Black Roses

Summary: One-shot – The first look into Selena's journal.

Authors Notes: Due to lack of information of the way things are dated/timed in Alagaësia, I have improvised and set up my own way. Also, please note, that some grammar and spelling mistakes were intentional for this is written in journal/diary format.

Disclaimer: I do not own any familiar characters featured in this story. They all belong to the creative Christopher Paolini.

Black Roses
By: Silver pup

Day 12 of Retniw, 367 AR

Today Garrow and I paid a visit to mother's grave. Garrow didn't want to go, as usual, but I begged him all morning until he finally caved in. When we got there we had to clear off all the snow to see her tombstone and pay our respects. I told her about how father has been, how the estate is, the new baby that Evan had last week, and the sick bird I found the other day. I did most of the talking, as usual, while Garrow just stood there like a statue. Finally about an hour later Garrow made us leave. I would have liked to stay longer, but I know how much my brother hates going there. I don't think he'll ever forgive mother for dying on us those three years ago.

Day 25 of Retniw, 367 AR

I am officially fifteen today.

Fifteen means that I am now a woman but for some reason I don't feel like one. Actually I still feel the same as I was yesterday and the day before. I wonder who decided that fifteen should be the age of adulthood. It must have been someone older then fifteen because they obviously don't understand that fifteen still feels like a child.

I mean, I don't think I'm an adult, even if people see me as one. My mind, as father likes to keep pointing out, is still that of a child even if my body isn't. My body is maturing into one of an adults' quicker than my mind and emotions. There are even times when I look into the mirror, and am startled by the person looking back at me. How can that be me? I wonder. That is not my face, nor is that my hair or body. How can that be me?

Yes, how indeed.

Day 31 of Retniw, 367 AR

I met a young woman today named Reya. Turns out she is Garrow's sweetheart. Yes, I didn't see it coming either. Father was pleased of course, since my brother is nearly eighteen and needs a wife. It doesn't hurt either that she comes from a good and respectable family that owns a large farm.

Reya is rather pretty I suppose. She has long raven black hair, wide blue eyes, and a friendly smile. She was respectful and kind to father and I, and helpful too. But I still don't like her. Maybe it's because until now I've been the only girl in Garrow's life, and never had to share his attention with anyone. But now I do and I don't like it. I wish she would go away or find someone else to pursue so everything would go back to normal. I know this is childish of me, but I don't really care.

Day 10 of Ginrps, 368 AR

Today we are off to visit aunt May and uncle Leand in Narda. It is pretty far but we always go every other year since father misses his twin sister too much to stay away. I don't mind since I like the trip, and aunt May and uncle Leand are always fun to visit. They have no children so they always spoil Garrow and me with attention and gifts. They really are great people.

Day 23 of Ginrps, 368 AR

We reached Narda last night and met up with uncle Leand. He led us back to his house where aunty May was waiting for us with dinner. She and father were overjoyed to see each other while Garrow and I were happy to have a bed to sleep in again. For some reason neither of us enjoyed the trip very much. After we ate some warm food and cleaned up we both went straight to sleep.

Father and aunty May stayed up all night talking though. Not unusual since they always do this whenever they see each other again. It is like they never have enough time to say all the things they want to. I wonder if this is a twin thing, since I can't imagine Garrow and me talking for hours at a time. We barely speak to one another at home so it seems unlikely we would.

Day 25 of Ginrps, 368 AR

Something odd happened today.

I had woken up early and snuck out to pay a visit to the market near my uncle and aunt's home. It wasn't crowded yet so I was happy to have some space to look at all the unique things. I must have been there for an hour when I heard the sound of a horse galloping by, and with it muttering from the villagers.

Curious, I looked up to see who was riding the horse, and saw a strange man. He wore a black and red armor, had a huge sword strapped to his hips, and a bow on his back. His brown hair came down to his shoulders and was unique in its shade, texture, and style. He had a handsome face, one that was a light golden brown with high cheekbones and dark arched brows. As he passed me he glanced my way and our eyes met for a brief moment.

His eyes were the oddest pair I've ever seen, for they were both different. One eye was a dark brown: piercing and wild while the other was a light green: cold and cruel. I felt like he was looking straight into my soul and could read all my secrets. It only lasted for a few seconds before he looked away, but it was enough to trigger the most bizarre feelings I have ever gotten.

After the man rode away I asked some of the villagers who he was. They all looked uneasy and reluctant to speak of him, but I was determined and eventually they gave me a name. It was a name that I have heard in tales from the merchants who came to Caravahall, one uttered with both hate and fear…


Day 31 of Ginrps, 368 AR

Today we left for home and I still can't stop thinking about Morzan. Every time I do I get this weird feeling in the pit of my stomach and my head feels light. Is it normal to feel like this over a simple glance? I don't know how to make it go away other than pushing the memory out of my mind. But I can't seem to forget for it some reason. It is like he has been engraved into the deepest part of my memory by some unknown power. I wish mother were here. She would probably know what to do.

Day 53 of Ginrps, 368 AR

Reya is sick.

She has been sick for some time now. So far we all thought it would go away, since she only seemed to have a cough and the occasional fainting spell. But yesterday night she got a bad fever that won't go away, and has been stuck in bed since. Garrow has been by her side all this time.

Father and I went to visit her today and I was shocked at how different she looked. She has gotten so skinny that I can see her bones, and her skin is a sickly yellow color. I felt horrible seeing her like this and a bit guilty since I've never liked her.

Garrow didn't look good either. He was pale and his eyes were full of anxiety. He was whispering comforting words as he held her tiny hand in his own. I don't think I remember seeing my brother look so upset since mother died.

I really do hope she gets better.

Day 57 of Ginrps, 368 AR

Reya died today.

Garrow has been crying all day. Father spent the whole time trying to comfort him, but I don't think my brother noticed.

I wish I could help him, but I don't know what to do.

Day 61 of Ginrps, 368 AR

Today we buried Reya's body. Garrow was a like a zombie. He just stared ahead like there was nothing else around. I didn't leave his side for a moment during the whole thing.

Day 4 of Remmus, 368 AR

I think today has to be one of the worse days of my life.

Today father told me that I have been promised to Lord Aithril.

I'm not sure who was more shocked: me or Garrow. We both stared at father before Garrow stood up and yelled what he meant by that. I just sat there at the table with my mouth hanging open like the village idiot.

Father—who has a short temper—snarled at my brother to shut up and sit down so he could explain. Garrow listened though he still didn't look too happy. The next ten minutes father explained how Lord Aithril had seen me recently and was taken by my 'beauty'. He had arrived earlier today and asked father for my hand in marriage. Father agreed of course, since marrying me off to a Lord means he'll have another ally and that I'll be well taken care of. Never mind that I don't want to marry him, or that I don't even know the man. Father doesn't care about these things after all.

When he was done explaining this I quietly excused myself and went back to my room. Lying down on my bed, I could hear father and Garrow arguing in the dining room. I'm rather glad they were being so loud since it meant no one could hear me crying for the rest of the night.

Day 10 of Remmus, 368 AR

Today I met Lord Aithril.

He is a tall man with black hair and gray eyes and a strong build. He looks around father's age, but much colder and crueler. When he saw me enter the room in my light green gown, his eyes seemed to devour my form. He didn't even bother to mask his desire as he took my hand and kissed it, his gray eyes glued to my own. This made me feel cheap and dirty.

Garrow seemed to notice this too since he spent the entire meal glaring at the man. Lord Aithril didn't seem to notice though, probably because he was too busy staring at me. Curse father for insisting I sit across from the man! I could barely concentrate on my lunch since I could feel his eyes on me. It took every ounce of self-restraint not to throw up over this.

When lunch was over father allowed Lord Aithril to walk with me out in the gardens. I tried my best to be polite to the man, but it was hard since he wouldn't stop giving me those hungry looks of his. I discovered that he liked to talk about himself, especially about how wealthy he was. I just nodded politely though inside I was rolling my eyes at his conceited attitude. Finally we finished walking through the gardens and he had to leave, but not before kissing my cheek. As if I was his sweetheart or something!

I get the feeling I'm going to end up hating this man.

Day 19 of Remmus, 368 AR

Garrow and I took a walk today into the forest nearby. It felt nice to be able to spend some private time with my big brother. We talked about simple things at first before I confided in him that I hate Lord Aithril. My brother agreed, saying that he wished father would reconsider the whole thing. Though we both know he won't, it's still nice to know Garrow agreed with me.

After this Garrow told me he much misses Reya. I was surprised since he hasn't spoken about her since she died. He told me that at night he dreams of her, and sometimes when he's alone he could hear her voice in the wind. Then he started crying and saying how much he loves her and misses her. I threw my arms around him then and hugged him tightly as my own tears began to fall for my poor brother. He hugged me back, and I knew then that I would never envy the woman my brother loved, for I finally understand how happy she would make him.

Day 23 of Remmus, 368 AR

My 'fiancé' wishes to have the wedding at the end of the season so he can drag me back to his estate in Ceunon before the pass closes. This scares me for Lord Aithril has been becoming bolder in his advances towards me. Just the other day he squeezed my thigh under the table and I ended up kicking him. If my father and brother weren't in the room I'm sure he would have slapped me for it.

I fear the day I will be left alone with him, for who knows what will happen to me then?

Day 31 of Remmus, 368 AR

Lord Aithril has finally lost it.

He attacked me in my room yesterday. Well not attacked, but tried to force himself on me. I was changing into my dress when I heard the door open and close behind me. I assumed that it was a maid so I ignored it, but then I felt someone wrap their arm around my waist and another over my shoulders. I froze in horror as the hand holding my waist snaked up to cup my breast, and a hot mouth kissed my neck.

"What...?" I tried to say but the fiend kissed my ear and whispered, "Hush, darling."

"My Lord, please," I said as I realized who it was. But the hand holding my breast squeezed hard enough that it left purple bruises. I think this was when the tears started for it hurt horribly, and I was terrified at what he would do to me.

"Please," I pleaded pathetically as I struggled not to scream.

"You're so beautiful," he whispered, like that would somehow soothe me. But rather this spurted me into resisting even more.

"Let go," I murmured as I began to struggle weakly. The hands grasping me tightened but I didn't pay any attention to the pain. Hysteria began to grow in my chest and I began to struggle harder. "Let go!"

"Shut up," Lord Aithril hissed as he turned me around and held me against him. His eyes looked even colder than usual and in them I could see a glint of madness. This was when I realized that Lord Aithril was worse than I had previously thought.

Oh Gods, please let someone help me, I pleaded as he kissed me with cold lips.

Then the door to my bedroom opened and Garrow stepped in.

"Selena, father is..." He trailed off, staring at us in surprise. Then his eyes narrowed and he marched over and pulled the man off of me and dragged him out of the room. He didn't say anything as he slammed the door close and left me alone. I could hear yelling outside but I was too upset to notice or care what was going on outside of my room.

I locked the door before collapsing on my bed and cried myself to sleep.

Day 35 of Remmus, 368 AR

I cannot take it anymore. I cannot marry that monster with the knowledge that he will hurt me as soon as we're alone. I would rather die than give into him!

That is why I am running away.

Garrow is going with me since we both know I can't survive on my own. He hasn't told me where we'll be going, except that we'll be safe from father and Lord Aithril.

After Lord Aithril assaulted me in my room, Garrow had told father, who was also unhappy with these actions. But even though he didn't like it didn't mean he was going to break up the engagement. He says that Lord Aithril was simply too eager for the pleasures of the flesh. Father had a talk with him and made sure Lord Aithril agreed to keep his distance from me until the wedding day.

This just shows me how foolish my father is.

I must stop now for it is time to pack. I really do hope that Garrow knows what he's doing.

Day 9 of Nmutua, 368 AR

It has been a crazy ride since I last wrote down anything but I simply haven't had the time. But now that I am safe and content, I can write all I want.

In turns out Garrow was taking me to Gil'ead, the city where our mother's mother lives. Grandmother Colette is an elderly woman who lives alone with her books and dogs. When Garrow explained everything to her she was more than eager to help me hide from Lord Aithril and father. Garrow stayed with us for a few days before he had to return home, since father thought he had gone on a hunting expedition. Now it is just grandmother and I.

It isn't so bad though, living here. Grandmother owns a large home and there is no one around for miles. I enjoy spending my days in her grand library reading scrolls and books from years ago. When I am not reading I enjoy exploring the forests nearby with grandmothers dogs. And recently I have taken to visiting the village nearby with Cloud, my favorite of all grandmothers' dogs.

I have yet to hear from Garrow again but I know I will eventually. My brother will send word to me or come himself when he feels it is the right time. For now I will simply stay here with grandmother, more than content with the way my life is going now.

Day 17 of Nmutua, 368 AR

I saw him again.

Him. Morzan.

My heart is still beating wildly from the encounter that happened earlier today. It all happened when I went into the forest today with Cloud to explore. I don't know how long we were there but finally we came to a river where I decided to rest. So I sat down at the bank with Cloud next to me and leaned down to splash my face with some water.

That's when Cloud started growling.

I was startled to hear him do that so I looked up quickly. And there, across the river from me, was Morzan. He stood there with his gleaming armor and handsome face, his exotic eyes staring straight into my own dull hazel. I froze, not sure if this was real or if I was dreaming it all up.

I don't know how long I kneeled there staring into his eyes but eventually my senses came back to me and I bowed my head politely just as I was taught to. When I looked up again he was gone.

I still can't stop shaking from intense feelings he provoked in me. Why is this happening? I don't understand how one man could make me feel so… alive.

I think I am more confused than when I first saw him.

Day 23 of Nmutua, 368 AR

I saw him again today.

This time he was standing in front of me when I approached the river. When I saw him I froze and just stood there staring at his back. Part of me wanted to turn around and run away, but another part of me wanted to stay in his presence a little longer.

Then he spoke to me.

"Staring is quite rude you know," he commented, his voice rich and deep. He had an accent; one that I still cannot place for I have never heard it before. But it just made his voice even more alluring.

"I... I'm sorry," I stammered in reply as I felt my face heat up. "I don't mean to be rude or anything. I'm just surprised to see you... again."

Morzan turned around and faced me with his arms crossed over his chest. His mismatched eyes swept over my figure quickly, taking in everything. I can imagine how I must have appeared in his eyes. This skinny little girl with dark curls hanging wild and loose over her face. Not to mention my blue gown was dirty and ripped from my exploration of the forest, and my boots were far too big since they once belonged to Garrow. Just thinking how pathetic I looked makes me blush in shame.

"What is your name, child?" he asked, his voice holding no trace of emotion.

"S-Selena," I stuttered in reply. "I am Selena."

"Selena," he repeated slowly. "It suits you."

"Th-thank you," I answered as I stared down at my muddy boots. "Um, yo-yours is Morzan, right, my Lord?"

His lips twitched slightly but his face remained impassive. "Yes, I am Morzan. Morzan the Warrior, the Rider, the Killer… all those titles apply to me."

I took a step back in surprise at the sour tone in his voice. I never thought someone like him would have regrets, nor did I believe he would show such emotion to a stranger.

He seemed to realize this to because he turned around abruptly and glided away like some kind of ghost.

Still, I do hope to see him again.

Day 44 of Nmutua, 368 AR

I've been speaking to Morzan everyday for these past three weeks.

Usually it's about simple things and the conversation doesn't last very long. But today we talked about something a bit more personal. It started when I asked him why he was here.

In response, he glanced at me with that bored expression he seems to wear around me, before looking back at the river. "I am here on a mission for the king."

"I see," I answered in understanding as I laced my fingers together. "I'm staying with my grandmother a few miles away."

Morzan arched a lazy brow. "Why?"

I began to blush as I lowered my eyes to my lap. "Well, I sort of ran away from home..."

"Really?" I could hear the amusement and curiosity in his voice now.

"Yeah," I continued to stare down at my lap as I explained. "See, if I had stayed then I would had to marry this man named Lord Aithril. He... he is violent and disgusting and only wants me for my body, and... And I could never live with a man like that."

By now I know I must have resembled an apple with my red face. I felt so ashamed telling him that. Him, Morzan, one of the most powerful men of the Empire! He must have found me so pathetic with my little problems, and annoyed with my whining.

But to my shock he didn't laugh or lecture me, but rather lifted my chin gently. Being so close to him allowed me to see him eyes better and I realized how truly beautiful they are. Both different color reflecting traits of his personality. And what a personality it was! I could see a fiery passion yet at the same time a cold fury. He was like a puzzle to me, an enigma I longed to unravel.

"You have beautiful eyes," I blurted out before I could stop myself. Oh, of all the times to be a moron!

But rather then be offended, Morzan simply chuckled and removed his hand and took a step away from me. "You are a true gift, Selena," he murmured softly before turning and disappearing into the forest.

His action puzzles me yet at the same time I'm pleased by his response. At least I know he isn't annoyed with me yet.

Day 47 of Nmutua, 368 AR

Today I met someone who I know I will never forget.

Aderes. Morzan's dragon.

Yes, I was shocked as well.

It happened this afternoon when I was at the river waiting for Morzan. It has become a daily ritual for us to meet at the river to talk or simply sit with the other. So as I sat there waiting for him to show up, I heard this thumping noise behind me. It was like something very heavy had dropped onto the ground from up high. Startled, I turned around and reached for the little dagger that was hidden in my boot. Garrow had secretly taught me how to defend myself years ago for situations like this.

I would not freeze up again like I did when Lord Aithril molested me.

I refuse to be so weak again.

So with as much courage as I could muster, though it turned out not to be a whole lot, I braced myself and called out, "Who's there?"

Then like a creature out of legend, a mighty dark red dragon stepped out of the shadows and into my view. I had to crane my head up to look at him for he was so tall! And his scales, they were so beautiful! They were a deep blood red but when the sun hit them they glittered like fire. And his eyes were just as enchanting. Tilted, ruby eyes that stared at me with such wisdom and strength that I felt more like a child than I usually do in the presence of Morzan.

I must have been gawking with my mouth open for a good five minutes before my senses came back to me. On instinct I curtsied and kept my head bowed as the mighty dragon bent his head down and sniffed me. He pulled back and said, 'So you are the human Morzan has taken a liking to?'

"My name is Selena," I muttered as I raised my head and looked him in the eye.

The dragon let out a snort and cocked his head to the side and gazed at me calculating. 'I don't see what is so interesting about you. You don't look different from any other little human.'

"Thanks," I said dryly. I placed my hands on my hips and surveyed the dragon, deciding that I would not show my fear to him. Besides I wasn't going to stand by and let some lizard insult me! "And you don't look as grand as the legends say you know."

The dragon drew back slightly, obviously surprised by my remark. Then he chuckled and shook his head. 'What a bold little girl you are. Either that or foolish.'

"Probably the second," I admitted with a smile. "So... do you have a name? Or will I be reduced to calling you Mister Dragon?"

The dragon let out a snort of puffs of smoke. 'I am Aderes, little mortal.'

"Aderes," I repeated to myself softly. Then I shot him an irritated look and said, "And my name is Selena, not 'little mortal'."

'I will call you what I like, child,' Aderes growled with narrowed eyes.

"Then I'm going to keep calling you Mister Dragon," I retorted as I crossed my arms over my chest and raised my chin challengingly.

Aderes growled at me but I noticed his eyes glittered in amusement. 'Very well, Selena. You win.'

"Only because you let me," I mumbled and shifted slightly. "So, why are you here? It has to be for more then just meeting me."

'And what if that is the reason I'm here?' Aderes asked coolly. 'Why does that surprise you?'

"Well," I faltered and itched behind my ear, a nervous habit I developed from childhood. "What could you want with some little country girl? I'm sure Morzan speaks to many people, so what makes me so special that you had to visit?"

The red dragon studied me after I said that, with an intensity that made me look away and tense up for reasons I cannot explain. I don't know if it was for fear, or perhaps anxiety? Either way I was uncomfortable and wished for him to stop staring at me like that.

'You have a kind heart, Selena,' Aderes finally whispered to me gently. 'One that is loving and pure. It is for these reasons that my Rider visits with you. And perhaps these traits will be the ones that lifts the dark cloud over Morzan's heart.'

"I… what do you…?" I trailed off in shock, confused about his explanation in so many ways.

But to my disappointment Aderes did not clarify what he meant, but turned around and walked back into the dark forest. 'Good day, Selena. We will meet again. Trust me on that.'

"Bye," I mumbled as the dragon disappeared. I'm not sure if he heard me, but in the end I suppose it doesn't matter. I really do doubt I will ever meet him again though it would be nice to. I'm sure it must be thrilling to ride into the sky, free of the chains that bound us mortals to the ground. To fly is to be free and that... that is what I want more than anything in my life.

Day 53 of Nmutua, 368 AR

I told Morzan that I met Aderes but he didn't seem surprised. He nodded and asked if he was nice to me. I told him he was nice enough as a dragon can be to a little girl. Even though I meant this as a serious statement, Morzan found it humorous for he chuckled deep in his throat.

"That does not surprise me," he murmured lowly.

"What is it like to fly with him?" I blurted out suddenly, surprising both of us with the random statement.

Morzan arched one slender brow as I felt my face heat up. I looked away from his face and muttered, "I'm sorry. I just always wondered what it would be like to fly, and since you've been though the experience..."

Morzan didn't say anything for a few minutes but when he did speak his voice was gentle and smooth. "It is… it is the most exhilarating experience I have ever felt. It is the feeling of complete and utter freedom of being able to leave everything behind. It is peaceful and beautiful when one is up in the sky, away from all the trouble and problems below you…"

By the end of his explanation I'm afraid I was crying with sheer happiness with his answer. For once in my life I not only knew what it was like, but also had finally found someone who saw flying as a way of freedom from this world.

"Thank you," I sniffled as I rubbed away my tears and smiled at him. "Thank you for telling me, Morzan. You don't know how happy I am to hear that and... And I'm grateful that you would share with me such a personal experience. So... thank you. Thank you, Morzan."

I'm sure I looked like a fool with my naive words and watery tears, but I was only being honest with him. I think he saw it to for he smiled softly, and I suddenly realized how sad he was. Despair seems to cling to him like a second skin, and I can't help but wonder over it. For how can someone so powerful, so handsome and intelligent be sad? I don't understand but I want to. I wish I could help him, make his pain go away but I doubt I could.

Still, at least I made him smile…

Day 57 of Nmutua, 368 AR

Today Morzan came and told me he was leaving. He didn't tell me why and I didn't ask. All he did was tell me goodbye and patted me gently on the cheek before turning around and leaving.

I've been crying since then for I miss him terribly.

But maybe it's better this way. I know nothing could ever come of us, no matter how much my heart may desire it. What could someone like him ever want with some little country girl like me? He could have any woman he wants, women built better than I, and more beautiful, smarter and richer. He would never want someone as simple as me.

But still, despite my acceptance, the idea still makes me cry.

Day 65 of Nmutua, 368 AR

Garrow came to visit today. It was the first time I was able to smile since Morzan left. We talked for hours in front of the fire and I have learned that father is still searching for me, but Lord Aithril has given up. Turns out he has a new bride that he will marry the next full moon. I'm not surprised to learn that his new bride is my age and very beautiful. I can't help but feel pity for her.

But on a brighter note I can go home now. Father will surly forgive me if I explain to him what happened, right? I mean I am his only daughter so what's the worse he can do?

Day 7 of Retniw, 368 AR

Father disowned me.

It's so easy to write about it but for some reason I can't say it. Every time I do my throat gets tight and tears rise to my eyes. It hurts so much to know that my father could just throw me out like I'm nothing. For goodness sake, I am his daughter! But does that matter to him? No it doesn't!

Since I am disowned I had to leave the estate and was sent back to grandmother's home. I haven't done much here but read and sleep. Grandmother tried her best to console me but there is nothing she can do. Sometimes I will walk to the river where Morzan and I talked and simply stare at the stream. It helps remind me of a time when I was happy, for now I feel nothing but grief at being abandoned.

I can't write anymore for the tears are coming back. I really am getting sick of all this crying.

Day 25 of Retniw, 368 AR

I am sixteen today.

I have not heard from Garrow or my father.

Day 54 of Retniw, 368 AR

Grandmother died last night.

She died peacefully in her sleep, at least. I buried her this afternoon under her favorite apple tree, and left a small bouquet of flowers at her grave. Since last night the dogs have been wailing in anguish, obviously aware that she was gone. And after I buried her, I too stayed in my room crying the day away for my dear grandmother.

Outside the dogs continue to howl in grief.

Day 72 of Retniw, 368 AR

I am running out of food and supplies. At the rate I'm going I don't think I'll last after the snow melts and the new season comes. I will need to make plans and leave to find a job. Perhaps someone in the village will help me?

Day 1 of Ginrps, 369 AR

The first day of a new season and a new life for me.

Today I will go to the village and see if I can get a maid to take care of the dogs and clean the house. I will use half of the money I have now to pay her until I can come back myself to live. With the money Garrow gave me and the money from grandmother's estate, I should be able to last the season and collect even more pay and return here.

I just hope this plan will work.

Day 7 of Ginrps, 369 AR

Marian, the young woman I hired, is the sweetest person I think I have ever met. She is a year older then I, seventeen, with a head full of blond-brown curls and almond shaped dove-gray eyes. When she smiles a dimple shows on each cheek, making her seem even brighter. In the short amount of time I have spent with her, she has become a good friend.

Tomorrow I will head to Urû'baen with a traveling caravan in look for a job. Perhaps as a maid for a noble family? Or maybe a governess? Either way, I hope I don't end up as some serving wench in a tavern full of drunks. I don't think I could handle all the groping that comes with such a job.

Day 21 of Ginrps, 369 AR

I made it to Urû'baen in one piece. Thank the Gods I didn't run into any of those bandits that are rumored to attack innocent merchants on deserted roads. I also managed to land a job in the palace as a maid thanks to Darcin, the merchant who agreed to give me passage with him and his family. His daughter Risa works in the palace as a maid and was able to get me a job there. I start in two days.

Day 24 of Ginrps, 369 AR

If I ever see one of my maids again I will get down on my knees and thank them for all the hard work they went though working for my family.

Because I never knew how exhausting working as a maid could be. Today was my first day and I swore I almost died! I have never done anything as grueling and exhausting as what I did today. My hands are red and my feet and back are killing me. It doesn't help either that the other maids seemed to find my sloppy work funny, and enjoy poking fun at my pathetic attempts at cleaning.

Well, all but Risa, Darcin's daughter. She is in her twenties and has long brown hair and gentle green eyes. She is very patient, and is slowly teaching me how to clean properly, how to cook and so many other things. She was even kind enough to take over my work at the end of the day for I was worn out.

Still, I suppose I should get used to this new way of life. I'll be living like this from now on after all.

Day 35 of Ginrps, 369 AR

My new job in the palace seems to be going fine so far. I've finally gotten down the basic skills and so the other maids don't tease me anymore. In fact I've even managed to make some friends among them. I also managed to make friends with a few of the stable boys and one of courtiers, a man named Kamir. He is an older man, but very friendly and wise and is always willing to take a moment to speak with me.

All in all, everything seems to be going okay for now.

Day 37 of Ginrps, 369 AR

I think I jinxed my luck when I said 'everything is going okay for now'.

Because I had the horrible luck of seeing Morzan in the palace today. He didn't see me, thankfully, but I saw him when I was passing by the throne room. He looked the same as ever and I felt my heart ache with the memories of our time together. I want to speak to him again but I feel so embarrassed, so ashamed that I am now a simple maid. I can only hope he leaves soon and that I can avoid him until then.

Day 42 of Ginrps, 369 AR

Morzan saw me today.

It was this evening and I was helping Risa carry some of the food to the dining room. When we got to the entrance we gave it to the servers who were taking it into the dining room. As the doors opened, I glanced inside to see how it looked.

And that's when I saw Morzan with this lovely blond woman holding his arm, and whispering something into his ear. He smiled slightly and turned his head to whisper something in her ear, and that was when his gaze met mine.

I wonder if he could see the shame and pain in my eyes?

Well, I know he was at least shocked for his own eyes widened considerably, and I saw him mouth my name. Then I was turning away and running as the doors closed behind me with a loud bang.

I can't help but choke back sobs as my heart continue to ache painfully in my chest. Knowing that he would want someone better than me but actually seeing him with someone is two different things. And I have to admit that seeing him with that woman… it breaks my heart.

Day 45 of Ginrps, 369 AR

I suppose I should have known that he would find me eventually. Morzan is no fool, and knows the palace much better than I. Still, I was rather shocked when he snuck up on me while I was cleaning one of the empty guest rooms.

The click of the door locking was what made me realize I was not alone. I turned around quickly to see him leaning casually against the door with his arms crossed over his chest. He looked… hauntingly beautiful in his black and red armor, with his hair loose and his eyes glowing. I could not help but shiver involuntarily.

"Selena," he said in his deep voice.

"My Lord," I mumbled in return and gave a quick curtsy.

We were both silent for a while before Morzan spoke again. "What are you doing here, Selena?"

I sighed and rubbed my eyes tiredly. "It is a long story, my Lord."

"I have time," was his answer.

And so, with no other choice, I told him my tale. I told him how my father disowned me, how grandmother died, how I was left alone to fend for myself, my journey to the city and finally my job as a maid in the palace. At the end I was staring down at my feet in shame, fear, anguish and so many more emotions that I cannot begin to explain them. But yet after spilling my tale, I felt better than I have in a long time. Telling someone about my struggles rather than keeping it all in lifted a great deal of weight off my shoulders.

"You have been through a lot, Selena," Morzan told me softly, his mismatched eyes studying me with an intensity I could never match. "But yet despite your struggles and grief, you did not give in. Rather, you kept going and managed to keep yourself alive and safe. You are truly remarkable, Selena…"

When he finished his words I looked up and met his eyes in shock. Morzan gave me a gentle smile, one that made me feel protected and at ease. To my frustration I began to cry, and before I knew it I was sobbing on the floor, tears flowing down my cheeks and choked sobs coming out of my lips.

And Morzan—sad, mysterious, haunting Morzan—kneeled down next to me and picked me up as if I were a small child and carried me to a nearby sofa. There I cried into his chest as he held me in his lap, running a soothing hand through my hair and whispering comforting words in my ears.

I think it was then that I fell completely in love with him.

Day 56 of Ginrps, 369 AR

Morzan has been visiting me whenever he has free time. It feels nice to be able to talk to him again and because of this I have been happier than I have since father disowned me. I just hope that this doesn't end too soon.

Day 63 of Ginrps, 369 AR

Today Morzan did something strange.

It happened this evening when I was helping serve dinner in the smaller dining room. In it sat numerous generals, politicians, courtiers and Morzan. He sat at the head of the table; eyes hooded as he slowly slipped his wine and listened to the man talking to his left. A few times I glanced up and met his eyes but I usually tried to avoid his gaze for it made me uncomfortable.

Then I came to a large man who was drinking heavily. I didn't think he noticed me—as most of the occupants ignored me—but he proved me wrong when he reached out and pulled me into his lap. The dish I held fell and shattered across the marble floor. All eyes turned to the man and me as he squeezed my hip and kissed my chin.

"What a lovely little thing you are," the man breathed into my ear. I tried to push away and grimaced when he just tightened his grip on me.

Then Morzan was up, his chair clattering to the ground and his eyes burning in fury. He pulled me out of the man's arms and pushed me behind him. He then picked up the man by his neck so high that his feet dangled a few inches from the floor. Then Morzan squeezed and snarled, "How dare you lay your filthy hands on her! Where do you think you are, fool? This is the king's palace and such behavior will not be tolerated! Do you understand me, worm?"

The man made a gurgling noise and Morzan sneered and dropped him to the floor. He then turned his burning eyes to the guests and said calmly, "This dinner is over. You will all leave the room now."

The guests got up quickly and quietly and left the room. But as they were leaving I spied the blond woman who Morzan had been consoling with the night he saw me. Her crystal blue eyes met mine and she glared at me darkly. It gave me a shiver of fear and I could not help but take a step away.

Soon it was only Morzan and I in the room. Morzan was breathing heavily as he straightened his broad shoulders and turned around to face me. I kept my eyes to the ground as he walked up to me with grace that I always admired.

"Selena," he said quietly. "Selena, look at me."

I refused. I could not bear to meet his eyes after such a horrible display the man put on when he grabbed me. I burned with disgrace and could not handle looking at Morzan at the moment.

But he was persistent and soon reached over to grasp my chin, and forced me to look up and into his eyes. I felt my throat dry at the dark and dangerous look in his eyes, and I had to resist the urge to flinch in fear. I knew he would not appreciate the gesture.

"Did he hurt you?" he asked softly.

I shook my head.

Morzan nodded but the look in his eyes did not fade. "Good," he mumbled before caressing my cheek with his other hand. "But he will stay pay for his actions."

I opened my mouth to object but he pulled me to him, into his powerful arms that wrapped around my waist possessively. It felt… nice, yet strange being so close to him, in such an intimate way. My body was pressed against his fully: hip-to-hip, chest-to-chest. My hands were against his solid torso and his were still wrapped around my waist. Then one hand snaked its way up to cup my face with a gentleness I never knew he possessed.

"You are mine," Morzan whispered as he leaned his face close to mine. So close that when he spoke his lips brushed against mine. "You belong to me."

The tone he said it in, such a deep and throaty voice, made me shiver. Morzan was awakening something in me, something that made my skin heat up and my legs tremble.

Then he kissed me.

He kissed me full on the lips with a strange and dark desire. One full of passion, obsession and possession. It was not gentle but dominating and left me feeling dizzy and shaky. And it all ended too soon for me. Before I knew it, he was pulling back and simply staring into my eyes as I tried to regain my senses. I blinked up at him, breathing heavily as he pushed away a loose curl from my face.

"Wha...?" I tried to say but Morzan placed a single finger on my lips and silenced me.

"Hush," he murmured softly. "All will be explained in time. But for now, just remember this kiss and what I told you."

Then he released me and left me in the room feeling puzzled, fearful and... excited.

Day 71 of Ginrps, 369 AR

I have not seen or heard from Morzan since that night in the dining room. Part of me is disappointed for I miss him and the feelings he evoked in me. Yet at the same time I am also relieved, for I fear these new feelings, new things that I have never experienced before. I don't know what to make of all of this!

Also, to my discomfort, word got around of what happened in the dining room that night. Apparently Morzan's actions are shocking since he never defends anyone but his king. People have been giving me looks and whispers every time they see me.

I hope Morzan comes back to me soon and clears things up.

Day 6 of Remmus, 369 AR

Well, Morzan came back to me. But it wasn't for a simple visit. No, he came to ask me to marry him!

To say I was shocked is an understatement.

He came tonight, sneaking into the maid rooms and waking me quietly before leading me to an empty room. There he sat me down and explained that he had gone to the king—the king!—and asked his permission to marry me. After many arguments, explanations, and much pleading the king finally gave his consent.

"And now... now all I need is your answer, Selena," Morzan said, his eyes burning brightly as he reached out and took my hand in his. Looking at our clasped hands, I could not help but notice the contrast between my pale skin and his tanned flesh. "Selena, will... will you be my wife?"

To my embarrassment, tears began to stream down my face as I nodded and croaked, "Yes. Yes I will marry you!"

And then Morzan smiled at me, a smile so bright and joyful that I was a bit stunned by the sheer brilliance of it. He reached down and pulled me into his arms and I hugged him back as he placed small kisses on my neck.

"Beautiful, cunning, strong Selena… my Selena," he muttered into my hair, and pulled back slightly to look me in the eye.

It was then that I noticed the dark glint in his eyes. It was that glint that made me freeze and realize that maybe; just maybe, I had gotten myself into a situation I did not understand fully.

To Be Continued In — Silver Roses

Curious to see Morzan's thoughts on all of this?

Then check out the counterpart to Black Roses Silvered Ice by blizzardstar2000.