Burning Hope.

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The night was engulfed by an eerie silence. No crickets chirping away. No owls hooting softly down at her. No wolves howling in the distance. The castle itself was silent. No creaking doors, no giggles erupting from her maids chamber, no footsteps to be heard. It was a quiet night, too quiet for comfort. She gazed through the window, at the world that lay outside. There was no moon in the sky, no shimmering silver light dancing atop the tree tops. The night stoically stared back at her with a dark, blank gaze not giving her what she was looking for. It was too quiet and too dark. She knew, she knew in her gut that something had gone terribly wrong, that something had not gone according to plan.

The lone candle in her bedchamber was clearly showing the lines of anxiety and fear evident on her pale but handsome face. Her eyes however alight with hope in the warm glow of the burning candle. Her silk and muslin dress billowing in her wake as she paced up and down the chamber.She was wringing her hands in her anxiety. The flickering candle light was throwing wicked shadows on the walls around.

She took a deep breath and sat down on her unmade bed. She stared at the shadows on the wall. They seemed to be  growing larger, looming over her, like the constant fear in her heart. The walls to her; appeared to be moving in towards her, constricting her. Her dread and unease was suffocating her, consuming her. She could hear the hooves of thousands of horses; the clang of sword against metal shields; she could hear the war cry. She could see the bloodshed; she could see the mangled bodies. She closed her eyes tight to block out these mental images her idle mind kept conjuring up. No, it wouldn’t do for her to lose hope now. She was fighting to not succumb to the numbness, to the fear. She gripped the canopy in her hands to steady her thoughts.

He would be alright. He’d fought all his battles himself. He was the bravest and the strongest warrior she knew. He would come home smiling, rejoicing in the victory like he always did, she pacified herself. But there was that gnawing feeling in her heart which told her that something was different. That this time it would be different.

She  got up and went to the vanity and pulled open the topmost drawer. From within she picked up a small box and opened it. Within it was a locket, a  ruby heart. “I want you to have this, love. For even when I am away, my heart shall be right here with you” he had said. It gave her a small amount of comfort now clutched within her palm. It made her pensive. It made her close her eyes and reminisce all those wonderful moments spent with him, just the two of them.

Lost in her thoughts, she was jolted back to reality by the sudden strong gust of icy wind blowing in. The wind tasted of loss and despair. A shudder ripped through her, the heart still clutched in her hands, her hair whipping her face. Something seemed to snap in her. Her heart seemed to be disintegrating, seemed to be breaking apart. She knew it deep down. Something had not gone to plan. The gust blew out the only flickering candle, like the loss was about to blow away all her happiness.

Despair and pain were heavy in her voice as she choked out only one word in a strangled whisper.

“Father!”

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