On the morning of the fourth day, Alora was dressed and ready before dawn. Her horse was saddled, and her attendants had packed her bags and were ready to accompany her. The king made his appearance when dawn broke, a tenfold of guards following behind him.
"Alora, where are your guards?" The young woman looked up at her father.
"I told them they were not needed." The kings face grew hard.
"And why, would you do that?"
"Because I can take care of myself, father. It would not do my image good if the men saw me as a fragile girl who needed to be protected at all times." Alora lifted her chin higher, defiance written in her features. "I may not be queen yet, but I will not have them view me as weak." The king studied his eldest child, before waving his hand in dismiss.
"Very well, daughter. Have it your way." Alora nodded her head in thanks, before mounting her brown stallion. She leaned her head close to her horses ear and murmured soft words as the king and his soldiers mounted their own steads.
The caravan soon set out out for Lusmal, and made good time throughout the day, stopping only to relieve themselves and for meals. By the time the moon had set, they were destined to reach King Malcolm's castle in two nights.
Alora slid down from her horse, stretching her stiff legs. Her riding pants were of the best leather, but she rode almost everyday, and by now they were almost thread bare. She normally tried to keep up her image, throwing out dresses with only a thread out of place, but when she rode, she was free. She didn't bother to look like a queen.
She was beginning to regret not having new riding pants made before this trip.
Her attendants soon had her tent up, and Alora bid her father goodnight, retiring to it. She sat down on the small cot that was set out for her, and unbound her long red hair. It fell well past her waist, with soft waves cascading throughout. She set to combing the nest it had become while riding, lost deep in thought.
What was King Malcolms real intention in inviting the four kings to his castle? Is it a plan to assassinate them all? He wouldn't do something that risky unless he had forces behind him, would he? He is but a petty human, he could not win a war against us. No, we would surly win in any war.
She threw down the comb and bound her hair in a braid, then slipped off her dusty travel clothes. Alora climbed under the silky covers of the cot and closed her eyes, falling asleep to the feeling that something just wasn't right.