Midnight Raven

September 14, 2008
By , Sacramento, CA
I remember I when I was six years old, I spent a lot of time with my mother. When I was six though bandits attacked my village, they ransacked my house and in the process killed my mother who tried to protect me. That was the day my soul died. The only thing that kept me from committing suicide was my mother’s kitten, Midnight. Midnight was the memory of my mother and I couldn’t let that go. My father and I were never close and after my mother died I was almost always alone.
My father was “lonely” and he met his “true love” named Natalie. After they were married Natalie begged him to move to the imperial city. My father was making a lot of money so we were able to afford a large house so Natalie’s request was granted as usual. One day when I was trying to get away from my father and Natalie I decided to go to a market and buy some fruit. I saw a young man in very nice clothes following me. I raised my eyebrows, trying to ward him off, but obviously he didn’t get the hint because he kept following me.
The next morning when I woke up he was in the living room talking with my father. I was amazed at the lengths he was going to. I didn’t want him to see me so I waited until after he had left and asked my father what he was here about. “Oh, that was Prince Alex, he saw you in the market the other day and somehow saw beauty in you and says he wants to marry you. Can you believe it? He is giving me a lot of money, a position as a royal counselor and in return he gets to marry you, somehow I feel I’m getting the better end of the deal,” I argued with him, pleaded with him but it was no use I was being betrothed to a man I hadn’t even met.
It was a summer day, one day before my wedding. Midnight was playing in the sun, the light bouncing of off his black fur. I smiled but remembered the event to come. I had to confront my father; I walked up the stairs to his bedroom. I knew he was in there with Natalie, but I didn’t care. “Father, I am sorry to interrupt but I need to talk to you.” “In private,” I added glaring at Natalie. She scoffed.
My father sighed as if I was a huge bother and said, “Raven I am very busy, what do you want to talk about?” “What do I want to talk about? The fact that you are forcing me to marry someone who only likes the way I look. He’s just some prince that offered you a money to be able to marry me and you can’t even think about that. I swear if you don’t let me out of this negotiation that you have with him when I get to that alter I will say that I won’t marry him.”
Father scowled at me then started to laugh he laughed and laughed for a few minutes then when it had died down he said, “What are you going to do, huh? Are you going to refuse to marry a prince?” Then he jumped up to me and held a knife to my throat and whispered savagely, “If you even think about refusing to marry him now or at the altar I can guarantee you will not live much longer after that. No you will marry him tomorrow as planned and I will not hear one more word of you refusing to do so, do I make myself clear?” “Yes,” I said quickly. I ran out as soon as he removed the knife from my neck because I knew that if I stayed a minute longer I would be dead.

As I exited the room Natalie was waiting outside, listening at the door. I rolled my eyes and continued on to my room. I knew what was going to happen tomorrow, I was going to be married to someone I didn’t even know.

The next morning one of my servants awoke me early, midnight I think. They grabbed me so quickly I didn’t even have time to dress. I was mounted on a horse, we traveled for about a half hour I think then we reached our destination. They hurried me in and I was fitted for my wedding dress. It was a beautiful eggshell color with pearl lacing and a train at least fifteen feet long. It fit me perfectly by four o’clock and then we traveled to the palace. I had never seen it but it was beautiful. I was helped off the horse and escorted into the palace; the inside was almost more spectacular then the outside. There were portraits around the palace, of me and Prince Alex; perhaps he wasn’t so bad after all.

Flowers and decorations were put up all over the palace and I think everyone in the kingdom attended. I noticed a clock on the wall as palace servants put on my makeup and did my hair, it was eight o’clock. I fidgeted and sweated because I knew that soon the music would begin and I would walk down the aisle and I would have to say the words I longed to never hear again, “I do”.
As much as I didn’t want it to the music began. Begrudgingly I let my father lead me down the aisle. Alex turned around and smiled at me. At the market I hadn’t really noticed his appearance, he was very tall with short black hair and a wide smile. I tried to walk slowly but Father practically pushed me down the aisle and gave his blessing.
The priest who was to marry us stood in front of Alex and read the vows as Alex and I repeated them. When we were finished Alex took my wedding ring out of his pocket and placed it on one of my trembling fingers. “Will you take this man ….” I felt my stomach twisting and turning and turned to my father, he pulled back his jacket and showed me the knife, then I said, “I do.”
Everyone cheered and he grabbed my hand and we ran down the aisle. A servant opened the door to a huge room decorated just as nicely as the ceremony with food, drinks, tables and chairs and a small throne for Alex and me to sit.

Hours later after fake smiling, meager eating, and longing glances at my friends, it was all over. Servants escorted me to my new room where I was taken out of my dress and shown a closet from which I could choose what to wear. After I was dressed and lying comfortably on the bed Alex, my new husband, walked in. He lay on the bed next to me then pushed away the book I was reading and forced his lips on mine. I struggled but he kept kissing me; finally I kicked him. “This is how my new wife treats me!” he screamed. “After I give you a place to live, wealth, clothes, and food? Well you can sleep on the floor for all I care you ungrateful little witch!” Then he flung me and Midnight down with nothing but a throw pillow and a rug. “This is where I am supposed to sleep!? What do I look like a servant? I am now a princess!”
He jumped down off the bed and landed next to me. He wrapped his strong hands around my neck then said. “You’ll sleep down here and you’ll do it without complaint won’t you?” “Yes,” I whispered back chocking and gagging. The true Alex had come out; now that we were behind closed doors and no one was looking.

I pulled the rug on me and Midnight crawled under it and lay next to me. I could feel him trembling and I stroked him softly knowing that purring wouldn’t be a problem. I finally fell asleep more from fear then exhaustion. The next morning I awoke, Alex was not there. I started, or rather tried to leave but two servants stood outside the room and said that I would have to stay in there while Alex was away. All day I played with Midnight and ate the food that was slid some food and water through the doorway every few hours. Finally Alex arrived home and the same thing that happened last night happened again except this time I didn’t dare struggle. He merely pushed me off the bed and I slept on the floor again.

My life continued like this for a month when I decided I was going to escape. That night when he pushed me onto the floor I didn’t fall asleep. I waited until he was snoring then pushed myself off the floor and crawled over to the drawer, opened it and took out the money I had hidden there from the past couple of days. You see I realized I was going to need some money but since I was trapped inside all day I had to steal money left over from Alex’s pockets. I had enough to last me a few days. I went to the closet and grabbed a cloak and slipped it on. I hid Midnight in one of the inside pockets, grabbed a candle off the chest and left. Luckily I had a match in the cloak and lit it.

I ran walked through the door I heard a servant walking through the hall towards me and ran to the left. I hid my candle behind my hand when I heard his footsteps getting closer. Midnight mewed from inside my cloak and I tried to conceal it. The footsteps started getting faster though so I looked around and found a hall closet and hid in it. The man walked by looked around and seeing nothing kept going on.

I continued on and I got lucky. No more servants got in my way again. I arrived at the door for the stairs. I looked at the number on the door; I was on the 3rd floor, I had to go down two more floors to get out of here…forever. I ran down the stairs but was still careful to keep the candle from shining too much. I flew down to the first floor in record time then opened the door. I was outside of the castle…I was free.
I was free and happy for the first time in my life! No father, no Natalie, no Alex, nothing holding me down. I recovered myself then ran past the gardens, fountains, and finally out the gate. I looked back and saw that the castle was still dark. I put my hood over my head then started towards the main farm in the city. I walked in then went into the back barn. I looked around until a stable boy walked up to me and said, “Are you looking for anything in particular?” “I need a camel, a saddle, bridle, and food.” I replied anxiously looking around.

The boy walked up to another man and whispered something in his ear. He then walked off in search of the things I requested. The man walked up to me then said, “Hi, Dean just told me all the things you need and you’ll need to fill out an application because of the largess of the purchase.” I nodded, hoping that Alex wouldn’t think of searching here. He took a clipboard then asked me, “What is your name?” I said the first thing that came into my head, “Belle Stone.” “Age, address, and payment type.” “I’m nineteen, I am a servant in the palace so I don’t really have an address and I’ll pay with cash.” He nodded writing all the things I said.

I was worried though because he would be suspicious how a servant at the palace would be able to afford all the things I asked for. About five minutes later the stable boy; Dean rather; came out leading a camel who had a saddle and bridle on and a huge bag of food in his other hand. “This is what you wanted; correct ma’am?” Dean asked. The man looked back then said, “Okay that’ll be about “211.”

I handed over the money then took my camel, mounted him; no her and rode off. I knew she wouldn’t go too fast and that wasn’t a problem, at least she wouldn’t eat and drink too often plus I was out of the palace and I was safe…that was all that mattered. At least I was partially safe. Once Alex found out that I was missing I knew that he would go searching for me, the only way that I could be totally safe was to get across the border of the country where no matter what Alex couldn’t send one guard to try and get me, getting across the border was my safety net.

Midnight was able to survive on the meager portions of meat I was able to give him and the camel whom I named “Fyon” rarely ate and drank which really helped matters. I ate a little more than Midnight; just enough to keep me alive. The first few days of traveling were difficult; I had to adjust to not being able to eat three times a day or sleeping on maybe a dirty plush carpet but in a bedroom at least.

One day I saw a sign that said “Danger …ns” The first part of “ns” was cut off and I couldn’t tell what it was. I knew it was dangerous but the possibility of Alex’s wrath was much worse than whatever was behind this sign. Suddenly I saw things flying around and a boy on a, a ruby red dragon appeared next to me.

I ran away from the dragon and the boy. They followed me though I could hear the hissing dragon as they did. I tucked Midnight into my cloak pocket trying to outrun the dragon but it was futile. They caught me within a few minutes.

“My name is Raven,” I said. “Honestly, I was Prince Alex’s wife and I ran away from the palace when I ended up here.” “That’s true?” the boy asked the dragon. It nodded then looked at me suspiciously.

“We’ll take her to Randi,” the dragon said. “Who is Randi?” I asked. “How did you understand what she said?” the boy asked. “I don’t know she just talked,” I shrugged. The boy looked at me and then the dragon and said, “Okay we’re taking her to Randi, now.” I stayed quiet as the boy dragged me onto the dragon and we flew some unknown place. After ascending hours and hours we finally reached our destination I guessed. A building bigger than the palace...

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