Ugrann's golden eyes scanned the dunes, sand rising and falling in the wind. At his side, a small cat was in his grasp; she was crying loudly, tugging at his sleeve. Behind in the waters, ships sat waiting. Another white cat stood close behind, sobbing into her cloak. Ugrann snorted at his wife; Abeila looked up at him, them at the little one beside him. The cat king sighed in relief, she came like he was told. A short cat walked in a slow pace, she taking her time.
Ugrann growled at her, and tugged her in front of him. "Get over here; I gotta go!" She finally reached them, and was quite old. He looked at her in repugnance; the old cat was gray and had bagged eyes. "You, that queen sent you?"
She looked up at his through brown eyes. "Yes; I'm Verna, the care taker. Give me the child you promised.." Verna's paws met the small paw. Tazmaria yelled out, and Abeila ran back to the ship, whimpering. The old one's paws felt Tazmaria up and down, and she said. "The child is healthy; here is you part of the deal." Ugrann snatched the bag, and peered into it. Smiling, he walked off; and his daughter started to scream.
"Shh, don't scream... what's your name?" Verna, picking her up.
"My name's Tazmaria." she cried, gasping air.
She grinned a little toothed grin, and walked onto he dunes. "Tazmaria..what a lovely name. Do you know where we are going?" Verna saw her confused look, and continued. "I'm taking you to someone who has agreed to care for you. Her name; Lady Zervessa." the ships started to sail away; Abeila locked herself away inside her cabin. Ugrann ordered the crew around, while Tazmaria was being informed of her new home and new life.
Seasons had passed since Tazmaria had saw Ugrann or Abeila; Verna had cared for her, and they continued to travel north. The snow was falling, when Verna stopped in a sudden. "We are almost here." she said, in a sorta happy tone. The old one sped up her pace, and Tazmaria followed close behind. After walking for almost a whole mile, they stopped before the Castle of Carnell. Verna pulled a red flag out of her cloak pocket, and started to wave it.
Tazmaria looked up at the small tower by the draw bridge. Someone's head poked from the window, and waved back. With a loud creek, the bridge came down. They were greeted by a ferret and another cat. "Madam Verna, you've returned," she looked down at Tazmaria, and smiled. "And you've brought the young one he promised. Well done, Zervessa will be pleased." Let them pass, the young cat looked up at the ferret and cat.
Walking into the castle, warmth covered them, making Verna remove her ragged cloak. Turning who last corner, a giant door stood tall, guarded by two cats. One stopped them, and growled. "You are?"
"Madam Verna; lady's care maid." he then pointed to Tazmaria, and she growled. "That's Zervessa business." they let them into the room, where, in a throne, was a tall beautiful cat. Zervessa was a pretty shade of maroon; but with a tan underbelly and throat. When her juniper colored eyes set upon Tazmaria, she hissed. "Is that the child?"
Verna was bowed on her knees, head down. "Yes; like Ugrann promised."
"What's her name?" Zervessa said, getting up. "Tazmaria." Verna said. She had came up to Tazmaria; looking down at her. With a flick of her wrist, the old cat left out the door without another word. Her attention back on the young one, she paced around her. "Tazmaria; what a most comely name." Zervessa stopped at her face. "What a pretty princess you'll be."
"But, my father said I was already a princess."Tazmaria said, frowned.
"Well, he lied. Now, you are a true princess." The snow fell with out a sound, and then fell hard as the details were drilled into Tazmaria mind, scaring her forever.
Book 1: The Monarchy
Danately, the care taker, walked her way to The Royal Chamber. Delayed by own her speed, the young catmaid gulped as she stumbled into the room. Inside, Zervessa's claw were treading the ground as she marched around the room. "It could happen again. Just got to stay calm, and breathe." with that, she breathed a nice breathe, but it turned to a growl when she saw Danately. "Danately; ye see what happened?!" The care taker stood there, shocked at the sudden outburst. Snarling viciously, Zervessa grabbed the cat's necklace and pulled her to the window.
The sight below was gruesome; some fires burned, bodies laid flat everywhere, and red was splattered all over the grass. Danately gasped at bodies were loaded onto a cart; others who hadn't lost their lives sat moaned in pain. "You see that, care taker?! The slaves had gotten loose, and a riot happened!"
"B-But," Danately stuttered," Why are you coming to me about this? I had nothing to do-" she stopped as Zervessa twisted the necklace, starting to choke. "What do you say? I came to you because it's your job to keep ever guard here healthy and taken cared for! And because of this-" the queen pointed out at the scene below. "my second command is dieing in his room right now!"
"Ms. Danately is quite a lousy care taker." a voice sighed. Both Zervessa and Danately turned to see a young cat standing in the door way. She strolled in gracefully, dress cape falling behind her. "Verna was much better. A mighty shame you killed her off just because of a simple potion mishap!"
Dropping the frightened one down, Zervessa looked to her. "What do you want Tazmaria?" she hissed between sharp teeth.
Coming closer, the princess twirled in her fancy dress and said, "I'll just wanna say, if you need me, and hopefully you won't; I'll be walking around the forest."
"I'll send me finest guards t-" but she was already gone. Closing the door, Tazmaria winced at the horrific screams ringing from the chamber. Running around more and more corners, guards either bowed or watched as she passed. Before the lifted draw bridge, she ran to the small room beside it. A weasel sat there, spear at ready; when he saw the princess, he was down on one knee. "Leaving the castle, once again; eh princess? Why?" Tazmaria slapped him and growled. "That's none of your business!"
Over the bridge she went; and right into the dark forest. Birds' shadows flew overhead, and they crowed loudly. Tazmaria pulled her hood over her hair and head. "Ken? You out here?" she whispered in a small shout. She kept walking, claws scrapping the dirt and gravel. Suddenly, something shot out and grabbed her.
Tazmaria was going to scream, but that someone whispered in her ear. "Shh.." Tazmaria knew who it was; but sulked down more when she saw two tall stoats walk pass. They laid there unnoticed, and listened in. "Lady Zervessa said t'folla Taz. But she's gone!" one said. The other scratched his nose. "Let's go'n'report!"
Once the two were out of sight, Tazmaria turned and hissed. "What is your problem!?"
The hidden-one removed his hood, and his bright blue eyes shined lightly. His brown fur and black stripes were flawless, and with his green tunic, he held a spear. "Sorry; just didn't wanna get caught is all. Sorry, Princess Tazmaria Goldeneyes!" he joked. Kendar, or as everyone called him, Ken, grinned at her with long teeth. "Ken.." she sighed, hugging him. "I thought you had gotten hurt in the riot."
"I did." lifting off his shirt, Ken showed her the long gash across the front of his chest. Tazmaria gasped at this, and ran her fingers along it. "Ouch!" he yelped. "It hurts. And I couldn't find that ol'excuse of a nurse Danatela anywhere!"
"It's Danately." the palace guard rolled his eyes as he put his shirt back on. "By the way, how did you get that?" Tazmaria asked.
Ken stood up, and picked up his weapon. "That came from that badger Zervessa suggested to keep. Stupid lady; can't even think how dangerous a badger actually is!"
Tazmaria jumped up, and growled in his face. "Watch you say; palace guard! She and Verna still raised me.." Without thinking, Ken growled back. It soon began to be a battle of the loudest growl. It lasted for a moment of time; until Ken made snarl that echoed across the land. Once it had traveled on, Tazmaria and Ken both burst out into a rage of laughter. Tazmaria stopped laughing first and looked at him; he smirked in a playful mood, like always.
She put her hood back upon her head and turned to him. Ken had also placed his hood back on. "Ken, you're gonna enter through the back way, hm?" Tazmaria asked smartly. Ken smiled and hugged her tight. With one last nod, Tazmaria ran back in the direction of the castle; Ken did the same, but just gonna go the back way.
Later that warm day, the sun began to dip into the hills, disappearing as the moon rose slowly. But the ones inside the Castle of Carnell were up and about, ready for the party. A celebration for the day the castle was built; in the honor of Zervessa's mother, Carnell. Tazmaria's personal slave, a squirrel named Genevieve, was helping the Princess with her clothes and what not.
"How about this one, My Lady?" Genevieve said, holding up a red dress. It was as red as a fresh tomato.
When Tazmaria saw the chosen dress, her faced twisted in a frown. "I'm not wearing red." she declared. The young squirrel maid held it limping to herself, and it was long, it covered her feet.
"It's the color of a sunrise!" said Genevieve.
"It's the color of fresh bloodshed!" Tazmaria said, growling as she placed sparkling earrings in her pointed ears.
The young one made no comment, and walked back to the closet and hung the dress back up. After a couple of minutes of going from dress-to-dress, Genevieve came back with a green dress. The top of it was a light green, with almost no sleeves. The skirt of it was a much darker green, and a wide brown belt around the waist. A red cape fell behind it, connect to the dress with gold buttons. It was pretty to Genevieve, who gasped, "It's this one just heavenly!".
Tazmaria rose from the mirror, and held it up for her to see. Her reaction wasn't what the slave expected. "Genevieve; I don't want to be colorful like a rainbow." the Princess sighed, laying out the outfit onto her bed. "Don't I have any grays or browns?"
"My Lady; you'll be sitting next the visiting King Magnus and his son Prince Nalfi tonight." the squirrel came up to Tazmaria tying the necklace around her slim neck. The squirrel looked at herself in the mirror, nothing but a slave in a tattered tunic. "You need to look...beautiful."
Tazmaria saw this, and suddenly took off to her closet; leaving Genevieve confused. Returning with a ripped up pink tunic-like dress, the Princess smiled. "Here; you've been helpful to me young one, and you need a better outfit if you want to stay in the Castle." Genevieve took it and ran out the door, and called. "Thank you My Lady!"...
The golden eyed wildcat looked at herself; she was wearing the dress her slave had picked out. Like Genevieve said, it was heavenly. The smooth silk, felt wonderful on her fur. Tazmaria walked out her room, the guards watching as she passed. She didn't want any young or old one following her, to protect her. She wanted the only one she knew she could actually trust: Ken. Tazmaria rounded a corner, and entered the Grand Room. People were all about inside, either talking or eating with others. Tazmaria was going to call out Ken's name; but almost jolted out of her fur when he appeared to her side.
"Surprised to see me?" he said, holding out his arms; requesting a hug.
Tazmaria pushed him away gently, not wanting to attract eyes. "Not now Ken; you know how General Baldrick gets when he sees you near me."
Ken shrugged and said. "But I'm guarding you." the cat's blue eyes stared into her gold ones, not releasing their trace. "Not if you want a hug!" Tazmaria joked, breaking the spell that had fallen upon the two. A couple of eyes had rested on them, and did General Baldrick's did as well. Ken thought quick of the problem, "We must split up to cease attention on us." and so they did.
Ken walked deeper in the crowd, and Tazmaria turned to walk in the other direction, and came face-to-face with Zervessa. Oh no.. she thought, thinking that the lady of the castle had saw her with the Palace Guard; her pet name for Ken. Tazmaria was thankful when Zervessa said, "Go and sit next to Prince Nalfi."
The Prince was a handsome fellow; a yellow-gold color. He had watchful brown eyes, and wore a simple white tunic. As she sat beside him, Tazmaria hoped he wouldn't start a conversation; but to her missed luck, he got up and bowed before her. "Princess Tazmaria, I ask?"
Tazmaria regretted sitting next to the loud mouth; but, Zervessa told her. Nalfi was weird; like violent things, like war. He recalled when a resistance tried to over run them, and he himself killed the leader of it. A young mouse; Nalfi said he felt no sorrow for killing the young one, calling him stupid enough to try. The Prince was more than weird.
His father, King Magnus, was totally different. The King was fat and rather rude, even to Zervessa. When a weasel maid passed by with a tray of fruit in her paws, Magnus crudely tripped her up. Tazmaria felt that he got what he needed, because when Magnus tripped her up, a melon landed on his head. The juices of the ripe melon fell about his ears and whiskers, and no one could resist a laugh at him. "Stop laughing!!" Magnus howled, banging a staff on the table. "All of you!!"
Zervessa stood up, hiding a smile on her lips. "Sorry to rain down on your parade Squire, but you are in my Kingdom. You go under my laws. You have no control over my guards or slaves. So; I suggest you enjoy yourself.." she said, almost in a hiss. Tazmaria wanted to laugh at the look on Magnus' face, but couldn't with Nalfi beside her.
"An inelegant little shrew.." Nalfi murmured, and Tazmaria was in enraged.
Standing up and kicking the table from her, she snarled at Nalfi, catching everyone's attention. "Who do you think you are; you.. you spoiled little Prince! Calling my mother inelegant, ha! The only things that lack the absolute proper elegance will be your prosperous father and you!"
General Baldrick was at Tazmaria's side in seconds, and asked calmly. "Is everything okay, Princess?" Without an answer, Tazmaria just started walking away. Every guard stood up, doing what they do best; guarding. "It's okay." she said, telling them to sit back down. "I'm fine. Just a little sick." She walked down the corridor, trying to forget Ken's calls to her. As soon as she was out of ear shot, Tazmaria ran out the castle. Since everyone in the castle was at the celebration, she was alone.
The fountain was one of Tazmaria's favorite spots. Yanking the heavy earrings out of her ears, she threw them into the shinning water, watching them float to the bottom. Walking into the fountain, she sighed with relief; feeling the water running between her toes. The two sparkling items in the water sat there, untouched. At first, Tazmaria was going to leave them there. But picked them up, knowing word might go around if the Princess's earrings were found in a fountain. Fishing them out, Tazmaria walked out of the water, the hem of her dress slightly wet. Back inside she went, back to her chamber. Inside, Genvieve was hanging up new dresses in her closet. "Celebration over already, My Lady?" she questioned, closing the closet.
"N-No," Tazmaria said, parting the clean curtains to her bed. "You may leave now Genvieve. I need to be alone." the slave obliged, walking out and closing the door behind her. Using the key to lock in shut, Tazmaria laid down, still her her dress. Her mind swirled with many things, and they were all taken into slumber.
The square cells of the castle were deep, dark, and wet with moss. Ivy had climbed the walls, inched upward each day. Two guards were in one corridor each; in one enormously long one was Ken and an female ferret named Rakan. Rakan and Ken were friends ever since they had started working for Zervessa's army. The ferret got up off the floor she was sitting on and asked the blue eyed cat very loudly, "You still sneaking out seeing the Princess? Hmm?"
Ken shut up her by slamming his spearbutt onto her paw. Rakan hopped around, cursing as she went. "Argh! Why you confounded pussycat! Go'n'chase your mangy tail!"
"Shut ya trap Rakan!" Ken said, testing the point of his spear with the tip of his finger. "Anyone can hear ya; even the slaves. Just keep quite about it. I'm suppose to meet her sometime t'night."
Rakan had stopped the hopping around on one foot, but the pain still throbbed. "Kendar, ya know it's risking. If everyone finds you two t'gether, they'll kill you'n'lock her in her chamber." Ken just chuckled and sighed, "I know what I'm doing." At that Zervessa came bounding in; she stopped right before them, eyes staring. "What were you two blabbing about?" the queen asked. Rakan stood mumbling, but Ken had a answer.
"We were talkin' about how magnificent you are!" he stood up strait, at attention. Rakan followed in his way, looking ready for anything. Reassured the guards are doing the right thing, Zervessa left with a slight snarl. As soon as the Queen did, Ken looked at her, eyes burning into her back. "How magnificent you are at bein' a pain in my-"
Rakan whistled innocently as Ken rubbed his head, feeling the soreness of a new bump. "'ere comes ya little friend.." Tazmaria came walking to them, the blue eyed cat smiled. But something was wrong.