Fictional Monday: The Prince and The Guard

Hey, guys! So something I have been wanting to share on my blog for awhile now are fictional stories. Not only my short stories, but also those of other aspiring writers. I am finishing up my first Creative Writing class in school and thought that it might be a great idea to kick this thing off by sharing my final creative work for that class.

Feel free to leave feedback and comments, especially if you want your work featured too! But be gentle, I had a five page limit and I quickly learned how terribly hard it is to work in that boundary. Enjoy!

69_Design_elements

The sun was setting behind the western hills of the kingdom, casting the room in an orange glow. The final rays of sun broke through the glass windows, shattering until the vast and empty space of the training room was without shadow. The sky would be dark soon enough, and the torches and candelabras along the stone walls would need lit.

Marilla turned her face from the blaring glass windows and faced the nearest candelabra on the adjacent wall. She raised her right hand and closed her eyes. In the darkness behind her eyelids, Marilla imagined a single, delicate flame. As she watched the flame flicker in her mind, she let it grow bigger and burn brighter. She imagined the dancing shadows it would cast on the wall behind it, felt the heat it would emit if she reached to touch its writhing form. As soon as the flame felt as real as if it was burning in her own hand, she pushed it from her mind and out towards the candles in front of her. When she opened her eyes, the room had grown darker around her; the only trace of her flame was a newly singed wick on one of the candles.

“It was a good effort, but your technique is a little off.” The familiar voice of Ronan startled her from her disappointment. When she turned to face the Prince, her freckled cheeks were burning as bright as the flame she tried to summon. She gave Ronan a small bow out of respect, though she knew her best friend hated when she bowed to him. You are not allowed to bow to me, Marilla, I am your equal, he would always say. But when she refused to completely abandon the action, he let her be.

“And what would you know about technique? All you need to do is summon a servant to light your room and never lift a finger. Some of us have to practice our magic or risk living in the dark.” She finished with a smirk that let Ronan know she was simply teasing. Despite knowing he understood it as a joke, he raised a slender, pale hand and flourished a twirling flame above each finger. With a flick of his wrist, the candelabra she had been practicing with burst into flame, casting those same dancing shadows she imagined in her mind. He never needed to use magic, but he always practiced. He’d taken a liking to fire magic specifically and refused to let any of the servants light his chambers for him.

“Have I ever told you that you’re a show off?”

“Not today,” he smirked, a playful half smile he reserved only for their private jokes.

“You’re a show off.” Marilla returned his smile before facing the unlit candles to the left of the ones Ronan set aflame.

“I don’t know why fire has been so hard for me to master. I was born wielding water and air came second nature. Earth may have taken a couple years, but fire has been avoiding me my whole life.” She raised her hand again and closed her eyes. She imagined the same flame, only this time made it even bigger. When she pushed it from her mind she felt the heat tickle her palm. Marilla opened an eye a fraction to witness her magic, but was disappointed to find that only her skin burned warmer, the flame unable to surface.

“Dammit!” she cursed, dropping her hand to her side in defeat.

“Be patient, Mar, it will come.” Ronan placed a light hand on her shoulder and offered a smile for comfort. Marilla’s stomach did a back flip at the contact. He was beautiful, like the rest of the royal family. They all had the same pale skin, a stark contrast to their raven black hair. But Ronan always stood out from the rest of the royals for two reasons. First, was his smile. The rest of his family chose to remain hardened, a brute force to not be reckoned with. But charming Ronan refused to be harsh and bitter. He was quick to smile and laugh with his people, and they fell in love with him for it.

Second, were his green eyes. Where the rest of his family had deep blue irises, Ronan had eyes like emeralds. They shown with something joyous deep within him, and it made him that much more beautiful. Those same eyes were looking at her with such care that her cheeks flared up again.

“I don’t think patience is going to cut it anymore, Ronan. I’m reaching seventeen, and if I can’t master all of the elements, the Commander will never let me be your guard. They will stick me in the dungeons to guard the rare prisoner and we will hardly cross paths.” Marilla felt a slight embarrassment for revealing how desperate she wished to be his guard, to be by his side every day and to protect him. Then again, this was Ronan, and being his guard is something they had discussed since she was ten and volunteered to be trained in the castle.

“Mar, you know I would never let them put you in the dungeons. You’re much too pretty to hide away somewhere. I’ll request that you stand guard at the front of the palace for all to see.”

“Ha-ha. I’m glad you think it’s funny. Just help me master fire so we don’t have to worry about where I’ll look best in the castle. That’s why you met me here, after all.”

“Well, that is one reason. I actually have something I need to ask you as well.” He twisted the family ring on his right hand, a nervous habit she had noticed over the years. His smirk was gone, replaced by something more vulnerable than she usually saw from him. It caught something in her chest and she grew equally worried and excited for reasons she couldn’t understand.

“What is it? Is everything all right?” Worry seemed to be winning out and she braced herself for something hard that would cause him to look at her with such openness.

“Well, as you undoubtedly know, the castle is holding its Solstice celebration next week and I need a companion to join me for the party.”

She released a breath. “Are you seriously wanting me to find you a date for the Solstice Ball? I think that’s a little above my rank, Prince.” She gave his shoulder a light shove in an attempt to release the furrow from his brow. It only deepened.

Ronan dropped his fidgeting hands and looked her square in the eyes. “No, Mar, I want you to go with me. As my date.” Where his typical playful tone should have teased her back, there was seriousness, a truth she had not seen from him.

“Marilla,” he reached out a hand gently to touch her own, a physicality new to them both. “I know you have your heart set on being my guard. I’ve watched you work for it for years and it makes me so thankful to have won the friendship of someone as devoted and kind as you.” He paused and took a step closer, standing less than a foot from Marilla.

“But I am afraid that just being my guard may not be enough for me. We’ve been friends for so long and I have never trusted another more than you. You are the reason for my joy everyday, the reason I cannot be harsh and cynical like my family. You bring out the best in me as a Prince and as a person. Is there anyway you have any of the same feelings for me, Marilla? Or have I just ruined our relationship entirely?”

Marilla tried not to entertain thoughts of deeper feelings for Ronan. She was to be his guard, not his companion. But she did feel the same, of course she did. He was the reason she was able to withstand the harder years of training. He made the longest days worth the work when he would turn up after training just to walk her back to her chamber. If she allowed herself to think about something more with Ronan, she could see happiness with him. But what would that mean of being his guard? Would her work be wasted?

“If I am honest, then yes. The feelings are the same for me. But I don’t know that it would work, Ronan. I’ve spent my life training, how am I supposed to give all of it up?”

“Give it up?” he laughed, “Why would you give it up? Marilla if you gave this an honest chance with me, I have no problem with you being my Royal Guard as well. In fact, I can’t imagine anything that would make me happier.” The crease in his brow was completely gone, replaced by an ease and comfort that stirred butterflies in the pit of Marilla’s stomach.

“So, you’re saying you want me to accompany you to the Solstice Ball, allow you to court me, and still be your guard? That’s quite a request.”

“One that I am ardently hoping you accept.” His smile paired with his bright emerald eyes set the butterflies into flight again.

Marilla tilted her head, considering all the ways this could go wrong. There were a lot. But maybe they were worth the risk if it meant she could have her Prince and still spend her days protecting her best friend.

“I will accept your offer under one condition. You must help me master fire.” She gave him another smile, a silent promise that she would accept even without ever gaining control over her fire magic. He stepped even closer, brushing a dark strand of hair from her shoulder. He leaned and placed a delicate kiss on her already blushing cheek.

“It’s a deal,” Ronan whispered as he brushed a second light kiss on her lips.

The training room exploded in light as every candle burst into flame around them.

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