The Silent Princess - Chapter 15

Published at 7th of April 2019 09:20:30 PM
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Chapter 15

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A huge room opened before her, tall windows filled it with cold light . Tables with maps strewn over them while books lined the walls . Thick rugs covered the floor . Above it all, tiny creatures with leathery wings fluttered around, replacing books, cleaning up papers . She watched them in their movements for a moment before bringing her attention back to the center of the room .

Arren sat behind a desk his face buried in ledgers, the scratching of a pen mingling with the sounds of small wings . If he noticed her, he showed no signs of it .

One of the small creatures landed on her shoulder and pulled gently at her hair for a moment before fluttering back to its work .

"You are late . Please wait for a moment while I finish this," Arren said without looking up . "And tell your pet to stop trying to eat my assistants . "

She looked back at Ilun . The animal stood on his hind legs, swatting at the little creatures that flew past .

"Ilun! No! They're not food!" she scolded .

Ilun grumbled as he settled back onto the floor following her as she walked to the windows . She touched the glass . These are real too . He must not like the false ones, she thought as she looked at the view from his office . This is a different room than before, was the other his bedroom?

Outside the window, the long sprawl of the entrance of the castle, before the forest and winding mountain pass stretched out . From the height it looked wider and lonelier than it had when she arrived . The lots for greenery were empty and barren, the concrete cracked and washed out . As if no one took care of it at all .

"Isilla," Arren called pulling her attention away from the window . He stood and waved a hand, the little creatures disappearing in a puff of mist . "Please," he said motioning to the table set for two not far from where she stood, "Have a seat . "

What were those, she wrote .

"Those were constructs . They can only do simple tasks . Your pet is much different than that . He seems to have a will of his own," he explained as crossed the room pulling out her chair for her .

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She nodded, taking her seat at the table . Ilun stood behind her chair, his nose poised over her neck, just where Lehan had touched her, his breath moving the hair that had escaped her braid .

She touched her neck, her skin crawling at the memory of Lehan's touch, under her fingers .

"Is something troubling you, Isilla?" Arren asked .

She shook her head and dropped her hand, gripping her skirts in her lap, willing the memory of it away .

Arren sat across from her, their breakfast laid out between them . Ilun licked his lips, clearly hoping for a treat .

"He is very protective of you," Arren said slowly before changing the subject . "Did you have trouble on your walk here?" he asked smoothly, clearly not done with the subject, uncovering his plate .

She shook her head . I saw your brother, he said there was to be a ball, she wrote .

He looked up at her face and then back to his plate, "What did I tell you about keeping things from me? Your face betrays you . "

Her stomach seemed to flip and her face burned .

He sighed and touched her hand . In a softer voice he said, "Isilla, I know that I am not," he paused choosing his words, "close to you but you are my wife and I do not wish for you to be uncomfortable . Please, if something has happened, do not hesitate to tell me . "

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He didn't hurt me . Ilun tried to bite him . It's my fault, I was scared . But your brother said he knew that Ilun wasn't your magic, she wrote quickly, leaving out that he had touched her so intimately .

He raised his eyebrow, "It is not your fault for being frightened . I am, glad, that your pet was there to protect you . I should be more vigilant but now there is a problem . My brother will realize you are something else than what we've been told . "

But I'm not, she wrote hurriedly, eyes wide . Sensing her upset, Ilun whined and lowered himself to push his head into her lap, upsetting the table for a moment .

She smiled down at him and scratched him behind the ears . I'm sorry for causing trouble, she wrote .

Arren spread his hands in front of him, "You are whatever it is you are . If you say this has never happened before, then I believe you . But we have to find out what is happening . If I don't know then I can't protect you, I can't conceal it and keep you safe . "

She frowned . Why do you care suddenly? I don't understand . You haven't spoken to me for weeks and now this .

His cheeks turned pink and he looked away from her, "I haven't had the time to, umm, properly, speak to you . There were many things that needed to be done after we met with the Light Realm that morning . I just haven't had the time . I am very sorry for making it seem as you were not," he paused for a moment, turning back to her her, "important . "

She blushed in return . What did you have to take care of, she asked hoping that a more neutral subject would make him more comfortable .

"You eat while I explain," he said .

Ilun popped up, his massive form surrounding her, sniffing at her plate as soon as she uncovered it revealing hard boiled eggs, sausage, and preserved fruits over toasted bread . "No!" she said pushing at his large head . His tongue snaked out, reaching for the egg . She sighed and tossed it to the creature who, happy with his treat, settled back onto the floor thumping three heavy tails .

She smiled nervously at Arren who stared at them with heavy frown . "Here," he said placing his own egg on her plate, "Next time I'll be sure to have enough brought up for your pet as well . "

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She motioned that she was ready to listen and began to eat, starting with her egg before Ilun tried to steal it .

"There are 12 kingdoms in the Dark Realm . The years of war have cost us many resources . The kingdoms pay for that and they tax their people heavily . As a result the population across the lands is poor and in some cases starving . With the war effort ending, the Crown can allot those resources back to the Kingdoms . But they've gone so long without, they need more help now . "

"For the last few weeks I've been sorting through their requests and our resources to see what we can and can't do as well as writing the orders for them to be taken care of . And then, of course, taking that to the council for them to decide on . "

You must be very tired, she wrote as he picked up a piece of toast .

"Yes," he answered simply .

I'm sorry I'm adding more trouble, she wrote, guilty .

He reached across the table and touched her face, his finger tips warm against her cheek . The eyes that stared back at her were as warm as his touch . "You are no trouble to me," he said slowly .

She nodded as a knock sounded from the door .

Arren dropped his hand from his face and she touched her cheek . "Enter!" he shouted, his voice almost a growl . Ilun moved, wrapping his body around her seat and she touched his head .

The boy with shaggy brown hair entered, "My lord I am sorry to disturb your breakfast but the King has called court . Immediately . "

Arren's brows creased and he stood, "Isilla, wait here . You may read whatever you like . Do not leave these rooms . "

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The boy bowed again, without looking up he said, "I'm sorry, but the king has requested that your lady wife be in attendance as well . "

Arren turned to her, his eyes dark, "That's fine . It's time that my father met my wife . Tell them that we will be along shortly . "

The boy took his leave, slipping out of the door and shutting it behind himself .

Arren watched and then turned suddenly . He crossed the space between them, pulling her out of chair, wrapping her in his arms .

"Listen to me," his voice low and urgent in her ear, "You do whatever the king says unless I tell you otherwise . Keep your eyes down, show no fear, and do not react to anything . They will see it as weakness and use it to break you . Tell your pet to stay . "

The sudden movement, his closeness, shook her . His shadows, almost nonexistent a moment before swirled around the room, spilling over the floor . She held out her hand and one reached for her, wrapping itself around her fingers . He watched the small movement but his eyes betrayed none of his thoughts . She nodded, her eyebrows creased with worry .

He kissed her bruised cheek, "No one will harm you . You are under my protection . You will be safe . "

She nodded and he released her . She walked over to Ilun and petted his head . "Stay," she said . He looked at her with his head tilted but then laid on the floor . The animal rolled onto his side pushing out four mismatched legs, clearly planning to take a nap . She crossed back to the table and reached for her book .

"Leave that," Arren said . She raised her eyebrows and he shook his head . "No one will care to know what you have to say . In fact, your silence, here, is better . "

She frowned, unsettled . Her feelings clear on her face, Arren touched her arm, reassuring her . "It's alright, my little bird . It will be over quickly," he said holding out his hand to her .

She took it without hesitation . He called me his little bird but his voice was the same as when he called me love in his dream, she thought, how does he really feel about all of this?

"Close your eyes," he whispered pulling her back into his arms .

She complied . There was a rushing of air and the world spun, briefly . He rubbed her back, "It's alright to open them, now . Welcome to the Court of my Father, King Ero of the Illustrious Darkness . "

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