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{ B E C }

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

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"I am eager to meet them, as well," Cecilia said. Her previously stoic expression broke into an almost pleasant smile. It was a little strained, and somewhat unfamiliar to the princess after having no reason to smile for so long, but it was a start. "And I look forward to discussing things at length with you all in the morning... but you're right. For now, I just want to take a proper bath and sleep in a real bed." Her smile grew more genuine at the mention.

As thankful as she was to Baron Monticourt and the others for their kindness, she was exhausted. It had been a long day. As it turned out, freedom was tiring work. At his final request, she could only offer him a look of appreciation. "I think you've done quite enough for me for one day," Cecilia said. "I'm sure I'll have more questions than you could possibly answer and even more requests in the morning, but for now, I'm content." In fact, she was more than content. She felt amazing. The air was sweeter. Breathing was easier. Her stomach was not aching from lack of nutrition.

It did not take long for the maid to come with a tub for her, which was filled with steaming hot water, and a neatly folded set of clean clothes. The princess waited until the cellar doors closed and she was finally alone before she peeled the ragged dress from her body. For a few minutes, she stood before the bath - her old clothes a pile at her feet - and examined her nakedness. She was marked with angry red rashes in places from the dirty clothes, and her skin was dry and irritated. Her wrists and ankles were scarred from her early days in the dungeons when she had been shackled. She was bony, malnourished, and pale. Not the kind of alabaster pale that was considered beautiful among women her age, but sickly pale.

Just as carefully as she had pinned it back that morning in preparation for her execution, Cecilia untied her hair from its braid and let it fall lank and heavy over her shoulders. She stepped into the bath and lowered herself down, gasping ever so slightly as the hot water touched her skin.

For a long while she just laid there, breathing in the steamy air. When the water began to cool, she dunked her head down and washed the years of grime and knots from her hair. When she moved her hand away from her head, strings of hair hung from her fingers where it had fallen out. The princess didn't care. What was a little hair when she now had a whole life ahead of her?

She crawled into the bed situated in the corner of the cellar looking like a new woman. Her skin was pink from the hot water, and her wet hair braided properly over her shoulder instead of tucked back into a matted mess. She had a spring in her step and a new light in her eyes as she sunk into the soft sheets.

A part of her mind wondered if she really had died that morning, because surely this was the Promised Land. With that thought in mind, Cecilia drifted off to sleep, a content smile on her face.
Cecilia chewed deliberately as he spoke, nodding where appropriate. Honestly, it was hard to concentrate when her senses were suddenly alive with all the things that she had been lacking the last five years. The surprising warmth of the cellar... the taste and smell of the delicious food. She nearly missed a few things that he said, but kept forcing herself to pay attention.

She swallowed and looked down at the plate to see that she had nearly devoured everything in the amount of time that it took Baron Monticourt to tell his tale. For once, she did not care if he thought that it was unladylike. For the first time in a very long time, her belly was full of warm food. She savored the feeling as she turned in her chair to face him properly.

"So I am an icon for your cause," she said. It was not an accusation, merely an observation. She nodded gently. She could live with that. If it meant reclaiming her birth right, then she could be an icon.

All the rage and plans for revenge that had died in the cell beneath Proud Spire years ago slowly began to smolder again inside of the princess. Back then, there had been no hope. She was just a stupid girl with no family, no subjects, and no power to right the wrongs that had been done to her. But now? This man stood before her and told her of an entire following of nobles and military men who were apparently loyal to her. It was hard to believe, but well... how else would they have managed to break her out of the castle?

"I am forever indebted to you and the rest of your men for rescuing me," she said graciously. "And I will gladly join your cause." He was right. They were her only hope.

Her eyes slid towards the cellar door. Now that she had eaten, she was looking forward to that bath that he had mentioned earlier. Imagine that. A proper bath. Her skin was already prickling excitedly at the notion.
Cecilia head her head a little higher when she noticed the pity in his gaze. Though she was more than pitiful in that moment, with her filthy clothes, matted hair, and skinny frame, she was still a princess and she did not want anyone to see her as anything less than that. It was a hard thing to pull off when one looked as bad as she did, but her proud eyes and her posture worked wonders.

"And how exactly do you plan to overthrow Her Grace?" Cecilia asked. She was curious, to say the least. It had seemed that the Serpent Queen had a loyal following. Where had this "Loyalist Coalition" been the past five years? She added these to the ever-growing list of questions in her head as she followed along with Simon's touch and took her seat at the small table.

Cecilia patted down her skirts properly, though she could barely breathe through the smell of food that took over her senses. She was still a lady, and a lady did not devour food like a wild dog... no matter how hungry she was. She picked up her fork and carefully cut off a piece of the roasted beef before bringing it purposefully to her mouth. In spite of herself, she moaned as the flavors exploded on her tongue. She covered her mouth immediately, cheeks flushing pink with embarrassment. That was... unexpected.

"My apologies, sir," Cecilia said. "But please, if you could tell me more about this Loyalist Coalition of your's. I'm rather intrigued."
As soon as the smell of food reached her, Cecilia felt her mouth water. Real food! She made a beeline for the table and was about to take her seat and reach for her fork when she heard the voice from the shadows. She jumped, still skittish from all of the excitement from earlier, and whirled on her heel to face the direction of the voice.

She squinted to try and get a better look at the vague outline of the man before her. Dinner would just have to wait.

"You must be Baron Monticourt," she said primly. She stepped away from the table, partly to get a better look at the Baron, and partly because she was afraid that the temptation to dig into the meal would be too great. She did not want to risk being rude in front of the man who was partly responsible for rescuing her.

"I have not heard much about you, sir, but I am quite grateful for all of your help today." She lifted her skirts into a small curtsy. "I did not think I would ever see the outside of Proud Spire again. I thank you for that."
Cecilia nodded politely and followed Bromley as he motioned her around the carriage. "The honor is all mine, sir," the princess said gently. To any observers, it would not have seemed so strange for a girl in Cecilia's state to address the driver as 'sir', but really it was a shocking notion. This man was leagues below her in terms of status, yet he had saved her life. She did not care at that moment if he was a peasant from the lowest ditch in all of Dalhourst. To her, he was a gentleman, and she would refer to him with that respect. "I am also quite grateful for your help. If I had any gold to give you, I would shower you and Sir Jared." She sighed. "Unfortunately, all I can offer is my gratitude. That, at least, I have plenty of."

Her mind began to reel at the mention of Baron Simon Monticourt. That name was not familiar to her. Should it have been? The princess was frowning thoughtfully as Bromley led her around the inn and opened the cellar doors. It was only then that she ceased her internal musing and stopped dead in her tracks. She had just escaped one cramped space below the ground, and now he was beckoning her into another. Her hesitation was justified, at least. She looked at him uncertainly.

Surely this man would not have aided in breaking her out of the dungeon and brought her all this way just to trap her in another cell. Right now, he was the only ally that she had. She had no other choice but to trust him. Besides, the promise of a proper meal and a bath were tempting.

"Thank you again, sir," Cecilia said. She lifted her filthy skirts into a proper curtsy, bowing her head at this commoner in the same way that she would have bowed to a man of much higher status. "I will not forget the kindness that you've shown me today."

With that, she placed one foot in through the cellar doors and descended beneath the ground to meet with Baron Monticourt. She wondered as she breathed in the stale air of the cellar what sort of business this man might discuss with her. There were so many questions that she had, and it was due time for some answers.
Don’t worry about it! I’m usually pretty absent on the weekends, too. I didn’t even check for an update until about three hours ago :P
The princess awakened with a start and shot to the opposite side of the carriage to stare at the gray haired man, eyes wide in fear. In that brief moment, she forgot where she was and the events that had transpired that morning. It took a second for her senses to come back and she relaxed. She scooted across the carriage to hop out with the help of the driver.

Cecilia looked around, blue eyes alert and awake now as she took in the tiny village around them. She had never been here. It was off the regular path. Not that all villages in the kingdom weren’t important... some were just far out of the way.

“Willowshire?” she asked. It was all coming back to her now. Malcolm taunting her that morning... the soldier ushering her through the castle... the horses. Her head shot towards the horses now, who were standing patiently, waiting to be fed and watered after their long journey. She took another step away from the carriage, still nervous of the huge animals.

The town was quiet and peaceful. Very different from Dalhourst. By this time of the evening, the city was still alive and bustling with people. Here, it seemed that the town was already settling in for the night.

For someone who had just awakened, Cecilia was full of energy. Hell, she was practically bouncing as she peered past the carriage and at the inn that they had stopped in front of. “Is this were we’re staying?” she asked. It was an inn. An honest to goodness inn. With beds! Maybe even a bath! It was difficult to contain her excitement at the prospect.
Thanks! I didn't mind the scripting for the opening. It was good to get a feel of where this is going. Looking forward to the next part!
Cecilia pushed the curtains in the carriage window apart to see her rescuer stand to the side just before the carriage started to move. She waved gently to him, hoping that the small gesture could convey her gratitude. She had expected to march to her death today, and instead he had led her to an escape.

But she was far from out of the woods. The carriage ride was far from leisurely. The sound of sixteen hooves beating on the path made her insides turn nervously. She kept her head down, but couldn’t help but peer through the curtains to watch the castle walls race by. They cleared the gate as the alarms blared through her head. They knew that she was gone. They were looking for her.

Through her limited viewpoint, she saw confused commoners and peasants alike being pushed aside as soldiers and guards poured into the streets. Her breath caught in her throat and she ducked away from the window. She couldn’t risk being found. Not now. Not when she was finally outside of the castle walls after five long years trapped inside of them.

The princess didn’t look out the window again until the distinct sound of hooves on cobblestone changed to hooves on dirt road. It was a deeper sound. Less echoey and hollow. They were out of the city.

Stone walls and tin roofs cleared away to lush greenery and impossibly high trees. When the trees cleared, she could see rolling fields in the distance that seemed to go on forever. Compared to her tiny cell, they did go on forever. Far in the distance, the mountains were visible. Cecilia had never been to the mountains. Her father had always promised that they would go there one day.

With the city behind them and infinity ahead, the sound of the horses was almost soothing instead of nerve wracking. She felt her eyelids grow heavy. The princess returned the curtain to its rightful place and laid her head against the window instead. Her eyes closed and her breathing slowed until it was deep and steady. She hadn’t slept the night before... there would be plenty of time to sleep when she was dead.

Well, she wouldn’t be dying today. Not anymore.
Sounds good to me. Figured I would check :)
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