A churlish princess's wayward life is accounted by her prince brother.
|word count: 1,508
I always knew my sister to be austere and childish. But I never thought how bad it would eventually end. To this day it leaves me restless. My name is Prince Darin and my sister is Princess Ithia of the kingdom of Ifria. We are the only children of King Cureness who rules. I will begin my story with me and my sister’s childhood. I remember that one day that I had a real quarrel with her. It was during a cool night on Christmas evening:
“Why do you hope for something so stupid?!” I said.
“Why not? I’m royalty. I should have my own castle wing.”
Despite her obtuseness, she was very beautiful. That seemed to aid her in her selfish exploits.
“And what will you do with all that room?”
“I’ll fill it with trees and animals and pretty things.”
Our father had overheard us. “Your brother’s right Ithia. It just can’t be. Do you understand?”
She frowned. “Fine.”
“Come on both of you. It’s present time.” Our father led us into the decorated throne room. We sat around the tall, wide tree with our mother queen Kamil. “I think you’ll like what I have for you Ithia. Here.” She gave my sister a small box wrapped in shiny blue paper with a golden bow.
She opened it. “A necklace?”
“I got it when I went on my far visit to the kingdom of Terinth. Do you like it?”
“I have many necklaces.”
I elbowed her in the side. “You ungrateful little…!”
“But she…” I became silent. Nothing ever made Ithia happy.
But her juvenile ways would continue all the way to our teenage years. I had turned 16 and my obnoxious sister was 15. It was on a hunting trip that she would dawn her usual colors:
“Oh come now, even you want to ride it,” she said.
I looked at the shiny hide of the general’s mount. It was said to be fast and it had a lovely appearance.
“We’re not allowed dummy.”
“With this horse, our team would find the boar first; am I right?”
“Very well. If I get caught I’ll blame it on you.”
I felt my stomach boil and my face turn red. “Father or mother wouldn’t believe you!”
“Perhaps. But the general might.” She sneered at me. I was stuck. Ithia knew how to look and sound innocent.
“Fine, just don’t tell.” Ithia removed the horse’s armor and saddle then put a cheap one on. We did win the hunt but General Thaddeus found out and I got the blame. He said I was the oldest and should have controlled my sister. Ha! It would have been like taming a scorpion.
I told the truth to my mother but and she just nodded. “I know your sister can be cumbersome to live with, but she is still our flesh and bone. Just try to love her.”
That was it!? No punishment for Ithia or even her apologizing? It was at this time I started harbor real bitterness to her. But the following day was even worse.
I remember seeing her hide behind a pillar next to the treasury door. When a chamberlain opened it with a key, she snuck in right below his waist and went around the inner corner. Our army just returned from a battle with victory spoils – golden shields, jeweled gauntlets, silver helmets and more. Servants were hauling the items inside. Then I saw her with a golden dagger; and just sneak right out.
But this time she was caught! When a maid was changing sheets in her chamber, the woman found it under her bed spread. Nevertheless, when our mother upbraided her, she would return her own scolding to Kamil. Ithia stormed off in a fit mouthing swears.
I approached my mother. “Why do you allow her to do that?”
“Raising any daughter, royal or not, is hard.”
“She’s wearing us all out - since the day she could speak. It makes me frustrated.” I frowned and clenched my fists. But my mom still thought she would alter her manners with age. But that too came to nothing.
Ithia had turned 21. At that age she was permitted freedom to peruse where she pleased. Yet there were some places forbidden to everyone – specifically The Forest of Gore. And of course this incurred my sister to want to go exploring. One fateful day, she bribed a coachman to bring her inside the forest. I had heard her ask. Then something new went through my heart – concern. I feared for her safety. The person that had brought me such grief was causing me to go out of my way for her.
It was a fall evening night with a full moon. Crickets creaked and a light gale ruffled the few leaves that remained on the line of trees that bordered the Forest of Gore. It was late and all but my sister, her escort and the guards were asleep. I saw her leave her chamber and tiptoe to the hallway leading to the gardens. There, at a gate at the end, was an exit to the commoner’s roads. I followed her about three stone ’s throws distance from her. She ran all the way to through the silent city and passed homes to the forest border. She stopped. A man, who I knew to be a coachman, was dressed in a regular tunic and wool cloak. He came out from two trees. He motioned for her to follow him in through the trees. “I sprinted, my heart throbbing and my mind on fire as I thought of Ithia. I entered the forest. The coach was a little bit farther in front of me. I neared it about a dozen paces behind, keeping low.
My heart slowed but there was a subtle racing of it. I now feared for both for myself and my sister. Darkness crept in as we went deeper into the forest. The canopy thickened. I wondered: Why was this place forbidden?
I had heard tales of monsters and dragons or even hostile magical gnomes dwelling within. I surmised there were rather violent beasts that attacked people who strayed inside.
Then, I saw a head pop out from behind a tree to my left - then another one from my right. My nerves were shocked with a painful sting. Four men jumped out of their hideaways, and surrounded the coach. They were bandits!
“What you got inside good fellow eh?” said a big burly man with a cutlass.
“Please don’t hurt me!” said the cowardly coachman. “Princess Ithia is inside! Just let me go!”
I felt like smiting him with a club. What a louse!
“Is that so? Well then. I would get a move on coward.”
The worm jumped of the seat and scampered off.
I didn’t tarry a moment later. I snuck behind a large bush a few yards away from one of the four, a lanky fellow in buck skins, holding a shiny sword. I lunged forward and struck the man on the back of the head.
He teetered forward, dropping his blade. I picked it up. But I was too late; the burly man had gone in the carriage, I ran as if to come to her rescue, but again I was too late.
“Hold it young man! I’ll slit her throat if you come closer.”
I stopped and then my hands were pulled behind my back. I was stunned to see Ithia wearing her neckless along with some jewel bracelets. Why had she done that!?
“Hand over your jewelry “your highness.”
“Never you brute! Get away!”
“Give it to him Ithia!” I cried.
“No they’re mine!”
“I’d listen to the young man lass. It isn’t worth your life.”
“I am the princess! Don’t give me commands!”
“Have it your way.”
“No!” I pleaded. Tears were welling up in my eyes.
The vile bandit slit her throat. I dropped to my knees crying gravely. I fell over as I agonized.
The bandits had their booty. With that they began to leave.
“You’ll pay with your life!” I spewed.
But the four men just cackled as they disappeared into the foliage.
I rose and ran to my sister. Blood was seething through her neck. I held her head up. “I’m so sorry Ithia. I should have stopped you.”
“It’s…not your…fault. I’m so sorry or not listening. I’m sorry for everything.”
“Don’t talk about that!” I said.
“No. you…were always right. Will you forgive me? Before I go...” she choked and began to go limp. “please give me your forgiveness…It…won’t be long until...I am gone.”
She was right. But it was sad it took her death to realize the errors of her way…the way she had been her whole life. And from my heart I abandoned any bitterness.
“May the angels of God keep you my sister.” Those were the last word she heard me utter. I closed her eyes with my hand and kissed her forehead.