Prince Carlowe woke early in the morning, the sun peeking through the crack of his tent. He rose slowly, draping a black and golden robe over his bear upper body.
The air was chillier this morning, but still pleasant. Birds were chirping outside and the sound of the early morning soothed his ears.
He had dreams about the battle all through the night. He could still see in his mind the young Rebel soldiers on the boats, still hear their screams.
Jordanna should be around the camp somewhere with the rest of the Mystics. He'd ask Graymeer to fetch her later on, along with the archer that released the arrow.
Without hesitation, the young Prince glanced over at the Shakel sister, chained to the post in the corner. Her head hung forward almost lifelessly as she was still asleep.
He knew he should feed her when she woke. But for a moment he just sat there on his bedding, simply staring at the woman that had ended his father’s life, not even a day ago. His father, who still lied coldly in a glorified wooden box just across the room.
The Dominion was now laid out perfectly in front of him, ready for him to become King. It was his right, after all, as the first son of Norman Ramos. He’d trained his entire life for this moment, ever since he was a boy.
The Prince grabbed a goblet next to his bed and took a drink.
The moment had come sooner than he thought.
After staring blankly for a few more moments, he threw the blankets back on his bedding, running a hand over his brown wavy hair.
It was warmer here than it was up north. Barring the war and having to go into battle, he always enjoyed coming further south. Calaria was a lot greener around Friar Rock, which housed so many of their battles.
Suddenly, one of the Prince’s soldiers came through the tent’s entrance.
He bowed slightly as Prince Carlowe stood.
“Sorry for the intrusion, Sire. But are we still planning on travelling back to Aesir this morning?”
The Prince nodded, noting that the Shakel girl had woken. “Yes. And fetch Egor for me, would you?”
“Of course, your highness.”
The soldier left and Prince Carlowe sat himself down at a table, scanning over the Dominion’s battle plans that his father had outlined.
The Shakel girl had not said a word so far, something that was indeed surprising to him. He’d been so distracted the night before, conversing with her, even for a moment, felt oddly normal.
Finally, Egor came in, his massive presence taking up most of the space.
“Egor,” he said, standing.
“What can I do for you?”
Prince Carlowe smiled. “Just see to it that you look after our prisoner as we begin to pack up and leave. I want to make sure she’s taken care of on our journey back to Aesir.”
“As you wish, Sire,” Egor promised.
With one swift nod, Prince Carlowe left the tent to ready his horse.
Stepping out into the morning air he was met with a familiar face.
“Ah, Carlowe. Just the Prince I was hoping to find,” said Graymeer, flashing him a wide grin.
“Graymeer. What is it?”
“I heard that we were heading back to Aesir this morning-- to the Capitol, that is.”
“Yes,” Prince Carlowe replied, a hint of irritation behind his voice. “To resupply and regroup.”
“A wise decision, of course,” Graymeer hissed. “We’ll have to plan for your coronation and the late King’s ceremony as well.”
Carlowe shook his head. “We’ll worry about that later. There is far too much going on right now to deal with such trivial things.”
“Calaria needs its King, Prince Carlowe,” Graymeer protested, his hand now wrapped tightly around the Prince's shoulder. “The Dominion needs a leader. It’s what you were born to do; to take over, to finish what your ancestors started. You are, after all, the heir.”
Graymeer's words echoed in the Prince's mind for a moment. There was a long pause before he shrugged off the steely man's hand. “I do not need you to tell me of such things.”
Prince Carlowe stepped away from him, ignoring his presence. Eventually his father’s adviser glided away silently, leaving Carlowe alone with his steed.
Some of the Dwarf slaves they’d brought with them began to pack up the his tent. He tried not to watch as they set his father into a wooden box and loaded it on the back of a wagon. They placed the Dominion’s War Sword on top of the box as well, securing it tightly.
With the camp nearly packed up and ready to depart, Prince Carlowe saw it fit to begin the journey back to Aesir as soon as possible, back to his home.
Egor had brought one of the wagons around front and went over to collect the Shakel girl.
“Here you are, Miss ’Drina,” he said, picking her up by the shoulders and setting her in the front of the wagon.
The Rebel said nothing, just twisted her hands in the shackles that still bound her wrists and ankles.
“I fed her a bit of bread, your highness. I hope that was okay. I didn’t think you’d want her keeling over before we made it back to the Capitol.”
Prince Carlowe thanked him. “No, that was good of you. I hadn’t given it a thought.”
The Shakel girl looked up at him, her unusual green eyes staring at him intently.
“Well,” the Prince said, ignoring her and taking his horse’s reigns in his gloved hands. “We’d best be on our way.”
Without another word the three of them began to pull away from Friar Rock, the rest of the Dominion’s army close behind them.