Original Concept by Breanna Touloff and co written with Breanna Toutloff
She looked down at the ring glistening off of her finger. Sadness engulfed her as she imagined her life to come. For a brief moment she thought about running away, running for her freedom. She knew deep down though that she would never disrespect her family like that. She knew she had to honor them, even through this arranged marriage. She had only met her betrothed once before at a social gathering and they had hardly spoke ten words to each other. She was shy and not much the talking type and he was intimidated by her beauty. She didn’t know but he had thought her the most beautiful lady at the soiree. He had barely had the nerve to make eye contact and he knew he had blown his first impression. He was Sir Michael the fifth and his parents expected confidence and bravery but when he met Lady Allysia his courage escaped with his breath. When Allysia had met Michael she had more on her mind and hadn’t paid much attention. She was upset at her parents for putting on the gathering and knew that a husband would come of it. There were so many bachelor’s that were introduced to her and that took her hand it was hard to keep track between the swirls and swoons. Now Lady Allysia was promised to Sir Michael and she didn’t know what to expect. She couldn’t even remember which one he was, unaware that to Sir Michael, this acceptance of proposal by her parents had made his dreams come true.
Allysia sat next to the river and looked up to a bird singing in the willow next to her. A single tear slid down her cheek as she wished she could fly away like the little blue bird that comforted her. She figured she better be on her way back home before her mother started to worry. She gathered her books and started on her way. When she reached home she stopped outside the door for a moment more to gather herself. She entered the magnificent building blandly while other’s would be in awe at the splendor. She could smell the food wafting from the kitchen and knew supper would be served shortly. She hurried to her chambers and changed before she could be tardy. Her father hated tardiness and scalded her every time she was late. She arrived and took her designated seat at the table. She could hear her mother drone on about her day but Allysia’s mind was elsewhere. She was still thinking about her soon to be husband and was wondering what her life was going to be like. She had heard many stories of unlucky wives betrothed to abusive men, violent and disgusting. Her fear crept up as the thoughts flew around her mind. She didn’t even realize what was going on until her sister nudged her.
“What?” she asked startled.
“I said, how were your lessons this afternoon?” her mother asked.
“They were very interesting today Mother. More history than anything else..” she trailed off.
Her mother didn’t press more, knowing the heavy heart her daughter carried. She herself had had an arranged marriage and knew the worries and pain that came with it. Her marriage had gone smoothly and she was blessed with a loving and kind husband. She had tried her best to choose the same for her daughter.
Sir MIchael seemed kind and at the party he had looked at her daughter more like she was a goddess to be worshiped when most of the other men just had looked like they wanted to bed her. She truly hoped in her heart that she and her husband had made the right choice for Allysia and that she’d be happy when she left their home. After dinner her mother urged “you’ll be off tomorrow to your new life as a wife. Why don’t you spend some time with your father, sister and I..please. I know you must be hurting and worried, it’ll keep your mind off things”
“I love you sweetheart and I think he will too” she nodded but wanted to argue. She just had learned from a young age that yelling at her mother would not be tolerated by her father. They all went to one of the larger rooms that had a huge fire place. This room was just as beautiful as all the others in the castle but she was used to them all having grown up here.
Her thoughts swirled in her mind. She would fall asleep a daughter and wake a wife. Once again the thought of fleeing crossed her mind but she quickly put it to rest. Tomorrow day she would be greeted by her betrothed and go off to live the rest of her life as a different person. Would she even recognize herself? Would she be able to BE herself? A million thought raced through her mind as her anxiety reared it’s ugly head. She sat down and tried to look at the other side of this predicament. She trusted her mother and her mothers judgement. Her father would look for power and security, while her mother would look for a good heart and humility. She knew that in the end her father would have the last word on her suitors but knew that he would head her mother just the same. Her father loved her mother and loved them also very much and wanted the best for them as well as the family. One face stood out from the ball that sent shivers down her spine. She couldn’t recall his name and prayed to the heavens it was not the suitor that her parents had chosen. His words were smooth, almost sly and she didn’t trust him. He had an air of cruelty to him and she knew instantly not to cross his path. She couldn’t image her parents forcing her to that wicked of a fate. They must have been able to see right through him the way that she could. She could also see that he had power though. He held his head high and seemed to not take no for an answer. Chills swept through her body and his eyes peered into her soul. This was not a good man. What was she to do if it was though, refuse? She had no choice but to be his dutiful wife for the rest of eternity, to bear him children and an heir. She knew she would be his slave more than his wife but quickly shook the thoughts from her mind. If she thought about it anymore her last night at home would be plagued with nightmares. Instead she decided to go to her sister. She was very close to her sister and loved her very much, they were best friends of course. There was never a secret between them and rarely ever harsh words. Only two years apart she knew that soon her sister’s time would come as well where it was time for her to be paired with a suitable gentleman. Allysia hoped he would be a kind and gentle man to match her sister nicely. With these things you can never be sure.
“Are you nervous?” she asked.
“Of course, dear sister. Would you not be if a strange man was coming to steal you away for the rest of your life?” Allysia replied.
“Oh no, I imagine it would be quite romantic, I hope he is handsome and warm.” she giggled as she thought of her own proposal one day. Laura always was the romantic of the two. Allysia was more of the realist and they balanced each other out quite nicely.
“I will miss you sister. You are my best friend and I love you for now and for forever. Please do not forget me, I will write you whenever I can and I pray that my new husband will allow visitations.”
“Do not fret sister, I will see you again. I have no fear in my heart for you and feel that you will be a happy wife to a good man. ”
Allysia hoped that she was right and wished that she could have her sister’s confidence in marriage. She obviously was still nieve to the world outside of these beautiful decorated walls. She glanced over at her mother and noticed tears welled up in her eyes. She quickly goes to sit next to her troubled mother.
“Are you ok?”
“I will be fine my dear. My oldest daughter is to be married tomorrow day. Your father and I have chosen the best possible suitor for you against many grievances and pray that you will be happy. I hate not knowing when I will see you again, you have my heart Allysia.”
She could not hold back the tears anymore and they spilled from her cheeks.
“Please Mother, do not cry. I am afraid if you do I will not be able to contain myself.”
Her mother wiped away the escaped tears from her face and held her head high.
“Everything will be alright Allysia, I promise. I love you dear daughter. ”
“I love you too” she was glad fear of her dad getting upset kept her from telling her mother how upset she had been. Her mother was obviously dealing with her own emotions when it came to this and she wished she had thought of her instead of being upset with her. This was how things went, women didn’t often choose their husbands and her parents were only doing what everyone expected of them. Unless the women rose up one day and refused to be treated as property to be exchanged and promised to men this was how it would always be but she didn’t have it in herself to start any such uprising. Allysia just hoped her husband would be good to her as her father had been good to her mother.
That night she woke up a lot, tossing and turning the whole night through so she had to apply extra makeup under her eyes to look good for whomever her husband was. She didn’t know him but she still didn’t want to look bad. She guessed if he thought she was beautiful he’d be more likely to treat her well. She had breakfast with her family then said tearful goodbyes before getting into the carriage with her belongings to meet this mystery husband. She pulled out a book as soon as she couldn’t wave to her family any longer. She knew she’d obsess and worry the entire trip if she didn’t let a book take her mind.
She was thankful that her new home wasn’t too far off. The wedding was still to be held and she desperately wanted her family there but the prospect had demanded the wedding be in his kingdom. She found herself wandering away from her book and kept trying to get back into it. Her worries troubled her and clouded her mind, making it hard to follow the story. She knew it by heart, it was one of her favorite books. Far away tales of Princesses married to majestic Princes. She prayed that her fate would be similar to that of the Princess in her book. She put the book down and leaned against the carriage. Sleep crossed her mind but she gave up after so long, realizing that she was far too anxious to catch any beauty rest. The sun was slowly beginning to fall behind the treeline and she wondered how much longer they would be on the road. These were peaceful times but rebels and thieves were never too far off. Before too long she couldn’t see her hand in front of her face and decided she must sleep if she was going to be presentable to her soon-to-be husband. She didn’t even realize the tear that fell from her cheek. Morning came and the sun woke her early. She had experienced a restless night full of uncomfortable positions and too many bumps in the night. At least they had gotten through the night safe and sound. That’s at least something she had to be thankful for. She wanted to ask how much further they had until they arrived but her heart was too heavy to move. She picked her book back up and began where she left off, with the Princess traveling to the Princes kingdom. “Ironic”, she thought to herself. All of a sudden she heard voices above and the horses began to slow. They must be here. She couldn’t bring herself to look out the window, afraid of what she might see. “Will I like it here? Are the people kind?” a million thoughts crossed her mind. She knew she would have this knowledge soon enough but she wished that the ride wasn’t yet over. She wasn’t ready to face her betrothed and her new kingdom. If only she could have a little more time to prepare her mind.
Michael stood there trying to compose himself. She was here, she was really here and the reason was even more mind blowing. He couldn’t believe with all the men that had wanted her he was blessed enough to be chosen. He wanted to make her happy, to fill his castle with her laughter and always keep a smile on that perfect face but right now he needed to focus on redeeming himself. He didnt want her to think he was a loser and he felt that was probably how she saw him after their meeting since her beauty had caused him to be such an idiot. This was why the assholes always got the girl. They didn’t care so they were always so cool and together. When you cared you made mistakes, you stuttered, you forgot what you wanted to say and therefor looked like an absolute idiot to the women they cared about.
She was handed out of the carriage and stole his breath away yet again. Even after a long ride she was the most stunning woman he had ever laid eyes on “come on, make a good impression Michael” he said to himself to get steady as she approached. When she reached him he offered his hand “it’s amazing to see you. I hope your ride went well”
“it did, thank you for asking my lord”
“you..you don’t have to call me that” his heart was racing “you can call me by my name, Michael”
“Thank you Michael” A short silence fell and he blushed “you should have walked her inside you idiot” he said to himself then out loud he said “I’m sorry, lets go in”
The carriage door opened and a hand was offered to the Lady Allysia. She accepted politely, keeping her gaze on her shoes, afraid to look up and meet her soon-to-be husband.
“It’s amazing to see you. I hope your ride went well”.
The voice that Allysia heard was kind and warm. Startled she raised her eyes and found herself looked in a gaze with one of the most handsome men she had ever seen. She didn’t recognize him from the ball but there had been so many men that she had eventually stopped paying any mind to the blur of faces that came in front of her. It was the most she could do not to be sick after the countless hours of twirling in silly dance. She quickly looks down and remembers that he spoke to her.
“It did, thank you for asking my lord” she replied, repramanding herself for not speaking sooner.
“You..you don’t have to call me that, you can call me by my name, Michael”.
Allysia noticed a slight twitch when he spoke, almost as if he was nervous. This made her feel a little better that she wasn’t the only one. “Michael” she said to herself, feeling out the name. She decided it was quite nice and suited him in it’s entirety. She looked up quickly, stealing a glance at her handsome husband-to-be and when he caught her, her cheeks flushed with color. As she evaluated him from a distance she wondered if he was as kind as he looked or if it was a cruel mask to fool her into this marriage. She prayed it wasn’t the latter.
“I’m sorry, lets go in” Lord Michael speaks.
“Of course” she smiles and looks back down. She could feel her heart pounding in her chest and swore he could hear. Embarrassed she quickly looks anywhere, just to distract herself. The house was beautiful and quite a bit larger than she had expected. There were servants at front doors ready to open them to let them pass. Once inside, they took their coats.
“This is Miss Isabella. She will take care of you and show you around. I would be pleased if you would join me for dinner this evening. I would love to talk to you more before we are to wed.”
The mention of marriage brought blood rushing back to her cheeks and she cursed her blushing traits.
“Thank you kind Lord, I mean, Michael. I would love to accompany you for dinner.” Allysia looked towards the woman who must be Miss Isabella and started walking towards her, desperate to be away from so many new prying eyes. Miss Isabella turned courteously and began to walk up the first wonderous staircase which curved out to each side instead of going straight up. It was magnificent. Miss Isabella took her first to her room to settle down and unload her things.
“This is where you will be staying until the wedding my lady. If there is anything you need I will gather it for you. I expect you would like me to run you a bath before dinner?”
“Y-yes, please, thank you Miss Isabella.” Allysia wasn’t used to having a servant of her own. Of course her family had them but they were family servants and not individual’s. Miss Isabella left to begin drawing a bath and Allysia sat her things on the bed. It was gorgeous, carved out of cherry oak and wonderfully detailed. There was a large window to the East that gave way to a breathtaking view of the ocean, clear as day. She knew they were near but had not realized how close they really were. It was so serene her nerves began to calm at once. She had feared a monsterous and cruel husband who treated her like property but instead had met a very handsome Lord who seemed generous and warm. “Is this really happening?” she thought to herself. “Could I really be the princess in my book who marries the marvelous prince?”
When Isabella returned she said “it’s ready my lady. I’m happy to see you a bit more relaxed. I don’t know if my opinion will bring you any comfort but he is kind”
“thank you, for the bath and for giving me some comfort. I can’t believe he gave me such a nice room”
“May I speak freely miss?”
“yes, of course”
“well, woman to woman he was very happy your parents accepted his proposal. You left quite an impression on him and he wants you happy here”
“do you think he’d let me go to the ocean at some point then?”
“I’m pretty sure you could ask him for anything my lady” Alyysia smiled “your words really are a comfort”
“well, lets get you in that bath before it cools. Do you require my help undressing Lady Allysia?”
“I’ve always done it myself, thank you” She walked into the bathroom then stripped her clothes before settling into the water. Whatever the maid had put in the tube smelled phenomenal. Allysia wasn’t sure she’d want to leave but once the warmth left the water she second thought that notion and was able to get out of the tub and grab the towel Isabella left for her. It was soft, even softer than the ones she had at her castle. She realized she didn’t bring clothes in but it hardly mattered, this bathroom connected to her room so she simply walked in, surprised to see the maid still sitting there. Isabella smiled “My job is to serve you my lady”
“oh..um…the bath was perfect, thank you…and that towel”
“he’ll be pleased your happy. Are you sure you wont need help redressing?”
“I’m sure” Allysia picked a dress then began the long process of dressing herself. Women had to wear so many ridiculous things that made getting dressed and undressed practically a job but she managed then looked herself over in the mirror, blushing when she realized she wanted to look pretty for him. “when’s dinner?” she asked, trying to think of something else besides her realization. “still a few hours from now my lady”
“Do you mind showing me around to occupy my time until dinner Miss Isabella.” Allysia spoke softly, still not used to having her own personal servant.
“I would be more than happy to my lady”. With that she bowed and turned to the door, beckoning for Allysia to follow. The castle was so large that Allysia felt she would surely get lost if on her own. There were rooms upon rooms and hallways that seemed to go on for forever. Miss Isabella only showed her the most important rooms but the list still made her head swarm.
“Do you enjoy reading Lady Allysia?” Miss Isabella spoke.
“Oh do I ever, it’s one of my favorite things to lose myself in.” Just the thought of books brightened Allysia’s mood. The next hallway they took led to two intricate doors with angles laced throughout. Miss Isabella grabbed the two bronze handles and opened the room to Lady Allysia’s surprise. Before her was a marvelous library that she could only hope to dream of. There were rows upon rows of books as high as you could see. The ceiling spiraled upwards to magnificent clear windows, shining light on the spines of the multitude of books. She could live the rest of her life in this room. Miss Isabella saw the look on her face and smiled. “I’m glad you like it, I can bring you here anytime that you wish. Sir Michael will be very pleased that this makes you happy.”
Tears began to well up in Allysia’s eyes. Everything was so amazing so far, she couldn’t believe that this was turning into a fairy tale. Hopefully after the marriage he wouldn’t change. Everything almost seemed too good to be true, but Miss Isabella had assured her of Michael’s kind nature, so she felt she must be safe. She couldn’t wait to write to her family and tell them of her good fortune. She would see them soon enough at the wedding though, a wedding that Lady Allysia was starting to look forward to.
She couldn’t help but admire the massive collection of books until Miss Isabella informed her “it’s time for dinner my lady but maybe you two could come together after dinner”
“He wont be busy?”
“He isn’t busy now, he just didn’t think you’d want to start off with him hovering around since you just had to leave your home for a man you don’t even know yet”
“really?” her voice portraying how touched she felt by that. He was already trying to put her feelings before his own. “maybe I’ll invite him then”
“as I said mam, he is a good man” He must be to have his staff advocating for him like this. Isabella walked her to the dining room where Michael was waiting, his face actually lighting up when she walked in. It caused her heart to stutter in her chest. “Good evening Michael” she said pleasantly then took the seat next to him “Good evening, what have you been doing?”
“I took a bath then was shown around. I spent most my time in your library…I’m so happy you have one. I love reading. I read all the way here” His smile was soft and warm “I love books too”
“would you like to spend time with me in the library after dinner? If you can’t it’s okay” The question had his heart dancing “it would make me incredibly happy Allysia” She smiled back as dinner was then placed before them. They are without much more conversation since neither wanted to talk with their mouths full.
All through dinner Allysia was self-conscious of how she was eating. Was she eating too much, too fast? She could feel his eyes upon her and she kept a steady blush throughout the entire meal. She was thankful when the last course was served and hoped that she was making a good impression. Honestly, she was no longer hungry but she was afraid to be rude after being shown such kindness so she slowly finished her dessert. Allysia was anxious for their trip to the library, all too aware of it being the first time they would be alone together. Her heart hammered in her chest but little did she know that Sir Michael’s heart beat faster.
“I hope that dinner was to your liking, Lady Allysia.” he looked at her warmly.
“It was delectable, thank you Sir Michael.” she replied.
“Please, just call me Michael, I urge you.”
Allysia smiled softly and nodded ever so slightly.
“Are you ready for our after dinner festivities? I would love to escort you to the library, if you would allow it.”
“I would be delighted!” she said, honestly eager.
They both rose from the the dinner table and the servants immediately went to cleaning the plates. They walked slowly, making small conversation on the way.
“So, Michael,” Allysia blushes, “how long has your family been on this land?”
“My Great-Great Grandfather sailed here from France long ago. He built his name up and in doing so bore our family. He was a kind and noble man and many admired him for the way he treated his people. We have been in this home and on this land ever since. We see no point in leaving if we are happy where we are. ”
“That is very interesting, I didn’t know you were French.”
“How are you liking the castle so far, is it to your liking?” he asked carefully, seemingly afraid of her answer.
“It is wonderful, and I thank you for such a glorious room, you are very kind.”
His shoulders seemed to relax at her words and his stance grew more comfortable.
“As long as you are happy.” he said to her, catching her gaze.
Allysia quickly looked away, nervous of the way he looked at her. They finally reached the intricately carved doors to the library and Michael went to open them for Allysia.
“What do the angels on the door represent?”
“Ah, the angels. My Great-great Grandfather believed that angels were the keeper of books and that books held the secrets to heaven. Therefore, he carved these angels with his own hands to guard his sanctuary, the library.”
Allysia could only admire the artwork even more. She followed Michael in to the library and he continued to show her his favorite pieces, some of them older than he. All of the books were neatly organized by category or author so it was very easy for her to find books of her own that she liked. She couldn’t wait for more time to explore.
“I’m afraid it is time for me to depart, my lady. Tis night and I am sure you have had a weary day on the road and exploring your new home. Please let Miss Isabella if you are to need anything. She will always be just a call away. Please do not hesitate to ask.”
“Thank you, you are very kind.”
“Miss Isabella, please escort Lady Allysia to her room. I will see you tomorrow morning, I hope you will join me for breakfast. ”
“I would love to.”
Michael deeply desired to hug her goodnight but he was still trying to consider feelings of reservation she might be having. He wanted to give her time, especially since they were still only betrothed. He instead walked out of the library, happy she even already desired time by his side at all. Once he was gone Allysia took a book for the night and returned to her room with Isabella. “will you require anything my lady?”
“water please, I cant settle without some water and I want to read a little”
“Yes mam, I’ll be right back” the maid hurried off so she changed into her night clothes and got in bed, happy when Isabella returned with a cold glass of water “you’re free to go, thank you so much”
“If you need anything there will still be staff awake. If you want me personally ask one of them to fetch me”
“thank you” Isabella left and Allysia began reading one of the books Michael had suggested to her. She wound up reading four chapters before finally settling down and allowing sleep to take her. In the morning she was awoken by the maid from yesterday “I have everything ready for your shower my lady.” Allysia rubbed her eyes “thank you” Isabella smiled, happy their new lady of the house was kind. The men in Michaels family normally went for kind women but it was a relief all the same.
Allysia flung her feet over the bed, forcing herself to leave the warmth of her incredibly comfortable bed and enter the bathroom. She took a long shower, allowing it to wake her then quickly dressed to make up for the time. She didn’t want to be late for breakfast, not when her future husband was waiting on her. When she entered the dining room she was greeted by that same smile she was growing more and more fond of “Good morning”
“Good morning Michael”
“did you have trouble sleeping?”
“I just got really into one of the books you suggested”
“which one did you end up grabbing?”
“the pirate one”
“that one will definitely keep you up at night. It’s too good, it’s hard to stop once you start it”
“are you very busy today?”
“Not especially, why Allysia?”
“well, if it’s something you’d be interested in maybe we could take turns reading it out loud to eachother in the library. We could switch off every chapter”
“That sounds like a wonderful idea”
Allysia was surprised she had had the nerve to ask. She figured they would have to get to know each other at some point though, might as well start now. Their upcoming wedding night flashed in her mind and she had to turn her head as she blushed. She knew what was expected of her and she still didn’t know if she could do it, kind husband or not. It was just so soon. It was her duty to bare him an heir and she knew this. It didn’t make it any easier to accept her fate. She finished her breakfast, engaging in small take that Sir Michael made with her. He seemed genuinely happy and she wondered if it had anything to do with their upcoming reading session in the library. She hoped so, although she barely knew this man she already desperately wanted to make him happy. Besides, he had already gone through great measures to make sure that SHE was happy, why not return the favor. They finished their breakfast and made their way to the library. She chose a spot next to the fireplace and settled in to begin reading. The words came smoothly and she was anxious to hear Sir Michael read next. When he began she was stunned. His voice was velvety and smooth. His words melded together like they were meant for each other. He made the story come alive with every syllable he spoke. She was absolutely mesmorized and barely noticed when he stopped reading.
“It’s your turn my lady.”
She quickly looked down at the book, embarrassed. They took turns for reading for what seemed like hours. Finally Miss Isabella walked into the room.
“Sir Michael, your company has arrived. Shall I escort them to you or would you rather greet them at the entrance?”
“Oh marvelous!” he exclaimed. “I have a surprise for you Lady Allysia, I hope you accept.”
He beckoned for her to follow him and as she did a million thoughts swirled through her mind. “A surprise?” she thought to herself. “What more could he possibly do for me?”
When they reached the foyer Sir Michael bowed at the petite gentleman in front of them.
“Lady Allysia, allow me to introduce you to Sir Williams III, the finest dress maker in all of the kingdom. I want you to have the wedding dress of your dreams, please tell me you accept this gift that I offer to you.”
Allysia was breath taken. She didn’t know what to say but nodded her head quickly to inform him of her acceptance. This was the nicest thing anyone had done for her and she felt hot tears well in her eyes. Embarrassed to be seen shedding a tear she quickly wiped it away.
“I am honored and extremely grateful Sir Michael. I don’t know what else to say.”
“Please, again, call me Michael.”
She wanted to hug him but still didn’t have the confidence or feel for what was acceptable and what wasn’t so she asked “May I hug you Michael or would that be too much before we are married” She was just so elated and in her home hugs were frequent. “Of course you may” he almost stuttered, at least it sounded like he did. When she embraced him she guessed he probably did because his heart was hammering against his rib cage. She kept the hug brief and was soon whisked away by the man and her maid another servant approached Michael “things seem to be going very well. You were scared she’d be upset for no reason”
“you didn’t see what a mess I was at that party. I figured she’d take one look at who here parents picked and be disappointed”
“You’re a sweet man and it shows. I knew she’d be happy, you’re more attractive than you think as well Sir Michael”
“well, I’m going to get some work done so I can be with her again if she wants me later. I wont be needing anything so make sure everybody knows her happiness is everything” He walked to his office happily, eager to be with Allysia again. If seeing the dress before the wedding wasn’t such bad luck he would have sat with her as she told the man what she wanted but he wouldn’t risk this union for anything, not when he had gotten so immensely lucky.
The days passed in a daze, one by one. Allysia was very happy but still feared that it was all a show before the wedding. Whenever she looked at Michael though it felt genuine and she couldn’t shake the feeling that came over her when their eyes met. The wedding was drawing near and all of the arrangements made. Her dress was held silently in her bedroom closet, hidden from Sir Michael’s view. She knew it was bad luck for the groom to see the dress before the wedding. Lady Allysia grew more nervous by the hour as the wedding approached. She knew that the suitors from the kingdom not chosen would be there to show them support. She hoped there wouldn’t be any ill feelings but knew there probably would be. As long as everyone stayed in line and let her have her dream day, that was all that mattered. She couldn’t wait to see her family. She had sent a letter out to her sister, letting her know that all was well so far. He sister responded eagerly with excitement lacing the letter. This really was turning into a fairy tale and Allysia believed it was all too good to be true.
Allysia woke surprisingly early the day before the wedding. She knew her family would be arriving today and was so excited to see their smiling faces. It had been too long and her heart was growing heavy. She called Miss Isabella to draw her a bath and hurried to get ready. She made sure to put extra care into her appearance though, she wanted her family to be proud of her. When she was finally ready she rushed downstairs to wait for their arrival. She brought her new book to occupy her as the time went by. Hours felt like days as she sat there awaiting them. Finally, a servant hurried in the doors announcing their arrival. Allysia jumped to her feet and hurried to the door, she wanted to be the first to greet them as they entered. She could see their carriage drawing near and anticipation coursed through her. Her family was finally here!
She forgot all about being a lady when her parents and sister stepped out. She ran for them, hugging them tightly. Her fathers reprimand was only slight “Allysia”
“I’m sorry, I’m just so happy to see you”
“are you happy so far?” Her mother asked and Allysia blushed as she answered “yes, he’s been kind to me so far. He even gave me a beautiful room to stay in until, well” Her mother kissed her head “good, I’m happy we were right about him” Sir Michael now came out to greet them. Her father reached out, taking his hand and shaking it. Michael then bowed to Allysias mom who gave a slight bow in return. “welcome, are you hungry from your trip?”
“Our daughter is and if shes going to eat we may as well”
“I already have them working on something. Please, come in” They followed Michael inside where he gave them a brief tour so they would be at the table when food came out. It truly was amazing to have her family here, she hoped Michael would let them come often, especially her sister. She wondered if he would just let her come and stay every now and then. He had been so nice already she didn’t think she had to worry about him saying no but still, they weren’t married yet and typically engagement is when a man treats you the best he’s ever going to treat you.
Sir Michael was warm and welcoming to Lady Allysia’s family. Her father especially seemed to love Michael and ate up anything that he said. Allysia’s mother seemed pleased with her decision and Allysia could practically watch the stress and anxiety melt from her face the further the night went on.
Allysia’s sister kicks her foot.
“Psst.” she whispers.
“What dear sister?”
Allysia’s sister giggles, “have you kissed him yet?”
“Heavens no! How could you even ask me that, we are not even married!” Allysia blushed profusely. The thought made her blood rise and she realized she found the thought rather pleasant. She quickly dismissed the thoughts.
“A lady waits, Elizabeth, you would be wise to remember that.” Allysia tried to be serious but the laughter came through. The mood was too light for seriousness and the two girls continued to talk like school girls.
“The wedding is going to be marvelous tomorrow Allysia” said Elizabeth. “Did mother tell you about Sir James?”
“Who is Sir James?”
“He was one of your suitors, silly. He is apparently irate that he was not chosen as your betrothed and send a threatening letter to Mother and Father. He was quite rude if you ask me. He is supposed to be here tomorrow to show his respect and we are not sure what to expect. I promise that we won’t let anything get in the way of your bid day though sis, I can’t wait! You’re going to be the most beautiful bride ever!”
Elizabeth’s words rang in Allysia’s ears and worry started to build. If he was angry enough to openly defy her father, then what would he do or say at the wedding? This wasn’t good. She had to tell Michael immediately.
She felt nervous asking him to talk to her alone but he responded warmly to it, showing only concern. His concern being he had done something wrong and she wanted to reprimand him. He wasn’t sure how well his heart could take her uttering any words that indicated she was disappointed. He took her into another room and asked gently “what is it?” trying not to show his distress. He didn’t want to seem like a wimp to her. “my sister tells me Sir James is wroth he wasn’t chosen and is coming to the wedding under the guise he will support them choosing you anyway but with how ugly he was to my parents I can’t imagine that’s true. I just thought you should be made aware instead of taken by surprise on our wedding day if he tries anything”
He couldn’t feel relief he wasn’t in trouble with her since a new worry took that worries place. He wanted this wedding to be perfect, something she would think fondly of one day. He didn’t want this entitled Sir James to ruin their day or possibly hurt her. No, he wouldn’t be hurting Lady Allysia or ruining anything. He would make sure his entire guard was ready just incase a problem should arise’
“I’m glad you informed me. Already such a wise wife” He blushed at his own words, especially when he saw how red he had made her. “well, I suppose we should rejoin my family”
“Yes Michael” it made his heart stutter when she’d just say his name instead of adding the sir. “could I have another hug” He would have never been so bold to ask if she hadn’t asked on a previous day. He had been longing to have her briefly in his arms again ever since. “yes” her voice shook a little and he carefully pulled her into his arms, happy for the days ahead when she’d stay there longer but for now he let her pull away and followed his soon to be wife out.
Concern followed him throughout the rest of the evening. It was enough that tomorrow was one of the biggest days of his life. Now he had to worry about angry suitors messing everything up. He felt his normal guards would be enough though, there was no need to up his protection and cause suspicion at the wedding. Michael tried to remain cordial throughout the casual conversation with Allysia’s family but there was so much going on in his mind. The one thought that continued to dart through his mind was seeing Allysia in her wedding dress. He bet it was beautiful and couldn’t wait until that moment of revelation. Before long it was time to depart to his room and get some rest for the upcoming nuptials.
“Goodnight Allysia, I hope you sleep well and I am looking forward to tomorrow day. ”
“Goodnight Michael, I will see you when the sun rises.”
With that each individual went to their separate rooms, hugging and hiding tears of joy. Not long after Allysia had settled into her bed there came a soft knock on her door.
“Who is it?” she called.
“It’s Elizabeth, let me in” she giggled.
Elated, Allysia rushed to her door and let her sister in.
“I was hoping we could have one last sleepover sister.”
The two embraced each other warmly.
“I would love that!” exclaimed Allysia.
They rushed to the bed and jumped playfully in.
“I can’t believe that tomorrow you will be wed dear sister. It seems like just yesterday we were frolicking in the lily field and now you are betrothed.”
“I miss you too Elizabeth.” Allysia had seen the words without hearing them. She knew that no matter how happy her family was for her there was still sorrow at watching her go.
“Everything is going to be alright little one and one day it will be you giggling about to be married. You will make a beautiful bride and will have a very kind husband.”
“Oh, do you really think so Allysia? That would be wonderful!”
The two girls giggled and talked and before they knew it they were both sound asleep.
They were awoken by Miss Isabella in the morning “time to get dressed my ladies. Breakfast will soon be ready and this is a very important day. Miss Elizabeth, I have already fetched your bag. I thought you’d want to dress with your sister”
“you truly are amazing Isabella”
“I wouldn’t be doing Sir Michaels bidding if I didn’t keep you happy.” The girl quickly pulled on dresses then followed the maid to the breakfast table so they could eat with the family before they would be swept up in preparing for the wedding. Allysia stole a glance of Sir Michael and a bit of sadness his her. He didn’t look very happy this morning and she wondered if suddenly he wasn’t sure if he wanted to marry her. In truth Michael was still just concerned about the day and in deep thought but he knew he wouldn’t have much time with her today so eventually pulled himself out of his head and asked Allysia “How did you sleep?”
“wonderfully, my sister joined me” He smiled at her, in the forever warm way and it chased away some of the anxieties him looking so serious caused. Maybe she was just being oversensitive she thought to herself. “You two seem so close. She’s welcome anytime you know”
Allysia was relieved to here the warm words from Michael. She had been concerned about whether or not her sister could visit and the thought of her being welcome anytime made Allysia giddy with glee. It had only been a week but Allysia felt she was already falling for Sir Michael. She really hoped he didn’t change after they were wed. What a tragedy that would be. As of right now, he seemed too perfect, “there must be something wrong with him,” she thought, but she couldn’t find any flaws. Breakfast went by too quickly and it seemed everyone was trying to speak to Allysia at once. She barely had time to finish one conversation when another one found its way to her. Before she knew it, it was time to prepare for the wedding. Sir Michael wished her farewell and her family bid her goodbye for now with excited words of encouragement. Miss Isabella was with Allysia ever step of the way. Her sister decided she wanted to stay and help her get ready and who was Allysia to say no? Michael had brought in the finest hair stylist and when he was done Allysia couldn’t believe her eyes. She felt like one of the princesses from her book. It was finally time to put on her dress. Miss Isabella helped her into the dress and tightened the finishing touches. When Allysia was ready she was truly a stunning bride-to-be.
“Sir Michael is going to faint” spoke Elizabeth.
“Yes ma’am young lady. You look like a dream” said Isabella.
Allysia couldn’t believe her eyes. This was really happening, and her soul was no longer in torment but relished in the idea of being wed. Everything was evolving so perfectly she was afraid of it’s end. “Maybe there won’t be one” Allysia spoke to herself.
“Are you ready my lady?” asked Miss Isabella.
“As ready as I will ever by miss.” she replied, remembering to breath before she passed out.
She followed Isabella as gracefully as possible, despite the fact her husband to be couldn’t see her yet. She wanted to already have a good stride going when he saw her to truly steal the breath from his lungs. He was such a good man and she’d give anything to know precisely what he thought of her. Until then, she would do her best to make him think she was a goddess herself. She knew she was far from perfection but she’d strive to be if Sir Michael was what he seemed. “breath sister” Elizabeth whispered as they stepped outside. She had begun to concentrate so much again she forgot “thank you” she whispered back and began to breath normally again.
When the people came into view she quickly spotted her family. It touched her that even her father seemed to be struggling to keep tears at bay. The second person she noticed was Sir James, he looked positively livid and it struck fear into her heart until Sir Michael caught her attention away. He looked even more handsome today as he stood in a suit tailored perfectly for his body. It accentuated what a gorgeous man he was in her eyes and she almost completely forgot about James and his obvious wrath. She would thank her parents a million times over for choosing Michael and not the man sitting in the pews.
Allysia began slowly walking down the isle. She kept her head down, watching where she was walking. The last thing she needed was to fall headfirst in front of the whole kingdom. She finally reached Sir Michael and she braved a look up. What she saw took her away. His face was stuck in an expression of awe and wonder. He stared at her intensely, seeming to never blink. She had to look away, abashed. The minister began.
“Welcome family and friends of Sir Michael Tieranis and Lady Allysia Lushtorian. We are gathered here today to witness the joining of two souls into one. ”
Lady Allysia’s heart was pounding in her ears. She almost couldn’t hear what the minister was saying, she was so distracted by her anxiety. Before she knew it, it was time for their vows. She could feel the sweat beading on the palm of her hand. Sir Michael began.
“Lady Allysia, you may not remember the first time I saw you, but I do. You were stunning, I couldn’t believe my eyes. When we danced together it was as if time had stood still. I have honestly never felt anything like it. My surprise came when your parents accepted my marriage proposal, although countless suitors deserved your hand as much as I. I am honored that your parents trusted me to be a good husband to you and I will prove myself to you every day if I have to. You have blown me away every moment since we met and I promise to love you and protect you until the day we die.”
Lady Allysia felt the hot rush of tears coming to her eyes. It was so beautiful and it hadn’t been written in a book but was actually happening to her. She couldn’t believe her ears, he actually cared for her and thought of her the most beautiful girl in the land. She felt slightly embarrassed that her vows weren’t nearly as beautiful but she read them as she remembered and hope he heard her heart in them.
“If there is anyone who objects to this marriage say so now or forever hold your peace.”
“I object! Guards!”
Everyone’s head turns as soldiers rush in behind Sir James. They were heavily suited and armed and outnumbered their own soldiers 3 to 1.
“What are you doing?” Roared Sir Michael. “Stop this at once and I will spare your life.” he demanded.
“Ha! Why would I stop? I clearly have the advantage and besides, you have something that I want.”
With that he looked at Lady Allysia and chills shot through her body.
“This isn’t happening” she spoke out loud.
“It’s ok, I won’t let him hurt you. I will protect you!” With that Sir Michael drew his sword and nodded to his guards. Immediately swords clashed against swords and screams filled the air. Family and friends flee’d as far away as they could, desperate not to get caught in the cross hairs. Sir Michael’s men fought courageously and held them off strong but one by one the soldiers dwindled. They were just too outnumbered.
“Stop this nonsense!” shouted Sir Michael. “Please, take me, spare her life!”
“What makes you think that I’d want you in her place? Why would you think I would kill her? I wish her to be my wife and once you are out of the picture I will face no resistance and she will have no choice!”
“Bastard! You cannot do this!”
“Watch me, Sir Michael.” Sir James grinned feindishly, “Grab the girl!” he declared.
Now Lady Allysia wished she was in a book, a book where she had magic or somebody in the crowd did but no spells came to her aide as a few much larger men came at her. Men in the crowd, including her own father were trying to help the situation but this awful, cold hearted man had more men at his disposal than anybody could have thought. Next thing she knew she was hit on the head with something hard and the world around her went dark. “Allysia” Sir Michael cried out in agony as his stomach was impaled with a sword. HIs cry sounded in her head as she awoke later, startled in bed. She looked around “Sir Michael!” she called out then noticed she had a chain on her wrist. She gasped and the guard she hadn’t noticed at first walked out the room. “Please, please let me go!” she yelled but the man didn’t care.
She guessed Sir James had actually done it, he had taken her from Michael but it still left her wondering, was he wounded or dead? She could suffer a miserable life but the thought of Michael being murdered over her made it hard to breath. She’d wait and listen, she’d figure out if the man she had fallen for lived and if he didn’t she vowed to herself she’d avenge him. In the better case, if he was alive she’d fight with everything she was to get back to him.
Sir James entered the room, looking far too smug for her tastes “where is Michael?”
“You will not speak another mans name in here”
“MICHAEL MICHAEL MICHAEL!” she screamed, not caring what consequences may follow.
Hot tears streamed down her face. She couldn’t believe what her mind was telling her. There was no way that Sir Michael was dead, no man could be so cruel. But here he was, cruelty, staring into her face.
“I told you not to say that name!” he roared, “ten lashings for you, maybe this time you will listen.”
With that he walked away leaving her to her own despair.
“You coward!” she yelled behind him, willing him to turn back around and give her the opportunity to reach him from behind her bars.
“This really is happening” she told herself, as sobs heaved her chest. Right behind Sir James were two guards ready to take her for her punishment. She wouldn’t go easy, even if it killed her. She hit and fought with all of her might and took any shot she could get. These guards weren’t about to go down easy though and one swift blow to her face quieted her quickly.
Never had she received a lashing before but after the first blow took it’s toll on her delicate skin she knew she never wanted to experience this again.The pain was excruciating and hundreds of eyes watched her. People from the village threw trash and rotten food. She was humiliated and disgraced. By the time her ten lashings were up she thought she would faint. The guards picked her up by her hair ruthlessly, forcing her to her feet.
“Stay awake! I’m not carrying you!” the guard yelled at her. After what felt like a day but had only been minutes, she was thrown back into her cell.
“That will teach you to talk to Sir James like that! Stupid bitch” the guard sneered at her and spit on her tender, exposed skin.
She quickly crawled to the darkest corner she could find for herself and began to weep. She wept for herself, she wept for her family, not knowing their fate, and she wept for Sir Michael. After a hard cry she knew she had to devise a plan. This would not be quick or easy and she knew it full on, but she had to do something to escape and find out the fate of her loved ones. There was a reason why Sir James took her, he wished her to be his wife, which means he can’t keep her locked in the dungeon forever. Eventually he had to let her out and force her hand in marriage. She would have to go along with the ruse until the moment to strike was right. Although it pained her to even think for a second of being anything but revengeful towards Sir James, she knew it had to be done. She had told a white lie once or twice to her parents to get out of trouble but this was something new. She would have to put her whole life on the line to convince Sir James that she was his subservient wife. First, she had to grieve.
What remained of his knights ran after their master “Sir Michael, you need to heal, stop it and rest”
“I can’t, not when Lady Allysia is with that horrible man.”
“How can you be of any use to her so wounded?”
“How can any man truly rest when his beloved is hurting and no doubt scared” Michael found what he was looking for “I’m going to get help. You men can come or continue whining here but you wont hinder my quest to get her back” The highest ranking knight sighed “we follow you where ever you may lead my lord but at least take one of the carriages and give one of us the map so you may lay down. Your wounds are so severe”
“fine” Sir Michael showed him where he was wanting to go and the knight sighed with relief “I have a friend that way, an amazing doctor. We can pick her up and let her tend to you in the carriage on the way”
“fine but we wont waste time begging anybody if she is scared to help. I need to get to Lady Allysia, I need to save her. I can’t stand the fact I have already failed as a husband to her…it’s my job to keep her safe and now she’s in Sir James hands”
“We all did our best, none of us could have expected he’d come at us with so much over a woman.”
“It doesn’t matter….we must go…I must save her and make this up to her if she’ll still have me” They hurried, feeling blessed by god above when a carriage was still intact. Sir MIchael loaded inside as his knights got on horses and two took the reigns to drive his carriage forward. They made few stops over the following days. Sir Michael wouldn’t have normally pushed them all so hard but this was Lady Allysia, a woman who already meant so much to him. He felt even less like stopping for a doctor when they stopped but his knights insisted so they did.
Sir Michael waited in the carriage, too weak to get up and not interested enough to get out even if he could. Surprisingly fast a woman came into his carriage holding a medical bag ‘jesus, look at you, so pale”
“are you helping me?”
“you’re an incredibly good man and a dear friend of mine wants me to so I will”
“Sir James may punish you as well”
“I cower for no man, please, stop talking and let me tend to you as we go on. You probably shouldn’t be traveling but I’ve already been told that there will be no convincing you to let yourself heal first”
Lady Allysia was startled awake with a BANG! One of the guards laughed as she scurried to a far corner. He opened the gate and set down a plate full of food. It had been 5 days and this was the first true food she had seen. Without feeling pride she lept towards the plate of food, ravenous, devouring the food almost as quickly as it had appeared. When she was done the guard entered her cell once more.
” I said rise! Don’t ask questions!” and with that he harshly grabbed her arm and started dragging her up the long corridor. It was dark and she could barely see.
“Where are they taking me? Could this be the end?” she thought to herself. She decided she would die with dignity if it was time and she would show Sir James no pain on her face. Suddenly, she was flooded with light as they exited the corridor. She was drug further into the castle, not knowing where she was being taken. They finally came to a door that the guard swung open. He then threw her inside and slammed the door. Lady Allysia could taste the blood filling in her mouth after the face smashed into the hard floor of the room. Her vision swam as she tried to focus on her surroundings. What she saw, she couldn’t believe, although she had imaged it was coming eventually. It was a beautifully ornate bedroom, fit for a queen.
“Is this mine?” she wondered. She knew that Sir James had taken her to be his wife but she wasn’t at all actually sure of her fate. Even if he did intend on forcing her hand she had figured she would be enslaved in his dungeon much longer than five days. She slowly picked herself up and shakily walked to the bed that was in front of her. She sat down wearily, waiting for the door to bust open any minute and ruin this single moment of relief she felt. Before she knew it, she was sleeping soundly on the bed and dreaming of Sir Michael and the look of agony on his face in the last few moments that she saw him.
When they arrived at the land Sir Michael has been seeking he was mostly healed though he would have scars. The doctor tending him said it was mostly due to his stubbornness to keep forward but if he got Lady Allysia back she’d be worth the scars and if he didn’t he felt he deserved the punishment of them for failing her before they even said their I dos. He truly did intend to release her of the compulsion to marry him if she so desired when he saved her. It would break his heart if she went back on the marriage but he did not deserve such a bride any longer. He could only hope she still saw something worth while in him.
The men that greeted them bowed at the sight of Michael “My lord” One said reverently “I need to speak to Zareah and I need to speak with her now”
“Yes, lets make haste” The man said and they followed them to their leader, a gorgeous, thing woman standing taller than average for a girl “Sir Michael, is this about the grim news I’ve heard?”
“I require help from all that serve you, please, I will do anything in return for the safety of my beautiful Allysia”
“You care about her so already? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, you come from a good family Sir Michael. I will talk to the heads of my men and then I’ll get back to you. I never send them unwilling into anything”
“thank you for even considering helping me”
“Sir James is wicked and must be stopped. I see this as a perfect time to finally kill the man” Hours passed and she finally came to his carriage “we all ride in an hour, be prepared Sir Michael”
“what do you require of me in return for this service”
“I will hold on to the favor if you don’t mind”
“As I said, Lady Allysia is worth anything, hold it until you find a deed of great proportions I can do in return”
With an army at his side, Sir Michael felt confident in his ability to rescue Lady Allysia. He just hoped that she could hold on for just a bit longer, unknowing of her conditions. He feared the worst seeing as Sir James was a cruel and hideous monster. As dawn broke it was time to ride out. This was his one and only shot and he had to make it count.
Lady Allysia woke with a start. She was frantic, not recognizing where she was. It took her a moment for the memories to flood back to her, for the horror to return to her mind. She couldn’t understand how she had been through such a horrific incident but lay in such a comforting bed. Suddenly, there was a knock at the door and a maid hurried through.
“Tis’ time to get dressed my lady, Sir James waits for his betrothed at breakfast and you mustn’t keep him waiting. You don’t want to see him when he is angered.”
Allysia wanted to spit at the woman, to curse her and tell her that she refused, but she knew it would do not good and this woman had done nothing to her. Hatred fell into despair which broke her spirit. Slowly, she rose and began to dress in the garments that the maid handed her. The maid began to brush her hair and pin it up neat and tidy.
“Remember, you mustn’t talk to much, just sit still and look pretty, miss.”
Nausea and disgust roiled in Allysia’s stomach but there was nothing she could do but follow the motions in which she was led. She slowly walked down the hall into the dinning area where the loathsome Sir James sat at the head of the table.
“You’re late, Lady Allysia. I will not tolerate this again. You have had your warning.”
Allysia said nothing but sat down at the seat designated to her by one of the servants. She had no appetite but knew she would be in trouble if she did not attempt to eat. Besides, how was she to escape if she had no energy saved up? Her thoughts wondered to Sir Michael and tears welled in her eyes. She prayed silently to herself that he was ok but knew not to get her hopes up. She couldn’t count on a rescue but must rely on herself to get out of this mess. Just how she was going to do it was the question, and would she kill Sir James along the way? Oh, how she wished she could. If there’s a way she swore she would. She decided she would study him, study the castle, and find out everything she could to use to her advantage to escape. Her thoughts were interrupted when Sir James demanded her attention.
“My dear Lady, I understand that the circumstances may not be to your liking but you are to behave accordingly. You are my betrothed and I expect you to act as such. You will follow daily lessons and a strict regimine while you are here and will be a respectable lady of this house. The servants are at your command but the moment you rely on them for help to escape they will be killed at your expense. Do you understand what I am saying to you?”
She hated him more every moment.
“Yes” was all she could muster.
“Yes, MY LORD, is how you will respond to me when I speak to you!”
“Yes my Lord,” she spit through gritted teeth. She had no idea how she was going to pull this off.
“I expected you to be more agreeable after being locked away. I can put you back and I will put you back. I will also do MUCH worse to you if you force me Lady Allysia. You will be a good wife and I hope that’s clear so I don’t have to resort to worse measures to teach you your place” “Yes my lord” she repeated as gently as she could. His words infuriated her but arguing with him would do her no good, it certainly wouldn’t help her escape. She knew she needed to behave maybe she could earn herself enough freedom to make a run for it or better yet, access to a good, sharp knife to plunge into his chest.
She cleaned her plate of food despite the fact each bite brought her closer and closer to vomiting all over the table. When he was done he stood “come with me” she stood “where are we going”
“I don’t feel like wasting my time explaining, I never will so if I don’t just tell you don’t ask me” A thousand things ran through her mind to snap back at this callous bastard and she was proud of herself for holding her tongue instead of unleashing them.
Days melded into weeks as Sir Michael rode with his new ally. He wasn’t going to stop there, he had one more good lead on soldiers on the way to Sir James castle and wasn’t going to waste his opportunity to recruit more soldiers. They rode in in the middle of the night with the steely rain at their backs.
“Who goes there?” called out one of the guards.
“It is Sir Michael Tieranis, here to see Sir Joryn immediately.”
With that, the doors opened and their army was allowed through.
“You may take shelter at our inn until morning comes. Sir Joryn will be notified of your arrival and shall meet with you as he see’s fit.”
Although anxious to speak with Sir Joryn, Sir Michael was relieved at the notion of a good nights rest. He still hadn’t healed 100% and was hurting from the many days ride. Sleeping upon the ground hadn’t helped his recovery and he hated to admit he could use a hot meal as well.
After eating his fill and securing his room, Sir Michael set off for his room. Morning came with a swift knock at the door.
“Sir Joryn will see you in his chambers now.”
Michael was surprised that Sir Joryn was taking him into his personal chambers instead of somewhere more public and secure. There was no time to waste and debate, he had to hurry to align allies on his side against Sir James. He was lead through town to the chambers but wasn’t prepared for what he saw when he got there. Sir Joryn was laying there, in his bed, sickly and ill.
“Sir Joyrn, I have heard no word of your plight. Please forgive my intrusion.”
“It is no intrusion old friend, now what is it that I can do for you?”
“Sir James has accosted my betrothed on our wedding day, attempting to slay me in the process. I am gathering soldiers to rescue her and our honor. I came to plead for your help.”
“My dear friend. I am sorry to hear of these wrong doings. Unfortunately, I am unable to assist you. Although I have soldiers at my command I am in no position to allocate them anywhere away from here. I am very sick and in being so I am in need of all of the defense I can get. I am so sorry.”
“I understand but I have a doctor with me. If she can help you may I have your men? I need everyone I can get. Somehow Sir James has so many behind him.”
“she can try but others see no helping me, I fear she will tell me the same”
“I’ll be right back” Sir MIchael ran off, not giving a damn that it was unseemly. Every second was precious, every second was time his wife was alone with that man. He banged on the womans door until she came out “Sir Michael” she seem shocked and a little offended at his rudeness “He is sick, my friend is sick and we can only have his men if you can help him. Please” She sighed “I see, alright, show me to him but I am a lady Sir MIchael. In the future I expect to be treated like one.”
“I’m sorry” she nodded then went back to grab her bag. With it in hand they rushed back to the ill lord and she examined him “well, can you help him?” Sir MIchael asked impatiently when she seemed done checking him over. “I can but the soonest we’re looking at leaving is another two days. It will take the remedies that long to get him remotely well enough to travel”
“He is my friend and even if he wasn’t, his men are worth the wait. They are amazingly skilled”
“Then I’ll begin my treatments with his consent”
“I consent, please, I’m tired of feeling this way”
“You realize this will use up the last of our resources? I will no longer be able to heal you Sir Michael, you will have to remain with your injuries and I’m not sure if they are battle ready.”
“Just do what you have to do to see that he gets better. I can take care of myself.”
“As you wish.”
The doctor went to work right away, not wasting any time. Sir Michael went back to the Inn for a proper meal and to gather his thoughts. He had gained another significant ally. There was no way that Sir James could out battle his soldiers, their number was too great. He was feeling confident in his ability to rescue Lady Allysia.
Lady Allysia was laying awake in her bed. Tears streamed down her face and landed quietly onto her pillow. She didn’t know how much longer she could survive under Sir James rule. He was a hateful and cruel man and whipped her anytime she fell out of line. Her back still stung from her last transgression. Escape seemed impossible with every passing day. She was followed like clockwork by his men and rarely did she ever have a moment to herself to think. The only time she was alone was when she was in her bedchambers and bath. There was hardly any room for escape from these places. She didn’t even have a window in her room to see the outside world. She was completely cut off unless Sir James deemed it necessary for her to breath fresh air. She could feel her soul slowly perishing and withering away. She barely even felt like herself any more. If Sir Michael had lived, surely he would have rescued her by now. What about her family? She has heard of no one trying to save her. That must mean that they are all gone. She is all alone with no one to care for her. She wept.
As he ate once again his days with Allysia consumed his thoughts. Even the way she ate was absolutely adorable and he longed to see it again. More so he wanted to hold her, to make her forget all of this pain and give her the life he had been longing to since the moment he met her. It was torturous waiting for his new ally to get well but the second he could get out of bed and not feel like he was going to faint Sir Joryn told his men they were going to Sir Michael to help him reclaim his bride.
They went foward, Sir Michael still in pain but unwilling to relent in his efforts. If they came upon more supplies and another doctor then fate smiled on them but if they didn’t he didn’t give a damn as long as he saved her. He could die for all he cared, he just couldn’t leave this life knowing she was suffering due to his short comings. She was far too precious of a woman for that.
They rode as hard as the horses could handle, only bothering to eat when the horses required rest. They even tried not to use the bathroom unless they were already stopped for their steeds. Sir Michael was glad to have such strong men and women aiding him. They hadn’t complained about traveling like this even for a moment and he would be eternally grateful for their perseverance.
Lady Allysia laid in her bedroom, wishing she could see the stars. She was close to letting sleep take her away when there came a knock at her door.
“Lady Allysia, Sir James requires you in his bedchambers. I would suggest making haste and not allowing him to wait.”
“Wh-what? No! I cannot!”
“I’m afraid you have no choice my lady. You must come with me at once.”
Lady Allysia sat there, stunned. She didn’t believe this was happening. Maybe it wasn’t what she was thinking. Sir James couldn’t be that cruel to take her virtue, especially before she was wed. She knew she had no choice and got up, slowly.
“I am truly sorry but you must hurry my dear, you don’t want to make things worse.”
Tears fell from her eyes as she blindly followed the servant. When they arrived at Sir James room the servant knocked and announced their arrival.
“Send her in!” he proclaimed.
Lady Allysia was ushered through the door. There he stood, in only his robe, looking her up and down as if she were meat.
“What is it that you want from me?” she asked, fear resonating throughout her voice.
“I want you to lie with me. To make it clear, I am not asking.”
“I cannot! You mustn’t take my virtue. We are not even wed yet, would you not rather wait until it is proper?” She racked her brain, thinking of anything she could say to change his mind.
He walked towards her, grabbing her arm ruthlessly and throwing her onto his bed.
“No!” she screamed. She didn’t care the punishment she was going to fight with all of her might.
Sir James grabbed her by her hair and slapped her as hard as she could. Blood sprayed from her mouth as he shoved her face into the bed pillows. There was no use, he was going to take her and there was nothing she could do about it. May the angles above hear her prayers and save her. No one ever came.
Michael struggled to fall asleep once again, here they were, so close to Sir James that they knew this was the final night before they waged all out war on him and stole back Allysia. He was so eager, he wanted to go right this moment but they had a better chance if the men and horses were not only well feed and hydrated but also rested. Everyone needed to be at their very best when they challenged him so he let them sleep but when the son rose Sir Michael made sure every man and woman rose with it. They obliged once again without complaint but how were they to complain to a man so driven when he was surely in massive amounts of pain from his wounds that the doctor wasn’t able to finish fully tending to. This was a man worth following and they’d make sure they didn’t fail him.
They rode ready for battle and all felt confident when Sir James fortress came into view and a few men called down “what is the meaning of this?!” Sir Michael was the one to answer “I come to take my bride back. Let us in or we’ll force our way in and up to his home!” Arrows started flying but they had been ready and waiting for just that. As far as they were concerned they had a plan for everything that could be thrown at them in this endeavor.
“Shield wall!” Sir Michael cried out. The soldiers held up their shields in defense of the archers aim. While the wall held off most of the attack, some men were shot down, taking their final breaths for Sir Michael and Lady Allysia.
The army marched forward, with no fear in their hearts, ready to fight for love. Sir James men fought valiently but were no match for the shear size of Sir Michael’s army. He had fought too hard and came to far to let the thought of failure enter into his mind.
~”Sir James! There is an attack at our front, Sir Michael is here for the Lady! We must get you to safety!”
“No! I will stand and finish this fool once and for all, take Lady Allysia to the dungeon and make sure no one gets through! While you’re at it, give her a few lashings for me for her pathetic attempts of resisting me last night.”
Lady Allysia couldn’t believe her ears, Sir Michael was alive! He was here to rescue her, her love! She didn’t even fear the lashings coming her way, knowing in her heart that today it would be over, one way or another. If Sir Michael failed today she would end her life and suffer no more. She would rather be reunited with him in the afterlife than to spend another day tending to this cruel monster.
War raged on all sides of the castle. Blood was spilled and death filled the air like poison. Slowly, they fought theirselves further and further inside of the castle. There was chaos on all sides of every man, it was almost too difficult to tell friend from foe in the turmoil. Although still wounded, Sir Michael fought valiently, fighting off every man that came his way as if they were nothing. He had a mission in his heart and knew there was nothing that could get in his way from saving Lady Allysia.
Their swords clashed against each other, both men equally as strong and willed. Sir Michael knew in his heart that he must win in order to save Lady Allysia but Sir James knew that no one could defeat him. The fighting around them became obsolete as they threw every ounce of energy and muscle into winning the battle. James comes down hard on Michael, aiming for a final blow, but Michael is slightly faster than James and dodges out of the way. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quick enough and James sword slices into Michaels flesh. He can feel the blood soaking his shirt but he doesn’t have time to assess the damage. He swings high and the weight of the sword sends pain shooting through his torso. James blocks his counter attack and quickly steps back.
“You cannot defeat me Sir Michael. You should give up now and save yourself. You are foolish to think you can beat me!”
“I will never give up!” roared Sir Michael. He lunges, swinging as hard as he can, expecting to feel the reverberations of James steel meeting his but instead he hears the shocked cry of Sir James as Michael lifts his head and see’s the sword piercing through his skull. He drops to his knees and then onto his face, lifeless. Soldiers begin to realize that the battle has been won and Sir James men begin to flee in hope of saving themselves. Cheering echo’s through the halls and the men celebrate their victory. There is no victory for Sir Michael until Lady Allysia is in his arms and safe.
“We must find Lady Allysia! Gather up all of the servants left in the building and find out where she is!”
They did as they were told, eager themselves to save her from such a retched place. This whole area of their kingdom was filled with low lives, the type of people who would rob their own mothers blind or sell their daughters to whore houses for a quick silver. This wasn’t any sort of place for this woman they had heard nothing but amazing things about. A few of the men found her in the dungeon and left the men guarding her dead in front of her cell, their blood painting the already disgusting floor. “Lady Allysia, we are with Sir Michael, he’s searching the castle for you”
“truly?” Sir James would be cruel enough to kill his own men just to torment her with hope “Truly, please come my lady.” She got up from where she had been sobbing and the men soon let her out. She walked with them, her mind everywhere. She wasn’t the same woman who had been kidnapped and on top of that no longer held her virtue. She was happy yet fearful of seeing Michael again and having him know the truth of everything.
Relief over took her anxiety when she saw him “Sir Michael” she realized she was crying again as she ran into his arms “Lady Allysia, you live, thank the god above” She felt blood seeping into her clothing and pulled back, now seeing his wounds “Sir Michael” her voice now drenched in worry “I’ll be alright now that I have you safe. I’m sure there are medical supplies here”
“there are, I know where, come on”
She hurried him to the medical wing where she knew there were supplies. She didn’t know exactly what but Sir Michael had a doctor of his own accompanying him.
“I thought you were surely dead Sir Michael! I never thought I would leave this retched place. ”
“You are safe now Lady Allysia, as you should have been from the beginning. I understand if you no longer wish to hold true our marriage arrangement.”
Michael looked to the ground with shame as he spoke.
“How could you think that?” she asked. “You have risked your life more than once for me, I owe you my life. I cannot, however, offer you my virtue, for that has been stolen from me. Now that you know this you may want to reconsider our arrangement.” tears spilled down her cheeks.
He tilted her chin towards him, kissing her tears softly.
“I would never want anything but you sweet Allysia. I am yours if you will still have me.”
In that moment they shared their first true embrace. It would be years before they would truly recover but they had each other every moment of the day. Their wedding day was talked about amongst the kingdoms and all those who could attend came. Although both of her parents were killed in Sir James initial attack, her sister soley survived and was offered to join Sir Michael and Lady Allysia in their home until she was wed. She happily accepted and the two sisters never left each others sides.