Chapter One

5 years later…

Avaylla tiredly wiped the sweat off her brow and looked to the sky, trying to determine how much longer she would have to continue working. It didn't appear to be midday yet, and already the sun was giving off an unbearable amount of heat which beat down on her back and seemed to sap all the energy she had left. Everyone would have until the sun set before they could go home.

She turned her attention back to the sac she was filling with grain and frowned. She would be doing this for most of the day—filling sacs with grain and vegetables and carrying them to the crates. Although the job seemed simple enough she could already feel her muscles aching from yesterday and she was finding it hard to concentrate from the lack of sleep. Yesterday she simply hadn't been able to get to bed and after the dream she had… She shook her head, trying to get her mind back on the work she was doing.

It was almost complete silence in the fields today except for the light buzzing of the flies that were always present and watching the girls as they worked. She didn't bother to swat them away though, knowing that they would only return as soon as they had left. Usually, there wasn't much talking in the fields as most of the girls were always too tired to speak to one another. It was because of this that the sound of a girl screaming cut through her thoughts like a knife and she immediately turned to see what was going on.

In the west fields, she saw the source of the scream, a girl named Yenna, on the ground being beaten by one of the overseers. Avaylla and the other girls in the fields each watched in horror as Yenna was beaten ruthlessly by the man. Despite her screams he continued to kick her over and over, yelling for her to get back up. 'She must have collapsed from the heat…' Avaylla thought gravely as she turned away from the sight. She cringed upon hearing Yenna cry out for mercy in her own tongue while the man responded to her with more profanities. After a few minutes of this, Yenna stopped crying out and was knocked unconscious. Upon seeing this, the man stopped as well, smirking and spitting on her before turning to address the other girls who had ceased to do their work.

"Let this be a lesson for all of you," he shouted so everyone could hear, "I don't care how hot it is out here. If your work isn't done, then all of you will get the same punishment as this wench over here!" he turned away and spat on her once more before continuing, "Now get back to work, all of you!" Once finished, he watched as all the girls turned back to do their work, acting as if nothing had happened. Calmly he strolled over to where he had previously been, casually starting to chat with another overseer.

Avaylla shook her head as she went back to her work. She simply couldn't believe how out of hand the conditions had gotten. The girls were forced to do a full day's work, and combined with their fatigue and the heat, it didn't seem possible. It seemed that as the years went on the overseers continued to get crueler, and yet nothing was done about it. The inhabitants of Farahn didn't care, and it seemed that the Prince didn't either. She looked over at Yenna with pity, knowing that the overseers would make her stay later than usual because she had been "slacking."

Deciding it was time to get back to work, she turned away from the girl so she could focus. She gritted her teeth together in pain, as she attempted to lift a sac that was clearly too heavy for her. She could feel the sweat she has just previously wiped off her brow returning and her clothes sticking to her. Eventually she gave up and put the sac back down looking around to make sure there weren't any overseers watching her before she rested for a moment to massage her muscles.

"Gonna be great, huh? Once we really get back at those bastards."

Avaylla felt her breath catch in her throat and she quickly turned around to see who was speaking to her. Her younger sister, Merrka, stood next to her, frowning as she watched Yenna who, finally conscious again, was struggling to get up. Avaylla sighed, catching her breath again before she answered her sister.

"Merrka, how many times do I have to tell you to not sneak up on me like that? And you know you shouldn't be over here. If they catch us talking, then both of us could get punished."

Merrka ignored Avaylla's previous comment and looked up at her sister through jade green eyes, "I just don't understand why they think they can do these things to us," she folded her arms across her chest, and looked back at Yenna, "I don't know about you, but I intend to do something about it."

Avaylla tried to lift the sac again, this time barely managing to balance it on her shoulder, "Merrka, that's crazy talk and you know it."

"See Av, that's your problem," she said this and frowned as she watched her sister struggle, "you don't believe there's a way out, and you just accept it when they treat us like slaves." Avaylla set the sac back down and looked into her sister's eyes, staring at her intently for a moment before replying.

"Merrka, we are slaves," as she said this she looked up, catching the eye of an overseer who was glaring at the two and quickly added, "look, I think you should just get back to your work. We can talk about this later. And hurry, you know I couldn't bear to see you get beaten as well."

She lifted her sac again and gave Merrka a pleading look, trying to get her to leave. Merrka only rolled her eyes at her sister, but walked away promptly once she saw the overseer who had been eyeballing them.

Once Merrka had gone, she began to walk over to the crates where the sac would be placed. Sometimes she couldn't help but wonder if Merrka was right. If maybe all they needed to do was stick up for themselves and show the overseers and the other inhabitants of the land that they were people who deserved to have rights just as anyone else. But as she looked to the west fields again and saw Yenna being yelled at once more to hurry and do her work, she knew it wasn't going to be possible. As long as they were in their enemy's land, they had no rights, and they couldn't change anything by themselves. Sighing she looked back up into the sky, the sun's light glaring back at her. Still they had until sunset.

o.o.o

To anyone who, at that moment, happened to walk by the room and carefully peek in, it would have appeared that he was having a tantrum of sorts; shoving papers off the desks and onto the marble floor and searching frantically through the pages of some of the books. The man having this fit paused for a moment and ran a hand through smooth black hair, lips pursed together and forming a frown as he began to pace both ends of the room. Gray eyes wildly scanned the large area which had previously been organized, and he groaned as the realization that in this mess he would never be able to find what he was looking for sunk in. He ceased in his pacing and slowly walked to a chair to sit down. He closed his eyes and placed his head in his hands to think. He had searched the three libraries countless times and yet… it seemed it wasn't even here. There had to be somewhere else. Somewhere he hadn't thought of yet…

"Um, your majesty…"

The man's eyes shot open when an uneasy voice interrupted his thoughts. Averting his eyes towards the door he saw one of his servants, Venn, standing there. He glared at the thin man, angry for having his thoughts interrupted. Venn nervously began to wring his hands together as he waited to be addressed. Once the man spoke, his voice was low and hoarse.

"What do you want, Venn?" It was evident that the man was annoyed by his intrusion, and Venn took noticed of this, pausing before he entered the room. His eyes widened upon seeing the mess that had been made, but he decided it would be best not to question his master about this. He cleared his throat and bowed his head before answering.

"Ah, yes my lord. We've received word from King Damien of Lyrosa. He seeks council with you concerning the recent imprisonment of Lady Ristelle. He says that it's very urgent and he would like to--"

Venn stopped talking once he saw the other man raise his hand to silence him. The man didn't say anything, but Venn was aware of the perturbed look on his face. He leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes, saying more to himself than to Venn, "And when does King Damien wish to meet?"

Venn swallowed, "I believe the requested date was in four days."

Once again the man's eyes shot open and he stood abruptly from his chair, causing Venn to step back in surprise as he brushed past him to the door. He stopped before stepping into the hallway and turned back to face Venn, "No. Let him know that we will meet at a later date. I have much to do, and I don't wish to have a conference any time soon," he paused as he motioned to the mess in the room, "and have someone tend to this mess immediately. That will be all." He turned on his heels as he finished and strolled out of the room. Venn stood there for a moment, shocked at the man's behavior. When he finally came out of his daze, he quickly turned around and yelled for the man to come back.

"B-but Prince Zandler! Please wait your majesty!" His shouts were ignored. He could hear the prince's footsteps echoing throughout the hallways as he got farther and farther away and he knew there was no way the man would listen to him. Once the Prince had made up his mind, it was no use trying to change it.

o.o.o

And that's a wrap. Sure it took me about 2 years to finally know where I was going with this story, but I'm pretty sure that now it will turn out nicely. It may seem a little boring as of now, but I promise it will get better as I go on. Also, I'd really appreciate it if you guys would review, it would totally make my day. I won't promise a speedy update, but I will promise you that it won't take me another two years to get out the next chapter.