Province of Zoran
Kelyn swung her legs over her bed and stretched her arms over her head. Today was the day, her eighteenth birthday had finally arrived. She would finally get to have a thimble full of freedom. After eleven years of living under constant scrutiny, of being groomed into the perfect bride, wife and queen; she would get to choose one relic that would gift her with more power. Though she only had one gift in mind, the only gift she would ever want: being restored to her family. Though over the years, Kelyn decided that, in addition to being reunited with her loved ones, the only other gift she desired was her independence.
Kelyn had been taken from her family when she was seven years old; that horrific day still haunted her dreams. She could still her mother screaming her name as the King and Queens guards dragged her away; at seven years old she was ill equipped to shake the guards steel grip on her arms off. If she closed her eyes, she could see her brother and younger sisters, their faces filled with fear and sadness.
Her family were not given an explanation for her abduction, as far they knew Kelyn was dead. Over the years, Kelyn had desperately tried to get word to them, to assure them that she was alive and well. Each attempt was thwarted by her guards and ladies’ maids. When she met the King and Queen, she given the explanation that she had both wanted and feared. According to the Royal Advisor, Kelyn was filled a very powerful magic, a magic he had never seen before! This magic would make their country stronger; it would help them expand their borders and defeat their enemies once and for all. King Zavir and Queen Amelise decided that Kelyn would marry their son Prince Radyn when they both turned eighteen.
Kelyn was immediately put into training to harness and strengthen her powers, her tutors were strict and formidable filling her head with as much information about their kingdom as possible; as soon as she turned sixteen, she was constantly being fitted for gowns worthy of a Queen rather than a princess. In all this time, Kelyn had never met her betrothed Radyn; not even a picture of him. Naturally, she wondered what he was like, Kelyn had turned her betrothal into a game; guessing what his personality was like...was he as cruel as his father , what he looked like, what their life together would be like. She grew increasingly frustrated that no one would tell her about him.
She hated her life in the Diamond castle, any other girl would probably give anything to be in her shoes but Kelyn hated being dependent on the two royal people who controlled her every move. Her life was like a chess game, and she was the only chess piece on the board; she was moved at the King’s whim one moment and pulled in another direction by the Queen. She was tired of being the pawn, Kelyn would much rather be the chess player; in charge of her own life.
“Your Highness, your breakfast is ready.” said Lilith one of Kelyn’s ladies’ maids, “The Queen expects to see you in the Blue garden in one hour and has instructed us to dress you in the silver gown.”
Kelyn didn’t bother to answer, she knew she would never be able to argue her way out of seeing the Queen. After breakfast, she quickly bathed and was dressed; as usual the silver necklace was placed around her neck. This necklace prevented her from leaving the palace grounds, if she stepped too close to one of the gates or one of the walls that outlined the borders of the royal property, the necklace would glow red and a guard would appear to escort her back to her rooms until her presence was demanded.
The closer they got to the Blue Garden, the more Kelyn’s body tensed; something was off. She could now see Queen Amelise, however, she wasn’t alone; there was a young man with her. Her breath caught in her throat, ‘He’s stunning!’ thought Kelyn quickly reminding herself to close her mouth.
Her eyes collided with his, she felt her cheeks heat up with a blush. He smirked when he saw her cheeks turn a pretty shade of pink. ‘This has to be Kelyn, she is as beautiful as I imagined.’ thought Radyn trying to hide a blush of his own, ‘Hopefully I can find a moment alone with her…I can’t let them hurt her.’
Kelyn sank into a deep curtsey, her eyes stayed glued to the ground. She could feel the Queen’s arrogant smirk boring into her, yet Kelyn stayed in her curtsey; she wouldn’t allow the Queen to find fault with her. Finally, Amelise allowed Kelyn to sit opposite her. Her eyes followed the princess’s every move, hoping to find something to humiliate her with in front of Radyn.
“My husband and I have decided that you should meet our son at last.” stated Amelise annoyance dripping from each word that came from her mouth, “We thought it only right that you should meet each other before you marry…after all the wedding is in a month.”
“Mother, now that you have made your speech, you have promised that I could spend time with my bride…alone.” stated Radyn pointedly
The Queen stood and glided out of the garden, yet he knew that her spies would be watching and listening to their every word. Luckily, he could use his powers, without them finding out, to form a shield around them, keeping their conversation private.
“Princess Kelyn, I cannot tell you how much I have been looking forward to meeting you.” smiled Radyn his eyes lighting up, “I have tried to introduce myself to you since we were children, however, my parents spies had a rather uncanny ability to sense my whereabouts.”
“If your parents spies are watching us than we should be careful with our words.” whispered Kelyn staring deeply into his eyes, “I don’t really know what to say…I know nothing about you, your Highness.”
“Please call me Radyn…as much as I want to get to know you, we don’t have much time. The spies will discover that I am shielding our conversation.” stated Radyn quickly, “I want to marry you Kelyn, I really do. A week ago I uncovered a plot by my parents to have you killed the day of our wedding. I know this as one of my powers allows me to wander undetected. I have suspected my parents of plotting something unquestionably evil for quite some time. If they do this, they can trap and use your powers for utter destruction. They trying to find a way to become ensure their immortality and if they succeed...”
Kelyn opened her mouth to question him. What did he mean his parents could trap her powers? Radyn took a big breath and continued.
“Please let me say this…We need to get that necklace off of you and leave. I have a replacement necklace that will resemble that one.” started Radyn taking a deep breath before continuing, “I have contacts in the underground society that will help us; they are planning an uprising and I have a feeling that you would like nothing more than to help me bring my parents down. I promise I will explain more about my parents once we are safe.”
“I'm going to hold you to that..." replied Kelyn pausing briefly, "You are right about me, I do want overthrow them...but why are you so willing to remove your parents from their thrones?”
“Like you, I am merely a pawn in their game. From birth I have been groomed to be a King with no real power. I would be a puppet while my father would continue to reign his terror and cruelty upon our kingdom. I will not see my people suffer any longer. Our people know that I desire to make changes that obviously contradict my father’s evil reign.” explained Radyn solemnly, “So, will you join me in gaining our independence?”
“Yes!” answered Kelyn determination filled her voice
“I can see you’re still wondering about our marriage…I would like to get to know you before we wed, if that’s agreeable…”
“That is very agreeable…thank you Radyn.” whispered Kelyn shyly, “You are exactly as I imagined you.”
“You are definitely as I imagined.” grinned Radyn blushing
Radyn removed the shield just as his father and mother came into view. From his father’s expression, he was going to get an earful about not attending his weapons training session that morning.
“I will see you again very soon.” whispered Radyn kissing her hand before joining his father
3 weeks later…
Radyn gripped Kelyn’s hand as they waited for the changing of the guards to finish. Silently, he counted to twenty after the guards marched to their assigned posts; he looked back at Kelyn. Radyn saw the worry in her eyes, he gave her a smile in hopes of reassuring her. He then focused his attention on his shielding power.
Kelyn felt excitement and a hint of worry course through her body; her independence was twenty feet away. She knew though that the hard part of their escape would come after they left the palace grounds. Though when Radyn smiled at her, she felt the nerves in her stomach settle; ‘Maybe marriage to him won’t be so bad after all…’ contemplated Kelyn briefly
Radyn squeezed her hand, letting her know that it was time for them to run. She took a deep breath, after eleven years of being in a gilded prison, with no freedom in sight, dependent on the mercy of the King and Queen, she was more than ready to leave the Diamond Palace.
With the shield in place, they ran as fast as they could to the eastern wall. The closer they got to the wall, the faster they ran; they had to be able to scale the wall in one leap. Kelyn felt adrenaline pulsing through her, she pushed herself even harder.
Their hopes were answered when they dropped quietly onto the other side of the stone wall. Kelyn smile as she breathed heavily, ‘We did it! We actually did it!’ thought Kelyn excitedly grabbing Radyn’s hand again
After a moment, they were back on their feet running in the direction of the Thieves Forest. Radyn used the adrenaline to his advantage, his grip on Kelyn’s hand tightened; he would not lose her, not after he had just found her. Having his independence for the first time in eighteen years felt exhilarating.
After what seemed to be a lifetime, they entered the forest and finally slowed their run before collapsing on the damp forest floor. Gasping for breath, they allowed the cool night air to wash over them.
“Radyn, we’re independent! We are free!” giggled Kelyn turning onto her side to look at him
“Independence is a beautiful thing…now comes the toughest part yet.” whispered Radyn his eyes bright with excitement, “Going to war with my parents. Once they are off their thrones, starting new will take work…”
“We can do it, together.” assured Kelyn smiling
“With you at my side, we can do anything.” smiled Radyn leaning closer to her
Kelyn leaned in closer as well until the tips of their noses touched. Radyn gently placed his lips on hers; together, they not only shared their first kiss but relished in their first taste of independence and freedom.