I sit on the stairs waiting for him, wind nipping at my tan skin and swirling my black hair around my face. I feel an unending queasiness in my stomach as I wait for him, my dark haired knight. My amber eyes search the darkness for the king’s knights but I find none so far. I already know the King of Cane, my fiance, is suspicious of my tardiness to events. It isn’t below him to send out spies to watch me all the time, even as I dress. But I can't go through the day without him. Oh Sir Darius, with your jet black hair, sparkling cerulean eyes, and dashing good looks, it is no wonder I fell for you. Although you are only my knightly bodyguard, I wanted to become yours. Unfortunately for us father says I must take the King of Cane, for a knight is too poor for a princess. I let out a long sigh for it is tiring to even think about father now. I am but a pawn for the king and many suitors that come to ‘tame’ me.
"Princess Salia... Princess Salia, are you here for me love?"
My heart pounds at the sound of his voice. It is like the purest of gold, silver, or even most precious silk. I shoot up from the step I mourn on and make my way down as quietly as possible.
"Sir Darius." I whisper.
He appears in front of me, materializing from the darkness. I run into his arms and he picks me up as if I weigh nothing. He swirls me around, letting the air weave its way through each strand of hair. After a little while, he places me on the ground. As he places me back on the ground, I find myself staring at his lips. A perfect match for mine, like the song for a nightingale. Catching on to my devilish thoughts, he leans down and lets my hungry lips take his. I wish he didn't have to wear his knight armor now. I wouldn't mind if he was in plain cloth tunic and long pants. It would feel less hard to hug him and more easy to feel his bulging muscles.
"Milady have a good day." Darius asks pulling away while also melting my heart with his voice.
"It would be better if father let me be with whoever I choose." I say pursing my lips and snuggling into his chest plate.
He laughs at me with his deep voice and tilts my chin to face him. When our eyes meet his laugh stops and once again his lips meet mine. His tongue lightly touches my lower lip and I concede by opening my mouth. Our tongues entwine with one another, allowing my body to feel as light as a feather. My arms encircle his neck, pulling him closer, as if he is the only I need to live.
My imprisonment, or should say wedding, is only a few days away and then I am bound to a loveless marriage filled with greed. I am to be the silent, graceful centerpiece that sits next to the king. A breeding sow to help sire a boy so that he may ascend to the throne one day. With the wedding, the king receives our land when my father died and we have his land, as well as his blood money.
I back away so I may look up to Darius, who gives me a small smile.
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
We look in each other’s eyes, letting the silence envelopes us in a peaceful moment. Without a word I take his hand, leading him to the flower house to show him the lovely blue roses we had become accustomed back in Dartania. The king had them brought from my homeland to try and make me feel a little bit better about being here the rest of my life.
A wonderful scent surrounds us as we enter the beautiful house. Our sight takes in the many different colors of exotic flowers and fruits while we walk around. The temperature difference is drastic compared to the biting evening wind outside.
“It is very warm in here and safe. Maybe you don’t need to wear the armour so you don’t get too hot.” I comment.
He chuckles at my face but blushes as he realizes what I am saying.
“Salia, you do not want to do this. You must remain pure until...”
“You are not my father,” I snap but immediately regret it,”The king is getting very suspicious of us. This could be the last time we will ever be allowed to be alone together forever. He may even replace you as my bodyguard and send you back to Dartania. I can’t live without you but I must so I have a chance to see you again. Please give me this moment to treasure on the years I can not see you.”
“You can not ever go back from this...”
“That is why I want this from you. I truly love you with all of my being Darius and giving you this will only allow me the satisfaction of knowing you gave me your all too...”
I go to say more but Darius presses a finger to my lips. He lifts off the upper half of his suit and steps out from his lower half. I watch as he takes off his chain mail suit and stands in his plain cloth tunic. I walk closer, a bit wary of how to go about this. I take a tentative step close to him. Something clicks in him as he strokes my cheek and brings my face closer to his. Our lips meet but this feels so much more different from our usual kisses. It feels very warm and lewd but I welcome it if it is from Darius. My fingers twirl into the clothing as his fingers play with the clasp of my dress on my back. He takes a while to unclasp it but he gets it and helps me out of the tight fitting clothing. I lift his hem up and he complies by leaning down so I may take it over his head. I let him take off his lower half and pretend that the blue roses interest me more than watching him. I bend over to look at a dying bud and suddenly feel arms circle my waist. I spin around to see Darius smiling at me with his usual boyish smile. I reach up, staring into his bright eyes, and caress his cheek. He leans into my hand, sighing a long sigh before pulling me into a hug. I breath in his scent, which reminds me of our childhood together. It is so hard to think that the little boy I knew from long ago grew into this handsome man.
Breaking away from the past, Darius presses his lips against mine. As we share our soft kiss, Darius lifts me a bit and places both of us on the ground. Things come naturally to us and with a slight pinch and a little blood, we create my first and last memory together like this. Since it was our first time we were both awkward and unknowing for a while. Instinct finally kicked in at the last moment and we made the awkwardness fade behind us.
“I love only you, Darius.”
“I will only ever love you, Salia.” Darius says, kissing the top of my forehead.
Darius helps me clasp my dress before replacing his armour onto his body. I kneel to the ground, playing with the petals of the blue roses. While staring intently at a speck on a petal.
"Darius, would you want to elope?" I ask.
"Princ... Salia, that is my dream and I hope to be with you till my death," He pauses, "You are my other half to my heart. The song to my songbird, warmth to my body, and sun to my summer.”
These tiny words lift and make my heart soar. Darius always knew what to say to me. He should though, seeing as we have been childhood friends. Back when father was nice and gentle, he would let me into the garden to study or just to play.
*Ten Years Earlier*
Today father gives me permission to go out into the garden again. I am so happy to since it can get pretty stuffy in this dumb castle, plus I get to see Sir Rylie and the other knights. I sneak from the garden just a little ways before seeing all the knights at the small pond.I walk up to Sir Rylie, who notices me and turns to greet me.
"My princess, how are you doing this fine noon," Sir Rylie says, giving me a bow.
I return the curtsy and notice something different. In the circle of knights, sits a boy with onyx, shoulder length hair, deep blue eyes, and ivory skin. As the knights notice me each bows down and I return each with a curtsy. Last is the boy, who stands and bows deeper, and longer than any other knight.
"What might be your title young sir?" I ask, taking a step towards him.
"My dear princess, my name is Darius. Son of Sir Rylie and Lady Delilah.” Darius replies in a surprisingly deep voice.
I turn to Sir Rylie who looks to me.
"Sir Rylie, you haven't ever mentioned to me that you had a young boy my age. You know I always tell you how boring it is in the castle."
He laughs at me and ruffles my hair. I playfully smack his hand away and look him in the eye.
"Milady, I am truly sorry for not introducing him sooner. But I thought you wouldn't be very interested in this scruffy lad," he says this, while putting Darius in a headlock.
I laugh as both boy and man struggle against one another. Each knight cheers on a different man but everyone knows who will win. After a couple of minutes Sir Rylie lets go of Darius. Sir Rylie ruffles his hair like he did to me but only Darius allows him to. I hold out my hand to him. He glances at it and looks to his father. Sir Rylie nods to him and he takes my hand.
Darius is just so perfect for me. It's like he was made for me and sent from heaven. I still feel as if it was only yesterday when Darius and I ran through the halls with the maids giving chase. The castle was in craze that whole day.
I let out a light laugh at this thought. I look back over to my knight, who sits on a stone bench looking up at the moon through a hole in the flower house. The moonlight glistens off his messy black hair. He looks over to me and places his hand on the space next to him. I scrape my feet across the ground and glide next to him. I lay my head on his shoulder and we bask in the moonlight for a few moments.
"My wedding is only days away. We should leave very soon."
"If only I was a prince or duke. Then I wouldn't have to run from your family." Darius replies back, his head hanging low.
"You are my prince. You need no title for me. I would love you even if you were a peasant. I don't want to wait anymore. Let's leave tonight."
"So soon? We are not even ready."
"I can pack fast. We must meet back when the moon is at the top of the sky. Near the southern wall." I say, standing.
I try to leave buy a hand grabs my wrist. I turn back to see Darius standing up and walking closer to me.
"Salia, are you sure?"
I kiss him on the lips.
"I am as sure as much as I love you."
With that I run back to the castle and dash up the stairs. I sneak through corridors, past the sleeping guardsmen and head into the room I am staying in. I stop when I see the blonde haired, green eyed, cream skinned man, otherwise known as the King of Cane.
"What are you doing out so late Princess Salia?" He asks as soon as I enter.
"Out and about, looking at the magnificent flower house. Many beautiful flowers you have my king."
He stands from my bed and comes directly behind me, as I walk to my mirror.
"Or were you gazing upon that knight? His name I think it is...," His lips curl into a wicked smile, "Oh yes Darius."
"What an absurd thing to say. I am marrying you of course. Why would I even like some dirty, poor knight?" I ask.
My heart breaks a little but I keep up the act so I can throw him off my trail. He grabs my forearms and tightens his grip till it hurts.
"Stop it. you are hurting me." I cry.
"Not until you tell me what I want to know."
A roughness comes upon my hands and I can't separate them anymore. The king stands in front of me as his guards bound my hands together. He raises his hand and I suddenly feel a sharp burn come across my cheek along with a faint taste of blood.
“Looks like I must teach my new wife to not lie.”
“I am not your wife yet and it seems I will not take this deal...” I try to finish my sentence but his hand makes my other cheek burn and the blood taste come stronger.
“And how not to talk back to her husband,” The king smiles faintly before turning away from me, "Let's go see Darius at the southern wall.”
Tears blur my vision as the king drags me behind him. The guards put a cloth on my mouth so I may not warn Darius when we are near. In a few moments we are next to the trees where the southern wall starts. The king shoves me in front of him and I trip forward onto the dirt.
"Salia. Salia." I hear soft whispers pierce the air.
I try to say run but the cloth muffles me. A guard steps on a twig and its snap rings out in the silent air.
"Salia, is that you?"
More twigs crack as he comes closer. I catch a flash to my side. I glance to see the king's sword out. I have to think quickly or my love could die. Without taking too much time to think, I stomp on the king's foot. He grip on my bindings loosen and this is all I needed. I shake away from his hands and run to Darius. I run into him and his eyes widen as he realizes I am tied up.
"Mmrrph." I cry through my gag.
"Ok wait and let me get this." Darius says, undoing the cloth.
"Run from here, now!"
"Why, my dear?"
"Don't keep talking go and ru..." Before I can finish, something sharp comes across my neck.
"You run she died." The king says, pushing the sword deeper into my skin.
He puts his hands up and looks to me. I try choke back my tears but my eyes are already watering.
"Why do this? I will give you anything just let him stay with me!" I cry out.
"Princess, I have always admired you from afar. I have done a lot to just get you to come here. I will not be giving you up so easily. But I have one question for you. Why are you so invested in this knight? He isn't even one of the important knights, like his father. He is just some boy with nothing to his name but a minuscule piece of land.”
"Because he understands me. He is my best friend, and my lover. From the day we met and till the day I die I will love him from the bottom of my heart. He has been with me my whole life and has never left me. As suitors came and go, he stayed. He knows my deepest secrets and I his. You will never get as close to my heart as he has. I care not for his ranking but for the memories we have shared." I explain, looking at Darius.
"It's a shame I have to rid you of this world. I thought you would have made an honorable knight and good bodyguard to Salia in time."
He says this, then kicks Darius to the dirt. Darius falls to his knees and the king raises his sword. As if time slowed down I watch the sword plunge through Darius’s tunic and pierce his soft, white skin. I try to shake the guards that hold me but their grips tighten into an iron hold. When the sword is taken out, and Darius is facing the ground, the guards let go. I rush to him and drop to the ground, and turn him on his back. His lips move slightly as he sees me.
"S-S-Salia, m-my love. May we find each other again in the next life and see the blue roses. “ Darius says and grabs the back of my head.
He pulls me into a final kiss. I can only wish the moment would freeze forever. But my wish shall never come true. His grip slacks and his breathing stills. I sit up to see his eyes close and blood gushing from the wound near his heart.
"Now that your knight is gone. You can focus on our wedding which is moved to tomorrow."
I can't say anything, my lips move but no sound is uttered from them. My tears become dry and I can only stare at the body of the man who loved me with all of his body and soul. Arms catch my shoulders, causing me to look up into the green eyes of Sir Rylie. There Sir Rylie stands with a shiny film over his eyes. I let him help me up and walk me to the castle.
"I am sorry Sir Rylie." I whisper.
"I am sorry for you too, Salia." He whispers back.
Only Sir Rylie knew about our relationship, mostly because Sir Rylie knew everything. He promise to never say anything because he saw how much we loved each other.
Sir Rylie escorts me to my bed and stands next to it.
"Rylie, go to that desk in the corner and open the drawer. Bring me the wooden box in there." I command.
He slowly walks to my desk, opens the old wooden drawer and brings the box. As soon as it reaches my hands, I lift the mahogany lid. Inside lies jewel dagger with a silver blade that is at a perfect point. I take it from the box and show Sir Rylie.
"Milady, what are you going to do with that?"
"Rylie, I think you know but you just don't want to believe it."
He runs at me but I stop him when I put it to my neck.
"No, don't do it Princess Salia. This country needs you, your guards need you." He pleads.
I take dagger from my neck and place it back in the box.
"Don't worry Rylie. I am not dying, just yet."
Sir Rylie walks to me and does something very unexpected. He wraps his arms around me in a tight hug. A few moments pass and he pulls away so I can look him in the eyes. He holds my shoulders and wipes the sudden tear that has appeared.
"Princess Salia, I think of you as my own daughter. I have thought that ever since you were born and when your mother died. If you kill yourself then I will die inside. I have already lost Darius. I can not stand to lose you as well. Promise you will not do this."
"Rylie, I promise." I say this, but I cross my fingers.
This is one promise that I can not keep.
Long raven hair, tan cheeks, and amber eyes stare back at me in the mirror. On myself a white form fitting dress, with small pearls on the neckline and silver threading on the bottom. This is the dress I dreamed of wearing when Darius and I were going to get married.
"Oh you look so pretty Salia." Katherine, my lady-in-waiting, says.
"Thank you Katherine."
I hate today and wish it to be over soon. It will be over though when I get to the altar. I feel the cold metal of my dagger as it is strapped to my thigh. The point presses into my skin but doesn't prick me.
"Princess, it is time."
I nod and go to corridor. I walk beside my father, who stands in front of the big doors.
"Now Salia, I hope you will not do anything stupid or frivolous. We need you marry the king for land and money, but we also need you to have a husband to take the crown." Father says.
I take a deep breath and nod. Once I enter these doors there is no turning back. A breeze blows as the doors open. I hear the music get louder and see the king at the altar already.
I slide my arm through the crook of my father's arm. I take my time getting to the end of the long aisle. As soon as I get there, I place my hand on my thigh. I take the dagger from my strap and before the priest can see anything, I thrust the dagger deep into the king’s stomach. As he dips down I take the dagger out and look at the crimson that dirties it. I look to Sir Rylie, who stands at the doors. He stares at me with no expression. But when I raise the dagger above me, he raises his hand.
"I am sorry." I say, staring at him.
I pull the dagger into me and hit my heart immediately. I watch as my world turns blurry and then finally black. The last thing I see is Sir Rylie drop down to his knees and cry.
"That's what fiction writer's do: create characters and do terrible things to them for entertainment of others. If they feel guilty enough, they write happy endings."- Garry Trudeau