"For that, I'll have to start at the beginning. When you were five years old, you were sent away to a boarding school for young royals.
Why? You were young, and not going to inherit the throne any time soon. You had a brother. A sister, too. Your brother is--or rather, would be--twenty-nine now.
He died nine years ago, while on a visit to one of the outer kingdoms, one we didn't have an alliance with. Poisoned he was. Died on the carriage ride back.
Your parents grieved for a full month. But as king and queen, they could not afford to put their kingdom in danger for something they could not change.
They remained hostile towards that kingdom for years. Your sister's two years older than me. Would be nineteen now. I have fond memories of her. We were friends for a long time.
Six years ago, your father was thinking of arranging her marriage. She was only thirteen then. She had strong feelings about this. She disappeared not long after. Nobody knows what happened.
That's the end of your siblings' stories. Your parents...well that a more complicated matter. Two and a half years ago, your mother was killed in battle.
She was fighting a ruthless enemy, and just as it seemed she was victorious, she killed. With a sword through her heart. Not long after your father died of unknown causes. Probably despair.
" Asrani stopped, as he looked at Felix's pale face. He rose to his feet. "I'm sorry, sire. I shouldn't have told, especially now. I should be going." Asrani said, heading for the door.
Felix stood up and touched the older boy's shoulder. Asrani looked back at him, realizing that the king had left his crown on the table.
"Good luck," he said, and in the pale light of the fire, Asrani could have sworn that he saw the ghost of someone long gone. Asrani turned to leave, to find the once locked doors already open.
He left hands in his pockets, trying to keep his mind of what he had told Felix. The sun was already beginning to set. Asrani hurried to the courtyard where he was met with the cool air night.
Though it was the middle of spring, the nights were still a bit chilly. Asrani wrapped the cloak tighter around his shoulders. And with that, he set off into the night.
Asrani had been walking south for most of the night. It was hard though, and soon, even the light of the stars and moon were close to impossible to see.
Asrani usually liked traveling under the cover of night. But this time was different. He knew nothing of where he was going. Or where the thief he was hunting was either.
Suddenly he stumbled and was hit by a sudden wave of nausea. He doubled back in pain, a terrible noise filling his mind. At first, it was hard to distinguish.
It resembled a high-pitched screeching. But then is smoothed out to a deafening hissing. It went on for maybe thirty seconds before abating. He stopped, breathing deeply.
He shivered, trying to shake it off. Asrani looked around. He didn't recognize where he was, and all light was gone. No stars, no moon. Just dark, black clouds above him, in every direction.
During his fit of pain, he must have gone in the opposite direction. For almost an hour, he stumbled around blindly in the dark.
With every step, he could hear the squelch of the mud under his feet. He must have stumbled off the trail.
He was sleepy and though he'd never fallen asleep anywhere but in a bed or hard floor, but he was just so sleepy, aching to sleep. He hit the ground with a soft squelch and fell asleep instantly.
Asrani blinked sleepily. He sat up, his clothes damp with dirt and mud. He looked around and realized that it must have been close to dawn for the sky was starting to become light.
He must have lost track of time. One moment he'd closed his eyes, the next, it was nearly dawn. What had he done? He needed to catch that thief before she caused any more trouble.
Blinking, he regarded his surroundings. He was in a large empty field and stalks of corn grew out of the ground. The rest of it was mud and grass, as far as he could see.
In the distance were houses, and what he thought might be a road. He rose to his feet, feeling rather drowsy. Asrani stumbled forward, but not before he heard a girl's voice.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you." the voice said. Asrani turned his head to see a girl, obscured by the corn stalks.
She was an inch or two taller than Asrani, but definitely at least a little bit younger. She has honey blonde hair, but Asrani thought it was more of a golden brown.
She had brown eyes and slightly tanned skin. She looked athletic, probably a lot faster than him. She wore a dirty gray cloak, that had green trim. She smiled at him.
"Why not?" Asrani said, his voice skeptical and serious. The girl shrugged.
"You're weak." and with that, she turned and ran, faster, faster than he'd ever seen anyone run in his life. Something in Asrani's gut told him that this girl was his thief.
The one he was after. He didn't bother running after her, however, for he knew he was much too slow, and he needed a way to get her to trust him afterward.
He headed towards what he thought was a road. When he got there he noticed it was paved, which was an odd thing for such a small town.
But then he realized that the houses he saw, were just the beginning of something must bigger. It was a large city, with many different villages in one.
He reached toward his satchel, but all that was left of it was a few scraps of food. It confirmed his suspicions. That girl was the thief he'd been after.
He was lucky he still had a satchel, to begin with. Suddenly his thoughts went to the dagger. His dagger. He'd left it in the satchel...He dug through the satchel and finally found it.
The dagger'd been sheathed and concealed within the various folds of the bag. Asrani gave a sigh of relief. He looked at the city ahead of him.
"Here goes nothing," he mumbles to himself as he crosses the road and began his journey into the city.