The Words of an Immortal – Chapter 1
Jael walked across the top of the stone palisade of her family home, like she had done a thousand times. It was her special place to go when she needed to think. Her mind was still reeling from the conversation she had just had with her father and although she did not wish to remain a maiden her whole life, the man her father had chosen was a far cry from what she wished for in a husband. Sarik was the only son of King Varen of Hybrazil, a large island right off the coast of her father’s land. His wife had recently passed delivering yet another stillborn son, one of many over the last twenty years and he was in need of someone who could birth his much needed heir. The thought of being married off to a man more than thirty years her senior, for the sole purpose of breeding, made her stomach lurch. Why had her father chosen her for this task? She had older unmarried sisters and had always believed she was his favorite. Jael felt betrayed by the man who kept her by his side and treated her like a much wanted son. It was unfortunate that he only had daughters and would one day have to leave his kingdom to one of them. Whichever one he left his land to would certainly have a fight on their hands, for he had the best track of land in all Eir and his enemies would not allow such a ripe plumb to lie in the hands of a mere woman for long. One by one he married his daughters off hoping that one of them would give him a strong ally in his son-in-law and a grandson to rule. But as fate would have it, he receiver neither. His son-in-laws were not what he had wished for; they were worthless leeches and could not be trusted to rule in his place. They spent much of their time squabbling over who would someday be king and spending the treasury’s money to promote their status. As for his married daughters, none had given him so much as a grandchild more or less a grandson.
She began to play back his words in her mind. “Jael, I know this is not what I had planned for you, but things have changed. Prince Sarik is in need of a wife and has asked for the hand of one of my daughters. I know you have never met him Jael and despite your age difference I believe he would make a good husband and strong ally.”
“So, I am to be married off to an old man for the sake of your kingdom?” Jael had never known her father to waver from his belief that his daughters should marry for love.
He paced the floor in front of his throne, “I make this decision with a heavy heart Jael. I can no longer count on your sisters to give me a grandson, nor can I trust any of their husbands. I need Sarik to help rule when I am gone and can think of no better daughter than you to rule with him.”
Tears were falling down her face, “But he is so old!” Jael cried hoping he would change his mind at the sight of her tears.
His majesty sat down in his golden high-backed chair and put his finger tips together under his chin. “I have arranged for you to leave for Hybrazil at weeks end, you will stay there a full lunar cycle, if you still feel you are unable to wed him by the end of the cycle, you may come home and I will offer him one of your sisters.”
She stifled her tears as his word sunk in. She would be given a chance to turn the marriage down if she choose. “If that is your wish, your majesty, I will do my best to honor it.” Jael curtsied and left the room.
A week had passed and the Lady Jael was on a large ship on her way to Hybrazil to meet her future husband. The week had left her nervous about the whole meeting and her sisters were no help as they teased and taunted her about falling out of favor with their father. Why else would he send his favorite to marry an old man? After several hours the ship lay anchor in the harbor of Atlantis, the capital city of Hybrazil.
The city was beautiful and unlike any Jael had ever seen. It was made of concentric rings that surrounded the harbor, plants, flowers and trees covered every inch, including many of the houses. In the center of the rings sit a castle of metal and glass, it was beautiful beyond belief.
A delegation from King Varen was waiting for us at the dock. Most of them were older men, advisers of the King, but one stood out among them for he could have been no older than nine and twenty years. He was tall with raven hair and eyes bluer than the sea. He was the most handsome creature Jael had ever set her eyes on. He noticed her stare and smiled at her. Jael lowered her eyes and blushed, it was unladylike to look at a man that way, especially while on your way to meet your future husband… but, Zeus be damned this man had gotten to her already. He walked over to where she stood, kneeled down and kissed her hand.
“Welcome to Hybrazil Lady Jael, I hope you will decide stay with us.” His eyes looked into hers and Jael became lost in them.
Her heart raced as a shiver went down her spine; Jael had to remember her place, she would be future queen and this type of behavior was not acceptable. She pulled her hand away reluctantly and addressed the man in front of her.
“Where I come from it is treason to be so bold to a lady betrothed, especially betrothed to ones prince.” She retorted almost ashamed for his behavior and yet she could not forget the feeling his touch had left. Everyone looked at Jael, shocked by her words of admonishment.
“Then I should introduce myself,” standing up inches from her face. “I am Prince Sarik, sorry to have startled you my lady,” nodding his head in a slight bow.
How could he possibly be the prince? Jaels father had known Prince Sarik his whole life and even then Sarik was considered the elder of the two. “My apologies your highness, I assumed you would appear longer in years…Forgive me.” She stepped back and curtsied lowly.
He clutched her hands pulling Jael to her feet. “There are few who know of our secrets here and your father is one of them. I believe we have much to talk about Lady Jael.” Sarik offered Jael his arm, walking her to the carriage awaiting them.