through the night

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I: Through the Night

I awoke again, covered in sweat, the dreams I was beginning to have were terrifying. It was the same one that I had been having for weeks now. A man dressed all in black, following me around, always at night. I couldn't figure out what they meant no matter how many soothsayers I would go to. I shook the dream from my head, and crawled out of bed. It was a little past midnight, the castle was silent, as it always was. I walked over to my mirror and looked in it. My long red curls were tangled and my green eyes were teared up. Why, I seemed to ask myself, was I always crying when I woke from this dream. Everything except the man were always a blur. Did someone die? I couldn't answer my own questions, nor could anyone else.

I sighed, as I unbraided my hair, letting it fall over my shoulders, and down my back. There was no chance of falling asleep anytime soon, there were too many questions going through my head. I couldn't answer them, but until they were answered, it seemed sleep wouldn't be coming to me. So, I walked over to my wardrobe, and changed into a old gown. I put a black cloak on to shield me from prying eyes. I was sick of being watched, but I guess that is what the life of a Princess was about, always being watched.

I knew that my body guard would be outside the door, and if I walked out there right now, he would follow me. I knew the castle like it was the back of my hand, I guess it was a benefit of growing up in the castle. If I had it my way however, I would rather be a commoner. At least then people would leave me be, I laughed at the thought, and wondered if every royal thought the way I did.

There was a secret door in my bed chambers, and I was surprised that no one had figured it out by now. Maybe they had, and just didn't say anything for my benefit, I shrugged it off. Beside my wardrobe there was a picture hanging on the wall, a map of the castle grounds, I tilted it to the left, and the wardrobe moved over to the left revealing a stairwell. I smiled, as I walked down it. I past by torch, lit it with my flit, and the wardrobe went back in place. After a few seconds of the torch being lit, the other ones all the way down began to light themselves.

Magic, I never understood it, in the New World, there is no understanding the Old World ways. My mother was from the Old World, from what my father told me, she was one of the few to escape the Queen. None of my tutors ever talked about the Old World, all I knew about it was that is was an evil place, only the sea separated us from the evil that lived there. I was always interested by the Old World, and the magic that it held. There was very little magic in our land, most of it had been banned a long time ago to save us from the evil that came with it.

I thought about the magic as I walked down the stairs, until I came to a wall, for some it would seem like it was the end of the passage, but I knew better, one brick was sticking out from the wall. I pushed it in, and the wall was suddenly gone, more magic. I wondered for the millionth time, if my father knew of the magic that the castle was under, if he did, he pretended he didn't. The opening led out to the castle garden, I smiled, smelling the flowers in the air, soon, they would be gone, and fall would be on us again.

Fall was a magical time for me, the color changes of the leaves made the world look like a colorful painting. I loved to paint, it was what I could escape to when the world was turning gray. The castle garden was were I would often come to think, and paint, mostly at night, because for some odd reason, night consumed emotions I had for the place. Sometimes, I felt trapped. I always wanted to just run, go anywhere, see everything. Once in a while, I would shut my eyes, and paint the place that I would see in my mind. When that would happen, I would always find my father burning the painting like it was an evil piece of art. Like I had painted hell, and no one needed to know that I could see it. I often thought I was seeing the Old World. It seemed very likely.

Breaking my thoughts was a movement in the distance. A shadow walked around the corner of the castle, walking away from me. I couldn't believe I had been standing there, and someone was that close to me, without even realizing it. I narrowed my eyes, and without thinking, I followed where the shadow had disappeared into. I walked around the corner, but nothing was there. I stood there for a moment before shaking the thought out of my head. There was nothing there, it was only in my head, and I felt slightly silly.

Behind me a stick broke, and quickly, I turned. Standing before me was the man in my dream. I couldn't see his face, but I had the feeling of familiarity. He was dressed in all black, with a cloak covering over his face. He didn't say anything, just stood there, and even though I couldn't see his eyes, I knew he was looking at me. I froze staring at the figure that seemed to be cloaked in shadows, “Who are you?” I asked, finally coming to.

“Who I am is not important,” He said in a raspy voice.

“Why are you following me?” I asked, not sure if I should be afraid or not. Was this man a danger to me? I wondered silently to myself, “What do you want.”

“You shouldn't be worried about what I want, but what they want,” he said.

I took a step back, almost tripping over a root. I felt around my waist for my sword, feeling threatened. I cursed myself silently, when I remembered that I forgot my sheath in my room. “Who are they?” I asked.

Before he could answer, a soldier came around the corner. He disappeared into thin air before the soldier could see him. I stood there, looking at where he stood with wide eyes. “Lexi!” the soldier called out. “What are you doing out here without Carl?”

It took me a moment to come back to reality. I looked up and saw Ryder, he was tall, with buzzed blonde hair and icy blue eyes. He had only just came to the castle to work under my father, he was very close friends with my body guard Carl, so I knew of him pretty well. “Sometimes,” I began. “I like to be without him, him following me around all the time gets tiring,” I finished with a small smile.

“You shouldn't be out here at night without him,” he said. “Come on, I will take you back in.”

I looked up at him, “Oh Ryder, you are no fun, where is your sense of adventure?” I asked knowing well that no one in the kingdom would dare look me in the eye and deny me what I wanted. My father said that I had a gift of getting what I wanted just by the look in my eye.

Ryder didn't look down at me, instead he looked to the castle doors, “Come on, Lexi, I actually like my job.”

“Then take a walk with me,” I said.

I had him, he looked at me for a moment, and was done. “Fine,” he said almost unwillingly.

We began to walk away from the castle, walking through the garden. I took a look back, when we had gotten far enough away. Standing where I once was, was the man, watching as we walked away. I stopped, and he was gone again. Ryder, too had stopped and looked back, “You ok?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said. “I just thought I saw something.”  

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