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by JJJ
Rated: E · Fiction · Action/Adventure · #2250075
Chapter 1 of Lilly of the Valley
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Chapter 1: Escape

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Years of being hidden away from the village in my family's castle were suddenly ended without my say.

Raiders from Rin kicked in my doors and destroyed the lower rooms before I could hear them coming up the stairs to my room. I stuffed my hunting bag with a change of undergarments and this book, at the time solely holding my mother's story, before hiding in the servant hall behind the wall tapestry.

The lone servant I had died when I was 16. She did not leave me without training in the ways of my people, and warning of those in Rin, which is why I knew what to prepare. In my folly, however, I'd forgotten my bow and was already headed for the only exit I had left.

My parents, before their deaths, left me.... signs of their life, is what I will say. This book in your hands once belonged to my mother, but my father's book was lost to me in the wars.

When Stephanie, my servant, and my friend ran out of money to care for me, we sold the trinkets that befit my position and lived here without them. They were "added pleasures" she always said. Soon, I understood what she meant and I hated her for it. Selling the distinction of our heritage? My birthright and position?

Regardless of this monstrosity of betrayal, Stephanie advised me to remain hidden until time to reveal myself and I believed her. Then she died and left me more alone than I already felt. So, I planned to introduce myself as Lilliana only when needed.

Unfortunately, even keeping this pretense was not enough. I was very stupid, but very blessed.

When I attempted to sneak by the men still raiding the kitchen for food, they caught me and discussed selling me as a working boy.

Stephanie would have told me to be silent.

I was not.

"Excuse me, just because I have short hair, it does not mean that I am a boy!"

The men were shocked, but the one who caught me said, "No? Well, your small boobs are enough to make a man question."

I was embarrassed, so naturally, I spoke again.

"You Rinnites from Rin may expect a woman to be one way, but where I am from a woman doesn't have to flaunt her body to be one."

"Oh?" the leader asked, standing from his place near the campfire. "And, where, pray-tell, are you from... my lady?" The rebel man with slaver jewelry in his ear bowed before me. A couple of his tattooed friends chuckled but the joke was lost on me.

"My name is Bazyli, Stephanie, Ethan, Leorrin, Gratia Lilliana. I am not even from your nation, and an attack on me is the very same as an attack upon my nation. You are to release me at once and return my things for my King to find me."

"Such a long name for such a... wispy, thin and otherwise unimpressive form." the man replied with a laugh.

"U-unimpressive? Did you not hear what I said?" I choked back in disbelief.

"Call your King, he will answer to us." The leader replied, waving me off.

My name, like yours dear child, shows my heritage as a citizen of Leorrin.

Bazyli is our king, I pledged my fealty to him through Stephanie. My betrothed was Ethan, the crown prince. Many adults do not have this distinction, another given name, until there is a betrothed. I am, however, my mother's daughter, and was promised through the request of the King. Leorrin, like yours, is my home, the nation to which we belong no matter where we are currently living. Gratia, my father's family, and Lilliana my given name.

Our names are long because it tells the very story of who we are-- who we come from, who we are close to, and where we were born.

I had never before said my name without someone moving on my behalf. This total disdain for my position, King Bazyli, and the nation from which I came.... It was a moment before I realized the man had dismissed me.

"Unless, you wish to stay, my lady?" The man tilted his head at my confused facial expression. I slowly turned and gathered my things close to me. Taking a few steps back from the campfire, my heart was pounding.

"Oh, would you like dinner before you go, my lady?" The man asked, as if he'd forgotten his manners. His friend's knowing expressions were a bit disconcerting, however. "We never let a lady go without the full... experience... of Sir Gregory the Valient," then, gesturing, "and his merry men."

"No, thank you."

"Oh, I insist." He waved his hand again, this time a couple of knights flanked me, blocking my way. "Please, my lady. It is the only thing that will make our first impressions forgivable."
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