Chapter 3: The Beginning
Just a quick warning ⚠️
There is some violence ahead. Do not proceed any further if you are unable to handle it.
My hands are shaking cold as Ayden stepped into my sanctuary not long after breakfast. The tips of my fingers gripped the paint brush firmly as I continued to stroke the fine bristles. The green color smeared beautifully across the tan sheet of paper, reminding me of his eyes. Clyde.
The same emerald green that glimmered with the specks of gold inspired me to paint. The green eyes that looked upon me today, curious, but very passionate and a creative outlook on life. Easily jealous, but can possess an enormous amount of love. That was what his green eyes held.
Clyde was a strange man indeed, but I hadn’t met much men in my life. He was mysterious, wild, and overall attractive. He insulted me without any remorse and it was oddly invigorating.
A pair of hands slid up my arms lightly creating a sickening sensation along them. The hands continued up, across my shoulders, and over my neck. They stopped beneath my jaw with his fingers slowly tracing the outline of it.
“You weren’t at breakfast. Is this where you have come to hide from me?” Ayden’s voice was like ice.
“I didn’t intend it as a rude gesture, it’s just on this day of the week is when I have my precious free time,” I tell him while continuing the strokes of my brush.
“I’d love for you to spend all your free time with me,” He whispers in my ear and gently places a kiss on my neck.
“What is it you wish to do?” A sharpness in my voice caused him to let out exasperated sigh.
“What every man wishes to do to a beautiful creature like you,” he cooed into my other ear now. His lips trailing over the outline of my hair while his hands wandered to the back of my dress.
Violently, he ripped the hooks undone and pulled the fabric from my shoulders revealing the cleavage of my breasts. The corset had been tightly fitted to my body but he easily undid it with a flick of a wrist.
“Stop...” The word came out cold and dangerous. This was not going to happen, I had to stand my ground. Just because women were inferior to men doesn’t mean I will be.
Ayden ignored my request as he continued to drop kisses along my chest as he leaned over my shoulder. My hand had already dropped from the painting but my fingers still gripped the brush.
“My lord, stop...” The edgy tone didn’t phase him as he moved in front me. My eyes did not meet his clear blue ones as he was crouched down looking up at me. A smirk was evident on his face as he leaned forward towards my breasts.
“You belong to me,” He huskily said before his hot wet tongue ran across my skin. The feel of it made me cringe and provoked something inside me to burst out in anger.
“I demand you to stop this instant!” I raised my voice in fury and swung the paint brush across his face. He watched me in shock, but it quickly changed to something dastardly. His fingers wiped the green paint from his cheek and looked down at it.
“Feisty, are we? You know that only makes it even more exhilarating for me,” He growled swinging the back of his hand across my face. The impact was so hard it made me fall from the stool I had been sitting on.
There wasn’t even time for me to pick myself up from the wood floor as Ayden pushed his weight on me to stay down. The stinging pain pricked at my cheek from the slap. Tears that I didn’t want to come, came flowing down my cheeks. Ayden pinned both my arms above my head with one hand as the other hand lifted my dress.
“It does not matter where I touch you Artemis, you will be wedded to me in less than two days.” He reminded me as he used his knee to open my legs. His cold fingers began to trail up my leg and I couldn’t find it in me to move.
My will was strong but physically I felt weak, at the end of the day Ayden was still a man that could easily take advantage of me. Even if I were to fight back, he’d hit me again.
If I screamed for help, no one would hear me unless one of the guards were to walk by. By then, he could already have my mouth covered from anyone hearing me. It was hopeless to fight back. What was I thinking?
“My lord?” A voice along with a soft knock sounded on the door to the library and my heart soared. It was muffled, but it had definitely been a man. My hopes were crushed though as Ayden continued to feel me up. Of course he had, it was one of his men on the other side of the door. They wouldn’t dare enter without risking their lives against the future King.
“My lord!” The voice came again and the soft knock turned into pounding. Ayden stopped and glared up at the door.
“You know better to not interrupt me, Clyde” Ayden snarled. Clyde?
The door to the room swung open revealing Clyde all worked up and out of breath. His eyes scanned the room until they landed on the sight of Ayden pinning me down. A flicker of anger was on his face, but his composure in front of his future King was more important. He immediately looked calm and collected as he spoke.
“The King is requesting to see you immediately, he’s asked me to come retrieve you.”
“Tch!” Ayden let go of my arms but gripped my crying face, “we’ll finish this later, dear.” His lips pressed onto mine roughly then he got up and strolled towards Clyde who waited for him.
Ayden was out the door first while Clyde lingered behind with his electric green eyes averting my appearance. They held sorrow and sympathy.
“My lady-” He started but I cut him off.
“Do not pity me, Clyde” My voice cracked from the oncoming tears. Shamefully, I looked away from him. This had been mortifying for me, why of all people had it been him to see me this way?
Deep down I was thankful, he had saved me without even knowing. Yet, my heart ached for some reason.
Yesterday, had flown by just like any other day. Ayden did not return to see me again. This morning he had been distant as they readied my belongings for the journey to the Kingdom of Aridor. It had been a quick and quiet breakfast amongst my parents and the Prince.
Ayden had seemed deep in thought, but occasionally would eye me with lust. In the foyer is where I had waited patiently while they prepared the carriages. Aya and Serena were packed as well. Ayden requested Serena to come along with me since she had been my closest handmaid. Aya was coming along because, apparently, she was sent from Aridor to specifically take care of me.
With my two handmaids at my side we relaxed on the sofas before the departure. My hands were neatly folded in my lap as I listened to Serena happily talk about her upcoming future in Aridor.
It may be that her future would be bright in a new place, but mine would not. It was hard for me to show any happiness in this situation. Although, I had forced a smile for Serena’s sake, just to see her smile more.
A knight dressed fully in armor entered the foyer and bowed his head before he spoke, “Princess, your carriage awaits you. Please follow me.”
He turned on his heel and led us through the front doors of the castle. It had been my first time taking my steps down the set of stairs that led up to the castle. Normally I would like to take in my surroundings, but my eyes were locked onto the royal blue carriage in front of me.
It was similar to the carriage Ayden had arrived in, but this one was sent over for me to travel in along with my maids. The other carriage had both the Prince and the present King occupying it. Silently, I thanked the gods for giving them the heart to not put me in the same carriage.
The knight opened the small door to the carriage and I lifted myself in sitting comfortably onto the brown cushion. Serena and Aya were next to following me in and they both sat on the opposite side of me.
“This is so exciting!” Serena squealed as the knight shut the door. The windows were sealed and the curtains were closed tight. There was hardly any light that flooded in making it hard to see. The air had already begun to be thick and warm.
“Yes, it’ll be a lovely adventure,” My words were full of sarcasm, but Serena hadn’t noticed as she was looking over the details of carriage.
The sound of horse hooves ran past the carriage and a man yelled, “Move out! We are to reach the Kingdom before nightfall!”
A whip snapped loudly spooking the horses to trot onward, which caused the carriage to jolt forward. From there the ride began to become smooth apart from the rocks that would bounce us up from our seats from time to time.
It was silent other than the laughter of the men following us on horseback. The only entertainment that kept me awake was listening in on their conversations.
My head rested against the inside of the carriage while I held one of the pillows in my lap that decorated the seat. Closing my eyes I concentrated on the two men that rode closely.
“Has the Esquire returned from scouting?” One of the men asked.
“You mean Tristan? Nah, I believe him and the other newbie took off only a little bit ago. I’m not sure what the Lieutenant is thinking sending two boys to scout ahead.” Another man replied.
“He’s not his father, but he’ll protect all of us with his life.” The first man said with high respect for their Lieutenant.
“It is true, he definitely isn’t like the Admiral. He’s more than that,” the second man said with amusement.
“For a youngster he is pretty wise, isn’t he?” The first man announced.
“I believe he’s even wiser when he’s got that bottle of rum in his hands!” The second man laughed with a raspy cough.
“My Lady, are you feeling well?” Aya asked me. My eyes opened to see the two worried expressions of my maids. Serena seemed the most concerned as she had rested her hand on my knee while searching for any signs in my eyes that would tell her, I wasn’t okay.
“Yes, I’m just-”
“AHHHHHHH!” A loud, sharp, piercing cry echoed outside the carriage. The horses had abruptly stopped causing me to fly forward onto Serena’s lap.
“What’s happening?” I asked Aya as she peeked out the curtain of the window.
Serena’s arms wrapped around my shoulders in a strong embrace as the sounds of screams filled the air around us. Aya protectively pulled me up onto the seat in between the two of them as the screams of men had become louder.
Serena’s small body began to shake uncontrollably in fear of the sounds that surrounded our carriage. Pulling her into my chest, I held her head close to my heart and began whispering a prayer to the gods to protect us.
“Knights! Listen well! The revolutionary army is making there move now! Get your troops ready and prepare for battle!” A man shouted loudly over the thundering sound of war screams.
“Someone in the troops must’ve betrayed us, they should not have found this road.” Aya frantically said as she lifted up her dress. Attached to the side of her leg was a short sword. Aya gripped the handle firmly and pulled the iron blade from it’s sheath.
“I will protect you with my life, my lady, you have my word. This is what I have been trained for,” Aya knelt down on the ground and pledged her allegiance to me.
No words came forth, it was only fear that consumed me of what lies ahead for the men that will be protecting us with their lives. It felt selfish of me to sit by and wait for safety while all those men fought.
If only I knew how to wield a weapon, maybe then I could make myself useful instead of hiding away in a carriage. Was my life even worth protecting?
Hooves pounded against the soft dirt, the anticipating snorts of the horses was as loud as their riders. The war horses craved for battle, they lived for it. The sound of swords beating on shields and the men chanting had riled them up. They squealed for violence.
The sound of a thousand arrows whizzed through the air taking flight like a bird. It didn’t last long for the archers to shoot as the enemy shields had made a loud impact with our warriors shields. The clinging sound of swords sliced through the air. The shrieks of men falling to death was salient in my perspective. There had already been too many that died or were injured.
Serena began crying, her tears soaking into my lavender dress. Each thumping sound of an arrow lodging into the wood of the carriage made both Serena and I flinch.
Death was slowly making its way toward us, seeking us out like a plague demolishing a town. All we could do was wait, wait until the evil slithered it’s way to us devouring us whole or hope that it will be crushed.
If it were up to me, I would not allow the warriors to decide our fate. No, if I could, I’d enter the battlefield and allow the enemy to strike their claws into my heart. I would offer my life to save many.
An idea had occurred to me, we were in the middle of a battle. Everyone was preoccupied in the affairs of war that no one would notice if I had escaped or ran to my death. It’s not like any of their lives would be in vain, they’re already protecting the King and the Prince.
“Aya!” Her name came out quick, her head snapped up to look at me. “How strongly do you feel about your allegiance to me?”
“I would die for you, My lady. I owe you that much for betraying your trust.”
“Then I have one request from you, just one,” I grabbed her arm with pleading eyes, “Help me escape!” A smile formed on her face, she nodded her head and began taking off her dress.
“Change clothes with me. If you are to escape you must look like a peasant girl. Not all the Knights know what you look like, they won’t bother trying to rescue you.” Aya explained while completely stripping down in front of us.
“What about me?” Serena lifted her head while rubbing her red swollen eyes. If I make her stay here, they’ll have her head for letting me escape. Whether she liked it or not she had to come with.
“You’re coming with me. Never forget, I promised your sister that I’d keep you safe,” I told her and she nodded with tears falling down her cheeks. She is scared, but I won’t let anything happen to her.
Aya unbuttoned the back of my dress and I quickly slipped out of it. The corset that was tightly around my body would get in the way, so I undid the strings and tossed it aside. Aya gave me her brown dress and helped me in it.
Serena pulled her dark blue cloak off and passed it to me. “Here, to cover your hair. They’ll notice that as well.”
“She’s right, keep the hood over your head. We’ll run towards the thickest part of the forest. The men on horseback will have trouble running through the trees to catch us. Any man on foot I will take care of. Understood?” Aya looked at us both in the eye with her gray ones. We nod in agreement and Aya pulls out a leather pouch from her breasts.
“Here, to protect yourself,” Aya handed me the thick leather pouch and inside was a small knife, “aim straight for the neck or the eyes, if you have to.”
The sound of glass shattering behind us caught us off guard. Serena’s piercing scream was muffled by Aya wrapping her hand around her mouth. The tip of an axe was wedged into the door. The glass fell to pieces as a man shot his hand through the broken window.
Frantically, I looked over to Aya and she had her sword ready while her other hand was on the handle to the other door. “Wait...” she whispered.
The man’s arm wiggled around searching for the door handle that was locked from the inside. Once he found it, he pulled the lock out and ripped the door open.
Aya moves swiftly plunging her sword into the man’s armor and pushed forcefully into his heart. With her foot, she kicked him back while pulling her sword from his chest. His body fell limp to the floor and all I could focus on was the blood pooling from his body.
“Run!!!” Aya screamed as she opened the door and pushed our quivering bodies out into the bloody battlefield.
Next time I’ll dream sweeter🌹
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