CHAPTER ONE: DAGGERS AND BOWS
The world was quiet as she walked through the thick trees, not even birds were stirring. Leaves crunched beneath her leather-clad feet, and she paused a moment to enjoy the scene. White covered the ground, coating the leaves and brances in frost. The girl hugged her coat to herself, and tilted her head back to look towards the skies as a breeze kicked up. She sighed, looping her arm through her wooden bow. A loud smashing sound startled her, and in an instant, she was up the tree, crouching on its limb, arrow cocked. She breathed in slowly, aiming down the line of the arrow, when she realized she recognized the foot steps.
“Man!” A mannish voice erupts from below. “What are you trying to do, Merks?!” A blonde haired boy stood below, shielding his eyes with his hand and looking towards the girl in her tree.
“You need to be more quiet,” she responded, easing her force on the bow string. “I almost shot you. Besides, you know that tensions are high through the lands.” She tossed her head, light purple hair flying around her. Merks smirked, shoving her arm back through her bow to allow it to rest on her back, before jumping from branch to branch. The blonde boy rolled his eyes, left hand fiddling with the dagger strapped to his belt.
“You need to be less jumpy,” he spoke softly, casting steel blue eyes towards her lithe figure. She landed nimbly on the ground, straightening to turn to him. As she stood before him, Ade grinned. She was dressed different than she would in town, having snuck off to enjoy the forest with him. However, her gear gave away her social stature.
Merks wore a simple, flowing dress that cut from the bottom to just below her breasts. It was well tailored, and a soft shade of blue. Though her stomach was bare, she wore a pair of black shorts that stopped well above her knees. The outfit was pulled together with a pair of thigh high, leather boots. She always felt at her fastest, in what she called her “archery gear”. While she was here in the forest, she was simply another human being. However, in the town, she was known as Princess Maradine, the daughter of the King of Verlaud.
In this land, the land of Verlaud, it is 809 AD and the lands are ruled by kings and queens. Verlaud and Dragnobalt had recently discovered unclaimed land between their territories, and each wished to be the one in control of it. While it was well known that Merks did not approve of this war, few were aware of the extent her disapproval went. She preferred protecting her people to growing her territory.
As Merks and Ade traversed through the forest, she kept her ears open. She knew that the woods could be dangerous, it was why she was never permitted to enter them. Of course, she never listened, but she was always careful. She halted in her steps, widening her eyes and peering about fervently.
“Did you hear that?” she asked Ade, and he shrugged. They both searched the area about them, each on the ready. Merks had her bow drawn taut, aiming the arrow’s tip in every direction she looked, while Ade gripped his daggers in hand tightly.
They heard a cry, and sounds rushing around them. And then everything went dark.