Dawn came early for both sides.
Trevor complied to having the sake over his head and his hands bound behind his back.
Jub agreed to go with Joseph only on knowing he’d be safe.
Each of the sides had all of their allies with them, exceptions were the bards and healers.
Each held their heads up high as they walked through their territory to the designated meeting place.
Joseph and his group arrived first. He looked back and forth through the trees and thicket, but he was no movement.
He cursed to himself thinking they probably killed him first. Just as he was about to turn around and yell at Jub, he saw movement in the forest.
As far as his eye could see, stretching out from end to end of the forest, the edge was lined with warriors, thiefs, necromancers, black mages, and of course beast masters.
“Which of you is the beast princess?” He demanded.
Some of them stepped aside, and out of the shadows of the forest came a small girl. She had bark brown hair, green eyes that held anyone who looked at them, her left eye was dark, her right eye was light, she had a horrible scar on her right eye. The skin around her eyes looked like they were turning black, her lips were dark as if she had make up on. Her body was covered in what looked like tattoos of dragons, each was black. She was dressed in animal skins, small amounts of armor of a warrior, and had black mage earings. Each ear had multiple piercings. She was no taller then maybe five feet, but just by looking at her you knew she could tear anyone she wanted to apart.
“You’re the head of the town?” She asked calmly.
He nodded. Usually he’d be yelling at her, but they had his only son and he didn’t want to set her off.
“Where is my son?” He asked as calmly as he could.
“I assure you, he’s safe.” She said, “I would like to speak with you about a few things.”
“Not just a trues?” He asked.
She shook her head, “It has come to my attention that you have sent rangers into our forest at night.” She started, “Looking for me personably, Why? Why, would you cross such a line for me?”
“Well,” He began trying to find words,”I’ve heard every legend about beast princess. I was afraid you’d kill first and ask questions later.”
“That’s not it.” She told him, the entire side of gunners questioned what was going on, while the beast master’s side wasn’t wavered at all.
“Then what do you believe it is?” He asked her.
“You’re afraid of me.” She said and smirked, “You’ve studied those old legends your entire life. And from them you have made in your mind what you thought was going to be me. Am I what you pictured?”
“No exactly.” He said.
“Then how did you picture me?” She asked just toying with him now, “Taller?”
He nodded again.
“A larger chest?”
“You’re still developing.” He told her.
It was her turn to nod, “But you’re avoiding the question.”
He nodded grudgingly.
“You pictured me to be as the legends tell, a young beautiful woman, large chested, tall, strong, fast, an emanating blood lust you can feel for a mile. Didn’t you?” She asked.
He sighed, “That was the only thing we had to go on.” He said.
She shrugged understanding his point.
“But you still sent your rangers into our forests to find a little girl you were terrified of.” She said.
“I didn’t know you were a little girl.” He defended.
“You do now.” She said, “Are you still afraid?”
His face began to get red, “I’ve never been scared before in my life.” He barked.
“That’s a lie if I ever heard one.” She said, “All of us are afraid at times. That’s what makes us human. You call us savages, but it wasn’t us who locked up our only son for a year after being told both sides of the story.”
“What story?” He demanded.
“The one we’re still fighting over.” She told him, “Bout the girl, the medicine for her mother, about her dying by the hand of a gunner, and then your men turned up dead the next morning on the steps of the church.”
“We let her go.” He said, “You killed her.”
She shook her head, “We understand: She went down to get the herbs, was caught, explained herself to you, and you let her go on her way. On the way back up the mountain, one of the gunners you exiled that day killed her, kept her alive long enough to bring him to where we dwell, he told us that other gunners killed her. In our rage a hand full of beast masters followed him down to the town, and killed those they thought were responsible for the death of their own. We were both had.” She explained, “Neither is to blame. We were tricked in our blindness of hate, and we took it out on you. For that I want to apologise.”
All of those on the gunners side froze. They wanted to apologise?
Joseph cleared his throught, “And what if we do not accept your apology?” He asked.
She snapped her fingers, out of the darkness of the forest three boys stepped forward. One blond with blue eyes, one brown haired with blue eyes, and the third was Trevor. His hands were tied behind his back and his mouth was gagged.
“Trevor.” Joseph said alarmed, he never thought that they’d capture him like this.
“If you do not accept, then I must first apologise for what will happen, and then I’ll kill him.” She said calmly.
Everyone’s eyes went wide. She said no harm would come to either Jub or Trevor. Was she going back on that?
“Don’t be so rash.” He said, “Let’s talk about this.”
She nodded, “And that’s what we will do.” She said.
Myrth and Colis forced Trevor to sit down.
“You’ve been hunting in our forests, killing our animals, and then you blame us for what’s not out fault.” She said scratching behind Scar’s ears as he, Silver, and Romona showed up at her side.
“What does this have to do with anything?” He asked now more causes of his words with his son’s life on the line.
“We feel it’s time to put what’s past, in the past.” She said, “Let’s bury the hatchet. We’ve all grown up being taught that the other side is savage, and we’re always better then them, and no matter what the others will always think higher then us. But I think it’s about time we stop fighting over something so old.”
“Why?” Joseph asked.
“You’re son said it best.” She said looking over at Trevor for a second, “We’ve been told we all need to marry, and that choice has to be the best for everyone. But no one in our generation wants to get married while we’re still fighting. We want our kids, who could potentially be your grandchildren, to grow up looking at each other as equals. We don’t want the war to go on for them. We want it stop, and we want a trues, if we bury the hatchet now then there’s still hope for the future.”
“You just want us to surrender so you can slight our throughts at night!” Someone far behind the head “yelled.
“If we were going to kill you.” She told them, “We’d of done it already.”
They all froze again. Could they? They did have the beast princess back after so long, and if the legends were true then they should be. But she just said she wanted peace.
“I don’t want anyone to think we’re going to kill anyone anymore.” She said, “I don’t want anyone to think that the other side is evil. We need to accept our differences, put them aside, and live along side each other like we did before.”
“And why should we listen to a little girl like you?” The head asked.
She shrugged, “You don’t have too,” She said, “As soon as you get your son back you can attack us all you want in fact. But I just want to say what I think would be best for everyone, to those I haven’t reached yet.”
Trevor started to say something but was stopped by the gag.
“At least take the gag off him.” Joseph begged.
She nodded and Myrth took it off.
Trevor took a deep breath, “Father what she has to say will be the future.” He told them, “We all want a world where no one had to fight with anyone else anymore, right?”
Everyone on the gunner’s side looked around, they all did want it but no one would admit it.
“If we stopped fighting right now, then Star and Chime wouldn’t be victim to this world anymore.” He said, “And if we’re lucky someone from each side could marry to hold to the trues.”
“That’s what you were after this entire time!” Colis yelled drawing his sword towards him.
“That’s enough Colis.” Crysalys told him.
“That’s enough.” She said, “No more war.”
“I wasn’t even meaning me.” He said, “Or her. But It was a thought.”
“It’s true,” Jub said, “Before the incident the beast princess of the time was going to be married to one of the gunners for true peace. But then it all happened.”
She nodded, “Let’s not repeat the past.” She said, “But let’s bury it. I don’t want to deal with it anymore. Do any of you?”
Everyone closed their eyes saying a silent no.
Crysalys got it. She untied Trevor, he walked over to his side.
“Does this make us square?” She asked.
Joseph smiled, “It might take a little longer then this, but I know we wont fight anymore.”
She nodded, “I don’t care if we still have differences, but I don’t want us to fight anymore.”
“I suppose we could bury the hatchet now.” He said, “It will be good for those who are ignorant to this war.”
“You mean your daughters?” She asked.
He laughed lightly, “They know what goes on.” He said.
“I wish they didn’t.” She said.
“So do I.” He said.
As each side turned to leave, Trevor couldn’t hold it inside him anymore.
“Hey, Crysalys?” He asked, She stopped and looked at him, “Since we aren’t fighting anymore, when we’re both of age, will you do me the honour of being my bride?”
They all wanted peace, but it was too soon for that. Before anyone could move, Crysalys lunged forward at him. She she being pulled back by Garther, but she managed to sink her teeth deep in his shoulder. Trevor was being pulled away as well.
She looked him right in the eye, his blood staining her mouth red, “This makes you mine.” She told him and let go.
Trevor was pushed down the steep hill towards town. Crysalys was pulled away by several beast masters, warriors, and necromancers.
Each were pulled back to where they belonged.
Trevor was locked back up in the dungeons and tortured. Crysalys was tossed around, shook, and whipped with her own whip.
It hurt both Jub and Myrth to watch this happen to their friends.
“You cannot mix with them!” Joseph yelled at him, “We would have been at peace right now, but you had ask her such a question! Maybe when you actually were of age it would have been alright, but not now!”
“I love her.” Trevor muttered to him, “You can’t change that fact.”
“You’re an idiot.” He hissed, “If you loved her you’d of waited.”
“I couldn’t wait.” He said, “If I waited then she’d of gotten another request and married someone else.”
“You’d still be alive.” He said, “That bite mark she gave you, that indicates she’s going to kill you.”
“You can do whatever you want.” He said, “I will always love her.”
And evil smirk spread across his face.
Crysalys was chained down like a prisoner, and with each crack of the whip it came down heavily on her bare back.
“Kenshil, stop.” Myrth said trying to help his friend.
“Myrth don’t involved.” She hissed, “It’s my problem.”
“I’m not going to let you suffer like this.” He said.
“I’ll suffer more if you get hurt, now back off.” She ordered.
It hurt Myrth to watch his friend get punished simply for being bit by the bug. But it hurt him more when she yelled.
He turned around and walked away, he couldn’t look at her. He’d want t kill Keshil.
Lilly was bawling her eyes out. Not only had her little girl fallen in love with a gunner, but she was being punished for falling in love. She couldn’t take it. If she knew all of this was going to happen when she had her daughter she would have left her in the town at night, and she would have never come to love her like she did.
Of course Lilly knew she could never do that. She’d love Crysalys no matter what, that’s what mothers do.
“You can’t fall in love with a gunner.” Garther told her.
“They aren’t any good.” Awkie hissed.
“All a gunner will ever do is get you pregnant, break your heart, and leave you alone to die.” Tia told her.
“Gunners are bad.” Keshil told her.
“Not all are bad.” She said, reseaving another crack across her back, “But not all are good.”
Another beast master walked forward and picked her up best he could by her hair.
“You’re a nave little girl.” He told her, “We shouldn’t of listened to you about it. A beast princess it supposed to fight and kill. Not try and smooth things over.”
“Maybe I’m not like all the others.” She spat.
“It was too soon to try and make peace.” Issa said entering the arena.
“Issa, you shouldn’t be here.” Garther said.
“I know.” She told her husband, “But there is nothing we can do about her feelings towards a gunner, she was bitten.”
Everyone gasped, “And everyone knows once you’re bitten you can’t go back.” She told them,” But right now Lilly’s suffering more for her daughter then any of us will ever know. Crysalys is the beast princess, the elders are never wrong, but she’s not like any of the others. She’s been born to bring this land to what it should be, and what it should be is at peace. She has the right idea, but the gunners will never truly listen.”
“Trevor listened.” She said.
“I know.” She said gently stroking her hair as a couple tear began to fall from her eyes, “I don’t want to alarm you, but-
“They’ll probably kill him for saying what he did.” She said, “Or they’ll bring in an alchemist to make him forget all about me.”
“Can I tell you a secret, Crysalys?” She nodded, “Even if the spell, or the science, or whatever existed, it wouldn’t work. They way he looked at you, he was bitten just as bad as you were if not worse. He’ll never forget about you.”
“But things are too different.” She said, “We can’t ever-
“Right now.” She said, “Maybe when the war’s over. But first we need you be that princess you aren’t. Blood thirsty, evil, a killer for fun. I know you don’t want to, but it will be the only way.”
She sniffed, “Let me out of these things.”
“Not until you agree to forget about the gunner and be our princess.” Keshil told her.
“You’ve never been bitten, Keshil.” Issa told him, “You can’t ever forget about that person when you are. Her mind can be kept off him for a while, but she can never forget about him.”
He looked away, he knew he’d been beat.
“I will be your princess.” She said, “I will be your warrior, I will be whatever you want me too. But don’t make my mama cry anymore.”
They all stopped. Crysalys wasn’t selfish like they thought. And as they thought back to everything she’s done, they knew.
She always got the runts because she didn’t want them to be hurt, she tried really hard to be a healer to make her mother proud, she was glad she got hit by the bear and not Myrth or Colis, she wanted this to stop because she wanted it stop hurting her mother. The only thing she was selfish about was wanting the war to end, and Trevor.
She’d force herself to stop thinking about him and focus on her training, she’d become the ultimate warrior for them if that’s what they wanted, but she wanted the fighting to stop, that, Trevor, and everyone else’s happiness was all she wanted.
And as everyone knew that, they all felt bad taking away her life to be what they wanted and need and she selflessly accepted and went to it as they wished. And then the few things that she wanted she couldn’t have. It hurt them more then she’d ever know, but they couldn’t thank her enough.
“Alright.” Keshil said and unchained her.
Tia and Issa dressed her wounds, and wrapped a new shirt around her.
“As soon as you’re all healed your new training will start.” Keshil told her.
“And mama wont cry?” She asked, he nodded, “Myrth, Colis, Silver, Romona, and Scar wont be hurt by my actions anymore?” He nodded.
She nodded and left with the others to her mother, she was still crying but stopped soon after Crysalys held her close.
Trevor was offered a similar deal, it was his mother who convinced his father. He was to start the new training of a gunner tomorrow, and he was to put Crysalys out of his mind as much as he could.