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located in Avaandi, a part of Suspended in Time, one of the many universes on RPG.

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Turn your eyes upward, my friend. Peer into the mountains with all your might. For our story begins-

What? The palace? Oh, don't tell me you've never seen the Cahyan Palace before. A wonderous piece of architecture, that one. The ellegant archs, the adorned columns, the tall, tinted windows... Would you believe me when I say that the inside is even more magnificant than this beauty of an outer shell? It's fairly small, but you must understand that magnificance and size are not even distantly related. The rooms are enough.

See the far tower? Prince Basil Hakon and his wife, the lovely Princess Catrina board there. A fine set of chambers, I hear. They've even got a little room for their coming child, the unborn prince or princess. No I do not know the gender! No one knows! How could they know such a thing? Oh? They can tell in your world? In all due respect, this is not your world, not at all. I don't know what kind of sorcery occurs where you live, but our world is free from such hellish ways. As far as I know... But that's not the point. You asked about the Palace, did you not?

In those halls, you can find a throne room, a council room, the music chambers, an extraordinary library, a dining hall, the kitchens, the royal study, a training room, and somewhere in those very halls, you will find the Hall of Heirs, as the in house servants call it.

In this hall, there are ten rooms, but only four of these are occupied. (There was five, until Prince Basil wed, but that aside.)

The first door to the right is that of Prince William. You will find that it is full of books, with a mahogany desk running the length of an entires wall. Papers are stacked neatly across this desk, the prince himself more than likely poring over them with utmost intensity. He enjoys law, you know. Very much so. He knows the ins and outs, the ups and downs, and just how every kingdom's political system works.

The nest door past Prince William's is that of Prince Lionel, a mischevious young man who refuses to waste time with such trivial things as law and studies. No, he is interested in where the real action occurs - the battlefield. He is an expert on using each and every weapon you can name - bow and arrows, spear, straight sword, curved sword, throwing knives, slingshots, fists, etcetera, etcetera. Yes, I did say fists. He has been known to attack his brothers when they disagree, having a rather short temper and all.

Across from Prince Lionel's door is that of the youngest Hakon son, Prince Fahd. He's a rather quiet young man, kind and just. Makes it kind of ironic that his horse's name is Demon, you know? Well, maybe not. Demon was a gift from Lionel, years ago. Oh yes, and did I mention that Prince Fahd is betrothed to a princess from a few kingdoms away? He's rather excited; the fine girl is in for a treat, truly.

Bypass some empty rooms, and step into the last room on the right hand side. This is the chambers of King Marshall's only princess, Anastasia. Chances are that the balcony door is wide open, the gauzy curtains fluttering carelessly in the gentle breeze. And most of the time, you'll see the beautiful princess herself, leaning out over the balcony, arms spread, eyes closed, smile wide as her hair and dress whip around. But alas, the princess has not smiled for nearly a month. Every since Queen Kendra's untimely death.

Which brings us back to our story. Now, peer into the mountains once more. Look long and hard, and you'll be able to see-

What is it this time? The Kingdom of Cahya? Well, I'd gladly tell you, but I really must be getting on with the story or- Okay, I see your point. Just this once, I'll concede.

The Kingdom of Cahya is set in the Milaki Mountains and in the range's wide valley. It's a rather small kingdom, compared to its neighbors. Many of the kingdom's citizens farm the fertile land down in the valley or live a nomadic life hunting in the thick-forested mountains. It is very odd to see a Cahyan who goes on for an education or pursues a trade. When they do decide, they're taken to the capital to learn. But many just don't have the interest. I suppose you could say that, overall, the Cahyan people are... naive. Their kingdom rarely gets involved with wars (makes Prince Lionel seem odd, eh?) and they are a peaceful and content people. They love their simple life in their fairly-young kingdom, they cherish it. They trust their royal family one hundred and fifty percent. Period.

There. Are you happy now? Now, if you don't mind-

NO WAY! ABSOLUTELY NOT! HAVEN'T I ANSWERED ENOUGH OF YOUR QUESTIONS?!

Ahem. My apologies. I, ah, temporarily forgot myself there. Please forgive my idiocity.

Now, where was I? Oh yes.

If you look long and hard into the mountains, not too far from the Palace, you'll be able to see a girl in a flowing blue gown, her blonde hair pulled into a simplistic braid tied in place with a bow of the same hue. And upon her head sits a little tiara embedded with sapphires, a tiara that she only wears in rememberance. Princess Anastasia herself.

Anastasia wanders aimlessly around the forest, thinking to herself. Mother... Dead. Her... All alone. No one to trust, no one to turn to.

She hasn't allowed herself to shed a single tear. No; she has to stay strong,she knows. She can't afford to allow herself to fall apart, can't afford to feel sorry for herself. Mother had said to hold strong, and therefore Anastasia refuses to cry in the slightest. Besides, where had crying ever gotten a girl?

That's right; nowhere. Anastasia isn't sure she herself believes it, but she holds to it all the same, desperate to make her mother proud of her, even for something small, microscopic in proportion to the things all her brothers are doing.

Anastasia draws herself deeper into the woods, wondering vaguely if she'll be able to find her way back. Sighing, she sits on a rock near a mountain stream, allowing herself to take it easy and think about something else, if only for a few scarce moments.

The woods is of great beauty, a sight for her straining eyes. Anastasia allows herself to look up upon the twittering sound of the birds' melodic song. Somehow they always sound better than any instrument, she marvels silently, closing her eyes in the midst of this peaceful world.

The birdsong lulls her, like a mother singing her newborn baby into a sleep of sweet, sweet dreams. Soon, Ananstasia finds herself singing, carefree along with her feathered friends, making up lyrics as she goes. She sings of sunshine and happiness, romance and flowers, children and meadows. A once-in-a-lifetime song. A song she'll never remember, never again sing. A sacred song, known only by the birds and the trees. In other words, by her only friends.

Then the world goes silent. The birds stop singing. The trees quit rustling their leaves, the air now motionless, stale. The only sound is the water lapping up against the rocks.

Anastasia opens her eyes with a deepening frown, her pain and her song long forgotten. She glances around tentatively, but sees no one. Now a soul in sight.

"I could've sworn..." she mutters, and that's when the hand clasps over her mouth.

Her attacker had came up from behind on silently treading feet- she had failed to see or hear him before it was too late.

"My apologies, Princess," says a man's voice, dripping with disgusting sarcasm.

And before Anastasa knows what's happening, she's gagged, blindfolded, and bound, in the man's arms. He runs for a while as she flails, eventually shoving her in the back of a carraige.

((Sorry for the abrupt ending; I kind of have to leave, like, now. xc So sorry.))