All writers get their start somewhere. Let’s keep going with my old short series. One more week after this one.
Anyone can be a commoner, but very few have the skills to be a warrior princess. Normally princesses do not have the chance to be in battle. Normally princesses are protected by their father’s status, but Keitha is not a normal princess. She is sweet and young almost three when her father wants her dead.
Darius weds and beds Linda that night. As Linda recovers from her pain, Darius issues forth a notice to find a good mistress, one with more experienced than his new wife. Within the year, Linda had her first child, a beautiful baby girl. Linda named her child Keitha. Keitha is a beautiful baby, healthy, strong, and kind. She rarely cries during her baby years. As her third birthday came around, it was known Linda was pregnant again. Keitha gave her mother lots of help, but when the baby born turns out to be a boy, the king remembered the promise he made to Linda before they were wed, ‘you shall only deal with the oldest child all the rest are mine.’ Keitha is the oldest child, but a boy is what is needed to be crown prince.
Darius, after the baby was born, had a long conversation with his wife. “I get this new child. I need a son to follow in my footsteps.”
Linda, a bit fatigued from the baby, shakes her head. “He is mine, you have Keitha.”
Darius would have hit her if she were not holding the baby he needed alive and well. He looks at the child. “You said the oldest.”
Linda nods and plays a little with the baby.
“Then if Keitha dies, Nathaniel will be the oldest.”
Linda’s face pales. “No you don’t. Keitha is a perfect child, you will not kill her.”
Darius turns his back to her. “If it will get me what I want I will, I am the king you know. And she after all under my command.” He snickers and walks off.
Linda runs out of the room. She hands the baby to a servant and calls for Keitha. She sits and reads a long note to her old nanny, Madame Beauix. Basically the letter told Madame Beauix to keep Keitha safe and to not tell anyone know who Keitha is. Linda signs the letter and hands it to her child who skips over to her. “Keitha.” Linda gets her messenger. “Messenger, take this girl, who is nothing more than a servant for the house of Beauix. She has the letter for them, and leave the girl there. Do not worry about cost.” Linda hands over a bag of coins. “But make sure she stays alive, within the year I will be heading to their house to see how this lovely servant is doing. She must leave immediately.” Linda kneels down to Keitha’s level. “Please, child. Follow the nice man and if he dies please ask someone to help you find Miss Bleu. Is that okay. Do not let anyone have your letter, hide it inside your clothes. Do not allow anyone to undress you sweetie and please above all else find your way to my friend. Some call her Miss Bleu, others call her Madame Dreame, and the rest call her Madame Beauix. Do not stop until you find her.” Linda hands the child a small bag with coins, a comb, a red handkerchief, and a small knife. She then gives a bag of a few pieces of bread, and a wineskin of wine. Linda then gives her daughter a sword, hilt and belt, but it was too big for her so it was fastened over her shoulder. At last, Linda hands her the necklace she was wearing. “Keitha, this necklace was a wedding gift from the old queen your grandmother who died not too long ago. If anyone were to see it, they will know your status. Please, wear it but hide it. Never give it up no matter what.” Linda then kisses her daughter and the messenger takes her away.
Keitha is very lucky her mother told her about asking for Miss Bleu. The messenger took the child across town and outside the castle walls. Keitha has never been outside the castle walls. She takes in all the sites. As they were approaching the next town, a group of thieves stopped them. The leader it seemed walked over and took the messenger’s bag. “Such a young child to be traveling with through such a dangerous area. You are nothing but a mere messenger, but this bag of coins says you are now a dead messenger.” He easily slits his throat. “Now about this child. Who are you? What are you doing?”
Keitha looks around. She had been surrounded. The death of the messenger did not frighten her, but she had nothing to say. She looks at the ground and keeps her dress blood-free. “I am K, daughter of someone and protected by something else. I am on a journey to see Miss Bleu, and I know she will protect me from the king.”
The thief leader smiles his charismatic smile and turns to his group. “So, we have a thief on our hands, boys. I good one I suspect if the king wants her dead, but so young. I guess since we do not need another mouth to feed we will head in Miss Bleu’s direction. Until sundown though we shall rest here. This child must have something special about her.” The leader takes the child’s arm and brings her back to the camp. Most of the thieves follow him. Keitha is tossed to a young lady. “Someone heading for Miss Bleu… gots the king after her.”
The young lady smiles at Keitha. “Hello, young girl. Can you even speak yet?”
Keitha nods. “I am trying to find Miss Bleu. I am to go see her… she will protect me.” Keitha looks around. “My mother told me to.”
The young lady grins. “Well, I’m here keeping the thieves warm and keeping them fed from whatever they find.” She takes the girl over to the fire. “If you wanna help, grab that stick and turn it. If you do that to all of them, you will earn food for the afternoon.” She walks off to a bubbling pot over another fire.
Keitha turns each one of the sticks. She looks at the rabbits, foxes, and several other small creatures on the sticks. As she turns the last stick, the young lady comes back over. “Girl, can you find the leader, Ohan, and tell him to see me. My name is Crystal.” Crystal smiles and walks back to the pot. Keitha watches her go back to work.
Keitha wanders through the camp. She randomly walks up to a not so bad looking thief. He must have been in his early twenties and he must have washed and shaved within the last week. “Hello, where could I find the leader, Ohan?”
The man looks down at her. “Hello, and who is asking for him?”
Keitha looks back at the cooks. She spots Crystal and points to her. “Crystal.”
The man wakes up a bit more with that. “Oh, he is in his tent. It is down closest to the lake. Do not tell him you are looking for him; tell him straight out that Crystal is asking for him. They are married y’know.” He turns back to his pals he was near. “Don’t be a stranger.”
Keitha nods and thanks the man though he wasn’t paying any more attention to her. She walks over to the tent and knocks on one of the pieces of wood holding the door in place. “Crystal wants you!” An old voice calls from inside to come in. Keitha enters. A candle is lit and an old man sits on the bed straining to get up. “Hello? Is Ohan here?”
The old man laughs. “I am Ohan, but you must mean Ohan my son and leader of this group.” He rises up in bed.
A younger man enters behind Keitha and laughs at the old man. “Father, quit playing around.” He walks over to the man. “You are still the best thief here.” The young man was the leader who killed the messenger. “And this is a young thief, though already the king wishes her dead and she must travel to Miss Bleu.”
Keitha smiles and nods her head. The nodding caused her mother’s necklace to shine a bit and catch the leader’s eye.
“I was gonna call for you to come… what do you have around your neck?” The leader Ohan walks over and kneels in front of Keitha. “May I see?”
Keitha did not know what to do. She looks around and notices a baby sleeping in a cradle. “You have a baby?”
Ohan turns and looks at his child. “It is mine… Crystal wants me to bring him out and get fed, but he is still sleeping. I’d rather not wake him.” He turns back to Keitha. “Where did you get that necklace you are wearing?”
Keitha pulls it out from under her clothing. She knew he saw, so what was the point in showing it off to someone? “My mother gave it to me before she told me to flee.”
Ohan nods and turns back to his father. “She has the queen’s necklace, no wonder the king wants her dead. I can only guess who got it. Maybe her father, mother, or even herself. But if she is born from thieves she could still make a good one.” He stands and picks the baby up. It slept in his arms. “Time to awake my child.”
The child moves a little and opens its eyes. “?”
Ohan chuckles. “You have been taught well not to be loud. My pride and joy. Would you like to see my child, Keary?” Keitha nods. Ohan bends down so the baby could look at Keitha and Keitha could look at the baby.
Keitha touches the child. It giggles a little and stares at her. She smiles at it and giggles back. “He is very pretty. Why don’t we go see if food is ready?” She looks up at Ohan, and then she turns to the old man, Ohan. “Aren’t you a bit hungry? I’ve been traveling since daybreak.”
The old Ohan, forgetting about he was playing the part of a old man, stands up and walks out telling them to follow. “You must learn to just leave and expect those behind to follow.” He says to Keitha. “And I do know who you are.” He winks at her. “My skills have not been lost in my years.” He laughs and takes Keitha over to the pot.
Crystal smiles at her father. She kisses him and tells him to wait. “You know that we need to find the bowls.” She shakes her head with a broad smile on her face. She goes over to Ohan, the younger one, takes her child and walks off.
Keitha watches her go. “Where can we find the bowls?”
The older Ohan chuckles. “Everyone, find the bowls win first cup!” He yells over the thieves. Many ran around looking for the lost bowls. He leans down to Keitha’s level and says, “Keitha, this is how we get most of our things done… If you give a thief a reason to do something, they will do it. Without that reason, they sit around and act like fools. So we best be looking if we wanna eat.” He laughs and shows Keitha the place where he keeps the bowls. “This is one of the reasons they still call me the best thief.” He laughs and gives his young friend a bowl while taking one himself. “Let us head back.” Together they walk back to the pot. “Here you go.” He fills Keitha’s bowl as well as his own. “Come with me. We can sit by the river. I know a dry spot so we can watch the river and not get wet.” He takes Keitha over to a rock overlooking the river. The rock is a good distance from the camp. Keitha drinks up her soup. “We can return to grab a rabbit to share later, but for now this will do nicely.”
Keitha nods. She finishes her soup and places the bowl safely on the rock. “I’ve never done this much in one day. I’ve never been this hungry. I’ve always done work though; Mother always got me working.”
Ohan nods. He finishes his soup and places his bowl next to his young friend. “So, have you ever met Miss Bleu?”
“Mother was taking me to see her next year.”
Ohan nods and watches a deer take a sip of the river from the opposite side. It hears the thieves coming closer to it and runs away. “Of course. When I saw Miss Bleu last year, she told me we may meet a child with the queen’s necklace. She would be the daughter of the king, Keitha. She would be threatened with death and she would be running to Miss Bleu. I’ll watch you; I promised Miss Bleu I would after what she did for me years ago when she was still a maiden. She is such a amazing lady, I must admit.”
Keitha smiles at Ohan. “I’ll rely on you then. Please don’t tell anyone else my name… I called myself K. And mother told me not to show anyone my necklace. Ohan, please, promise me you won’t tell anyone.” She stares up at him with puppy dog, fearful eyes. Her tears almost fall as he contemplates his answer.
Ohan laughs. “Do not worry, child. I will keep you safe. I promise not to tell anyone about your parentage or your necklace unless it is life or death or I have your permission. As per the thieves’ code, a promise to another cannot be broken.” He smiles and picks up the bowls. “Now, how would you like some nice roasted rabbit?”
Keitha, two seconds from sobs, nods and walks with Ohan back to food. She hides her fear again and finishes up the daylight talking and relaxing with Ohan.
The thieves group packs everything up and head to Miss Bleu’s home. It takes them three nights to get there, but they have not trouble surviving. Older Ohan, leader Ohan, Crystal, and Keary go inside Miss Bleu’s house with Keitha when they get there. Everyone else scatters around the peasant’s quarters, outside the town in the forests, and at random spots in between.
Keitha pulls out her letter and hands it to Miss Bleu. “Madame Beauix, Madame Dreame, or Miss Bleu, who ever you wish to be called my mother said I could ask for your assistance. The king wishes to kill me.” Miss Bleu takes Keitha into a child’s room. “I am your mother’s old nanny. She asked me to keep her house well in case she or her children needed to flee. So this is your house, but I shall put you under my care. I shall give you a new identity, okay?”
Keitha nods. “I always liked roses in spring and fall. Mother let me pick some last season.” She looks about the room. “Roses are red, violets are blue, I am sweet and so are you.” She smiles and pulled a book out. She glances at the cover; it was a manual script. “What is this?”
Miss Bleu smiles at the curious child. “Well, to hide your background, you shall now be known as Rose Lynn Dreame. Is that alright child, but, here…” Miss Bleu opens a drawer and hands Keitha a pendant with her name ‘Princess Keitha of DeVino, eldest’ carved into the polished ebony. “Your mother had it made and brought here. Soon one for your brother will show up here as well. Wear it always.” Miss Bleu ties it on her neck. She looks at it. “Well, now.” She wipes off her clothes. “You haven’t washed in days. No child of mine will be dirty, come now. Rose, I’ll show you around.” She walks Keitha out of the room.
Many years past for Keitha in that house. She learns to love it. Soon enough she does not remember her mother as her mother but as the casual friend who comes every other year with her children. She thinks of Miss Bleu as her mother and her child, Rodrigo, becomes her brother. Rodrigo is the same age as her and as they grow they become each other’s companion, friend, and enemy. Who could wash the dishes better; who could survive longest with their weapon of choice for that evening? They play and laugh and always fight to get Miss Bleu’s attention.
When Rodrigo and Rose are five, a boy and his master come to the house. Miss Bleu treats the boy as a son, but he is a thief. Miss Bleu always watches out for thieves, but this one is different. She hugs him like she does Rodrigo and Rose. The old master relaxes at Miss Bleu’s house for a while with his apprentice. Rose and Rodrigo could not get their mother’s attention like they could before, but that did not stop their playing.