Warren eyed the page he had just been handed by one of the king’s messengers. His day had been going so well until now. He’d managed to wake up early for his morning run around the castle courtyard and even had time for a delicious breakfast and a piping hot cup of coffee. But then came the messenger, who had met him in the halls and insisted on speaking with him. She couldn’t have known what she was doing.
“Sir Warren,” she had said gently. “I have a message for you, from His Majesty.”
Warren recognized the young woman- blonde, with her hair always in a braid over her shoulder, kind hazel eyes and a warm smile. She wore one of the long pink gowns she seemed especially fond of to go with her tall pink boots. Her name may have been Cassandra, or perhaps Lilly. Whatever it was, Warren wished he could forget what she had come to deliver; a seemingly innocent piece of parchment folded neatly in half. Warren opened it with trembling fingers.
We of the Castle Faylinn Royal Guard write to inform His Majesty and all of Faylinn of the passing of Prince Rei. He perished at the hands of Castle Edrys’ soldiers and his body could not be recovered before our units were forced to retreat. We will return shortly to continue defending Faylinn’s borders, as well as pay respects to His Highness.
Warren crumpled up the paper and threw it on the ground. The messenger girl gasped.
“S-Sir Warren!” she exclaimed. “I understand you must be upset but-”
Warren glared at her. “Upset?” he said between gritted teeth. “Rei’s dead. I’d say ‘upset’ is putting it mildly.”
Cassandra (not Lilly, Warren remembered) was visibly shaken. Warren forced himself to breathe and calm down. He picked up the letter and smoothed it out as best he could before handing it back to Cassandra.
“When…?” he started. “When was this written?”
Cassandra tugged at her braid, refusing to look Warren in the eye.
“I was told it was delivered today, and the message was likely written three or so days ago.”
Warren thanked her, then started down the long stone hallway.
“Sir Warren!” she exclaimed, running after him. “Where are you going?”
He gave her a crooked smile. “To see the king, of course. I’m sure he and I have a lot to discuss.”