1. The Kings Death
I was born in Lakespire Castle in the year 1495. It was a cold and stormy night in April and a long and difficult labor that prevented my parents from having any more children. Thankfully, they already had my old brother and heir to the throne, Beck. Since I would be the last child my parents ever had, to say I grew up spoiled would be a understatement. From the time I was old enough to remember, life has always been perfect, at least until shortly before my eighteenth birthday.
The day my father, King Tullius The Great died still burned forever in the back of my mind. I was in the stables, grooming my favorite horse Zevlyn when the bells of Lakespire rang loudly in my ears and I dropped the brush and ran to the throne room as quickly as my legs would carry me, trying not to trip over the long and heavy dress. The bells did not ring without reason, something must be happening, something must be wrong. Have we been invaded? Did we loose the on-going war with Redbury? My thoughts raced wild and I tried not to panic until knowing what may actually be happening.
The servants stopped and watched me, all staring with this look of pity in their eyes although it was unclear why. I avoided their sad gazes and continued to rush to my destination, keeping my eyes firmly ahead of me and trying not to let my emotions get the best of me but could feel in my soul something was terribly wrong. The guards slowly opened the large golden doors for me as I approached my fathers throne room, trying to catch my hard and heavy breath.
The sorrowful faces of my mother and brother were the first thing I saw, their eyes red and swollen with tears still falling down their cheeks. "Kyla, your father, the Good King Tullius of Lakespire and First of His Name has died in battle this morning." My mother says quickly, unsuccessfully, trying to sound strong and suppress her heavy sobs. I try to hide my shock while slowly walking up to them both. My father? Dead? No he can't be. There must be some kind of mistake. My dad is a great king and warrior, nobody could kill him. Nobody.
My brother remains silent, standing as motionless as a stone next to my mother but I can still see the tears and grief all over his face. He was very close to my father, we all were. He was a King first but also a great father and husband to our mother. They had a legendary and forbidden love story that the whole realm knew, a love story that poets and musicians wrote about world-wide. Instantly, I wrap myself into my mothers arms and let her hold and comfort me for the first time since I was a very young child, as the hot tears begin to fall down my cheeks. She ran her fingers gently through my long, wild red/orange hair and tried to whisper comforting words that did not touch me.
Our father, dead? My thoughts raced wildly. The King was young and healthy, he should of had many more years left to live. He is the same man that taught me to wield a sword and shield, because he believed that everyone, man or woman, should know how to defend themselves with a weapon. He is the same man that taught me to ride on horseback without a saddle and hunt with a bow. He is the same man that used to tuck me in at night and tell me stories of faraway lands and forbidden places. I cannot accept that he is gone just like that. The kingdom of Redbury and their atrocious King Grail would pay for this. We will not let them win, this fight is not over yet. My fathers death will be avenged, even if it's the last thing I do.
The next few days following my fathers death were brisk and chaotic. It seemed as if none of us had time to eat or sleep because of the funeral plans and within only three days after the sacred burial, the coronation took place and my older brother, Prince Beck was crowned King of Lakespire. While his new advisers, the same men who served our father, discussed the ongoing war with our new King, my mother and I spent much time together in the gardens. Most of the time, we walked in peace and quiet, arm in arm and just enjoying each other's company and sharing our grief in silence.
It was obvious neither of us wanted to talk about it out-loud. Although my appearance strongly resembled my father, my personality was more like my mothers. She is the strong and silent type who prefers not to speak her feelings out into the open and it was a trait I no doubly inherited from her. My father however, he was a different matter all together. He always spoke his mind and was quiet popular with the kingdom, the people knew him as a good man who always told the truth.
I spent a lot of time sleeping in my bedchambers after the coronation took place as well. When I would spend more than a couple days in there, my mother would come get me and have me walk around the garden with her again. For the first time ever, my life was dull, bleak and utterly boring. Although my ladies-in-waiting were a godsend. All three of them, Sila, Caitir and Keana, I have known since young childhood. Sila I even shared a nursery with as our mothers were very close. They tried so hard to keep my spirits up but the days and nights became a endless blur until one day my door was thrown wide open by my brother, the new King Beck.
I jumped out of bed, still in my nightgown and bow awkwardly at him. What the hell could he be barging into my chambers like this for? I wanted to scream at him to get the fuck out of here.
"That's it!" He says loudly at me, his voice echoing through the room. "I have had enough of this! It is mid-day! You can't just hide in your room all day, you're not the only one who lost father and life has to move on! I thought you would know that better than anyone else."
"Excuse me?" I ask in disbelief. "Our father died. I am in mourning and I do go outside. I walk in the gardens with mother."
"A walk in the gardens every few days with our mother does not count." He argues, still yelling at me. "Our father died and yet here I am, forced to take over his responsibilities while you hide away in your bed. That is not the behavior of The Princess of Lakespire and you know it, Kyla. Tonight, we are having a feast in the late kings honor. You will be there. I command it as your new King." His voice books through my rooms and I swear I could almost feel the walls shake.
Before I have a chance to argue he turns and storms out of my room without another word and I scream and stomp my foot, irritated by his intrusion. How dare he command me to do anything! He is barely our new king, he has no experience and no idea what he is doing. He had no right to act this way.
I try to pace back and fourth to calm my mind and find myself fitting on the edge of the bed, closing my eyes and feeling the magic in the air around me. I try with everything in my to wield that magic but it just seems to float around my body, not touching a single hair on my skin. It was almost as if I repelled the magic. The irritation and worry in me grows as I impatiently give up and open my eyes, worried that I would not specialize in anything when the Alzeer Trials comes.
Concentrate Kyla, you can do this. I keep telling myself as I try to control my breathing. Give me something, anything. I would gladly take any of the elements, animal magic or divination magic but nothing came to me, my mind remained blank and the magic in the room became less and less noticeable. I sighed in frustration. We have never had a member of the royal family who couldn't specialize. What would The Ascendents do to me then? Would they force my mother and brother to send me away to the villages as a Featureless? A complete failure to the royal life?
The door swung open again and I was ready to curse out whoever dare walk through it and not just leave me alone until I see Sila, one of my ladies-in-waiting and my closest friend and I smile at her, glad to have the distraction and feel the room instantly become lighter. Although I did not want the company, I had to admit, Sila was the exception.
She curtsy's gracefully and meets my face with a beaming smile, there was no mistaking the proud look upon her face as she was clearly waiting to tell me something important.
"You did it. You majored." I say with realization that today was The Alzeer Trials as well as her eighteenth birthday.
"I am a Weather Shifter!" She says excitedly. "Oh, your highness, I was so worried I wouldn't not specialize and would become a Featureless. My life here at the castle would of been gone, just like that."
"Oh no, I know that would not happen." I tell her with a mischievous grin. "You are much to talented to become a Featureless. As Princess, I would not allow anyone to send you away, even if you did not specialize."
Sila smiles that perfect smile and confidence just radiates off of her, it was like I could already sense all the magic in the air around us again, it was much stronger now that she was present in the room but it still seemed to avoid my physical body which worried me. What if I truly did not specialize?
"So... Show me what you can do." I say excitedly, trying to hide my own feelings and focus on my best friend.
"Okay, so this is what I showed The Ascendants. I didn't even know I could do this." She tied her long platinum blonde hair back into a loose ponytail and looks up towards the ceiling of the room. It is obvious that she's concentrating very hard and within just a few moments I can see small specs of white snow falling lightly around us, despite the warm fire that was still lit only a few feet away. A few tiny snowflakes fell onto my arm and I watched it with awe as it slowly melted into my skin. "Such beauty." I say quietly, meeting her blue eyes and giving her a genuine smile. "A Weather Shifter is a great honor, I'm happy for you Lady Sila, truly." I try to hide my slight jealousy by remembering Sila did not thinks she would specialize as well.
"Don't worry, Princess. By the time you must face the Alzeer Trials, you will prove yourself to The Ascendants as well, I know you will specialize with something amazing." The snow stops falling as quickly as it began and there was no trace of it ever existing but the feeling of magic remained in the air.
"Thanks Sila. Now, I need your help getting ready for this stupid feast, that my stupid brother is commanding me to go to." I say with a grimace.
Sila beams with excitement and practically drags me to my walk in closet and search for a dress for tonight festivities. She loves parties and feasts especially because we get to drink too much and make fun of high lords and ladies. I still can't believe I have to go to that tonight. The last thing I want to do is associate with egocentric-regressed dukes and duchesses who will tell me how much they loved my father and how sorry they are for my loss but in reality my father hated them and the problems they caused in his castle.
If Beck wants me to go to this than fine, I will go but he should not expect me to be on my best behavior tonight. He will see what he gets for "commanding" me to do anything. I grab the bottle of whiskey from my side table and let Sila lay out multiple gowns and shoes for us to decide on tonight while I pour us a drink or ten.