Day of Fear
Nithya Nazneen Melisande is sixteen years old, the only daughter of King Ekundayo and Queen Fèlicitè of Noarcia, and is supposedly the fairest woman to have ever graced the land since the Queen herself. The Princess would take her mother's place at eighteen and rule over the country of Phoralena, which shortly after she would seek a wealthy husband—every man from all four countries would leap at the chance of marrying someone like the Princess—then reproduce to uphold the royal tradition. It was the same story with each generation of monarch... Or so Renard's Papa had told him. And as far as Renard Aryeh was concerned, his Papa was never wrong.
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It didn't take long before the guards heard them and came rushing to Papa's aid. They threw the assassin in jail to rot after Papa insisted they not kill him, no matter how big of an offense he made, because it would start a war with Goddenesis that they couldn't risk losing after their recent victory against them but a month ago (that was a tale for another time, Papa said, but it had taken many, many lives, for both Goddenesis and Noarcia). Of course they didn't want another war. After all, Goddenesis was the home of smithing—everyone in Nexius knew this—they made the deadliest weapons. The people of Noarcia figured that out as soon as the first war started.
And what did the King and Queen do to Papa after his heroic actions?
No, they did not treat him like a man who saved their only daughter. The King and Queen fired him for letting the assassin get in the castle when it wasn't even his job and forbid him ever to work for the royals again!
After the horrific event, the Princess was never seen—she was kept locked inside the castle (Papa wasn't sure himself if this was true—they could have sent her away to a safer place for all he knew) since she was six. Her birthday was justly retitled to the “Day of Fear”. For every Day of Fear, families in all of Noarcia would come and give something of value to the King and Queen, whether it was livestock or exotic pets or trinkets—whatever you could think of.
Maybe they gave some of that stuff to the Princess, if she was still around.
Renard wondered if she really was up there. If so, was she lonely? How did she feel about her birthday being warped into some horrendous festivity where her people were too scared to come out of their homes except to grant the King and Queen a couple of lousy gifts?
“Can you believe the nerve of them royals?” Renard spat at no one in particular, working up a wad of spit in his mouth and turning his head to send it flying in the direction the wind was blowing. He hadn't quite perfected it yet, so some of his saliva stuck to his lip until he wiped it on his dirty sleeve. I guess I don't fully blame the Princess... He thought, chewing his cheek. The Princess didn't even know he existed—sure, sometimes for the Day of Fear he would give a gift to the royals like everyone else in this bloody city, but it wasn't like they kept any of that junk anyway; Let alone give it to someone else. And if they did, the Princess probably couldn't care less.
And there Renard sat, swimming in his thoughts about the Princess and the royals with his legs sprawled out in front of him, furiously working on his cheek with his teeth. Where was he sitting, you ask? Well, on top of the roof of the Aryeh family barn, where their two horses—Salt and Pepper, white and black Quarter horses whom his sisters named—and cow slept. It was easy for him to get up and down from this place, and it provided much needed space from any other human life; especially when Mama nagged him about not...