The sun set, turning the ocean a burning red. Sunspear towered over the rest of Esses. Smoke rose from the southwestern part of the city, where the fire had ravaged one of the main ports. Maven saw it all, remaining in the tower of the Queen. She turned on her heel and walked over a large door. Taking the key from her end table near the door, she unlocked the door. The door slowly swung open, and now in front of her was a mannequin, which bore the royal armor. Maven slowly ran her fingers along the edge of the armor, feeling the coldness of it, and the hardness. She lit the torch in the room, then shut the large door. Leaving her alone in the chamber. Slowly, she unlaced her gown and let it fall to the floor, leaving her in nothing but breeches and a silken shirt.
"What I do, I do for the realm." She said slowly, feeling the armor once again.
Prince Rogan walked down the royal corridor, attempting to find his mother. The corridor was long, and for the most part, dark. At his side was his little sister, Princess Elena. She skipped down the corridor, pulling away from Rogan. She would stop every so often to allow him to catch up to her, giggle, then skip some more. After awhile, Elena dissappeared into the darkness, leaving Rogan by himself.
"Elena! Elena wait for your brother." He shouted down the corridor.
Rogan eventually caught up to his sister, she was simply staring at a large portrait. When she noticed that her brother had caught up to her, she tugged on his shirt. "Brother, who is that?"
Rogan laughed for a moment, "Why Elena, that's mother."
She looked at him for a moment, "Mother? Why this lady looks like she's only a child."
Rogan smiled, looking down on his sister, "Elena, this was mother on the day she took the throne."
The large portrait depicted the young Maven Landen and her late husband, King Jonathan. Maven looked young in the portrait, her hair still long and fine. King Jonathan had his hand on Maven's knee. In the background was his grandparents, Lya and Bormir Landen. Rogan looked at the photo intentively, then sighed. They looked so happy, all those years ago. Now, his mother was a single ruler, and his father mysteriously fell to his death not even a month ago.
"Come on Elena. We have to find mother." Rogan said, pulling his sister away.
"Brother, wait!" She shouted, returning to the portrait. "Look."
Elena pointed to the left top corner of the portrait. In the darkness of the portrait, there was a man. A man that was unknown by any of the royal family except the Queen herself. Rogan looked at the man for awhile before making the decision that he did not know him.
"Probably just another servant, that's all. Come now Elena." Rogan said, taking his sister's hand.
Bormir rolled over on his haystack. The cell smelled of urine and feces, and was dimly lit. It had felt like ages since he was arrested for the murder of his wife, Lady Lya. He stood, his legs then cramping. How long had he been laying there, he wondered.
"Guard, what day is it?" He asked.
"Silence, prisoner." The guard replied.
Bormir shook his head, then walked away from the celldoor. These guards used to serve him, now they would barely say a word to him.
"What goes on outside?" Bormir tried again.
The guard, sounding more tense this time replied, "Again, I'll say silence prisoner!"
Bormir, in a fit of rage ran over to the celldoor and shook it. "Damn you! Answer me! What goes on outside?"
The guard turned and unlocked the celldoor. "I warned ye'!"
The guard clenched his fist and furiously beat Bormir. Feeling no remorse for a killer, especially a killer of one's wife. Bormir tried to sheild his face and avoid a harsher beating.
"My daughter will hear about this!" Bormir shouted.
"Your daughter, I'm sure, will understand." The guard said.
Vandresa paced the lower decks of the Burning Ember. After awhile, she sat down and put her head in her hands. Heavily, she sighed before standing again. She couldn't stand sitting when she was on the verge of going to all out war.
"We have to sail back." Vandresa said suddenly.
Lilliana raised her brow, "Sail... back?"
"Yes, sail back. Vandresa will be raising her banners soon. We need to sail back and rally more troops. We don't have nearly enough men and women to fight on the entire Royal Army. In due time Lilliana, in due time." Vandresa said quietly.
Lilliana sighed, but did not say anymore, with the fear of angering Lady Landen.
"You may take your leave now, Lilliana." Vandresa said tensely.
Lilliana walked out of Vandresa's room, then just vanished from the ship.