Chapter One [Princess Cyrvil]
After bolting up the great oak door of her high-ceilinged room,
Cyrvil crept up to the enormous window, looking through the West Tower of
the Gorgedin Castle. The grounds were dim and unguarded, making the first
phase of her operation easier. The only light came from the faint
flickering fire from the lamp posts on the other side of the wing.
Cautiously, she dropped the knotted the rolls of blankets down to
touch the ground. Then, she heaved herself to the sill, facing the bricked
She cast her gaze to the inside of the enormous bedroom she had
used for seventeen years. She would never forget the warmth of her satin-
lined oblongated bed and the antiquated furnishings of a place she could
safely say was her own. Also, she knew she'd sorely miss the fancy
overdresses and petticoats she used to wear.
Pulling a deep breath, she muttered, "This is for the best."
Giving the blankets a tight grip and a huge tug, she hoisted
herself ready to rapel down the wall, feet in between the cracks of the
Slowly, she began climbing down, hardly daring to look where she
was going in fear of what fate might befall her upon seeing the height.
Arms shaking, cold sweat pouring down the face, Cyrvil reached the first
window, about three yards away from her own. After all, it was no joking
matter if she fell down. The lawn was still twenty five feet away ; one
small step and she'll find peace no one in the right mind would wish for.
It was a tad unexpected that things would go hard. Her father's
knights have always made it look so plain and simple. Thankfully, she had
managed to nick out a pair of bloomers, a loose shirt and a pair of sandals
or else, her escape would have been impossible. Ha! Imagine trying to go
down a tall tower in a gown and spiked-heel shoes.
A little bit later, she landed softly on the cold earth. Brushing
off soil from her clothes, she got back to her feet and headed for Roemin
Forest at the South. It was the only unwalled part of the castle grounds.
In the dark, Cyrvil walked through the woods with the light of the moon as
a guide, crunching dried leaves and twigs on her way. The hair at the back
of her head rose to its ends as she heard the noises of the cicadas, hoots
of owls and soft hissing as she ambled her way.
Finally, she reached the small stable where her strawberry roan
saddle horse was kept. The only thing she saw were the illuminating eyes of
her gaiting friend. The horse, upon recognizing her, scrambled to its feet
and gave out a neigh.
"Shhh." hushed Cyrvil, pressing her fingers to her lips. "Yam, come
on. we have to leave."
Yam, sensing the urgency of her tone, stood still and allowed her
to mount freely until she took the reins. Gently, Cyrvil squeezed her legs
to Yam's sides and loosened her grasp.
In a moment, yam was trotting along the damp forest floor. Cyrvil's
ears were open to any noise. If anyone in the castle was alerted, she'd
order Yam to gallop at full speed. Fortunately, the only things she heard
were the rustle of trees and creatures slithering on the bushes beneath,.
She could vividly make out that everyone was lying low at the palace.
Saddled to Yam, back propped straight and hands on the leather
around the horse's neck, Cyrvil wondered how things would go after she ran
away. Being the princess of Gorgedin, she knew, was not at all very easy.
It was not about grand balls and frolicking around. Neither was it
something that told her she would get everything she wanted. It was always
the responsibilities. the BURDEN. that made her wish shere born to another
family as a Plain Fellow. She was, indeed, an heiress to the royal throne
but she also was a prisoner for life. Now that she informally denounced her
crown, who would come after King Amanoul Fenblith? Who, now, would rule
Sadly, Cyrvil lowered her head. She loved her country and he
people, but if it weren't for her parent's demands, she would have o give
up her rights, her beliefs, her life.
"Cyrvil, daughter," she saw Queen Anamere's face, kindly yet
somehow cold, in her mind's back eye. "The time has come."
"What time?" her own confused words fluttered along.
"Dear, now that you have come of age. there is one special task
your father and I ay upon you."
Puzzled, Cyrvil looked up to her mother.
"YOU have been betrothed to a crown prince of another kingdom and
the time was set two months after your seventeenth birthday-"
"But I have not even met this prince!" said Cyrvil in a suddenly
raised voice. Her mother was pulling her leg off again.
"That,:" pointed the Queen,, "Is a part of the agreement."
"This is preposterous!" burst Cyrvil, face burning in anger. "I can
not marry a stranger-"
"That is your duty," said Anamere coldly. "Nothing is more
preposterous than denying your people of decent lives because of your
Nothing more was said before the Queen turned swiftly away.
Sighing heavily, Cyrvil thought of her mother as t a pretentious
woman whose beauty masked the putrid personality. To Cyrvil, she was as
heartless as a boulder right ashore. Both her parents were. She could sense
that Anamere and Anamoul wanted to give her the same doze of misery they
both have taken in when they were younger. She knew her parents never truly
loved each other. They were forced to exchange oaths for the reconciliation
of Upper Gorgedin (Haidemin) and Lower Gorgedin (Roemin). But it was not
her fault that they did not stand up for themselves.
Cyrvil turned to the path she and Yam were tracing. She was sure
they will reach the port before daybreak, before anyone realized that the
princess had gone missing. Before the King could send out his troops, she'd
already be out in the sea. She could live far away from the horror of the
The sky was already turning treddish orange when Cyrvil pulled on
Yam's reins. The horse halted at once and held still at the harbor, which
was just at its wake. She dismounted and got herself to the ground.
"I'll miss you, Yam," said Cyrvil, giving the horse a soft tap at
Standing in the middle of the very busy street, Cyrvil watched
wistfully as Yam became smaller and smaller along the horizon.
"Move over, girl!" snarled an edgy-looking man, trundling past her,
carrying two wooden barrels on his shoulders.
Awkwardly, Cyrvil jumped to the walkway and accidentally treaded on
Weeling around, she murmured an apology to a girl who seemed to be
of her age, hair in a loose bun, wisps dangling at the face. Btu the girl
did not answer and turned back to the cartons of freshly -picked and sweet-
smelling flower varieties and began arranging them into bouquets and
Fascinated, Cyrvil tore her eyes around her. All these people were
bustling with such speedy and fumbling hands. Never had she been out in
such a place with the Plain Fellows before. She let her eyes feast until
she recalled what she was after.