Thrust, parry, Kira wondered how much longer this particular exercise was going to last. Her long black hair was beginning to fall into her eyes and her muscles screamed in protest. Her slim body moved with flawless grace despite her body wearing down.

Her sparing partner was a man in his late middle ages, the white just begging to show through his dusty brown hair at the temples. After awhile he lowed his weapon and bowed to her. "Enough for today. I'll see you tomorrow-same time as usual. You're improving Kira. Don't let it go to your head. Please put away everything and don't forget to practice."

"Yes, sir." She replied back as she too lowered her weapon and bowed back. With a satisfied sigh she started to put away their practice weapons feeling as if on cloud nine. Praise from the sword master was not always given lightly.

"Princess Kira!" A young page was calling; looking around he finally spotted her. Quickly he ran over. After pausing for a second to catch his breath he went on, "Your Father calls for you, your highness."

Mopping at her sweaty brow with an old cloth, she sighed warily. "Do I have time to put away everything and change?"

"Not if you do not want to get in trouble again. He is in another temper this morning." He replied his eyes never leaving the ground. Royal pages were taught that it was not their place in the world to look upon the royal.

"Thank you Nic. I'll be there as I can. He can wait, but tell him that I will hurry." Although she felt sorry the page that he would be the one delivering the message and no doubt will be feeling her Father's rage, she couldn't keep the irritation out of her voice. "It's more important that I get these things put away. After that I will see to him."

"Yes, Lady." With a bow he jogged off back towards the castle.

"Are you sure that is a good idea, Kira?" The sword master asked from across the dirt circle. He may not have voiced his concerns but it was in his tone of voice.

"Who else is going to put hem away? You? No, I used them and I can put them up. Father will have to get over it" She saw the sword master shake his head sadly.

"You're asking for it, again. I'll help you put everything away so it will not take as long. Child you almost fourteen, have you decided what you want to do with your life?" He said gently as he went about cleaning up.

She paused for a moment while she was picking up a marker that was used earlier. "Truthfully I have never thought about it. All my life I have been here and to leave just seems wrong. On the other hand I do have this dream about far off battles where me and another person, whose face I cannot see, lead several hundred men into battle. So I know that I will not be here forever. "

Silence overcame the two as they finished gathering up everything. When they were done he led her over to a bench set to the side. "I too have dreamed of the future. The future does not hold an easy path for you, but I know that you will overcome any obstacles that will come your way. You have the heart and the courage that I know someday you will fulfill your destine." She was dumbfounded into silence; "You left a spare dress in the closet. Why don't you go wash-up and change in the office, no one will bug you."

Gratefully she thanked him and headed toward that direction. A few moments later she was in the office debating on to put the dress on or to just wash up. It took only two seconds for her to make up her mind.

When she emerged the sword master did not even blink when he saw her still dressed as she had been. "You had better start running child." He called out. Mutely she nodded and ran off. Right before s he reached the King's offices she paused to make sure that she was composed neat fully. Its now or never she thought to herself. Before she could change her mind or outfit she knocked quickly. Hoping that he had forgotten about her.

"Enter." A deep voice commanded from the inside. Kira entered without hesitation and bowed. "You called for me, Father."

"I called for you over an hour ago! Never mind." He said seeing that she about to make an excuse or an argument. "We can discuss it later. We have a guest, one that is very important to your future." Gesturing he went on to introduce the long man who until this moment had sat unnoticed in the corner chair.

"This is Dan he's a messenger from Queen Anne and King Jar. They are announcing that their son is of age and is in the market for a wire. Two of their choice for their son is you and your sister Jade. As of tomorrow you will be traveling to Dagara to tell them that you are thankful and most honored."

She cringed in horror. Not knowing what to do and feeling as if backed into a corner she screamed at them, "No! I Cannot! Marry off Jade but don't marry me off. I have my studies."

As if she had not been screaming at him he turned toward Dan a pleasant smile on his face. "Dan, I think you must be tired from the trip. Why don't you go and retire for the evening." The slim young man raised gracefully form his chair, bowed, and left without a word.

Kira couldn't believe what she just did. She watched Dan leave and then turned to look at her Father. Usually in normal circumstances King Brazil was an imposing man, but in a rage he was very frightful. Standing six feet tall with speckled gray hair his brown eyes flashing angrily, Kira knew she was in for it. Instead of leaving like the little voice in her head kept telling her to do, she just stood there waiting for the worst.
He calmly strolled over to her and slapped her full force in the mouth and cheek. Kira fell to the floor. Touching the corner of her mouth she came away with blood on her hand. She wanted to yell and scream at him, but knowing it did no good she just sat there on the floor.

"How dare you wear pants when I have told you no more. Stand up!" He yelled at her. As soon as Kira stood he backhanded the other side of her face knocking her to the ground once more. This time it brought tears to her eyes. Brazil once in started could not stop his rage. She saw through her watery gray eyes her Father taking off his belt and folding it in half.

Kira knowing what was going to happen next started whimpering and curled up into a tight ball mumbling, "I'm sorry. So sorry."

It's too late for that now. Stand up!" She was too afraid to uncurl from her tight ball. "Find you want your punishment this way, you can have it." He hit her side with the belt and the first set of her tears fell. "How could you keep me waiting for over an hour?" He hit her several more times across the back, arms, legs, and head. He kept asking her how could you and why did you do it over and over, not stopping with the belt.

Kira was reaching darkness when as gasp made her Father stop. "Father do you really think a beating is going to help?" With a sob of relief she saw it was Collin talking.

With her Fathers attention directed elsewhere he replied calmly, "She need some sense beaten into her." He said and started to whack at her again. His blue eyes flashing angrily.

"Take a look Father. I don't think hitting her is going to help. If you keep going at this pace your going to kill her and what will you tell King Jar? I killed my youngest because she was a bitch?" Collin strolled over to a chair, sat down and crossed his right foot over his left knee fully looking like an heir with his fine clothing and casual manners.

Brazil sighed and looked at the floor where Kira was still sobbing. "Your right, although it would have been fun." He took another glance at her noticing her features. Her face is too thin, he thought to himself. Although some like their woman that way. He glanced at her hair tied back. Her hair was the darkest shade of black and with her gray eyes to with it. He couldn't help but to think that she was overall unusual. He thought some more and walked over to pull a rope that would summon a page.

In almost no time at all a skinny red headed youth showed up. "Sire, you called for me."

"Send a message out to the towns Whore houses, Kira a servant that has over stepped her bounds, is for sell at first light." He smiled evilly as he sent the page on his way out the door.

"What a grand idea. You get rid of the embarrassment to the Family," Collin mused, "But what are you going to tell everyone?"

"What is there to tell? We have kept her sheltered all her life. Most people think that you and Jade are the only children. Your mother would not mind since she's always hated Kira from day one. If anyone asks Kira has taken ill. So ill that she cannot have visitors. Eventually she will die and we will have a quite funeral.

Collin laughed, "It's perfect, Father."

"I'm going to go and tell your Mother, want to come and celebrate?" He said when he was almost at the door.

"No, I think I'm going to watch Kira on the floor for a little while longer. It amusing to see on withering in pain. An amusing smile was on his lips.

"You are truly a child of my own heart. You'll make a fine leader one day at this rate." He said with a fond smile on his face as he patted Collins shoulder on his way out.

More chapters later on, maybe, this was all I had time to type.