Vincent was alone but he was far from lonely. He preferred it this way, standing by himself in the dark night as he surveyed the area. He was one of the best knights at this castle yet he was also one of the youngest at age twenty. Instead of others admiring him for his work they often spoke to him with jealousy in their tone or spite in their eyes. The king favored him of course and he was the only one allowed to guard the princess' room at night. Soon he'd be promoted as her personal guard, following her around everywhere she went unless she required privacy. For now he was sitting below her window outside, staring out into the trees and listening carefully.
He took his work very seriously. There was hardly a moment he wasn't training or working. And if there was...well he didn't know what to do with himself. He had no hobbies or any talents other than fighting. Most saw him to be very distant and emotionless. Vincent always had the same near-scowl on his face. That's why most people stayed away from him. He was tall and intimidating to look at just by his physical appearance. He was broad-shouldered and very fit. His eyes were such a dark brown that they appeared black and his pupils couldn't be differentiated from his irises.This made for a very scary gaze even though the knight wasn't trying to scare anybody. He had no ill intentions toward anybody at the castle, even when they said rude things to him. He just moved on, not letting the harsh words bother him.
He leaned against the wall, perfectly content waiting and watching until morning came and he went to make his rounds. He had never spoken to the princess before, it wasn't really something the guards were allowed to do. They had to wait until they were spoken to first. He was curious as to what kind of person the princess was since all he ever heard were rumors. He looked up at the darkened window, brushing his black hair out of his eyes. It was just long enough to be a nuisance, reaching just below his ears and falling in front of his face. He'd have to cut it soon since it would become a hindrance to his fighting after a while. In his species' culture it was bad luck to cut one's hair but Vincent didn't know much about his species. Zephyrs were nearly extinct after all and he had been orphaned at a very young age. He knew nothing more about himself than the humans did. All he was aware of was that he had the potential to control the winds and that he had the wings of a raven that humans did not have.
There weren't too many winged humanoids in the world which caused others to look at him strangely whenever they noticed his wings. They were too hard to hide being very large. Even when they were folded in against his back the curve of his wings could still be seen at his sides. They were very magnificent but as amazing as they were, the boy didn't know how to use them. Not the slightest idea. He never had anybody to teach him after all. He often used them to assist in his fighting but he tried not to do so unless it was a life or death situation. Most other knights counted it as cheating whenever they sparred or competed in contests.
The quiet Zephyr heard a noise from above and glanced up at the princess' window. He hesitated before moving back into the shadows where he wouldn't be seen. He wanted to figure out what was happening before he made a decision to act. Was it a threat? Or was the princess just opening her windows for a bit of fresh air?
A princess is honor bound to her King, Queen, and country. Tradition has always mandated that the princess be treasured, respected and if necessary...used as a device to ensure peace for her people. These were the same customs that had allowed her parents the right to assign away her freedom. Truthfully the King and Queen despised forcing their daughter into such a situation, but the impending war threatened to take the lives of thousands. The innocent people of their kingdom needed protection and as the rightful rulers of their land, a sacrifice was promised. A daughter married to an enemy's eldest son in exchange for peace across the countries. This was the role of the princess. A token, a treasure, a maiden to prevent death and destruction.
Although she knew her purpose, despite agreeing to honor her position, the princess struggled to force acceptance into her heart. She was only a mere maiden, her eighteenth birthday a few days away. Soon she would be taken from her family and beloved country, brought to an unknown land and made their Queen. A title that she would rather not inheirt through these methods. The princess was dearly loved by her mother and father. She had been a blessing, the couple's only child. So beautiful at her birth and has only continued to blossom into a radiant young woman throughout the years.
Eyes of emerald never losing their sincerity, even after having been witness to such horrible crimes against humans. Lips of roses that never silenced from fear, she always held her voice and was never afraid to speak her mind in any situation. Despite venturing out into the sunlight often as a child, the princess was flawless in terms of her skin. Not a single freckle or blemish. Perfectly white, a purity only found in fresh snowfall. Even as a child the princess had hated her long hair. She had inherited her mother's black coloring and it grew quite rapidly. At age ten her hair already reached down to her lower back. Her mother spoke of its beauty every night while braiding her daughter's hair, but the princess hated it. She wanted short hair, like her father. Short hair was considered unbecoming for a young lady, though, and the princess was forbidden. Now she constantly keeps her long hair twisted into braids that drop down to her hips. At least her growth in height over the years had made her hair more manageable. Being five foot and nine inches is quite helpful. Tall for a woman, but she still walked with grace and pose despite the height.
Indeed the princess was gifted with remarkable beauty, but perhaps if she had been born with plain features her life would be her own to decide? She often wondered. To her physical forms were nothing. A vessel and nothing more. The true worth of a person is their minds and how they conduct themselves in society, that's what she has believed since childhood.
She suddenly turned from the window, having just opened it's doors for some fresh air. Her servant, though the princess never asked anything of her, was waiting at the doorway with a tray of water and some fresh bread. The princess smiled, motioning her friend to the window beside her.
"Do you ever wish to have wings?"
The servant swallowed thickly, puzzled by the question. "Beg your pardon, miss?"
"Wings? You know, to fly with?" She smiled, looking up at the sky. "I wish I had been born with wings. The ability to fly above reproach. To be beyond anyone's reach."
"Princess Alexandria," the servant interrupted. "You mustn't dream of such things inhuman."
Taking her servant's scolding in polite manners, Alexandria dismissed the younger woman to bed. She then settled herself on the window frame, gently sitting while nibbling on some bread. Maybe she didn't have wings to save her from this situation, but then again, she did have perfectly working legs.
Vincent could hear voices above him and he peered upward. He recognized one voice to be the princess' though he couldn't tell what the other one was. Probably just a servant. He couldn't quite make out what they were saying but he wasn't trying too hard to eavesdrop. It wasn't his place to do so. He jumped slightly as he saw something coming from the window. He spotted a pair of pale legs in the darkness hanging over the edge. If he stepped back slightly he could see the princess staring out of her window. He hesitated, not sure what he should do now. It was a bit dangerous for her to be sitting on the edge like that. She could fall off or if there was an assassin nearby they had a clear shot of her with an arrow. He stepped out into view though he mostly blended in with the darkness. "Excuse me princess." He called up to her. "It is not safe for you to be in the window like that...please forgive me but I must request that you go back into your room and close the window." He went on.
The winged man half wondered if she'd listen to him. He didn't know much about the young woman's attitude after all so he wasn't sure if she was the time of girl to cause a problem or if she was a very polite girl who would understand the reason for his request. He hoped it was the latter. Otherwise he'd have a hard time keeping her safe from enemies, especially if he became her personal guard one day. He wished for such an honor but depending on the type of person the princess was that might chance his mind.
Someone's voice echoed from down below, catching the princess's attention and drawing her vision downwards. That's when she saw the one who had spoken. A knight, if she remembered correctly. The princess wasn't often introduced to the knights and members of the guard. "Oh, I'm sorry." She hadn't thought about endangering her safety by sitting on the window's edge. "I'll get back inside." The princess glanced down to see the knight, but only managed to see shadows. Alexandria quietly fell back into her room, closing the windows in the process. She hadn't expected a knight right outside her window. This changed her course of action...just a tad.
Her decision was already made. Alexandria would never abandon her family, people, or beloved country. However, she just wished to have a few days of absolute freedom before assigning herself over to entrapment in another kingdom. Remaining in the castle would only enforce the depression that she was already attempting to fight. Alexandria carefully packed a backpack with all her necessary items, a few treasured belongings and of course some food for the journey. She hoisted the bag over both shoulders, tightening it at the straps. Alexandria then grabbed a black cloak from her closet, draping it around her entire body and raising the hood so her face was encased in shadows. She hoped this would serve as a possible disguise. Pressing a kiss to her fingers and then dropping them to a picture frame on her nightstand, Alexandria whispered her goodbyes to her family. The window opened slowly, her bedroom already shielded in darkness after turning off the lights prior.
Cautiously Alexandra began descending down her window, thankfully a ladder was resting against her wall. Climbing down the ladder was indeed difficult considering the lack of light, but she managed. The princess reached the ground within minutes, laughing softly at the feat she had just accomplished. Without wasting another second she hurried off towards the gates of her castle, an escape was just within reach...if only she had't collided into the tall figure blocking her exit.
Vincent relaxed whenever the princess agreed and easily returned to her room. He watched carefully as the windows closed and the lights went out. Good, he could go back to surveying the area now. He turned away from the window, contemplating what he would do once he got his promotion. It seemed he would have such an easy person to work with as well. He walked along the side of the castle, pacing back and forth under the window. Then he heard something and wandered off toward the gates in order to investigate. He felt silly whenever he saw a rabbit race away whenever he approached. He was always so cautious it was becoming ridiculous. He turned away just in time to run smack into a smaller figure. He instantly reached out, grabbing the person with one hand by their shoulder. His other hand moved like lightening, unsheathing his rapier and touching it to the stranger's chest. He narrowed his eyes suspiciously at the cloaked intruder.
"State your purpose for being on castle grounds." He snapped threateningly, baring his bright white fangs at the stranger. It was odd that they were coming away from the castle instead of heading toward it but Vincent assumed they had stolen something and were now making their getaway. "Spill your pockets thief and leave peacefully or I will have to throw you int he dungeons." He added. His wings flared out slightly behind him, a sort of instinct to make himself appear bigger and more intimidating as he glared down at this stranger. Somebody thrown in the dungeon would have to wait until morning for the king to make his decision about their lives. Vincent was a rare knight who let his victims go as long as they committed petty crimes and returned whatever they might have stolen. So far this has never backfired on him though he had to keep it a secret or else he might get into trouble for letting a criminal go after committing a crime against the castle and the royal family.
Alexandria was terrified. A massive creature was standing before her, his weapon pressed painfully against her chest and she couldn't believe her own sight. This man, or so she presumed, was massive. Baring fangs and ungodly wings at his command. She instantly raised both hands, her white skin seeming to glow in the moonlight. "Please! It's me!" Alexandria replied, quickly dropping her hood and showing the face of the princess. "Please, lower your weapon." The blade was already cutting into her chest, the faint traces of crimson blood leaking down her collarbones.
This was a foiled attempt to escape. Alexandria had been caught and now her loyal family's knight would have her sealed inside the castle till her wedding, she just knew it. Knights were always obedient to the royal family...wait, perhaps that could be her savior. If he was dedicated to the royal family and she's the princess...by logic he should be honor bound to heed any request she gave. Deciding to try out this newly discovered theory of her's, Alexandra dropped her expression of fear and replaced it with a stern, slightly narrowed expression.
"Knight," she commanded, hands dropping back down to her sides. "I order you to drop your weapon at once as you've injured your princess."
Alexandra looked down at her chest, indeed seeing the light trail of blood leading to swell of her breasts. Her expression never faulted, despite the clear and apparent fear still coursing through her veins.
As soon as he heard the voice Vincent knew he had made a terrible mistake. His jaw dropped and he instantly unhanded the princess, sheathing his sword. Then he took his place kneeling down on one knee in front of her and bowing his head as was the custom for knights whenever they saw somebody of royal blood. "I-I apologize m'lady." He murmured quietly. He clenched his teeth knowing that there were so many different punishments that could be inflicted on him. Then something occurred to him. "Wait..." He looked up at Alexandria and frowned. "Princess, what are you doing out here at night? It is terribly dangerous and isn't it against the rules?" He asked, confusion clear in his voice and his eyes. Sure he was loyal to the royal family but above all he was loyal to the king and the king told him to keep the princess safe. This meant keeping her inside of her room of course. Maybe he wouldn't get into trouble after all.
He took a deep breath, calming himself. He stood up, staring down at the young princess as he awaited her answer. He spotted the blood against her chest and bristled slightly. Reaching into his uniform he pulled out a handkerchief and offered it to her. "Please, use this." He added. It was just a small bit of blood, something he would have ignored if it were him with such a wound. This was a princess though, she needed to be treated gently and he still couldn't believe he had drawn blood from her flawless skin.
The offered fabric was gratefully taken by Alexandria and she had begun cleaning up the blood when she decided to answer the knight's questions. "I know it's dangerous to be out here, I just..." She couldn't speak another word, anything more would just be wasted breath. This knight was honor bound to the royal family and she knew he'd follow the orders of her father. Sadly Alexandria handed back the dirtied napkin and sighed heavily, her shoulders falling into a slumped posture. Her escape had been ruined and by her own clumsy nature. If she had been more careful, if the knight had been somewhere else...her freedom had been so very close. Only to be stolen away.
"I'm sorry for troubling you," Alexandria apologized, honestly. Her small frame began walking back towards the castle, when suddenly a breeze appeared and petals of pink roses danced within the air. It was such a lovely sight, she couldn't move away. The petals floated gently in the winds, swirling freely around her and some even tangled within her hair. Alexandria had never seen anything more beautiful than flowers carried in a breeze while brightened in moonlight. That's when it finally dawned on her. She turned to the knight with questioning eyes, her lips parting as she asked if he knew anything about the kingdom that would soon become her home.
"I hear it's near the ocean." Alexandra hated the ocean. She had almost died as a young child beneath terrible waves while swimming with her parents in another country. "They call it, Costona."
Vincent took back the handkerchief, eyeing the dirtied cloth for a moment before folding it carefully and tucking it within a pocket. Whenever he looked back up at her she was walking away from him after a quiet apology. He followed after her, willing to accompany her until she arrived back at her room. He was still baffled by whatever she was trying to pull but it didn't seem like she was going to explain herself. Whenever she stopped walking, he did as well. He watched the petals float in on the gust and smiled softly to himself. The wind was always so calming to him, most likely because he was a Zephyr. It felt like home and he was always the most comfortable on windy days. As the breeze carried the petals around the princess it seemed to curl around her. It ran through her hair like invisible fingers and the sight entranced the night. He always heard people speak of how beautiful the princess was but it wasn't until now that he really recognized her as a beautiful woman and not just a job.
Whenever Alexandria looked back at him he gave a slight jump, realizing that he had been staring at her. It took him a moment to register what she had said to him. "Costona? I've actually been there before princess. I traveled the continent before I came to this kingdom so I've been to many places." He replied honestly. His dark eyebrows furrowed slightly. "Why do you ask m'lady?" He knew about the possible war and the deals that were being made. It was public knowledge among those who worked for the king. "Did you want to know more about your future home? It's very beautiful." He added with a hesitant and awkward smile. He wasn't used to smiling but he didn't want to end up scaring the princess like he scared everybody else. Unfortunately his gleaming fangs were obvious in his smile and it probably reversed the calming effect he was hoping for.
Alexandra was not troubled by his fangs when he smiled. Instead she found them rather interesting, but would never dare speak of them out loud. When he mentioned having traveled to several places she couldn't stop herself from seeking more information. He had the freedom to go wherever he wanted. This knight had seen places that she would never be permitted to visit. Alexandra approached him with a non-wavering smile on her lips. "You've been allowed to see many places, yeah?" The princess found herself on the edge of laughter. "I envy you, knight."
Addressing him by his title was starting to annoy Alexandria. She wanted to speak with him as an equal. She decided to drop the titles, including her own. When he tried to call her by the respective titles she had grown accustomed to, she shook her head. "Please, call me Alexandria." She insisted, offering her hand to his own. "We have never been properly introduced. What's your name, knight?" The princess waited for his reply, still smiling and kept her hand outstretched. The pink flower petals remained tangled in her hair, but she paid them no mind. They weren't bothering her at all.