Lady of Valancia

A young maiden becomes betrothed to the prince of Valancia. She is half elf and half human. Both races have shunned her and even the prince doesn't think of his future wife as an equal. The young noblewoman is treated worse than the servants that live in the castle. However in the dark there is a light. She befriends a young servant girl who tries to help her the best she can. Hele sees the suffering of Lady Eletha and leaves the castle under the cover of dark to seek out help. However with today's society help will be hard to find.

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1. Into the Night

The sun had only just left the sky. The capital was quiet now. Everyone fast asleep in their homes. All but one seemed to be awake. A figure cloaked itself in a dark green robe. They made their way to the stables collecting one of the horses. It wasn't long before the clippity cloppity sounds of horse hooves echoed throughout the quiet night. The full moon lit their way out of the capital and down the dirt road. The figure's brown eyes were trained straight ahead as she urged her mount faster. She would have to return before the first light if she were to remain unnoticed. If she was caught who knows what would happen to her? 

 

"Noro lim, Aymer!" Hele spoke.

 

Almost immediately she felt the horse pick up speed. That was the first time she had even used any sort of elven language. Lady Eletha had spent much time riding the horses in the stables and had taught many of them to understand her home language. She had even taught Hele a few phrases that might come in handy. Fortunately this one did. This phrase in particular meant, Ride faster! Hele had thought Aymer was already at her limits but with her sudden burst of speed, she figured the horse was finally waking up. It wasn't much longer until they would reach the closest town. There she would find her friend Bane and cash in a favor. Bane was a tall bulky fellow who always had a drink in his hand. He carried a massive sword and wore thick armor. He had left the army to become a mercenary. He had said it suited him better. Less bloodshed, he had argued. Less bloodshed, ha! He still had to kill at times which wasn't that much different from being a soldier. Especially now, with the threat of war looming over the kingdom. The king had begun to get on the bad side of the Dyrakin or Dragon People. It was unknown what had happened for both sides to be wary of each other. The Dyrakin were strong warriors, none to be trifled with. 

 

Hele slowed her mount to a careful trot as they neared the town. It was also quiet but few lights remained on. One of which was the local tavern, Golden Swan. It had an odd name but the name made no difference to anyone. It was the wonderful brew and the local work that brought people swarming. Hele paused taking in the sight of the quiet town. She hadn't been here for a few years. Not since she became a servant of the castle. Lowering her hood she approached the tavern pausing the mare at a post just outside. She dismounted before tying her steed to the post beside the other horses. Her eyes turned to the tavern door. She was quite nervous and had every right to be. There was no telling who was inside, how they would act around her, or even if Bane was even there. Swallowing the lump in her throat she moved to the door.

 

"Wish me luck Aymer." She spoke with a soft smile.

 

The horse neighed in response and went to nibble at the trough set out for them. Hele entered the tavern, a nervous reck. Everyone inside took side glances of her before returning to whatever it was they were doing. Few kept their eyes upon her, eyeing her hungrily. That only made her feel worse. She quickly looked around hoping to spot Bane, but to her dismay he was nowhere to be seen. Thinking quickly she moved to the bar.

 

"Excuse me sir?" She said, eyes hopeful.

 

"What can I do for ya lil lady?" The man replied.

 

"Do you know if a man by the name of Bane has been here recently?" She asked. "He's rather tall and quiet muscular. He carries an insanely large sword."

 

"Yes, I reckon Bane was here just a few moments ago." The man spoke.

 

"Do you know where I can find him?" She asked eagerly.

 

"The road just out of town. He said something about looking for work in the next town." The man replied. "If you hurry you just might catch him?"

 

Hele dashed out the door whilst the man still spoke. If she hurried there was a chance she could catch him. She quickly untied Aymer and dashed out of town. She hoped beyond hope that she would be able to catch him in time. If he got too far, there was no way she would make it back before the sun's first light. Bane couldn't have been too far, the bartender had said he just left. 

 

"Bane!!" Hele shouted as she dashed down the dirt road. Dust flying up at Aymer's heels as the mare rushed to catch up with her rider's friend. "Bane you big doofus!!"

 

"Huh?" Bane mumbled to himself as he turned his head to see who was calling him, but there was only darkness.

 

"Bane!!" Hele called once more.

 

"Hele?" Bane questioned himself before moving toward the voice.

 

Finally Bane had come into view. Hele smiled with relief, slowing down to a trot. Bane smiled upon seeing his old friend approach him. It had been a long time. Too long in fact.

 

"Finally." She sighed. "I need a favor."

 

"You see me for the first time in what four years and the first thing you say is 'I need a favor'?!" Bane chuckled. "Get down here and hug me!"

 

Before Hele could protest the large man pulled her from her mount and squeezed her in his arms. Oh, how she missed her goofy friend. She hugged him in return, missing the feeling of his warm embrace. Bane returned her to Aymer's back and crossed his arms.

 

 

"So what's this favor you need?" He asked curiously.

 

"Lady Eletha is being targeted more and more by her own people. She needs protect and Okmes knows those good for nothing soldiers won't do a damn thing for a 'half breed'." She spoke with disdain.

 

"What do you want me to do about it then?"

 

"I want you to gather three other companions and pledge to protect Lady Eletha from any and all harm even if it's from her own people." Hele responded. "You will be her four horseman so to speak. Her personal guards until this world can learn to accept her for who she is."

 

"Alright, sounds like fun." Bane smirked. "I have a few people in mind, though I don't know if they'll except."

 

"Thank you Bane." Hele smiled with relief. "I hope to hear from you soon but for now I must return to the castle before I am noticed."

 

"Farewell Hele, stay safe for me."

 

Hele turned and galloped away from her childhood friend. Bane watched her leave until she was out of view before going on his new quest. He had a few friends who were good fighters but only a small portion of them were worth recruiting. Given how worried Hele was for Lady Eletha, he wanted to do his absolute best to please her. He was going to have to be extra choosy with the people he recruited. He turned back around and headed on his way. He was too large to ride a horse so he walked everywhere. He was saving up to purchase a griffin. They were very expensive but powerful mounts. Griffin's being choosy creatures themselves don't always take to the people who buy them. Some refuse to listen, others outright attack those who refused to see the signs of stress of nervousness that large mammal shows. A griffin would be the perfect mount for him, if he could ever buy one that is. 

 

The sun was beginning to stretch out over the horizon. Hele was nearly at the castle but it was too late. She quickly dismounted Aymer after entering the royal stables. Just after the mare was put in her stall Hele was caught. She turned to leave when two guards caught her.

 

"What do you think you are doing servant girl?!" One of them demanded.

 

"I-I was only out picking apples from the wild orchards." She replied nervously. "Lady Eletha has been down as of late so I thought some fresh apples might help to cheer her highness up. I meant no trouble nor harm. I was going to wash them thoroughly before giving them to her." Her hands trembled as she held out the few beautifully red apples she had picked.

 

"Hurry along then." Grumbled the second guard.

 

Hele nodded and quickly left entering the castle. A smile crept onto her face as she escaped trouble with ease. That was a close one. Not too close but close nonetheless. She went into the kitchens, throwing her apron on. She worked away cleaning the apples and cutting a few neatly into slices. 

 

Please hurry Bane. We really need you.....

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