Mikona watched from the window of her prison, wondering if she would ever see anything that was even remotely cheerful. She had been here for most of her life, since she was three. Her father, Prince Charles, had begged the king not to send her to Gnotam, but had failed. Why she was being punished, she didn't know, and she had a feeling that she would never know.
It wasn't as if she was mistreated, much. The king had obviously hoped that she would be beaten to death, or something of the sort, and by now he probably thought her dead. She was hardly dead, in the physical sense anyway. When she had first arrived at Gnotam, she had been nothing but a small, frightened child. She could remember vividly of being shoved down onto her knees, to show proper respect for the Gnok. Surprisingly though, he did not put her to work, but rather, she became a sort of a pet.
Gnotam was the dreariest castle she had ever laid eyes on. Not that she had seen that many. The castle was one of the best Gnokories in Lakino, where they mined Lidine, a powerful and rare substance, which could be used for a number of different things, including for magical uses. Trolls, held in slavery by the Gnok, mined the Lidine from sunup to sundown. They were horrible, disgusting creatures, with strength to easily rival a human's. Their knotted and scarred green skin would be greasy with sweat, and their coarse black hair were matted with grime picked up from the mining. These creatures had once roamed free, pillaging, destroying homes, and killing innocent people. It was thought that the king had done something to these once peaceful creatures, which for some reason seemed to have gone mad.
Her entire surroundings were mortifyingly ugly, and so she seemed out of place. Mikona's hair consisted of long curls of gold cascading down her back. Her bright green eyes reminded those who saw her of emeralds, or the deep, distant green of mountains nearby. She had pale, ivory skin, which oddly seemed to glow because of her dark, gritty surroundings. Her soft ruby red lips were often noticed, and despite her harsh background, she rarely spoke maliciously.
Yet despite her obvious beauty, she did not think herself beautiful. She had grown up being told that she was ugly, useless, and that she might as well take her own life and spare everyone the trouble of looking after her. But she didn't. Although she never said anything outwardly mean, she looked for ways to annoy people without actually doing anything. By merely living she aggravated the other inhabitants of Gnotam. Annoying people was one of the few things she had to amuse herself. And she couldn't help but indulge herself.
Mikona's adventures were often noticed and remarked upon by one of the guards, Jeffrey. He was her only friend at Gnotam, and had looked after her as long as she could remember. Whenever she asked him about his life before he came to Gnotam, he would become very mysterious, and would elude every question successfully. While she often wondered about this, she liked Jeffrey too much to actually get angry with him. Often she would spend time with him when he was off duty, and they would sit on a bench on one of the walls surrounding the castle. The walls had a sort of platform about ten feet wide allowing the guards to watch incoming traffic, which was rare.
Every now and then, Jeffrey and a few other guards would go off on long excursions, and these would be the most unbearable times for her. She didn't know where they went, and Jeffrey would never tell her anything about them. But he always brought something back with him for her. When she was little it might have been a toy, or a bag of candy. Now, he would bring her a book, or a packet of ribbons, or sometimes, a length of fabric for a dress. And then there was always the Holiday and birthday presents.
Mikona now glanced down into the courtyard, which was usually busy at this hour. It was empty. A frown crossed her face in worry, and she thought about the various things that could be going on to merit this rarity. Sometimes this occurred when one of the trolls tried to escape. But this had only happened a few times in the years since she had come. It was foolish to try, as the trolls were almost always executed when caught. And they were always caught. Only once was a troll not executed, only because the Gnok had particularly hated this troll, and so he had been sentenced imprisonment. But what could it be now?
She remained sitting, and patiently waited for anything. It wasn't as if she had much to do. Quite often she would spend hours after hours of boredom. She always looked forward to her hours with Jeffrey. She wondered if he knew anything about this.
She jumped slightly in her chair, thinking she had seen movement down in the courtyard. Wait-who was that? Jeffrey? What did he think he was doing?
"Whatever he's doing," she thought, "please don't let him get caught.
She watched in terror, as he crept over to the window, and peered inside the room in which she was sure the Gnok was inside. She prayed that he wouldn't be seen. Suddenly, to her great horror, the door opened, and her only friend was snatched inside.