Tide Changes

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Summary

Most stories you hear about a poor princess with a cruse, being kidnapped, bad childhood, family fights, blah, blah, blah well not this princess. My name is Casandra Dylan Esper, the fourth child of King Charles Emerson Esper, and Queen Reese Casandra River Esper. Mom kept her maiden name as a second middle name to please her own family who’s land was just to the south of our own kingdom. Now is most stories you hear all about how the poor princess deals with a cruse, being kidnapped, bad childhood, family fights, blah, blah, blah, and the poor weak girl has to be saved by some man. Not this princess, my story is about how I didn’t need to be saved by anyone, yet still found the love of my life.

Genre:
Romance / Adventure
Author:
Elithra
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
13
Rating:
5.0 4 reviews
Age Rating:
18+

Chapter 1

I woke up to the sound of two men walking down the hall arguing. I knew by the tones they were my brothers, well two of them anyway, the second-born twins, and the royal pains in everyone’s asses. I shook my head slightly and dragged the pillow over my head trying to block them out, sadly however they had come to fetch me as the next sound I heard was them banging on my door as if they’d tear it down if need be. “OI!!!! Case!!! Wake up!! Mom and Dad want a word with you!!”

I ignored them, burring deeper into the pillows as both of them shouted at the same time as if they had one voice. “OI!!!!!! OOOOOOIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!”

They got louder and louder, then they didn’t just bang but back up and ran into the door so hard my bed shook. “STOP IT!”

I yanked the pillow off before shouting. “Get up lazy brat! It’s been two hours since sunrise!”

Still, they spoke as one and while I was used to it I did hate it. My Brothers, Remy and Mason had turned twenty-two years of age just last week, and still acted like they were five at times, and this was one of them. “I heard you!”

They were silent a moment then the room shook as they rammed the door again. “I’m Awake you morons!!!! Go AWAY I’LL BE DOWN SOON!”

I climbed out of bed tossing my nightgown on the bed and plucked up the dress a Maid set out the night before. Long ago I’d started to literally leave a bar across my door to keep my troublesome brothers out with, and not even my parents insisted on removing it after my brother’s one morning had snuck in here and glued my hair into a cone-like shape. It had taken the maids nearly two days to get my hair pliable enough to pull it down and another week to get the last of it out. My head had been so sore I’d had migraines the entire time from all the scrubbing and hair-pulling. Don’t get me wrong I did love my family, but the pranks my twin brother’s tended to pull at times… they really tested that love.

While I dressed my brothers stopped bothering me if they left, however, that was another question I wasn’t willing to trust as easily. When I was finally ready to leave the room I was dressed up in a simple gown, refusing to wear any of the fancy ones my parents kept getting for me, instead, I’d made this one with the help of my maids. A simple sky blue wool dress and a black leather overdress that was a wrap-around vest, that had leather panels over my skirt. Under the dress I had on leather pants as well that had been worn so much they fit like a second skin but moved as if I had nothing under them and my feet were tucked into a fine set of leather boots, ones my father preferred I only wore when riding but honestly I hated the dainty shoes that went with most of my gowns. I was often teased by the guards I would have made a fine son much to my mother’s dismay.

Over the years I’d snuck out of my room to train as often as possible with my brother’s hiding in the older cloths of my siblings to learn along with the other young knight’s sons until I was found out by my mother. My Eldest Brother and Father, however, were not against me learning how to defend myself so unknown to my mother both of them spent time training me away from her eyes as often as possible. I loved them for that. I was careful leaving my room, looking up, and then to each side before slipping out of the room, my twin brothers were not in sight, yet again to many years kept me on edge, waiting for them to pull something.

I took the long way to the main hall, hearing a scream from a maid as I reached the bottom of the stairs and she ended up feet overhead at the bottom of the main stair having slipped on something. My twin brother’s rushed out of the shadows in the hall to the side. “Maggie! You alright!?”

I hide my laughter and snuck into the dining room to find the rest of my family, my father looking at the doorway as I entered a brow lifted. “They played a prank on the main steps thinking I’d use them.”

My father shook his head sighing. “One of these day’s they are going to end up killing someone.”

My mother patted his arm. “Well, when they get married their wives can tame them.”

My father chuckled. “Let’s hope.”

I took my seat. “Good morning.”

My mother studied my dress and from her expression, she wasn’t all that peased by it and when she spoke it was clear as day.“Casandra, why can’t you just wear your nice gowns? And do something with your hair besides leaving it in a wile main? Honestly, you’ll never catch the eye of a good man like that.”

My nose wrinkled. “Mother if a Goodman only cares about how pretty I can dress it doesn’t make him much of a good man.”

My father choked on his wine before laughing, my eldest brother food half stuck in his mouth joined my father, as did some of the servants. My mother gave everyone a death glare including me. “Casandra! That’s not a proper way to speak of people!”

I looked at her wide-eyed.”But mother, you told me yourself a Man that can’t see the truth of who you are isn’t a good match for your heart.”

Her mouth dropped open and she went to argue but my father cut her off, a proud and amused look to his face. “She’s right my heart. If a man only wanted her because she was a young pretty thing he’d soon leave her for the next one. We taught her that.”

My mother huffed. “Well regardless you will dress to impress tomorrow or I’ll have your hide. You’ll not make a bad impression on Prince..”

I dropped the fork that held my eggs. “No! You’re not trying to wed me off are you!?”

My voice held panic, my eyes wide. “Now Casandra.”

I pushed my chair back from the table. “I’m not even eighteen yet!?”

My mother huffed. “No, you are sixteen and should be introduced to the Local princes and Kings that we would hope you’d find a match with. You’ve only two years left before marrying age. Now sit down and eat!”

She snapped at the end and I looked to my father, a look of horror across my face. “Fa-”

My mother cut me off her tone angry. “You will not go begging your father to stop this and try to pit us against each other. If we were not in agreement already it would not be happening.”

I gave my father the full force of my betrayed expression, and when he only sighed I turned, shoving my chair back and ran from the room to hear my mother shouting after me. “ Cassandra!”

I never heard my father trying to calm my mother, or the passing worried words from the servants. I heard nothing, saw nothing as I ran full out in a blur until I reached the stables, and my horse and threw my arms around the neck of the animal crying into the velvet hairs of his strong neck. I was there for an hour before I had no more tears to cry.

“What do I do Star? They will parade me in front of all these men of title and worth until they find a match they approve of. What if it’s someone I end up hating? I’ll have to leave home, my brothers, my family… Why couldn’t I have been born a boy? Then I would never have to leave home, never have to marry off to some strange man. I could live my life and be free.”

I felt one last tear fall and a voice pulled me from my sadness. “Oh, no there princess why would you think being a man would be so much better than a girl hmm?”

I turned to see Jain, an old healer woman who tended more to the animal’s needs than humans because most found her odd. She had saved my horse once when he’d gotten sick, and we’d been fast friends ever since, her teaching me all about the herbs and how to make a poultice if my horse or any other needed it. “Because I don’t want to be ripped away from my homeland only to be under the orders of some strange man I do not know. To be a bride like mother... I love my mother but I don’t want to be her. “

Jain made a soft sound. “But if you were a boy you’d have to go off to war, have battles, work hard, perhaps even be cast out of your homeland one day, or work in some other land just to make ends meet.”

I shook my head. “But I’d be free to make my own choices, to go on adventures, to fight for what I believed in. Not to stand to the side and face whatever my husband chose to do because he picked it regardless of my wishes.”

She nodded slightly. “Tis a hard choice that, but you’ve been given such a gift to be born a woman with strong emotions, strong will, and wit, you’ll be able to birth and raise life from your own body. No man can do that.”

I snorted. “ And deal with hours of mind-numbing pain, the nine months of torture while you grow the child… I’d rather be a man.”

She smiled at me. “ So what would you give to change into a man this very day and have your freedom?”

I laughed. “Anything.”

She lifted a brow. “Would you give up your home? Your title? The love of your family?”

I leaned against Star. “I love my family, but they plan to wed me off and send me away anyway. I don’t care about my title, I don’t mind if I couldn’t live in a castle anymore, I’d miss the people, the village. You.”

She smiled at that. “What if you’d find people just as fine, just as friendly, make new friends and still see little ole me and your own villages now and again?”

I laughed. “I’d do it.”

She smiled. “Well, such magic and all that is silly but would you really want it?”

I nodded. “ I would.”

She smiled. “If the day ever comes you wake up in a boy’s body I’d call you my grandson.”

She laughed. “Why don’t you go on out for a ride as the sun set’s near the forest if you head up to the stone circle just as the sun touches down it’s a sight to behold. Be ready in ten minutes and I’ll have the guards distracted.”

She winked at me and hurried off. Not ten minutes later astride Star, I raced out of the stables, through the east gate and headed north. Only the shouts of the tower guards were heard in the distance. It’d be a good twenty minutes before anyone could catch me, and on Star, I’d be long gone before they got out the gate. I hunkered down and pressed him forward on a full-on run, racing through the town only to circle around the entire castle and head northwest. I’d seen the tail end of a group of warriors passing through the main gates but kept flying needing the air and the freedom I felt aside my horse. When I made it to the edge of the forest I ducked into one of the old paths lifting my arms to the air as we flew, trusting Star to keep us both safe. We burst through the clearing, flying off the small hill and crashing back to the ground moments later with a perfect landing, never missing a stride he still raced to the stone circle and I pulled him up just as we reached the edge. My heart was racing, laughter tumbling from my mouth as my horse panted under me, lifting his head he neighed and pranced as if he wanted to run longer.

My hands stroked down his neck, petting him as I climbed down. “Soon my friend.” From the saddle, I pulled a bag I’d filled with water opening it wide so he could thrust his head inside and drink. I stopped him when it was half empty and tied the sack back on his saddle. I left him to grass on the soft grass and wandered into the old circle. To sit near the center, leaning back on my hands I watched as the sun moved across the sky. I felt a sense of peace fill me sitting atop that hill, a sense of freedom, at that moment I didn’t have to worry about anything other than the beauty of what was in front of me. I don’t know when I fell asleep but I woke to Star nibbling on my hair and the sunset and had already risen behind me.

I jumped to my feet grabbing Star’s reigns and stopped dead seeing the hand in front of my face. That wasn’t my hand, that was a man’s hand. I jerked back from Star looking over my hands, my bare arms, down to my chest. My chest hadn’t been huge before but now it was flat as a board beside a simple outline of muscle, even my clothes had changed, the dress was gone and I was wearing a tunic shirt in the same color my dress had been, the leather vest no longer had pannels on it, and my leather pants covered a male’s thick muscled thighs.

I ran my hands over my body exploring. “I’m a man…”

My hands touched the strong line of a jaw and stubble I now sported. I yanked the now short edges of my hair around to glance at it, it was the same rich blond coloring which was common in our kingdom, and I guessed my eyes were likely the same. It was odd trying to move since there was now something in the way, I glanced around then unlaced the front of the pants, blushing horribly as I did so and when I pealed the sort worn leather away I found a penis. Or sure I’d seen them before, I had three brothers, but id’ never seen one this big. I glanced around again to be sure I was still alone before touching and exploring it, and the sack under it. I would have spent more time with it but my stomach growled loudly reminding me I’d not had lunch or dinner I’d slept the day and night away and awoke in a man’s body. “Jain…”

My eyes went wide. “She must be a witch. “

I grinned wide. “I’m a man! Just wait till I show her!”

I jumped back on Star who apparently didn’t care what gender I was and we spent the next hour getting back to the castle. When I reached the gate however I was stopped spears, arrows, and swords all pointed at me. “Where is the princess!?”

Was shouted at me and I stopped just short of calling them all daft. “I..”

I trailed off blinking at them, trying to think of a plan fast. “I’m Dylan, Jain’s grandson. I found the horse alone up in the forest when I was headed this way to visit, it had the castle’s symbol on the reigns I figured it’d gotten lost.”

I spoke fast. Dylan was my middle name but it was a simi popular name so It was all I could think of. “Dismount!”

I swung off the horse, my hands in the air. “Until your story can be prooven you will remain under guard. Fetch Jain!”

The captain shouted as another soldier took the horse and headed back to the stable. I let my hands drop a bit later when the weapons were put away. “Follow me.”

I stuck right behind him, realizing I was nearly a foot taller which would make me nearly six feet tall as a man. I grinned a bit thinking I’d beet my brothers out in height. “What is so damned funny! Our Princess is missing!”

I snapped back to the present and looked down at the captain that was now glaring at me. I blinked. “Uh.. well Grandma’s gonna fuss me when she finds out I got arrested my first day here.”

I rubbed the back of my head, something I’d seen my father do when my mother was fussing at him. “She’s sorta funny when she’s mad cus she’s so tiny. Hasn’t really hit me the princess is missing... “

I trailed off. Worry etching my face, not for me but my parents, good lord what must they think. I was snapped at again. “Well knock it off, you’ll likely be showing us exactly where you found that horse!”

I nodded. “Course, but I could just tell you, was up by the stone circle, Grandma Jain always says has the best views of sunrise and sunset. Found the horse nibbling at my hair at sunup.”

The captain nodded and motioned for me to follow again, I was lead into the throne room, where more chairs had been added, by the number of crowns and guards in the room there were at least six other members of royalty here, all-male. “Your majesties!”

The captain called out and My father stood. “You’ve word of my daughter?”

The Captain bowed and I remembered I wasn’t a princess anymore so I did a rather awkward bow keeping my mouth shut. “Her horse was brought back this morning by this man.”

I was pointed to as the captain stepped aside. I’d never seen such hostility on my father’s face before. “Where is my daughter.”

I took a slight step back from all that rage and anger holding up both hands. “I didn’t see her or anyone. I was woken up near the edge of the forest, up at the stone circle by the horse nibbling on my hair, It had the crest on the reigns so I figured it was yours. All I did was bring it back.”

My father took a step towards me. “Why should I believe you?”

I blinked. “I.. I came to see my Grandma Jain. I’ve no weapons on me. I mean no harm, honest if I’d seen or heard a girl in trouble I’d have helped.”

The captain spoke up next. “We’ve already sent someone to fetch Jain My King.”

Not a moment later the doors opened and Jain was walked in. I let out a breath as I saw her. “Grandma Jain.”

She looked me over lifting a brow. “Good lord help me you’ve grown Dylan!”

I grinned at her. “Just a bit.”

My father spoke up. “You know this man, Jain?”

She nodded. “That I do your Magisty. I’d be more than proud to call him my Grandson.”

She came up next to me and patted my arm. I looped an arm over her shoulder and hugged her, thanking her silently for saving my ass, and more so for granting my wish. “You are aware my daughter is missing. Your grandson brought back her horse. He claims the horse was found alone.”

My father’s voice was not pleased at all and Jain spoke up.”Dylan is no horse thief your majesty. Taught this one all I know about tending and caring for animals, he’s a hard worker and would never do such I mean look at how well my boy’s dressed. “

She motioned to my clothes. “And that handsome face. Why if he’d tried he’d have been able to wed a lovely young lady by now for money if he wanted.”

That sent a chuckle around the room as I blushed a bit. “Grandma.”

She shushed me. “Hush now it’s true. I’m sorry more than I can say about your daughter my king, but My grandson would never be a part of a plot against you and yours.”

My father finally nodded and moved to sit back in his chair. “Dylan, you will take my guards and Hunter’s to where you found the horse. I can only play they can find tracks of her.”

I nodded. “Of course your Majesty.”

One of the royals stood. “I’d like to go with them, Charles. I have some of the best trackers with me.”

I looked over at the man that stood and felt as if my knees went to jello. What god crafted that man? He was living sin. Hair as dark as Midnight, eyes to match, a jaw you could cut diamonds on, and a muscled body that threatened to tear his clothes right off him if he moved wrong.”Of course King Richard. I thank you for the aid.”

Jain shoved her elbow in my side and whispered to me. “Oi, don’t be eating up men like that with your eyes, they are bound to get the wrong idea.” then louder. “You be right fast about showing them right where you found that horse, when you come back, meet me in the stable and I’ll show you where you can sleep tonight.”

I smiled at her. “Yes, ma’am.”

I went off with the captain back to the stables for now. Really hoping to get another look at that king Richard.

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