A flash of red curls were seen rounding the corner of the stone wall, accompanied by the sound of little, running footsteps. About ten yards behind the flash of curls was an older woman, dressed plainly in a dark colored dress.

"Princess Lianna," the woman sighed angrily as she rounded the corner. "Let her out of your sight for two seconds and she is gone. Leave the nursery for three and she disappears completely."

The girl, Lianna, continued running away from the woman, the skirt of her little white dress billowing out behind her as she ran. Four-years-old and mischievous as ever, this new game was quite fun for her, and a nice break from the confinement of the nursery.

"Princess! Princess Lianna!" the woman shrieked. She noticed a page standing against the wall of the castle. "You, page! Stop the Princess!"

Lianna realized her fun was over all too late, but couldn't escape when the page grabbed her arm. He had a grip like a vice, and there was no way she could continue her game.

"Thank you," the woman, Lianna's nursemaid said to the page. She handed him a small golden coin and bid him to run off and study. He walked away looking at girl and woman oddly, but went nonetheless.

"Lianna, what were you doing? You could have gotten lost, or hurt!"

"Aww, Wardia, I was just having fun! Besides, I was looking for Mother! Why didn't she come and see me this morning for breakfast? She always comes and sees me!"

Wardia frowned, and decided it would be best to not tell Lianna the news right here. "Lianna, how about you come and sit down for a second?" Wardia led Lianna over to the window seat overlooking the training yards.

Lianna plopped down on the red cushions and sat with one leg curled underneath the other. Wardia realized that Lianna's slip was visible, but she didn't care at that moment. Lianna lazily leaned one hand, and with the other held the little doll she was carrying. "Why didn't Mother come and see me?"

Wardia noticed Lianna's wide blue eyes, and knew that Lianna would have to find out eventually. "Lianna, you do know that your Mother has been rather sick lately?"

"Mother always comes and sees me! Every morning! We were going to play with my new doll today!"

Wardia realized this would be harder than she thought. "Yes, but you do know that your mother has been sick?"

"Mother has never not come and seen me before!"

"Lianna, last evening, while you were asleep, your mother took a turn for the worse in her illness. She gradually become more ill every moment, until even the best of healers could not help her. Do you understand what I am saying?"

"Where is Mother?"

"Your mother died this morning, Lianna. Her illness became to be too much for her."

"No! You're a liar!" Lianna shrieked, and Wardia ducked as a shield nearly hit her from behind. She had forgotten that Lianna had magical abilities, and could easily make objects move, especially when she was angry. Lianna jumped off the window seat and took off toward the nursery.

Wardia watched her go, knowing that time was about to become unpleasant for Lianna.

That night, in the Servant's kitchen, the discussion about the Queen's death was a very loud one.

"The Queen never fully recovered after she had that child! Lianna's magical abilities were too strong for the Queen! It made her ill, and now the illness finally claimed her!"

"Yes, but the Queen never produced a male heir to the throne. Lianna is not going to be very happy much longer. Her father will ignore her and wish it was a boy, and not a girl that his wife presented him with four years ago."

Wardia glanced over at her own daughter playing off with a few of the other servant's children. Lianna would need a friend soon, and her daughter might make a good one.

"Nevertheless, Paese has no male heir to take over rule when the King dies. The King must find a new wife to produce a male heir before it is too late."

"Who can he marry? No other surrounding countries have many princesses to be married off. The famine has hurt our neighbors and allies. And besides, the King has already been married once. Who else could he make an alliance with?"

"The Princess can marry a male heir," a servant in the back of the room suggested.

"What? What country would gladly send off their male heir to marry our Princess?"

"The Hellena Islands have two male heirs, twin boys, the same age as Princess Lianna. She could marry one of them when the time comes."

"But will the Hellena Islands consent to this marriage? Our countries have not exactly gotten along in the past."

"It will give us a strong alliance with the Islands."

The conversation faded long into the night.

Meanwhile, in the Royal Nursery, the child being discussed sat up and watched the moon. Her white dress had already been traded in for the black one of mourning, and her red curls were pulled back with a black ribbon. Lianna had been crying for hours, and none of the servants knew what to do to comfort her. They had finally left her alone after she had nearly used up her magical abilities to throw objects at them.

"Father didn't even come and see me," Lianna whispered to the doll she was clutching tightly.

Lianna had no idea how much her small world was going to change in the next few hours, but soon she would fade into the scenery of the palace and be forgotten about. Nothing would change for her until eleven years later.