It was a dark and stormy night in the Imperial City. Everyone was either inside, or they were seeking shelter from the raging storm. I was happily snuggled down in my bed listening to the rain, thunder, and watching the lightning flash across the sky. Anyone out and about tonight would be drenched, so I was thankful for my bed. I was Prince Valen Bryan of the Nanookian Empire, and I was recovering from a jousting match that morning. However it hadn't turned out well for me, because I had been thrown from my horse which broke some ribs when I landed. I was on bed rest right now, but I was grateful for the chance to get a good night's rest. I wanted to sleep though, yet sleep escaped me like a fox escapes hunters. My mind on how I looked rather pathetic losing the jousting match today. Father had to be disgraced, or at least embarrassed by the loss. I prayed I'd get another chance at Lord Herald, for I had enough confidence in myself that I knew I could beat him. Though I doubted father would give me another chance at Herald after the loss I suffered.

I was sleeping lightly when I heard the door open just barely, and I reached over lighting a lamp that was on my nightstand filling the room with light. I sat up looking over my room. Nothing moved as I looked around the room. Not an object was out of place, nor did there seem to be anyone in the room with me. I had a gut feeling that something was out of place. "Who's there?" I demanded. No one answered, so I turned the lights off laying back down. I was uneasy though. I knew something wasn't right, and I would not be surprised, because I had already suffered one loss that day. I was almost asleep when a blade was put to my throat, and a hand held me down while covering my mouth.

"Don't move, or you'll create a bloody mess," a hooded woman laughed. I was not dying without a fight! I slammed her off of me, and sent her to the floor. She hit the ground hard, but I didn't care as I jumped up grabbing my sword from the side of the bed. However just as soon as I got up my ribs began throbbing, so I knew I couldn't last long in a fight. I held my ribs as I held out my weapon.

"Sorry to disappoint you, but I will not go down without a fight!" I snapped. As she got up I heard her laughing, and she sheathed her dagger. The look she gave was full of blood lust as she unsheathed a longsword from her hip.

"My type of kill," she laughed. Then she attacked with a strength that was surprising as I blocked the blow creating a steel song. "I was wondering when I would get a target that wasn't fat, old, and lazy!" she sneered. I glared at her as I backed away getting my sword ready to defend again, yet she perked up as I braced against the bed. She sheathed her weapon, but I wasn't fooled by this. I kept my blade up.

"What? Afraid I might kill you?" I sneered.

"No, you are injured," she said. I stood there shocked for a moment. I couldn't believe she knew that, but then again I wasn't keeping it hidden very well. I grasped the edge of the nightstand though still looked at her rather shocked.

"What difference does it make?" I demanded.

"A world of difference," she said. I rolled my eyes as she walked over to me then, and took the blade from my hand gently. "Lay back down, for I will not kill an injured man," she said.

"I know I am not the only man to be injured that you've came for!" I growled.

"No, but you are the first to show the will to live. For that you have your life till you are able to fight me, and we settle this in an honorable way. Proving who deserves to live," she said. I was in disbelief, yet I was not about to fight with her over it.

"Tell me one good reason why I shouldn't call for the guards!" I snarled.

"I spared you, so you should spare me. Other than that, whether you spare me or not is up to you," she said. Then she went towards the balcony door, and stood there. "I shall make check ups on you for the time being," she said.

"Come back here, and I'll call the guards!" I snapped.

"We shall see," she said. Then she disappeared out the door, and I was left thanking the Maker that she had spared me. I went back to bed though too tired to do anything else.

In the end we became best friends, and even grew closer than that. I made her my Knight Commander when I became Emperor, and I eventually married her. It was one of the best decisions I had ever made.