Original Prompt: “A king has fallen in love with a female knight, but hides his love for her in fear of rejection.”
Princess Lily Rosewood and Prince Riffen Selorn made their way from the snow covered courtyard towards the main foyer of the palace. Guards from both The Elven City-State of Paralyth and Riffen’s homestead of Frost Haven followed behind them.
Lily approached an Elven Woman who looked only a few years older than Lily or Riffen. Of course this was deceiving because Elves seemed to age slower than humans and lived much longer.
“Bella,” Lily said in Elvish. “I need my things.”
The woman, who Riffen assumed was Bella, nodded, “Yes, Princess. I believe they were taken to the Prince’s room for storage while you are here.”
“Perfect,” Riffen said, also in Elvish. “I know how to get there.”
“Thank you, Bella,” Lily said with a smile.
Lily and Riffen made their way to Riffen’s room while the guards jogged behind them to keep up.
Lily had a huge smile on her face that Riffen had not seen the entire time she had been in the palace.
They made it to Riffen’s room and he let her into the room. Some of the guards seemed to protest, but Riffen raised up his hands.
“It will be ok,” Riffen said in common. “No funny business.”
He gave all the guards a wink and shut the door.
Lily had her hands on her knees and she was laughing through shallow breaths.
“Well that was fun,” She said with a laugh.
“Yeah that was,” Riffen said with a smile.
“It’s almost like we were on an adventure running away from monsters,” Lily said.
“Do you dream of being an adventurer?” Riffen asked.
Lily’s demeanor changed and she grew quiet. She did not answer the question. The room grew silent.
“You said something about needing your things,” Riffen said.
“Right,” Lily said in her normal, quiet voice.
Riffen walked further into his room and noticed that the palace servants were already in his room. The mess he had made earlier was completely cleaned up. Clothes were no longer strewn across the floor and his bed was made.
“It’s nice,” Lily said.
“Oh thank you,” Riffen said.
There on the end of the bed were a few different bags which Riffen assumed belonged to Lily.
They walked over and Lily opened a leather bag. She then pulled out a large, glass ball.
“What is that?” Riffen asked.
“This is a magical artifact called a Scrying Eye. It lets me use my magical abilities to find people as long as they are on the same plane of existence as me,” Lily explained.
“That’s incredible,” Riffen said.
His eyes were large. He had very little experience with magic. Riffen had met with Clerics before who were able to use their holy magic to heal people or shield people with auras and he had ran into Druids who were practitioners of nature magic, but this was something else entirely.
“You can find anyone, like, in the entire world?” Riffen asked.
“Yeah for the most part. There are limits to it. If a creature is strong enough, it can resist the magic’s ability and I won’t be able to Scry on them. I’ll just be left with a headache.”
“What if the person doesn’t know they are being scryed on?”
“I don’t know if that makes any difference. All I know is that it depends on the power of my magic versus their ability to fend it off,” Lilly said.
“Interesting. So do you think you can find Lillian?” Riffen asked.
“Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with her which makes the spell more difficult,” Lilly said. “However, I think that we could find her together.”
“To..together, right,” Riffen said with a shaky voice.
Lily picked up on right away.
“Riffen, what’s wrong?” Lily asked.
“I…I’m just not familiar with this…ummmm…magic stuff,” Riffen said.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of,” Lily said.
“I’m not afraid,” Riffen said. “I’m just not used to magic, ok. I’m a soldier. I use a sword and wear normal, metal armor.”
Lily continued to smile.
“There’s a lot of world out there, Riffen, and I hope you get to explore it.”
“Same for you Lily,” Riffen said.
Lily sat down on Riffen’s bed. She bounced a little on it before patting a spot beside her.
Riffen walked over and sat down next to Lily on his bed.
“Ok now concentrate on Lillian. Focus only on her, ok?”
Riffen nodded and then closed his eyes.
He heard Lily muttering some words underneath her breath that Riffen could not recognize. They sounded like language but something was off about them. Then Lily stopped speaking and there a brief moment of calm. Riffen almost opened his eyes to see if it had worked. Then both Riffen and Lily’s eyes shot open. Both pairs of eyes were purple and glowing.
There was a shift in their vision and Riffen saw a glimpse of Frost Haven. A large, snow covered forest stretched in all direction. Then his vision shifted again and he was looking at a small town nuzzled up to rolling hills and some mountains. Then his vision shifted again and he saw the outside of a tavern. “Nick-Nack Inn.” Then his vision shifted once more. He was inside the inn. He noticed Lillian sitting at a table in the corner of the room. She was sipping on a mug full or a dark liquid and eyeing the room. She was mostly obscured by a cloak over her head, but he knew. That was Lillian.
Riffen tried calling out to her.
“Lillian! Lillian!” He yelled but he made no sound.
Then his vision flashed again and he was sitting in his room on his bed with Lily.
“Lillian!” He called out.
“Riffen,” Lily shook Riffen’s shoulder. “Are you alright? Did you see her?”
Riffen put his hand up to his forehead. His brow was soaked with sweat.
“That. That was incredible,” Riffen said.
His heartbeat was quick and his breath was heavy.
“Did you see Lillian?” Lily asked.
“Yeah I saw her. She’s in some town. I saw hills. Mountains maybe. There was this inn..ummm…oh god what was it called…nick something…ummm… Nick Nack Inn,” Riffen was blurting this out as it came to him. His mind was going a mile a minute.
“She must be there, in that town,” Riffen said.
“That’s wonderful Riffen, I’m very happy that she is alive and well,” Lily said.
“I…I need to go after her,” Riffen said.
Lily’s eyes grew large.
“Riffen, you can’t just leave,” Lily said.
Riffen stopped for a second and focused on Lily.
“What are you talking about?”
“We…we have to get married. There’s the unification of the two kingdoms,” Lily began.
Riffen took a step back.
“Lily, what are you saying? We can’t. You don’t love me and I don’t love you,” Riffen said.
“It doesn’t matter,” Lily said.
She had a sad expression on her face, but her words were tough and solem.
“It doesn’t matter that you aren’t in love with me? It doesn’t matter that you aren’t even attracted to men?” Riffen raised his voice.
“Riffen! Quiet!” Lily said raising her voice to match his.
“We’re not getting married. I’m leaving. I’m finding Lillian and I’m going to marry her. Screw this kingdom merger! You should go find…Anna and marry her. Be happy with her,” Riffen said.
“It’s not how the world works, Riffen. You can’t just chase fairy tales,” Lily was now yelling which was something Riffen didn’t think was physically possible for Lily. “Our marriage will bring peace and stability to the region as long as bridge a century long fissure between Humans and Elves. That’s what is important.”
Riffen and Lily stood in the room in silence. Hot tears streamed down Lily’s face.
“How…how do you know Lillian even wants to marry you?” Lily asked.
This question stung. Riffen didn’t know. He didn’t know how Lillian felt about him or fully how he felt about her. He just knew that he couldn’t stay here and marry Lily. He had to find Lillian.
“I just know,” Riffen said.
There was a knock on Riffen’s door.
“Everything alright in there, Princess?” A guard shouted from outside.
“It’s fine,” Lily called back.
Riffen took a deep breath.
“You can either help me find her or you can get out of my way,” Riffen said. “Either way I’m leaving.”
Lily wiped tears from her eyes, but she continued to cry.
“Nick Nack Inn. I’ve heard of it before. It’s in a small town called Bishop. About a day ride’s from here on horseback. You’ll want to head South-East of here. It is nestled among the foothills of the Gaea Mountains,” Lily said. “If you continue to head south alongside the mountains, you’ll travel through the Ollick Forest which is thick with trees and creatures. On the other side you should find the large city of Xylon. It is a mining city with a large, diverse population. She might be heading there.”
Riffen stood there with mouth open. He was surprised.
“I guess you do get out and see the world,” Riffen said.
Lily shook her head.
“I just read a lot of books. I studying geography and other cultures,” Lily said.
Riffen gave her a bow.
“Thank you Princess Lily, I know that you will be a wise and just Queen,” Riffen said. “Hopefully with Queen Anna beside you.”
“Thank you Riffen,” Lily said with a small smile.
It was silent for a moment.
“When do you plan to leave?” Lily asked.
“Tonight at nightfall,” Riffen said. “I hope that you will not alert anyone of my plans.”
“I won’t tell anyone,” Lily said.
“I appreciate it, Lily,” Riffen said. “Again, I’m sorry that you were put into this situation and that I’m about to make it worse.”
“You…you have to find her and sweep her off her feet,” Lily said with a slight smile. “Do it for the both of us.”
“Will do,” Riffen said.
Lily left the room and took her guards with her as she went towards the main hall. Then Thrix stepped into the room. Riffen was already throwing together some stuff he’d need for his journey.
“You’re going after her, aren’t you?” Thrix asked.
Riffen turned and saw his personal servant and lifelong friend.
“I must, Thrix,” Riffen said. “You understand don’t you?”
Thrix stood there for a moment before speaking.
“I’m not sure it is the right decision, Sir, but I know I cannot talk you out it.”
“Does that mean that you’ll help me?”
Thrix took another moment before speaking.
“I’ll have your horse ready for you at the front gate loaded with supplies at dusk,” Thrix said.
Riffen approached and threw his arms around the old man.
“Thank you, Thrix. I will miss you,” Riffen said.
“I will miss you too, Sir,” Thrix said thrown off by the hug.
Riffen released Thrix from his embrace.
“You better get ready for dinner, Sir,” Thrix said.
Riffen gave him a nod. Thrix left the room and Riffen continued to pack.
The rest of the day was a bit of a blur for Riffen. He was so focused on getting through the evening so that he could get out of here and find Lillian. Both families got together again at dinnertime and talked further details about the merging of government structures, militaries, and cultures. Of course this all for nothing, but neither Riffen or Lily said anything about that. They just played along and pretending everything was alright. Lily stayed quiet which was in her nature, and Riffen just kind of zoned out through most of it unless someone asked him a question directly. They got through the dinner and Riffen went to his room. Everyone retired for the evening because King Rosewood, Queen Rosewood, and Princess Lily Rosewood were heading back to Perralyth in the morning.
Riffen waited in his room until the sun set and it was dusk. Then he poked a head out of his room. Normally there were guards patrolling the area, but everything seemed quiet. Riffen was able to navigate the palace without trouble and made it to the courtyard. From there he traveled to the inner wall of the city. He found Thrix standing there with his horse saddled and carrying bags of supplies. Standing beside him was Lily in Riffen’s heavy, animal fur cloak.
“Here Sir,” Thrix said handing the horse’s reins to Riffen.
“Thank you, Thrix,” Riffen said.
He handed a piece of parchment to Thrix.
“That is a note for my mother and father. I’m sure they won’t be happy, but I hope that note will sooth their tempers some,” Riffen said.
He then turned to Lily.
“Princess,” Riffen said with a small bow.
“Prince Riffen,” Lily courseyed. “I thought I’d return your cloak to you.”
“No need. I have a hundred of them,” Riffen said. “Plus this way you’ll always have a memory of me.”
“I will never forget you,” Lily said. “I hope you find her and you complete your fairy tale.”
“I hope you explore the world and find true love,” Riffen said.
Riffen gave Lily a kiss on her cheek.
He then gave a nod to Thrix before getting up on his horse.
“Don’t worry, I will return and I will bring Lillian back with me,” Riffen said.
“Good luck, Sir,” Thrix said.
“Good luck, Riffen,” Lily said.
Riffen took a deep breath of the cold, snowy air and then snapped the reigns. The horse took off towards the rest of the city. Riffen was heading South through the city and towards the town of Bishop. He would travel to Bishop, or Xylon, or the ends of the world to find her if he had to. He had to find Lillian and he had to fix everything. This was his journey. But what he didn’t know was that his journey was much bigger than he could have predicted.
Header Photo Credit to Jason Chan