Frélinhard (part 1)
EgressSerpheral Alun VII died early in the morning. He left his entire kingdom to his daughter, Egress.
She was five years old.
At first she didn’t understand. Was her father on a trip? He went away sometimes, often for whole months at a time. He would always come back tired but usually quite happy.
But a month passed, and then two. Princess Egress began to worry. He had never stayed away so long. She wandered the castle every day. Nobody tried to stop her. She was, after all, the princess.
A year passed. Egress knew little of the world outside the castle. She knew it was high up on a mountain, near a village. But she had never been allowed passed the gardens. She began to take lessons with a tutor. Lenthian. Astronomy. She loved the stars. But still, her father didn’t return.
The others in the castle seemed anxious. No one would tell her what was happening
“Where’s my father?” she asked Lady Telana.
The woman’s face clouded over. “Far away,” she replied. “Too far away to come back.”
“Where is that?” Egress asked.
Telana knelt down next to her. “He is… gone, my little princess.”
Egress didn’t ask what it meant. She had had a dog who had gone away, too, far away. He was buried in the castles graveyard. She wondered in her father was there too.
Egress’s ninth birthday was somewhat subdued. War had broken out between the Lenthiens and the Rigets. “But we’re Lenthiens,” Egress asked Lady Telana. “Why aren’t we at war?”
“Because the other castle is taking care of that.” Telana said briskly. “Come on. You have to go to bed.”
The war didn’t end. But it didn’t affect the mountaintop Egress was on. She felt secluded, taken from the rest of the world. By the time she was 12, she longed to see the rest of the world. But Telana said it was too dangerous.
“Why?” Egress asked.
“Because of the other castle.”
She tried to leave the castle four times in the next three years, but was always caught. Try as she might, she was trapped.
He came to her in visions. Always cloaked in grey, his beard scrawny and thin. She sobbed for him, but he remained distant and cold.
For her fifteenth birthday she was given a knife.
“Guard it well,” Telana said. “You never know what dangers may be lurking.”
The next year was fraught with peril as the war became bloodier. Within the castle, Egress eavesdropped on the generals, hoping for news.
It was all bad. Hostages, death, and violence. The Rigets had raided the other castle. The Lenthiens had burned the Riget’s ships. They talked about her, too. How she was in danger.
She was ready. She was Egress Alun I, heir to Serpheral Alun VII, daughter of the Fair Liliete.
And on her sixteenth birthday she learned about the rebellion.