at her brother.

She turned to her friend. "Adelina, what are you doing?" she hissed in the darkness. "What does it look like I'm doing?" her friend whispered back.

Aceline sighed. She loved Adelina's soft spot, but now was not the time. "We're loosing our opportunity! Come on," she whispered, tugging on her friend's sleeve.

"See, the surgeon's coming, Larik probably won't remember anything in the morning, and Colston's waiting for us," she said, trying to talk reason into her all too caring friend.

Adelina bit her lip. "Alright. But let's hurry, they're coming this way," she finally agreed. The two girls held hands and ran after Aceline's brother into the night and heading toward their one chance at safety.

Laurie tapped his foot impatiently. It was already dark and the girls hadn't shown up yet.

A young man named Colston had come to their missionary camp asking for help, and they'd not been able to refuse him. They were taking another young man named Erik as well, because he wanted to get help for his aunt. They were already there.

They'd smuggled people out before... but not people who were supposed to be married to the prince and his advisor!

This could get them in jail for sure! If not worse... but it was the right thing to do, so obviously he'd do it.

They would escape by plane America, where they'd be safe. But first the runaways had to actually get there...

Finally three figures emerged from the woods and into the clearing they were going to use as an air strip.

It was Colston, and two girls.

"This is Adelina, and my sister Aceline." Colston said as he introduced them hurriedly.

When Erik saw one his mouth dropped open. "Aceline?"

The girl who was presumably Aceline stopped in surprise. "Do I... know you?" She asked confused.

"Uh... no." Erik blushed.

"C'mon, we need to get going." Laurie said as he ushered them into the plane.

Colston and his sister went first and Laurie gave a hand to the other girl.

"I'm Adelina." She said, smiling.

"Laurie."
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Colston tapped his foot impatiently while the plane prepared for take-off. His nerves were jittery, as he did not feel safe until they were out of the country. He kept getting the feeling that the entire royal guard would leap from the cockpit and drag the two girls back to that terrible life. It did occur to him that he would be punished, but that was not as important.

"Sorry to be so behind schedule." he told Erik. "We ran into a little trouble along the way."

"By 'trouble', he means the skull of the crown prince." Adelina scoffed.

She obviously had yet to forgive him.

Erik glanced at Colston, confused. Colston shrugged and mouthed that it was a long story. The missionary accepted this, seemingly amused.

There was no announcement, no warning, but the plane was speeding down the runway. He looked over at his sister, who was now chewing her lip nervously. His own stomach dropped with the momentum, but he took her hand and squeezed it reassuringly. She did not look at him, yet she closed her eyes with a more peaceful look.

That was all he needed to calm him down.

Erik cleared his throat. "All right, as soon as we are in the air, I will give some final instructions."

God, please get us in the air. Get her out of here.
Adelina saw as the landscape outside the plane window sped after. Normally she would have been fine with travelling, but something overcame her. "Stop!" She yelled at the pilot through the curtain and suddenly stood up, and immediately fell back in her seat as the plane jerked forward. "Stop, please, stop the plane!" Adelina pleaded but, no one listened. So she stood up again, this time falling to the floor. This got a reaction from everyone. "What on earth, Adelina." Colston said as he went/fell beside her to retrieve her from the floor. "I do not want this!" She pleaded not moving. "I want to leave!" Aceline, looked at her shocked. "We're nearly safely away, Addy, please, calm down." "No!" Adelina screamed. "Dear, God what is wrong with the poor girl?" Erik asked. "I think she's hyperventilating." Aceline said with fear. for Adelina on rare occasion hyperventilated. Mostly when she felt something was wrong. "She only does this when some things wrong." Aceline explained. "What should we do?" Colston asked, not willing to hear the answer. "Stop the plane!" Erik yelled at the curtain hiding the pilot and Laurie. About ten minutes later the plane came to an abrupt stop and Aceline helped Adelina out of it. "What is the matter?" She asked as Adelina sat on the ground. "I-I can't." She started. "You can't what?" Laurie and Erik asked. "I can't go. Can't do this." She stared at them all with fear and embarrassment as tears filled her eyes. "I'm sorry. I just cannot go., and no persuasion will convince me." Adelina shakingly got to her feet, hugged Aceline and said. "I'm sorry, You'll have to go without me." And before anyone could respond she turn and ran from them and didn't stop until she was safely back in the courtyard of the Princes Palace.
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Aceline was suddenly aware of everything. The heaviness of her eyes, the feel of Colston's hand in hers, the land beneath the plane that was supposed to take them out of this wretched country that had caused them so many troubles- and even more to escape.

She felt her heart thudding in her chest, a dull beat in synch with the pounding of her head. She felt as though she was in a fog, a dream that should have ended and returned her back to reality by now. Adelina was leaving her? "Addy- no! You can't!" You can't leave me, she wanted to say.

Did she not know all the hard work that had gone into this escape? Colston's, Laurie's, Erik's? Her own? And now Adelina was abandoning all of it, throwing it away, jeopardizing the getaway. Didn't she know that if she returned alone there would be hell to pay, not only for the accident with the prince, but with the disappearance of her friend. How would she explain where Aceline had gone, Baldric's new wife? She wouldn't be able to.

Or would she tell it all to the Prince? Larik was purely evil, no matter what Adelina felt about him. Would she dare destroy the mission that could have carried her to safety, but instead took others? Now a fury rose up inside Aceline, because she knew her friend's choice was wrong. And this time her decision was one that would affect others.

"Go then Adelina. Go back to your horrid, evil Prince! I care not!" she shouted after her friend. "I hope you realize how much you have cost us! You have put all of us in danger, because you are too frightened to save yourself!" Aceline cried furiously.

Adelina disappeared from sight, and the plane was silent. Colston nodded to Erik, who closed the door and silently motioned for Laurie to get the plane up in the air. All of the sadness of really loosing her best friend came rushing up to Aceline, and she fell to the floor, starting to sob.

She felt a hand on her back, and a soothing voice, her brother's. "It will be all right, Aceline. I promise you." he said. "I promised to save both of you, and I'll be damned if I don't. I'll come back, and I won't return to you until I have Adelina with me." he promised, and Aceline looked up to see a fiery determination in his eyes. But the tears she was crying were bitter, and Aceline shook her head.

"I do not care."
Adelina sat, hiding. She could not go back home, what questions her father would have for her. She could not bear to go back to the castle, she was not wanted. Adelina was faced with a horrible predicament. She has no where to go. What kept her from leaving with her closest friend.....

Adelina tried to hurriedly dry her face as she heard a group coming toward her. As she turned to look at them, shouts of cheer came, as a familiar face cam toward her.... it was Baldric.

"Oh thank the heavens I have found you!" He proclaimed as he swept Adelina in his arms and twirled her as if she were his beloved bride. "Prince Larik is asking for you. Wondering where you went!" He explained once she put for back on her feet.

"He is not dead!?" Adelina asked half shocked, half happy.

"No, luckly he did survive. Very well on your part trying to stop his bleeding." Baldric said with a smile.

Adelina put a hand on her heart in disbelief and relief. "Oh praise God." She exclaimed in a murmur. "May I see him?" She asked, forgetting her worry over her place of where she should go.

"Yes, of course." Baldric said laughing. "I would have made you if you didn't"
---

Soon Adelina was lead through the grounds of the castle and to Larik's bed chambers. When she was escorted in, he was being assisted by a maid who was attending his head wound.

He somewhat smiled when he saw Adelina's face, that she tried to keep happy, so not to worry him.

"I have found her, my Lord." Baldric said triumphantly. "And she is willing to speak to you." With this he lead the maid out of the room, to give Adelina and Larik privacy.

"Are you well, Larik?" Adelina asked quietly, not making eye contact, but staring sternly at the floor.

"I am in pain from the blow, but I am quite well." Larik retorted. "Come closer, my sweet." As he bid her to come closer, she did as he wanted and sat next to him on his bed side.

"I thank you for keeping me alive." He told her calmly as he took her hands she had folded in her lap. "You are most wonderful."

Adelina looked at him in amazement. Never had she thought such words would be uttered from such a cold, heartless creature. She tried to keep the shock from her face. Oh but to know what he was truely thinking. It ate at her insides. But his eyes, not completely ice cold. They were almost lake water.

So she did what she thought best, and leaned in to embrace her dark angle.

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