A crackling sound echoes around me. They sound a bit familiar, but I am not aware of why I hear them. I slowly open my eyes to meet flames. All around me, roaring flames danced about. Taking oxygen away and burning whatever was in its path. Fire, such a beautiful and yet destructive thing.
I then slowly rose to my knees, hoping I wouldn't get caught in the blaze. The entire castle where I grew up in was slowly burning.
I could hear soft, agonizing mumbling. Sounds of someone being slowly burnt to death. I held my stomach with my left hand and covered my mouth with my right, trying not to throw up from hearing the awful sounds.
How did all of this happen? I only remember so little... Some of these memories aren't even mine.
I guess the only way for me to find out... is to go back all the way to the beginning.
I remember a large forest, lush in plant life and an amazing scenery. It was tropical, like visiting a famous tourist spot. All around where famous animals, mostly birds. I see myself standing on a tree branch, gazing in amazement of this scenery before me...
But this is not my memory.
My true first memory was waking up to the sound of waves; as I was lying down on a blanket of sand. A black sheet was wrapped around me, covering my naked body, thank goodness. Raising my body while keeping my sheet close to me, I gazed at the sea before me. The moonlight glittered beautifully off the waves below, making it sparkle like diamonds.
"Such a beautiful, milady?" a calm, masculine voice said to my side. I nearly jumped, just noticing someone was sitting beside me. He was quite handsome. He had sort, wavy blonde hair that blew slightly in the wind and green eyes that could claim any weary heart. He wore quite a dashing red attire. He looked like a prince.
"I am Prince Mordred." he greeted, amazingly enough he was actually a prince. "I happened to find you lying here. What are doing out on this beautiful night?"
"I," I began to spoke, my voice slightly trembled as I taken a bit by his appearance. "I don't remember."
"Oh, that's not good. Not good at all." he shook his side to side, his small front bangs dancing slightly. "It would be a travesty to let a young lady such as yourself out alone. Come," he reached his hand out to me, as if offering. "Come to my castle. I shall treat you to a fine home."
I didn't know why I was on that seaside, I didn't know where this prince came from, but I knew one thing. I didn't want to stay out wearing nothing but a sheet at night.
"Thank you, your majesty." I bowed in thanks as I took his hand.
A few days later, I found myself living at the castle. The castle was enormous to say the least, taking about four hundred acres of field. From my small memory bank, I remember nearly crying when I first saw it. It was just so magnificent, seeing its bright white exterior.
I basically lived in the castle as his wife. No, I didn't actually marry him as I am not fit to wed a prince such as him. I'm only about fourteen taking from my appearance that I saw in the mirror. I kept my long, light pink hair tied into a ponytail.
I was a bit short, obviously, only an inch smaller than the prince who stood 5'5' from what I heard from the servant girls. My eyes were a bit odd as I had two different colors. My left eye was red and my right was blue.
Though I believe the oddest thing about me is the mark on my right shoulder. I presumed it was birthmark; however, it looked like the shape of a dragon.
"Lady Zonoah, are you up?" the servant girl who served me everyday called out as she entered my room. Since I did not posses a name nor could remember one, she named Zonoah. I like it, but I believe the meaning of it meant forgetfulness.
"Yes, I am." I answer, raising from my overly large-sized bed.
Afterwards, she combed my hair and dressed me in a lovely blue dress. I almost looked a princess, all I need was a crown. We then departed to the castle halls, which were dressed in fine banners of the Pendragon family crest, the lion.
From there we walked past the training grounds, meeting the lively faces of the Pendragon knights. Regular knights wore red armor, while higher knights, ones that were part of the Order of Lions, wore green armor.
"Ah, morning, Lady Zonoah!" a knight in green armor greeted me with a bright smile. I knew this knight well. His name was Sir Galahad, a loyal member of the Order of Lions and Prince Mordred's right-hand knight. He had short, black hair that spiked a bit on the top and brown eyes that looked like chocolate. He had a soft, handsome face that didn't look like he fought in battles, but his scratched armor said otherwise.
The servant and I bowed, greeting him. Before he could continue to speak, his sparring knight shouted, "Hey, Galahad! Keep your eyes off the misses and on your opponent!"
The sparring knight struck at his exposed head from behind, but the sir knight anticipated the attack beforehand, smoothly evading it and tripping the attacking knight with his foot. As his sparring knight landed first face to the ground, the others couldn't help but laugh.
"Oh, Kay, when will you learn?" Sir Galahad chuckled along with the others.
Kay's face was beat red from embarrassment. "Laugh while you can, Sir Galahad! I shall I defeat you!" the red knight declared. With a shout, the two knights returned to their sparring, Sir Galahad obviously winning.
I wanted to stay to watch the knights duel; however, my servant insisted otherwise and we continued our stroll down the castle.
Upon reaching the main hall where the King, Queen, and the prince sat on mighty, golden thrones, a loud voice boomed.
"His majesty, King Arthur! His lady, Queen Guinevere! And his son, Prince Mordred!" the royal jester proudly announced their arrival, igniting the crowd of people in the hall to clap. The crowd consisted of merchants, servants, and common folk as the king claimed he had an important announcement to share out.
As the royal family took their seats, the king spoke, "My good people. Thank you for joining us at such a short notice." He was dressed in a higher, classier attire than Prince Mordred. Around his shoulders lied a golden robe, which bared the mark of the family crest. On his top of his slick brown hair, the same golden crown to show his high monarchy. His rectangular face shined like it demanded loyalty and respect.
"Today, my son, Mordred Pendragon, is to announce his future queen."
The entire hall burst into chatter and gossip. False rumors of the prince spread about, some about how he was going to choose a princess from a far off land or me to be his queen. Of course that wouldn't happen since I am not fit to be his nor have we known each other for long. While I deeply appreciated his kindness in allowing to stay in the same castle as him, there was no way I could ask more from him.
I simply lived an unknown life of luxury, sometimes helping the servant girls despite them telling me not to. I don't wish to be a burden to anyone, much less the same prince who was so kind to me. One day, I hope to regain my lost memories as to who I was, but until then I lived this simple life.
Proudly standing, the prince smiled, swooning a few women in the room. "My good people. Today, I shall name my future wife to be to you all. She is of the most beautiful my eyes had ever lied on, my heart nearly stops every time I see her. My love for her... is of nothing words can truly explain."
The prince wasn't much of a poet, but his words did make few maidens love him even more than they already did before. He seemed to have this alluring aura about him, one that could pull in any maiden with the slightest ease.
As he raised his hand, the crowd awaited for him to speak further. "As for this day... my wife shall be..." he constantly paused for dramatic effect, sometime he was common to. "Lady Zonoah!" he shouted my name for some odd reason.
I wonder as to why he did so. He probably noticed my presence just now as I was a bit hard to see in this crowd due to my small structure. For awhile not a single word was uttered. I had just realized everyone was staring at me, some in shock and others in anger.
I had to rethink to myself as to why everyone would take their gaze upon little ol' me. First, the prince rose his hand. Then, he slowly announced his future wife to be. Finally, he shouted my name.
My name... he wanted me to be his wife. Me.
"Eh?" was all I could simply say, too shocked to utter any other word.
At night, the moon shined brightly as I pondered why the prince would choose me to wed him. I mean, me?! Oh of all maidens why me?! I'm not that beautiful! I'm not fit for him! Oh, why me?!
I admit I once had some thoughts of marrying him, but that was only out of thought, not wishing to. I slowly paced around my quarters, trying to calm my mind and think rationally. My face was burning red hot, even more so than the red knight, Kay.
I decided to gaze out my window, looking at the night scenery before me. Crickets chirped silently, letting out a peaceful tone that suited the night. The wind brushed against the large fields of grass, the blades wading in a smooth, almost trance like motion.
This wasn't helping me in the slightest. All I could think about was why the prince would choice me to be his queen. To still my curiosity, I decided to leave my quarters and talk to the prince directly.
I reached the hallway that led to his room, the hall lit by torches to lit the darkness, and soon approached his doorstep. I slightly knocked on his door, enough so he could hear me.
"My lord, may I enter?" I asked. For five seconds, I awaited for a response, but wasn't greeted with one. "My lord?"
I touched the door, slightly opening it to take a peek inside. I was surprised to see he wasn't in his bed. I risked myself by fully entering the room, hoping to see him, but only saw his furniture.
"Odd, where he go at this time of night?" I wondered as I looked around his room. Normally, I wouldn't intrude in his majesty quarters without permission; however, my curiosity was getting the best of me. If I didn't know his reasoning tonight, I wouldn't be able to sleep.
From a creak on the side of his bookshelf, which consisted of fake books I found out not too long age, a shimmering light poked out. It was a glimmering light, like another room lied behind it. I slowly pushed the bookshelf aside, finding a hidden door.
"What is this?" I questioned its existence. Why was the prince hiding a room in secret? To answer my question, I opened the door. A long staircase led downward, like leading to a basement or dungeon. I slowly descended the wooden steps, hoping not to make as much noise as possible.
I feared slightly what could be under these steps. Perhaps he was hiding something like a mountain of treasure, or this led to a secret path outside of the castle. I hoped for one of the two as I desperately wanted my opinion of the prince to stay the same.
How wrong was I as I reached the final step. Before there were multiple naked girls, some around my age, locked in chains. They had battered faces, their eyes voided of all emotion and meaning. On their exposed bodies were scars, more than a well trained knight possessed.
I wanted to cry. I couldn't believe the prince would hide something like this from others. No, the prince couldn't. He wasn't the type of person to hurt others. Even if he was Yin user, he couldn't. I...
My mind was interrupted by a chilling scream, the voice belonging to one I was familiar with. I slowly walked down the stone floor to see where it came from. As soon as I turned the corner, my eyes saw two familiar faces.
The first, the servant girl who would always wake and dress me. She was crying her eyes out, screaming in intense pain as someone lashed at her back with a whip.
The wielder of the whip, Prince Mordred, who carried a devilish smile of enjoyment on his handsome face. He laughed madly as he lashed at her naked back, leaving new scars over the old ones from previous sessions.
My mind nearly went blank at that moment. Everything I believed had vanished, disappeared and ripped out. The kind prince who wanted to wed me was a monster, a demonic being who enjoyed raping and torturing young women.
"Oh... what a surprise." he noticed me, slightly shocked, but then smirked in delight. "I was hoping you wouldn't find out until you were ripe for me to have... but I guess taking you young shall have to do."
He directed his attention towards me, my body frozen in absolute fear. My mind screamed to move, but my body wouldn't listen. It wanted to find some way to believe that this wasn't the prince I admired, but someone who looked just like him.
However, I knew fully well it was him. I was just lying to myself. As he took a step forward, I ran in response, running past the battered naked girls. I constantly looked back to see if he was giving pursuit, but was just walking, enjoying himself to chase after his prey, me.
I towered over the stairs, slammed the hidden door and bookshelf back to their place, and ran out the room as fast as I could. I then burst down the hallways like my life depended on it, hoping to find someone, anyone to help wake up me from this nightmare.
Yes, this was all a dream, I believed deeply. My simple world was just as it is. I didn't see anything. I did was enter the prince's quarters and left. End of story.
But it wasn't the end. As I reached the hallway where my room was, I meet the face of my prince. Standing around like he was waiting for me for some time.
"Evening." he greeted with a wave. I slowly stepped back, pondering how he was able to know where I was going, much less how he was able to appear before I was able to in such a short amount of time.
"W... Who are you?" I questioned, wanting to let my mind know the truth to end the internal struggle.
He chuckled. "My, I'm Prince Mordred Pendragon, of course." he said nonchalantly, slowly walking towards me with the same bloodied whip in his hands.
"No you're not!" I shouted in denial. "The Prince I know isn't a monster! Prince Mordred is a kind and sweet person! He would never hurt others!"
"Milady," he said in a calm tone, as if trying to soothe me, but that prince façade of his had already dissipated from my mind. My back touched a wall before I could move away, he close in on me, not letting me escape. I was trapped.
"I won't hurt you like those other girls. I'll be firm and gentle with you." he attempted to tempt me. Now that all truth was out, he was planning on taking me in a delicate way. "A young lady's body..."
He pressed the end of the whip against my cheek and then slowly rubbed it down to my breast, a hungry look in his beautiful eyes. "Should be dealt with pleasantly!"
He attacked me, unable to contain his desires any longer. He began to smooch at my neck and rubbed his fingers all over my body, much to my disgust. I attempted to fight back, but he proved stronger, pressing his body against mine so I wouldn't escape.
In a wild attempt to escape, I kicked at his groin, a technique I saw a servant girl perform on a random guy who tried to hit on her. Amazingly, I worked as he lost strength in his body, allowing me to squirm through him and run. But, I could only go so far as he leaped at him, grabbing me by my foot and causing me to fall to the ground.
"We haven't reached the fun part yet!" he smiled devilishly as he reeled me towards him. I screamed as I kicked at his face, but to no avail as his full attention was focused on taking my purity.
To stop my struggle, he raised his whip, preparing to lash at me. I covered my face as it came down. Suddenly, I heard a crackling sound around me, followed by a cry of pain from the prince.
I was now breaking down in tears. My whole world shattered and crumpled. The sound continued as I lost consciousness...
That was what transpired, why the entire castle was set aflame in roaring flames. I didn't know how the fire began, but I figured a Yin user must have saved my life. Just a few inches ahead of me lied the prince, his body burning in flames.
However, I didn't have time to wonder. The ceiling above me was beginning to cave in from the fire and worst of all, I was running out of oxygen. I quickly surveyed my surroundings, hoping to find a way out. I ran to an open window, but stopped once a wreckage of wood dropped from above, blocking my path.
My mind was beginning to waver. I could no longer look at my surroundings clearly. With a complete lack of direction, I avoided where red spots where at, which was where I presumed fire was. Once I saw a blue spot, I dashed towards.
I felt my body tip over, realizing I had just fallen out of a window. Now I was free-falling, expecting to hit ground soon and my short life to end prematurely.
However, instead of meeting my end, my body jolted. Not in pain, but in suspension. I felt arms around my body, holding me tightly in a warm embrace. I heard sounds of horse feet galloping against the ground, running away from the burning castle and into the night.
"Don't worry," a soft feminine said to me, assuring my safety. "You're safe."
With a weak tone I muttered, "Thank you." Before losing consciousness for the second time.
Author's Note: Thank for reading the first chapter of Irege! This isn't my story completely as the idea of it came from Morten-Chan from deviantART and belongs to him. He and I are working in collaboration to see this story through! Expect more chapters soon!