The Beast Within

In a world where magic is outlawed and virtually extinct, Princess Fiamatta suddenly finds her world turned inside out by the traitorous word. From royalty, to fugitive, to leader of the rebels, Fia is forced to work with a handsome, arrogant magician she found locked away in a dungeon.

btw, this is my NaNoWriMo story so criticism is much appreciated! Thanks :)

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3. Act 2

The next morning, the day passed as usual. I ate breakfast, and then went to my tutor’s until lunch. After that was combat lessons, then singing, horseback riding, and then I would join my father in the court to hear the complaints of the commoners.

            In Onsia, our land was peaceful, and for the most part the villagers were happy. My father believed that it was our duty to provide for them as much as it was theirs to provide for us. Every comfort that royalty has been granted, was given to them by the people, and as such, every security and freedom that the people have has been provided to them by the royalty. My father, our king, has ruled Onsia for many years. Within his age is the wisdom that keeps our kingdom at peace. He listened to every villager that walked through the royal gate, and treated that person as if they were someone he personally knew.

            It is that kind of fairness that one day I would rule with. I was the only heir to the throne, and I had declared it many times that I would be the one to rule my kingdom even if it meant I must never marry. This was my home, the place I held most dear, and I refused let a foreigner rule it without the love that I could provide for it. As princess, this was my solemn duty, and I would uphold it to the very end.

            As I sat and listened to the next villager talk about his ruined crops, my eyes switched to Straiyer who stood beside my father. My mind flashed back to last night, watching him from the shadows, and praying that he didn’t see me. It took all my resolve to seal my lips and not ask the millions of questions that flood my mind. I trusted that my father would never do anything to hurt anyone, but I had been noticing that his health has been waning as of late. Because of that, he had been keeping Straiyer closer than ever, placing more trust in him and listening to his judgment. If my father did have a great power in his control, that also meant that Straiyer had sway over the use of it.  

            The thought of that sent a chill down my back, bringing my attention back to the farmer. He had said something about not being able to make his taxes, due to bad crops this year. I waited for my father to grant him leniency on his taxes, to give him more time to come up with the money at least. But instead he dismissed the villager, warning him that if he did not pay his taxes on time he would be penalized, and his land would be given to a better farmer who can raise crops properly.

            My head whipped towards my father, I did not even attempt to hide the stunned expression on my face. He did not even glance at me. Straiyer called for the next complaint, both of them dismissing me like they had the farmer. I took a deep breath, composing myself once again and watched the next villager enter. I was not supposed to talk at these proceedings, my purpose of being there was to learn about the interactions royalty has with the commoners. So I held my tongue until they had finished. Afterwards, I stood and looked at Straiyer.

          “I wish to speak with my father alone,” I told him, making sure to keep my tone polite and indifferent. If I hadn’t known better I could have sworn I saw a smirk slide across his lips before his head bowed to me.

            “Of course, Princess.” Straiyer backed away towards the left wing and exited the main hall. As soon as he was out of sight I walked in front of my father. My heart hurt as I took in the sight of him. He looked very worn down today. His wrinkles seemed deeper, and his black hair seemed to be peppered with more grey than usual. He was only fifty, but today he looked well beyond seventy. The pain in my heart caught in my throat as I lightly placed my hand on his cheek.

           “Father, please tell me what is going on, I beg you,” I searched his face for any sort of softness. I found it in his eyes; they at least had not changed at all. “Please.”

            His hand slowly rose and grasped mine, taking it away from his face and holding it gently in his lap. He clasped his other hand around it and looked into my eyes.

            “My Fia, someday you’ll understand. You cannot be a kind ruler every day, sometimes you need to make tough decisions.” He gave me a sad smile as he studied my face. “You are young now, and maybe that is why you do not want to accept this, but eventually you will, because it will be you in this chair.”

            My eyes dropped from his, down to my hand. I looked at his grey wrinkled skin, covering mine.

            “Does age ravage you so much that you are no longer yourself?” I asked quietly. “You have always told me that if I ruled with my heart, it would guide our country safely. Can you not hear your heart anymore, or are you simply listening to someone else now?” I took my hand back and stood. I knew my words were harsh, but I could not help it. This was not how my father used to be, and it was not how I would become. His sad eyes looked up at me, offering my words no answer. I felt my emotions press against my skin, threatening to burst out in a fury at his silence. My feet carried me away from him before my head could figure out where I was going. But it did not matter, my anger left me with every step I took out of the room. By the time I had reached the garden in the courtyard, I had already calmed down.

            I laid down among the flowers and stare up at the sky. The blue was blocked by grey clouds, which depressed me even further. Everything looked dull, from the stone of the castle, to the colors of the flowers. How did things come to be this way? I knew that my father had not been well for sometime, but I never truly realized the extent until today. He is so far gone, that he is barely himself. Instead of trying to care for him, I just fight with him. My guilt fills me like a well, dug deep down into my soul. Words from my heart echo down through its stone chamber and are swallowed by the water. 

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