Going through the gates into the city of Adunan was an experience in itself, he residence all crowding in the streets to see the crown prince and the princess returning with the Princess’s hero. Rumors about the girl who single-handedly saved the princess from the group of bandits spread through the town. Faye squirmed a bit uneasily on the horse loaned to her.
‘Kiai ie Baetheus? (Are you ok?)’
Faelan’s voice echoed in her mind, she looked over to him walking next to her horse looking out at the crowds of people?
‘Stay out of my head.’
‘I do not need to go into your head to know what you are feeling.’
‘Senthannos Faelan.’ Faelan shot her a glare, scoffing a bit at the remark being thrown back at him. Faye just chuckled as he sulkily made his way to the front of the group.
‘Fix your coat Faye.’ Tomas rode up next to her. ‘My coat is fine Papa.’
‘Your hair is a mess as well.’ Faye tried to resist the urge to roll her eyes her was always a mess, grass stains and mud were always caked on her boots and pants, and new holes were always found in her coat ever since she was a child.
‘Papa, calm down. Your nerves are getting on my nerves.’
‘We are meeting the King and Queen. We should clean up a little.’
‘I bathed the other day I believe.’
‘Faye –.’ Tomas stopped himself recognizing the glint in his daughter’s eyes and the little hint of a song in her tone. And for a second he saw his wife as she teased him about his over-reacting, and his nerves that always seemed to get the best of him. He focused his attention towards the looming castle approaching them.
‘I do not believe falling into a lake counts as a proper washing up.’
‘A proper washing up consists of water, and I do believe the lake was filled with water.’
‘And where was the soap?’
‘Papa please,’ Faye’s eyes narrowed a bit her attempts at hiding her grin failing, ‘soap is for the rich.’ Tomas clicked his tongue feigning annoyance. He shook a finger at her pretending to reprimand an unruly child.
‘Welcome!’ King Hadrianus stood and opened his arms in greeting as Tomas, Faye and Faelan entered the throne room. Queen Claretta sat in the throne on his side, and their youngest son, Romanus, stood on the side of the steps.
‘Thank you for inviting us your majesty.’ Tomas bowed, Faelan let a swift kick to Faye remind her to bow. The king clasped Tomas’s hands before moving to Faye.
‘And who is this?’ Hadrianus turned his attention to Faelan. Faye wrapped her arms around the boy’s shoulders and patted his head pulling a glare from the poor boy.
‘This is my dear childhood friend. Poor thing he is orphaned and was alone in our village. I am his only friend, he is like a little brother to me. The crown prince Lucianus told me it would be alright your highness.’
The queen stood now smiling fondly, ‘Of course it is. We are so grateful to you for what you have done for our daughter. It was very brave of you.’
‘Thank you so much for your generous offer your majesty.’ Tomas bowed again, and subtly elbowed Faye’s ribs signaling her to release Faelan. Annthea and Lucianus had taken their places next to the thrones. Annthea stood to the left of the throne platform, Lucianus stood with Romanus on the right. Faye observed the three siblings, all standing tall and elegant. The queen sitting on the throne on the left, crown glowing like a halo over her head and her long green gown flowed to the ground like a river. Annthea stood near her mother, a dainty gold circlet on her head with diamonds dangling like raindrops on her forehead her own lavender dress draped to the floor slightly dirty from their travels. Lucianus was still dressed in his armor, still looking regal and knightly with his sword strapped to his hip and long green cloak draping over his shoulders with a golden clasp in the front of his chest. Romanus was still a bit young but no less elegant, dressed in a green tunic with gold detailing in the front, a simple golden band around his head. The four royals standing in front of the thrones looked as though they were angels.
‘That would be more than enough.’ Faye snapped her gaze over to her father, the king had returned to his place next to his queen. Faelan looked a bit concerned over what was just agreed on.
‘Kaethelian, ariante. (Pay attention, wake up)’ Faelan’s voiced wrapped around his mind, she had to quickly catch herself before she rolled her eyes in front of the royal family and their guards.
‘Othu diaethae? (What happened)’
‘We are to live in the servant housing, here in the castle. Your father is going to work with kitchen staff.’ The king gestured to one of the attendants, Faelan’s eyes cleared and their connection cut off. He was right to be concerned, when first offered they figured they would be living with the other villagers in the town. Living within the castle walls so close to the guards and royals was going to be much more dangerous.
‘Please help them carry their bags and other items to their rooms.’ A couple of attendants made their way to Faye and lead them out into the hall. She cast a quick glance back at Annthea standing at her mother’s side, she saved a princess and now she was in the heart of the kingdom; the most dangerous place for a Paeriamos to be. She caught up to Faelan nudging his arm, a telepathic link connecting their minds.
‘Nothanni elleios, Faelan. (Stay alert: watch for danger)’
Annthea paced back and forth in her chambers, Faye was currently getting settled in her new residence. It was just a couple of spare rooms that they had cleaned up for Faye and her family. Since Faye revealed her abilities to the princess the other night Annthea was kept deep in thought, she was a bit afraid now that the girl was brought into the kingdom –she had no idea her father would bring them into the castle and grant them residency, she thought the reward would be just some gold or recognition –but now she was curious, there was a whole different side that was not just a destructive view on these abilities. Faye used her ability to create beauty, the sight of droplets dancing on the surface of the lake came back to her mind. A knock sounded on the door pulling her out of her deep thought.
‘Who is it?’
‘It is I, Rhetta, Milady.’
‘You may enter.’
Rhetta walked into her chambers holding a basket of freshly washed and folded clothing. Annthea noticed that only half of the basket was her own clothes, the other half belonged to someone else being only simple tunics.
‘Whose clothes are those?’ Rhetta hummed a reply, and looked down towards the other side of the basket, ‘Oh, these are Faye. I offered to wash some of her clothing, she only has a few pairs of clothing.’
‘Are you going over to give them to her now?’
‘Well yes, right after I finish here.’
‘I shall go with you. I have some things I wish to ask her.’ Rhetta spun around, one of Annthea’s dresses in her arms. The maidservant’s eyes wide with curiosity, the princess was not by any standards unkind –but she usually did not associate herself much with the other servants or peasants in the kingdom. As a princess she was expected to socialize only with people of higher and nobler class, preferably other princes from visiting kingdoms in order to spark a possibly beneficial relationship for her parents.
‘What do you need to ask her milady? About the other night?’
‘Rhetta.’ Annthea chastised the girl for her nosy nature, ‘I just have some questions.’ Rhetta nodded slowly, turning back to her task of purring away her mistress’s clothing, ‘I’ll hurry up then milady.’
Faye looked around her new chambers in slight awe. It was almost double the size of her old house in Brev, and it was her own room. Tomas and Faelan had their own rooms as well elsewhere in the castle, but she had no doubt they were much different. It wasn’t a very extravagant room, very simple with a dresser, bed and desk with a couple of candles on top. There was also a window looking out towards the courtyard of the castle, she never had a window before.
‘Faye.’ Faelan let himself into her room, Faye had just been sitting on the bed taking in her new surroundings. She crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow at him.
‘Do you not ever knock? I am a lady you know, I could have been indecent.’ Faelan just rolled his eyes and sat at her desk, looking around her room. Her bags were still on the floor near the foot of her bed still full.
‘You have yet to unpack.’
‘I suppose I have.’
‘Too excited?’ Faelan reached down to pick up her bags for her and placed them on the desk, starting to unpack for her.
‘Excited for what? My new bed?’ She smiled to herself, content with the springiness of the bed under her. She had only slept on bedrolls before on the floor with a thin blanket atop her and a sack stuffed with hay under her head. He just scoffed at her childishness, he never was one for complaining but he knew that she made sure to always let him know when her back was bothering her after a fitful sleep.
‘Alphaeus el lelinith quen theor. (The queen, sent us an ally for help.)’
‘Hetheanos, valliator el lelinith ulor? (I remember, but is a valliator an ally?)’
Before Faelan could respond, a knock interrupted him.
‘It is I, Rhetta and Princess Annthea.’ He shot her a look of warning, Faye waved it off and stood to open the door.
‘I brought your clothes back. They are nice and fresh.’ Faye took the basket from Rhetta smiling gratefully. She stood to the side to let them into her room.
‘Thank you, did you need something your highness?’ Annthea’s eyes darted between Faelan and the open door. Faye caught on and closed the door with her foot before putting the basket down on her bed, Faelan paused in his unpacking peeking back at the three girls.
‘He can stay, if your questions are about us and our kind your majesty.’
‘He is one of…’ Faye tilted her head to the side, quirking an eyebrow up a bit amused as she watched Annthea shift a bit uncomfortably searching for the right word.
‘Of my kind, your majesty?’
‘Yes, I suppose.’
‘Then yes, he is.’ Faelan stood in front of Faye protectivly, crossing his arms attempting to look more harsh than he ever could. Taellius who were assigned to Alphaeus or any Baetheus were expected to not only be a messenger, but also somewhat act as a bodyguard if they were to need any backup just in case they were out on a mission alone Taellius were not skilled at fighting but they were able to at least hold out if their masters needed the help.
‘Avanthae. She does not mean to harm us Faelan.’ Faye placed a hand on his shoulder, pulling him to her side. Annthea felt Rhetta close behind her, the maidservant getting a bit skittish again realizing that there is not only one sorcerer but two they brought into the castle.
‘Is your father also one of your kind?’
‘My father knows nothing of our kind. He thinks I threw a couple of stones at the heads of the bandits to protect you. And I would appreciate it if he kept thinking that.’ Faye’s mother, Abbey, always told her not to tell her father about their abilities, it was not in fear of Tomas that she told Faye that –but more of a precaution. Tomas was a very honest man and if he knew that Faye and Abbey were Paeriamos then he would be torn between doing the honest thing and turn them in, or to keep them hidden illegally. He was also a very gentle soul who did not handle such violence well.
‘I have told no one of what I saw. My maidservant has also kept quiet about this as well.’
‘Why? You are the daughter of the king, if he found out you could get in trouble.’
‘You saved my life and in turn I chose to save yours. And in order for us to keep these debts settled please be careful with your…gifts.’ Faye smirked, Annthea seemed so confident but her fingers always fidgeted when she was alone with Faye still not being used to such close proximity with someone of Faye’s kind. Annthea was taught to stay away from people like Faye –people with mysterious abilities and gifts.
‘We are in a room with no water nearby your majesty. I will not harm you.’ Annthea cast a quick glance at Faelan. He still stood tense, ready to jump in a protect Faye if needed. Faye chuckled and shook her head.
‘He is a Taellius, my messenger, your highness. He won’t harm you unless you attack me.’
‘What is a Taellius?’ Faelan shot a look of warning to Faye.
‘Baetheus.’ She waved off his warning, if Annthea wished harm on her the king would have killed Faye on spot, Annthea did not worry Faye her father did. She remembered Eilin’s warnings of King Hadrianus and how he was known for his mass murdering of Paeriamos, he did not care what they were caught being guilty for doing, even if they were just Auxillios, healers, then they were immediately brought in and sentenced to death. Hadrianus offered no warnings, no trial and no mercy. Faye had to sit by and watch as her friends were found and taken. Friends who became family were burned, beheaded, tortured and drowned –but never forgotten. Eilin kept her own graveyard for their lost friends in the Indillien Cave located deep in the forests only trusted individuals of the Paeriamos were allowed to know it’s location. Faye visited the Indillien Cave too often, Baetheus Abban a Natvilior, whose ability allowed him to harness the earth, grew many barren white trees there. Eilin tied colorful ribbons on the branches of the trees, a ribbon for each one of their fallen friends.
Faelan accompanied Faye on multiple occasions, tied his own ribbon for his sister who was lost while she was on a rescue mission. Even so young, barely of age, he saw more deaths than a boy his age should. No matter how trustworthy or safe this princess seemed, he would not let his guard down and fail his Baetheus.
‘Forgive me, for being so nosy.’ Annthea took a step away, she sighed and made her way to the door, ‘I have no right to be curious, I forgot my manners.’
‘Your manners were intact your majesty.’ Annthea stopped, turning back to Faye who spoke again, ‘If you wished harm upon me and my people you would have done so already.’ Annthea nodded in acknowledgement turning away to walk out the door. She took another glance back towards Faye and Faelan.
‘Rhetta will take you around the castle in the morning. You are also allowed to roam the town as well, please do not cause any trouble.’ Faye’s eyes took on that gleam whenever her mischievous demeanor took over, causing Annthea to regret her words.
‘Trouble your highness? I never cause trouble.’ Faelan scoffed and turned away to finish unpacking Faye’s items, ‘I am always the epitome of good behavior and proper manners.’ Annthea resisted the urge to roll her eyes but still found herself laughing at the girl in front of her. The princess was still very curious about these new people but she kept her questions to herself, perhaps she would bring them up later.