In a world of five elements, one King wants all. This is the first chapter.
|CHAPTER 1 |
The blinding sun wakes the sombering Alasia from her slumber. She stretches the sleep from her body and covers her face from the bright sun. She stumbles to her feet and finds her way to the large stone opening. She peers out over the land of Terrurian - a land that should be her own. She looks down over the people, the citizens, below. She watches each person for a moment each. Each one has they work for their day.
Born to King Nebal and Queen Lolis of Terrurian, Alasia is the eldest of her siblings. Loved by all, every man wants her hand in marriage. Even the men below the window watch the beauty above. Although just waked, Alasia appears to be an angel watching over the crowd. Her Long brown hair draped down below her waist, although it usually remains hidden with braids. Her deep royal blue eyes are the only set in the land. Eyes which would pierce the fiercest of them all.
In the near distance, clouds of dust are tossed spraying into the air. A galloping stallion races toward the kingdom. Her love and father’s guard, Amaranth, rides through the lush, green fields of Terrurian. If they didn’t have to keep their love hidden, Alasia would soar from her window to greet her lover. Cry out to her love from the the window so everyone could hear. So everyone would know who her heart would belong to. But it’s not that simple...
To end the Fire Wars, her hand was given away to please King Vinz of Flakadour. A man who would stop at nothing to destroy the entire continent of Donham. That is, until the hand of Alasia was offered up to his son. The successor of his kingdom. King Vinz has promised to stop the bloodshed if, and only if, he receives Alasia’s hand.
Alasia was never informed of her father’s offer. How could he dare put the happiness of his daughter on the line? Easy. One sacrifice for the greater good of the people. Too many have lost their lives, and if the war continued, more would surely perish.
As Amaranth’s stallion Arion slides to a stop in front of the tower, Alasia’s happiness soon fades when a knock on the door disturbs the wonderful final seconds of the lover’s eyes locked moment.
“Alasia? Are you in there?” A voice calls out from the other side of the large wooden door. King Nebal stands impatiently on the other side.
Alasia takes one final glance over her love before leaving the window. This is the first morning that she was even able to stand. Her only motivation was knowing that Amaranth would be here. Thoughts of him whisking her away from this. Saving her from everything that is about to happen. Saving her from a life she never wanted, so she could live she wanted. But, these are simple pipes dreams that will never come to fruition. Each one flooding her mind.
“Come in.” The delayed response from Alasia remains on her lips as though she never wanted her father to enter.
King Nebal pushes the door wide open. His glowing exterior and optimistic smile soon fade after witnessing his daughter’s depressive state. A man full of such grace and humility, never meant to hurt her so much. A decision that seemed so perfect at the time. A small part of him hoped King Vinz would never have accepted the offer. But of course he did. Who wouldn’t want the hand of Alasia’s all to themselves.
“The people are awaiting a speech from the Princess.” King Nebal coyly says as he takes a seat on the bed. He pats the bed in hopes that she will sit beside him.
“I’m not their Princess. Anymore.” Alasia responds full of contempt. Her eyes never meet her father’s.
“You still are. For now.” King Nebal says.
Alasia quickly moves out of the way. She hasn't been kind to her father since the decision was made. The King couldn’t even tell her the news himself. Alasia had to find out from her sister, Eva. Eva. What will happen to her once Alasia leaves Terrurian. Her younger sister always looked up to her. Or at least Alasia always thought.
“Father, I don't want this. I don't want to marry Sepitus.” Alasia says, fighting back tears.
“Think about the lives you'll save. Think about all of the people out there. The ones waiting to hear their Princess speak. Their savior.” King Nebal stands and walks toward the window. Cheers cry out from below as King Nebal looks over his citizens. The first time he has heard this sound since he has been King. The honor is confused with power.
“Why not Eva?” A hopeful Alasia stammers, “Why can't she do it?”
The door creaks open a little bit, causing Alasia and her father to look at the door. Eva stands in the frame. An exuberant smile across her face. The thought of marrying the Prince consumes her. Being the youngest, she would have never had a chance to be queen of Terrurian. Unless, of course, Alasia and their brother Reeve, were to either join another kingdom, or simply, die. A thought that has crossed Eva’s mind.
But it would be easier for Eva to marry into another kingdom. And why not Sepitus? He will soon be the King of the most powerful kingdom in all of Donham. A kingdom feared by the other four elemental countries. The power that comes from fear is something Eva would love. Would live for. Something that Eva would give anything to have.
“What are you doing, Eva?” King Nebal asks his youngest daughter with a stern tone. He closes the doors of the room casting darkness, and dreary, back into the room.
“I came to check on Alasia. And besides, I heard my name.” Eva approaches the scene skeptically. Every step slow and calculated.
“Eva is too young, and Sepitus wants you. You are the deal.” King Nebal states, completely ignoring the offer.
“How do you know he wants me?” Alasia responds.
“Please, Alasia. Every man would die to be by your side. Every man” King Nebal responds.
The deflated Alasia slumps back down into her bed. She wipes the only remaining tears from her eyes.
King Nebal walks toward the door and stops by young Eva. “Can you talk some sense into your sister?”
Eva nods. King Nebal takes one last look over Alasia, before leaving in an sorrowful huff. He slams the door behind him causing a thunderous cry throughout the room.
Eva walks over and playfully sits on the end of the bed. A plan that she has been meticulously planning begins to stir in her head. Is this the right time? Can she convince Alasia that her plan will actually work? Why not try?
“What would you do if you were me?” Alasia asks.
Eva looks around the room for a moment. It’s now or never. This might be her only chance to be the powerful one that she always wanted to be.
“I would meet my love in the forest and escape.” Eva says.
Alasia quickly sits up and stares blankly at her sister. A sudden moment of excitement comes over her. She leans closer to Eva.
“What? You would?” Alasia says, trying to hide her enthusiasm.
Eva races over to a wooden window covering. She spreads the large boards apart, letting the morning sunlight brighten up the dreary bedroom. Cheers from below ring out through the room. Eva stands in the frame of the window. She dreams that those screams are for her. She closes her eyes and takes a moment to embrace the sounds. She turns back to Alasia and says, “Your love is riding over to visit your future father-in-law to make our father’s offer of your hand.”
Alasia steps over and stands behind Eva. She hesitates to look over to the crowd.
“Who?” Alasia says, trying to remain evasive.
“I know about you and Amaranth.” The direct statement from Eva, causes Alasia to panic.
‘There is nothing between us.” Even Alasia has trouble believing the lie from her lips. She lowers her head in defeat.
In the distance, Amaranth saddles up a paint horse. He places two pouches on both sides of his horse. Arion stands as proud as his owner. Amaranth prepares him for the long travel. Amaranth looks passed a large crowd of people and up to the window and can see Eva standing in the frame. He nods in her direction. Alasia peers over Eva’s shoulder, but it’s too late for Amaranth to see her.
Alasia watches as Amaranth mounts Arion and begins his journey to Flakardour. She only wishes she could ride with him. Ride with him to a new setting. A new life that they could share together. Her attention stays on him until he disappears into the wide barren open land. A land that was once fruitful and rich.
“He will be waiting for you after.” Eva’s words break Alasia’s daydream.
“After what?” Alasia responds.
“After he offers the proposal of your marriage. He will meet you at the entrance to Puriva. They place where he was found.” Eva says.
“What about Father?” Alasia responds.
“I will take your place as Queen.” Eva says sternly.
“Father said no. He said you were too young.” Alasia says, as her happiness soon turns to despair.
Eva steps around, her plan already in motion. She sits back down on the bed to speak the whole plan to Alasia.
“With you missing, the only viable choice will be me. Father will have no choice but to let me marry Sepitus.” Eva says.
“Why would you do that?” Alasia says. Concerned for her younger sister. Although marrying Sepitus isn’t what she wanted, she wouldn’t force her own sister in her place.
“I have always wanted to be Queen. You never wanted this life. This way, we both can live the way we have always wanted.” Eva says.
“But to marry Sepitus, well, it’s not something anyone should do. There are other ways to become Queen.”
“This way we both can be happy. You can be with Sepitus, and I, I will be Queen.” Eva smiles deviously.
The smile catches Alasia’s attention.
“I don’t know about this.”
“Don’t you want to be with Amaranth? You can leave this all behind. Every last thing.”
“Of course I want to be with him. I will give up everything to spend a single moment with him.”
“Then, what are you waiting for?” Eva smiles and grabs her sister’s hand.
“Thank you. Thank you, so much. I don’t know how I can repay you.”
“Your happiness is reward enough.”
Eva flashes the same devious smile. Her plan is set in motion. Before closing the window, Eva looks down to the crowd. Her eyes come across a man dressed completely in black. She gently nods to the man.
The man, Brack, stands staring up at the window. Half of his face is scarred from a childhood incident involving fire. A sight that disgust most people in the kingdom. Brack and Eva’s eyes meet, and stay locked for longer than a single moment. Eva nods as she closes the boards of the window.
“You remember Brack?” Eva says.
“No. I don’t think so.” Alasia responds, scanning her mind for any recognition.
“You do. You two were great friends when you were young. After his face was burnt, he left Terrurian.” Eva says.
“That doesn’t sound right. I would remember a childhood friend.” Alasia responds.
“Well, his name is Brack, and he said he would graciously take you to meet your knight. Have your stuff ready for tomorrow night, and your journey will begin.” Eva says.
“Are you sure about this?” Alasia says.
“Do you want to be with Amaranth?” Eva asks, full well knowing the answer.
“Of course I do. I can’t imagine my life with anyone else.” Alasia responds, thinking back to the last time her and Amaranth were alone. Together they shared their dreams and wishes of how they could stay in that moment forever. Something that now may live outside of their own dreams.
“Well then, I don’t think there is another option. This is the only way.” Eva says.
“Okay. Yes. I want to leave.” Alasia says.
“If we do this, you can never come back home. Do you understand?” Eva says with a stern tone.
“Yes. I want to leave.” Alasia says.
“Good.” Eva says, trying hard to hide the devious smile. “It will be done then.”
* * * * * * *
In the dark of the night, with the moon blocked by clouds, Alasia makes her escape. She is covered head to toe, blocking out anything that would resemble her old life. Keep anyone from recognizing her. If anyone looked close enough, they would still seem the bright blue eyes through the only opening. All of her closest belongings shoved in a small sack. Small enough to fit on her horse - Epona. She throws her sack on an already saddled Epona.
Waiting for her is Brack. He stands holding onto Epona and his own horse. Even through the darkness and her covered face, he can still see her beauty. He watches her with awe, as Alasia climbs up onto Epona. For this moment, Brack feels like a normal person. This is a moment that makes him actually feel like everyone else in Terrurian. Imagine, a princess riding into the night with him. At this moment, he feels whole.
“Do you have everything you need?” Brack asks.
“Yes. Enough for now.” Alasia says, as she looks back to her castle. She looks back to everything she could have had. If only it was with the man she chose. Then maybe she would have been happy. The castle is cast in darkness. Alasia lowers her hood to take one last look before leaving for good. She wishes she could have said a proper salutation to her father. She would never purposely hurt him. Even though his decision is what pushed her away.
Eva sits in a blacked out window frame. Her eyes scanning through the darkness, since she wants to enjoy this moment more than anything. Everything she had hoped for is all coming true. No hiccups. No problems. If everything in life were so simple. Eva climbs back into her bed, and as she falls asleep, a little smile begins to form as she drifts further into sleep.
Alasia and Brack are prepared for their journey. Brack climbs up onto his horse. He smiles toward Alasia, but the effort is flawed due to the scarring on the right side of his face. With these appendages, no one could ever see his smile. Or truly know what he is trying to do.
Alasia notices the failed smile attempt, and like everyone else, moves her face away in disgust.
“We will ride until morning. This will give us a head start before you father sends someone after us.” Brack says, ignoring the usual behavior of his Princess.
“What will happen when my father sends someone to find me?” Alasia asks. This thought causes her to panic. The plan is in ruins. Trackers will find them. Her own brother, Reeve, is one of the best trackers in all of Terrurian, but rarely is he allowed to wander beyond the kingdom. With the Fire Wars, King Nebal couldn’t risk losing his only son. All of these thoughts flood her mind.
“No. We can make it to my home in the woods. They will never find us there.” Brack says with the same forced smile. This time hoping the sentiment actually shines through. It fails. ‘The only one who knew I lived there was your sister.”
“I want peace and happiness for everyone and everything in the land. Is this selfish of me?” Alasia asks, concerned with her choice to flee.
“You have the right to be happy.” Brack says. He nods to her.
Alasia shies away from Brack. She wants to believe his words, but something is pulling her back. Alasia takes a breath, finds the courage, and begins to prepare herself for the long ride. She places the hood back on her head and grabs the reins. Alasia takes one final look back to her castle, her kingdom, before her and Brack ride off into the night. Leaving everything, and everyone, behind.