Part 2 - A Dream of Change
Something wet touched her forehead offering her some relief from that constant dizziness.
Allana tried hard to open her eyes and looked around, her thought running in search of some kind of excuse that could justify what had happened. However the gentle voice that spoke to her allowed her to calm down and her better judgment told her she shouldn’t hasten things.
“Take it easy. You’re safe, now,” Dana was telling her, looking worried, and Allana took a deep breath.
“I’m OK …” she answered, although she couldn’t get rid of the annoying sensation that her head was about to explode.
“That’s what you say. But just moments ago you were burning up. Who can ever understand what goes on in that royal head of yours, deciding to take a stroll in the garden during such a storm?” Dana added, losing her tone of concern to scold her, and Allana smiled politely.
“When I went into the garden it wasn’t raining,” she answered, following up on that garden story or whatever it was, and held her head that seemed to go round and round as if it didn’t belong to her.
“Well, anyway, please stay put while I get you something to eat. And afterwords is back to sleep, understood?”
“Yes, Dana.” Dana smiled, pleased with her answer, and stood up from where she had been sitting, by her bedside. “Dana? What about Sir Denon?”
“Oh. The young Knights had decided to leave tonight, but it would seem that the rain made them change their minds. Not to wonder, of course. It would be dangerous to travel in a weather like this. Anyway, this gives you the chance to properly thank Sir Denon for bringing you home. Which reminds me, Lord Heric has already been here to see you, worried to death about your health. He asked me to tell you that he’ll be visiting you gain, tomorrow morning,” she added and, as Allana didn’t add anything else, left the room.
Allana closed her eyes, still feeling tired.
She knew Dana since the day she’d been born. The woman had been taking care of her ever since then and, in a certain way, Dana was more of a mother to her than Lidya had ever managed to be. However, the common ground between her and her nanny ended there. Allana was too much like her mother had been in her youth; too wild and adventurer. Dana was the conservative type. In her mind the future and happiness of the Princess were mainly associated with securing a stable and lasting marriage, that would offer the Kingdom a long awaited steady and intelligent King. Not that Allana’s father had been a weak King, much to the contrary. Allana’s father had been an amazing ruler that had managed to keep Everlyn away from the wars that had ravaged their neighboring countries. However times had changed and the King had died almost ten years ago, leaving his ill and fragile wife to rule in his place. Everlyn had grown too used to its peaceful ways, falling asleep into a dream that had ended long ago. And now, for the first time in decades, there was no way to escape the approaching war.
It was in this country about to wake up to a living nightmare that Heric had appeared; the new hope. And so he took with him, wherever he went, the hopes and dreams of all those who still believed it was possible to go on living without knowing pain or suffering. Many had even started to question the reports that constantly arrived from the North, and there were those that simply refused to believe that there was a war going on, not far from their borders. As far as the people were concerned Heric would certainly find a way to make Everlyn go unnoticed before the destructive eye of the enemy’s forces. However, Heric wasn’t of noble blood and to the Royal Council, consisting of half a dozen old men, the old ways had to be upheld, which meant that a nobody like Heric could never have a sit among them or command the Kingdom’s Knights. It was then that Dana had suggested their marriage, the perfect way to satisfy the Kingdom’s needs and, at the same time, to grant a well deserved happiness to her protégée. Of course, in the beginning, Allana had been absolutely against that preposterous idea. Heric was considerably older than her and she couldn’t, for the life of her, force herself to even grow to enjoy his company, what to say about more romantic concepts such as love. But then, looking at how her mother grew weaker by the day, and knowing that the simple word of their engagement was enough to allow him to command a great part of the operations concerning the Kingdom’s administration, thus releasing Lidya from such burdens, she had finally complied and accepted what was asked of her.
Dana had been thrilled with her decision, but apparently neither her nor Heric seemed happy with the way things had turned out. Heric was a grown man, happy to live in a world of pre-determined rules that had to be obeyed without question. Maybe that’s what made him such a good ruler. But as far as she was concerned it made him simply … boring. Allana couldn’t find anything remotely interesting about him, even when she tried to look at him nicely, suppressing the repulse she felt every time she imagined herself laying on the same bed as he. Above all she knew he could never understand her, nor the intense desire to explore the world she had been born with. She could never become what Heric expected of a woman – a delicate being that stayed obediently at home, managing his house and raising his children, trying hard every day to perfect new ways to please him. The thought alone filled her with repulsion. She dreamed about being someone and, above all, she knew she had what it took to be whoever she chose to be, even the most ferocious of Knights. That having been said, the conflicts between the two of them were inevitable, since he couldn’t help feel dishonored by her constant disobedience. Fights were common and Dana always took his side, since he was the perfect husband she had so carefully chosen for her. Sometimes Allana really hated her! Heric, being an adult, had to be right, and Allana, being no more than a child, had to be corrected as soon as possible.
Allana covered her bruised face with one hand and took a deep breath. Whatever the case, at the moment there were more important matters than Heric to attend.
Elian was there, in Everlyn!
In truth she had always knew that that day would come. She had prepared herself, accepting her fate. Sure she had panicked by the lake, when he had told her the truth. But that too was over now. Besides, there wasn’t much she could do, except to wait for the events to unfold themselves.
In her mind, words of warning and the scary stories she had been told as a child mingled, leaving her anxious, her heart beating too fast; terrifying stories about a small boy that lived in a neighboring country. Back then Allana had feared him and, at the same time, wished she could meet him one day, even if only for a moment, so she could make sure the stories were true, so that she could give a real face to that imaginary boy. And now he was right there. He had talked to her, smiled at her … touched her … and nothing had happened. And yet, no matter what was yet to happen, no one could ever know of his presence there!, she decided and the thought alone frightened her. Why not? Surly she would be safe if the others were to know the truth. Surly they would protect her! And then she finally understood. She didn’t want to be protected. All she wanted, all she really desired, was for some kind of change! Even if change meant death …