There's such a sad love, deep in your eyes.
A kind of pale jewel, open and closed
Within your eyes.
I'll place the sky within your eyes.
There's such a fools heart, beatin' so fast
In search of new dreams...
Asrai shut the door quietly and walked away. The expression on her face would have shrieked a warning had any of her family been there to see. That, however, was the problem. No one in her family did see.
The youngest of the Obarskyr children shut the door of her room a bit more firmly than was necessary and ignored her sitting room to throw herself on the bed. No one took her seriously, she thought to herself, that was part of the problem. Everyone thought she was too young to understand anything important. But apparently she was too old to be left alone to do what she wanted.
Asrai Aelaitha, as her family called her, had been practically living in the woods outside Aeliara, Cormyr's easternmost city, nearly every season. When she was by necessity of weather or location kept indoors the princess read books and plays as if her mind were starved for knowledge. Now though she was to be kept close by her family so that she could begin attending minor court functions and because her family worried too much now about her being alone in the woods. They were also stuck in Suzail, the capital, for half the year.
At least, she told herself, I've been spared a Watcher for now. That had been a battle in and of itself, and if she was honest about it, her parents had reason to see the need for assigning her a Watcher.
Their mother had not been raised as royalty all her life and had, to the minds of many, peculiar ideas of how children should be raised. That she and her husband cared for their children themselves most often, was unheard of among Cormyr's nobility. The Royal princes and princesses also had a thorough knowledge of household chores as well as a more classical education. Not to mention that all five children spoke and read the elven language fluently.
Another of her strange ideas was having bodyguards for her children, commonly referred to as Watchers. The Queen had not forgotten how she had met her husband years ago, when the nobility had been trying to have him assassinated. She was determined that such a thing should not happen to her children if she could prevent it.
Asrai had been spared a Watcher since she was almost always with one of her siblings or another family member who was capable of protecting her. Her wandering the woods was not considered dangerous because there were many elves who also wandered the woods and it was always known when the young princess was there. If another stranger had entered, steps would be taken to protect her. Thus Asrai hadn't truly needed a Watcher. With her thirteenth birthday that had threatened to change.
The Watchers of the Obarskyr daughters served a dual purpose. Asrai's older sisters Lorelei and Morgana had been taken aside by their mother when Asrai was quite young and to speak of the discussion that had ensued still made Lorelei blush.
Asrai shook her head. Her older sisters had women for their Watchers and their Watchers were also bedmates and lovers. Their mother was determined to preserve her daughters' virtue while refusing to stifle their sexuality.
The youngest princess made a face. The thought of anyone being with her constantly made her as jumpy as a cat. And the thought of someone touching her…well the idea made her feel suddenly warm and she knew she was blushing. Even if she was a bit curious about the idea it made her more nervous than anything else.
A sigh escaped her. That was the problem…she was growing up and changing and so were her siblings. But even if she couldn't claim to understand everything she was feeling she knew that she didn't like what was going on with her brothers and sisters.
Queen Alusair had died, and her father Amon had become King. That was when the problems had started. Andreas, as the first son had become Crown Prince, and was sent to the Western Heart's Capital, New Beregost to serve as Lord Drakkar's squire. Andreas had been prone to second guessing himself, not believing in his own intelligence or skills. It was thought he'd gain more confidence in himself if he learned the very basic duties of a squire. He and his twin Lorelei had been sixteen.
Asrai shook her head. She'd been heartbroken at the thought of her older brother going away. Andreas had always found time for her, he'd juggled to hear her laugh, been patient when she'd begun learning the sword, even listened to her childish dreams of acting when she wasn't wandering in the forest. Lorelei had been affectionate with her then, cuddling her and somehow the day didn't seem complete without at least one teasing remark from the older princess. Even if in comparison to her older siblings she felt clumsy and accident prone it hadn't mattered much because they hadn't ever mocked her for that. All she'd ever wanted was to be like Andreas, part of her intense study of literature had stemmed from that.
Huge violet eyes filled with tears and Asrai wiped them away impatiently. Andreas had gone, and come back and in that time the city of New Beregost had been sacked, by raiders who had traveled up and down the coast taking slaves. Asrai's uncle Drakkar and his wife Crystal had been killed. Something else had happened too.
During Andreas' absence Lorelei's affectionate teasing nature had chilled. She had been as kind as ever to her family but for everyone else? Her manner was cool and shallow, as if she wanted folk to think she was unkind. Faced with this abrupt change in behavior Asrai didn't know how to act around this new sister of hers.
Asrai's oldest sister Morgana had always been open and gentle, dreamlike sometimes. She was the oldest of the five of them and her sweet expression had hidden the steely protective streak that enabled her to be her father's blade heir and the intelligent mind that worked magic without effort. Lately thought Morgana had been a little distant, her lovely face sober with some inner struggle.
Sebastian. Asrai made a face not knowing whether to laugh or cry about Sebastian. He and she had made a game of learning their mothers assassin skills, and he'd never mocked her when she couldn't keep up because she was three years younger. He'd been as annoyed with courtly ceremonies as she and loved music just as much. And he still did. Now though he attended Court more often, and hid his thoughts behind his eyes, not seeming to take anything but music seriously. It was as if he had donned a mask of foolishness and was determined that nothing would remove it. If he noted the problems within his family he made no show of it and certainly Asrai found it impossible to discuss anything but music with him anymore. He was turning into a Courtier.
And Andreas? Now tears did stream down Asrai's face. Andreas had returned to Cormyr a dark withdrawn version of himself. He'd been quick to deny anything was seriously wrong even though his entire family knew there was something. The Crown Prince had put on a cheerful charming face and acted as if everything was fine. He'd cut a swath through the court ladies with his charms, or so Asrai had heard. But if on the surface everything was just fine then her big brother's soul was very troubled. He had shut everyone out.
Andreas didn't seem to have time for anything but the lightest of conversation and the topic of New Beregost and the past was strictly verboten. Not asking questions about the Western Heart and Candlekeep and his life there had been terribly difficult for Asrai and she'd had to bite her tongue more than once. The chattering that had once delighted her big brother now irritated him and her impulsiveness made him impatient. He no longer had time to talk with her about anything, and that had hurt. Asrai knew she wasn't the only one because she'd seen the hurt on Lorelei's face when her twin wouldn't even speak to her.
The worst though had been this afternoon. She'd been practicing her juggling forever it seemed and she could finally keep four balls in the air without loosing one or two after a few passes. Her first thought had been to show Andreas. Maybe it would even get a smile out of him. It would be nice to cheer him up by juggling since he'd always done the same for her when she was a baby.
She'd found him, along with the rest of their siblings. No one had been speaking when she'd entered the room, though Morgana and Sebastian had both looked up with a smile when they saw her. "Andreas." She'd grinned around his name feeling so happy that she could juggle as well as he could. "Look, what I learned!" He'd looked at her in resignation but she'd been so excited she hadn't noticed. She'd begun to juggle and when she had all four balls in the air and didn't need to concentrate on adding them any more she looked at him again.
Her hands kept moving, she noticed that even as she was blinking in shock and hurt at the bored look on his face. When he spoke she was startled enough to lose her unthinking concentration and the balls fell to the floor. "Honestly Asrai Aelaitha, I don't need to be entertained." He said in bored tones. "I just need to be left alone." His look encompassed she and his siblings.
Asrai looked at him her mouth slightly open in shock. Sebastian, she was aware had risen from his seat and in a bored drawl had said. "Really Andreas?" He inquired. "I'll just leave you to it then." He patted his baby sister on the shoulder as he left the room.
Finally Asrai was able to speak. "I guess you have more important things to do these days than play with me." She folded her hands, feeling awkward again. "Sorry." She turned and left, shutting the door behind her.
The youngest princess had gone to her room to think and finally come to a conclusion about her situation and her goals for life in general. Purposefully Asrai rose and began to rummage through her drawers for the plainest, darkest clothing she owned.
Scaling the wall unseen was easy, Asrai found. And going down the other side wasn't as unnerving as it used to be when she and Sebastian had practiced. Perhaps concentrating thoroughly on not being seen helped. Apparently though she needed to concentrate a bit harder for when she was no more than five yards from the wall a hand clamped onto her shoulder in a grip like iron.
"And what do you think you're doing?" A man's voice inquired. Roughly he turned her around and eyed her plain dark clothing and capped head. "Thieving?" Asrai looked up with a sigh and wrung her hands. The gold and amethyst signet ring on her right hand flashed in the lantern light and caught the man's attention. The same light gleamed off the braid on his shoulders and she realized it was an officer who had caught her, not a common guard. His other hand reached for hers and pulled the ring off before she realized what he was about. "And just who did you rob of this my little gutter snipe?" He glared down at her. "Lets go." He tightened his grip on her shoulder and tunic. "I've a nice cell where you can await your trial."
Asrai blinked in shock. "I'm not a thief." She denied vigorously.
"Then what were you doing sneaking over the palace wall?" He sneered. "Paying the King and Queen a visit?" He gave her a rough shake and began to march her along. "No more out of you. You'd have to get up pretty early in the morning to put one over on Captain Tilney. I know a thief when I see one."
Asrai pressed her lips together in annoyance and decided that he deserved what he got. Her hard little fist jabbed into his side, just below his ribs eliciting a groan from her victim. Turning towards her he was about to give her a good hard smack when her knee slammed up between his legs and his grasp on her shoulder loosened. For good measure Asrai drew back and threw her clenched fist forth again, her knuckles driving into his eye. That was the final straw, he fell, with a howl of agony clutching himself and she ran.
A half dozen city streets away she ducked into an alley and leaned against a grimy wall. Looking down she grinned in delight at the prize she'd caught. He'd been so busy taking her ring and talking about knowing thieves that he hadn't noticed her stealing his money pouch. 'Serves him right,' She thought, 'Taking my ring.'
Her mind left the annoying Captain and focused on the more immediate problem of lodging for the night.
Author's Note: So this is something I wrote a long time ago. It's part of my Dungeons & Dragons 'Verse based on the results of a campaign I played online with my husband. Amon and Sabine were the characters we played and I wrote stories about their children because we didn't have time to play all of them out. Basically this is a semi crossover. I stole the plot from Shakespeare in Love and used it for this story. With a few twists and turns. It's not super long and the chapters probably won't be very long either, but it is rated M for a reason so there be lemons ahead...eventually. But not involving our main character because she is a little young for that.
Please enjoy and review if you like it. I'll have chapter 2 up in a day or so and then it might take a bit longer. I am still writing on my other WIP's I'm posting so I'm just dividing and editing this when I get a moment or two.