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The Forgotten Royal

The Forgotten Royal

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Guinevere!" the familiar voice crackled fire through my body. "Run! Run!" "Nefil?!" I started toward him, but my faithful guardian shouted at me. "He is the assassin of the Queen, Guinevere! For mercy's sake, run!" For one awful moment, his words stayed on the surface of my consciousness then abruptly sank in like a stone. Whirling around, I fled from the Grand Lord, who had broken free of Nefil coming after me with a roar. The soaked gown was heavy, dragging at me as I slammed through the framed glass doors leading directly back into the ballroom. Barging into the hall with shattering glass, the music instantly stopped, couples swirling around to stare at me in astonished horror as I rushed through them. A loud voice shouted at me to stop but I kept going, Servants cried out in surprise, dropping their trays as I passed them. A deep voice thundered from behind me, commanding me to halt but fear drove me faster. I don't care about anything else, even if it kills me, Tonight, I must escape from this place.


"Come now," my father's voice was thick with worry, his aged brow heavily lined as he held his hand out for mine. "You must hurry! There is no time, they are almost upon us!"

"Father, what's happening?"

"No questions! Into the wagon, quickly, quickly! Nefil will escort you. Listen to him, and remember- no one must ever know where you come from! No one!"

"But father, what of Jaron, and Gilda-!"

"Go now!" Ignoring my pleas, my father stared at my new guardian, his expression crushingly sad. "Nefil, take her, the walls are breached, they are here!"

Screams of the wounded and dying floated up through the air as the terrors of battle breached the walls of my home. Clashing swords and pounding feet threaded through my young heart and filled it with dread. Smoke from burning arrows laced a black haze through the air above us, and where each one kissed its target flames spouted, spreading swiftly to engulf the home I had known. More screaming reached us as my father desperately grabbed my hand. His grip was painful but I did not want him to let go, dinging to his fingers as tears filled my eyes and dripped down my cheeks.

The reins were slapped across powerful haunches, and the wagon lurched as the horses responded, lunging forward in their harnesses. Scrambling to my knees, I faced back the way we'd come, watching the form of my father shrink in the distance behind me. Framed behind him in a macabre scene was the home I had grown up in, overrun with enemy soldiers, our faithful warriors holding their ground against an impossible siege of glinting metal and loud cries. The blood pounding through my ears drowned out his last cry to me, but I raised my hand, vigorously waving it as my father vanished from sight.

I did not see him again. Hidden away from my country and family, years began to pass as news of the horrific violence reached me in filtered bits. The number of military and civilian casualties by the grievous end of the Great War was more than 5 hundred thousand. With over 17 thousand deaths and 20 thousand wounded, it ranked as the deadliest conflict in the long memory of the history of the Seven Realms. Outnumbered, and outmatched, my people fell, surrendered, or were slaughtered. What was left of the royal family was tried, imprisoned, or executed. Rumors whispered in secret carried hope that the crown prince of the defeated Ethanian Kingdom survived in the lower dungeons of Kildron.

11 thousand conscripted men and about 7 thousand civilians were killed on the final day of fighting before word of the surrender reached the commander of the invading army. With crops and farms savaged, burned, and trampled, famine spread through the kingdom like wildfire. Losing homes loved ones, land, and food, at least 2 thousand died from disease, 6 thousand missing and presumed among the dead.

The aftermath of the Great War saw drastic political, cultural, and social upheaval across the face of the known world, even in small lands and kingdoms outside those that were directly involved with the conflict. Four empires utterly collapsed due to the war, old countries and alliances abolished, new ones rising from the ashes, boundaries redrawn, fresh coalitions established, and the conquered people reeling, scrambling for stability and comfort.

Through the period from the peace agreement until the signing of the treaty with terms of surrender, the victorious kingdom of Kildron maintained a blockade of imports, keeping its new subjects oppressed and desperate. Official records estimated that 13,000 civilians lost their lives, the majority killed during the fighting, the rest dying from disease or starvation in the eight months following the conclusion of the war. According to the new terms of the truce allowances of food could be shipped into the desolated Kingdom of Ethany, but the triumphant Kildron required the vanquished provinces to provide the means to do so. Gold reserves were dug into, coffers depleted to almost empty proportions and the people grew angry and restless.

Eventually, relations stabilized, and the new government rule began to supply food and medicines to the sick and ailing Ethanians. Life settled down, loved ones were grieved over and wounds began to heal. Despite the problems facing the victorious High King of Kildorn, he did his best to honor his word on the day of surrender and provide for his conquered people but that did not always make for a smooth government transition. Now that supplies and medicines were being regularly provided, the threat of violence to keep the peace lost its bite. The blockade was continually in place, keeping the last of the resentment in place between the nations, with more casualties due to malnutrition.

Years slowly passed by, with unhappy rebelling and rioting, pockets of revolt found out and squashed one by one. Old generations that had known power grew accustomed to the new rule, and their anger faded as new children came into the world, farms were rebuilt, crops began to grow and life pressed on. The heart of the people had wilted, weak, and resigned to the chains put upon them, acceptance and complacency turning wolves into sheep. Freedom through war was never brought up, not even in hushed whispers in dark corners. Yet this is not where my story begins-

My story comes before such peace when the world was still a treacherous, dangerous place to be, where the blood in one's veins was enough to condemn life to death.

Chapter 1

"Prudence," the whisper was against my ear, pulling me from comfortable slumber. I stirred a little, throwing an arm over my eyes.


"Mother says to get up now." The urgent words would not leave me be. Rolling groggily over, I stuffed my head beneath the pillows. "Prudence!"

"Goo waa..."I slurred, but this time a hand accompanied the voice as I was shaken from sleep without hope of return.

"Get up!"

"Whaa foo-?" my speech faded mid-yawn as I sat up, trying to blink. Dark brown eyes and golden locks greeted me as I came face to face with Minerva. Her youthful expression was startlingly alert for so early in the day.

"They're coming today! Have you forgotten? Come on!"

Now that I was slightly less resistant than before, her fingers seized my arm and I was dragged from my plush, warm bed and down the hall.

"Mothheer' she sang the word ou


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