Sometimes fear is worse than actual danger, and I saw it very well. My home, the beautiful palace that glowed in freedom in every sun ray, now had turned black with the wet weather hitting against the palace walls, made the place look old and beaten. My home and everything surrounding it had turned grey and colourless with my mother's death and a far war threatening the kingdom, but there was someone who had brought back the colours and joy with their starry blue coat. Erlan Dolos was the name he went by when he first came to Verlo and kneeled in front of my father. He was soaked wet, but he bore a big smile that gained my father's trust. The king was heartbroken after the queen's death, unable to enjoy a single meal and find a single reason to get up and this man just walked into our lives and just like that, had gained all our trust and hope. Seemed Verlo was a whole lot brighter than before, especially in my life.
Just like every morning, I raised from bed and brushed myself up for the coming day. I took my basket and went down to the garden to collect some colour before breakfast. Mother used to have flowers in all the halls in the palace that gleamed and flourished all year long, but since the famine, workers at the palace were scarce, so it was in no one's interest to burden themselves with flowers. Although the king didn't speak a word, I knew deep within he missed the little bit of colour that the flowers offered. Autumn was coming but Verlo looked darker than usual, no red, no yellow and no beautiful sunsets. All I could find was the last green leaves and a few leaves that hadn't completely turned into a dead brown colour. The big bell rang eleven, and I hurried back so as not to miss breakfast. I met no one on my way to the dining room and, for my own disbelief; I had started to find it surprising when I did meet another soul. The palace seemed to crumble on top of you when you walked through the halls, the walls too closed in, with no lights and no sound. It seemed abandoned; its walls unkempt with cold coming through the cracks.
Suddenly a laughter hit the coble walls and echoed deep into the palace. I took to a run as if it was danger, but when I got to the dining room, I met eye to eye with my father. His eyes were old with sorrow, but you could see the tiniest wrinkle from a smile on his cheeks. Next to him stood a man with thick brown hair and a poorly kept coat. He was trying to restrain himself from breaking into laughter with papers folded under his right arm and his left arm held up to his lips as if to catch the laughter. “I will leave you two for breakfast,” he said before meeting eyes with me. My cheeks were hurting from smiling too hard, but I liked it. “Princess,” he gave me a little bow and was gone in a wink of an eye.
My heart skipped a beat, to that I swear, for Erlan Dolos was a prince in star blue armour in my grey palace.
“I have grown a liking to him,” the king's voice rang, but it didn't leave the dining room as Erlan's did. It stayed small and sorrowful, but I knew that what he said was true.
The young wizard was a joy to have around and for his wit, the king had taken him as an advisor not long after he came to Verlo palace in search of the king. He had been sent by the stars, as he said himself, to come here in search of a home. “I like him too, father,” I whispered my agreement, but I do not think he heard the same meaning as what I heard.