Chapter Two

The Larkspur guard had brought her through the gate a tedious and slow process as suspicions had risen with the falling darkness.  Though a well guarded woman did attract some unwanted attention the explanation that she was to be delivered to her father had proven plausible enough that they were allowed into the walled interior of the city.  This portion of Vesper was filled with stands selling food and businesses, mostly closed for the night, which gave the place a slightly claustrophobic feel as if she were lost in a labyrinth.  She found herself glancing over her shoulder, back at the outer city, filled with farms and homes, where she had last seen Talis, with great longing.  It was not until Maja noticed a breeze that she realized they were crossing the final clearing to the castle.

The men who had accompanied Majalis gave her apologetic smiles as they left her in line at a well guarded door begging leave so they might  make their lodging arrangements before everywhere was full.  As the final tie to her home was severed she began to ache as if a part of her had been pulled away forcing her to become fully aware of how alone she was.

It was then that the watchmen meet her with a weary look in their eyes.  The dark hair one said, “She looks of a lady, but no lady would ride forth so late.”  With these words they seemed to have decided her fate, “What’s the likes of you wanting here?”

She wasted a moment trying to find her voice before answering, “I…I wish to see Dronocum.”  There she had said it no going back; now the realization brought with it crushing dread, what have I done.

“Who are you to speak on such friendly terms with the King?  Come now who should I tell him is at his door,” asked the youngest man on guard.

The jeering pounded her ears as Maja’s head swam, a noble father was one thing, but the King was another.  Her confusion threatened to unseat her.  Bravely she lifted her head and caught the man’s eyes and held them.  “His daughter,” she answered with a silent roar behind her words.