I rubbed at the line of scabbing flesh on my neck as I opened the door to my quarters. Stepping into the wing I had been given I found myself lost in thought. I didn’t say anything to the maids or my knights and just walked to the bedroom I had been given.
So that was the Lord Prince Evo Nightborn… The face of the raven haired and grey eyed man flashed through my mind. He wasn’t what I was expecting…
I had read military history since I was a child, but the one figure that stuck out in my mind was the mysterious Evo Nightborn. There were countless conflicting descriptions of the man but every text agreed on one point, that Evo Nightborn was an excellent leader. He had created a ruthlessly efficient and cruelly effective fighting force that was totally loyal to him, and he had lead them to change the tides of over a hundred seemingly lost battles. He had slaughtered his way through the Mistlands and practically conquered the Vale for the demon queen in the twenty year demon war. Regardless of what else was said about the man, none could doubt he was an amazing commander that came only once an age. He was also someone I held in the utmost regard, so much so that I had trained and lead my order of the black rose in much the same way as the Night Company described in historical texts.
But who would’ve thought he would look so young… Evo Nightborn, a figure that was spoken of with equal parts fear and respect looked to be only in his late teens. Perhaps it was just the effects of being reborn, after all his majesty Leon Avalon appeared to be a teenager as well despite it being well documented that he lived to the old age of 131.
Taking off my dress, and slipping on some nightclothes I collapsed onto the bed. It had been a long and rather interesting day, and I still had to negotiate terms with Evo in the morning. All I wanted now was to get some rest.
The door opened up and one of my knights, and closest friends, came into the room.
“Lilith, what happened?”
I looked up at the woman with short blonde hair and blue eyes. The stylized armor of the black rose knight order suited her well while disguising her slender figure under the plated steel and monster scale.
“Not what you were worried about… We only talked.”
I turned over and tried to convey my absolute reluctance to continue the conversation.
“Oh thank Gaia… Lilith what were you even thinking? How would any noble of the high court take you seriously if you just offered up your maidenhead to someone who wasn’t your husband? Wasn’t even your betrothed?”
I rolled my eyes, she could be so old fashioned.
“Relax Cecilia, if the high nobles make a fuss than I can just use father’s faction connections to quiet them down. Even in the worst case I would just need to marry him, then they would have no cause to raise complaints…”
“I don’t believe this… Lilith, are you really fine with just throwing away your virginity like that? Throwing away your marriage too? How will that ever make you happy?”
I let out a sigh, this was an old argument with Cecilia. I wanted to be the high marshal of the kingdom and leader of the dragon order, and I would do anything in my power to achieve that goal. Cecilia wanted me to be happy, wanted me to lead the life of a noble lady after we finished our mandatory years of military service. We could never convince the other to agree with our view of the future.
“Cecilia, Evo Nightborn is one of the six Gaia promised champions. He is also a man who carved his name into the annuls of history indelibly, if even a quarter of what we’ve read about him is true than I want him as an ally. If the tradeoff for that is my virginity, or even my hand in marriage than that is something I’ll happily offer him.”
“So you would marry an old man for a political advantage!?”
I turned and looked at my friend, she was glaring at me with a stubborn look I remembered from our childhood. I leaked out a small sigh.
“Cecilia… I am a woman, that means very few nobles will take my words seriously. Oh, they’ll make a show of listening to the Baum heir’s opinions, but few will ever actually consider them. The high nobles certainly won’t, they have already made it very clear that my father made a mistake by naming me as his heir instead of my brother. If I don’t have connections with those that can add political weight to my words I will never be taken seriously, and that means I must chose my husband very carefully.”
I pulled an arm over my eyes as I shifted onto my back, I could see it again. The face of Evo Nightborn flashed in my mind again, I had read that he was a womanizer and after seeing him I could see how he could seduce so many woman into his bed. He was handsome and had a palpable air of danger and power around him, that coupled with some of the more vivid descriptions of nights with him that some of his past partners had left behind led me to believe I could do far worse in terms of a marriage partner.
“Evo Nightborn is a champion sent to us by Gaia herself, and his past exploits were legendary. His very name and reputation inspire fear, and he is said to be unshakably loyal to those he cares for. Not only would marrying him ensure that my words would carry an unignorably large weight, but I would also have a husband that would not hesitate to remove potential problems and obstacles in the path of my future…”
I moved my arm out of the way and stared at the canopy of the bed.
“This man can offer me so much just by my taking his hand in marriage, if in return he would like to treat me as a mere piece of meat… Well, that is a fair price to pay…”
Cecilia let out a sigh.
“I don’t understand you Lilith… I don’t understand you, but I’ll keep trying to support you…”
At that moment I heard the door shut and the heavy steps of armored boots walking away. I shut my eyes and tried not to think of the uncertainty of my future and goals, all I had to do now was ingratiate myself to Evo and negotiate the terms of a mutually favorable contract.
“And maybe I can even learn to love him…”
I was awoken when a maid ran frantically into the room.
“My lady! My lady you’re needed by his majesty the king!”
I felt my eyes widen, what could King Henry need me for at this time of night?
“Was anything said? Do you know why I’m being summoned?”
The maid looked worried as she began pulling out dresses while searching for something that would be appropriate for a royal audience.
“Only that something happened that injured guards and a well-known slave trader in the merchant district, and someone brought up your name…”