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Chapter 3

The king sat idly in his study, thumbing his way through letters from various countries, several concerning the idea of princesses and ladies that were available for matrimony, some seeming so desperate that they were offering compensation and reward.

He mostly ignored them, setting them aside for a later date, some being sent straight to the waste bin.

He mumbled words that spoke of treaties and alliances, a few threats and letters that attempted to threat war.

Nothing interesting among the post.

He sighed and pulled a cord that hung from the ceiling to the right of his desk.

He relaxed in his chair and counted down the seconds before there was a light rap on the solemn doors that kept the kings apathetic air from the other residents of the estate.

A frail girl slipped through the double doors, bowing low before glancing up at the king with watery blue eyes.

"What is it you require, sir?"

"Bring me a pot of tea and send for my son," the man shifted in his seat, waving his dismissal of the girl.

She slipped back out of the doors, once more leaving the king to his lonesome.

He sighed once more before picking up a few of the matrimony letters.

Terryn could see the first houses of the city through the thinning trees.

He drew up his hood, letting his posture slouch just enough so that he would pass as a commoner.

He pushed aside a few branches and came out into the glow of the mid-spring sun.

He lifted his palms and flexed his hands in the light before lowering them to his side and moving down the bare dirt path that lead into the city.

He passed a farm that belonged to an older man, one he'd met on his second excursion into the unknown.

He lifted his hand in greeting when the man shouted the name he'd taken as a passing traveler.

"Colin, back so soon? Can't get enough of ol' Thenepa, yeah?"

"Of course not, Geord! who'd ever tire of the place? It's a gorgeous city!"

Geord let out a chuckle, waving the prince away and turning back to the tall corn stalks he was checking a moment before.

Terryn continued on his way, a smile growing on his face as the dirt path gave way to cobblestone and the few squat houses that lay on the outskirts of the city became sturdier and closer together.

The smile finally made it's way onto his lips when the first couple of wandering children ran past, nearly bowling him over as they cheered.

He gave a slight laugh as he looked after them.

How infatuating childhood can be. He'd never had much of one, always being dragged off to some lesson or party or sparring match.

He was nearly knocked over a second time by a slight girl who was chasing the two who'd gone past a moment before.

"Jayson! Isaac! Get back here!"

Terryn felt his mind try to steer him towards the girl, but his senses caught up to him, or his best friend, really.

"Colin, I haven't seen you 'round in some time. You been keepin' yourself well?"

His attention was drawn to his left the opposite direction his mind tugged at.

"Yeah I've been good how 'bout you Oliver? keeping food on the table?"

Terryn made his way over to the tall, dark skinned man, his smile reforming.

"Well enough, I 'spose," Oliver turned his attention back to the glowing hot slab of metal in front of him, swinging a large hammer over his shoulder and down to clash with the searing metal with a clang and a small shower of sparks before turning to dip it in a tub of water, steam coming off it with an angry hiss.

"So what brings you back to the smithy, your royal highness?" Oliver looked back up at the cloaked prince with a teasing grin.

"Hey, shut it, ya lout. I'd get in a lotta trouble if someone heard you and decided to put stock in your words."

Terryn had half a mind to cuff the man upside the head, but went with the other half of his mind and just nudged him with his boot.

"No one'd put any stock into the words of a raynien, you'd be fine."

Terryn's gaze was trained on Oliver, he sighed before looking away, noticing something in the process.

"So where's Alexandra?"

His words were broken up by the noise of the hammer against the flattening sword.

As he dunked the sword back into the bucket he looked up at Terryn, running an arm over his sweaty forehead.

"She's out helping a nanny. Does quite often now, been missin' her 'round shop." He plunged the iron back into the forge, "I might have to tell her she can't see Roslyn so much anymore, she wouldn't like that."

As he finished the sentence the sound of running feet neared the two.

Oliver brought his hammer down on the sword, ringing out a young girl's shout of joy as she raced forward and attached her self to terryn's arm.

"Come on," the girl started tugging on his arm and Terryn smiled, letting her drag him out of the shop and into the busy street.

"Hey alexandra, what are you so excited about."

Alexandra looked up at him, her usually shy smile replaced with a big happy one.

"I want you to meet Roslyn, you'll love her!"

He smiled, enjoying the timid girl's excitement.

"If you think so then I bet I will."

He saw the tips of her ears turn red and felt her hand tighten for a moment, a sign that she hadn't completely let go of her timidness.

Then she stopped, waving with her unoccupied hand to a girl a few years older than she was.

It was the girl Terryn had seen chasing the boys earlier, but there were no boys now, and she was standing still so he was better able to take in her appearance.

She had black hair that fell over her shoulders and almost down to her waist, it was swept to the side to reveal emerald green eyes that caught the sun just right.

Her skin was a fair peach color that accentuated the blush on her cheeks perfectly, bringing out her full cheeks and making her seem doll-like.

The blush darkened as she caught sight of Terryn, and she stepped closer, holding her hand out, just as Alexandra let go of his hand, allowing him to take hers.

He brought it to his lips and smirked when he saw her eyes widen.

"I'm Roslyn Fulten, I suppose you're Colin?"

"I am, it's a pleasure to meet you miss Fulten."

She stepped away quickly, slipping her hand from his.

"And you, i'm sorry, I have to get to work, someone's expecting me. Goodbye Colin, good bye Alexandra."

She turned and left leaving no time for conversation.

"She was quite the conversationalist, wasn't she?" Terryn smiled and shook his head amusedly, gazing where she had run off to.

"She didn't mean to be rude, Roslyn is a bit strange around boys, she always blushes and fidgets. I figure it's 'cause of her dad. She ran away from home and she doesn't talk about her family, but she acts like Lacy May does and her daddy did bad things to her, so I figure that's what happened to Roslyn."

Terryn's smile fell and a pensieve look made it's way onto his face before he turned to the frail girl beside him.

"Let's go back to the shop Ally, you're brother'll be mad at me if I keep you out too long."

She nodded and walked beside him back to the smithy as Terryn pondered what Alexandra had said about Roslyn. The thought of it mad him sick, but he pushed it aside to ponder at a later date, for now he would enjoy his freedom.

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