Morning streamed through the silk curtains of the royal castle. Marissa awoke from her dreams, where she had escaped from her regal life, and become a famed adventurer. In her dreams, she had a sword worthy of the kingdom’s greatest Dammes, worthy even of the army’s Valkyrie units. Worthy of her sister. However, the blade that lay against the wall opposite to her bed was a fine rapier the Smithy had made just for her. It was an elegant weapon, yes, but one not fit for a brave warrior. On a stand next to her blade was her armour. Behind the stand was her bow. It was also specially made for her, with a strong yet sturdy ebon wood and lined with Ivory. It was akin to a piece of art, but in her hands, it could rain death on any foe, that she was sure of.
Marrisa looked longingly at her equipment, already beginning to imagine alternate lives in which these tools led her to fame and glory, despite their frail nature. She was brought back to reality by the hollow thus of the drawbridge falling on the opposite side of the moat, directly below her room.
The castle was exceptionally busy this morning. Steps echoed up and down the hall beyond her wooden door and the distant clatter of horse and armour could be heard out of the window. Puzzled by this activity, Marrisa was heading to the window when her attendant, a kind old lady that had cared for her and her sister since her mother had died, many years before, burst through the door.
“Your highness! Get dressed quickly. An urgent matter has come up.”
Marrisa felt shivers crawl down her spine. Her sister had several counsellors for each task, from military to agriculture. What could be so urgent that even she was to bear witness to? Nervously, she put a gown on, and followed the halls and corridors she knew by heart until she came to the great wooden doors that led to the throne room. Two guards pushed them apart. Her father, the king, looked up at her with a sad look, even sadder than usual. Whispers echoed as she walked down the aisle at the centre of the room, leading to a large table placed at the bottom of the steps that led to the throne.
Placed on the table was a large map of the kingdom. Scattered all throughout the map where small wooden foot soldiers painted in blue, which she supposed represented the Kingdom’s humble yet efficient military forces, scattered throughout the few large cities within their borders. At the far side of the map, behind a line which represented the border with the neighbouring kingdom of Torei was a huge number of similar pieces, painted red, all looking ominously towards the other side of the line.
Marisa’s sister stood over the table, her usual dress replaced by her armour. Her jaws were clenched, as were her fist. An aura of rage was emanating from her. In between her fists was a parchment that bore the seal of Torei, which she was clearly in the process of reading. After a short while, she looked up at a man which Merissa recognised to be the Grand Master of Arms, a kind veteran knight, now in charge of all the armies of the kingdom.
“Too many” the knight answered, clearly worried.
The crown princess immediately followed up: “How much time do we have?”
“If they head straight for the capital, they’ll be at the walls within a week. If they assault every town they encounter, or even only the larger cities, that gives us anywhere from two weeks to a month, but not a day more.”
Even Marissa knew it. That simply wasn’t enough time to prepare for a large assault, or even to evacuate the populace. Her sister swiped her arm in range, toppling the red solders, and crumbled up the parchment, which Merissa guessed was a declaration of war. The crown princess started to walk out the room angrily. Several people fell in behind her, including the Grand Master of Arms. Before leaving the room she turned around.
“Summon the master of the guard and all members of the military council not yet present. From this moment on, we are at war!”
Marissa’s heart sunk. Given her sister’s attitude, this war wasn’t one the Kingdom was likely to win. Now she knew more than ever: She HAD to find Nikke Raven.
It’s been a long, LONG time since I sat down to add to this story. This morning I sat down, armed with coffee and music, and promised myself not to sit up until I had finished this piece… I broke that promise several times, but I got it done before sunset nonetheless. As I was rereading what came before and jotting down Ideas, I couldn’t help but feel the story was progressing slowly, the consequence of having two authors, I suppose. So I set out to write something that will push this world out of the relative status quo, and into the adventures ahead. I leave it now to Bookworm to craft the first steps of this adventure, whatever that might mean.