Faded Memories #1: Forgotten Princess - Part Three
“How dare you defy me!” screamed Thyora at her daughters. She had been in a rage ever since they had come home from their adventure in the city.
Fyora cowered behind her older sister and Navaleen didn’t blame her. She had never seen Thyora so angry and she had enraged the queen more times than she could count. The council members desperately tried to calm Thyora down. They begged and pleaded but nothing worked. The only council member who didn’t try to reason with her queen was the light faerie who had rescued the princesses and led them home.
Navaleen was shocked to discover however that the queen’s wrath did not scare her as it once had. She only partially listened. Most of her mind was recovering from the fear she had felt when she had thought Fyora had been lost. She never wanted to be that afraid again. Her mother’s scream snapped her out of her reverie.
“Are you listening to me?” yelled the queen as she grabbed Navaleen’s arm. Anger welled up in the princess’s chest and she jerked her arm out of her mother’s grasp.
“Not really,” she snapped back in reply. “If you hadn’t kept us penned up in the palace, then we wouldn’t have wanted to sneak out in the first place.”
“I kept you here to protect you from the likes of them!” screamed Thyora. “You are so ungrateful after all I have done for you!”
“Ungrateful?” questioned Navaleen in a raised voice. “Why would I be grateful? Fyora and I wouldn’t need protecting from rebellious faeries if you didn’t suck at ruling so much!”
The council faeries gasped in shock. Even the light faerie, whose name was Prilla, was surprised at Navaleen’s unexpected outburst. Fyora reeled away from her sister in total horror. Thyora only stared. Navaleen felt a strange sense of satisfaction whelm up within her. It felt so good to finally stand up to her mother.
“You are so selfish and you care about no one. The faeries deserve a leader who cares about them. If you want to protect us and I highly doubt you do, then leave!”
Without another word, Navaleen stormed from the room. The feeling of satisfaction and sudden freedom caused her to become rebellious. Instead of going to her own rooms, Navaleen made her way to the practice courts, where several of the faerie guards were engaged in friendly duels. The princess watched them for several minutes. Her eyes observed them and her brain seemed to memorize each move they executed. She desperately wished to join them.
The guards had just finished their battle when another armed faerie walked in. Navaleen watched the newcomer with keen eyes. The guard was an air faerie. She was taller than the others and she walked with an air of confidence and power. At her waist were two swords, one hanging on each hip.
The faeries in the courts watched her with admiration and respect shining deep within their eyes. They greeted her with friendly nods and smiles, which she returned. Navaleen was fascinated with this faerie for reasons she didn’t understand. Perhaps it was the power that radiated from the faerie that caused the princess to follow her. Perhaps it was merely instinct, but whatever it was, Navaleen trailed the guard to one of the farthest practice courts.
Navaleen watched as the air faerie approached an earth faerie. They greeted each other as if they were good friends. After talking for several seconds, they walked to the center of the dueling circle placed in the practice court. The guards drew their swords, or in the air faerie’s case, drew one of them, and faced each other. The faeries had placed themselves two sword lengths away from each other so their sword tips barely touched. In a flash, they began to duel.
Navaleen’s breath caught in her chest as each faerie executed complicated moves, each trying to defeat the other. How desperately she wished she could join them. She dearly wished to feel the sense of power that surely came over them when they had a sword in their hand. She wanted to be able to experience the satisfaction she saw on a guards face after she had defeated an opponent.
Navaleen watched as the earth faerie bored into her opponent. The air faerie was unable to attack, for she was too busy trying to ward off her friend’s blade. Just when Navaleen thought the earth faerie would surely win, the air faerie drew her second blade. Moving faster than Navaleen would have thought possible, the air faerie swung her blades around in an arc. The earth faerie rushed to block one sword as the other swept passed her defenses. There was a small thud as the flat of the air faerie’s second blade hit the earth faerie in the hip. With a small cry, the guard fell to the ground. The air faerie placed her swords at the earth faerie’s chest. With a smile, the earth faerie raised her hands in surrender.
Navaleen was stunned; she had never seen a faerie, even the most experienced of guards, fight like that. Her mind suddenly made a very rapid and unexpected decision. As silently as she could, the princess made her way to the center of the arena, where the unsuspecting faeries were talking.
Lydriel stood in the center of the dueling circle after a small practice fight, talking with her earth faerie friend. She was considered the best of the queen’s guards and she was widely known for her skill with a blade.
“I swear, Lydriel.” Anna laughed. “Every time I think I might beat you, you pull some fancy trick on me and I end up losing.”
Lydriel gave a weak smile. She had never liked beating Anna in duels. She was especially glad that Anna was very good natured and never took her defeats badly.
“You had me worried for a second there,” said Lydriel in return. “You’re getting a lot better. If you would only fight with two swords instead of one.”
Anna laughed. “I prefer to have a shield on my left arm,” she stated.
Lydriel was about to make a pert remark about shields when a sound like someone clearing their throat was issued behind her. When the faerie turned to find the source of the interruption, she was surprised to see that a young faerie, about seventeen, was standing several yards off. Anna peered around her friend and smiled when she saw the young faerie.
“Can we help you with something?” questioned the earth faerie. The girl shrugged and shifted her weight to her other foot.
“Maybe,” she said casually. “I’m not sure yet.”
Lydriel immediately labeled the girl as someone who got her way most of the time. As the air faerie looked the girl over, she was mildly shocked at what she found. The girl was strange in appearance. Lydriel had never seen such dark purple hair on anyone other than a dark faerie and this girl was certainly not of the dark element. The girl’s green eyes sparkled with rebelliousness and she stood tall and straight.
“I had a small question,” continued the girl. The guards raised their eyebrows as the girl faced Lydriel. “Do you teach combat and if so, will you teach me?”
Lydriel stared at the young faerie open-mouthed while Anna laughed.
“Girl, do you know who you are talking to?” questioned the earth faerie. The girl looked at the older faerie with a mild look in her emerald eyes. “You obviously don’t, because if you did, you would know that Lydriel has no wish to teach. You would be surprised at how many people have asked her.” Despite this information, the girl looked undaunted.
“Oh, why is that?” she questioned. Lydriel glared.
“Because I don’t wish to put up with annoying brats.” Lydriel was infamous for her temper.
“Now it’s my turn to ask if you know who you are talking to,” said the faerie with a mischievous grin.
“A faerie that will be in deep trouble if she doesn’t beat it,” snapped Lydriel.
“Good guess but no,” said the girl. She smiled up at the two guards when Anna suddenly let out a small gasp of alarm.
“Princess Navaleen!” she exclaimed. “What are you doing here?” Lydriel looked at the girl in shock. This was the princess and heir?
“Yep, that’s me,” said the princess. “Please don’t look so surprised. We were having such a nice talk.” It occurred to Lydriel that Navaleen had a wicked sense of humor.
“Why would a princess want to learn combat?” she demanded. The princess looked down at the ground, her cheeks going red with shame.
“I don’t really know why sword fighting interests me,” she said quietly. When she looked up, determination shone in her face. “But I do know it will be more useful that the junk that the pathetic excuse for a faerie I call Mother has me learn.”
It surprised Lydriel to hear the princess scorn her mother though the guard had to admit that she was no fan of the queen herself. Navaleen continued
“If you won’t help me, that’s fine,” she said. “I can teach myself, but it would take longer.” She grinned ruefully. “It would also mean I would have to skip more classes so I can watch the guards practice. I need something to go by.”
Lydriel winced inwardly. If the girl practiced by herself, she could get in trouble or even hurt herself. She looked the princess over again. She was tall and well built for fighting. Her determination would help her learn quickly. Lydriel didn’t know why, but she suddenly wanted to help the girl.
“Meet me here every afternoon. I will teach you for one hour every day. No skipping. I will stop lessons in an instant if I see you aren’t dedicated.” She ignored Anna’s gasp of shock. Navaleen smiled.
“Don’t worry, I’ll show up.” Without another word she rushed off with a slight bounce in her step. Anna turned toward her friend.
“Why did you do that?” she demanded. “You never take on students. Why did you make an exception for her?”
“Let’s just say it was a gut feeling. My instincts have never led me astray. Let’s just hope they won’t this time.” With a salute to her friend, the air faerie walked out of the practice yards. Anna followed after a moment’s hesitation.
To be continued...