If you're by any chance rereading this, you may notice that I've updated slightly—mostly some glaring errors that caught my eye after I'd posted the story.
If you're new to the story, then welcome! This is my first project I've posted at FP, so I'm a little nervous about it and interested in feedback—the good, the bad and the ugly :)
Thank you for reading! Please enjoy!
In the deep forest outside the capital of Esper, two figures cloaked in black crouched besides a large grove of sheltering fir trees. Only a few strides away marked the border of the Palace grounds. Silhouetted in the moonlight, the castle looked more foreboding and regal than Asher remembered. It had been a cheerful sight two days ago, when he and Halldor had plotted his entrance to the castle and Princess Nerissa's bedchamber. Asher pretended to be going over his plan of action in his head while he secretly panicked.
How had he gotten into this mess, this crazy, almost unworkable plot of kidnapping King Trevan's daughter in hopes of stalling her wedding to Prince Gorel of Namorna and arranging some sort of bartered peace between Esper and Namorna regarding their treatment of the magical community as second class citizens. Still, it wasn't as though this young, sheltered little princess knew anything about Magic...wouldn't a kidnapping only reiterate the feelings the ruling class had about the dangers and unreliability of those with Magic?
Asher rubbed his temples, ran his hand through his mass of brown curls and let out a long sigh. His usually bright, twenty-year old face was marked with worry.
Trying to build courage, Asher reminded himself that he had volunteered for this mission, and furthermore, he believed that something had to be done to make the royalty understand the plight of his people. Asher laughed to himself—he had to go through with it, if only to wipe the sneer off of that revolting, power-hungry Halldor the Mages had sent with Asher as a second-in-command.
"Now is the time to back out if you don't think you have the stomach for this," Halldor said, snapping Asher back to reality.
Asher was quiet. He could not admit to a creature like Halldor that he was nervous about the job he was about to do. The only thing getting him through the fear was the knowledge that it had to be done.
"I'm fine," Asher replied, trying to sound bemused. "I'm man enough to admit that breaking onto the castle grounds and kidnapping a princess from her bedroom makes me somewhat nervous, that's all."
"Fine. Let's go over this again. Princess Nerissa is sixteen, has fair skin, dark hair, green eyes, and I think she's rather short for her age. I spoke to someone inside the castle, and we've got the right window to the bedroom. Once she retires for the night, the only guards she has are outside her door. I doubt they're the cream of the crop, either. But it remains to be seen if they're better than you." Halldor straightened up.
Asher noticed his own hands were shaking and quickly shoved them into his pockets. He did not need another chiding from Halldor about bravery.
"You'd best get going. I'll bring the horses to the meeting point. I'll be mounted and ready as soon as I see the two of you. If it's just you, don't bother showing up."
"Goodbye, then," said Asher. He threw his cloak around his body and covered his face with a low hood.
"Good luck," Halldor said to him as he began to leave the safety of the tree cluster. Asher turned around; his roguish smile somewhat altered by the concealing black folds of his cloak.
"Don't need it," he said, and with that, disappeared onto the palace grounds.
Like it? I hope so! Please review!