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  1. It was rare for Gunter to have spare time in the evenings. Clara padded down the hall after dinner that night hoping that tonight she’d be lucky. The book that her brother left her this past visit was heavy. She came to the door that was left ajar. The tot could see the guardian as he sat in his chair, absorbed in his work. Her knocks on the door where met with silence. The redhead tootled over to attendant and pulled at his pant. Gunter tore himself from his work, he was agitated initially but his gaze melted as it met with hers. “Good evening, little princess. What brings you here at this time of the night?” he inquired gently. Clara struggled to put the book on the desk; she stood on the tips of her toes in attempt to gain height. The knight smiled and motioned her to give him the book. She placed it in his hand carefully. “Would you like me to read this to you?” the paladin questioned. The little girl nodded enthusiastically. “Before we start can you be a good girl, and find the others? We wouldn’t want them to miss out on this, would we little one?” The man requested. Before the man could finish the thought the princess had already zipped out of the study, on a hunt for the others. She returned a short time later with the butler and twin maids in tow. “is anything wrong, Gunter? Why did you as us here?” Jakob groaned. “We have some free time tonight and I figured I’d do something I haven’t in a long time, read you a story” The butler was about to say something but was cut off by a glare from the paladin. The caretaker sat in front of the fire place, motioning for the children to follow. The little ones snuggled around the man and waited eagerly. The knight cleared his thought before beginning. “A long time ago, a man wandered into the woods. He heard a voice, sweet and clear singing. Curious, the man followed the song. The song wound along the forest through the brush and the trees. The man came to a clearing and in the middle stood an ancient tree.” The care taker started. Clara raised an eyebrow in confusion and tilted her head. “What does ancient mean?” Jakob asked for Clara. “When something is ancient, it means that something is older than history itself.” Gunter stated Clara gasped in awe. Something older then history itself, was that possible? “The voice came from the tree.” Gunter continued “ ’Who are you?’ The wanderer asked. ‘I am a maiden of the forest.’ The voice sang. ‘Will you come back with me?’ The vagabond questioned. The maiden didn’t reply. This intrigued the traveller and he left the forest with resolve. She’d come around, he was sure of it. Sometime later the man went into the woods again. He retraced his steps into the clearing. He again called to the maiden. This time she was sitting on the branches of the tree. The maiden was beautiful. Her hair was curly
  2. AUTHOR’S NOTES Hello everyone! It has been a while since this has had a proper update. I know that this rewrite of the first chapter is probably not what you were after, however I realized that in order to carry on I had to change how this was going a little. As well as with a little distance from writing I came back to realize I had some glaring mistakes that I needed to change before I got started any further. I apologize for that. This new base should however fix some of the errors I found. Also, a shout-out to my beta TheFreelancerSeal for pre-reading my works and leaving constructive criticism as without this I couldn’t grow and produce better writing for you to read so thanks! Without further ado onwards! Gunter had no idea what would happen with this new position he had been placed into but the last thing he’d ever expect was what was to come. He met Iago at the entrance of the northernmost fortress in Nohr. The foyer of the fortress as smaller then what was typical for its size. The room was lit by a single lantern by the door. The knight used the lantern’s flame to light his own. As he inspected his new surroundings it became more and more clear that the fortress had come to be neglected, as there was a layer of dust that carpeted the furniture and dirt hid in the corners. “We were happy to know we could count on you to run this cess-pit for us” the advisor explained “You have nothing to keep you from doing your duty” the sorcerer explained. The expression on his face was sinister. He knew he had struck a chord with the older man by reminding him all too soon of the village’s demise. Taking a breath, he calmed himself before responding with a curt nod, he didn’t trust himself with more than that. The tour continued onward to the kitchen. It was to, was small, not fit for any more than three people to work comfortably. An empty room was connected to the kitchen via a short hall. It struck the knight as odd; everything about the place was odd as if an error was made in the initial blueprints. The pair worked their way up a set of stairs and down a hallway. “This will be your office.” The mage’s voice snapped Gunter to attention. He peeked inside the office room. This was the only room as of yet that properly suited its’ purpose. There was a row of two chairs along the wall that the door was on. They were the audience to the desk that dominated everything around it, as if in command. Behind the desk stood a wall shelf filled with old books that likely contained documents. Off to the side sat a wood burning stove to provide heat in the depth of the winters Nohr was known for. “I know you will probably see your room next however, what I have in store for you next is why you are here” Iago gloated. He truly was intolerable, the way he almost bragged. What was so important that the king had moved him to such an isolated area? The duo came to the turret of the building and began to climb up the spiral stair case. Curiosity ate at the knight the closer they came to their destination. Finally the goal was in sight, the highest room of the tower. The magician stopped before the door to open it. It was unlike the other doors that they had passed by. The iron door was heavy, a small slit allowed for one to see in. A wave of anxiety rolled over the paladin. The door opened and produced a squeal from disuse. From what he caught from his peripherals it was a warning to the inhabitant, whoever it was should stay out of sight. “Come out, little rat!” the mage yelled. A small form trembled beneath an old bed frame. The sorcerer strode over to the bundle and ripped the blanket from the top of the bundle. The small figure was revealed to be a tiny girl with a mass of matted hair. Iago grinned maliciously down at the little girl and delivered a swift kick to her stomach. She wailed and writhed in pain. The paladin’s eyes widened in horror, this was a small child. “I told you, come when you are called, wretch!” bellowed the advisor in fury. Gunter was appalled by the lack of regard that sadist had, while this was nothing new for him this was certainly an all time low. The general placed himself between the child and the monster in attempt to prevent any more harm to come to her. “Please explain this new position I’ll be taking.” The older man inquired. “There is little to explain, you babysit this wretch and ensure she kept in this fortress at all time no excuses, no exceptions. Do I make myself clear?!”The demon sneered. The retainer shook his head, although there was still much he didn’t fully understand. All would make itself clear in time, it had to. He couldn’t stand seeing a child like that, his parental instincts screamed to protect this girl. If anyone knew the how the king dealt with deviants it was him. A nod seemed to be enough to make the mage head for the door. “Ah yes,” the mage turned to face the servant “here in case the reject forgets her place” Iago handed Gunter a whip. The knight could only nod and swallow down the ever-growing hate that grew. The final stop was the sleep quarters as promised. As master of the house, the attendant was given the largest room in the fort. The bed within its walls was the most comfort he’d be given the entire month. Sleep failed to find him that night as his mind mulled over the day’s events. The girl, who was she? Why was she treated the same as a prisoner? It was clear the questions wouldn’t be answered. The next day the king’s dog left for Krakenberg, which was a relief for the paladin. Not only was he gone from his side but he had no more chances to harm the little girl. He was all that she had now. Gunter vowed to protect this child and to love her as if she was his own. Nohrian life was harsh under King Garon’s rule but if she must be isolated, then maybe this would be a chance to change.
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