It's been twenty years since the entire human world was taken over. Cities and countries overthrown by what we call Shifters. They mainly take human form but can turn themselves into whatever they desire, whoever they desire amongst other powers my human brain can hardly comprehend. Some of them can make you see and do whatever they want, so I've been told. The prince was notorious for it.
My father led the War of Unity. We lost but we did not back down. The whole world, for once, was United. Our one goal: survive. To defeat these monsters. I was only two years old at the time. Hidden away with my mother for weeks before we were found by the shifters.
Because my father was an army general, they did not kill us. They housed my mother, father and I in the servants quarters in the palace the King, queen, and prince took residence in. My father helping oversee the human men who the king hand picked for his own military. My mother helping with maid duties for the queen. The world was separated into different monarchs. Multiple shifters separated and ruled their own lands.
I grew up being taught by other maids how to clean, sew, along with writing, reading, and basic math. I was never taught much about the history before the War. It was forbidden to talk about but sometimes my parents would let it slip. Nobody knows where the shifters came from. Nobody knows why. Nobody even knew they existed before the War.
Growing up in the castle as a human had its hardships and perks. The queen has always been relatively nice to me when I speak to her, which is seldom. Her husband only acknowledges my father and that's when he needs information about the human army. And even though I've grew up here, in the castle, I've only seen the prince around the halls or at the monthly public meetings where the king keeps everyone up to date on the other monarchs. They are all very polished, very attractive shifters. I've never seen them outside of their human forms.
We are to keep our eyes down, speak only when spoken to, never talk about the War of Unity or anything before that if we are caught doing anything we are not supposed to do, we get public lashings or worse.
However, where there is unrest, there are people who want to take a stand. Several thousand humans are secretly apart of a revolt in this monarch alone and several more thousand in the other. We meet once a month, though very risky, to train on battle techniques and have meetings to discuss any new information we might have, how to stop them.
Since I live in the castle, my job has been to try to find anyone, anything that might hint what they want, how to kill them, whatever might help to plan the War. So far I've been unlucky. They're not foolish enough to leak that information to just anyone. And their library has absolutely no information anywhere.
Inside the castle is the best place for the humans. The living quarters are far nicer than outside of the palace gates. People outside of the palace have to hunt and kill their own food. Some don't have any source of power. Some don't have anywhere to sleep but the ground.
My father, wearily, told me that before the war people had their own houses, some two or more stories tall, most people had running water, electricity, and beds to sleep in. Not everyone, but it was a lot more humane than now.
This is why, even though I know the repercussions, even though I know we'd likely never win a war against these things. I have to try, for my family and for the family I hope to start one day. I'd rather die knowing I tried, than live this life anymore. I have hope for the future.
The king holds the monthly meetings atop his balcony. Each town has a big screen that broadcasts his speeches, that the people gather around to watch. People inside the castle walls stand beneath the balcony, under close surveillance of the Kings guard.
The castle itself is a beautiful sight to behold. Lovely pathways lined with flowers of every kind. Several large trees provide shade and benches to sit on. We all gather about thirty minutes prior to the king.
"Adira, there you are." My long time friend, Jameson, says. He is fairly tall, fair skin, with muscles that earned him a spot in the kings "army". Unbeknownst to the King and my father, he's also a part of the revolt.
"Hey" I give him a smile, as I take a seat on the bench furthest from the King and his family. Every meeting is the same thing. He sometimes switches it up but it's all politics. He rivals with the king of Erinwell. When all of the shifters split up around the world there were two sets of royalty. Our King and Queen- Charle and Jaquelyn- rule the west side of the world (Mesia) while King Tybolt and Queen Linnette rule the east (Erinwell). There's an ocean between the lands.
Jameson stays standing with his gun across his chest. "Shouldn't you be in the front? We don't want to cause any unnecessary suspicion." I tell him, glancing up but pretending to look relatively bored.
"I was just coming over to remind you about tonight. Twelve o'clock. I'll meet you at our usual spot." He mumbles only loud enough for me to hear, his short brown hair falling slightly over his eye.
"Okay. Thank you for the reminder now hurry up, the king is about to come out." I scold him. Who knows what would happen if the King found him talking to the help instead of standing guard. He gives me a wink and heads to the front where our fathers stand, our mothers not far behind them.
I've known Jameson since I was a baby. His father was second in command, next to mine. Apparently we used to play together when I was two and he was three, right before the war started. We both grew up in the castle. Although we seldom got to play together. After his studies ended when he was thirteen, they started training him with all of the young soldiers. Something my father was adamantly against but couldn't do anything about.
Everyone hushed and stood up as the King, Queen, and Prince walked out on the balcony. The king taking a seat in his chair and the queen and prince on either side of him. The shifters all look far younger than they are. They are mortal but they live far longer than humans do.
The king is very tall. He has golden colored skinned and black hair that's done neatly with his extravagant crown placed perfectly on top.
The queen has a very powerful aura that radiates off of her. She's beautiful. She's taller than the average woman with long red hair and very curvy. She makes anyone look out of place and less attractive.
While their son, well. Their son is handsome. He's is also very tall, golden, muscular, with hair that is very black and thick. The only way I can think to describe is otherworldly. Which he is.
The king clears his throat, "Good evening, Mesia! You may be seated!" We all sat. Some on benches, some on chairs that were brought out. "Now before we get to the news, we have a traitor among us. Come forth, Heaton, and bring him to the stand." I put my hand over my mouth when I see who the "traitor" is. I've seen him at several of the meetings. He was in charge of getting information to and from Erinwell to the other group. I lock eyes with him. Hoping that my sympathy shows. They bring him to the stand where they execute lashes.
Heaton, one of the many guards, and another guard are holding him by the arms, almost dragging him as if he's not an innocent human, just like they are. "Normally, for anything trivial, we would give you lashes. But for a traitor? Let me show you all what I do to traitors." He beckons Prince Delion to him. "As you all know, my son can not only shapeshift but he has the ability to bring you to your knees with his mind. He can bend you to his will, just by looking at you. More so than that, he can get into his mind and see who else was behind this... this little revolt you were planning." He shook his head in disgust.
The king looked around, eyeing all of us. I tried not to wince under his gaze. After he continued looking in the crowd, I risked a quick glance at Jameson. He was looking right back at me, his face stone, unreadable. But I knew exactly what he was thinking. All of those meetings we've had. If the prince sees either of us in his mind, we're dead.
After an agonizing minute the king simply says "Delion. I want any information you find. Now." The prince gave a short curt nod and walked over to the man being held. I wanted to cry for him. But I stood strong. Whatever happens, at least we tried. The prince took a hand and pressed it to the mans temple. The man started jerking, trying to get out of the grasp of the guards but they held him in place.
Moments of intense silence passed. You could hear a pin hitting the grass, that's how quiet everyone was. "I got everything I need, this will be quick." The prince took his hand off of the man and looked at him for half a second, his eyes almost looking apologetic, the prince moved his hand in a jerky motion and the mans next snapped as he fell to the ground.
Prince Delion didn't even touch the man. He just waved his hand. That's how powerful and deadly he was. Some people gasped, some just stood there staring at the lifeless body. I glanced at him once and then held my head high. Waiting.
The prince eyed all of us. Eyes roaming over everyone and he stopped on me. My heart dropped. But I eyed him right back. If this is was it, I refused to cower. Not when I knew the consequences. Not when I was in the right. His gaze locked with mine for a second longer before he continued looking through the crowd. I let out a quick sigh of relief and glanced quickly to Jameson who's eyes were straight forward, face still stone. He was horrified, that could have been any of us. And he was part of our team. I let loose a shaky breath. As the prince pointed to two other people, both a part of the revolt. "Here now", he called to them. They walked forward, both with heads held high, straight to their death. The prince didn't waste any time with pleasantries as he moved his hand and snapped both their necks.
"Very well, father. I think my duty is done now." The prince said looking back from the two dead bodies and at his father.
The king stood, "Why didnt you search their minds? There are more than just these three." The king bellowed, enraged.
"Those were the only two faces I could pick up on. No doubt there are many of them, but after what they just witnessed, I doubt they'll do it again." His eyes roaming the crowd, once again staying on me a second longer than he should have. Did he know I was one of them? Impossible. If he knew he'd have certainly killed me. I've lived in his castle most of my life but we've barely spoken a word to each other. A traitor in the castle. No doubt he would murder me on the spot.
"Very well. You all see the power we wield. Overstep me again and I promise the next persons death will be gruesome. We will find you all. You will all die a bloody, horrifying death." The king said straight into the camera.
A few moments of instense silence later, the king moved onto business matters, what's going on in the other countries, shipments that will be sent in, and then on to another interesting topic. "Next week the king and queen of Erinwell are coming for our anual ball. We are to host this year. Certain people will be invited. It will be broadcasted throughout the cities. We have an important announcement that night so everyone is required to watch. Everybody go back to your usual duties. Adjourned."