|Stealing a Kingdom
Author: SerynnLux PM
Gen's daughter has to steal the ring of Sounis to deliver to her father the ability to be Annux. Along the way she gets help from a certain thieving god. Drama and suspense, theif's honour. Written before a Conspiracy of Kings.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Adventure - Chapters: 4 - Words: 11,243 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 08-24-11 - Published: 12-31-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6610784
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I would leave a reeeeaaaallly long author's note explaining this, but I have a feeling not many of you would read it…. So I'll put it at the bottom. For now though, I'll just say Meagan Whalen Turner owns pretty much everyone here, and for that I'm eternally jealous.
The sun was just breaking over the tips of the mountains when the King of Attolia opened his eyes. The sky was stained gold and shot through with pink, it made him smile to see the mountains that guarded his home outlined in such beauty. Because no matter that he had been in Attolia for the past seventeen years, Eddis was still his home. Helen, he knew felt the same way, looking over his life in Eddis he felt that familiar homesickness, but it was one he welcomed. Because he wouldn't trade his life with Irene for anything. Looking down at his sleeping wife he smiled again, even after all this time her beauty still took his breath away.
He ran his finger over her cheek and she slowly opened her eyes. Seeing him she smiled, as much as he loved her, she loved him. She caught his hand in hers and pressed his palm to her lips. But there were reservations in her eyes. Today their daughter was marrying the crown prince and heir to the Sounisian throne, something they both knew unsettled her. In a moment they would have to rise and deal with the ceremony and decorum, but for now there was just them. Searching his eyes, she found what she had been looking for.
"I love you" she said simply, with no inflection or question in her voice, with the air of one stating a well known fact. She heard his breath catch at that but all he said was "I know" just as simply as she.
There was a knock at the door, one of the Queen's attendants, Iolanthe, coming to tell them it was time to deal with life. The king silently rose from the bed and made his way to the passageway that led back to his room. Turning around he looked at his queen and felt his heart contract with a small amount with happiness. She answered his smile with one of her own, and for a moment, life was as it should be.
From her court in the Sacred Mountains Hephestia watched all this happen; knowing that the god's plan for Eugenides' daughter was being carried out, still it hurt her to think of how this was hurting her half brother. She was fond of him, the legends had gotten that right at least.
She reflected, as she looked down on the mortal world, that even the best laid plans can go astray, even when the gods plan them. No one could have known that her brother would fall in love with the young princess, or that she would fall just as much in love with him. Yes, that had been a surprise, she though wryly to herself, but Ariadne's reaction hadn't been. She had known she would marry the man who could help save their tiny nation from destruction. Had known that, when Gen told her of his feelings, she would return them, return them, but not act upon them.
Below her she saw the preparations for a wedding, a wedding that she knew would never come. Behind her Moira came in. As she moved to stand next to the goddess Moira sighed. Eugenides was a favourite of theirs, and seeing him in pain like this was unpleasant for them both. Turning her back to the sight Hephestia looked at the scribe.
Her pale face was drawn, what they were about to do was not usually done, but in this case necessary.
"Come" Hephestia said "It is time for the gods to intervene."
I was staring out of my window when my father arrived. He came in through a hidden door, not making any sound, but I saw his reflection in the glass, behind him stood my mother. The wedding was still hours away, but I was already looking into the future. A future spent with someone other than Eugenides. I found the thought made me ill. Last night was still fresh in my mind, so was his face when I had walked away. He had looked devastated for a moment before he schooled his expression into an impassive mask.
I had tried to explain to him that I had only wanted space to think but he had heard none of it, just brushed me aside with a terrible coldness that had hurt me more than if he had slapped me. I had tried to call out to him, but he had left without a backwards glance, just walked off the roof. I had stayed up on that roof for the rest of the night, coming down only when the sun began to rise.
Turning around to face my parents I felt a stab of jealousy, they had been able to marry for love, and still work it out politically, even the King and Queen of Sounis had been in love when they married. I sighed and stared out of the window. In a few hours I would promise to spend the rest of my life with someone, while I was in love with someone else.
Because that was what I had realized last night, that I did love him, as much I wanted to deny that I did, and it was too late to correct any of it. I had a country to protect. Someday I would be a queen. Something my father had once said came floating back to me then, "Queen's make sacrifices" I knew now that this was true, and I was I was sacrificing a bit of my heart for this country, this country that would never know. Because that is what a sovereign does, they must have nothing of their own, because they must give everything to their people. I wiped at the tears that were starting around the corners of my eyes.
Sensing my thoughts my father came forward and placed a hand on my shoulder. I looked up at him. "Come, Gen, we have to go." I knew where we were going; to the altar of Hephestia, to pray for what I wasn't sure, prosperity and happiness I thought. And then to the smaller altar to Eugenides, for a thief's protection. Why that was needed in a marriage I didn't know, but he was still patron god of thieves, and my father and I both were, for better or for worse, thieves. I would just have to swallow my tears when we were there.
My mother looked at me with sympathy, she wouldn't be coming, and these weren't her gods. But she knew about my feelings for Eugenides, or at least suspected them. I pressed my lips into a line and prepared to go pray for a marriage I was dreading with every part of me.
Three hours later, I was back in my room, being attacked by my attendants, with Costis looking on in amusement.
"Oh shut up." His grin, as did the grin of the rest of my guards widened. I sighed. I was wearing a simple white dress, cut like my mother's but with silver embroidery on it that was my entirely father's doing. I hadn't seen the dress before, but it was clear who had chosen it for me. The embroidery made the dress stiff, but the tailors had lined the dress with linen so that it didn't scratch me. My attendants had scrubbed me until my skin was pure white and were now putting the finishing touches on my hair.
Looking at myself in the mirror, I realized why the dress was cut like my mother's, they wanted me to look like her, even my hair was similar to the way she had once worn it. They wanted to say I would be as competent a queen as she. Instead I saw my father. My hair had darkened with the long hours I had spent indoors to a deep rich black, and my eyes had the same reservations as his. Looking closer I realized that even the way my hair was done drew attention to the scar on my cheek. I was no longer wearing the feather necklace, it hurt me to be without it, but I had decided that if I was going to turn my back on him, I couldn't do it while wearing that necklace. Instead I was wearing a silver rose that hung upside down. I touched it gingerly. My father had given it to me last night, saying it had been my grandmother's, he had gotten a far of look when he said that almost like-
A scuffle at the door disrupted my thoughts and I looked up to see my grandfather at the door. My attendants quietly removed themselves from my rooms. He came through the doors and looked at me. I saw pride in his eyes, and something more, I had practically been raised by him for the first five years of my life. I reached up and touched his hair; he looked just like my father. He pulled me into a hug.
"This was your grandmother's favourite bracelet. Probably because it was the first thing your father ever stole." He smiled and clasped the bracelet around my wrist. It was a flat silver band with a rose design etched into its surface. I looked down at the ring on my finger. It matched. I looked up at my grandfather, and he smiled. "I see he made sure you had the matching set." He looked at me and kissed my forehead. "I just want to know that you will be happy Ari." He was the only one who ever called me that, besides the guards but in their case it was more them shortening my official title. Ariadne had been my grandmother's name, and I was named after her. I looked up at my grandfather and shrugged.
"You can't know that though, I can't even know that. But I do know that I love Timos, enough to make this work." He sighed and nodded.
"That may be the best any of us can ask for really. Be blessed in your endeavours." He brushed my hair back away from my face and left. I watched him walk out before I turned to look around. A trapped feeling was welling up inside me, and it was too late to turn back now. I forced myself to calm down, and I turned to my dresser and took in everything, the brushes, the pins, the delicate perfume bottles, and the jewellery. All at once I couldn't stand the weight of the crown on my head.
It was just a simple diadem of woven silver with diamonds and sapphires glittering amongst it, and in the center just dropping onto my forehead, a ruby shimmered almost liquidly. Even this had its meaning. Silver for Eddis, sapphire for Sounis and ruby for Attolia. I pulled it out of my hair and ran my fingers through the thick dark waves that cascaded down my back. I placed the diadem down on the table and as soon as I did, the door slammed shut and the windows swung open. A breeze filled the room and when I turned around, Hephestia and Moira were in my room.
Speechless, I knelt down in front of them. Hephestia shook her head and Moira came forward and lifted me off my feet. Instinctively I lowered my head in supplication. I had long since learned that when the image of the gods appears to you, supposedly living, you react the way you do in the temple. No matter if you're questioning your own sanity or wondering who spiked your morning orange juice.
"You do not need to bow to me, little thief." I raised my eyes and Moira was smiling at me. I pushed my questions to the side. In reality, I had spent almost a year in the company of the God of Thieves, shouldn't I be used to this sort of thing by now? Looking up a Hephestia my breath caught and my knees shook. That would be a resounding NO.
"You put me in a rather interesting position, little one; you see you and my brother are both in love with the other." My head spun, I knew Eugenides was fond of me, but I had figured it was just in the way barons loved their mistresses. It was harsh on him, but he was a god, I had accepted that was the most I would get from him. And even though he had told me he loved me last night, I hadn't really believed it. I had thought that it was just something he had said.
"I'm going to give you a choice, little one. I can either manipulate your fates so you can be together, or I can manipulate your memories so you forget him entirely. What is your choice?" to me it seemed obvious, manipulate the fates. Any idiot could figure that out. I opened my mouth to respond. The answer surging to my lips.
I stopped short. The choice I was being given was an incredible one, but not one I necessarily wanted to make. Change the world so I could be with Eugenides, or forget him entirely and walk away from the pain. An impossible choice. I could never live with myself if I left my people in the current state, but I wanted it so badly I could almost feel the choice pulling at me. Then again, I could walk away from the pain, from the agony. But I didn't want that either, I wanted to remember this because it was real. Sure the memories were harsh and grating but in time, I was sure the pain would fade. The memories would always be bittersweet, but they would always be there and I would always have them, and they would be mine. With that realization I came to a choice.
"Are those my only options?" I asked Moira, stressing the word my. She nodded.
"Yes little thief, those are your only options." She stressed the word your, her face impassive. I took a breath and turned to Hephestia.
"Then I humbly ask for a favour, in the name of one I love." I stood straight up and looked Hephestia in the eyes. My knees were shaking and my stomach was doing back flips, but my voice was sure and I held her gaze. Words my father had once said came floating back to me then, 'Be careful with the gods Gen, because not wanting the prize they have arranged for you, that just might offend the hell right out of them.' I swallowed. She inclined her head slightly and smiled, barely there but I saw it, and it made me stand up just a little straighter.
"Very well. What is it? But be warned, I'm not a genie." I closed my eyes and squared my shoulders.
"I want you to make him forget me. Completely. I don't want him to even be able to think my name." She looked at me and Moira gasped.
"Little thief, do you know what you are asking?" I looked up at her and shook my head.
"No" I answered truthfully.
"If this does happen, you will never be remembered. What's done is done, even with the gods. He will never remember you, no matter what happens. Do you understand that?" I closed my eyes and nodded. It really didn't merit overthinking.
"Yes, and that changes nothing." I looked straight at Hephestia. The Great Goddess inclined her head.
"Then so shall it be. Tonight at midnight, he will forget you. Completely." I nodded and went down on one knee bowing my head. The similarities to fairytales was there and the irony was obvious to myself, obvious, but not enjoyed.
"Thank you, goddess." I felt a light touch on my shoulder and a breath of wind stirred my hair before I heard "Be blessed in your endeavours". When I looked up, the goddess was gone.
I stood up, with my knees shaking slightly. The door to my room opened and my attendants spilled in.
"Highness, what have you done to your hair?"One of the youngest of them darted forward to fix it, but I raised my hand to ward her off. I raised the other, and found that my hair was gently pulled back from my face and twisted at the back. She came forward anyways, out stretching her hands. I darted back and looked at her. Her face went pale as she looked at me.
"I- I'm sorry." She was shaking and my other attendants shook their heads. I had them well trained by now, and they never contradicted me. I closed my eyes, resting one hand on my stomach, holding myself up with the other clutching the table edge.
"Go get me something."
"Yes, your highness? What would you like?" I shook my head. Gods' blood she was stupid.
"I don't know. Go ask someone." She nodded and ran out. I turned to my other attendants. They looked back warily. "As for the rest of you" I said. "Make yourselves useful and leave me to my thoughts. Come back when I have thirty minutes until I need to be there." I turned my back on them and stood at the window, closing my eyes and leaning my head against the glass. A rustle of material distracted me and frowned.
"I thought I told you to make yourselves scarce?"
"Not that I can recall, Gen." I turned around and saw my parents standing in my room, my father leaning against the door.
"You have been blessed by the gods" he said, no question in his voice. Just knowing. I nodded silently, my hands shaking at the implications of what I had chosen. I turned my back and breathed through my nose. I felt a hand on my back and whirled to see my mother, her eyes soft. I leaned against her, biting my lip to stop from crying.
"He's going to forget me" I murmured. She lifted my chin and kissed my forehead, no words needed. "I want this, does that make me terrible?" she shook her head and hugged me.
"It means you love him, more than yourself. With all that you are." My father's voice was low and measured. I turned and gave him a weak smile.
"Majesties, I hate to interrupt, but it is time to leave now." Costis's voice cut through the family moment and I nodded, wiping away the tears. I reached up and patted my now curly hair. Then squaring my shoulders I looked around and walked out the door. Toward my wedding, and away from Eugenides.
Soooooo, unless my eyesight was worse than I thought, there is a pile of rotten vegetables with a sign that says "To throw at author" but before you do, I can explain... sort of.
I haven't written anything for my fanfictions in a very long time.. mainly because I haven't had new material to work with, but also because sometimes life gets crazy. But besides that I have an original idea that I'm working on, one I know will be a long fic. I also have the attention span of a gold fish.. any new idea I have takes precedence.
Now, you all have my sincerest and most heartfelt apologies, but having read The Thief to my little brother, this story came back into my head. It was mainly written months ago, but I had to make changes and add more sarcasm... because really, she's the king of Attolia's daughter... self explanatory. Also my dad and I haven't watched tv and worked together in a while... weird I know, but it's when I do my best work.
It's been a few months, but my style has changed slightly, and I've improved ( I think) so the next chapter may be slightly different, but most of it will stay the same.
Now, if you've survived till now, I have the audacity to ask for reviews, I promise to update in the next few days. In fact, I solemnly swear by the Marauder's Code I will update soon...
Ok, have I mollified you? No? Ok. –heaves sigh- throw the veggies if you must.
... (Review, pretty pretty please? It'll make Attolis happy...)