I had offered little resistance to being moved from the dungeon. Why should I, when I knew my chance of escape would surely be higher from my new quarters. And yet, the hope I had felt at the news had disappeared upon hearing Rebecca speak my name, my full name. I knew at that moment that a simple execution would not be my fate, and I suppose I should have been relieved at that fact. But I knew what the alternatives would be, and just how much my capture might hamper our war effort.
My father was a powerful man in the Iberan army, though I had never been told just how powerful. All I knew was that other's had looked at him in awe, and I had always had a privileged position in the complex rankings of the court. Other generals had often deferred to his decisions. He was an important man, and one which the Iberan army could little afford to lose.
And yet here I was, his one and only child, the only heir to his blood, captured by an enemy who knew who I was and who, by extension, would know just who my father was. Where an execution would only increase his determination to see that Ibera came out of this war victorious, his child as a political prisoner may be just the thing to ensure the end of his assistance in the war effort. As a hostage I was the most use to Handrin, as a hostage I would have cost my country more in our masquerade than I could ever hope to gain.
I had been alone in my new quarters, paralyzed by these realizations for some time, knowing I had failed in my mission. And yet with the realizations came a sudden determination. I could not be used as a hostage if I could escape from the luxury room in which I was now imprisoned. Quickly I rose to my feet, ready to search my surroundings for any way out, any weapon I might use for my escape.
There was one window in the room, letting in barely enough light for me to see my surroundings. While it was a window that I would be able to squeeze myself through, the view from the window discouraged me. I was a long way from the ground, and it was an impossibly long way to fall without suffering a fatal injury. Despite this fact, I tested the window, soon realizing that it had been designed not to open. Even if I could fashion some form of rope, it seemed there would be no escape through there short of shattering the glass.
My examination of the rest of the room soon revealed that even shattering the glass would be out of the question. Despite the opulence of the room, there was minimal furniture, consisting of a large gilded bed too heavy to move, a table and chairs that had been fixed to the floor in some manner, and a wardrobe and dresser, both of which my feeble strength would have little hope of budging. Everything else in the room was lightweight, a water pitcher made of a metal that would bend on impact as if designed to prevent it from becoming a weapon. There was a small comb, but short of using it to scratch someone it too had little potential. It seemed for the time I was to be trapped here.
I had just become resigned to my fate and returned to sit on the bed, when the door opened, and a woman was thrust in, her arms ladened with dresses. My face lit up on seeing her, despite the shadows beneath her eyes.
"Moira," I cried out, rushing across to her and causing her to drop the dresses as she embraced me.
"Oh my dear Eliza, I thought I had lost you," Moira sobbed, squeezing me tightly. "I should never have let you come on this foolish mission. I should have known something like this would have happened."
"It is not your fault Moira," I consoled her. "We both know that I always end up getting my own way. Take heart in that fact, for I will find a way for us to escape this situation."
"You become more like your mother every day child," Moira replied, releasing me and stepping back to survey my appearance all of sudden, propriety returning. Her eyes examined my dress, torn in places and covered in grime. My face too was examined, before she turned her attention to my hair, her eyes narrowing at the way the once luscious locks hung limply down my back.
"What have they been doing to dear?" she asked, her eyes creased with worry. "This is no way for a lady to appear. You must have been through quite an ordeal. But come, sit before the dresser and I will soon put this all to rights."
"I do not see why it should matter,"I replied, nonetheless following her instructions. "After all I'm a prisoner, my appearance is of little import."
"A prisoner who is soon to receive a visit from the man who holds your fate in his hands. The King is on his way to see you," revealed Moria, "and it is best for all our sakes that you look presentable. We do not have much time though, nor the right materials, but I will do what I can."
Ever the miracle worker, I was soon transformed by Moira from the disgraced prisoner into a noblewoman once more, wearing what I recognized to be one of my own dresses. Moira stood in front of me, examining my appearance and adjusting a hair here, and a bow there.
"Good," she finally answered, letting her hands fall to her sides. "You look the part again. It should help you get through this. And I will be with you the whole time, do not let him send me away again. You may be a prisoner, but you are still a lady, and in this you can still get your own way."
I nodded, just as the door was once again thrust open, a man standing there. From his imposing appearance I instantly knew he was the King, no other man could appear so demanding, so powerful. As he stepped into the room, so too did the man behind him, a man that seemed almost to blend into the shadows, followed closely by a manservant, a tray of food in his hands. The door was soon shut behind them.
"So," the King began, his eyes sweeping me over. "I believe you are Eliza Frances. You may call me sir, or your highness. Shall we dine together?"