He looked about the room, using his six and a quarter foot height to see above the gathering of Ladies. The Ladies gawked and gazed at his handsome physique. His hair glowed as the setting sunlight danced across the shoulder length blonde hair. His green eyes showed a lust for intelligence and those who would receive them into their bed. He had no scars of battle across his face, but his face was pleasantly angular and slightly matured from sun exposure. He wore a pure dark blue tunic that was tight across his chest, accentuating the muscles he had spent years to get and retain. His black pants were a little loose, but they still were tight around his calves.
He looked to the Ladies that had flocked to him, as he opened the door. These were all Ladies-in-Waiting, except for one. He was looking exclusively for that Lady. He looked at all the different faces and recognized them all as those he had already taken to bed and led through their virgin night. There was one prey that he had yet to conquer, but she would not be in this pack of Ladies.
He spotted her sitting by the window, looking out upon the sunset on the town around the castle. She was the blacksmith’s adopted child. She had put on a good fight, before the sentry was able to subdue her. They had taken her to see the King and Queen, who recognized her for something she was not. They saw her as potential to sell off for a prince, instead of their daughters. She was a wild waif, and when they placed her here with the other Ladies-in-Waiting, the concubines of the kingdoms, she showed just how she would not be tamed. She had clawed at one of the Lady’s faces, before escaping into the town. It took days to find her again, and when questioned about it, she spat on the floor. The King and Queen then decided that she was allowed to leave the castle, but only after dusk and if she is back by dawn.
As far as he knew, nobody in the castle knew where she went. Then again, she talked to no one in the castle. She was thought to be mute until one day a knight had found her and tried to take her. She let forth a strain of curses that was heard all over the town. The knight was punished and everyone knew that this girl was never going to pass for royal blood. The King and Queen kept her for the sake of hoping she could be seen as royal blood.
The sun glinted off her shoulder-length red-blonde hair, making it seem to come alive and embody the fire that she had inside. He knew her eyes were hazel and changed color depending on the time of the year and changed tint to match her mood. She skin was the color of a very light gold and copper mixture. She was not the skinny waif she had arrived in the castle as. She had a bit of meat on her, but he did not once think it was fat. She wore a black tunic and black leggings, to differentiate her from the rest of the Ladies, as if she could not do that herself.
He brushed by the other Ladies, letting their hopes falter. He walked over to the window and looked out to watch the sunset with her. “Tis beautiful, is it not?”
She looked at him, her eyes mean, before turning back to the window.
He sighed, but he was going to persist until he had her. He lifted her hand off the window sill and kissed it lightly, “M’lady, I am-”
She ripped her hand away, “I know who you are.” She hissed. “You are all they talk about.” She did not tear her eyes away from the town, waiting for the sun to set completely before she was allowed outside.
“May I have your name?” He already knew it but wanted her to say it.
“You have a name, why must I give you mine?” The sun finally set on the mountains behind the town. She hopped up and bowed to him, being completely formal, “If the setting sun is the darkness setting on the heart of a woman, then to only the night does she belong.” She bolted out the door, leaving the male to ponder her words.
He thought about her words for about a minute before he realized that she was gone. He followed her, but had no idea where she had gone. He asked the guard at the door of the room which way she went. He pointed to the left; the man thanked him and went the way the guard pointed. The guard smiled, as he flicked a gold piece in the air.
Outside, she had gone out the castle gates without any hassle. When she was in the middle of the town shops, she was greeted by all the merchants, who were packing up their wares for the night. She smiled and said hello to all of them, even stopping to help them out, if they looked like they had too much trouble during the day.
Many invited her into their shops and homes. She would kindly decline their offer, as she did every night. For the most part, they all had the same reaction. First, they would shake their head, but then they would give her food. She would thank them and continue on their way.
At the end of the street, she would whistle once, but it was a god long whistle, coaxing out the waifs. She would give them their nightly due, a bit of food per child. There were about six in total, ranging in age from two to twelve, which made the food a banquet for the waifs. She smiled to all of them, and as they ate, they begged her for a story.
She nodded, calming them all down, “When you are all finished and ready for bed.” She promised.
She watched them scarf down the food, before they stood up and led her to their hideout, a small shack behind the blacksmith. The old blacksmith used to keep his tools in the shack, but she had paid for the children to have place to stay at night.
They all gathered around her, all intently looked up at her. She spoke softly her voice gentle and soothing, “Once upon a time, there was a princess who was stolen from her parents at an early age by an evil man. She was taken to the streets to steal for the man and after years of it, she forgot all about her true parents. The evil man had become her father, and the girl was unhappy. One day, the sentry saw her thieving from a rich man and caught her!”
The children gasped and one little boy said, “Oh no!”
She smiled and continued, “She was cunning and smart. She told them about the evil man and how he had forced her to do it. The sentry went off to look for the man, but when they found him, he had taken the form of a ferocious dragon. The sentry could not fight him off. They called upon the Knights of the Rose to fight the dragon, but the best knight could not be there.”
“What happened to him?” A little girl asked her.
“See, he had been in battle the day before and he was still healing. He could barely lift his sword, much less fight the dragon.” She explained.
“Then how did they defeat the dragon?” Another little boy asked.
“Just listen, you will learn. The girl who was stolen had fallen in love with the best knight. The rest of the knights could not defeat him, because they needed the best knight. He went to go put his armor on, and it was gone! Someone had stolen it!”
“Oh No! Now how will the knight beat the dragon?” Another little girl exclaimed.
“The dragon noticed a shiny glint on the horizon. Someone wearing the knight’s armor had also stolen his horse. The new knight galloped the horse towards the dragon, but the dragon toppled him off the horse. The knight stood up and took out his sword and shield. The dragon breathed his fiery breath on the knight, but the knight blocked it with the shield. In one swoop of the sword, the knight had cut the dragon, causing acid blood to start to drip on the ground. However, that would not stop the dragon. The dragon knocked the knight on the ground with its claws. It bent forward, its jaws wide open…”
She imitated the dragon, causing one of the girls to start crying. “Poor knight!”
“But the knight was smarter than that. As the dragon came forward to eat him, he sprang back to his feet and thrust his sword into the roof of the dragon’s mouth.”
The children all breathed a sigh of relief. “What happened next? Who was the knight?” The oldest of the boys asked.
“The dragon transformed back into the evil man and he demanded to know who the knight was. The knight took off his helm and it was the princess! She had used her thieving skills to take the armor, sword and horse. The evil man died and the princess grabbed the sword. She had saved the town, but then she saw the best knight come out from behind a building. He had seen the whole thing, as well as the rest of the Knights of the Rose.”
“What did they do to her?” The oldest child asked. It was well known that if a woman is caught pretending to be a knight, she was to be thrown in the stocks before being tried as a witch or hanged.
“Well, they talked about it amongst themselves, before taking her before the King. The King saw the girl and recognized her as his daughter. He decided that since she did it out of love, then she was exempt from the punishment. The best knight, who was a prince from another land, asked to take the girl’s hand in marriage. The King and Queen happily obliged and the two knights lived happily ever after. The End.” She looked to the children, who were yawning and lying down. She kissed each of them on the foreheads, “Sleep well, little ones. I will back tomorrow night. Good Night.”
The children all said in unison, “Good night, Twilight!”
She smiled, opened the door to the shack and closed it behind her. She walked to the front of the blacksmith’s forge. She looked up at the sky and saw the moon high above her. She knocked on the door three times, before the blacksmith apprentice opened the door. She looked passed him to the Blacksmith, “Good morning, Dyne. May I trespass?”
He grinned at her, “Anytime.” He let her into the forge and she saw the weapons that he had been working on earlier that day.
She picked up a set of curved blades, pulled them from their plain leather sheathes, and inspected them closely. The blades were very well made, but lightweight, made of silver instead of steel. She flipped them in the air and caught them on their hilts, testing their balance. Next, she looked at the hilt and they were beautiful. One hilt had flames erupted from the ruby at the end of the hilt and became an inferno at the hand guard. If one looked close enough, they would see a woman at ease in the fire. Etched on the blade was the picture of a sun and the words, “Only when the Sun sets, does the true love of the Sun rise.”
On the other hilt was what looked like to her a galaxy of stars. They were rounded and randomly placed about the hilt and a crescent moon was used for a hand guard. Etched on this blade was another crescent moon with a little star in the center and below it was, “The True love of the Moon awakes the world with her beauty.” If one looked close at his one, they would see the image of a young man amongst the stars.
“Dyne, these are beautiful.” She placed them back into their sheathes and set them down carefully. “Now, hopefully you will find someone who could truly appreciate them.” She looked up at him, a smile playing on her lips.
Dyne was around his forties and had been like a father to her since as long as she could remember. His face was etched with scars from battles long forgotten or kingdoms she would never know. He had a closely shaven mustache and beard, to hide his age from most of the town. Smile and worry wrinkles adorned his face, after all the years of dealing with Twilight. He wore the heavy dark clothes of a blacksmith, to protect him from the flames. “I think I have.”
She tilted her head, confused, “What are you talking about?”
He picked up the blades, speaking quietly, “I have been making these since the day I found you. I just finished them today, and guess what today is.”
She thought about it for a tick, “It has been fifteen years tonight.” It was the fifteen anniversary of him finding her wandering the streets when she was about four.
“Exactly, these belong to you.” He held them out to her, hilt towards her.
She took them from him and felt herself glow with joy. She set them down and hugged him, “Thank you!”
He hugged her back, “Now question is, can you use them if you need to?”
She took a step back, “After all the training you and Hiku put me through? I would be worried if I could not.”
Hiku was the true son of Dyne, and a very good friend of Twilight’s. He was sent to become a knight and they had not heard from him since. Dyne looked at her, “You are the daughter of my soul, just has he is the son of my flesh. I would have loved to see you two happy one day, and maybe that day is soon. But my heart aches with a pain that I can only think of a few things that it could truly be.”
Her eyes widened, “What happened to Hiku?”
His eyes began to tear up, “I do not know. I have not heard from him in a few months. I fear something may have happened.”
Twilight looked at the ground, thinking to herself, There had been word of a war coming and the King and Queen sent out scouts in investigate… She grabbed Dyne’s shoulder, “I will find out what happened to him. But that means I will be leaving the children for a while. Can you-”
He cut her off, “I will. I will treat them like my children and maybe teach them my trade. I need to have someone inherit these skills before old age claims me.”
She gave him one last hug before looking out the window to see the dawn rising. “Thank you… for everything, Father.”
He clasped her back, “Just be sure to bring yourself and Hiku back.”
“I will. Promise.” She took a step back and grabbed the blades. “If I do not get back, the King and Queen will have another fit and send guards out like they did last time.”
Dyne smiled and opened the door for her. “Be safe.” He put his fist to his chest and bowed to her, showing her the sign they had made up to prove they were still a part of the family.
She mimicked him, “I will.” She looked to the black castle silhouette, as the sun began to rise. She gave one last look to the blacksmith’s forge, before settling the blades across her back. She took a deep breath and bolted towards the castle.