Her quick words and confidence were thought of as opposite to the expected attitude of a princess of one of the most powerful kingdoms in the realm.

            Thus, as the last of the trapped moonlight began to filter away, Julia settled back into the soft comfort of her mattress and gazed up at the stone ceiling to ponder the strangeness she had both enjoyed and feared. Her thoughts flitted irregularly between surprise, curiosity, and uncertainty. Despite living in a kingdom of magic, and herself possessing a tiny portion, Julia still felt a icy bolt of fear pass through her heart anytime she came into contact with magic most obviously not her own.

            Swishing her legs beneath the soft silks of her comforter, Julia slid out of the bed and padded in her slippers to the closed door. For added comfort she grabbed her bed cover and draped it regally over her narrow shoulders. For all her messy dark hair and sleepy eyes, Julia still looked the part of a princess, the puffy cloak adding weight and attention to her small posture.

            Open the door, she thought decisively. The tail end of her bed cover swished along the stone floor as she wandered through. Turning down a hallway lit with flaming torches, Julia nodded at Drake, the guard who stood at attention outside her bedroom door.

            He gave her a small smile, but quickly hid it behind an impassive face. He was used to Julia’s nighttime wanderings and had always been privately happy that he was chosen to oversee the protection of this charming, although direct, girl.

            Beneath the patterned glow of a dozen flames, Julia entered the depths of the castle, making her way to her parents’ bedroom.

            Strange magic, she thought to herself. Strange, indeed. Papa must know at once.

            She stood outside their door which, she knew was spelled against intruders. She herself had been the one to voice the command at yearly renewal ceremonies. The protections, she knew, were impenetrable.

            Open for Julia, she directed, calling up the blank space in her mind reserved for magical writing and instruction.

            The doors resisted. Julia could feel it in her mind, like a woven set of iron bars had been forced roughly against the tender skin of her forehead. She furrowed her brow in confusion.

            Open for Julia, at once! In the name of the Princess of Eltheland, she firmly inscribed along her mental sketchpad.

            The doors shivered but held firm.

            Julia dropped her warm bed cover and pressed both of her small, slender hands against the dark wood of the door. Now. Her mental energy burned away any of the remaining sleep in her eyes and thoughts. The command, further powered by her contact with the door, seeped into the grainy wood and stretched out like the roots of a tree.

            With a loud creak, the door shifted. Julia breathed a sigh of relief and inhaled sharply to catch the breath she had been holding.

            Clutching the iron knob of the door with her hand, Julia pulled and slipped into the crack that opened between the heavy door and the wall.

            She blinked into the bright light that welcomed her, an unexpected glare in the deep midnight hour.

            “PAPA!” she screamed. The last spots of brightness faded as Julia’s eyes adjusted to the scene in front of her.

The End

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