I forgot about my blogaversary.
That was on Thursday.
Here is a short story to make up for it.
|And a collage because I am obsessed with them|
It’s too early in the day for killing princes.
That’s what I keep telling myself, as I try not to jump at the slightest sound. I know they still need me around, at least for a little while. Lord Padom is trying his best to save me but I know they want me out of the way.
I pace the halls aimlessly, ignoring the glares of enemies and the nervous glances of people too afraid to support me. My kingdom has fallen and I myself am barely clinging to life. At best I will spend my days in the deepest, foulest part of the dungeon. Maybe that wouldn’t be so bad if Skaist could visit me…
I’m going to die.
I pray that it won’t be for a long time.
The sun has not reached its highest point before they drag me to my room.
I am locked in the room where I spent my boyhood.
I don’t think they’ll kill me, not yet. A compromise must be reached. It kills me to not have a voice in the very debate that is truly life or death for me, but I have no other choice. My enemies do not trust me, and it is well they do not. I have shown cleverness before, resourcefulness, trickery. They know I will do anything it takes to survive, and that is why I am trapped here.
But now...as I pace my rooms, I wonder if there is anything left to fight for. My armies have been crushed, my family killed, my kingdom taken. Skaist and Lord Padom are the only people I care about that still live, and I do not think they will be killed.
So what, exactly, would I fight for?
I threaten to send the already worn rug into oblivion as I pace endlessly. My boots scuff against carpet and stone, carpet and stone. My throat is dry but I don’t touch anything on the platter by bed. Too risky. Too risky…
“Lady Skaist,” the guard announces as he opens the door.
She comes in, a disastrous mix of distracted chaos and regal beauty. It’s all I can do to not run to her and hold her close, but the guards are watching. I have to keep my distance.
Skaist sweeps into a graceful curtsy, and I bow. “My lord,” she murmurs.
“Lady Skaist.” A small smile breaks through my attempted facade of coldness. “I did not think you would-”
“How can you let them lock you away?”
I should have known she would not stay calm.
“They cannot do this to you!” She rages.
“Lady Skaist, Lord Padom is-”
She stands so close I can see the sparks in her blue eyes. “But what are you doing?” Her skirt brushes my feet and she leans close; the smell of the daisies woven into her hair makes my head swim. “Why aren’t you fighting?” she whispers.
“That’s close enough.” The guard grabs her, pulls her away, but not before I squeeze her hand. She grins and doesn’t take her eyes off me for a second as they roughly escort her out of my room. She winks.
And then she’s gone.
And I’m alone again.
And I know what to fight for.
Late afternoon. If the war had not happened, Skaist and I would be walking the gardens, the chill in the air mixing with the warmth I feel every time I’m around her. And if the guards weren’t looking too carefully, she would take my hand, and look in my eyes, and lean forward, and-
No. The war happened. I promised myself I would marry her when we won but we lost and I’m going to die and she’s going to be alone and it’s all my fault and-
Good Father, how did I ever run an army with this attitude. I’m going to be fine. Everything’s going to work out. I’ll fight like Skaist said, and everything will be alright.
A servant comes in with food. My stomach growls and I lick my dry lips. I haven’t had anything to eat or drink all day. Too risky. Who knows what traceless poisons they might have added.
Still, it’s tempting. But I resist.
I start as the squire enters my room. Shadows are making their way across the walls, and I’m more jumpy than ever. Evening is a good time for killing princes.
“What- What are you here for?” I stutter, attempting and failing to keep up my act of cold nonchalance.
“Lord Padom requested that you be informed of the situation.”
The bearded squire has all my attention now. “And?”
“Nothing is secure yet, but he believes...he believes things will end well.”
I try not to look too relieved. “Tell him I am grateful for his thoughtfulness in informing me, and for all his hard work.”
The squire nods nervously. “And, Lady Skaist…”
“Yes?” I answered too quickly, and he looks at me curiously.
“She wished you to know that she will pray to the Father for you.”
“Tell her…tell her thank you. And tell her that she is in my prayers, tonight and always.”
“No.” The squire bows and walks out.
I slump into a chair and sigh deeply as soon as he’s gone. Stupid as the idea is, he could have been an assassin. But no, luckily, he just had good news for me. Good enough, at least.
Nothing is secure yet, but he believes things will end well.
There’s still a chance that they’ll just execute me. There is also a chance that they won’t. They might bring me to the council tomorrow, to argue my case.
I spend a long time thinking of possible speeches to convince them to let me live. Hours pass, and I plan and prepare until my head aches and I can barely think, so I undress and collapse into bed. I should be nervous but I’m not. I need sleep. Sleep is good.
As the clock strikes twelve, I have one last thought.
Midnight is a perfect time for killing princes.
I hope you guys enjoyed it! I won't be able to post on Tuesday or Thursday this week, but I'll be back next Saturday with another short story. Until then, my lovely