August 23, 2017 at 9:23 pm #1064314
The twin moons were just beginning their slow descent toward the horizon. All the castle was fast asleep, save for those few who remained alert to guard against threats, and of those more than one could be seen slouching, nodding off, as the monotony of their duties wore on. It was the perfect time for one small slip of a girl to escape the confines of her lavish suite and make her way soundlessly down the wide, deserted hallways.
It was not the first time Princess Moonlight had slipped from her luxurious prison to wander alone, nor would it be the last, but this night would prove to be the most important of all of them.
This night by chance there were servants trudging about with a late task in the corridor she normally took to visit the palace library, so the young Princess was forced to choose an alternate path.
The path she chose led her around the southern Palace wall and through a small, eldom-used courtyard. In the dead of the night such a place should be as empty as the halls themselves, and yet it was not.
A lone figure could be seen, moving as fiuldly as water and far more graceful, back and forth across the grass and stones with deliberate, perfect ease.
Silver Moonlight flashed near his hands, above his head, thin crescents that moved in a dizzying pattern that the eyes could not quite follow. Beautiful. Dangerous.
Moonlight hesitated in the occluding darkness of an archway watching in silence as the man continued his deadly dance of swords.
He was taller than any man Moonlight had ever before seen even her uncle’s guards. Taller, and darker. Skin and hair both, made darker still by the night shadows. He wore the simple, plain uniform of a soldier. In the daylight it would be a grey-green; In the darkness it was only one more bit of shadow to cling to the twisting shape. The night itself come alive to take on mortal form.
There was no telling how long she watched, hypnotized, as the dark man dueled his invisble opponent. All thoughts of the library faded, overwhelmed by the flash of steel and the graceful economy of motion that comprised the warrior.
Perhaps she would have watched all night, entrance, had not the subject of her single minded regard not chanced to glance her way.
For a moment she could do nothing, caught in that startled gaze as they stared at one another, then the soldier took a step toward her and Moonlight promptly turned and ran. All her thoughts were consumed with fear; she must never be caught outside her rooms, or the guards would be increased and she would no longer be able to slip out the dead of the night.
To be seen was bad enough. She had to flee before the soldier realized what, exactly he’d seen. Or, more appropriately, who.
Princess Moonlight had been locked in her personal suite ‘For her own safety’ since that terrible day in her fifth year of life when her father had been thrown from a horse and killed and her own mother had chosen to take her own life rather than try to rule Cesim without her husband.
The late King’s brother, Moonlight’s uncle, had been duly named Regent and from that moment on nothing had ever been the same again.
Should Uncle Rick find out that she’d managed to escape her gilded prison, that stolen freedom would be lost for good. The thought was almost too much to bear. And so she ran……
To be continue….August 23, 2017 at 10:11 pm #1064342
She heard nothing, no footsteps, no sounds of pursuit. Was it possible that the mysterious soldier was not following? Moonlight wished she could look over her shoulder to make sure. No, best to just keeping darting down empty hallways until she was safe in her own–
Hands came out of nowhere, one wrapping around her mouth as the other caught her waist, jerking her back against a hard muscled body.
Moonlight tensed going perfectly still. The powerful arms that had trapped her pulled her off to the side, into a small ante-chamber used on occasion for private meetings. She heard the click of the door shutting, then the arms around her waist slackened it’s grip.
“If I release you, do you promise not to make a sound?”
Warm breath ghosted across Moonlight’s ear, the voice low and melodious and rich like the fine chocolate she barely remembered from her childhood. She fought not to shiver, mostly failing, and nodded, once.
Slowly, cautiously, the hand clasped over her mouth slackened and pulled away. A moment later, the one around her waist followed suit, and Moonlight drew in a slow, unsteady breath before turning around to face her captor.
As she’d feared, it was the soldier from the courtyard, looming tall and imposing above her. In the dim light it was difficult to make out his features, but from what little Moonlight could see, the man almost seemed apprehensive.
Moonlight swallowed and took a step back, hands clenching nervously in her tunic. Now she was really in trouble. She should have just stayed in her rooms rather than risk the trip to the library. This was exactly the situation she’d always feared.
It was odd, though, how uneasy the soldier looked. Almost as uneasy as Moonlight herself. He did linger a little longer on Moonlight’s clothing, dark brow furrowing slightly, the small beads of sweat at his temples glimmering in the faint light. This close, Moonlight could smell a musky scent, different from that of the usual guards outside her rooms. More pleasant.
“Who are you?”
The soldier asked, and Moonlight shivered again, feeling decidedly strange. Words had never felt so tangible before, like the silks that she was still allowed on special occasions.
“Light… I’m Light”
Should his own name be able to sound like that?
“Can I make a deal with you, Light?”
The soldier asked quietly. Moonlight blinked and opened her mouth before she had a chance to think.
“A deal? What do you mean?”
The soldier smiled grimly, muscles rippling beneath his light tunic as he shruggled.
“I’m guessing from your reaction that you weren’t supposed to be out there either. So if you don’t tell anyone what you saw, then I won’t either. Deal?”
Moonlight’s mouth dropped open, then snapped shut a moment later.
“But…but you are a soldier….why wouldn’t you….”
She closed her mouth again, blinking.
“Inner courtyard. Regular soldier don’t come this far into the castle, only the palace guard”.
Grimacing slightly, the soldier nodded. “Exactly. It’s out of the way enough that I can practise in peace, but I’m not techinically supposed to be here”.
Moonlight thought a moment, then looked up cautiously.
“So….you won’t tell anyone I was out?”
She asked hopefully. The soldier shook his head.
“If I did that, I’d be admitting I was somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be, wouldn’ I?”
A faint flicker of a smile touched his lips, then he frowned.
“Though I find myself wondering about you…..you’re dressed far too well to be a servant, but I can’t think of anyone else who would be in trouble for being…..out”.
The frown deepened.
Moonlight flushed hotly, hoping the darkness would obscure most of it.
“Um I’m…. I’m not really supposed to leave my rooms”.
The soldier asked, surprised
“You don’t seem the type to be pone to political uprising and revolutions and the sort”.
Even in the darkness, his direct gaze proved to be unnerving.
“So, Light, why are you confined in your rooms?”
Fidgeting, Moonlight carefully studied the knees of the soldier’s uniform.
“I….. Um Uncle says it’s for my safety……..”
She mumbled. Dark brows shot up as the soldier repeated, ‘Uncle?’
A moment later his eyes widened and he took a half step back.
“Light…… Princess Moonlight. You’re the reclusive Crown Princess!”
To be continue………August 25, 2017 at 4:47 am #1065125ItzprinceModerator
Wow! ContinueAugust 26, 2017 at 3:48 pm #1065739
Moonlight shrugged and wished she could convince her body to quit fidegeting
“Yeah…. I guess”.
Hard to be a crown Princess of anything when you were confined to your rooms all the time.
The soldier said softly, dropping to one knee before Moonlight and bowing his head.
“This humble soldier begs your forgiveness for his impertienece”.
From the new angle Moonlight could see that his dark hair was pulled back into a thick braid that trailed halfway down his back. That was odd. Most soldiers kept their hair cut short.
Moonlight waved her hands helplessly
“That’s……that’s okay. I’d just…….as long as you don’t tell anyone you saw me…..”.
She bit her lip, more than a little discomfited at having the powerful warrior kneeling at her feet.
“Please, um…..please get up…..nobody kneels to me…..”
That unsettling gaze flashed up at her once, briefy, in surprise.
“But you are the Crown Princess. All should kneel before you….”
This was just making her feel worse, on top of the butterflies that seemed to have taken up residence in her stomach.
“I’m not of age yet……so…. I’m just….”
A hand reached out and caught her, and Moonlight almost jumped in surprise. That rich, dark voice came again, quiet and solemn.
“Regardless of age, the Crown Princess of Cesim should command respect. Even a lowly soldier such as myself knows this. Why is it that you do not understand your own authority?”
The words slipped out without her permission.
“Because I have none”.
The hand holding her tightened briefly then released it as the soldier stood. He drew out the Twin blades he’d been using earlier, placing one on the floor and the other one in Moonlight’s startled hands.
“Then if you will have it, I, Ebedi, will pledge my sword and my loyalty to you it is not worth much, the pledge of halfblood, but even the loyalty of one such as myself is more than none at all”.
Moonlight startled again, Ebedi’s blade shaking in her hands.
“I…… I don’t….. I’m…..”
She swallowed and drew in a soft breath..
“I…… thank you…..”
She looked down at the weapon, then shyly up at Ebedi.
“I don’t know what to do now….”
Ebedi chuckled quietly and held out his plams up.
“If you accept, you give it back if not, then you drop it”.
He laughed again, rich and lilting, as Moonlight gingerly returned the weapon to his hands.
“Thank you, my Princess”.
Gracefully he re-sheathed the blade and bent down briefly to retrieve the other one. Moonlight watched gingerly,
“Ah…. I know I’m going to sound stupid again, but what’s a half blood?”
It was fortunate that Ebedi had already put away his weapons, for his hands jerked at the sound of the word.
“Just as it sounds your Highness”, he replied. “My mother is a Cesim noble woman. Scandalously she had an affair with a barbarian slave owned by her husband, and I was the result”.
He shrugged with painful nonchalance.
“To lessen her ‘shame’ I was gifted to the King to be one of his soldiers”.
“That’s….” Moonlight flushed again. “That’s why your skin is so dark? And your hair? I’ve never seen anyone who looked like you before……”
Abruptly realizing what she’d said Moonlightlight’s already flushed face all but burned.
“I mean…..that is…… I didn’t mean……um”.
Ebedi chuckled softly.
“No apology necessary, your Highness. I’ve had twenty years to get used to people’s reactions to me. I’ve long since cease to take offense”.
“I really didn’t mean…..it’s not a bad thing. It just…. Different…. It kind of gets boring when the people you see everyday look just like you”.
Dark eyes looked her over slowly, then Ebedi chuckled again and shook his head.
“Not just like you”, he murmured.
“But thank you again”.
Moonlight fidgeted again, then jumped when Ebedi’s hands gripped her shoulders, a startled ‘eep’ escaping her lips.
“You need to learn not to look down”, Ebedi announced softly, freeing one hand to tip Moonlight’s chin up.
“Hold your shoulders straight and your head high as befits a Crown Princess. Even in confinement, you outrank everyone in the land. Remember that”.
To be continue…….August 26, 2017 at 4:31 pm #1065754
“I feel silly”.
Moonlight mumbled. Ebedi smiled.
“You don’t look it. Few are those who can’t see past the airs to the true feeling within. As long as you project a confident demeanor, no one will ever know that you’re shaking inside”.
Moonlight blinked at him.
“Do you do that?”
She asked curiously.
“All the time”.
Ebedi nodded with a grim smile.
“Because of the way I look, I always have to appear to be utterly confident. To be anything less is to invite more problems than I already have”.
She seemed to be saying that word an awful lot.
“So, um…. In the courtyard… You were…. Practicing?”
Ebedi smiled. “Yeah. It’s…. It works better for me if I practice at night”.
He considered, then offered.
“So, if we’re not going to turn each other in for being where we shouldn’t be- did you want to watch?”
Smiling shyly, Moonlight nodded.
“You move…different than the guards do. Do all soldiers….dance like that?”
The dark man laughed. “Not at all”.
“Most soldiers don’t even bother to learn anything beyond the standard styles they’re taught. That’s all fine and good if you’re fighting a war, but for one on one combat. The mercenaries and barbariens have it best. I’ve been sneaking lessons from whosoever would teach me for years, bits and pieces here and there, and filling in the blanks on my own. Saved me a lot of pain and humiliation when everybody finally figured out I could hold my own”.
Cracking open the door and peering out swiftly, Ebedi nodded once before stepping aside to hold the door open for Moonlight. They slipped out and make their way back to the deserted courtyard before Moonlight finally broke the silence.
“They mistreated you….? Because you’re halfblood?”
Ebedi winced then smiled faintly. “They tried. It’s okay now, they don’t do it anymore”.
He slipped his two swords from their sheaths, swinging them once, experimentally, then winking.
“Threaten to remove a few important bits or twice and they tend to leave you alone”.
Moonlight considered, biting her lip.
“But if there’s more than one of them……”
Ebedi shrugged again turning away before Moonlight could get a good look at his face.
“Then I deal. And work at getting better”.
The swords flashed in a slow arc.
“One day I’ll be the best soldier in all of Cesim”.
Smiling slightly, Moonlight stepped back a few paces to give Ebedi room to move.
“When I’m Queen, I’ll make you Captain of the Guard. That way, nobody will be able to pick on you anymore”, she announced firmly.
The dark man turned to regard her, then smiled.
“I will do my best to be worthy of your Highness’s faith in me”.
He intoned, bowing low, then straightening and making a few practice strikes. After a moment he paused and regarded Moonlight consideringly.
“Forgive me if I am being presumptuous, you might see the wisdom in learning how to defend yourself?”
Moonlight blinked. Twice.
“Me? But I’m…..” She stopped, closing her mouth. She wasn’t nobody. She was the Crown Princess of Cesim. Just because she was more fond of books and scrolls than of wine and weapons was no reason to limit herself.
“Do you think I can?” She asked instead.
“I would not have suggested it if I didn’t think you were capable of it”. Ebedi replied. “Come, I’ll show you some basics”.
Obediently Moonlight joined him, feeling an odd sort of fearlessness. They could both get in serious trouble for this, and it was dangerous as well, but none of that was important.
For the first time since her parent’s deaths, Moonlight was beginning to feel as though her life meant something. She would learn, and she would no longer allow them to cow her, so that when she reached her majority and assumed the throne she would be worthy of Ebedi’s loyalty.
To be continue……..August 26, 2017 at 7:20 pm #1065952
They met every few nights, whenever both could slip away from duties and guardsmen to practice and talk in the sleeping courtyard.
A little over four months after their initial meetings Ebedi brought with him a cloth-wrapped bundle, presenting it to Moonlight with something of a rueful smile. He’d learned Moonlight’s fifteenth birthday was coming up, though no one had been all too sure of the exact date. Moonlight had firmly told herself not to cry- no one had remembered her birthday in years, even if Ebedi was off by two days- then promptly did so anyway once she unwrapped the bundle to reveal a set of exquaisitely fashioned knieves with birds worked into the handles.
Five months later she got the chance to even things in the form of a handwritten tome encompassing the entire known history of the barbarian people that had taken her forever to research and organize.
She’d been unsure of it up until she’d actually managed to give it to Ebedi, not really knowing what the soldier thought of his father’s people, but the expression on Ebedi’s face had been worth every cramp and endless hour of checking and rechecking to verify her facts.
She hadn’t realized until that moment that Ebedi had never been given a birthday gift before in his life, and she silently swore that she’d make sure to get something every year henceforth. It was the least she could do for her only friend.
Though sometimes, Moonlight guiltily wondered if perhaps she didn’t wish for Ebedi to be more than just a loyal friend. Everytime Ebedi’s touch lingered for whatever reason, there arose a burn so strong it was like flames setting her blood to boil. She’d thought she could manage, to continue on behaving as if nothing was any different.
Then a little over three months past her sixteenth birthday, she made a mistake.
It has been a harmless suggestion, to have Ebedi sneak into her rooms so Moonlight could show him some of her drawings.
“You are really good, Light. You did these from your memory?”
Ebedi was sprawled out on one of Moonlight’s lounge, looking slowly through the sheaf of papers containing Moonlight’s charcoal stetches. His weapons rested on the floor in their sheaths, abandoned in the favor of the far more intriguing art work.
Moonlight had choosen to drag one of her chairs over near the lounger rather than tempt fate by sitting next to Ebedi. Not that the warrior really left much room, sprawled as he was.
“I remember almost all of what I read, so it wasn’t too hard to do the same for images….”.
“Yeah, but……” Ebedi sat up, still intent upon the paper.
“This one….this is completely the crane kick. You’ve even got the balance and foot positioning right. It’s incredible”.
“It’s just…. Um it’s not hard”, She managed lamely. Ebedi looked up, deep sapphire eyes sparkling in the lantern light.
“We need to work on that confidence issue of yours, highness. You’re far too skilled- at everything- to be talking like that. Embrace your strengths, and make them flourish”.
There was no time to formulate a reply. One moment Ebedi was sitting still on the lounge, the next he’d reached out and snagged Moonlight’s wrist, tumbling the startled teen onto the lounge and half in Ebedi’s lap with a startled yep.
The soldier chuckled quietly and let her sit up, carefully setting the papers out of sight beneath the sofa so they wouldn’t be damaged.
“My apologies, highness”, he announced cheerfully, prodding Moonlight until she was positioned to Ebedi’s satisfaction.
“Now then, repeat after me: I am a brilliant, magnificent person”.
Moonlight protested, flushing hotly. “I’m not”.
Ebedi held a finger to Moonlight’s lips. “Don’t argue. Just say it”.
Nervously Moonlight licked her lips, realizing too late that Ebedi hadn’t removed his finger. She tasted salt and skin, and something else, and jerked backwards so hard she tumbled off the lounger and unto the floor in her embarrassment.
Ebedi’s rich voice still sent shivers through her body. The soldier sounded worried, then verified it by gently touching Moonlight’s shoulder.
“Are you injured……?”
Gingerly Moonlight got to her knees looking up into Ebedi’s concerned sapphire eyes. She loved Ebedi’s eyes.
“You…” Ebedi hesitated.
“I’m sorry if I upset you…. I didn’t mean to…ah…”
To Moonlight’s utmost astonishment,Ebedi actually blushed. It wasn’t easy to make out with the soldiers dark skin, but nevertheless it was there.
Moonlight found herself staring, but unable to stop herself anyway as she grabbed Ebedi’s tunic and pulled the man down, covering Ebedi’s lips and kissing him in the awkward manner of one who had absolutely no idea what they’re doing….
To be continue……August 26, 2017 at 7:45 pm #1065962olurachaelMember
continue plsAugust 26, 2017 at 8:16 pm #1065971
Ebedi froze, his lips moving slightly as he made a soft sound of surprise. He held perfectly still, his shock almost a tangible thing, and Moonlight bit back a pained sound.
Now she’d done it. Ruined the one good thing in her life just because she couldn’t manage to keep herself under control. She started to draw away, meaning to apologize, when suddenly hands wrapped around her. One around her waist, one clasping the back of her head, not letting her move away. Something shifted, arms and heads and lips and suddenly Ebedi was kissing her back, only it wasn’t so awkward anymore.
Warm and soft and entirely new, Moonlight’s scattered in all directions as the hand behind her head shifted lower to stroke the back of her neck. She felt like she was melting, all her thought focused upon the impossible concept that Ebedi was Kissing her, kissing her. She had never wanted it to end, though eventually they both had to breath.
Moonlight rested her forehead lightly against Ebedi’s breathing steadily in and out for a moment before sorting her scattered thoughts into words.
“So……. It is alright to do that after all…..”
“Oh yes”, Ebedid whispered softly “Anytime you like”.
“Oh good”, She managed “I was hoping you’d say that”.
Both moved at once, eliminating the scent distance between to fit their mouths together just perfectly again. The hand at Moonlight’s back slid down, then deftly maneuvered beneath her tunic and up bare skin.
She squeaked in surprise, then things change again. Somthing invaded her open mouth, warm and wet and caressing and she moaned quietly even as she pressed herself closer to Ebedi. Her body moved without her permission, hands sliding slowly down Ebdedi’s chest, feeling the powerful muscles beneath the thin fabric.
“Ebedi…..” She whispered, barely managing to get the word out before it turned into a strangled moan as Ebedi hands cup one of her breast.
The soldier lifted his head, sapphire eyes dark with desire and no small amount of disbelief at what was before him.
“Light”, he murmured, licking his lips slowly. “Not in my wildest dreams had I dared to hope……..”
Ebedi paused, swallowing……almost nervously, though the thought seemed out of place when applied to the confident, self assured soldier.
“Do you have any idea what you do to me, beautiful Light? How hard it has been to see you, touch you, and not…..” He made a sound, strangled sound, then bent his head to claim Moonlight’s lips once more.
Her thoughts scattered beneath Ebedi’s insitent kiss, though she did acknowledge one brief moment of surprise that the soldier had found their meetings to be as frustrating and wanting as Moonlight herself. Ebedi, apparently, was good at masking his desires.
She wished it could last forever, but the fates had never been inclined to show kindness before. Nor would they now. That much was agonizingly obvious with the faint sound of the door being open, followed by the much more audible thump of heavy footsteps as people entered and more than one startled gasp.
A voice exclaimed, thick with surprise and something else. Something darker. Above her Ebedi Jerked back, his hands automatically going to the weapons that weren’t there before vavlting off the sofa to place himself between Moonlight and the men who had interrupted them one of whom was Moonlight’s Uncle, Lord Regent Rick.
Moonlight scrambled to sit up straight. Flushing and trying not to look as disarrayed as she felt. Wisps of her hair had escaped their ties and tickled her face in a vexing manner, several more trailing down over her bare shoulders.
“Uncle Rick”, Moonlight greeted as cordially as she could manage. “What…. What are you doing here so late?”
Lord Regent Rick peered down his aquiline nose at Ebedi, though his words were for Moonlight.
“One of the guards heard voices and thought you might be in danger. Apparently correctly so”.
“I…..I’m fine, Uncle Rick. Ebedi and I were…..” She hesitated and bit her lip “We were looking at my pictures…..”
Rick lips twisted up into a sneer. “Oh, is that what you were doing? It looked like somethig else entirely to me”. He guestured imperiously at Ebedi
“Guards, seize that man”,
Moonlight exclaimed. Scrambling to get up even as the armed guards moved into flank Ebedi. Ebedi moved with all the grace of a wild creature disabling four of the guards and dodging two more before him. One chanced to slip up to behind him and hit him in the back of the head with a sword pommel. The soldier dropped without a sound, though Moonlight made up for it with her pained cry.
Lord Rick gestured again. “Take him to the dungeons. He will be punished accordingly for daring to touch one of the Royal family”.
He waited until two guards had dragged Ebedi’s unconscious form from the room before tuning back to Moonlight, who was still struggling to get away from the guards who held her.
To be continue…