Gentle winds lifted auburn hair from the princess’ shoulders. She had skipped her afternoon lessons and snuck away to the gardens behind the castle with her favorite book. A tale of a knight making a perilous journey to find his true love. It was as she began to turn the page, that something in the air seemed to change. The wind picked up for a few moments as a sinking feeling started in her stomach. A sudden sense of urgency consumed her as the sky above her began to turn dark. Sunset was another hour or two off, and the darkness was not rain. It was smoke. There was fire, somewhere, something, someone was burning.
Quickly, the girl got to her feet and ran back into the palace she called home, searching for her parents or siblings as she moved towards the front of the castle. As she moved towards the front, many servant were scrambling about, trying to tell her to go find her parents, to get away, to leave. But she had to know why. Picking up her skirts, she ran until she found a balcony, one which overlook most of the kingdom that her father ruled. Green eyes widened in shock and horror as the screams of her people joined the smoke in the air. There was less Fire than she had expected, but what was burning, was burning badly. From her height, she could see only small figures, but it was obvious many people were running from or fighting others who did not appear to be citizens of her father’s kingdom at all. Upon hearing shouting below, she attempted to see what was happening and saw that the intruders that were attacking the kingdom had fought their way to the doors of the castle and already slaughtered a number of guards. Unable to witness any more, she ran off to find her parents, praying that there were get away horses readied for them somewhere. It seemed no matter where she turned, she could hear the screams of servants, guards, children, even the distressed sounds of animals from outside. Their country had always been a peaceful one. Careful never to take sides in wars, never to start wars, only to have enough defense to protect themselves—- but apparently they did not have even that.
“They’ve entered the castle!”
Hearing someone shout that, she truly began to panic and it was not long before several guards found the princess. Thankfully, they seemed to know where her parents had gone and had already sent others after her siblings. She ran hurriedly in the center of the group, as fast as she could, which wasn’t very fast at all. Time seemed to draw out forever as they ran through the halls of her home. A sudden cry of pain sounded from behind her and she and the other guards turned to see several men wielding all sorts of strand weapon advancing on them and one of the guards on the ground, a knife in his back. A scream ripped from the princesses throat as the guards swarmed in front of her, telling her to keep running.
“Stay away from the princess!”
one of the guards shouted, stopping the other men in their tracks for only a moment, their expressions changing to sickening grins before fighting the guards with more ferocity than before. She continued running, only to have her arm yanked by one of the attackers, her head turning to scream but being cut off by the sight of a sword slashing his neck and spraying blood onto her. Holding back vomit, tears finally began to streak her face as any illusion of safety completely shattered. The guard tried to reassure her, only to be pulled away a moment later and run through with one of the other guard’s swords that one of the intruders had picked up. She was now surrounded by slaughtered guards, only two of them having surrendered in hopes of keeping their lives, and several monstrous men. When one approached her, a menacing looking weapon in his hand, her sobs became more panicked and she turned again to run, only to be caught around the waist and hauled onto the man’s shoulder.
At first, a bit of relief came over her, then more fear as she wondered if she were being carried off to be executed publicly. When she began hysterically thrashing once more, she was told to stop or have the last two guards killed. With much effort, she wiped her tears, and some blood from her face and tried to contain herself, her body still but her tears unending.
Where they took her, however, was the throne room. The doors swung open and she was dropped onto the floor in the center of the room, a small shriek coming from her as she fell and then a groan as she hit the floor. Sitting up, she looked to the back of the room, where the thrones were placed and saw her parents and siblings at the base of the stairs that lead up to them, all of them tied up with rope. Her father looked battered, but her mother, brother and sister seemed mostly unharmed, just panicked and afraid. A sigh of relief escaped her as she saw they were all still alive. She started to move to sit up, only to have a sword held at her neck a moment later by the man who had carried her. The look on his face told her that if she moved, he wouldn’t hesitate to add her to the number of those already killed.