the lion blood princess
chapter 1 prelude

they called me lion blood
but what did i get for it?
I don't know, but mother said
to keep on fighting for those who can't fight for themselves
that's when I decided to become a a vessel for my people.
my mother the queen gifted me the name elowen
as part of my initiation into my new role as princess of the shield marrow kingdom. I was only five at that time when mother got sick, i felt myself growing up.
i was still small then and didn't fully comprehend the magnitude of my new responsibilities as the only heir to the throne.
but soon enough the queen had passed, I was ten. not only had our kingdom lost our queen but I had lost my mother, I was then forced to take up her duties, only then I realized how much I would need to sacrifice to fulfill them.
"Elowen, it will begin soon," a voice calls out from behind me. It's my grandmother, mother's mother. She smiles sadly at me from where she stands near the door, she has the same kind eyes.
"It's time dear."

Chapter 2
it was night when it happened. we were all asleep, my grandmother had just gone to bed and so had everyone else. even though i was still awake, i found it difficult to fall asleep. i laid awake listening to the wind blow gently through my window. i knew it wouldn't do any good, i knew there was nothing i could really do but try to sleep. my poor mother was to be laid to rest in the morning. no one should have to see their mother die, least of all me.
when i hear something shift next to my bed, i turn over slightly to see what it might be. in the darkness it looks like a person standing beside my bed. my heart rate quickens until i realize it's actually a crow, large and black so dark I thought I could see the whole expanse of the night sky in his feathers. I looked into his eyes and froze a cold sweat breaking out all over my body I screamed. it wasn't long before the entire castle woke up. everyone rushing into the rooms screaming for me to wake up. i stayed silent, my eyes wide open staring straight at him.
"ELOWEN!" i heard someone scream out. suddenly they had yanked me away from the crow.
"Elowen?" the voice asked again, this time closer than before. "you're awake now, you need to tell us what you saw." a young woman, presumably one of the maids, stood by my bedside. "can you tell us what was happening?" i couldn't answer her. "Elowen?"
I managed to finally speak " I'm okay just a night terror is all I'm sorry to have woken everyone" I said with a small smile. everyone left and then I fell into a dreamless sleep.
the next morning came and it was time to bury mother,the maids ran around me and fussed with me to get me dressed and ready for the worst day of my life. once everything was done, we started to leave the castle to the family crypt,they pulled me onto the carriage and sat me down on one of the cushions. as they drove I noticed there was more than one guard riding ahead of us.
as we neared, I saw the crypt large and marble with a huge iron gate at the entrance, a marble statue of an angel adorned the top of the crypt the lifeless look in the angel's eyes made my stomach feel like it was twisting itself in knots as we approached the tomb, we arrived in front of a group of guards with torches. they stood at attention and nodded towards the cart which the servants rolled forward. the driver stopped the horses right by the entrance, the knights dismounted first and stepped to either side. one knight held an iron key that he handed to another knight.
first the knights and father the king walked into the crypt with mother's casket. they each picked up a corner and carried it into the crypt, the maids followed carrying the torches. they laid mother inside and covered her face with her veil. mother always looked beautiful even in death, maybe especially in death. father spoke to the servants, telling them that they should clean out the chambers once they are done. they agreed and left the room. once everyone was alone, father took my hand in his own,he squeezed it gently then let go.
"remember to pray," father said looking directly into my eyes. " he had such a heart renched look on his face father looked much older now, he has aged so quickly I thought to myself.
"Elowen " grandmother called to me to sit with her, she gave me a warm smile, " remember when mother died, your father would carry you around while singing that song you liked so much." i giggled then remembered back to when my mother used to sing it to me as a baby. the song of the crows ."weather wind or rain take me away I will always come back on the wings of the crows they know my face they know my place they will bring us home".
I smiled back up at her, tears welled up in my eyes. "I'll never forget the sound of mother's voice. I will sing it everyday for the rest of my life, she is the reason why I am alive."
mother used to say that sometimes the birds can sense that you need them.
the service was long and sorrowful I went to take one last look at mother before they closed her tomb. the lanterns lit the way for us the crows follow as we made our way home.

Chapter 3
I don't remember much after my tenth birthday. The year was a confusing blur. When I did figure it out I wished that I could just stay that way forever. My life had changed drastically since the day mother had passed.
my father told me I would be leaving to learn how to be a good queen to rule one day, I fought at first then gave in I was young and needed to be taught. so off I went to mother's home kingdom the land in the middle of the sun they called it. it was in the relm of the fae folk I would spend ten years here at court then would I be sent home to rule??

Chapter 4
.the king said I would only get stronger if i learned how to be a better person.
after several years at court, I began to see how wrong I had been.
people were cruel, my father was distant and angry, mother's brother was abusive and abusive towards me.
"Elowen " a voice called, my name echoed throughout my halls.
"yes mother" I replied turning around. mother wore a blue gown adorned with jewels and pearls and she carried herself as proud as ever. she placed a finger over my lips to shush me " you mustn't talk so loud." I giggled and so did she "oh mother how I've missed you" I cried and hugged her tight, burying my head in her shoulder
she returned the embrace, "and i've missed you dear Elowen," she said. "we should return to our palace, father is waiting for us to greet you." mother led me out into the hallway leading to the royal gardens. she opened the garden door and ushered me in. then I looked up at the sky as it grew dark and eerie I watched as a red light bloomed over everything. the sky filled with cawing crows and I turned to look at mother and as she turned to me, I saw the bones in her face where her skin should have been,she opened her mouth to speak and only dust escaped her gaping Maw, I screamed then I woke with a jolt, just another dream I thought to myself ,I was covered head to toe and sweat shaking heart racing " calm down Elowen "I said to myself I had to stop doing this.

I got up and slipped out of bed quietly. I wrapped a robe around myself and left the bedroom, my bare feet making no noise against the cool tile floors as I made my way towards the stairs. I made my way downstairs and headed towards the library, opening the door I was met with silence.
I stayed there all night enjoying the silence. I picked up many books tried to read them but I can only think of my night terrors, I thought of them for so long the sun started to peek through the windows and I sighed, another sleepless night.

the other thing I dreaded that came with the dawn was my lessons with my mother's brother he was a cruel man he wanted me to call him my Lord. he would beat me if I uttered a different name he was Lord Baron second in line behind my mother he would take over this Kingdom after his father my grandfather passed I never dared to speak out against him, I feared what he would do if I told them of how he treated me. he was an ugly little man but strong, he was trained as a knight but never saw battle, behind his back the maids called him the strong coward and I agreed.
this morning we were to be practicing etiquette.
"elowen? elowen?" I heard a snap then my hand was burning Lord Baron had hit me with the ruler he was holding in his hand, I gasped "sorry my Lord I was somewhere else". well don't let it happen again he said between gritted teeth. I finished my etiquette lesson early and wanted to head towards the gardens but first I needed to stop by my room to get my over coat, it was still cold and most of the ground was still ice covered and frozen. I found a note waiting for me in my room I opened it carefully with the letter opener on my bedside table, the letter said I was to change and head to the gardens grandmother was waiting for me in the gazebo for tea, just thinking about it made me happy I got see grandmother I did not know she had returned.
she sat at the table with her cup of tea in hands and smiled as soon as she saw me " hello little one you look very tired today" she said pouring me some tea " yes grandmother my lessons didn't go too well today.
then we talked about trivial things and enjoyed each other's company.
i ate dinner with Lord baron, grandfather and grandmother. we drank a toast to mothers memory and grandmother asked if my education has been going
smoothly. I told him " yes grandfather it's going fine" it was a lie of course my education hasn't been perfect but the tutor who comes every week to help me with my studies was very nice and patient with me, I am learning a lot I hope. my tutor is a young lady from the Royal academy. her name is Arianne and I adore her she is very kind and funny.
after dinner grandmother dismissed me to my chambers, she kissed me softly on my cheek and then wished me sweet dreams "goodnight grandmother and may I tell lord baron that tomorrow we can play chess?" I asked, grandmother smiled and nodded "of course dear" she replied, I kissed her goodnight again and made my way to my chambers.
As I entered the door my stomach started to twist again the room was pitch black and I could feel something was watching me, I stood stock still I listened hard, nothing... just silence "it's okay my friend you're safe here" I gasped at the voice and lit my candle then my eyes adjusted to the dim light.
There in the center of the room was a large golden cage. inside the cage was the loveliest gold dove I've ever seen it was the size of a pear, it's feathers were as gold as honey. I slowly approached the cage while admiring its beauty as I placed a gentle hand on the glass and stroked it with my index finger. "how did you get here?" I whispered to it.
Suddenly a voice from the cage spoke. "hello love." I jumped back startled, "what!? who said that?!"
"I did" the dove cooed "you can speak? where did you come from?" I spoke my voice shaky.
"I'm a gift from your father" said the dove with an air of grace in her voice. She stretched out her goldfeathers and gently stroked my cheek she looked me straight in the eyes and continued "you want to know what your father wants you to become when you become queen?" she asked me, I nodded my head. "your father wishes you to become a conqueror mighty and great the strongest queen." She responded.
my mind whirred to process the information. I looked outside the window, the sky was filled with stars, a million tiny diamonds dancing in the vast expanse of space that seemed endless. "do you think I will?" I whispered I could feel a tear slipping from my eye onto my cheek. "yes it has been written so my dear so it will be."
she responded,
She flew towards me and perched upon the tip of my nose, my smile grew wide from ear to ear as I felt a warmth spread through my veins "what does it mean?" I asked.
"it means my queen will be powerful but she will also have a great destiny" she answered.
. I decided it was time I headed off to sleep I had lessons to learn tomorrow I bid the dove goodnight and laid back into bed my thoughts were racing with ideas I drifted quickly into slumber. I was woken by someone knocking on the door. "come in grandfather" I shouted ,grandfather laughed as he entered my bedroom "so you know it's me just from my knock" he said with a deep throaty laugh. " yes grandfather I'm sorry, do you need something? I've already gotten dressed" I asked. grandpa chuckled again "yes actually" he answered "what was it grandfather?"
Grandpa walked up to me and reached inside his cloak pulling forth a small box with silver hinges. he handed it to me "it' s for you" he said. I took the box hesitantly I opened it, inside was a golden ring, engraved with intricate letters. "this is gorgeous" I said, looking up at my grandfather, he simply smiled and gave a nod of approval.
"thank you grandfather" I bowed down slightly. grandpa smiled "anytime" he said before leaving.
THIS FICTION OVER---------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter 5 the pirates
It was a rainy day, a gray drizzly morning. I walked into the palace courtyard, raindrops dripped onto the cobblestone ground. I made my way to the training grounds and I noticed two knights sparring. I hid behind the pillar knowing if I was seen I would be cut down on the spot ,it was my job to seek out a way into the castle, the princess would be returning soon then that would be our moment.
I heard rumors of the king gifting her the golden dove of destiny. she would be returning to take the crown very soon so we needed to be prepared for that. of course it was my job to ensure our plan was successful,
so far it wasn't but that doesn't mean we weren't working on it.
After sneaking around for the last half hour I finally got into the right part of the castle, I sneaked past guards and servants all the way to my destination. I stopped near the edge of the forest and waited for the right moment. I left small markings around places on the castle,places that were safe that we will be able to get through quickly without being noticed during the princess's coronation it would be crowded and loud these places would be quiet and unguarded.

We needed to find a way in without raising suspicion or alerting any guards to us.
Once satisfied enough I began walking back through the palace, my heart beating a bit fast and adrenaline pumping through my veins.
I ran my fingers along the wood railing of the balcony, the wind blowing my blonde locks into my face. I pulled my cape tighter around me trying to cover myself as I stepped out. The sun was rising high in the sky and birds chirped in the trees and bushes. It was early yet. and not many people were around. I needed to get out before I was noticed.
I glanced up and there it was. the ballroom balcony. My mouth went dry my heart quickened and sweat formed on my forehead. was taking the crown princess at such a crowded event such a good idea, I started thinking to myself. the balcony balcony was the highest place in the castle it would provide the best view of everything. the ballroom itself was only for royalty and dignitaries. the lower floor of the palace housed the kitchen and storage rooms. the top floor consisted of apartments for those members of the court who lived there. well this better work I thought to myself and descended to stairs and snuck out a window to head back to the boat harbor where the captain would be waiting for his information.
I arrived back at the ship a few minutes later, the weather was still cold and grey and there was a mist covering the harbour and sea. I could hear the muffled sound of water lapping against the pier and wind rustling against the leaves above my head. I turned to the main deck where the captain sat on the steps writing in his journal. I tapped his shoulder. he jumped almost falling over, he turned to see me standing there holding out his bag. I smiled "here sir it's a map of the castle" I said handing him the leather case.
He opened the bag and looked down at the map "thank you marco" he said. I smiled "don't mention it captain was like stealing from a babe" I said with a smirk. he chuckled and tucked away the map safely under his arm. I watched him gather up the rest of his stuff and leave the deck. I turned and found a seat next to the mast and leaned against the pole, then it started to rain the rain pelted me relentlessly, I closed my eyes and let the coldness wash over me making me numb.
I must admit I was feeling nervous about out job, I didn't know what to expect but I knew it was going to be exciting. I sat there for awhile, the only sounds besides the pitter patter of the rain were my breathing and the waves crashing against the pier as the rain grew heavy. Suddenly there was a loud thunderclap and I froze in fear; it's not often the clouds are angry but this storm seemed angry and it was getting dark fast. "I should go" I thought "there's no telling how long it will take for this rain to stop, I'll have to go below deck before I catch my death of cold "

Chapter 6 the captain and his prize

set at my desk reading over the pieces of map that showed the castle interior we could go through without having any problem now, Marco had done very well but I would never tell him that to his face he may get too cocky. I sighed as I put the piece of paper down and rubbed my temples. I was putting my crew through dangerous job in this kingdom, I couldn't afford any mistakes or mistakes would cost us our lives. I heard a knock on my open office door, I looked up from my work expecting to see Marco. A short young boy entered carrying a basket full of books, he placed them on my desk. "here's some new book selection sir" he said setting down the basket and bowing. He walked to the door. "thanks lad" I muttered. The door creaked shut and the boy disappeared out the door. the young lad had brought me many books about the kingdom, it was good idea to learn about the place that you were about to Rob blind, once we had the soon to be Queen the crown princess, would make our way across the meridian sea to the kingdom of morda where she would be sold off for quite a pretty penny it was a great deal. I thought to myself.
my thoughts were interrupted as I was brought out of my thoughts by someone knocking on my door. "Come in" I called. a man walked in I recognized him as one of the crew Alistair I think his name was a beautiful man in my eyes to beautiful to be a pirate, Id liked to keep an eye on him and keep him from the upcoming job to be honest beautiful men betray people pretty easily, he carried a tray which contained several cups on it "please come join me lad" I motioned for Alistair to sit down opposite me, he set the tray down next to me. " thank you lad" I replied. Alistair filled my cup with tea and I inhaled the scent. "you're very welcome, your captain cain I wanted to ask you something..." he trailed off as he fidgeted nervously, my smile dropped "of course" I replied as I poured myself another cup, Alistair gulped. "we have received intelligence from a shipmate that they had discovered the location of the princess and are planning to attack the carriage before in arrives at the castle" he said. I raised an eyebrow
"are you sure?" I asked him, I could sense something was amiss, he nodded in response. "well, if they did I can assume they thought it was a good idea to double cross me" I said completely flustered now, how the men I've taken In and given food water and shelter double cross me. Alistair coughed beside me , me forgetting he was even there, " okay boy don't tell anyone else what you just said to me not even the first mate.. you can go" I nodded at him and he left out the door.
I went back to reading my map when the rain started pouring harder outside the windows, I could hear it slapping the windows and the drops hitting against the glass like little pecks on a bug. I stood and paced around the room, "it has to be next week , I'm certain, the carriage is supposed to arrive some time then. I need to figure this plan out" I said pacing back to my chair and sitting down, I rested my head on my folded arms and closed my eyes listening to my own thoughts.
I woke up early the next morning, I was running behind schedule I knew.

Chapter 7

Elowens POV

after my lessons with my royal tutor we're over I was to go speak with grandfather, he told me that soon I would be returning home. grandfather was going to have a ball to wish me well, he needed me to speak with him about many things many things about the ball and the ring I was gifted, on the inside the ring was engraved lion blood. I wasn't entirely sure what that meant but I guess it had more significance than what it seems. I took a seat beside grandfather in the library he handed me the documents that were needed for my trip home. I skimmed through them reading each page carefully, "I want to make sure everything goes according to schedule, we do not want any complications" he said looking directly at me "I understand." I responded quietly, he continued to read and I continued to listen.
When he finished he spoke "we shall begin preparations for your ball tomorrow" he said placing the papers back into their respective piles and stood. I followed suit and waited to follow him out of the library. "I will send word to the king that you will be leaving 3 days after the festivities" he said turning to look at me with a smile on his face. I nodded and bowed slightly "thank you grandfather" I said softly. he nodded and left the library, I made my way back to my room to feed my dove then to get ready for my lessons with Lord baron .
After feeding the dove I walked straight towards the training field, it was my favorite place in the whole castle and I could relax there whenever I need to think about anything. It was quiet and peaceful as I waited for Lord baron for our swordsmanship lessons the birds chirped loudly in the trees surrounding us. I took a seat on the soft grass and started stretching my leg muscles. I was so focused on my stretches that I didn't notice the person approaching me until he was right in front of me. I looked up and saw a tall handsome man with black hair and brown gold eyes. he was wearing a white shirt with a red vest underneath and black pants. he was also wearing a pair of black boots. he knelt down and began to pull out wooden practice swords from the basket beside him. I looked at him curiously, he held up a sword with his left hand pointing it towards me I reached out and gently took hold of the sword, he moved his arm forward showing me to hold the sword properly. I followed his movements silently getting in my fighting stance. "who are you? where's lord baron?" I asked see as I have never met this man once in my life and now we are standing sword to sword. His brow furrowed and he looked confused. he quickly swung his sword at me I jumped backwards as he nearly cought me in the face he then stood up straight and pointed it towards me again, his expression became fierce and he gripped the hilt of the blade tighter. "I asked who you are!" I yelled "your highness" he replied with a smirk. My brow furrowed, how dare he sing his sword at me without even an introduction,he clearly knows who I am I think to myself angrily. I decided to charged at him swinging wooden sword as hard as I possibly could. "how rude! your highness!" he exclaimed "now look what you've gotten yourself into!" he shouted swinging his sword towards me. I tried blocking but to no avail. After a few rounds I managed to block most of them but I felt like I was losing ground. The swordsman swung his sword at me and I dodged it just in time. I grabbed his wrist and pushed him back while still holding onto the sword. I hit him in the chest with the other side of the swords, I had to use all of my strength to prevent him from pulling away from me so I threw him to the ground "now you pay for that" he laughed. I pulled away from him and jumped back, I looked at the man in front of me I was panting, I was tired out from the sparring. the man chuckled "I didn't know that the crown princess was so skilled"
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