War had devastated the lands and, like a blast of fire, had left devastation in its wake. Entire families had been wiped out. Food was running out, for there was no one left to till the fields. Times were rough and life had not been kind to anyone in a long time.
Xavier and Xenia were standing outside the massive castle gates.
By the flickering torchlight, they could only just make out the drawbridge being lowered on rattling chains.
With a low thud it struck the ground in front of them, enveloping the siblings in a cloud of dust. More clanging, then silence.
The silhouette of a tall man approached them from inside the castle walls. One hand lifted by way of greeting, the other hand bearing a torch, he welcomed the siblings: “Do come in, Xavier, the Prince is expecting you and your sister."
Without any further ado, he turned around and lead them across the courtyard.
Xavier was freezing. They had gone to war for the Prince. Two years of destitution, fear and despair. For two long years people they had gotten to know, that had become their friends, had been dying next to them. Dying, without having known anything but a life of squalor and want, a slave's existence. What could the Prince want from them? ...(to read the whole story, please click the link "story" below.)