Disclaimer: Do not own Lackey's characters.
The Lost Princess (revised)
"Momma, Daddy," cried Lareina, softly.
She frowned as tears slipped down her face furiously, she wiped them away. She was Lareina, the only daughter of Sasha and Terrance, Co-Consorts of Valdemar, she would not cry. Lareina thought that since she was six -years-old ,she was really much to old to be acting like a crybaby. Instead, she tried to remember how she had gotten into this situation.
Her parents had canceled yet another outing to attend a meeting with the old mean people that made up the Council, except for the Heralds. So she had pouted, screamed, and cried like a brat that she was not. In the end she had run away from her upset mother, past Companion's field, farther then she had ever gone. That was when the bad men had gotten her. They had taken her out of Haven after the made her dress in a stinky old cloak. She was forced to sit in front of one of the bad men on an ugly horse. They had ridden so far that her butt hurt.
Which brings us to the present.
Lareina shifted uncomfortably in the saddle as she listened to the bad men argue. "There's no way I am going in there, it's haunted," spoke one.
"The Forest of Sorrows is the one place the Guard won't expect us to go," said another.
"I'd rather take on the entire Guard then go in there."
A huge fight started, some jumped in, others just watched. Lareina was left unguarded.
Now Lareina was a smart as a ten-year-old, so when she saw this opportunity she took it. The bad men were afraid of the forest so that's where she would go.
Lareina slipped from the horse as quietly as she could. This was one of the few times she was thankful for those riding lessons she had been forced to take. Next time she saw horse-faced Herald Navi, she'd give the hard woman a big hug. Not one of her kidnappers glanced at her so she hurried into the near by tree line.
As soon as she entered the Forest of Sorrows she recognized that the atmosphere around her seemed to change. She had heard some of the Heralds that had passed through the forest discussing the sad and spooky presence the forest seemed to generate. Frankly, Lareina didn't know what they were talking about. To her it seemed warm and comfy like when the fire in her palace room was blazing and she was snuggled in her blanket with her stuffed doll. It felt more like home then the palace ever had ever felt.
She didn't stop running until she could no longer hear the voices of the arguing men. Only then did she slow down and finally stop. She was tired, so much that in hurt her to keep her eyes open. With an unbearable weariness, she made a bed of leaves and laid down, falling asleep immediately.
She awakened to the feeling of warm arms picking her up. Lareina opened her eyes, startled. She cried out in surprise, thinking that the bad men had found her. "Hey, take it easy!" an easy going voice exclaimed.
Holding her was not a bad, ugly man at all! He was in fact very handsome. "Who are you?" she asked.
"Call me Stef and that is Vanyel," he pointed to a man walking towards them.
What Lareina found curious was that he looked just like her! They both had the same silver eyes and black hair mingled with white strands. Vanyel fingered her hair thoughtfully. "And what is your name, little one?" he questioned.
"Lareina, princess of Valdemar."
Vanyel and Stef exchanged looks.
Later, after Lareina had told her tale, she had been fed and sent back to sleep only this time she had blankets. The two men talked not far from her sleeping form.
"So what are we going to do?" asked Stef, "She can't stay here, even if she is your great, great granddaughter."
Vanyel frowned. "She can't stay, her parents must be worried about her. Besides spirits aren't exactly the best role models for children. What I want to know is exactly who ordered her kidnapped."
"And why," Stef put in.
"I already know why. This has the stink of a blood mage written all over it."
"A blood mage? Why would he need a girl her age unless…"
The spirit Herald-Mage nodded. "It appears my blood has caused a potentially powerful Adept to be born." He sighed. "I had hoped the Vrondii would prevent occurrences like this but I guess I let the fact that some mages have un-Gifted lackeys slip from my mind."
Stef's eyes softened. "You did the best you could."
"I know, still…" he glanced at Lareina. "Stay with her. Yfandes and I have to pay a visit to a few princessnappers."
As if on cue, the spirit Companion appeared suddenly in the area, followed closely by another very much alive Companion. This Companion was a male who was barely out of his colt phase. "Whose this?" Vanyel asked.
:His name is Sirius, he came for his Chosen,: Yfandes told him.
Vanyel's eyes widened in surprise. "She's a little young to be Chosen isn't she?"
:She wasn't supposed to be Chosen so early, but circumstances changed. Her kidnapping was unexpected,: answered his Companion.
"You mean unplanned," Vanyel remarked. "You know well enough that the best laid plans rarely hold together at the first encounter."
The Spirit Companion bobbed her majestic neck in agreement. :Of course.:
"Well then," Vanyel said, "Stef and Sirius, stay with Lareina. Yfandes and I have some unwelcome company to throw out." The once Herald-Mage and his Companion left.
Her silver eyes fluttered open, but she shut them quickly as light painfully pierced her pupils. She opened her eyes a minute later much slower to allow them to adjust to the light. As her eyes focused she sat up and looked around. Stef was there and so was a Companion that she did not recognize. Vanyel was no where in sight.
The Companion, noticing she was awake, trotted over to her. :Hello, Chosen,: whispered a voice in her head. It was the Companion. :I am Sirius.:
"Good, she's awake," said Vanyel, appearing at Stef's side, followed by another Companion.
"The kidnappers?" questioned Stef.
"Taken care of." He looked at Lareina. "Can you ride by yourself?"
She nodded. "Good." Vanyel lifted her into Sirius' saddle. "There's a search party not far from here," he told the Companion before giving him the directions.
"Get her to them safely."
:Of course I will!: Sirius said, upset at the implication that he could not take care of his Chosen. Then feeling a little guilty at his rudeness, he added, :Thank you.:
"Farewell, little one," said Stef.
"Be more careful from now on," Vanyel admonished.
"I will," the Valdemaran princess promised. She slightly tilted her head to the side. "Do you think I might be able to see you again?"
"Perhaps, when you're older," Vanyel answered, brushing a stray hair from her face.
He then turned to her Companion and mindspoke to him. :If her Mage Gift ever awakens, bring her strait here. I'll either train her or send her to someone who can.:
Sirius, young as he was, understood how important that he remember the Herald-Mage's command. :I will. Farewell.:
"Wing to thy wings," Vanyel said to both chosen and Companion.
Off Sirius went. "My ashke, what beautiful children you produce," Stef commented mischievously as they watched the girl and her Companion fade from view.
Vanyel shut him up with a kiss. Yfandes rolled her eyes. :Lifebonded.: