The air was cold and crisp in the pale light of dusk. The small town of Dallek was at rest this hour. The valley in which it lay surrounded by mountains, and with the mountains came great risk. The people of the town knew better than to wander into the territory of the common and deadly creatures native to the area. It was an almost unspoken law for the people that they do not leave the safety of their precious homes when night descends upon the mountainous area.
We don’t see many new faces around here, so when there is one, it doesn’t go unnoticed. My soft, carefully measured steps made little noise, even on the thick layer of dead leaves. This was how I liked it, quiet. Glancing quickly over my shoulder and pulling down the hood of my dark cloak, I set off towards the woods. A wagon pulled by a sturdy horse trundles down the cobbled street on its way to the great Stone Palace courtyard. I pay no attention to the clacking of hooves steadily drawing farther away, but instead I stop and turn as a tall, dark figure walks along the road. My hand reaches for the hilt of the silver sword hanging on my waist from its worn leather sheath.
The figure’s head turns and a clearly masculine face is revealed in the pale moonlight. The almost pitch black eyes rest on me for a moment, then turn away and focus on the silvery half moon. It seemed he was trying to tell me something...
Not wanting to risk being found out, I turn and pull my cloak around myself and dash down the road. My boots made a dull clicking sound on the stone. A low moan, that is usually associated with the common undead, makes me turn back toward the road from the cover of the thick trees. A single pale, bony figure carrying an ancient and rusted sword slowly lurches to a stop just feet away from where I stood, motionless, beneath a large tree. The skeletal head turns and cold, dead, and sunken yellow eyes rest on me. I know I have only moments before it alerts any friends it has hiding around. As it lunges for me, I draw my sword with practiced ease. I disarm the thing with ease and manage to quietly dispose of it. With another glance around I sheathe my sword once more.
A ragged gasp leaves my lips as the light of a torch draws closer, I even my breaths as I sink into the shadows of the trees. I wait to let the torchbearer pass by, looking up at the pale moon. By now the moon was high and the only people left outside were the guards and the members of The Brotherhood of the Grim, an ominous group of assassins and mercenaries. I was one of them. One of the few female members of the Brotherhood. Outsiders didn’t know much of our group unless they were directly contacted by a member. The only things they know is what is falsely assumed by those that have learned the name. Several false books have been written and widely distributed throughout the Empire of Cyrillica.
I head back through the thick trees toward the stone corridors hidden underground. The Brotherhood’s base, per se, was large and fairly well taken care of after centuries of use. I make sure no one is following me as I come upon the old crypt that serves as an entrance. Carefully pushing the door open, I slip into the dark stone room. My steps echo softly around the stone hall as I walk down the cracked stairs. The large stone double doors at the bottom creak open and I lower my hood and pull my braid out of the hood.
The Sanctuary was a large circular room with a fountain in the middle, carved of a dark red stone in the shape of a grim. There were many adjoining chambers of the main room including a tavern where the most activity was. This time of night was when most were out on contracts. There was one other here now.
“Morgan,” Xavier, a tall, dark-skinned, and rather handsome mercenary trainer dips his head slightly. I do the same without a word and walk to my stone chamber near the back of the main hall. The room was small and had a small desk with a wooden chair, a bed of straw with a bear pelt blanket, and a wooden cupboard that held what little clothes I chose stored inside it.
I let out a low sigh and shrug off my cloak then sit down in the wooden chair. Leaning back, I let myself drift off.
“Lady Morgan, how nice to see you,” A low, deep male voice says as a hand is placed on my shoulder. I shake my head a bit as I blink the sleep from my eyes and scoff looking up.
“Give it up already, Kylon,” I say and face him more fully. He had black hair that fell about shoulder length, his left eye was a gray white color and a scar ran across it, he had broad shoulders and was fairly muscular. He also had the mouth of a sailor. He’d been trying for months now to get me to accept his proposal, not much my type though, so I’ve declined every time. “And, anyways, I have to go back to the palace before my absence is noticed. Good day to you,” With that I throw my cloak back on over myself and walk out to the forest. Walking up the cobbled street toward the stable, I hide my sword sheath and grab my satchel. AFter checking the streets outside I change into a silver silk dress and tie my hair into a bun.
Now looking the part of the title I bear, I continue to walk toward the great Stone Palace. A guard, dressed in silver and green, bows to me and lets me in.
“Good morning, your Highness,” He says and I acknowledge it with a polite nod and soft smile. By now, the guards knew not to question my whereabouts. I have trained them well.
“Morgan! Morgan!” A young boy rushes up to me excitedly. I smile softly, ruffling his hair.
“Not right now, Edward, I have things to do,” I say gently as I kneel in front of him. His pale green eyes turn to the floor and he nods slowly then turns as I stand up again. My gaze falls and my hands go together in front of me as a tall man with the same brown hair as Edward approaches me.
“Where have you been?” He hisses, his brown eyes growing cold, matching his tone. He crosses his arms, looking down at me expectantly.
“I went for a walk,” I reply calmly, not meeting his eyes. His gaze seems to intensify and his voice grows thick with anger.
“A walk? Again, Morgan? Is there something going on between you and that stupid boy?” Slowly I look into his eyes and shake my head. Apparently unconvinced, he takes me by the shoulders and puts his face close to mine. “Just because you’re angry that you must be married doesn’t give you the right to just disappear into the night. I expect you to act as a princess should, you have one hour to get ready for the suitors to arrive.”
Annoyed, I stalk off to my quarters. The castle was very impressive, I’ll give it that much, but it was never a home. Not to me. The first thing you see upon entering is two long tables on the tier above the entrance hall, in between the tables is a large stairway leading to the dungeon, behind the stairway is another raised level where the throne stands. Many rooms and decorations adorn the high walls and long empty halls of the palace. There are two large open doorways with staircases on each side of the throne which leads to the royal families chambers and the great balcony. The servants all share a large open room to the right of the entryway, the Alchemy Master and Court Mage, Geoffrey, has a study just behind the left long table. The kitchen on the opposite side. My room was the first room to the left of the centered balcony doors.
I was defying the King by being in the Brotherhood of the Grim, he thought I was having an affair however. Edward seemed to be the only one I could be myself around, the servants, the Brotherhood, and pretty much everyone else held me to higher standards because I was royal. I hated it.
Now that you know Edward and the King, or my Step-father, why, you may ask, does he hate me? It’s because I remind him of his wife, my mother, who died after she married him. Edward is oblivious to it all, it happened when he was so young... It seemed pointless to tell him who his father-figure really was. I felt like I’d be crushing an innocent child’s dreams. I couldn’t do that to him…