Prologue: The Girl in the Tower

Nearly seventeen years before the beginning of our story.

"No. Absolutely not. There is no way I will allow you to marry him." The speaker was an older man, dressed in fine clothing and jewels, with a proud and arrogant countenance.

"Why? His family may not be as prominent as ours, but I love him!" This was spoken by a noble and self-assured young woman, also finely clothed, who was currently shaking with fury.

"Saena," the man's voice was patronizing and condescending, "love has nothing to do with it. Marriage is about honor and prestige, and I cannot allow my daughter to marry beneath her station." He attempted to take her hand in his own, but she jerked it away harshly. The man frowned as she continued glaring at him.

"Perhaps I have spoiled you too much. You have always been headstrong, and I have always given you what you want, but that will not happen this time. You will marry the man I choose for you, and you will not complain. Do you understand?" He held his daughter's gaze, until she turned around and stormed off. He sighed heavily as he heard the door slam shut behind her.

Saena stomped out into the courtyard of her large but suddenly suffocating home. She was furious. Previously, as an only child, she had always been given whatever she wanted. She had always had her father twisted around her little finger, and she had been positive that she could convince him to allow her to marry her beau. She had never expected that he would refuse. Now, she was left pondering how else she could convince him.

If only her sweetheart were here, she thought. Together, they would figure out some way to convince her father, even if it meant doing something underhanded or… That's it! If she couldn't get her father to agree under normal circumstances, she would get him agree under extreme circumstances. She would force her father to allow them to marry, even if it meant going against all her morals; even if it meant getting herself pregnant.

The only problem with this plan was that Saena's sweetheart was not near. He had visited recently, but returned home to give Saena time to convince her father. With her father opposing their marriage, Saena knew she was not going to be able to contact her sweetheart to summon him there, and there was no way her father would allow her to leave any time soon. Therefore, Saena did the next best thing.

There was a male servant at her house that Saena had noticed several times before. He was somewhat handsome, but his best feature was his eyes. Those eyes of his, that followed her around, that overflowed with admiration and… appreciation; those amber eyes filled with surprise, as they met hers that night in the servants' quarters. They spent the night together, and several nights more (just to make sure), before Saena had the man fired and sent away from the estate.

Saena knew her plan had been a success when, about a month or two later, she began throwing up. She immediately went to her father and explained that she was pregnant by her sweetheart. Her father was furious, but immediately sent for the boy. Once he had arrived, before Saena could explain the situation to him, her father revealed Saena's condition. The boy was horrified, and looked at Saena with disgust. He vehemently denied that the child was his, and refused to have anything more to do with her.

Saena was heartbroken and furious. She had gotten pregnant for the sole purpose of marrying him, and he had rejected her? Her father was also filled with rage. His only daughter was going to have a child out of wedlock! It would be a huge shame to the family. There was no way he could let anyone find out the situation, so he sent Saena away, to a desolate tower in the middle of a forest, with only a few maids and a midwife for company.

Saena stayed in her tower for more than half a year, hidden away from society's disapproving eyes. She spent long, bleak hours nursing her bitterness and her broken heart. She grew to hate her father for locking her in the tower; she grew to hate her former sweetheart for abandoning her; she grew to hate the man she slept with for getting her pregnant; but most of all, she grew to hate her unborn child for ruining her life and her happiness.

When Saena finally gave birth, it was to a beautiful little girl with her father's eyes. Almost immediately, she abandoned the girl, handing her to the midwife to raise and take care of. She wanted nothing to do with the child, and, when she finally left the tower, she left the girl behind, locked away from the prying eyes of the rest of the world.