She pants as she races down the narrower, more private halls of the Manor; her eyes are blazing with a cold blue fire as she listens to the yells of the Manor serfs. Lord Milev knows her to be rebellious still, and sends guards for her when he wants her. She has, just now, managed to break free from the strong grip of the so-called "knights."

Her face wrinkles in disgust. "Lord?" "Knights?" More like a lowly serf at the heads of barking, dirty dogs.[1] Milev (she could not bear to think of him as Lord) had usurped the rightful owner of this fiefdom, Lord Andde, her uncle; he left her aunt, Lady Felylses, for the dregs of his knights; and he'd killed her father, Sir Jakobi, and her mother, Lady Krystal.

She feels a pang, remembering her mother's sparkling blue-grey eyes and the way they gazed dreamily into space whenever she fell into reverie. How long has she so far lived in the dratted Harem, and the house of a serf before that? Two years in the Harem, and ten years in the serf's home? It feels like a lifetime.

Her mind turns to the matter at hand: The corridor she is running along is a dead end, and she knows it is so because of the times she had spent wandering the castle with her playmate long ago. Growling, she chances a glance over her shoulder. Her eyes rise to the ceiling, and she grins in bittersweet delight at the memories of her long-lost playmate, a boy named Krystan—the name, the only thing she can remember about him.

My blue-gray eyes opened slowly and beheld a rather corpulent man leaning over me, carefully tending to the wounds on my arms and lower legs, studiously winding strips of tannish-white cloth over the raw hurts. I was wearing a sleeveless tunic of some sort and short breeches, to my horror. I did not much like skirts, but it was shameful and degrading for a lady of any sort to wear the attire of a boy.

I blinked at him and sat up, ignoring the sting of strained wounds, the man reclining and saying worriedly, "Lie'n still, please, youn' mistress. Your wounds be untended, 'twill infect."[2]

I smiled sadly. "No, sir, I'll be fine. Thank you for your help. Have you a bow and arrow?" I knew I had to escape before I was caught.

"Nay, lady, 'sir' me not. If'n ye wish, you may call me Smyth. But bow and arrow, what you want theys for?" Smyth replied, overtly aware that I was the niece of the former Lord and therefore the rightful inheritor of the Fief.

I swung my legs over the bed and stood, Smyth noting with obvious admiration that I did not flinch at my injuries. "Protection. I think that is necessary, master Smyth. Those cursed dogs are after me—sorry, that's what I call the knights."

Smyth looked at me in admiration, something that has not happened so openly to me in a long time. "Marry, that's courage, lady! I'd soon's be hanged as call a knight a cur." [3]

I shrugged, ignoring the flares of pain that bloomed along my shoulders and back. "Bow and arrow, if you would, master Smyth. Or a dagger, if you have such. I think you should, for you're a blacksmith, aren't you?"

Smyth nodded wordlessly, handing me an old dagger. Aged though it was, when I tested it, a fiber of blood appeared on my finger. I smiled tightly in approval.

"Also, if'n ye would accept this gift," Smyth said hesitantly, crossing the room to a drawer and pulling out a cloth covered bundle, "I'd like ye t'have this liddle thing."

It was a miniature bow. I carefully reached over the cloth and gripped the polished, yet chipped, wood. "It has a nice handle, well worn; good balance, too, surprising for such a wee thing; little, and therefore easily hidden; bends nicely, too, but needs a strong pull, small though it is; and the arrows are slight an' frail things, if rather too firm for fragility, though from that point I'd say 'tis very sharp and deadly."

Smyth nodded. "Aye, is so. Th' bow was my son's, he was a knight afore…well…afore Mylev usurped Lord Andde's seat. Y'might want to know how to make them arrers, and whit thet bow be made of."

I shook my head, smiling slightly in humor now. "I can tell from the pull. Mostly yew, a few splinters of peach, a polish of pine resin, and a handle of killer fish skin, wound on with strong twine. Arrows are of some sort of hardwood, carried ashore high tide of the sea. I spent my life amongst bows. Kind Smyth, you wouldn't mind giving me a cloak as well, would you? Secrecy is imperative. I must make my escape swiftly."

Smyth hesitated for a second, and then said bluntly, "Lady, they think yer dead: it was announced on'y one week ago. I found ye not two steps from my door, cut t' ribbons. Can ye not remember anything?"

I frowned, thinking, but my past was not all that clear. I only remembered a few things: my should-be status; the name and face of my enemy, Mylev, but not what he had done to become my adversary; the year and day I had to remain uncaught to retain my freedom permanently; the bows and arrows I had spent my life amongst; my mother, Krystal, and my father, Jakobi; the pungent smell of blood; and for some reason, a young boy with piercing green-grey eyes, ruddy complexion, and dark subtly red hair. "I cannot say that I remember why or how I ended up in front of your door, master Smyth."

He mulled over that for a long moment, the pause stretching into a silence as he left the room to come back with a cloak in hand. And when I broke the silence, it was to ask a single question: "Say, Smyth, what is my name?"

He stared at me, appalled. "Lady, surely ye remember?"

I shook my head.

He smiled weakly at the joke. "Come now, lady, don't ye remember?" He was almost pleading, but I gaped unblinkingly at him as he handed me the cloak. I stood and fastened it, still gazing at him.

Smyth seemed to deflate and sat on the bloodstained bed that I had so recently evacuated. "Oh, good Lord. We—all the serfs—hoped desperately that ye would save us. We suffer, too. Lord Andde was by far kinder than Mylev: in our eyes, Mylev will never be our true Lord."

"My name, please, kind sir."

He gazed pensively at me, his eyes bursting with an abject wretchedness. "Lady, your name is Pyrazure. Pyr for the fire Sir Jakobi saw in your eyes, and azure for the color of your eyes. Pyrazure."

[1] I love dogs, I do! Honest! but for the sake of the story and its era (somewhere, or more accurately somewhen, around the tenth century, and that's 900 AD), dogs will be dirty. Dun kill me! ._.

[2] Ugh. I suck at tenth century syntax. I'm probably going to keep Razor's (Pyrazure's) (and the other main character's) language in the twenty-first century, minus the slang and over-formal.

[3] cur -- another word for dog. I think it has a nastier implication behind it though. Again, dun kill me!

The idea for this story is about two years old. I picked it back up this summer, fiddled around with it until I was happy with everything except the syntax of the century (which, by the way, I am too lazy to study thoroughly =P).

Enjoy it while it's alive -- which probably won't be very long.