"What are you wearing?" Isabella yelled at Jaylen.
"What do you mean?"
"Your dress! You can't possibly be thinking of wearing that!" Jaylen rolled her eyes at her sister. "It's not a dress."
"Well, that is my whole point! You have on a plain brown skirt and a rough green shirt! You look like a peasant!"
"We are supposed to be going in secret, Isabella, and your yelling is going to give it all away."
"I don't understand why we have to go to Araluen. We are perfectly safe here in Morithia."
"You don't understand anything about war, do you?"
"It is not a princess's place to worry about those sorts of things, Jaylen, especially you. You are the heir to the throne! Why Father ever let you I have no clue. You act like a peasant, not royalty." Jaylen recoiled from her sister. Her eyes suddenly gleamed with anger.
"You know darn and well that I don't want the throne. I can't help it that I was born first, sister." Isabella glared at Jaylen. "The ranger is going to be here. You'd better get ready."
Gilan rode his horse over the drawbridge of Castle Morithia. Crowley had informed him of his 'mission'. He was to take King Jacer's twin daughters to Castle Araluen for safekeeping. Gilan had dreaded the mission. To have to put up with a princess is one thing. But two princesses, that are twins? He was determined to get this over with as quickly as possible. It was starting to get dark out. King Jacer wanted his daughters to leave in secrecy. A man walked towards Gilan. He was tall and had blond hair. His eyes were a deep blue.
"I suppose you are the ranger?"
"You swear to keep them safe?"
"I swear on my life," Gilan said. The man's shoulder seemed to sag in relief, just a little. Gilan dismounted from Blaze.
"I am grateful for your kingdom's willingness to protect my daughters," Jacer said. "I don't want to take the chance of them being captured or killed."
"Who exactly are you at war with?" Gilan asked.
"To be honest with you, I don't exactly know." Gilan started raising his eyebrows. "On our borders creatures have been seen, outposts have just been deserted."
What type of creatures?" Gilan asked.
"We don't know. All of those who have made it close to one have been killed, and those that have made it back have only seen them from a distance." Jacer and Gilan started walking towards the stable. Two horses were tied up. One was jet black with a little star on its forehead. The other was a bay with a white blaze. It looked very much like Gilan's horse blaze, except this one had four white socks. A girl was checking over the tack and giving the horse one last brush.
"Where is your sister?" Jacer asked the girl.
"Where do you think? She's with her best friend." The girl said it with heavy sarcasm in her voice. Jacer looked at her quizzically.
"In her room with her mirror."
"Jaylen now is not the time to be aggravated with your sister. You two need to get along."
"I know dad, but…"
"No buts aloud, nobody really likes butts." Jaylen smiled at him.
"Of course," she said.
"Go get your sister," Jaylen gave her horse one last pat on the neck and took off running. Gilan watched her.
"She's a good girl, a bit of a trouble maker though," Jacer said to Gilan.
"Yes, even though she is an identical twin, her and her sister have completely different personalities." Jaylen emerged with Isabella beside her. Gilan looked at the two girls. They both had long blond hair and the same deep blue eyes that their father had, but he could tell their personality differences by looking at their clothes. Jaylen had on a long brown skirt and a simple green shirt. She had a dagger around her waist and she had a bow slung over her shoulder. Isabella wore a dark red dress with a gold necklace and earrings. Her hair was elaborately braided and she carried no weapons. They both had on black cloaks. Jacer walked over to his two daughters and embraced them.
"I love you both," Jacer said. They hugged tighter.
"You ready?" Gilan asked. He was ready to leave so he could get this over with as soon as possible. Jacer let go of his daughters. Jaylen swung lightly into her horse's saddle. Jacer helped Isabella on.
"Be safe," he said. The two girls waved to him, not trusting their voices, and rode out of the gate.
They rode in silence through the night, except for the occasional complaints from Isabella.
"My bum's sore," Isabella complained.
"That means you are getting some muscle there," Jaylen replied, smiling. Isabella just huffed and rolled her eyes. The sun was starting to rise.
"We'll stop for breakfast and a brief rest," Gilan said. "Be looking for a good camp spot."
"How about a long rest?" Isabella asked. Gilan and Jaylen just ignored her.
"Right there," Jaylen said.
"Right what?" Gilan asked. He looked to where Jaylen was looking. He couldn't really see anything that would make a good campsite. Jaylen turned her horse off of the trail and into the woods. Gilan and Isabella followed her. They rode a few yards into the woods. Jaylen dismounted and stretched, groaning softly as she eased her tight muscles.
"This defiantly isn't too bad of one," Gilan said. The ground was covered with a layer of green ferns, and there were plenty of trees to hide them from view from the road. "How did you see it?" Gilan asked her.
"I didn't, I just remembered when my dad would take me camping and this is where we would camp," Jaylen said. She began picking up some firewood to make a fire.
"Is there a stream nearby?" Gilan asked.
"Yup," Jaylen said gesturing with her head farther into the woods. Gilan grabbed their water skins.
"I'm going to go fill these up," he said and started walking, then added: "Try not to get into trouble."
"You only have to worry about her getting into trouble," Isabella said, groaning as she stretched. Gilan chuckled to himself then made his way to the stream. Jaylen busied herself making a small fire.
"Get some of the coffee out of my saddlebag," she said to Isabella. Isabella plodded over to Jaylen's horse.
"I miss home," Isabella said.
"I miss dad," Jaylen said.
"Do you think we'll have to stay in Araluen forever?" Isabella queried.
"I don't know…" Jaylen said, blowing gently on the fire to get it going. "I think we will…" somewhere a twig snapped. Jaylen looked up from the fire, alarmed.
"I can't find…" Isabella started.
"Duck!" Jaylen hissed at her. Isabella dropped to the ground.
"What the…" she started, but was interrupted. An arrow hissed through the air. Jaylen reached for her bow and knocked an arrow. She pulled her dagger out and tossed it to Isabella.
"You might need that," Jaylen said.
"What do you mean?"
"Shut up!" Jaylen saw movement and tried to make out what it was. She didn't want to accidently shoot Gilan. She made out black armor on the thing. It had a long snout. It reminded her of a bear. There was more than one though. Another creature came into the clearing. Jaylen's bow came up and she shot it. It lay dead in front of where Isabella was lying.
"What is that?"
"Wargal," Jaylen said. She saw another one advancing towards her and she tried to shoot it. The arrow plunged into its right eye. The wargal was enraged and ran towards Jaylen. She tried to raise her bow and shoot it but the wargal was advancing to fast. It ran into her and knocked her to the ground. Jaylen's bow fell from her hands. The wargal raised its short sword and brought it down, plunging it into Jaylen's heart. She screamed in pain.
"NO!" Isabella screamed.
The wargal was about to stab Jaylen again, but it froze. A familiar figure appeared in the woods and shot the wargal in the heart. Gilan's bow rose and fell as he picked the remaining wargals off. He dropped his bow and ran to where Jaylen lay in a puddle of blood.
"Please Jaylen, don't die!" Isabella whispered. Isabella looked up at Gilan, tears forming in her eyes. "Is she going to…?" Gilan dropped his eyes and wouldn't meet her gaze. Isabella felt a cold hand grab hold of hers.
"I'm not going to make it…" she gasped.
"Jaylen, don't talk this nonsense, dad needs you, I need you, I know we fight…" Jaylen put a cold hand on Isabella's cheek.
"Be brave. Have courage, sister." Jaylen whispered.
"I will, sister." Jaylen's hand fell from Isabella's cheek, and she breathed her last.