Plot: Main character is youngest child and is degraded by his siblings. When he was being born his mother died his father became unnatentative afterwards and let the children run wild. His brothers resented him for killing their mom. His three older brothers all end up losing the crown so he gets it. His eldest brother (and nicest one) dies, the other gets stripped of his title, and the other is impotent. Impotent boy gets the crown but the council is angry with him for not producing an heir. Once he inherits the crown and kills his father for it main character leaves town with his best friend Alma. They go to a rural province and live together. He uses his magic to be a healer and toxicologist and after a while meets another person with a lot of magic. They decide to lead a revolution once they find out about main character's lineage.
I pulled the grey cap over my fiery red locks and hid them adequately. I then yanked on some old clothes and scurried down the secret passageway in my closet and to the nearest bedroom where I proceeded to shimmy out of the window and down the side of the castle. I scoped around and acted extra stealthy as I creeped in shadows and managed to evade the guards. They've caught me quite a few times but most of the time I manage to get away. I'm technically not allowed out past dark or allowed outside of the grounds unescorted but as far as I'm concerned… fuck that. Sure there are dangers out in the world but it isn't like I'm powerless to stop them and I feed off of adventure. I climbed over the gates and scurried swiftly down the streets. Once I was a fair ways away from the castle I slowed down my pace and continued on my path down alleyways until I was finally out of the 'rich' part of the capital. I then caught a transit train and got dropped off in the type of neighbourhood someone of my social standing probably shouldn't be in. I passed the brothels and the opium dens and finally got to the port. The scent of salt and rotten fish invaded my nostrils but I paid it no mind as I continued to look for my best friend. I found her on the pier looking out towards the ocean and I lightly squeezed the back of her neck as I stealthily approached.
She lightly shrieked and then noticed my smiling face. "Oh _ you gave me a fright. I thought you where some drunken sailor," she said in her soft voice.
"Sorry, I just couldn't resist," I replied.
"It's alright. So have a hard time sneaking out?"
"Never, I'm quite talented at it you know," I replied.
"Of course, come on let's go walk around or something," she said.
"Alright," I replied then we linked arms and departed. Our wanderings took us away from the brothels and drug dens and towards the main square. It wasn't dead by any means as there is always something going on in the capital however it was rather empty compared to how you see it in the afternoons. As we stood around chatting idly a blur of grey and blue ran past us and down a small side street.
Mere moments later a man came running into the square as well and he stopped abruptly to look around before approaching me with a fuming expression on his face. He grabbed me by the collar and spat venomously, "give me back my possessions thief."
"I 'ont know what youse talkin' 'bout sir," I replied in the thick accent I used to spend hours practicing. I had to speak this way when I talked to anyone besides Alma as if anyone heard my refined accent and eloquent speech I would surely be found out.
"You impudent little bastard, I know you stole from me now give it back or I shall take you to the courts," the man spoke angrily. He was rather tall and had the body of a warrior as well as surprisingly dark hair.
Soon another man came up behind him and softly asked, "is this him?"
My breath was absolutely taken away as I gazed upon him; he had beautiful skin that was golden and sun-kissed (the other man had the same uncommon tan but his wasn't as beautiful), dark purple hair, and a face sculpted by the gods. "Yeah this is the thief, he claims ignorance though," the man clutching my collar said with a glare.
"He didn't steal anything," Alma said with a soft glare. She didn't speak with the thick accent so common to the working class… she was actually a lower-noble's daughter from a neighbouring province and when he went bankrupt he sold her to a brothel while the rest of her siblings where sold into various forms of slavery.
"Lies," the man said angrily.
"Youse got no proof. Youse being presumptuous, see nuthin," I said pulling my empty pockets out.
"Empty your pockets as well harlot," the man said glaring at Alma.
"What the fuck did you say?" I snapped looking at the cold expression on Alma's face… god when Alma puts on that look she's hurt and trying to pretend it doesn't matter. She's always so open and carefree. I started thrashing and wanted to use my magic against this cunt but knew I couldn't lest I be found out. Only a few people can use magic… kind of. The working class generally can't use it except for small tricks here and there but even that is exceedingly rare, some of the nobles can generally use more, as well as a few prodigies but they usually end up working for the royal family. The royal family has the strongest however, that is how we got into power. I decked the man in the face and that set him off. He immediately relinquished his hold on my collar to clutch my throat instead, which just caused me to fight harder.
"_, please settle down. This man may be boorish but you shouldn't stoop to his level," Alma said in a sweet voice which immediately caused me to stop my fight and to just glare even harder at him. "My pockets are empty as well as his, it would serve you to not make assumptions in the future," she said in a cold tone.
The man let go of my collar and started grumbling under his breath as he turned away. "Youse owe 'er an apology," I said in my most authoritative tone.
"What did you say to me street urchin? The last thing I owe either of you is an apology, you should just be thankful I do not take you to the courts over that punch you delivered. That indiscretion alone is enough to get you hung," the man stated before leaving. The beautiful man merely raised an eyebrow as he witnessed the entire event and followed the boorish man with a cat like grace.
"Thank you for defending me _," Alma said quietly as we sat down next to the fountain.
"You're welcome, he had no right to call you that," I said holding her hand.
"Maybe so, but I used to be exactly as he said."
"That is in the past and you'll never have to go back to it," I replied.
"Yes but that man was right… you could've been hung for what you did… or at least had your cover blown and have your family find out what you do at night."
"Small price to pay," I said with a smile.
The next morning I awoke at my usual late hour as I spent the night running around and I languidly dressed and didn't even bother to attempt to comb my hair. I leisurely walked down the stairs and made it to the kitchen to look for food. "_ what're you doing in here?" the cook Maria said with a shocked expression.
"Getting food," I replied looking at what she was cooking.
"Well you can wait. Your father will want you at lunch anyways, he was quite angry that you weren't present for breakfast, guests have arrived," she explained.
"But Maria I hate guests," I whined.
"Too bad, now get out of here," she said with a smile. I love Maria she used to always let me hide out in the kitchen when my brothers would pick on me and is one of the few servants who will put her neck on the line and lie to my brothers about my whereabouts; she is in short an amazing individual.
I left the kitchen and decided to just wander around. "_ there you are," my brother Tiberius said grabbing onto my hair.
"What do you want Tiberius?" I spat glaring at him, he was to be the next king and the minute his coronation happened I was going to go and buy a little cottage on the countryside with Alma and live out my life there.
"Where were you this morning?" he asked with a wicked grin on his face.
"What do you care?" I said wishing he couldn't easily overpower me.
"You made us look very, very bad in front of our distinguished guests. And the last thing I want is for my future kingdom to look bad towards our allies," he said throwing me onto the floor harshly.
"Do you think I care," I asked standing back up and using my magic to hurl a vase towards him which he easily stopped before it could smack the side of his head.
"You shouldn't have done that," he said with a devious smile before pulling my hands behind my body and picking up my thrashing frame.
"Let go of me you freak!" I yelled trying to hurl objects at him which where easily stopped. He then shoved me in a closet and put a crystal necklace over my neck. I hate these things, there are only a few in existence but my family has a couple of them in the jewellery room. It basically leaches off your power and you cannot use them and the worst part of it all? The only one who can remove it is the person who put it on you or someone of greater power than them. I looked around my settings and immediately started to hyperventilate… I hate closets; I've been locked in them many times yet still haven't been desensitized. It's hard to breath and the walls feel like they're closing in. I started to bang on the door and hoped someone would pass by and curiosity would get the best of them. My wishes where answered almost immediately when the door was yanked open and I fell to the marble floor breathing heavily.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you," I chanted trying to catch my breath. When I finally did I looked up to see the purple haired man from last night.
"You," he said shocked. "What're you doing here? Why where you so disrespectful to the future king? I have to put you back, I'm sorry," he said clutching my arms and trying to push me towards the closet.
"Fuck that," I said wiggling out of his grasp before he could get a good hold of me and sprinting into a nearby bedroom which contained a secret passageway. I could handle secrete passageways despite being dark and cramp because I always knew there was a way out… but closets are different. I ran through the lesser-known parts of the castle until I finally entered my bedroom and just as I sat down on a chair and clutched my stomach in hunger a knocking at the door informed me that lunch was ready. I chatted with the maid a bit until we parted separate ways and I continued towards the dining room.
"_, you weren't present for breakfast this morning. Care to explain?" my father said as soon as I busted in.
"I was sleeping as per usual. I would've made an effort to awaken early had I known guests would be arriving," I replied taking my usual seat at the table.
"Tiberius did you not inform your brother of when our guests would be arriving?"
"Of course father, he must've forgot," he replied with feigned sweetness.
I merely glowered darkly and replied curtly, "yes I must've."
"Well then I suppose we'll have to redo the introductions. _, this is my youngest son _. _ this is _ prince of _," my father said in a dignified tone.
I merely nodded and eagerly waited for the food. Soon some maids came out with a cart covered in dishes and placed them on the table. "Thanks Shiksi," I said quietly as a young maid I was friends with set my favourite potato dish right in front of me. She gave me a small nod and smile and continued with her duties as I fought the urge to dig in. My father motioned for us to begin and I immediately loaded my plate up with vegetables, potatoes, bread, and a large glass of a sweet cherry juice. I partially ignored my proper table manners (use specific forks etc.) and just relished in the fact that I was eating. I was one of those people who was constantly hungry and constantly eating… which makes no sense when you look at how lithe I am. Conversation between my father and the prince was
I looked at the room of packed objects and let out an annoyed sigh. There is a lot of stuff here… I opened up a book of magic and scrolled down the spell on the page of quick reference ones I had written out for the trip. I chanted the archaic words and the trunk in front of me shrunk down to a miniscule size; with a satisfied smile I repeated the spell with all of my possessions and carefully placed them in my bottomless bag. I pulled on my coat of a rich purple colour and wished I had something less extravagant but alas I owned very few 'commoner' clothes. I tucked my spell list; a small bag of coin, a map, and some other small necessities in my pockets then strung the bag on my back, strung the bag of food on my shoulder and snuck out of the castle. It was late at night and I knew that I'd be able to escape as long as a stable boy assisted me… and I'm sure at least one of them would assist me. I quietly entered the stables and noticed Marcus sleeping among some hay… he really was quite beautiful with blonde hair in curls that seemed to shine in the moonlight peering through the windows. "Marcus wake up," I whispered shaking him.
He mumbled incoherently but when he finally fully awoke and became aware of his surroundings a small smile graced his delicate features and he asked in a pleased tone, "_ what're you doing here?"
I placed a small kiss to his full lips and said, "I've come to escape. Tiberius had his coronation tonight, as you must know he will kill me if I stay."
"You're leaving?" he asked quietly.
"I'm afraid so, I need your help however. I need to get two horses out of the stables without the guards noticing," I explained trailing my un-calloused fingers over his jawbone.
"Two?" he asked with a devastated look on his face. I will not lie; I do not do anything remotely resembling monogamy… I'm to marry some spoiled princess from a neighbouring country and it would do me no good to get into serious relationships… however I have always favoured Marcus over all of the others.
"Yes, Alma is coming with me… we're going to go to a rural province and she's going to pretend to be my wife so we won't stand out… I wish I could take you with me however," I explained feeling a small pang in my chest. I truly do wish I could take Marcus with me… but the rural areas are quite different… the people are more backwards and closed-minded… it's scandalous enough I'm taking Alma with me let alone me living with a man.
"I understand," he said quietly.
"Here I have something for you… also please try to stay on Tiberius' good side… you'll hear many things about me and it's best if you just ignore them or blindly agree," I said pulling a silver ring with a row of small red gemstones out of my pocket. It wasn't really much to me but I can remember Marcus professing a liking towards it once so I may as well give it to him. Besides it'll look weird for me to wear all of my extravagant rings and jewellery once we get to our new home.
He lightly gasped and in a happy tone said, "It's beautiful! I can't believe you remembered I liked it. Thank you, thank you, thank you."
"You're welcome… you'd best attach it to a string and keep it hidden under clothes however. Now about those horses… I think I can sneak out that one really dark side entrance that faces the forest and trails however I'll need you to tell the guard in that area that you heard a sound by the west exit of the castle," I explained.
"Okay, which horses do you want?"
"I want Aiko obviously and hm… which do you think would be best for Alma? I want something dark in colouring, mild mannered, yet still swift and strong."
"Remy would be best for her," he said going down the stalls. He pulled out Aiko for myself and I helped him to put the heavy saddle on him. Aiko was a black horse I received a few years ago… I didn't go riding much but when I did I always enjoyed it and Aiko was a beautiful creature. He then pulled a cocoa brown horse with some white on its muzzle from a different stall and saddled it up as well.
We trailed the horses to the back exit of the stables and I gently pressed my lips against Marcus' he happily kissed me back and a small moan escaped from the back of his throat as my tongue plundered his mouth. Once we where both out of breath I gave him a chaste kiss and said, "goodbye forever beautiful Marcus… try to remember me fondly."
"How could I not?" he asked with a sad smile. "I'll go distract him okay?"
"Wait… I just thought of something… I do not want anyone to put two and two together and figure out that you assisted me. I'll just be extra stealthy all right? When they notice me and the horses are missing come morning you can feign ignorance… you'll be heavily punished for assisting me," I said placing another kiss on his lips.
"Okay… just be careful… very careful… hopefully the guards are drunk as it's a night of celebration."
"Some celebration," I scoffed. Before opening the door and grasping the reigns of both horses. I was thankful that the stables where near one of the lesser known back exits and it was all engulfed in shadows. I looked around and noticed no guards so I ran with the horses in tow towards a bushed area and looked around to see if anyone noticed me. I tied the horses to a tree branch and ran the five feet over to open the locked gate. I of course had a key to it and as quietly as possible stuck my key in and chanted the incantation. The lock sprang open and I pushed it open then grabbed the horses before running out of the gates. Once we where out I shut it again and guided the horses around the perimeter of the castle and once I finally got to a street I breathed a sigh of relief. I was to meet Alma a mile or so away just out of the rich area of the city and near a widely used traveler's trail. I walked there at a swift pace and thankfully made decent time. When I finally got there I noticed Alma and she carried two bags with her. "What's in the bags?" I asked.
"Everything, clothes, trinkets, books, everything," she replied. I muttered the spell and shrank both to a pocket size and handed Remy's reigns to her.
"We will need to be out of the province by morning… he may put up border guards… and come daylight I think we should veer off to the woods and travel through there using the hunter trails and the unpopular travellers trails… we'll have to stop at nights to rest but I believe we can make it. We'll have to push the horses as hard as possible if we want to make it but I think this will all work out well," I explained climbing on my horse. She climbed on hers and we took off down the trail at a fast pace. No conversation passed between us as we rode swiftly all night and into the wee hours of the morning. It was nearing the late afternoon when we went past the sign proclaiming the end of the province and we continued to ride as fast as our horses would take us until we got to a stream. I stopped to allow the horses a drink and opened up the bag of food. "I don't have much… and we'll have to make it last as I've never learned to hunt and there isn't many towns we'll encounter as I want to take obscure ways. I have fresh fruit and vegetables, which we'll need to eat first, some dried fruits which we can save for the end of the trip, bread, nuts, this dried meat stuff I've never liked but I thought maybe you'd like it, and yeah that's it," I explained pulling out some bread and pieces of fruit.
"Where are we going anyways?" she asked taking the food and sitting on the ground.
"You have more experience with the far off provinces… I do not want to be near any major city but I want to at least be near somewhere semi-urban in case we need supplies… I think we should move somewhere with a modest population… not small enough to all be farmers… but not large enough for it to be on my brother's radar, also no major trading routes the last thing we need is a place with so many travellers."
"Pass me your maps, I will find us a place," she said with a smile. After we had long since finished eating Alma pointed to a spot on the detailed maps and said, "we should go there. I passed through there a year or so before I was sold off. It seems like the perfect place for us, there is a city only a couple days journey away and I'm sure we could find work of some sort."
"I think I'm going to try and work as a healer and toxicologist. I can acquire an apprenticeship and I think it'll work out, I did after all used to follow the healer in the castle around and have been known to mess around with herbs and stuff… besides I wasn't bred for manual labour I couldn't ever withstand it."
"Well I think this place will suit us well then," she said with a smile. I mapped out the course we should take down old rarely used trails and along riverbanks. I finally had it all mapped out and predicted our journey would take us a little over two weeks.
"Well let's get going, I want to be well on our way by nightfall and then we can set up camp," I said climbing on Aiko, she nodded and we went on our way. We rode down unused and overgrown trails until dusk when I decided to set up camp in a small space nestled between a few trees. I tied up the horses, cast a spell to protect us from any opportunistic travellers who come by us and grabbed some food from the bag.
The next few days consisted exactly of those motions, we passed through different terrains, we ate most of our fresh food, and we soon where approaching a town which I was grateful for as I was in dire need of a bath. I pulled my startlingly red hair up into a cap as we approached the outskirts of the town and rode to the nearest inn. "I can't wait to bathe and eat hot food," I said excitedly as we rode along.
"Yes both of those would be quite nice," she said as we approached an inn.
"Wait here with the horses I'll go get us a room," I said hopping off of Aiko and passing his reigns to her. The inn was a little on the run down side but it would have to do, I went up to a desk and acquired a large room and the innkeeper sent someone to put our horses in the stable. Moments later Alma came up to me and we went to our room. As soon as we got to our room I set my bags down and I turned the dial by the tub to fill it. "We had better have running water at our new place," I grumbled hating how cold the water was.
"If we can afford it we'll have it," Alma said.
I chanted a spell to heat the water up and proclaimed; "I'm selfish so I'm taking the first bath." I then went through my bag for clean clothes and some of my bath oils and soaps. I was happy to remove the layers of grime and soak my skin in the usual scent of vanilla, lavender, and sandalwood. I loved the scent I enveloped myself in, it was the perfect combination of sweet, floral, and heady. I drained the grimy bath water and got dressed in tight black trousers, a dark green tunic, and then I combed out my fiery red locks and drew a bath for Alma. I put a couple of drops of lavender oil in her water and stepped out from behind the screen.
"It's about time, you really do take too long with that you know," she said with a roll of her eyes before picking up her clothes and going behind the screen. I put on all of my rings and a silver necklace with a silver vial hanging off of it and then opted to put a little kohl around my eyes and smeared it so it looked all faded. "What the hell are you wearing?" she asked coming out in a simplistic blue dress and combing her thick black hair.
"Clothes," I replied casually.
"Tone it down a bit, we don't want to call attention to ourselves and you are looking pretty attention grabbing… lose some of the jewellery and get rid of the kohl.
"Ugh, fine," I replied washing my face off and taking off some rings.
We then proceeded to go downstairs and ordered some supper and wine. I looked at the patrons and many where either travellers or prostitutes. "This lamb is very good," Alma said making small talk.
"I want a prostitute, particularly a pretty young thing with blonde hair," I replied glancing about the room.
"You cannot be serious," she stated bluntly.
"I know, I know… disgusting practice… but it isn't like I have the time or money for my usual methods… besides I'm very good looking."
"_ if you buy a prostitute I will never forgive you. It doesn't matter how attractive someone is the shame is still there," she said with a glare.
"Fine… I won't buy one and I'm sorry for being insensitive… but fuck I'm going to die of sexual frustration."
"And just how well do you think you're going to fare in a small town that will undoubtedly be a little backwards?"
"Seduce naïve farmer's sons."
"Hm, suppose it's no worse than how you seduce every stable boy and messenger you encounter."
"You make me sound like a man of ill-virtue," I said in a faux-scandalized tone.
"You are a man of ill-virtue, you may look like a saint compared to your brothers and you may not be violent or cruel but you are still born of that lineage and possess their manipulative and lascivious nature."
"That was pretty harsh."
"You'll survive I'm sure."
The next day we picked up some food in the town square and continued on our journey it was all terribly monotonous. We didn't run into a single creature along the way (save for a few birds and deer)… which is typical considering the fact that creatures that detect strong amounts of magic shy away from it and the creatures you have to worry the most about are ones that can detect it. We finally rode up to the town circled on the map and went to the nearest inn to situate ourselves before finding a house. We bathed, dressed in simple clothing, and ran through our back-story once more. We where newlyweds who just moved from a town not that far from the capitol and moved here after being told it was a beautiful place by a friend who travelled through here years ago. I immediately consulted the innkeeper on whom to contact in regards to acquiring a house and he told me to visit some office building. Linking arms with Alma we wandered towards it and received more than a few curious glances from passer-bys. After a couple of wrong turns we finally came across it and entered the building. "Can I help you?" a man asked sitting behind a desk in a room that was large but seemed small due to overcrowding of papers and things.
"If you are Mr. Sashall then yes you can. We have recently moved here and are in need of permanent lodging," I stated sitting languidly in a chair in front of his desk.
"Anything in particular you're looking for?" he asked opening up a large drawer and pulling out some papers.
"Yes, it'll need stables or at least somewhere to put our horses, plumbing, at least two bedrooms, and space for a large garden."
"I think I may be able to find something… but those prices are quite steep," he stated pulling up two files. "Yes here look at these and tell me if you find them adequate and in your price range."
I looked at the two files and both places sounded like utter hovels and dirt-cheap by my standards so I passed the files to Alma. "Hm, I think we should take this one _. It's a little ways out of town so we will have the room for the garden, as well as nicer due to the out of town location," she stated after a while.
"Alright then, I suppose we'll take this abode… I would like to view it before any money is exchanged however."
"Sounds good you may see it tommorow Mr…?"
"Mr. Rinnian, _ Rinnian," I said stating my fake name proudly. Sure I kept my first name or at least the diminutive of my first name and used the last name of one of my ex-lovers. "And this is my wife Alma Rinnian."
"Nice to meet you both," he said with a smile.
"At what time shall we view the building?"
"I'll stop by the inn at noon."
"Sounds splendid," Alma said standing up. I followed her out of the building and
"Now what?" I asked looking around.
"Well we should rest and eat… then tommorow we'll situate into our new home, plant the garden, chop some wood, buy some furniture, and then we can look for work the day after that."
"Chop wood?" I asked incredulously.
"How else will we make fires and we'll want a stock up before winter… the winter's are rather mild here compared to some places but still it will get cold at night and will be much colder than the capitol."
"I've never chopped wood in my life! I am a delicate boy Alma… sure I can battle with swords and magic and sure I can cook and I've been known to clean on occasion and like to play in the dirt… but you're going to have to be patient with me… my entire life has been turned upside down. I mean I'm wearing my basic and non-extravagant looking clothes and we're still garnering many glances some of which are a little unsettling," I explained, the situation we're in looking rather bleak. I have money sure… a lot of it… but not enough to keep us clothed and fed for the rest of our lives… and I suppose I could sell my jewels but it'd be pretty obvious as to who I am if some red head (a rare hue) is selling off the missing prince's crown.
"Keep in mind we're outsiders and people are wary of outsiders… they assume we'll seduce the sons of the farmer's and poison the well water," she said with a grin.
"Well we at least have half of the criteria covered," I replied with a lecherous smile
"Come on, we might as well rest and eat and act like the sloths we once where."
"Ah the good old days. When Shiksi brought me my meals and stable boys fell to my feet and—"
"And you where locked in closets, beaten on a regular basis, forced through rigorous training, neglected by your father, and had to deal with the most vile people in existence," she interrupted with a raised eyebrow.
"Fine so it wasn't perfect and I wasn't by any means happy… but I had money, nice things, good sex… all the things that easily fill the void."
"And now you can fill the void with true happiness."
"I suppose," I grumbled opening the door to the inn.
The day consisted of sleeping, eating, idle conversation, and lying around. The next day Mr. Sashall met up with us and escorted us to the cottage. It wasn't all that far out of town maybe a five minute ride (if you ride the way I do) and was beautifully concealed by trees the only indication of a house being there was a small trail. The yard was large and had as promised a small stable, room for a garden, and there was a trail to a little creek situated not far from the house. The house was in it's own rustic way kind of… dare I say it… cute. The house was off white, with blue shutters, and vines climbing up the walls. We entered and while it may have smelt musty it was overall quite nice for being so tiny. There was a large room that tripled as a kitchen, dining room, and living room, the bedrooms where on the small side but they at least had been pre-furnished like the rest of the place. The bathroom too was small but it had a tub and plumbing so I was grateful for having such pleasant accommodations. Mr. Sashall brought the paperwork with him and at the small wooden table we signed the papers, paid him, and eagerly accepted the keys. Keys where admittedly not all that necessary as I planned to protect the house with magic but it did provide an extra sense of security I suppose. We got back on our horses and packed up all of our things from the inn, bought an axe, gardening tools, cleaning supplies, and groceries then rode off to our new home. Using basic magic I created light orbs all over the house that could easily be triggered by looking at one specifically and chanting a couple of words or just concentrating on turning them on. We then opened up all of the windows and Alma got to cleaning while I went to the garden to start planting some herbs and vegetables. It took a bit of weeding for the garden to be ready and I started to plant the little seeds and muttered a few words with each sprout so it would grow faster. I was still working on the garden when Alma came out rather dusty looking and she merely glanced at me before going to the horses and brushing and feeding them. I bathed once I had finished outside and Alma was making a stew of some sort. She dished us both out a bowl and the minute it hit my tongue I remarked, "you're a shit cook you know that?"
"Never learned how to do it," she replied with a shrug of her shoulders. I gave a small groan and dug through my now un-shrunk trunk of various dried herbs, flowers, and spices. I pulled out two spices and sprinkled them in the pot over the fire and in our bowls. "Hm, this is much better," she said taking a bite.
"How about I do the cooking from now on and you can do the cleaning or something?" I asked ripping a chunk of bread.
"Sounds fair but I refuse to help tend to your herby magician end of the garden."
"Okay sounds good."
"And we can share stable and horse duties."
"As long as you help with the wood collecting."
"Hm… that all sounds good. Tommorow you find the healer and I'll try and get some work as a seamstress or something."
"Okay, good plan," I said picking up a book on illnesses and which herbs cure what. We had an extensive herb garden at the castle and the healer that tended to the residents of the castle was a rather nice old man and would let me follow him around a lot so I suppose that's where my interest in such manners came from. Not to mention my brother's have hexed, poisoned, and beat me so many times I have become a bit of an expert on antidotes and cures. The next morning I dressed in my finery (albeit not my nicest clothing) and sought out the town's healer. I consulted around the town and many people gave me suspicious looks and brushed me off but eventually someone told me where to go. I entered the large building and a small mousy looking woman with loose clothing sat at a desk in a very small room. "Hello, I need to see the healer of this town," I said in an authoritative tone.
"What is wrong?" she asked sweetly.
"Nothing I merely need to speak of business with him," I replied.
"Oh… okay, I'll be back in a moment please wait there," she said with a wary look. She went in the door and a few moments later came back with a man in white robes. I could sense magic in his being and she said, "This is Lorenz he is the healer of this town."
"Hello Lorenz, I am _ Rinnian… I would like to discuss some business with you," I said looking at the weathered man with silver hair.
"Hello _, let's go and speak in here," he said guiding me into the room he emerged from. Inside was a small hallway with two doors, in one room was an array of herbs along the walls and a table, then there was also a bed covered in paper and different diagrams on the walls. "So what is it you wanted to speak with me about?"
"Well I am new to town as is obvious and I am looking to procure some work. Preferably apprenticing under you. I do not have much for hands on experience, however I have done much research concerning healing, pharmacology, and magic," I replied.
"Well… I have no apprentice at the moment however I will need to see some of your supposed skills," he said. "Make a simple antidote for wolfsbane and tell me what its affects are upon ingestion."
"The symptoms vary between species however in humans the symptoms first manifest as gastro-intestinal discomfort, vomiting, nausea. It is then followed by the sensation of burning, numbness, and tingling of the mouth and face. In severe cases the numbness and tingling spreads and it will then create heart arrhythmias, bradycardia, and sinus tachychardia," I rattled off glad I had reviewed my books this morning and the night before.
"Okay go ahead and make the anti-toxin," he said motioning to the shelves. I glanced around and picked up a few jars then set them on the table.
"Where's the ginger?" I asked glancing around.
"Third shelf on the right," he stated sitting on a stool.
I grabbed it and started to smash some dried purple berries with the pestle and mortar. I poured some oil in a small cauldron sitting in a specialized stand and dumped in the purple berries as well as the rest of my smashed up ingredients. I focused my energy on the disgusting looking concoction in front of me and chanted a few words under my breath. The contents started to swirl and heat up and as soon as it started it finished and the liquid stood at a perfect stand still. "All done," I said standing back.
"Now do you trust your potion enough to ingest wolfsbane?" he asked calmly.
"Yes," I replied with no hesitation.
He pulled a jar off the shelf, spooned a little out and said, "Then here eat this."
I glanced at the jar and noticed the label did indeed say wolfsbane and I then swallowed the dried up flowers. I sat down on a stool and waited for it to hit me as we waited for my body to metabolize it he quizzed me on anatomy, various illnesses, diseases, and quizzed me on how to make a potion to heal wounds and how to do different archaic medicines like how to sew wounds. A good twenty minutes later a wave of nausea hit me and my insides felt like they where churning. I grabbed two vials worth of antidote and quickly downed it. A minute or so later my insides settled right down and I felt as per usual. "So may I apprentice under you?" I asked with as much respect I could muster.
"Yes I suppose you can… mind you I don't think you have much to learn before you are ready to work at my level. You seem to have most of the bookwork down now it's just a matter of revision, familiarizing yourself with the obscure, and the practicalities of patient care," he said.
"Sounds great," I replied
"Start putting some antidote in the vials and we'll continue with revision for the next two hours. Then I want you to arrive early tommorow at around eight," he said passing me a box of vials. I nodded and got to work.
When I left Lorenz's offices I rode home at a leisurely pace and couldn't help but smile as I entered the yard. I put Aiko in the barn and decided now was as good a time as any to protect the house. I put a spell around the perimeter of the house that would alert us to any non-animal creature (humans, sprites, demons, etc.) that dare enter our yard and then added heavy protective magic around the house itself to protect it from any creature that would dare to enter uninvited. I entered the cottage feeling absolutely drained and Alma was in the main room painting the place a dark purple and sunny yellow. "How'd it go?" she asked, as she seemed near finished.
"Very good, I'll apparently only be his apprentice for a short time before I am his equal and am to be there tommorow very early. How is the painting?" I asked with a smile… the dingy room looked much more inviting now.
"Very good, would you care to start supper also do you think you could dry this paint once I'm done?" she asked.
"Yes of course, do we have enough wood or should I attempt to chop some?"
"There is a stack of it in the barn left over from the previous tenant… we should start chopping soon though as winter will be in a few moon cycles and we do not want to do as much work during those months."
"Oh yes, that is correct… I suppose I should also put more spells on the vegetables and herbs so they'll grow faster. I was thinking maybe we should also plant a fruit tree?"
"Yes! Can we plant apples?" she asked with a grin.
"If you can procure seeds we'll have a full grown apple tree by harvest time… mind you it will be a little draining." I then left the room, which smelt of paint despite the windows being open, and the screened door allowing a breeze to flow through and gathered some wood from the stable. I set the wood outside the door of the house and put feedbags on the horse's faces. Alma was cleaning the painting things up as I came in and put wood and a firestone in the fire pit. I focused on the firestone and soon it erupted in flames catching the wood and twigs to make a fire.
The next few months consisted of the exact same thing. We worked around our house (I don't think I've ever worked so hard in my life, I actually have calluses!), Alma got small amounts of work as a seamstress… but there was a lot of competition, Lorenz proclaimed that I 'graduated' from my apprenticeship and I started working for him at his practice. The townsfolk where very distrustful towards us… in fact when I first started working for Lorenz some people would refuse to be treated by me but they eventually got over it as Lorenz is a very respected member of the community. However there is still a lot of rumours about us flying around… apparently they think I'm some sort of demon due to the fact that I have unnaturally bright red hair and bright green eyes. They all tend to like Alma a bit more than me but she too looks quite different then everyone here… but at least they don't perceive her as a demon. To be frank though, it doesn't really bother me. I'm not eager to get close to very many people, as it'll give them the opportunity to find out our secrets. Besides the fact that I'm such an anomaly and distrusted makes the young and rebellious all the more curious. Even the fact that I have a 'wife' doesn't really dissuade many of the girls around town and a few of the boys.
The harvest had just ended and now the entire town was celebrating with a festival of some sort. Alma was looking at herself in the mirror and putting some of my kohl around her eyes and some weird shimmery stuff as well. "_ get dressed already, we're going whether you want to or not," she said in an authoritative tone.
"You are aware you aren't actually my wife so you can't tell me what to do?" I asked with a smirk.
"And you are aware that I want to go and it'll look weird if we don't go together… besides you can wear kohl and some of your less ostentatious jewellery and dress up and get drunk and seduce people," she replied.
"Hm, I suppose," I said going into my room. I picked through my wardrobe and pulled on a pair of black leather trousers, a dark green tunic with golden trim, I pulled on a few rings, and combed out my bright red hair. Once all combed out it lay just above my shoulders and I went in the bathroom to smear a little kohl and gold shimmer around my eyes and put on a light pink lip-stain with golden undertones on.
"Lip-stain?" Alma asked incredulously tying a white sash around her jewel blue dress.
"It looks good and I haven't wore it in eons," I replied playing with my hair a bit.
"Well whatever, let's go already," she said rolling her eyes at me.
We left the cottage and walked into town… which really didn't take that long. By the time we got there, the entire town it seems was amassed in the square. We received wary looks as we walked around the square a bit and I was immediately disappointed… I love parties… but this is just lame. People standing around while some guy reads things aloud and then apparently there is music and dance… but first we have to hear this man talk and talk. "Alma darling I am going to a pub… this is too dull for my taste… I'll try to find you once the festivities have actually started or you can try and find me whichever," I said offhandedly.
"How do you expect us to fit in if you don't even bother making an effort?" she asked with a raised eyebrow.
"I do not care about fitting in. I'm a solitary creature," I replied coldly.
"Fine do what you will," she snapped rolling her eyes. She sure rolls her eyes a lot and gets so snappy lately it's dreadfully annoying. I thought she was the perfect person to bring with me but now I can't help but think I should've brought Marcus… sure I still love Alma and she's my best friend but I abhor how she thinks she's entitled to tell me what to do. Nobody tells me what to do… sure I take orders from Lorenz but that is in an entirely different context. At least Marcus would never dare tell me what to do… sure he'd politely suggest something, but never ever give me an order. I entered the pub and glanced around, there was nobody here but the usual drunkards. I took a seat in a dark corner and ordered myself a whiskey. I was sipping at my second drink when they came in… they clearly weren't human. The barmaid warily took their order as they took the second darkest corner in the pub. Both men where from what I gathered rather great looking… but I just couldn't put my finger on their species. They where pale and out at night so there's a possibility they're vampires. I couldn't detect magic on them so the chances of them being mages or sprites was slim to none as I can usually see through cloaking spells. They could be demons however… hm I hope they don't wreak too much havoc on the town, as I will surely be put to blame for anything that happens being new and all.
I sat sipping my drink when one of the men came over to my table. "Do you happen to be a fire sprite?" he asked sitting down languidly. Once I gazed upon him I was certain he was a demon, his eyes and accent is what gave him away. He had dark purple hair with golden eyes and like all demons spoke with the undertones of an accent that for some reason or another no matter what geographical region they come from they all seem to have (this is a detail many seem to overlook).
"No I am not," I replied casually.
He sniffed the air and said, "I faintly smell magic on you… what are you then?"
"I am merely a mage and alchemist. It is really quite pathetic to specialize in only fire," I replied with a smirk.
He motioned for his friend to come over and he did immediately and he too was a demon but this one had silver hair instead of purple. "What is your name?" the purple demon asked with a charming smile.
"_ and yours?"
"I am Ansovino and my friend here is Landric," he replied.
"So what brings you to this pathetic excuse for a town?"
"What's so pathetic about it? It is like any other town of its size," Ansovino replied.
"Hm… deflection, I wonder what it is you are hiding," I replied with a raised eyebrow.
"What business is it of yours why we are here?" Landric asked coldly.
"Idle curiosity mostly. This place is dreadfully dull and it isn't everyday two intriguing demons make a presence here… or maybe this is an everyday sort of thing? I after all haven't been here very long," I replied with a small smirk.
Looks of shock passed their faces but they where gone almost as fast as they came. "What do you know of demons?" Landric asked in the same cold tone.
"Oh this and that," I replied off handedly.
"And what exactly entails this and that?"
"Hm… admittedly not much. I've read a few books, met a few demons… I've never chatted with one however as we are now. Most of the time they're writhing and moaning beneath me," I replied with a smirk.
"Oh really now?" Ansovino asked with a devious smile.
"Yes, they're claws leave the most wonderful scratches on your back."
"Hm, you don't say?"
The night continued on the three of us drinking and speaking of trivial things and sexual innuendo. We even spoke briefly about politics, which informed me to as what my brother is actually doing now that he is king. Apparently he's raised taxes and has created a 'secret police' to capture and kill anyone who disagrees with his opinions or wants him out of office but it's apparently rather ineffective, not that I'm surprised; Tiberius has always been terribly disorganized.
The demons turned out to be travellers passing through here and I went back to the inn with them. Landric was annoyed that Ansovino invited me back but I really couldn't bring myself to care. Landric ended up glaring a lot and just decided to stay downstairs to drink while Ansovino dragged me up to his room and slammed me against the door the minute it was shut. "My, my someone's eager," I said.
"Shut up," he growled pressing his lips fiercely to mine. I immediately gave in to the dominating kiss and pulled hard on his hair further deepening it. A low growl escaped his lips and he threw me onto the bed and eyed me hungrily as I lay there.
"Don't you even dare think of ripping my clothing," I snapped in an authoritative tone before standing up and carefully removing my jacket and boots. I then pulled the tunic over my head and started to slide out of my form fitting trousers. "Like what you see?" I asked with a smirk before lying languidly on the bed. He gave no reply but eyed me hungrily and got to removing his own clothes.
I stumbled out of bed feeling vaguely hungover and cursing the sunlight streaming through the windows. "Finally decided to grace me with your presence?" a snide voice asked.
Blearily I looked around and noticed Alma sitting at the table sewing with a look of disdain written all over her features. "Hm?" I asked still half-asleep.
"Where were you last night?" she asked snappily.
"It was a party, so I partied," I replied with a shrug and grabbed myself a cup of water.
"Do you honestly think it's acceptable to just disappear all night and come stumbling in at dawn!" she shrieked her face started to get mottled red from anger.
"You are not my wife Alma so you have no right to chastise me about what I do or do not do, if you don't like my behaviour you can just leave," I said in a cold authoritative tone.
"Everyone is accountable for their actions even you! You aren't a Prince anymore you spoiled brat so stop acting like one!"
I scoffed and replied, "I may not live in a palace but I am a Prince both in title and blood and it would do you good to remember that."
"A prince?" She incredulously asked. "You are no more a Prince than I am a Lady! You are but a coward who ran away with his tail between his legs because he wasn't chosen as King!"
"A coward?" I asked coldly. "Had I stayed I would've been killed; Tiberius' cruelty can only be matched by his paranoia. In case you didn't know seeing as we are far from the political sphere he has already started a secret police and is killing anyone who holds an opinion that isn't his own."
"What?" she asked with wide eyes.
"If you need me I'll be out," I said in the same cold tone before returning to my room and getting dressed. I left the house got on Aiko and rode into town at a languid pace. I had no work today but I knew I couldn't stay at the house with Alma… she gets on my nerves so much lately.
When I got to town I stopped at a restaurant for a nice quiet breakfast, did a little bit of grocery shopping, and most importantly I started to plan a trip to the city a couple days ride away.
Alma apologized when I came home and for the next few days we stayed clear of one another and went about our separate duties. I finally left for my trip and was more than happy to avoid the vaguely tense environment at home. The ride into the city was quite an easy one and I immediately found an inn to stay in and kept my fiery coloured locks hidden. It wouldn't do me any good to look like my distinctive self when asking the kind of questions I was going to ask; I considered dying my hair but decided against it… mostly out of vanity, it rubbed me the wrong way to think of myself as a muddy haired brunette.
I needed to find out just what my brother was up to and figure out if I was in anyway in danger. I bought a few things I couldn't find in the town (various fabrics, spices, and seeds) and once it got late enough I decided to find a bar with either soldiers or intellectuals. It seems there where no soldiers stationed in the city (that I could find) but I did enter a smoky little tea shop filled with small tables of people reading, chatting, and a couple looked even looked a little too intoxicated; the place was reputed to be crawling with revolutionaries, intellectuals, and others on the fringes. There was magic present in a few patrons but nobody seemed to have on a cloaking spell. I sat at the bar and ordered tumbler of whiskey. I tried to overhear some conversations or at least insert myself into one… all I heard was so psuedo-intellectual trash. "Hello," a deep voice said from beside me.
I looked over and noticed an older man with wispy blonde hair sitting next to me who was also nursing a tumbler of whiskey. "How are you?" I asked in an amiable tone.
"Hm… well enough I suppose," he said in an ironic tone.
It turns out my new acquaintance was no stranger to trouble and had actually had his house ransacked by my brother's soldiers; apparently he writes subversive literature meant to undermine my brother's authority. The more we talked the more I realized this guy would know a thing or two about what I need to know and I bought him many a drink to keep his lips loose. "Doesn't the King have brothers? Why don't they just overthrow him?" I asked in an uninterested tone.
"You really have been traversing the woods and villages haven't you?" he asked with a laugh. That was my reason for not knowing what was going on in the world; I've been travelling through small villages and in the woods trying to keep a very low profile; I alluded to being a criminal basically. "King Tiberius has secured his reign, his younger brother apparently died in a riding accident but you know as well as I do that's just a euphemism for assassinated. His other brother; the one who abdicated he banished him to… somewhere."
It pleased me greatly to find out I was dead… I know it should feel strange but the more people assume me dead the less chance anyone who has seen me or heard of me will wonder if I'm the missing Prince. Tallem and I continued to discuss politics for a while and he put me up to date on my brother's reign of cruelty and when I mentioned I come into town every few months for supplies and would love to stay informed he even gave me an address to which I could contact and find all I ever needed to know. We finally bid one another adieu and parted ways, him with a stumble in his step and me with a spring.
The next day I headed to the open market and took a gander at what was all on display… I should probably buy Alma something. She has been insufferable lately but it isn't like I'm the easiest person to live with either. I know I have no other options and that this lifestyle is my new life… but still I miss the opulence of the palace, I miss travelling to various countries, the constant parties and balls, the being waited on hand and foot… basically everything about my old life… well except for my family and how they treated me; the weakest and youngest. Glancing about the stalls I found a hairclip… it was quite understated compared to what I was used to; but I could afford it and it was still classically beautiful. Walking around the market also gave me an idea… there may be no market for my more… frivolous potions in town as nobody has the money to waste on such luxuries… but in the city… I imagine I could make a bundle selling anti-aging potions and the like.
I rode into town in the evening and when I finally got home I