PROLOGUE: THE GREATNESS OF MEN
There are those who are great, those who believe they are great, and those who are simply themselves. Myself? I was lost somewhere in between. I was believed to be great, but in my own eyes I was plain and unworthy of the prestige that came with the word and with my own name.
Since I can remember, I'd always been admired and doted upon, had always been looked up to.
The Princess Katherine of Jesiah was no small person, indeed.
But in the shadow of my father's sins and triumphs, of my brother's hate, love, and courage, of Caleb's murder and my mother's death, I'd somehow emerged from the scuffle weaker then all the rest. Or so I saw it.
Standing next to Brianna, my sister-in-law, always made me feel small and weak. How was it that she could find the strength to confront a war, death, and the prospect of betrayal without hesitance and I could not even face my own past? My own questions?
If I was allowed only one word to describe myself in those days before we entered the war and the alliance with Isricka, that would be it.
If I allowed two, I would add 'naive.' Danny had always protected me, and in the days before his death, so had Caleb. I'd grown up amongst the finest of educators, each of whom enforced a single ideal into my mind:
I was not the leader my brother would be. I was a tool made only for the purpose of softening his dealings in politics. I would marry, and I would marry well. I would not have to make decisions and my only duty would be to play housewife to my country and to my family.
I laugh now as I realize that, in those days, I saw nothing wrong with that ideal. But life taught me a hard lesson; it took from me my father's sanctity, and it showed me a side of my brother that I never wished to see. When he turned to anger, and revenge, I stumbled. Oh, how I tried not to, but I did. I stumbled without him to lean on, stumbled without the guidance that I'd always had. When he left, leaving me in charge, I was suddenly looked to for decisions. In my weakness, I could only turn to Nathan and run back to that source of strength I knew so well.
I left under the pretense of attending my brother's wedding, and stayed in the country for over two months. I could have very easily stayed but a week. It shames me to think that I left for Isricka when I was needed so, even if Daniel never pointed out my fault himself.
Then came that morning, that day, that forced me to make the change I'd been longing for. The change I'd been too afraid to make. The day the Serpentians arrived, I knew that no matter which path I chose, I would never be the same.
I chose the road few others would have, but not because of that am I great. It is not for courage, or for loyalty that I wish to be remembered.
No, for these things would never have come, would never have instilled themselves so forcefully inside of me had it not been for that one key emotion.
It matters little to me who the person is who holds this journal, who reads from its pages years from now in either remembrance or curiosity. Read and take what you will from this crudely kept journal, from these notes that reflect my life and my conflict.
I ask only one thing as you continue on; should you remember me after the ink has faded, after the book has fallen from your hands, remember me not for the greatness of my deeds, but for the greatness of the love I was given and which I shared. For without love, my friend, there is little hope for this world, or for its future.
A/N: Escaping Shadows is the sequel to Sweet Revenge. I hope you all enjoy it! The first chapter should be up later today.