Anwynne glanced out the window of her carriage. Only a vast ocean of trees and mountains could be seen through that gap to the outside world. Perhaps another day she would have thought this sight splendid. But this day, she had no wonder to spare for such frivolities or simple beauties.
The scarlet leaves, slowly fading away from the silver-barked trees, were nothing. The silver mountain in the distance, glinting with ice in the lowering autumn sun, was nothing. They were nothing to her this day. They only served as a reminder of exactly why they were nothing to her. The leaves fell like the last days of her journey. The silver, ever-approaching winter, and that distant palace of stone, was like the faraway throne she would soon ascend to.
Anwynne was going to Nistria, a country far from her own Ingrecia. She would be there in but five days. There, as arranged by her own country, she would marry the king-to-be, Angelo I, and take up queenship there. A foreign queen in a cold land, drifting away from her own country with the last traces of autumn. This was why all that she now saw - every tree in that dying forest - was nothing to her. Soon enough, it would all be gone, passing away like her own nothingness, only to be crowned in cold grandeur, as she would soon also be.
Anwynne shook her head resignedly. Elystra was such a fearful little lamb...
They proceeded - wordless - to take a shocked, but weakly struggling Elystra out and bind her. She tried to pull away, but fainted from using all her energy against them. Once they were finished with Elystra, they then pulled Anwynne out almost effortlessly. Once she was out, though, she kicked and she fought as hard as she could. However, despite her endeavor, they still managed to tie her wrists. After this, she stopped struggling, seeing as it was currently pointless, and she was quite out of breath from trying. So Anwynne had to content herself with glaring as they led her into the forest.
All the guards - and all the other bandits, on that account - were mysteriously gone, along with almost everything the carriage had been carrying. The only ones trudging through the forest, oddly enough, were the two men, Anwynne, and Elystra.
They went a good way into the forest, and entered a sort of cave, that one wouldn't have really noticed unless you were looking for it. Once inside, Anwynne fully realized how many bandits there had really been. There were dozens inside the giant, day-lit cave, surrounding the now tied-up guards of the host, including the two scouts. Elystra was lain on the floor, next to the guards, all of whom were tied up, and most of whom were unconscious.
Suddenly a noise sounded from on top of the rock in front of Anwynne. She looked up. There was a somewhat tall man, with bronze-ish colored hair, and brown eyes that were almost cat-like, perched on a rock in a comfortable, feline position, who when he saw Anwynne, jumped down agilely like a tiger, and moved quickly towards her.
"Hello, Highness!", he said in a careless, almost amused tone. "I am most glad to see you here. Captain Orlando Rogan, the Belestinian thief", he continued, bowing. "And welcome to the den of the Silver Forest Bandits"
Anwynne knew it was her duty to her country to marry the prince. Thus, she was indifferent to it. If it must be, and it would bring greater peace for her country, then so be it. Anwynne had resigned herself to it.
And it wasn't as though she was being set up for unhappiness. Her mother had taken every measure to make sure Anwynne was happy. The Nistrian prince was not far from Anwynne's own age, and was known only for his qualities. So Anwynne had decided she would try to love him, and proceed with the alliance. And if she could not love him, then she would merely be queen as she could. It was no matter of any distress to her, and she almost found herself looking forward to the queenship, if nothing else.
Anwynne glanced away from the window after a moment spent in thought. Her lady-in-waiting, Elystra - one of the only friends she had brought with her from Ingrecia - was sitting opposite her, embroidering some small thing. Maid Elystra had been slightly less unperturbed by the journey. She had been concerned for Anwynne. When told of the alliance, Elystra had tried to speak to Anwynne, and ask her to consider the choice in more depth. Anwynne had told Elystra that nothing would be wrong, and so Elystra had abandoned the subject. She was still sad to leave Ingrecia, no doubt, but she kept silent and went with Anwynne willingly.
Anwynne and Elystra had been friends for many a long year, despite their slight differences in social rank. Though Anwynne could have chosen many companions for this journey, she only chose Elystra. Elystra was one of the only friends Anwynne had. And Anwynne only desired a little company, so Elystra had been perfect. Elystra had been willing to leave her home, and her inherited nobility, just to come with Anwynne. But this was the sort of character Elystra had, which was exactly why Anwynne loved her so.
Anwynne's guard, like her attendance, was light. There had been trouble in Belestine - the country they had to pass through to get to Nistria - and so they had chosen to be secretive and stealthy in the mission. Her guard was only composed of about a dozen men, captained by Anwynne's only other friend, Elystra's twin brother, Errius. Other than that, the only guards were two sentries riding ahead to scout for danger.
Anwynne's thoughts were then interrupted by the voice of Elystra. "Your Grace...?"
Anwynne looked over at Elystra. "What is it, Elystra?"
Elystra looked down. "I have an odd feeling, Your Highness... that something is wrong, and I cannot brush it away"
Anwynne raised a brow. "I sense that this is not the first time you've had these doubts, Elystra"
Elystra blushed slightly, and took her focus off her embroidery. "I don't know, Princess. Somehow... I've had a foreboding feeling since this journey was proposed..." Elystra shook herself and tried to smile at Anwynne. "But I'm sure it's fine..."
Suddenly, the carriage stopped, and the sounds of the rest of the host ceased.
Elystra stopped embroidering and her eyes widened a bit. "What...?"
"I don't know", replied Anwynne instinctively, though Elystra had not finished the query.
Anwynne, in a small burst of courage looked slowly out the window. The guards were standing a little ways off, looking at the front of the carriage, where the Captain was riding. Then some voices sounded from in front of the carriage. Voices she didn't recognize. Then the guards moved closer to the carriage. Wait a moment. Those men were not guards. They were dressed in shabby clothes, and had knives at their belts rather than swords. Robbers. Anwynne quickly pulled the drapes over the window.
Then from the front of the carriage came a sword-like clanging, and the voices getting much louder, and the neighing of frightened horses. Anwynne's heart was beating at an insane swiftness, unable to be calmed by her self-assurances that Errius could handle the threat. She looked over at Elystra. Elystra's huge, silvery eyes were wide with worry, and her skin was even paler than usual, changed to an almost white tone. Her face was no longer so rosy, but ghost-like, and a rogue strand of her straight black hair was hanging over her face.
Gradually the swords stopped, and Anwynne listened as hard as she could for some sign that Errius' soldiers had triumphed. Then the carriage door abruptly opened, and a couple of men were revealed. The one that stood in front was extremely tall, with blue eyes glinting through black hair that hung over his face.
Anyways, that's the first scene. Unfortunately, because this story started out completely improvised (and kept being written that way for looooong time), it isn't separated into chapters, so I'm just going to post it scene by scene instead (or two scenes at a time, depending on how long they are). I hope you enjoyed it! :) What did you think? Hopefully it didn't ruin anybody for reading any of my writing ever again, haha... :P Don't worry, it gets better - at least a little bit. :)