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Drama Fiction Romance

This story contains sensitive content

*Trigger Warning for Sexual Violence, Physical Violence, gore, or abuse.*


“It’s mine, and you can’t have it!” The merchant shrieked at me as I weighed the dagger in my hand.

“Well, if you’re not selling it you might want to put it amongst your other belongings back there.” I pointed at his bag, presenting him with the dagger. My cloak drew up higher than I would’ve liked. The small branded insignia, noticeable on the inside of my wrist. As he saw, he gasped, gaping at me. He met my eyes.

“Anything for you Princess. Please take it.” I shushed him, shaking my head, reaching into the pocket of the leathers I wore, I took out several silver pieces and handed them to him. “I do not take from others.”

I slid the dagger into my boot, hiding the handle and hilt beneath my pants. I walked back toward the castle, a weight in my chest, a feeling of dread at the sight of it. Most women would have loved to be swept off their feet by a prince right? Most women would kill for what I had, of which I felt guilty for. My prince was no dream however. He was nothing short of a monster. I was no princess, I was a prisoner within the walls of this castle. He and his family were abhorrent.

My family was from another royal line many miles from here. I had no say in the matter when it came to marrying Daxton. After marrying him, on several occasions, when I had ventured out of the castle, I would come home only to get beaten. My lips were too red, my cheeks too flushed, and my hair not neat enough. He thought that it meant I had been seeing someone else. That I snuck into the village to be with this other man, not that this castle suffocated me to the point where I could no longer breathe and had to escape. My face would be covered in bruises and he would still make sure to remind me that I was “his” in our bedroom. 

The villagers were terrified of their rulers, the royals would regularly take from these villagers what was rightfully theirs. Their farmland, their crops, their belongings. They would even go as far as to rape and pillage different villages. The thought made bile rise in my throat. 

My prince was the worst of them all, I knew the reputation he had. I did not pretend to turn a blind eye to his behavior. That’s why this dagger could be my way out, I had been observing carefully over the past months how to put a plan into motion. Tonight I will strike.

When I arrived home he was waiting for me in the bedroom. When I walked in the door I could see the rage sweep over his features immediately. The brisk walk in the cool air left my whole face flushed but to him, that flush came from being with another man. A lowly commoner out in the village, I’m sure he would attempt to remind me of who he "belonged" to.

Without words, his hand lashed out at my face making contact with my cheek. 

“I do not belong to you.” I hissed at him.

His nostrils flaring, the lines in his brows furrowing even deeper. “Oh, yes you do.” As I crouched, clutching my face he approached, I removed the dagger from my boot. As he got closer I stood and when his hand lashed out yet again, I struck. Plunging my dagger right into his chest. My eyes met his as panic entered them. For good measure, I brought my knee up forcefully in between his legs, right to the most sensitive spot on a man's body. He dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes.

I looked him dead in the eyes the whole time. “May you burn in hell for all the pain you have caused.” I whispered to him, my hand circling the handle of the dagger withdrawing it, blood seeping through the wound in his chest. I wiped the blood off the dagger using his pants, sheathing it yet again in my boot. I went to the closet where buried beneath my dresses I hid a pack with enough supplies to last me several days. Judging by the positioning of the sun it was about four o’clock, just in time for the guards to be switching shifts. I slung my backpack over my shoulders and walked out of the bedroom. Quickly I made my way down the hall. I have not yet come across a single guard, I hurried through the halls but not too quickly as to raise any suspicion in case I were to run into anyone. I walked directly into Daxton’s sister Clarissa.

“I am so sorry, Clarissa,” I said to her bowing my head, Clarissa took a moment and looked at my face. She smiled, giggling.

“Rylan, It looks as though my brother has already punished you enough for one day.” She chided as she sauntered off down the hall. I could feel the sting of my right eye where a bruise would surely be soon enough. I got to a back door near the horse stables. I opened the door slowly. Taking in the area, observing for guards and stable hands. Luckily enough for me the yard was empty. I ran to my horse, throwing on a saddle and halter. We were backing out of the barn and just as we were coming to the gates of the castle I could see guards running toward the draw gate on the high walls.

“Delphi, we have to go now.” I snapped the reins and my mare took off. The guards were fast but we were faster. I could hear the noise behind me. No doubt the guards as they made their way to their horses. They had found him. I have no doubt Clarissa had immediately gone to her brother with pride at the sight of my face and had been the one to find him on the ground. I grinned as I imagined her scream, the scream that their family has heard many times from those they have tortured, killed, and raped. A chill ran down my spine.

We blasted through the gate and into the outskirts of the village. My best chance of survival would be to head toward the mountains. My best friend Anders and I, when we were children, would ascend to the mountains to play. The adults didn’t often look for us up there expecting us to be in a simple hiding spot. Which is exactly why that is the first place I would go.

I had kept my strategic thinking to myself at this court. I trusted no one in the entire castle. They all thought I was a pathetic princess, doe-eyed and dependent, I had played the role well. They did not realize I had trained out in those woods with Anders my entire childhood. He was destined to be a fighter, whether in battle or a guard to royalty. He was my first love and I believe I was his, we just knew that love between us was impossible. He knew of how my father and my family had viewed me. A bargaining piece, a way to get the power and money they desired. Before I was sent to Daxton I never was able to tell Anders how I felt. How I burned for him.

The wind whipped through my hair as I dared a glance over my shoulder. Castle guards were behind me. An arrow whizzed past my head. I patted Delphi’s side. “C’mon girl we have to get going.” She picked up her pace. Whipping through the trees of the trail. When we came up to a fork in the trail instead of following either passage I headed to where I knew the river would be. I had to exceed what the enemy expected of me.

It would be slower than blazing down a trail but the guards would expect me to take a path because it was simply easier. Sure enough, as we got far enough into the woods I could hear their yelling as they passed me heading Northeast on the trail that led to the nearest village where they would not find me. The forest had enough foliage on the ground that unless they looked closely they could not see Delphi’s hoof prints. As we got to the river we headed Northeast toward the mountain range.

The air grew cooler as we made our way North. After about two hours I hopped off Delphi, allowing her to drink from the river as did I. The cold water was frigid but soothed my nerves slightly. I found a stick sturdy enough to be used as a spear if needed. I found a jagged rock and proceeded to sharpen the tip to use as a longer weapon of sorts. A bow and arrow would be ideal but I could not inconspicuously have snuck that out with me. As I cleaved into the branch I looked at my wrist. That insignia branded into my skin. The only way to be rid of it was to take the skin off completely.

My stomach rolled as I processed what I would have to do. Setting the branch down I took the dagger out of my boot. I took the fabric of my collar and put it into my mouth, this was going to hurt, badly. My breath hitched as I held the dagger up to my skin, I gouged into the flesh at my wrist. I bit into the collar of my shirt to stifle a yelp as I drug it across the layer of skin until it was completely removed. Casting the piece of skin into the river so as to not be traced. I ripped a piece of the towel that I had used to bundle the fruit in my pack and wrapped it tightly around my wrist to hopefully stop the bleeding.

I let Delphi munch on the available grass beside the river. I knew that the further up we went the less there was likely to be. Although it wasn’t the middle of winter which made the Mountain Range somewhat less frigid and treacherous.

After a short time, I patted Delphi on her flank and I mounted the saddle. We continued to walk along the river, the wind whipping both her and my hair every which way. When we came to the base of the mountains the wind settled slightly. I could tell Delphi was hesitant, she felt my trepidation, and I took a few breaths to calm myself. Even if the guards were to catch me, the few days of peace I would hopefully have beforehand was enough, before they would execute me. The death of a Prince, their Prince in particular would not go unpunished by death.

Several hours later we found ourselves at a cave in the mountain. Luckily enough light still filtered in that I could see mostly into the cave. I made sure to check for a den that a bear could possibly use but I found no evidence of it being used by any animal or human. I ushered Delphi into the cave. I took out a sleeping mat and laid it on the ground sitting atop it.

Delphi hung her head low as her eyelids got heavy. Poor thing must be exhausted. As was I. I didn’t realize I’d fallen asleep until I woke up to the sun shining in the mouth of the cave. I had slept clear through the night. No disturbances, the most peace I’ve had in a long time. 

The next days were much the same, filled with peace and quiet. Delphi and I journeyed to the river, my spear in tow to catch some fish. I had managed to get two fish big enough to provide me for the rest of the day, maybe even as my first meal tomorrow.

As we made our way back to the cave, Delphi huffed, shuffling her feet nervously. I backed into the cave wall. Pulling Delphi as far back as I could get her. The sound of boot prints on dirt and rock crunched outside of the cave. My breath caught in my throat, I withdrew the dagger from my boot. Just outside of the cave I heard muffled voices. The footsteps continued until three men stood in the mouth of the cave looking at me. They wore full suits of armor with helmets and swords sheathed at their sides.

“Oh princess how far you’ve fallen, although you could get on your knees if you would like.” One growled menacingly.

“We’ve heard that you are quite fun to use.” The other chuckled, the sound sending shivers down my spine. As the two guards on each side started to take a step forward, in one swift movement the guard in the middle swung dagger-fisted hands into their throats. A yelp escaped me as I pushed against the wall. The two guards sunk to their knees, their throats gurgling, they each sputtered several times before it was completely silent, save for my pulse pounding in my ears. The other guard took several steps toward me. As the stone bit at my back and arms, he took off his helmet.

A head of blonde hair and blue eyes met mine. “Rylan.” His voice, so familiar and soft that it brought tears to my eyes.

“Anders.” I gasped, launching myself into his arms. The armor he wore bit into my skin but I didn’t care. He wrapped his arms around me tightly, his head in the crook of my neck. I breathed the scent of him, the familiar scent of pine and earth. He pulled away, catching my face with one hand, and pulling my waist closer with the other. Before I could pull in a breath his mouth was on mine. Crushing but in the most gentle of ways. A kiss that we had both waited for our entire lives. His tongue finding mine, intertwining. Anders withdrew slowly. As he did he placed a soft kiss on my cheek and pulled back to look at me.

“I heard about the prince. That you went missing. I had to find you.” 

His hand touched where the bruise around my eye had healed, still slightly yellow with just a hint of green around some of the edges. A muscle in his jaw ticked. 

“Did he do this to you a lot?” He asked in a low, raspy whisper. I nodded. His eyes grew darker. He shook his head as if to shake that darkness away. “We have to get you out of here. They are sending out small groups to look for you. Luckily they had little faith that you would be hiding in the mountains so they sent only the three of us.” He surveyed the cave, and then me.

“You must be starving.”

“I had only run out of apples yesterday. Delphi is probably worse off than I am.” He grinned. 

“I know a cottage, it belongs to my cousin, in between kingdoms. It’s a day's ride away. But if we leave now we could use the darkness to our advantage, the moon would be enough to guide us.” With that, I packed what little I had of my camp cavern. We rode through the night, and wolves howled around us as the moon reached its highest point. The tree branches cast shadows that seemed to move the longer you stared at them. The dawn approached and we took a break by a pond we had found. Enough time for the horses to grab a quick drink and we were on our way again. Hours later a cottage nestled in the middle of the forest appeared.

A smile adorned Ander's face as we tied off the horses. The door creaked as we opened it making our way inside. I took a moment to walk around the house looking at all of the undisturbed knickknacks. As I turned toward Anders my breath caught in my throat as a sword blade plunged through his shoulder and then receded. Anders's hand reached at his shoulder as he fell to his knees.

As I looked up from him the blood left my face turning to ice in my veins, and a bone-chilling cold ran up my spine.

“Hello love.” Daxton chided menacingly.


February 16, 2023 02:59

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5 comments

06:35 Feb 25, 2023

I like the twist at the end, I never saw it coming. Just when I thought they were finally safe!

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Timothy Rennels
14:01 Feb 23, 2023

Just when you thought they were safe! Nice twist at the end. Star crossed lovers destined for a single kiss.

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Kristin Rotkvich
17:06 Feb 23, 2023

I couldn't let it be too predictable lol

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Jester Patatoe
20:22 Feb 21, 2023

This was adorable.

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Kristin Rotkvich
17:06 Feb 23, 2023

Thank you so much!

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