Pronunciation Key (Actual Greek or "Alansian" pronunciation of the names)

Chryseis: Cry-see-is

Pasiphae: Pa-siff-ah-ee

Eidyia: Eye-dee-a

Cyala: Kie-ah-la

Cyn-Dyrela: Kine die-reh-lah

Mer Dyrelle: Mehr Die-rehl

Marai- Mar-eye

Chapter One

The death of Baroness Pasiphae Morrigan of Llyr was a great tragedy, not only because she was young, but because of what she left behind. Her husband would never love another woman, for he had fallen in love with his brilliant and lovely wife. But never again would she make him laugh with her jokes or walk with him in the sunny gardens of her home that she had loved so much. The only light left in his life was his young daughter, Chryseis. Every time he saw her run through the gardens, he wondered if she would grow to be like her mother, and wondered what the future would hold for her.

This is Chryseis' story.


I had very few memories of life before my mother's funeral. I was only four when she died, and it was a long while before I understood what had happened. At her funeral, she had been laid on her funeral pyre, still and peaceful. She was dressed in a delicate silver gown, with her brown hair spread out on the little pillow beneath her head.

"Mother…" I had moaned, wondering why she was so quiet and motionless. Tugging on my father's sleeve, I asked him why she wouldn't wake up.

"Your mother is gone," he had explained in a sad voice. Now that I look back, I can see his sorrowful face, the usual twinkle in his hazel eyes gone. "Her spirit has gone on to live in the next world, but her body has been left here. The spirit is waiting for us, and when our spirits go to the next world, she will be there. Until then, a part of her spirit remains in us, loving us and watching over us." His grief was beyond anything I'd ever known, as was my own when I finally comprehended the fact that my mother was gone. Tears had leaked from my eyes, which I tried to rub away with a small chubby fist, determined not to cry and be strong for Father. He had held my tiny hand in his and explained what we must do.

We took the candles from the priest when the service was finished and set the pyre alight. My father stood tall, with me in his arms, my little arms around his neck and burying my face in his shoulder. He watched the pyre and his wife as the flames consumed them, but I could not. All I could smell was smoke and death, and I knew that things would never be the same.

All my memories of mother flashed through my mind, few though they were. I remembered sneaking away from my nurse to a ball that was being held in our manor. Mother had been there, dressed in a fine blue gown. She was whirling across the dance floor with my father, laughing and looking lovely. I saw other ladies there in pretty dresses wearing lavish jewels, but it was Mother who lit up the room. That is always how I will remember her, as the beautiful, perfect lady who was always laughing. I remember her tucking me into my bed at night and telling me stories. In my mind were the scent of the lilac bath oil she always used and the sound of her voice singing a lullaby for me. But those few memories were all I had now. She was gone, slipping away from me before I had the chance to truly know her.

After the funeral we returned home to our manor to begin our lives without her. I will always remember our lovely manor in my heart, with its fragrant gardens full of bright flowers and the stately marble columns. It was an ancient building, but built to endure the ages with majesty and grace. The floors were polished wood or marble or elegant tile from all parts of the kingdom. Thick rugs and carpets sometimes covered the floor. The one in my room was thick and soft, so that my feet almost sank into it when I sprang across it. There were paintings of all the barons and baronesses before Mother and Father on the walls, their portraits smiling down on their descendants through the ages.

Outside were the gardens, where I liked to spend my time playing and reading. Mother had loved living things, so we had many dogs and cats that lived on the grounds and in the house as well. There were horses in a stable on the west of our land, and a wide field in which to ride them that extended to a forest with hills beyond it. In the gardens there were fountains with fish in them, and water lilies that floated on top, the pink and white blooms looking very cheery and colorful in the sun's light. Spring and summer brought the heavenly smell of flower blooms to all of the grounds, and it was impossible not to love Llyr at that time.

This manor had been my mother's, for she was the only child of the Baron of Llyr. They had been the last of the line, and desperately clinging to their heritage. All of our line has been proud, and we love our land more than anything else, excepting our family. My mother, Pasiphae had many fortune-seekers who sought her hand, but the one she fell in love was Lord Michael Rillian. He was the second son in a noble family that lived in the capital city of Calaris, and had fallen very much in love with Pasiphae as well.

He was a diplomat for the king, often traveling to foreign lands on missions for his sovereign. On his travels, he loved to collect things from the lands he journeyed to, so our home was filled with foreign art and objects. When his wife's father died, he was bestowed with the title of Baron of Llyr, but only to keep the title safe until another would bear it. The lineage of Llyr would be through his wife's child, through the blood of the Llyr family. He would govern this land to the best of his ability until I was old enough to bear the title of Baroness.

He was a good father, and after my mother's death, he stayed home more to help raise me. I always knew that he loved me and that my mother always had and still did. My father was never too dignified to join in my games in the orchard or my tea parties in my room. We would go riding across the field and sometimes through the forest and into the hills that overlooked the nearby village. He was always there for me when I needed him, and when he was not I had Eidyia.

Eidyia had been a servant on the Llyr estate all her life. Our servants were very loyal, and their position here was much better than those of servants elsewhere in Alansia. The Llyrs have often been the forerunners of social reform in our land, or so our reputation stood. We had abolished many of the older, stuffier laws regarding the place of servants. Our servants were very educated and treated as honored employees instead of slaves, as I knew some servants in other places were. Eidyia was very educated indeed, and was my governess for years. She had been only a year older than my mother, whom she had grown up with.

At night, she would tell me all about my mother, and how they used to play together. Besides my father, Eidyia had known my mother best and could tell me stories about her. Soon after my mother died, my nurse had to leave to be with her ailing father in a faraway land. From then on, Eidyia became my guardian when Father was away. She was very young and kind and always knew how to cheer me up when I was sad or help me when I was confused. Sometimes she even let me stay awake past my bedtime to chase fireflies or read the last chapter of a book. It was almost like having a mother, but not quite the same.

Most of all she was my governess and teacher. It was she who taught me my letters and arithmetic. I was very young, but eager to learn more so I could be a good baroness someday. Her room was always filled with books, some of which she had gotten in the big cities and some of which had once belonged to mother. There were books on natural science, philosophy, economics, language, and other advanced subjects. I would always pull them down and look at them, excited to know that someday I would learn all these.

Right away, I began to learn the Ancient Tongue. Eidyia always said that it was best to learn young, especially with languages. I remember sitting on the little couch in my room with her, going over the words over and over. When she left me to practice, sometimes I would read to my mirror, watching the brown haired girl in the reflection as she recited her lessons. I always used to look in that mirror and wish I looked more like my mother. I had her brown hair, my father said, but I did not have her fiery green eyes. My eyes were like my father's: hazel, with the colors mixing and blending. I had skin that sometimes burnt when I spent too long in the sun, and my nurse was always making me put herbal balms on it to prevent this.

As I learned more and more, I began to understand what my heritage meant. I was to be baroness someday, and so must prepare for that role. Father did not hold many parties at our manor any more, but he did hold a ball once or twice a year. On those days, the entire manor was bustling with people making the necessary preparations. All the guest rooms were aired out, and fresh linens put on the beds. Floors were scrubbed and windows were washed and furniture was dusted. The kitchens were filled with busy bakers, making enormous tortes and trifles, and the chefs, preparing fish and turkeys and soups. It always smelled wonderful when this was going on, with the fresh clean smell of the manor and the smell that emanated from the kitchens.

When I had just turned six years old, my father happened to be holding a ball to celebrate the coming of spring. It was to be a grand event, and the manor was as busy as usual. The best part was that I was allowed to come to part of it. I would be allowed to greet the guests with my father. This, of course, excited me to no end. There was even a new dress for me to wear, pretty and blue. I didn't care so much for the dress as I did for that fact that I was allowed to go. I was a lady now, I told myself.

The big night arrived, and I stood by my father's side watching the guests arrive. He tolerantly met each and every one of them and spoke to them kindly as they walked into our main ballroom. Some of them said a greeting to me as well, while others looked down on me as if I were far too young to be attending such proceedings. I used my best baroness-in-training manners to welcome them. Some laughed at my attempt and others seemed to think it was adorable.

After a while, my father was called away to solve a problem with the set up for the banquet. I was left to answer the door and greet the guests on my own. In my mind, I heard Eidyia instructing me on my manners. Curtsy gracefully; welcome them to our home… I tried to think of my mother, and what she would have done.

Not long after my father left, some very important guests arrived in our hall. King Matthew and Queen Marai had arrived, their seven year old son Brien coming with them. I gave them my best curtsy, but it was difficult on my little legs. Despite my nervousness, I managed to do it, even though it looked nothing like my mother's graceful, sweeping curtsies.

Queen Marai smiled. I told her that I was honored to have them here and if her royal highness wished, Father would return shortly. She greeted me and even spoke directly to me, something that not many other adults had done. "You are a most excellent hostess, Chryseis. You look to be much like your dear mother, may she rest in peace." I smiled happily and nodded. Brien had wandered off and was looking at the carved ice statue in the corner, in the shape of a great unicorn. Marai laughed and went to collect her son, the king moving with her. As she walked away, I barely heard her say to her husband, "What a charming little girl! Perhaps we should keep her in mind when she and Brien are both a bit older. The blood of Llyr is noble and fair, and Sir Michael's daughter looks to be of that blood." Later, I discovered that only one other person heard that, a person whose malice would haunt me for many years.

The ball turned out to be no place for children. Prince Brien looked rather bored and I was rather bored as well after being freed of my task of greeting the guests at the ball. My nurse would be along to collect me soon, and I wondered if the prince would be taken off to bed, too, or if he would have to endure the rest of the ball. My father encouraged me to talk to him since we were nearly the same age. He didn't talk much, and didn't smile at all. I really had no clue what to do with the prince of Alansia. In the end, I tried to amuse him by telling a joke that I remembered Eidyia telling me. He laughed at it, and seemed much friendlier after that, as if he now knew that I was a nice kid who was bored with these things too. I showed him around our manor for a little bit, even though I would have rather played a game. But a lady did not play games, I reminded myself. A lady was polite and proper.

In the end, we did end up playing hide and seek in the downstairs library, running around the bookshelves. It wasn't long, though, before my nurse found us and sent Prince Brien back to the ballroom and me to my father to say goodnight and go off to bed. As she ushered me back to my room afterwards, she scolded me gently, reminding me that a lady was always demure and well behaved. I asked her if a lady was also often bored, and she laughed.

"You will grow to be a proper lady in time. I think we forget that you are also still a child, Chryseis." She took me to my room, where Eidyia was waiting for us. I said goodnight to my nurse, who left after speaking with Eidyia quickly. It was Eidyia, tonight, who helped me get ready to sleep, tucked me into bed and read me a story.

"How was your very first ball?" she asked me, a twinkle in her dark eyes.

"All right," I admitted. "My dress was sort of itchy, and some of the people who came were a little odd, but at least some people there were fun." She smiled.

"In a few more years, they will be far more enjoyable, Chryseis," she laughed. "Balls were never Pasiphae's favorite pastime, but she was a good hostess all the same. I do hope you grow to be like her." Her face took on a distant look, and I thought it seemed sad.

"I'll try," I promised. "I tried to be like her tonight, but I don't think it worked very well."

"The other servants told me that you did wonderfully," Eidyia assured me as she rose to turn out my light. "You will never be just like your mother, for you are your own person. But some of her grace you may yet find in yourself. Now, sleep, little one. It's back to your lessons tomorrow." She blew out the candles and shut my door, leaving me in the dark room, going over everything that had happened that day so I wouldn't ever forget. I was happy. Even the time since my mother had died had not been entirely sorrowful, although a little more solemn and strange. Those years of my life were happy times, but the sun would not shine on the house of Llyr forever.

Quick Author's Note:

I've edited and rewritten this story for consistency, characterization, and other little details. If you want the original, email me and I'll try and find a place to post it and mail you the link. Thanks for all your wonderful comments and criticism- they inspired me to take another look at this story and have driven many of the revisions. Thank you, and send more on the way! Whether you're reading for the first time or the second, enjoy!