Echo of Their Story

Rifiuto: Non Miriena

Summary: She was young, an innocent child, taken prisoner during a conquest and raid on her village and tribe. Given to the Crown Prince and Princess of the Vinkus as a gift, a servant, the child would discover acceptance and love from people she was supposed to fear. And eventually, she would hold a special role in the household, and in the heart of a young man who would capture her heart from the moment she laid eyes on him. This, is her story. Pre-Journey On.

There was nothing out of the ordinary that hot summer day.

She'd woken early, rushed down to the river with her sisters and brother, and bathed in the cool water under the watchful eye of her grandfather. When they returned to the small cabin, they noticed their father heading off to hunt, his rifle in hand. Their mother was inside, rocking their baby brother to sleep. Their mother watched her older children play, relished in the laughter of her children and the calmness of the morning.

None knew of what was to come.

Around noon, the smell of smoke reached the village, before the sounds of gunfire cracked the sky. In a matter of moments, chaos broke out and the girl found herself running from the troops. Gripping her younger sisters's hands, she rushed through the village, trying hard to keep one step ahead of the men chasing after them. Pain coursed through her side, her legs cried out in protest, but she didn't stop running, didn't reliquish the hands of her siblings, didn't look back. She could hear the horses hooves beat the ground behind them, and she sped up, urging her sisters to follow. But it was no use. Suddenly, she was grabbed around the waist, lifted, screaming onto the horse, and taken away.

When she awoke next, she found herself in a small room, bound and gagged, alone. The door opened and she looked up, to see a man enter. He made his way towards her, and she tried to back up, only to find her back pressed against the wall. He knelt down in front of her; and held out a bowl. Her eyes quickly dashed to the bowl before returning to him. Whimpering, she tried to back away, when she felt the cloth he'd dipped into the bowl on her face. He whispered softly to her, trying to calm her as he cleaned her face. She couldn't understand him, he spoke in a foreign tongue that was strange to her ears.

It took several minutes before she choked out, "Denaa" through the gag. He gave her a strange look before setting the bowl down. Then, he reached out and gently removed the gag.

"Denaa."

He shook his head, not understanding. Just as he opened his mouth to speak, the door opened and another man entered. The one who had brought the bowl stood and went to him. They talked for several minutes, before the man came back and knelt in front of her. Slowly, he placed the gag back into her mouth, and when she cried out, he pressed a finger to his lips. He carried her out of the room, and twenty minutes later, she was in the back of a wagon, with two other girls.

Her sisters.

The girls cuddled up together, allowing their fear to be displaced by happiness at being reunited again as they rode. They rode for days, stopping at various times to eat or walk. Neither girl thought of running for they were too scared. When they reached the border, her younger sisters were taken out of the wagon and walked a ways, leaving her alone.

"Denaa! Detia!"

The girls turned back to her, but the men forced them to face front. When they were a good twenty feet from the wagon, one man raised his rifle, leveled it with the back of the older girl's head, and fired, before turning and doing the same to the younger girl. She knew what had happened, and screamed and cried, howling her sisters' names and trying to get out of her bonds.

As they crossed the border, she refused to take her eyes off the bodies of her younger sisters, her screams echoing in the desert.

She awoke to the sound of unfamiliar voices, and then found herself being led into a huge room.

"Your Majesties." She watched the men standing with her bow, and slowly, turned, to see a couple sitting on a pair of thrones several feet away from her. A younger couple stood off to the side, talking softly together. When the men straightened, the older man sitting on the throne beckoned them closer. "We captured her as she was rushing from the village. Her and her sisters."

After a moment, the man stood and made his way to her, kneeling down to examine her. "She is a beautiful child. Such striking eyes." He whispered, staring into her face.

"Where are the others? The other girls?" The others turned to look at the younger woman, who had come to the edge of the dias.

"We killed the younger girls, Your Highness."

The girl gasped, covering her mouth.

"Yes, well, take her to the servants quarters."

"But Your Majesty, wouldn't she be more suited for the dungeons-"

"She's a child! Not a political prisoner!" The older man snapped, returning to the throne. "Now, do as I say!"

The men nodded, excused themselves, and took the child to the servants quarters. When the guards were gone, she sat on the ground in the corner, too frightened to move or call out. It wasn't until the door opened and someone entered that she cried out and backed up against the wall.