Secrets are revealed, and alliances are put to the test when the King calls for Princess Adelaide’s head, and princess Eleanor must do what she can to protect her.
But Adelaide has a plan.
The only problem is that it will mean Eleanor will have to betray her whole family or face losing someone she is quickly growing very close to.
A Princess, A Knight And A Tyrant King.
When war is brewing she must fight or die…
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Adelaide nodded slowly at the news. “I wanted to resolve this peacefully,” she said sadly.
She seemed to accept her fate so easily. It angered Eleanor. “I won’t let them take you!” she said, striding across the room. “They have invented these charges against you; they are calling you a witch!” Her voice was becoming louder and angrier; Adelaide stepped forward and held out her arms.
“Calm yourself,” she said, looking at her intently until her anger subsided. “Now listen.”
Eleanor nodded slowly.
“You have helped me so much already,” Adelaide explained, her voice low and urgent. “There is no doubt I would be dead without you, dead from my wounds in a tournament and it would place no shame or guilt on this kingdom. You prevented that… Now, I need to ask one more thing of you.”
“Anything,” whispered Eleanor, feeling enthralled by being so close to the Princess.
“There is a small army, an army of three thousand men, free men who have volunteered to fight for their country. They have followed me here and are encamped just beyond the border—”
“An army!” gasped Eleanor. “But your father, he is a man of peace. He has never summoned an attack—”
“My father is dead,” replied Adelaide, her face grim. “My two brothers were murdered, and my sister is in Aragon; I am all that is left. Once I am gone, my kingdom falls to your father and my people become his slaves.” She allowed these words to sink in before continuing. “I need you to send one of my attendants to summon the army.”
“I can’t,” Eleanor replied sadly.
Adelaide nodded and pulled away from her. “I understand,” she said. “You are loyal to your father, as you should be, as I would expect of a subject, especially his daughter.”
“No!” Eleanor said. “No, I am not.” As she said the words, she knew they were treason. She knew they could execute her, but she knew the words were true and suddenly she felt free. “Your attendants are imprisoned. I cannot send them anywhere. But,” she took a deep breath, knowing that she was about to propose something that would change her life forever, “we could escape. Together, there is a secret tunnel that goes under the moat. We could both be free.”
Adelaide looked at her and smiled, reaching out and gently stroking Eleanor’s cheek. “And then what?” she asked.
“We could be free,” Eleanor repeated weakly.
“To do what?” Adelaide asked. “My attendants would be murdered, and my realm destroyed; the King would never let you go without a fight. If there is indeed a tunnel, I ought to go alone.”
“You can’t leave me here!” Eleanor felt desperate. Her only chance of escape, of freedom, was slipping out of her hands and Adelaide was leaving with it. “I have saved your life. Now I need you to save mine.”
Adelaide looked at her. The gentle smile was gone. She was solemn and peering at Eleanor as if trying to see inside her soul, trying to figure out how much Eleanor meant by what she said.
“Then what do you propose?” Adelaide asked finally.
Adelaide looked at her questioningly.
“The young guard, Edward Bly, we shall send him to fetch your army, and then we will lock the drawbridge. The castle will be undefended and unprepared. It will fall immediately.”
“Are you certain?”
“Of course I am! Edward is in as much danger as we are. He will be loyal and the drawbridge is the main defence. Once that is gone, then an army can simply walk through the door completely unchallenged.”
“No,” said Adelaide, reaching down and grasping her hand. “Are you certain that you wish to betray your King? Your people? Men will die today because of your actions… are you willing to bear that burden?”
At the warmth of Adelaide’s hand against her own, Eleanor felt as though she had melted inside. She stared into Adelaide’s bright blue eyes, so earnest and full of concern, so beautiful.
“I am certain,” she whispered.