The Lies that Made Us

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Summary

Lady Amelia Fox’s life is all she could wish. She is the well-loved daughter of a powerful lord, a skilled user of magic, and confidant to the king. When she falls in love with Prince Brynnwynn, the king's youngest son, and he asks to court her, she is sure she is well on her way to a life of happiness. Everything starts to change when her prince is sent away to finish his magical training. He assures her he will return soon so they can begin their lives together, but as the months go by, she no longer receives messages from him. She starts to think he has forgotten her. One night she finds the king dead and is quickly accused of his murder. Found guilty, she is locked away in the highest tower to be left at the mercy of the new king for three years, feeling abandoned and forgotten by all, including her love. An opportunity comes along that could win her freedom, but she must complete a dangerous task by the side of the one who broke her heart.

Genre:
Fantasy / Romance
Author:
Catark50
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
34
Rating:
4.5 2 reviews
Age Rating:
18+

A Blessed Beginning

Amelia

She never thought she would be called a killer, especially the murderer of the king, but it appeared that nothing in Amelia’s life would be as she planned. At the beginning of her life, there was nothing to suggest everything would go wrong so quickly. She was born to a loving mother and supportive father who happened to be the highest lord and lady in the kingdom. She was the second born, a surprise blessing after her brother, who was eight years older.

When she was born, priestesses from the goddesses Alinia, Neomana, and Alfial were brought in by her influential father to bless her. All the priestesses sensed the power in her even as a babe. They argued over which power she had been blessed with, but in the end, it was evident she had the gift of light from Alinia, over the power of the moon of Neomana, or the uncommon wisdom that came from the way of Alfial.

It was evident that the priestesses were right as everything Amelia did showed she was filled with light magic. She was warm, caring, and light-hearted. She enjoyed taking care of others and nature. She nursed several animals back to health found on her family’s estate in the Blairs . She often stayed there with her mother even when her father was in the great city.

The first big change in her life came at ten years old. Her mother became ill, and her father moved them all to the city permanently to give his wife access to the best healers. Amelia was sent to the palace to learn from tutors there, so the house was quiet for most of the day. She sat in a large room with the younger prince, Brynwynn. Neither of them was shy, and they became fast friends, both enjoying a good laugh and as much adventure as they could find in their small world.

While she enjoyed running through the palace with Brynn, she avoided his elder brother Gareth. He was a few years older than them, and something about him unnerved Amelia. Brynn said it was his stuck-up attitude and unusual tallness. Whatever the reason, Amelia was glad he seemed to take little interest in her.

“Will you come with me to the hedge maze today, Amelia?” asked Brynn after their lessons one day.

Amelia shook her head. “I told my mother I would see if I could find a new book to read to her in the library. She can not read as she once did, but when she is able to sit up, she likes me to tell her a story.”

“I would go with you,” said Brynn, “But Alan is in town, and his father is letting him come to the palace today. You know he isn’t here very much. I told him we would go hide in the hedge maze and throw small stones at the trees to scare the birds. Gareth is often outside trying to spar with a guard, and it would be a shame if bird droppings besmirched his new armor.”

Amelia put her hand up to her mouth as she giggled. “You will probably end up in trouble, but it does sound like fun. You will have to let me know how it goes.”

Brynn smiled and nodded. “We don’t have lessons tomorrow. Maybe we could go for a ride? I am sure a few of the guards would go with us, or maybe Owain?”

“I will ask father if it is allowed and let you know.”

Amelia walked to the library, finding it empty. She was careful to be quiet as she always felt as though she wasn’t sure she was supposed to be there. She was never told it was forbidden, and any book she borrowed, she brought back promptly. As she looked through the numerous shelves, trying to find something her mother might enjoy, she did not hear another enter the space. It wasn’t until she stood up, looking at an old green book, before she saw the king smiling at her.

She started and dropped her book before curtsying. “Your majesty, I did not hear you come in.”

“It is no bother, Lady Amelia. What book do you have there?”

She picked up the green book and stood up, keeping her eyes towards the ground. “I am not sure, your majesty. I was looking for something my mother might enjoy. She asked me to find something to read to her.”

“And what kind of books does she like?” He asked kindly.

Amelia looked up at him with a grin. “She likes romantic novels the most. She doesn’t even care if they are silly.”

The king smiled back at her before walking to a shelf near the back. He pulled two books out and brought them to Amelia. “I think your mother will like these exceedingly. I have read them both and found them diverting.”

Amelia took the two books. “You read romantic novels?”

“You sound surprised. Do you not enjoy them?”

“I don’t mind reading them, especially to my mother, but they are not my favorite,” said Amelia.

“What do you like to read?”

“Adventure novels or something on kingdom history about great men and women doing extraordinary things,” said Amelia.

“Would you like to be an adventurer, my lady?”

Amelia nodded enthusiastically. “I dream of traveling the kingdom and beyond, helping those in need and vanquishing dark magic users. I want to be a light bearer.”

“I heard you have potential. Perhaps you will prove worthy. I can see you already look strong, and I can tell you are brave.”

Amelia moved a little closer to the king, bending down towards her. “Father has let me practice sword fighting with one of his guards. Owain is taller and stronger than me, but he says I am faster and learn quicker than him.”

The king chuckled. “You need some inspiration in your quest, and I have just the thing.” He went to a shelf near them and reached high, bringing down a thick book. It was black with the symbol of a golden sun on it. “This is a history of the light bearers. It contains stories of the feats of the greatest users of Alinia’s power, men and women.”

Amelia took it carefully, putting her other books on top of it and holding them against her chest. “I will read it immediately and bring it back, your majesty.”

“You can borrow any book you want, my lady, and take as much time with them as you need, but I want you to keep that one. It has laid here too long collecting dust and deserves someone to cherish it.”

Amelia bowed her head in reverence. “I will read every word in this book, your majesty. It will be my prized possession.”

The king smiled widely. “I’m glad to hear it. Perhaps you will come to discuss it with me after your lessons sometimes? I know you enjoy your antics with my son, but could you spear a few afternoons for me?”

Amelia nodded with wide eyes. “Of course, your majesty. I will be glad to do it.”

“Then come to my study when you are able. I will tell the servants you are allowed to go wherever you like in the palace.”

Amelia spent many happy afternoons in the king’s study, telling him what she had learned from her book. He was a kind man who appeared to enjoy her company. Their bond grew as the years went by until Amelia thought the king was the best man she knew. She loved her father, but she adored the king.

Losing her mother at twelve was hard, but it had been expected. Amelia had years to accept her mother’s fate as she watched her waste away from some mysterious disease. When it was over, it was a blessing to see her mother peaceful and no longer suffering in pain. She grieved, but being well supported and young, she rallied and carried on just as she promised her mother.

After her mother died, her father put most of his energy into educating his son. Amelia didn’t mind; she was well-occupied in the palace laughing with Brynn or visiting with the king. While her father focused on her brother, teaching him how to be lord, Amelia found her education in studying the king as he ruled.

Two months after her mother died, Amelia’s gift came to life. It was always known she had the spark of the light goddess inside of her, but many who did never learned to harness it. Her first release of power was in the king’s study. King Iver burnt his hand rather badly as he stirred the fire, and a log rolled back unexpectedly.

He pulled back, his hand red and raw. Amelia watched him hold his wrist and grimace in pain. Without much thought, she walked forward and gently took his injured hand. She covered it with her own and closed her eyes. She felt for one moment as if she was in a gentle breeze before she opened her eyes. Looking down, she saw the king’s hand was completely healed. She kissed it lovingly and smiled up at him.

“My dear sweet girl,” said the king in wonder. “Is this the first time you have ever used your magic?”

“I think so,” said Amelia as she let go of his hand. “I tried to use it to help my mother, and though I felt something at work within me, it never did her any good.”

“There are some sicknesses that not even the strongest magic can cure,” said the king. “What you did was very impressive for someone your age with no training. Even for a level 2 light bearer this would be difficult. I will have to speak with your father and Master Elgan about you.”

Amelia smiled. “Do you think they will let me train in the order of Alinia?”

“If that is what you wish, I will see that they do.”

She did train in the order of Alinia. She was the youngest member inducted that anyone could remember. She loved wearing the black dress and robes with the silver sun of the goddess on her chest. Every day she would go to the sunroom in the palace to train with her magic amongst the other students and Master Elgan. She grew quickly in power, becoming a level three by fifteen.

That same year when shadow warriors and dwellers threatened the city, she ran to the front lines of the light bearers and took out a fourth of the invading army herself. By the time she was seventeen, she was a high-ranking level four and having private lessons with Master Elgan.

She made sure to spend her free time at both her home and the palace. She sat with her father in the parlor as he listened to how she spent her day, and he basked in the pride of both his children. She would show what she was learning to the king at the palace and then talk with him over kingdom business. She had less time than she would like with the king because by fifteen, she had attracted the notice of the king’s oldest son.

Prince Gareth, the next king, took to finding Amelia as she walked down the long hallways or outback in the hedge maze as she practiced her magic, making her way to the center to wait for Brynn. She couldn’t say that Gareth wasn’t handsome. He was tall and strong. His blue eyes were intense and searching. He was intelligent and had his own use of magic, though he never found an order to study, coming back from his travels saying he had decided to let it go.

With all this to recommend him, something about him made Amelia just as uncomfortable as when she was ten. She thought it was because he was older and towered over her. At almost nineteen, he seemed so foreboding to fifteen-year-old Amelia. She tried her best not to show her feelings as there was no reason for them. He was the crown prince and son of the best man she knew. She accepted his attentions, speaking with him even after he often remarked on her growing beauty and other things that increased her uncomfortableness.

Her encounters with the younger prince were completely different. He had long become her best friend. When Prince Brynnwyn found her, there was much laughter between them. Brynn was light-hearted and mischievous. When they attended the royal events, he would convince her to play jokes on the other attendees, even going so far as to trip Gareth and make him fall into the punch one evening.

Everything about Brynn seemed different from his brother. While he had the same dark hair and full lips, he had warm deep brown instead of almost cold blue eyes. When Gareth smiled, sometimes a strange coldness would go through her. Brynn’s smile made her feel warm and happy.

He was not as handsome or tall as Gareth. He was lean, whereas Gareth was broad and strong. Still, she preferred Brynn in every way. She smiled much in his presence and found herself drawn to him more and more as she grew. While she avoided Gareth as much as possible, she sought out Brynn when she had the chance.

On his sixteenth birthday, she was bold enough to kiss him quickly on his lips as she said goodnight. He had a strange look on his face when she pulled back but said nothing to her. She was afraid to try it again or even speak of it. She did notice he held her hand more as they walked outside. A couple of times when they took long rides together, she thought he might do something such as kiss her by the river, but they were always interrupted by her father’s guard, Owain.

Her life was full, and she could truthfully say she was happy. She loved training as a light bearer. Her duties gave her a sense of purpose and allowed her to see many parts of the kingdom on short travels during missions. She knew she pleased her father and made him proud, and the king treated her as if she were his daughter. There were frustrations in her life, such as fearing her feelings for Brynn were not reciprocated and Gareth showing her too much attention, but for the most part, she knew she was a fortunate being, blessed by the goddess she served.

The years flew by, and soon Brynn turned eighteen. During his birthday celebration, she had promised Brynn the first dance, but she was taken to the floor by Gareth.

“I was supposed to dance with Brynn,” said Amelia.

“He will have to wait his turn. I am the older brother, to be king someday, and used to getting what I want,” said Gareth as he pulled her uncomfortably close.

“It is his birthday. He should have his way this one night,” said Amelia.

“You are too beautiful to be wasted on him, my lady. Why do you spend what time you have with that silly boy?”

“I like his company. He is light-hearted and fun. He can also be kind. After spending much of my time in intense training, being around him is refreshing,” said Amelia.

Gareth quietly laughed. “I could distract you much better than he, Amelia. We could leave the ball directly after this dance. I can show you just how much better you could be spending your time.”

“Aren’t you courting Princess Juliane of Annelia?”

I am, but why does that matter? She is not here tonight. Even if she were, it does not mean you and I could not spend time together,” said Gareth. “We could become very good friends, Amelia. We could both make alliances advantageous for our kingdom and families and then spend much of our time together. If it becomes what you wish, I could throw over the princess altogether. I think having such a powerful user of Alinia’s magic as my queen could be something.”

“I am not interested in your proposal, your highness,” said Amelia. “Not now, or ever.”

“You cannot know if you do not see what you have to gain,” he bent down and whispered close to her ear. “Let me show you, Amelia. I hear things about you light bearers, ways you can use your magic. I have a few tricks you do not know about as well. I am very ready to be under your power if you will submit to a bit of mine.”

“I repeat that I am not interested,” said Amelia strongly as the music stopped. She moved out of his arms. “Please do not bring this up again.”

It took almost the rest of the ball for her to have a chance to dance with Brynn. Since she missed her claimed dance, she had to wait until the other young ladies had their turn. She danced with others, including the king and her father, but felt unnerved all night feeling Gareth’s eyes on her. Looking back, she saw that she should have gone to her father or the king. They would have listened to her, but she was embarrassed for some reason and wanted no one to know.

It was harder to keep her feelings from Brynn. When they finally met for a dance, he smiled warmly at her before pulling her close.

“I could have killed my brother for stealing you away. I’ve had to watch you all night charming all the other young men in the room.”

“I doubt you have noticed, your highness,” said Amelia. “You have appeared well entertained throughout the night.”

“I was as polite as I could be, but I’m afraid my eyes continually went towards you. It is your fault for wearing such a gown. You look beautiful in red,” said Brynn.

“Where is this coming from?” she asked as she felt a blush on her cheeks.

“I feel like telling the truth tonight,” said Brynn. He looked around before turning back to Amelia. “Leave with me, Amelia. I am done with this evening.”

“But this ball is for your birthday, Brynn.”

He smiled mischievously. “Then I can do as I please. Come walk with me.”

“What will my father say when he finds me missing? What will others talk of if they see we have disappeared together?” asked Amelia.

“There is plenty of time left for us to take a walk. I will have you back here before he knows you have gone. If anyone notices we are missing, they will think we are up to something, as usual, one of our pranks perhaps.”

“We are no longer children, Brynn,” said Amelia.

He looked down at her as his hand moved up her side. “No, we are not. Please come with me just for a short walk, Amelia. I have things I need to tell you.”

He was serious and quiet for once, and Amelia could not deny him. She nodded, and he let her go as the music ended. Taking her hand, they slowly walked to the edge of the room, waiting until the next song started to slip out the side door. The late spring night was pleasantly warm with a slight breeze. It lifted the few curls that tumbled down Amelia’s neck as they walked.

The area around the hedge maze was lit with a few torches, but no one was around. Brynn pulled her towards the tall hedges, and they walked in silence, taking the turns both knew led towards the center. When they got to the center, they sat down together on the large stone bench. Amelia adjusted her skirt while Brynn scooted close to her.

He took her hand and looked to the side. His hand fidgeted in Amelia’s, telling her he was nervous. She held his hand tighter and smiled. “It almost looks like you have been caught doing something you shouldn’t. I‘ve only seen you act like this those times the king has scolded us.”

“You mean when the king has scolded me,” said Brynn, finally looking at her. “My father has never said a harsh word to you. I don’t think he could. He believes you are perfect.”

“He does not, and he has taught me many lessons when I have been wrong. I think he knows that harsh words to you affect me more than anything he could say to me,” said Amelia. “I hate seeing you unsettled and upset. Now, tell me what is wrong.”

“Nothing is wrong,’ said Brynn quietly. “When you are with me, I think everything might be completely right.”

She could hardly believe what he was saying. She knew he was fond of her and that he enjoyed her company. She was more than fond of him but had tried to keep her heart safe. She was afraid she could never have him. He would have to make alliances for the kingdom, and she would more than likely have to marry a man her father found. She had training to complete first, and any ideas of marriage were far into the future.

Still, as Brynn stared at her and held her hand, she realized she had not guarded her heart well enough. It beat wildly as he leaned towards her. She trembled as his deep brown eyes looked into her blue ones. She was very aware of his full lips as his tongue darted out to wet them.

“Amelia, do you ever think about us? Sometimes I am convinced you might see me as more than just a childhood companion, but then I tell myself I am a fool. You could never see me as anything but the annoying boy who always got you into trouble.”

It took her a moment to decide if she could tell him how she felt. It would be better to stop this before it started. There was no way she could have him, not forever. To have a taste of love with him and then go on with life never being fully satisfied would not be fair for either of them. Yet when she opened her mouth, only the complete truth came out.

“I think of you almost all the time, Brynn. I have tried not to, but the more I try, the less successful I am.”

Before she could say anything else, Brynn leaned forward and kissed her. She had very little to compare it to, but it was heavenly. If there were a better kiss to be had somewhere in the kingdom, she could not imagine it. His lips were soft and warm, and as his tongue brushed against hers, they instinctively parted as his arms went around her.

They broke apart only to meet again, and Amelia found each new kiss better than the last. It was hard to stop, though they knew the must eventually. He rested his forehead against hers as they tried to calm their breath.

“Amelia, you are so brave, remarkable, and lovely that I know I cannot be worthy of you, but I hope you will give me a chance. Let me go to my father and yours so I can court you properly.”

“Court me?” asked Amelia with surprise. “You wish to speak with our fathers?”

“I know we are young, but I can’t imagine feeling this way about anyone else. You have your training, and I will never interfere with it. You can take as long as you need to complete it as long as I know there is a chance you will be mine.”

“You say you aren’t worthy of me, but we both know that is not true. Your brother is already courting a foreign princess. I am sure you will have to do the same,’ said Amelia.

Brynn smiled before he kissed her quickly. “My brother is to be a king. I do not have that responsibility, so I believe I have more freedom to choose as I wish. It is only you that I want. My father will not deny the chance to truly make you his daughter. You know he will not. I will find a way to convince your father. I must.”

“This is what you want?” she asked as she leaned up. “You are sure?”

“I am very sure as long as you are,” said Brynn. He gave her one of his mischievous smiles. “If you say yes, you will give me the best birthday present I have ever received.”

She smiled and laughed. “Then I hope you like it because I could not take it should you try to give it back.”

He stood up, pulling her up with him and into his arms. He kissed her as she let her body rest against his. After this went on for some time, she finally pulled away.

“We will need to get back to the ball. It will be ending soon.”

“I hate parting from you. I suppose I will just have to dream of the time when you never leave my side. There are many dreams I have for us, Amelia. I want to travel with you, not just in this kingdom, but others as well. I want to see everything in this world with you by my side.”

“You will still have responsibilities, Brynn. We both will,” said Amelia

“And they will be easier to bear together.”

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