This was written pre-Blackveil and features the Eletian royal family, even Santanara, even though I think he may be dead now. Just don't mind that at all please. It's another KariganxZachary fanfic because I love them both as a couple. And for those who are reading my other work-in-progress Life on the Run, I'm still working on it, in fact, I hope to have the next chapter up within a week or so. Anyway, enjoy the new fanfic everyone.
**All characters, settings, etc., except the few that I make up (you'll know their mine when you see them), belong to the amazing author, Kristen Britain**
Chapter 1: Letters
It was another one of those nights where the King of Sacoridia just wanted to sit in his favorite chair with a goblet of wine and read a good book. But instead, he was stuck at yet another engagement ball for Lady Estora and himself. Hundreds of people were crowded into the great ball room of the castle, except for one. King Zachary still hadn't seen the one woman who would make this all worth it in the end. Karigan, his Karigan. He kept repeating to himself, Maybe she just hasn't arrived yet. But yet, that didn't make the night much better for him, not until she came.
Two pounding's of the staff meeting the floor sounded from the caller up at threshold of the ball room's grand doors. He called out for everyone to hear, "Rider Sir G'ladheon, Knight of the Realm, heiress of merchant clan, Clan G'ladheon." At that moment, the King Zachary truly saw true beauty. Karigan gracefully walked into the stifling hot ball room wearing the country's colors, black and white. It was a gown of course and one that hugged her slender, muscular curves well. The body of the gown, which was most of the dress, was black. And yet, white sleeves softly widened as they traveled down her arms. And, tying the gown together, was a snow white belt that wrapped around her waist to tie in the front of her instead of the back. Her long brown hair looked cut and was elegantly falling over her shoulders.
King Zachary's breath left him in that instant as soon as it laid eyes upon the woman who he really loved.
"Oh Zachary look at Karigan, doesn't she just look extravagant!" Estora said beside him.
He thankfully had kept his king's mask in place and replied, "Yes."
And then Estora began pulling him toward Karigan, who was now shaking hands with a random lord, "Come, we haven't spoken to her in the longest time, things have been so busy."
"My lady, I don't think th―," King Zachary started, trying to avoid engaging in conversation with the woman that he loved.
"Rider Sir!" Estora called as she pulled the king behind her. He watched as both Karigan and the lord that she was conversing with turned at their future queen's call. Estora said to the lord, "We'd like a word alone with the knight my lord."
With a sincere smile, the lord bowed deeply to the king and his queen-to-be, "Of course." And then he turned back momentarily to Karigan, "It was nice talking with you Rider Sir G'ladheon." He took her hand into his and bowed to gently place a kiss to her knuckles, "Good night."
Heat, of fury, or was it jealousy, rose aggressively up in the king as the lord's lips was pressed for too long on Karigan's knuckles. He cleared his throat and in effect, the lord snatched himself back up and bowed one more time to him and Estora before leaving. In the last moment, King Zachary noticed the red tinge that was coloring the lord's cheeks. Karigan took a deep breath and asked, "Too what do I owe the honor to have you in front of me?"
Estora looked confused for a moment, "We're your friends." And then she paused, "Are we?"
"I serve you both, therefore, no relationship beyond that should be prohibited," she said coldly, and then she curtseyed and said to both of them, "Congratulations to both of you." And then she walked off to be just one body of the crowd. Visibly hurt, Estora looked up at him and they locked gazes for a brief moment.
"She wasn't always like this," Estora said. "I don't remember her being this distant."
King Zachary looked around the room and quickly spotted Karigan walking toward one of the many balconies outside. And then he said to his future wife, "No, she wasn't. And I'm going to get to the bottom of it." At that he began the long journey toward the balcony.
She had drawn the mere curtains closed, separating her from the rest of the partying. And then, once she was sure that no one could see her Karigan allowed the heartbreak to show. Coming tonight, she didn't expect both Lady Estora and King Zachary to approach her, wanting to start a friend-to-friend conversation. But Karigan couldn't let that happen, she was still hurt by the contract and that she allowed herself to fall for the king. How foolish it was! If only the broach would release her, or haven't called her in the first place, this wouldn't have happened. Or in the least, if the broach had released her maybe 3 months earlier, before the king confessed his feelings for her, it wouldn't have hurt as much.
Her feet, quieted by formal woman's slippers, padded to the stone ledge and she looked out into the night. Here, she could at least compose herself to a point where she could emerge again and make her mandatory appearance to a few more lords and then she'd leave.
"Need a drink?" someone asked her, making her jump. She looked to her side and saw Fastion looking at her with two drinks in his hand.
"Fastion, Gods, I didn't even hear you come," Karigan said, pressing her hand to her heart to calm her racing heart.
"Well, I saw you come here and thought that I'd help you have a few minutes alone," Fastion said.
"How would I be alone when you're with me?" Karigan asked, taking one of the drinks with a slight smile. She took a sip and asked, "Shouldn't you be guarding King Zachary?"
"No. I have the day off today," he looked over at her, "But I bet you wish that you were working right now, don't you."
Karigan glared at him before taking another drink, "You have no idea." They stood in silence for a moment.
"He still loves you, you know," Fastion mumbled.
Karigan looked at him, "Who?"
"King Zachary, I see him writing messages to you every night. Yet you've never replied," Fastion said.
Karigan didn't say anything for a moment. "I didn't know that he was sending messages to me," Karigan said, confused.
Fastion's eyebrows narrowed to a V, "He's given them to Captain Mapstone to give to you. She hasn't given them to you?"
"No, Captain Mapstone has never given me a message," Karigan replied, angered.
Fastion's mouth narrowed to a grim line, "Well, I'll be sure to tell him about that." He took another drink. Karigan looked away and also took a drink. Fastion looked her way again and said concerned, "You look tired Karigan. How long have you been here?"
"Not long at all," Karigan answered, running a hand through her hair, messing it slightly. "I've just had a long day, and going to these things just makes it much longer," she explained.
"Well, how many people have you spoken to?" Fastion asked.
"Just a group of 5 lords and their most eligible sons. If you catch my meaning," she answered, leaning forward to rest her elbow on the beautiful stone and lay her head in her hand.
"That should be enough for tonight," Fastion said stroaking her back comfortinly, "You've made your appearance, now you can go back and rest in your room."
Karigan nodded and straightened, "I think I'll do that Fastion, thank you. Good night."
As Karigan turned to leave, Fastion spun around and whispered, "Wait Karigan!" Karigan stopped and faced him again. Fastion glanced around them and secretly reached into his coat and pulled out a folded piece of parchment. He whispered, "This is Zachary's latest message to you. He told me to give it to Captain Mapstone after the ball, but I think he would understand why I gave it to you personally. He told me to tell Laren that if you didn't reply within a week, he would stop writing the letters." He gave her the letter and Karigan took it with reluctant hands.
Karigan looked at the wax seal with the Hillander terrier, then looked back up at Fastion, "Thank you," she paused, "I need to be going now. Good night." Again, Karigan turned away from the festivities and walked toward the exit, intending to read the letter that night.
When Karigan quietly closed the door to her rooms behind her, she quickly took off the dress and put on her nightgown. She had placed Zachary's message on the small bedside table before she changed. And now, as she sat down in her bed, and picked it up again and slowly slid her finger under the seal. Karigan read the letter carefully.
You have not responded to any of my missives. So this will be the last one if you don't reply. I still love you Karigan, and I always will. Even in these times when all seems lost between us, I still have hope that one day I will see you as my Queen and not Estora.
I do not regret what I said that night Karigan. I love you. I do not want to marry Lady Estora. To be honest, she is the last thing that Sacoridia needs right now. My people need a Queen who knows what is going on and has the bravery to face it. Like you have, my love. You have done and seen so much as you were a Green Rider. You have put your life at risk to save mine, and you have put it at risk to save our people.
If you give me a sign Karigan, I will fight to be your husband. No matter what it takes Karigan. I will find a way to cancel the engagement with Estora. All you need to do is give me a sign that you will be willing to be my wife, Queen, and mother of my children. I love you.
Karigan put the letter down on the bed at her side. What she read stunned her. All those things the he said were heartfelt and true. She now found it even harder not to go to him and agree to be his wife.
But she knew that she couldn't do that. She couldn't disrupt the peace that Sacoridia will have with the Eastern Lords backing Zachary. She couldn't give in to her ever present temptation.
In her frustration, Karigan bent down and cried. She cried because she knew that she had to keep it inside. Cried because her love was marrying another woman, Estora, her best friend and confident. Tears of frustration and sadness fell from her eyes.
She was overwhelmed by the temptation of her one true love, High King Zachary. She couldn't take it anymore.
King Zachary scanned the balcony for his love. She had been on this balcony when he last saw her. But now, she wasn't there anymore, and Fastion had just left to go back out among the crowd.
Laren Mapstone tapped him on the shoulder and he turned to look at her. "Maybe you should think about retiring for the night your highness," she said.
Zachary nodded, "I will do so." Laren nodded and turned away as Zachary dismissed the remaining guests and left himself.
As Zachary walked down the many corridors of his castle, his mind always lingered on Karigan. He couldn't stop thinking about the Green Rider who has risked her life on several deadly occasions. It was that bravery that drew him to her so easily. His heart belonged to her; she held it in her hands.
On that night in the astronomy tower when she declined his gift, Zachary had stared into her eyes and saw that she loved him too. That he wasn't going crazy with the feelings that he was having. Though, like the stubborn Green Rider that she is, Karigan stayed true in her duties. But that night only made Zachary love her more than before.
Before long, Zachary entered his empty private chambers. He collapsed in one of the many plush chairs in the room and sighed. He hoped that Karigan would this time reply to his letter. Zachary wanted to talk to her so dreadfully. He frequently found her in his dreams as he slept at night. And then he would wake up that morning thinking that his love was lying beside him. But she always wasn't.
Zachary covered his eyes with his hands, praying to Aeryc that Karigan might just approach him the next day so they might talk about their situation. He prayed every night since the tombs incident five months ago. But he's never been heard.
Frustrated, Zachary stood back up and retreated to his bed chamber. He changed into something to sleep in and climbed into his bed. But right before he fell into unconscious sleep, Zachary heard rapping on his door. Not happening, he thought as he threw the blankets back and got out of the bed. He opened his bed chamber door and found Fastion waiting for him. "What do you need Fastion?" he asked groggily.
Fastion bowed, "I'm sorry your highness, but I had a feeling that you should know what I heard during your engagement ball."
Zachary said, "Go on."
"I spoke with Rider Sir G'ladheon toward the end before she left. And inquired her about the missives that you sent her," Fastion started. "The reason why she hasn't replied is because she hadn't received them Sire."
"She wasn't given my letters?"
"No Sire. She wasn't given them," Fastion repeated.
Zachary drummed his index finger on the doorframe. Now he was in a worse mood than before. "Did you still have my most recent one?"
"Yes, I gave it to her personally," Fastion answered.
Zachary exhaled and felt a little better, "Okay, that's all that counts. Thank you Fastion for telling me about this matter." Fastion bowed again before walking out of the private chambers.
Before closing the door though, Zachary suddenly felt like something was wrong. This wasn't the first time he's felt like this however. He felt it during the days following the day that he told Karigan what had supposedly happened to Lord D'yer. Concerned, he quickly grabbed his longcoat and walked out of his bed chamber, and eventually out into the corridors leading to the Green Rider chambers.
He silently went through the halls of the castle. He looked in every direction around him to look for anyone. His Weapons were paces behind him. Before long, he walked into the Rider corridors and still found no one around. Without a sound, Zachary went down the hall to stop in front of Karigan's door. He put his ear to the door and heard faint crying inside.
Zachary's heart went into his mouth as he thought about what to do. He cautiously put his hand on the doorknob, but paused. He closed his eyes for a moment before taking a deep breath. He looked at his hidden Weapons and whispered, "Stay here." Zachary quietly knocked on Karigan's door and waited.
Karigan flinched when she heard someone knock on her door. As quietly as she could, she wiped her eyes and hid Zachary's letter under her pillow. She stood up from her bed and walked to the door. Noiselessly, she slowly opened the door to find Zachary on the other side.
I hope that you all like it, because there's more to come, trust me. Thanks for reading.