As the queen escorted the noblewoman out the palace doors, Aiden stood guard at the cement columns supporting the marble castle. His face remained placid as the queen turned to him and motioned him to her room.
When he entered the pompous chamber, the feeling of grandeur never left him.
“Lieutenant Aiden, I know you are aware of the ongoing rebellion attacks afflicting Aurelose.”
“Of course Your Majesty. All of the available troops and intelligence services are on the case.”
“That is proving to be useless, isn’t it.” The queen’s brows furrow as she paces the length of the room.
“Well- We are working on the situation. Recently we have gotten intellect the group’s leader, who goes by the name of Raven, is currently living in the capital.”
“That information was given weeks ago, Lieutenant.” The words hit him like daggers from the queen’s icy tone.
“I have received intellect from my personal group that says Raven is the lost heir.” the queens next words knock the air out Aiden.
“You- There is a lost heir? I saw this with the utmost respect Your Highness.”
“Of course she isn’t mine. She is my niece. And you are going to eliminate her. Remember this means I won’t have an heir to inherit the throne. You are the most qualified candidate in this kingdom.”
Aiden’s eyes go wide. He ponders the thought of him with a crown laying upon his black locks.
“I am honored Your Majesty. I will get rid of the heir. Where is she located?” His response comes with an almost automated tone.
“She is located in the slums. You must infiltrate the rebellion and bring me information through a messenger I will send every moon cycle.”
“I will depart the following morning. Awaiting dismissal.”
“Dismissed. Oh, and remember Lieutenant, your future here depends on the death of this girl.” the queen reminds as Aiden walks away. He nods and exits her chambers.
After he is inside the guard’s barracks, he exhales properly.
“King Aiden.” he whispers to himself, drowned in fantasy. He falls into a knot of his muddled childhood memories. Trained from the age of seven until the final tests of combat and strategy given. Every bruised rib and black eye had shaped him from a small frail village boy to a strong soldier. A dangerous one at that.
“It was all because of the generosity of the queen.” He thinks.
He starts to pack his satchel with the essentials for tomorrow’s journey. As cases of medical supplies and water layers over the bag’s fabric. He hesitates over the knife on his dresser. He quickly grabs it and packs it into his satchel and boards it onto his horse.
The next morning he climbs aboard his fair horse and rides through the gravel road to the slums of the mysterious capital city. As he rides through the country-side, his mind returns to the thought of inheriting the throne.
Abruptly, he stopped at the slum entrance and trailed his horse around the nearest pillar to tie the saddle up. He dismounted with a thud and continued up the dirt road on foot.
He crossed the nearest canteen, hoping to over hear conversations about the legendary Raven. It was said that she would help the poor and steal from the queen. It was also said she was the leader of the rebellious actions that have become more unified over the queen’s reign.
“I heard the queen cut our food rations in half for the incoming invasion.”
“Of course she did. He Royal Majesty can do whatever she pleases. Even if it means starving us and keeping us in the pig’s barn of a town.” a nearby townsfolk said. The queen’s formal title was said with venom instead of the admiration Aiden usually says. He wandered up to bartender and asked in a hushed whisper.
“Do you know where I could find Raven?”
“Aha. This lad wants to know where the Raven is.” the bartender bellows out followed by loud chuckles from townsfolk behind Aiden.
“Listen up boy, Raven doesn’t occupy these parts.” the man scruffs to Aiden. “Now get lost before you lose all your teeth.”
A while later, Aiden is walking in the town trails, alone and defeated. With no sign of a lead to guide him, he wanders the town, not willing to give up his faint claim on the Aurelose throne.
He continues to ride up the path leading to the forest when he hears a rustle in the leaves. A flash of green catches Aiden’s eye through the deep forest brush around. His battle instincts kick in as he shuffles to grip his sword. His hand catches empty space inside his holster. As he looks around, he abruptly stops when he sees a lean, cloaked figure clutching his sword.
Adrenaline kicks in and Aiden leaps of his horse and lands on the ground with a dagger in hand.
“Looking for this?” A female voice quips at him. He pounces at her and lands a swift kick to nothing but air. She dodges the quick attack and lands a smack on Aiden’s back with his sword. “Feeling cocky are we?” she continues to agitate him.
“Rotten village thief.” Aiden continues to think to himself.
“Village thief? Little old me? I don’t think I could be given the honor of being called a ‘village thief’.” She says with a grin as she lands more blows to Aiden. His training have been no use to her quick actions. He finally sees an opportunity when she punched him again. She stared at his armor that had been exposed from the havoc made from the fight. The royal crest burned it’s way into her eyes. She shook it off and began to strike again.
He waited for another blow and landed his own kick and knocked her off her feet with his sheer size. He continued to land punch after punch until she scrambled out of his reach and pulled out two knives from her back pocket, one of which belonged to Aiden and was thought to be in his pouch. He looked to his pouch to see it slit with his supplies spilling out to the trail. The attacker took his distraction to land another kick and began to run off to a nearby horse. Aiden struggled to get up and finally mounted his horse and chased after her.
He chased her for miles until his horse couldn’t keep up. Her jet-black ride rode at a constant speed through the ride, never slowing down like his owner. Her hair slowly came loose and was visible through her green cloak. He took note of her curly shoulder length hair and her golden skin tone seen by her hands.
“This girl is going to rot in the dungeons for the next century because of this.” He muttered as her continued to ascend the countryside chasing her close figure. She had made her way to the far northern border. Finally, Aiden’s horse gave in and stopped. The girl’s horse continued to ride away. She turned around and for a moment her face was visible.
Aiden’s eyes widened when he saw her face. The similarities were undeniable. The sharp brown eyes. Her sneer accenting her small nose. The girl who had made off with all of Aiden’s weapons and food was the lost heir and Aiden had just let her go.
Author Notes: Please keep the comments kind. Thank you for reading!