Lairelithoniel started and looked up from her book. A young servant girl was timidly holding out a small, folded piece of paper.
“I was told to give you this. I’m to wait for an answer.” She bobbed a curtsy and stepped back as Lairelithoniel took the message.
Your highness, it read, I have been listening as you asked, and just now I discovered a prisoner has been brought in. He is locked in the same cell as the others.
Lairelithoniel looked up at the girl. She stepped forward quickly, ready to take a message back.
“Please tell him I said thank you and to continue.” Lairelithoniel stopped, and the girl began to walk away. “Agnes?” called the princess. The girl stopped and turned, amazed that this wonderful lady knew her name. “Thank you.” Lairelithoniel smiled at the girl, who blushed and bobbed another curtsy.
As soon as the girl had left, Lairelithoniel rose and walked briskly back to her own room. She waited, for what seemed like hours, occasionally walking anxiously around the room. When the urgent knock finally sounded at the door, she rushed forward and flung it open. Merotin walked in, followed closely by a young man.
Merotin gave a hopeless gesture. “He don’t talk much, Princess Lairelithoniel,” he said, shaking his head. “He wouldn’t say nothing.”
“Don’t worry,” said Lairelithoniel gently. She turned to the young man.“I’m going to help you escape.”
The young man looked up, his brown hair falling in front of his eyes. “I don’t want to escape,” he exclaimed. “I came here on purpose!”
Merotin shook his head and muttered under his breath, “Go to all the trouble to rescue him and he don’t want to escape. What kind of man don’t want to escape if he’s been captured?”
Lairelithoniel looked at the young man with interest. “And whyever not?”
“I have to find-” he trailed off.
“You have to find… what?” prompted Lairelithoniel.
“Who,” he answered, after a brief paused. “It’s a who I have to find. I have to find Lynn and Alya.”
“Lynn and Alya!?” It sounded very much like a squeal. “They’re here! That is, they were. They left the day before yesterday.”
His eyes shot up. “Where did they go? You must help me!”
“Certainly, I will…” Lairelithoniel paused. “What is your name?”
“Caden,” he answered. “Nice to meet you. And thank you,” he paused as well and Lairelithoniel smiled and stuck out her hand.
Lairelithoniel sat down with a sigh of relief. The single note in her hand had brought a large weight of her shoulders. So, she thought, Liam and Caden got away. I only hope they can make their way.
The plan for escape had been simple enough. When Lairelithoniel had put the question to him, Liam had given it extremely careful thought.
“I’ll need to think about it,” he had said, his eyebrows furrowed. He had looked up the next second and smiled. “Yep! I’m in.”
“It will be dangerous,” Lairelithoniel had warned.
“Dangerous, smangerous!” he had scoffed. “She’s my friend and I care about her.”
Maybe a little more than I had realized, Lairelithoniel had thought, smiling.
Caden, too, had been extremely willing to follow after the girls. He had related the story of Alya’s appearance.
“What about you and Lynn?” she had asked.
He had shrugged his shoulders. “We’re as close as siblings.”
Lairelithoniel stood up and walked slowly around the room, holding the note in her hand.
She looked up quickly. Someone was at the door.
“Open up in the name of the King!” shouted a deep voice.
Lairelithoniel looked at the note in her hand. She slipped over and dropped it in the fire right as the door slammed open.
She gulped and stood up quickly, standing in front of the fire, hoping to shield the burning note from sight.
Even King Arawn in a good mood was a fearsome thing to behold. And King Arawn did not look happy. In fact, he looked furious.
“Where is my prisoner?” he boomed.
By A. Choi
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This blog post is part of a collaborative writing project (The Five Fledglings); if you’d like to read the story from the beginning, click here!