This little story that’s forming doesn’t have a title as of yet other than “Princess”, and I have absolutely no idea where it’s going.
Kelisin awoke to the sound of voices.
“Little brat can’t have gotten far. We’ll have us our nice reward yet.” A man’s voice, rough and unpleasant. He laughed, and Kelisin felt her heart race in response.
I have to move, she thought. Slowly she began to sit up, moving as quietly as possible. Bits of leaves clung to her dress and her hair, and a twig had left an impression on her left cheek. She didn’t remember falling asleep the night before.
“Here, princess,” said another voice. It was deep and mellifluous, but just as frightening. “Here, little princess, we won’t hurt you.”
Maybe not, thought Kelisin, but I know what’s waiting for me in the capital.
Kel crawled out from the bushes she had been sleeping in and looked around carefully. The forest was old, and the trees large around the trunks. She wouldn’t be able to climb one, and even if she could they would see her before she could reach the leafy branches and hide. She considered crawling back into the bush. It was thick enough to hide her. Would they think to check it?
“Here’s a nice bush. She hiding in here, the royal whelp?” Kel heard rustling, like he was thrashing the bush with a stick. She would have to find another hiding place.
Ahead of her was only more forest, but behind her, in the direction of the voices, was a large outcropping of rock. She crawled towards it.
“What’s that noise?” Kel froze.
“Probably just a rabbit,” said the man with the deep voice.
They were almost upon her. Quickly, she got to her feet and ran towards the rocks. Please, please, she thought.
And there, to her immense relief, she found the perfect spot. A crack in the rock, just wide enough to fit through. The opening was just above the ground, and as such less likely to be noticed. She lay down on her stomach and started backing down.
The rock scraped her skin and tore her dress, but she ignored it and continued on, shoving her hips through, and then her shoulders, and finally her head, pulling it out of sight just as the two hunters came into view.
Kel peered through the crack at them. One was skinny, unkempt, and probably unwashed. Something about his pointed face and beady eyes made Kelisin think of a rat. The second man was large, muscular, and clean-shaven, probably a soldier. To Kel’s horror, he had a sword belted at his waist and a crossbow across his back. She shrank back farther into the rock.
“Go check that bush,” said the soldier.
There was more rustling, and then the Rat replied. “No princess in here, nope. But there’s a dent here, in the ground, just the size of the brat.”
The soldier frowned. “It could be a deer. The girl’s not very big.”
“We keep going then?”
“You think we’ll find her?”
“I found the other one, didn’t I? The boy?” His tone was smug.
Kelisin felt dizzy. They’d caught Richard. She felt her breath coming faster, the rock pressing in on her.
“That you did.”
“They don’t call me the Hound for nothing, Rafe. Here. If we find her, I’ll let you have a little…fun…before we take her back.”
The Rat licked his lips and renewed his search with vigor, and the Hound, with a faint expression of distaste, followed him.
“Here, little princess, here, little brat…come to Rafe, little princess, he’ll take you home…”
As they walked away, the sound of the Rat’s taunts and laughter echoing in her head, Kel gave in to unconsciousness.