His Caged Princess Chapter 17. The Shadow Of Darkness
The evening passed by in a pleasant blur of music, chatter, and laughter. Layana
returned to the gathering where Declan
receded to standing in the corner with a glass of wine, and Layana joined Aurelia at the buffet chatting to a few women from high
-rank noble houses.
“Layana you really do set the trend for every
season,” Angela of House Freymin said, a smile on her lips, she was a pretty woman with soft blue eyes and strawberry blond
“I don’t intend to, I guess it just happens,’ Layana said smiling at the young woman who she did not mind, knowing she was rather genuine.
“Come let us sit, my feet are hurting in these heels,” Aurelia said, the women laughed and headed to a nearby table, the four women
taking their seats gracefully.
The evening passed by in a pleasant blur of music, chatter, and laughter. Layana
returned to the gathering where Declan receded to standing in the corner with a
glass of wine, and Layana joined Aurelia at the buffet chatting to a few women from high
-rank noble houses.
“Layana you really do set the trend for every season,” Angela of House Freymin said, a smile on her lips, she was a pretty woman with soft blue eyes and strawberry blond
“I don’t intend to, I guess it just happens,” Layana said smiling at the young woman who she did not mind, knowing she was rather genuine.
“Come let us sit, my feet are hurting in these heels,” Aurelia said, the women laughed and headed to a nearby table, the four women taking their seats gracefully.
“There are so many handsome faces around, has anyone caught your eyes Princess. Layana? Father was saying his majesty
wishes to see you and princess Cordelia
betrothed,” Jameela of House Gardain said,
she was another genuine woman who had a
thirst for gardening and loved anything to
do with nature and a little gossip. With large brown eyes and soft chocolate brown hair.
Her father was one of the members of the
“I’m sure that was supposed to be confidential,” Angela said to her,
“It is fine, and it is the truth, our father wishes to see us betrothed…” Layana said
realising the heaviness of the situation, she
was expected to choose someone to spend
her entire life with…
“It will be a brave man who is ready to spend the rest of his life with Layana, she would not allow mistresses or other wives,” Aurelia
“Ah Princess, I am a one-woman man,”
Aren’s bright voice came from behind them. Declan who was stood to the side and could
hear the conversation, truly wished his
friend wasn’t so loud or flirty all the time.
His attention falling on Layana once more, as she sat there, the glow of the lantern on
the table making her look even more
“That’s great to hear Lord Aren, now please go find yourself a woman,” Layana said
sweetly as the rest of the women laughed.
“You, my princess are one woman who
doesn’t fall for my charm,” he said then
smirked, as he leaned down between the two
“Your charms are clearly not enough for my sister then,” Aurelia said raising an eyebrow at him, Aren raised an eyebrow mimicking
“Perhaps she’s just into someone very different than myself… I’ve seen you talking to my friend over there a few times,” Aren teased exaggerating his claim. Making the other three women look at Layana in
surprise as she blushed lightly.
“That’s not true! We’ve spoken only once or twice,” Layana said glancing towards Declan before looking away, Aren simply laughed,
“I never gave any names princess,” he said
as Declan frowned at him
“Aren,” he called warningly, Aren smirked
as the women looked between the two.
“Tell us Layana has that handsome man caught your eye?” Jameela teased her voice seemed to fade as Layana suddenly felt a cold shiver run down her spine, something in the pit of her stomach churned
*) Be aware…’* the whispering voice came
Layana turned suddenly glancing around, feeling that dark coldness growing, her gaze
drawn to the entrance to the garden completely ignoring the teasing of the women around her, her heart thudding, an odd sense of discomfort settling deep within
Declan looked around, feeling a shift in the
air, he frowned deeply scanning the crowds,
no one seemed to have noticed and nothing
seemed out of place. His eyes fell on Layana,
she was the only one seemingly tense, her
eyes trained on the entrance. But it was only
her, Aren was carrying on as normal, and
the women at the table with Layana were
laughing and teasing her as she ignored. them, distracted.
A man stepped into the garden, a soft gasp escaping Terania as she recognised her
fiancé, Lord Zephyr of House Masbole. 1
He stood there looking serious and
handsome, his posture strong. He had short
brown curls, light blue eyes, tan skin and a speckle of stubble covered his square jaw. He was a handsome man, dressed in a dark silver tunic with navy pants, his eyes on his
future bride. He bowed to her as Terania
“My lord…. It is a pleasant surprise to see
you here,” Terania said despite her nerves she was composed and collected.
“I do apologise for turning up unannounced … but why delay any longer I thought, I was meant to arrive a few days ago but there
were matters I needed to take care of…” 1
As he spoke Layana slowly stood up, why did she feel like something wasn’t right, the feeling in her stomach was making her nauseous, and the garden seemed to have darkened ever so slightly… but it was just Zephyr and he was happily conversing with
Zephyr seemed to sense her watching and a small smile crossed his lips as he turned to
her, his eyes met hers, a glimmer of curiosity flickered in them.
“Happy birthday princess Layana, I have heard a lot about you, but it seems this is the first time I can officially meet you,” he said bowing to her as Layana lowered her head slightly
“Thank you, my lord, it is an honour to have you here tonight,” she said trying to push away the negative feelings that cloaked her.
Declan stepped forward something did not feel right but what was it? Zephyr’s gaze
turned to him, his eyes met Declan’s and for
a moment both men simply looked at one another, a strange feeling in the air between them before Zephyr smiled
“Of House Storm, what a pleasure,” he said, Declan did not reply and simply gave a nod. The men watched each other a moment.
longer and Declan frowned slightly, had he imagined it?
“And this is my youngest sister Aurelia…” Terania said making Zephyr break his gaze, and Aurelia stepped forward to bow to her
“And where may the final princess be?” Zephyr asked, Layana frowned looking
around for Cordelia
“Her highness wasn’t feeling well and retreated for the night,” one of the women in attendance offered. Layana’s face
changed to concern hoping she was ok, why hadn’t she mentioned anything. She felt a little disappointed that Cordelia wasn’t
there. And a little guilty she hadn’t noticed. Having assumed she was off dancing with someone, after all, she did have her eyes on a possible suitor, was he here tonight? s het was surprised Cordelia had not told them yet.
Declan glanced at Layana who seemed lost
in thought, and wondered if she had sensed something too, he had seen the way she had stared at the entrance to the garden. But
now was not the time to ask her, he would
see her tomorrow anyway…
“Staring at the princess again, now who would have thought crazy but beautiful was your type,” Aren said, Declan frowned
“I don’t see anything to like,” Declan lied” I’m simply analysing her as I am training her from tomorrow,”
Aren stared at his friend in shock,
“What! Are you crazy, the king will be so
“I don’t really care,”
“Why would you agree to that?” Aren asked confused before smirking “Oh… now I get
“You’re wrong, don’t try to use a brain that’s non-existent, I feel like pissing the king off, and I think this is a good start,” Declan replied pushing past his friend, deciding that was enough socialising for one
He walked away as the rest of the guests gathered around the cake singing happy birthday to the princess who had been ushered to the table to cut the cake. Declan
glanced back for a moment seeing her laughing as Terania fed her a piece of the cake, a smile gracing her face her head tilted up the lights only making her beauty appear
even more ethereal… he looked away, leaving the garden and the crowd behind…
It was much later, the guests had all left, and those residing in the palace had returned to their quarters and Layana was walking to Cordelia’s room, appreciating the silence in the marble halls. A plate containing cake in
She knocked on her door when there was no
answer she tried the handle, to find it locked. Frowning she knocked again feeling worried.
“What!” Cordelia snapped pulling the door open, Layana’s eyes widened in surprise as Cordelia looked equally surprised to see her.
She took in her sisters’ messy hair, her tilted
tiara, and her smudged make up
“I’m sorry if I disturbed you, are you feeling any better?” Layana asked entering her sister’s room. The usually prim and perfect
room was a mess, books were thrown across
the room, strewn across the ground and a chair was knocked over, the cushions from
the bed were on the floor and a shattered
vase lay in the corner. 2
She looked at Cordelia concerned and
confused. Her sister was not ill, she was
angry, “Did something happen at the party?”
Cordelia clenched her jaw, staring at Layana,
how dare she… how dare she act so clueless,
she thought angrily
“I just… don’t feel well, and I was angry I
had to skip the party,” she said turning her back on Layana. Not wanting to see her sisters face any longer. A vicious thought crossed her mind, wondering if Declan
would even look at Layana twice if her face. was not so perfect.
“Oh Cord, don’t feel angry over it, it’s ok and look I bought us cake,” Layana said placing the plate on the bedside table and walked over to Cordelia, placing her arms. around her sister from behind she hugged her, “It’s really ok,”
“I’m sure it is,” Cordelia muttered, Layana smiled before taking her sister’s hand and tugged her to the bed. 1
“Come on let’s eat like piggies,” she said giggling as she sat on the bed, still dressed in her party gown, she looked stunning. An image of Declan having Layana pinned against the tree flashed through Cordelia’s mind, hatred once more began to rise within her. She stared at the plate of cake before looking at her sister.
“I’m sorry, but I feel sick, you eat the cake,” she said not sitting, Layana looked at her,
her eyes filled with concern
“Have you had any tea or asked for anything that may help?” she asked
“Yes, I have,” Cordelia said, Layana nodded,
then looked at the cake,
“Then will you at least give me a piece,” she
said trying to cheer her sister up who was clearly not in the best of moods. Cordelia
picked up the spoon, scooping up some cake
she held it to Layana’s mouth.
Layana felt a little confused, it was not like
Cordelia to behave like this. She took the
cake and Cordelia dropped the spoon on the plate as if it were burning hot.
“Can you please leave Layana, I feel tired,” Cordelia said not looking at her sister as she
sat on her bed. Layana nodded
“I hope you get better soon; do you want me
to stay the night?” she asked touching her sister’s forehead. Cordelia smacked her hand
“No, thanks but I’m fine, I just need rest,’ she said, Layana nodded feeling relieved she did not have a temperature although her actions were confusing her. Realising her
sister just wanted her gone, she stood up,
“Ok, I’ll get going,”
“Oh, and take this, I studied what I needed to, and I think if father found it missing it would cause problems,” Cordelia said. reaching for the book wrapped in a black cloth that was in her bedside drawer. She did not want any favour from Layana. She did not want the stupid book no matter how intriguing it had been. 1
“That’s true, I’ll make sure I return it,” Layana said taking the book from her,
Cordelia nodded curtly, “Did you find what you were looking for?”
“Somewhat,” Cordelia said getting into bed, Layana placed the book and plate down
picking up the cushions from the floor she placed it next to her sister, “Just leave Layana!”
“Sorry I’m leaving,” Layana said, Cordelia was upset. And something told Layana it was her fault. “Good night Cord…” she
whispered as Cordelia put the lights out, she did not reply as Layana retreated with the cake and book, looking at her sister who had
her back to her.
“Leave,” Cordelia’s clipped tone came, and Layana nodded feeling a little hurt but pushing the feeling away not wanting to delve into it. She would ask her tomorrow if
everything was ok.
Walking to her room after passing the cake to a passing maid, she pondered over the
strange occurrence from earlier. ‘Be aware’ Aware of what? And what was that
unsettling feeling earlier?
The princess silently entered her bedroom where her maid was ready to help her with her evening bath. Consumed in her
thoughts, she was silent, thinking about her training and the fact she may be able to ride to battle when the time came. Hoping to
assist in defeating The Dark Lord.
If only she knew that the darkness had already stepped into the palace. Walking amongst them, hidden in plain sight, The Dark Lord was already there, ready to reap
discord and none knew. No one would, not
until it was too late….
In the shadows of a room in the palace, a
man stood at his window, a smile of pure
evil on his face as he stared out at the dream
-like magical gardens of the palace of Ehlesaar. Soon they would be nothing but dead, painted with the blood of the royals. This time, he would bide his time, and destroy them all. This time he would leave
none alive. He had waited fifteen years,
fifteen years to regain his strength. This time he would make no mistakes…
Ehlesaar the so-called kingdom of heaven…
He would transform it into a place worse
than the burning pits of hell…