You call yourself a king, Mandie shouted, but you are nothing but a monster. The tears ran down her face as two small paths into her eyes as she ran out of the throne room and into the hallway. Her father shouted something after her, but she shut the voice out. Didn’t want to listen. Didn’t want to feel.
Finally she came to the door to her bedroom. Before she let herself in she glanced down the empty hallway. The servants had all left. Into her room she threw herself into the bed and started sobbing. Why, she thought, why me. A strict knock on the door announced Queen Lorelle, her mother. Mandie pushed up herself and said: Go away! The knocking stopped and silence took over as the clicking sound from her mother shoes faded. Mandie buried her face deep into the pillow and wept herself into sleep.
She woke by a faint knocking on the door to her balcony and hurried to the door smoothing her skirts. She imagined she could hear her heart beating. When she opened the door she gasped: Jael! I thought you were in prison. In chains. Happiness was painted in her pale face with spots of confusion when she threw herself in the arms of her dark haired beloved. I was, he panted, fondling her hair, but a guard “released” me.
I have a proposition for you to answer, he continued. Will you leave this castle and run off with me? He looked for the answer in her eyes that shone so bright in the pale moonlight.
The answer came increasingly as she fully understood his words: I will, but how are we going to get out? All exits are closed and guarded. The man I used to call father has given strict orders to keep me inside these castle walls. I’m being held prisoner. She felt something pressing up her throat. Take it easy, my rose, Jael comforted and kissed her arguments away. I know a way. Down the well in the courtyard there’s an escape tunnel that leads out to the forest. There I have a surprise for you. When do we leave? She half- whispered excitingly as she went over to her chest of drawers to get her hairbrush. Now, Jael said. The guards change in just a few moments from now. Then we can go. Mandie, princess of Kondor, daughter- heir of the Hawk Throne laid down her hairbrush, bandied a wool cape around her and followed.
The escape went smooth and Mandie`s smile grew bigger as Jael led her into what seemed like a small den but appeared to be a quite large cave. Suddenly Mandie froze by the sight of an old monk sitting on a stone in the end of the cave. When she looked at Jael he knelt before her. She gathered some dignity and smoothed her skirts as he started to speak in a solemn tone (at least he tried to look solemn): Will you, my love, marry me? Mandie could feel life and virility flood through her veins. She thought she never had felt so alive. Yes! She said quickly and the monk raised up and opened a book. The knelt before him as he started to speak.
It seemed like forever for Mandie before he came to the part considering yes or no. The both answered yes with a smile in their eyes. I now pronounce you husband and wife; the monk finished and shut the book. As Jael bent over to kiss Mandie a man appeared with a group of soldiers in his back, clapping his hands. The new- wed froze. I’m sorry to interrupt your cute little ceremony, general Endar, the king’s right hand, said sarcastically. He pointed a crooky finger at Jael and commanded his soldiers: Take him! The soldiers reacted immediately and hit Jael unconscious. Then he turned to Mandie and smiled in a grim way. And you my little princess, are “grounded”, he said scratching his hand.
Before Mandie could react a man came and pushed a piece of rancid smelling cloth over her face and mouth. She tried to wriggle free but the man held her in a vice. She had begun to feel dizzy when Endar continued to speak: We don’t want you run away, do we? He laughed. Then everything went black.
When Mandie woke up she laid in her bed. The sun was almost in zenith she could see through her window. Lena, her nanny, laid down her knitting work when she saw movements in the bed and started to speak: A handsome farmer is like Angerian rose: So beautiful and promising, until you get stung by the poisonous thorns. Mandie sighed. It seemed like her nanny had an endless storage of sayings.
Suddenly a chill swept through the room as the door opened and Mandies mother, the queen, entered and frowned as she started to speak: How could you run away, Mandie? We were worried about you. Running away with that fool boor and everything. She spat when she said “fool boor” Mandie noticed. By the way, your “former husband” will be wiped and hanged this evening for injuring a soldier and running away from prison, queen Lorellè said in a tone as she was a farmer woman talking over the fence with the neighbour about the weather. And a charming prince, prince Iridan, have given us a wreath of marriage that we were to give on to you. His father is the king of Kondor, and we need to strengthen our alliances with them. You should marry him, if you get me right. That was her last words before she left the room leaving Mandie and Lena alone. Mandie perplexed. Hanged? Today? Everything seemed to blacken before her eyes. Then she fainted.