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{ B E C }

24 years old. Canadian.
{ Discord: beccablob#0130 }

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Were you intending anything to happen on the road or can I write the arrival in Willowshire?
The princess watched curiously as her rescuer shook the hedge. Again, she was distracted by her surroundings as they made their escape. While this was not the garden that she had spent her days working on, it was an area that she remembered fondly. Her father would walk her through her sometimes when she was young, and she played hide and seek with some of the advisers' children on sunny days. Another part of her life that had been ripped away from her by the wicked Queen.

She held her breath as the guard approached. When the soldier struck him, she made a small, shocked noise at the sight of blood. Perhaps being alone for so long had made her overly sensitive to this sort of violence, but then again... she had never liked such behavior. She looked down at the unconscious, bloody man and whispered a soft "I'm sorry" to him before taking off through the gate. They did not have the benefit of time to waste on proper apologies.

Cecilia brought up solid in her path when they slipped through the gate and she found herself face to face with four massive horses, all staring her down with those beady eyes of theirs. The large one at the front stomped its foot and she flinched involuntarily at the sound. It took several moments of her rooted to the spot to swallow back her fears and take a step towards the carriage, at the careful beckoning of her new soldier friend.

She lifted her filthy skirts properly as she was helped into the carriage, where she slid across the bench seat. She watched the solider curiously, waiting for his next instruction. What now?

"Where are you taking me?" she asked. She was just full of questions today. If there had been a carriage prepared, they must be in for a long journey. Especially if they thought that four horses would be needed for such a trek. A part of her wondered if this was all just a cruel trick by Malcolm. Perhaps this carriage would just take her straight to the prison yard to be executed. All of this was some elaborate ruse to get her hopes up. Her stomach twisted anxiously at the thought.
Just as the man instructed, Cecilia followed his lead. She pressed her back to the wall, her breath caught in her chest, and peered around the corner to see that the guard still had his back to the hall. Cautiously, she dashed towards her rescuer. Her eyes were wide as she looked back over her shoulder. The guard had no idea.

She nodded to the soldier and they continued their trek. By the time they reached the North Wing, Cecilia was unable to keep her attention on the task before them. Her head was on a swivel, taking in all of the once familiar sights around her. They headed wordlessly down a hallway that she had chased cats down as a young girl. A tapestry hung along a corridor that she had once attempted to climb, only to learn the cruel effects of gravity and sprain her wrist when it let go and sent her falling to the floor.

The walk through memory lane distracted her until she noticed that they were nearing the east side of the castle. They were almost at the stables.

All at once, she was snapped back to their escape. Her stomach twisted anxiously. All of the temporarily forgotten questions came flooding back. Where was the carriage going to take her? Who was this man?

She decided on only one question as the east exit came into view. “Why are you doing this?” Cecilia whispered. She didn’t want to sound ungrateful, but there were a lot of things that had yet to be answered. “If the Queen finds out...” She trailed off, not wanting to think too much about what exactly the Queen would do. If the princess had been thrown in a cell for five years, there was no telling what she would do to the people who rescued a traitor from her execution.
All’s good on my end! I’m letting you lead the way on this part. Once things are out of the castle I’m sure we’ll do more collaborating on where things go next.

Don’t worry, if I have any thoughts or concerns I won’t hesitate to voice them.
If it were possible, Cecilia would have paled at the mention of the stables. She hated horses. Everything about them, really. Their size, their smell... their heavy hooves that could break bones. She hated the way they stomped their feet and the sound that they made clopping across the dirt roads and cobblestone streets. Quite frankly, she was terrified of them.

But if she had to take her chances with some horses to avoid having her head roll across the prison yard, she would just have to face her fears. She chose not to mention her distaste for the stables, fearing that the soldier who seemed to be rescuing her would march her straight back to the dungeons where she belonged. Instead, she focused on the path that he was leading her on. She had known the castle quite well at one point in her life, but these halls were unfamiliar. She had never spent any amount of time visiting the dungeons before her own captivity, so there was no reason why she would know this route. She followed the soldier blindly.

When they spotted the guard, Cecilia froze. Obediently, she crept behind the soldier on bare, silent feet. However, when her escort grabbed the other man, she had to force her hand over her own mouth to stifle the gasp that escaped.

"Is he dead?" Cecilia whispered in horror as they stepped past his unconscious form and through the door. She could not keep from staring at the man's slumped body, her eyes wide.
The princess was unable to keep her eyebrows from shooting up at the soldier's blatant disrespect for the Queen. She would have laughed, had she not been so shocked by his brashness. From the corner of her eye, she regarded him curiously, a small frown tugging at her lips. She kept silent as he led her through the dungeon, immediately intrigued by this man. It had been a long time since something had piqued Cecilia's curiosity.

Her curiosity only grew when he led her away from the prison yard and up the staircase into the castle.

There were a thousand questions bubbling up inside of her, and it had been such a long time since she had been this close to another human being that was not the jailer or Malcolm. She was due to be executed. Prisoners were taken directly to the prison yard from the dungeons. The jailer had told her so himself, just the other day. Why was he taking her to the castle? Halfway up the stairs, she was unable to take it anymore.

"Sir, where are you taking me?" she blurted out. Even though she was unable to contain the question, her voice was a mere whisper as they climbed the stone steps. She had a distinct feeling that this was a time for whispering.
Just as she had done when she heard Malcolm approaching that morning, Cecilia lifted herself from her bed to stand at attention for when her guest arrived. By the time solider reached her cell, she was waiting for him in the center of the room, hands clasped at the front of her skirt.

With a quick nod, she stepped towards the open door. She hesitated in the doorway, looking almost uncertain before she took a tentative step out of her cell and into the hallway of the dungeon. Her heart fluttered excitedly. This was the first step that she had taken outside of the cell in five long years.

It was a shame that her time on the outside would only be brief.

"Are you sure you're allowed to call me that?" Cecilia asked conversationally as she followed the weathered soldier through the dungeon. "'Your Majesty', that is." The cold edge that had crept into her tone when she spoke with Malcolm was gone. This man had not harmed her, and she had been raised to treat her subjects with respect. "I would think that Her Grace would not approve of such formalities."
Cecilia remained with her back straight and her head high until the sound of Malcolm’s footsteps and his cruel laughter disappeared. Even then, she waited another beat of silence before she relaxed her shoulders and exhaled. Now she was free to let her face flush red without Malcolm seeing. Her vision nearly blurred with the rush of blood to her head as she turned on her heel and stomped towards the window.

May the headman’s axe be dull and jagged,” she repeated, dropping her voice to mock his tone. Her nose wrinkled in disgust. She hated how easily he could get a reaction out of her. “Though I wish he hadn’t denied me breakfast,” she added under her breath, returning to her usual tone. Her stomach grumbled in protest at the thought of the feast. So the cook had wanted to serve her a final meal... a proper one instead of the slop that she had been living off of these past five years. Of course Malcolm would have a say about that.

Real food would have been nice. Turning away from the window, Cecilia caught sight of her spider friend wrapping up a small insect that had been unfortunate enough to land on her web. Well, at least one of them would get a feast that day.

Sighing, she returned to her “bed”. It wouldn’t be long now before the guards would come to fetch her and lead her to her death. She hoped they would at least bring some proper clothes for her. No one should have to die dressed in rags... especially not a princess.
I assumed that would be coming soon. You can give me a heads up if you want, but I don’t mind surprises!
Despite her best efforts, Cecilia felt her cheeks flush pink with anger at the insulting words he had for her parents. Though she had never known her mother, she had been raised on stories of her grace and beauty. Like her father was a good man, her mother was an equally good woman.

Her neutral expression faltered momentarily as she pressed her lips together in an effort to keep her from screaming and crying at him like she had done as a child. She was the rightful heir of Alvion, and she would not spend her last day among the living whining and stomping her foot like a petulant child, no matter how badly she wanted to.

Her hands balled into fists at the front of her dress, her nails digging into her palms through the dirty fabric.

“Yes,” she agreed stiffly, once she was sure that she would not give him the reaction that he was seeking. “So many memories.”

The princess loosened her fists and her hands returned to laying flat against her skirt. “I am sure we’ll be reunited again some day, dear cousin,” she continued, in spite of her previous promise to herself that she wouldn’t play his game. “It will be so good to see you and Her Grace once we are all together again in The Void.” Even when implying that Malva was a wicked bitch who would spend eternity in The Void, Cecilia used the proper title for the Queen.

She turned her head to glance over her shoulder and towards the barred window. It was much brighter outside now. The execution was drawing closer.

“Perhaps you should be heading to the prison yard,” Cecilia suggested. “It would be rather unbecoming for the future King to be late for such an important event.”
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