Artemis and Elaine – Part 5

Hey everyone! Merry Christmas or whatever other holliday that you celebrate!! 😀 Sooo, this is not really christmassy.. But you guys have been waiting on it for quite a while. So here it is, my contrubution to the christmas present madness: a new part of Artemis and Elaine their story. Hope you enjoy the story, the festivities and that you have a wonderful 2017!

 

​Artemis was looking at the orange sky through the castle window. The sun was coming up and though it promised to be a beautiful day, right now it was still freezing. The cold made her even happier to be in the warmth of the castle though and in Elaine’s arms. 

The princess was sitting on Elaine’s lap, leaning back against her. She loved feeling the embrace of the lady’s arms, cradling her. It made her feel safe and secure. She trusted Elaine to always protect her, but only with Elaine’s arms around her, she felt completely invincible. 

Artemis shifted into another position and let out a content sigh. 

“Y’know… You make a great comfy chair,” Artemis told Elaine. 

Elaine chuckled, “Maybe I should become a professional.”

“Nah, I’d rather keep you all for myself,” the princess said while snuggling even deeper into Elaine’s embrace. 

Since the duel, the two women had settled into a comfortable pattern together. Every morning they would have breakfast in the great hall. Artemis wasn’t fond of eating there, but Elaine insisted as she was of the opinion that it was an important part of being the heir to the throne. It was usually okay though, as the whispers had died down since Elaine first arrived.  People had started to get used to the lady’s presence and as they began to get to know her better, they began to respect her as the woman of great skill and power she was. Elaine was a formidable leader and the people recognised her love for her country and subjects and admired it. 

After breakfast, Artemis and Elaine would train together. They usually switched weapons every day, but they would always do sword training. Elaine was the best teacher Artemis could’ve hoped for when it came to sword fighting and she was getting better by the day. They both enjoyed each other’s presence while training and liked to have a little bit of competition once in a while. It kept them both on their toes. 

When they were done training, they would both go their own way. Elaine went to deal with her duties as a lady. She was usually found in the room that had become her office, since she had been staying at the castle more permanently, behind her big wooden desk filled with organised stacks of official looking papers. In the mean time, Artemis went to follow her lessons. The lessons differed from day to day, but mostly Artemis just thought they were dull, extremely dull. She really didn´t see the importance of learning a dozen foreign languages, or how to properly greet someone in some faraway country she´d never been and would probably never go. The princess would much rather be out riding, relaxing or doing something adventurous. 

Artemis and Elaine usually didn´t meet again until dinner, which they also ate in the great hall most of the time. With dinner, Elaine would sometimes let Artemis convince her to eat in private though. After they ate, the two women would do something for themselves; walk through the palace gardens, go for a ride or spend the evening in each other’s arms. 

Right now, they were using the spare time they had left before breakfast to just relax and be together for a moment, enjoying each other’s presence. 

“Elaine?” Artemis’ voice sounded hesitant. 

“Yes dear.”

“Can’t we just skip my lessons and training for today and go to the lake?”

“No, love, we can’t,” the lady responded, friendly, but with a firm undertone. “Your lessons are too important. You will need them one day.” 

“But, it’s just one afternoon. Surely I won’t miss anything important if I take just one day off,” the princess said with a pout. 

“It may seem that way, but one day you will be in a foreign country trying to keep the peace and then one little bit of information can be vital. It could be as little as a smile while business that could be the difference between peace and war. I know some countries where smiling during business is interpreted as calling your business partner weak. You’d think you are being friendly and they would think you are mocking them. It is important to learn those distinctions.”

“I guess,” Artemis said sulking a little, but not pushing it any further. 

They sat in silence as the whole palace begun to awaken and bubble with life and soon after a servant came in. 

“Breakfast is almost ready, your highness, my lady. Will you be needing any assistance?”

“No, tha—“ Elaine had started to respond, when the princess interrupted her. 

“Yes, please. Prepare a bath and send someone in to groom me.”

The servant let out a, “yes, your highness,” and quickly disappeared again. 

Elaine looked at Artemis who just smiles and shrugged. 

“I felt like bathing today.”

Elaine looked a bit baffled but she said nothing and started going about her usual morning routine. 

“Better get going then,” she said to Artemis who had plopped down on the bed landing a swat on her bottom. “They’ll be back with your bath any minute.”

“Have you seen the princess?” Elaine asked a maid, who was milling around in the kitchen. 

The maid stopped for a second to answer, “no m’lady, she hasn’t been here, as far as I know,” and then quickly continued rushing around in the kitchen, trying to keep everything running smoothly. 

Elaine sighed and walked away again, looking for the next person she could question about Artemis’ whereabouts. Elaine was worried, the princess didn’t seem to have been seen by anyone for the last few hours and she was nowhere to be found. 

When the lady turned around the corner, she bumped into another woman who was hurriedly walking through the castle, probably doing exact the same thing as Elaine was doing, looking for Artemis. It was the princess’ teacher and she was wearing a very worried expression. 

“Oh, excuse me, I’m so sorry my lady,” the woman said. 

“It’s fine Elizabeth. I presume you have no idea where the princess is either?” This last sentence was said more as a statement than a question, as Artemis was supposed to be at her lessons right now and that Elizabeth was looking for her obviously meant that the princess had failed to show. 

“No, sadly, I do not. I was hoping that you might know,” Elizabeth said, running her hand through her hair. 

The teacher’s hair was blond and wavy. She was small, a lot less tall than Elaine, but all muscle. You could see she was an old woman, but you couldn’t feel it. Her spirit was still as young and fresh as ever. Her eyes were keen, but right now they were mostly worried. You could see she was truly concerned for the young princess. 

“She hasn’t said anything to you to indicate where she might have gone?” Elizabeth asked. 

Elaine frowned, “I have an idea, I’m just hoping I’m incorrect.”

Elaine was thinking back to her conversation with Artemis that morning. She was getting more certain of where the young woman had disappeared to by the minute; although she really hoped Artemis hadn’t gone out to the lake on her own. 

“I think I can find her,” Elaine told Elizabeth. 

She then turned towards a maid who was nearby, “could you ask the stable boys to ready my horse?” 

“Yes my Lady, right away.”

Artemis dove underwater again, swimming to the other side of the lake. It was beautiful weather. The sky was clear and the sun was shining brightly. The water was cold, but as long as Artemis didn’t stay in too long, it was divine. She would let herself dry up and bake in the sun and when she was hot again, she’d go back into the water to cool off. 

It was a beautiful lake, decorated by a clear blue waterfall at the side and surrounded by the deep, rich green of the forest. 

Artemis let out a content sigh. It was great to take a break for a while. This lake always gave her a safe and relaxed feeling and she could use that right now. Elaine always acted like Artemis didn’t take and understand her responsibilities. Artemis could understand why her love got that feeling, but she didn’t feel like Elaine understood. Slowly, Artemis felt the weight of the crown being pushed onto her and she understood what it was asking from her. That was exactly what made her so scared. How could she ever rule a kingdom? She was too young, but she knew there was a war upcoming. Her father tried to hide the gravity of the attacks from her, writing them off as the cattle robbers that were just being extra violent in their attempts this year, but she knew better and she knew it could be any time now. She let herself float of her back, the thoughts milling through her head like an angry swarm of bees. Usually coming here would have silenced the thoughts for a bit, but it seemed that today, even the lake couldn’t calm her. She tried to relax and swam another few laps. 

A rustling from a nearby bush drove Artemis out of the world of her thoughts and into the present. Out of instinct, she instantly dove under water and swam to a collection of rocks that would hide her from the intruder’s sight. 

After the initial shock she had to laugh at her own scared behaviour. It was probably just Elaine who had discovered where she went and came after her. She was about to just swim back into the open when she heard a man’s voice calling out to her.

“I know you’re here princess. Why don’t you come out and play with me?” It sounded crude and scary and Artemis thanked the gods that she had hid because of what she had considered a ‘silly instinct’ a moment ago. 

Artemis couldn’t see the man, but his horrible cold sneer had said enough. She felt her stomach drop. How could she have been so stupid? She was all on her own and she had gone away without telling anybody where she went. If something happened to her now, no one would have a clue as to where to look for her. And her weapons were all on the shore, she had nothing to defend herself with. 

Artemis was absolutely petrified. She could feel her hands shaking when she concentrated on then. Mostly she just didn’t feel her body at all though, she felt numb. Her mind was reeling, and her emotions and thoughts were creating a whirlwind around her, as if they were attacking a threat. Only she was not the threat. Right now, she was her own only hope and she’d be damned if she didn’t go down with a fight. She might be feeling like a scared little girl right now, but she couldn’t act like one. She couldn’t let her emotions get to her. 

Artemis pictured Elaine in her head. What would she say if she were here? She would probably tell the princess to toughen up and keep calm. She’d admonish her for not thinking rationally, for giving in to her fear and hiding like a scared little girl, instead of fighting like the warrior Elaine knew Artemis was. 

Artemis imagined all these words and much more being spoken to her in Elaine’s warm, calm voice. She was so longing to hear that voice again. What if she never did?

The icy voice called out for her again. The voice sounded sing songy this time, like a ghost song or one of those songs that they sing in wars. “Come out, come out wherever you are, princess. You can’t hide forever.”

That moment, Artemis got so frightened that everything went numb and her instincts took over completely. She quickly scanned around her for anything she could use as a weapon. A sturdy, fairly straight branch caught her eye and a sharp rock. It wasn’t perfect by a long shot, but it was better than nothing. Slowly, she could feel herself turn over a switch in her head, she was no longer a helpless girl, but a warrior ready to fight for her life with the little she had. 

The voice had sounded a lot closer this time, so she was sure she was running out of time. 

It turned out she was right. Just a moment after she thought that, the man came around the corner, charging right in. Artemis was ready though and she fought back with all her might. She was using a small branch she picked up as an improvised staff to block the man’s attacks and deal out a blow once in a while. And the stone was being utilized to try and do some serious damage to this hideous man, instead of just getting in a few blows. 

Artemis was on the verge of losing the fight though. The man was clearly not a great fighter, certainly not better than the princess; anyone with even a bit of an eye for that sort of thing could have seen that. What the attacker did have was a very big advantage. He was fully clothed and wearing protective gear, where Artemis was only wearing the undergarments in which she had been swimming. More importantly though, where Artemis had a branch and a stone, he had a sword and probably a few daggers as well as other weapons. 

Artemis did a wild attempt to attack the man, having been on defence for too long, but she shouldn’t have. He blocked all her attempts and before she had time to recuperate, he attacked. He managed to create a big wound in Artemis’ leg with his attack and the princess was trying hard to keep herself standing up, but she knew she had nearly lost the battle. 

When she finally did fall down, the man just grabbed her and put her over his shoulder. “We are going to have so much fun,” he said with a sinister laugh. 

That was when Artemis first heard the hooves of a horse that was running towards them and she prayed it was Elaine who had come for her. A moment later, the man seemed to hear them too, as he was suddenly in a big hurry. That soothed Artemis a little since that meant it were not friends of her captor. 

The horse raced into the clearing as the man was putting her over the back of his own steed and a moment later the princess could hear swords clashing. 

It was over very soon, with a blood curling scream coming from the man’s lips. Right after that Elaine was next to her. 

“Is he dead?” Artemis asked, though she was fairly sure what the answer would be. 

“Yes he is,” Elaine said, her voice grim, “I figured you’d prefer that.” Her voice filled with more warmth again as she asked, “are you okay?”

Artemis groaned, “I think so, my leg isn’t though.”

The wound on Artemis’ leg was deep and filth from the dirt that had found its way inside it. The filth was slowly getting less and though that was a good thing, the reason behind it was not. The princess was losing blood at an alarming speed.

Elaine got some cloth out of her saddle bag to wrap the Artemis’ wound tightly, to try and stop or at least slow down the bleeding.

“We need to get you back to the castle. I really don’t know what you were thinking coming out here alone. You know it’s not safe for you outside the castle.” Elaine held Artemis closely as she said this. “You were brave though dear, a true warrior even without a sword, you did well.”

They sat like that for a moment before Elaine could bring herself to let go of her love and prepare them for their ride home. Elaine hoisted the dead body over the one of their horses and the mounted the other horse together. The man’s steed would have to stay for now, but they would send someone to fetch it. 

Elaine took the reins of Artemis’ horse, which was the one they were riding, because she knew that that way, she wouldn’t have to worry about whether or not the other horse would follow, she knew her horse would follow her wherever she wanted her to. 

With that, they were on their way back to the castle, the two women together and a horse with a dead body lying over it following them. 

Character poetry

So, I was delving deeper into who Artemis is and I wrote a piece of poetry about her.

Hope you guys enjoy it even though it may be a little depressing. Tell me what you think! 🙂

~

Holding it in…

Holding back…

Trying to love with all her soul

But her soul is locked away

Beating down the battered walls

Only to find a whole new fortress

Guarding her emotions

With bricks made of memories

Bricks made of fear

Holding in a lonely girl

Desperate to be protected and loved

And desperate to be allowed to be weak

Lonely castle

Hey guys

Okay, so, I’m writing a quick update.

I haven’t been writing for a while, but I started on Artemis and Elaine again and there’s a new part on it’s way. It’s gonna be a really long one, so I hope that’ll make up for the long wait you guys had. 😉 I’ve been writing some snippets, but nothing that really seems interesting enough to post. Or at least, nothing that I think would mean much to anyone else than me. But I’m working on a new story too, still not sure where it’s gonna go and whether it’s gonna go anywhere, but we’ll see.

I’m going on a school trip in a few days, so I’ll be gone for a while and hopefully get some writing done at the beautiful inspiring places I’m going in Italy and France. 😀 And after that, I will finally get my exam results. (which I am reeaaally nervous about because it’s so important in whether or not I graduate.)

What are you guys up to? Any trips planned? Fun days out? Or have you guys done something awesome lately? Let me know. 🙂

Artemis and Elaine – Part 4

I finally got my new part out. 🙂 It’s longer than usual, but I suspect you guys won’t protest against that. 😉 Anyways, enjoy! 

Thanks to Bijou for her great beta reading and for helping me out when I was stuck.  ^^ 

~

Artemis’ body was covered in sweat and dirt. Her muscles were aching with the burn of her extensive workout. Still she continued, as if she was waiting till every ounce of life was gone, all her energy used up.

As soon as Artemis had walked out of the great hall, she had gone to the training area of the castle. The training area was a big open field. The ground was covered with sand and in the middle of the field there was a platform made for the knights to combat on. The platform was made for the knights to spar on. There were wooden poles scattered all around the field, one of which Artemis was using right now, for sword drills.

Lost in thought and in her battle with an invisible foe, Artemis never heard Elaine approaching.

“They told me I might find you here.”

Artemis whirled around in a flash, coming to stand eye to eye with Elaine.

“I imagine they would have,” she said and she continued with a fair bit of irritation in her voice, “Why are you here?”

“Well,” Elaine spoke as she inched towards Artemis. “I’m here because a certain little girl didn’t know how to listen. You wouldn’t have happened to see her pass by would you?”

Artemis subconsciously took a step back. “No, I don’t think I have.”

“Hmh…” Elaine drew the sound out. “You seem nervous, my dear.”

Artemis took in the woman standing in front of her. Elaine had a little smirk playing around her lips, a twinkle in her eye and she was cocking her eyebrow in a way that was making Artemis shiver.

A mix of excitement and fear coursed through her body. She was unsure if she had ever felt more conflicting emotions than at that moment. She was stuck between wanting to confess, wanting to run, and wanting to kiss the lady. All she could manage for a moment was to stand completely still, overwhelmed by what she was feeling.

Then she seemed to unfreeze again, blurting out, “I’m sorry, I just had to get away.”

Artemis was fidgeting and looking at her shoes.

“Come here Artemis,” Elaine said.

Artemis slowly came forward, until she had destroyed the distance between them that she had been subconsciously creating. She was standing right in front of Elaine now.

Elaine lifted Artemis’ head up gently and looked her in the eyes.

“Tell me why you felt like you needed to get away more than your people needed a ruler,” Elaine spoke firmly, but not harshly. Even now, she sounded calm and caring.

“I’m not even their ruler,” Artemis said, freeing her head from Elaine’s hand and looking away, “my father is. It’s unfair! You’re trying to lay duties on to me that are not even mine.”

“Hmm… Are you going to rule these people one day?”

“You know I am,” Artemis replied indignantly.

“Yes, I do, but I’m wondering if you know and if you understand what that entails.”

“Of course I know!”

“Then act like it,” Elaine scolded. “One day, you will have to serve these people and care for them. It might be years from now, but it may also be tomorrow. You need to need to make sure that your people will trust you to be there and act in their best interest when it’s your time to rule.”

Artemis was feeling ashamed, being scolded like that, even more because she knew that in a way Elaine was right.

Given Elaine’s history, she could understand why the lady looked at it like this. After all, her father had died very suddenly, which had left the throne to her at the young age of 15. She hadn’t been ready by a long shot and, if it wasn’t for her aunt that had come to her aid, it could have gone horribly wrong.

Artemis didn’t think it was fair of Elaine to act like she wouldn’t be able to take over the throne from her father if need be. Though and she hated the feeling of having disappointed Elaine. The fact that she didn’t understand her own feelings made her angry, angry and frustrated.

“Who are you to tell me what to do?” she spat out.

Elaine looked unperturbed by the angry princess in front of her.

“Unless I hear otherwise from your father, I am the one you are supposed to marry and spend the rest of your life with. You might want to try to be civil.”

“As if you’re being civil to me,” Artemis retorted while trying to glare Elaine down.

“I’m civil. I’m just calling you out for acting like a child. There is a big difference, even if you wish to deny it.”

Artemis groaned and her eyes were shooting daggers at Elaine now. She sharply turned around and started walking away. She had had enough.

As soon as Artemis had taken one step, Elaine was behind her, grabbing her wrist in a firm grip.

“Oh no, you don’t,” Elaine said, her voice low, “You’re not running away from me again.”

With that, she pulled Artemis back until they were standing almost nose to nose.

“Now… Are you ready to listen to me little girl?”

“I’m not a little girl!” Artemis retorted and she let and angry growl, “and I will prove it to you too! I challenge you do a duel.”

Shock was clearly written across Elaine’s features, but after her initial shock, she just looked amused. She stepped even closer to Artemis until her body was nearly pressed against that of the younger woman and purred, “Alright little girl, a sword fight it is. Name your stakes.”

Artemis felt her body tremble at Elaine’s closeness and she was trying hard to keep herself from closing what little distance was left between them. She shook her head to try to clear her thoughts.

“If I win, no more calling me little girl or other uppity names like that.”

“Fair enough,” Elaine said with a grin playing around her lips and a twinkle in her eyes.

Artemis was the first to take a step back, not bearing to be so close to Elaine anymore. She walked towards her sword was in the middle of telling Elaine to go get one too, when Elaine cut her off.

“You’re not using that, we will use wooden swords. I don’t want either of us getting injured,” Elaine said in a tone that brooked no argument.

Artemis gave a little sigh, but walked over to where the weapons were stationed. Elaine was only a few steps behind her and as Artemis was trying different swords, Elaine studied them carefully. Eventually, Elaine picked one sword up and swished it through the air.

“This will do nicely,” she said, casting an adoring look at the weapon in her hands.

A few moments later, Artemis was also done picking a sword and they made their way back towards the plateau, where they would be fighting.

When they arrived at the platform, Elaine spoke, “Now, can we trust each other to fight honourably and be fair or do I need to find someone to act as a judge?”

“You don’t have to call a judge,” Artemis said with a slight sneer, “don’t worry.”

Elaine nodded and climbed up the platform, helping Artemis up after her.

Artemis huffed at being helped up, but took Elaine’s hand anyway.

They stood on opposite sides of the platform. Artemis with a challenging look in her eyes, while Elaine had a calm and calculated one. They stood there in an unruly balance, a yin-yang of calmness and tumult. They were both holding a certain power, a power that was seeking to find harmony.

Artemis was the first to attack. Her first move was wild and filled with passion, but it was easily countered by Elaine.

As soon as Elaine had countered the first strike, she let her sword bounce towards Artemis’ leg, which had been exposed when Artemis attacked.

Artemis had barely recovered from being the attacker, but she moved quickly and managed to deflect the strike so it just scratched her leg slightly. ‘With real swords, that would have cut my leg’, Artemis realised. She became more careful with her movements after that and for a while, she managed to counter every move thrown her way. It became clear though, that Artemis had increasing difficulty countering Elaine’s attacks, while Elaine was deflecting Artemis’ with ease.

Artemis began to realise that she had absolutely no chance of winning. It was actually logical, Elaine was a legendary swordfighter. Artemis was very good, but for her the sword was just a tool. She was nowhere near as good as Elaine, who fought as if the sword was an extension of her soul.

‘What foolishness has led me to think I could win from this woman?’ Artemis thought to herself. Her inner voice countering, ‘Are you sure you really wanted to win?’ This thought caused turbulence inside of Artemis as she considered that maybe she just meant to test Elaine’s power.

Elaine had been telling Artemis what to do from the first day they met and while it was hard on Artemis, she couldn’t deny she enjoyed the power that radiated from Elaine. She had a grace and power about her that excited the princess and that seemed almost unreal, as if she had stepped straight out of Artemis’ dreams. Maybe that was the problem; maybe it was that she seemed too good to be true and Artemis needed Elaine to prove that she wasn’t just an illusion of power, that she was able rule Artemis.

A sudden sharp pain in her left leg brought Artemis back to reality.

“At least keep your attention at the battle if you are going to duel with someone,” Elaine rebuked.

That remark Artemis’ need to fight back again and she started a new attack, throwing sharp quick movements at Elaine.

Eventually, Artemis could hold less and less of Elaine’s blows. She lost the duel when Elaine managed to dismantle her and hold her to the floor in an inescapable grip.

While Artemis was being held to the ground, Elaine whispered in her ear, “Seems like you picked a fight with the wrong person little girl. I do enjoy your fire though.”

Then Elaine moved her head up a bit, until she was hovering above Artemis’ face and leaned in again, giving Artemis a deep kiss.

Artemis let out a soft moan and kissed Elaine back with all the passion she had.

Valentine <3

Had a great valentine with my girlfriend! 🙂 We made a special meal together.. These totally amazing hamburgers, with mushrooms instead of buns. They were sooo good!

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Also I got my girlfriend a rose and some chocolate. 🙂 And she wrote a song for me! How sweet is that? :3 ❤

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Now it is back to studying… :/

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Oh, and for all of you that are wondering about the next part of my story, I’m working on it! I got a little farther and now I’m stuck again… But I think I’ll have it done soon. Maybe I’ll even just post what I have till now, so you guys have something new to read… Even if it’s short.

Anyways, tell me about your valentine? 🙂 How was it? Did you do anything special? I hope you made a wonderful day out of it!

Stuck and studying

So, there is no new story at this moment, because I am stuck with my Artemis and Elaine story right now and because I have exams starting tomorrow. So, I gotta learn for those! I’m dreading them, but for once, I’m pretty prepared and motivated to study for them hard. XD

I promise I’ll have something up soon though! 🙂

Artemis and Elaine – Part 3

A new part and it’s a day early! I posted it early because I was doing a story writing race with Bijou.. I won! 😀 (on first to post a part at least) Anyways, enjoy! ^.^

~

When Artemis awoke the next day, the sun was shining brightly through the small castle window. It took her a moment to become accustomed enough to the light that she could see again. When she regained her sight, Artemis was surprised to see Elaine sitting in the corner of the room watching her.

“How are you feeling?” Elaine enquired with a look of concern crossing her face.

“I’m fine.” Artemis didn’t feel much like talking, so she lay back down, pulling her covers close to her body. Hopefully, Elaine would leave it if she made clear that she didn’t want to talk.

Elaine walked over to the bed, settling herself next to Artemis, their bodies slightly touching.

Artemis swallowed, feeling Elaine’s warmth against her body. It was all she could focus on. All of her senses seemed to have focussed on that one spot where their bodies met.

Elaine spoke, “are you alright Artemis? Honestly.” That last word was said with the firmness of a command, but also with a sincerity that surprised the princess. Artemis looked up hesitantly to meet Elaine’s eyes, which were filled with concern but held Artemis’ gaze steadily. It made her happy to see that Elaine wasn’t just asking her out of obligation, but it also scared her and she wasn’t sure she wanted to answer. It wasn’t often that someone took a real interest in her, it was something she didn’t know how to deal with.

After being silent for a while, Artemis finally answered. I was an honest answer as Elaine asked for. She just hoped the lady would be satisfied and wouldn’t ask any further. “I’m just tired,” she answered.

“What are you tired of?”

Artemis crept back into her covers, away from Elaine’s gaze. She felt as if with that stare, Elaine could see right through her, as if she could look right into her head and uncover her deepest secrets.

“I don’t know, everything I guess,” Artemis mumbled and she shrugged, trying to seem nonchalant.

“What is everything?”

“I don’t know. Just everything! Life… You!”

Artemis was aware of the fact that she was being incredibly unreasonable, but she couldn’t get herself to care. She was sick of being questioned about things she didn’t want to talk about.

When Artemis finally dared to look at Elaine again, she was met by a steady gaze. Elaine didn’t seem angry though, which is what Artemis had expected.

“I know it’s hard at the moment, but you can’t run away. Running away never mends your pain or fear, confronting it does. Allow yourself to feel.” Elaine pulled Artemis into a hug, holding her closely.

Artemis felt oddly comforted by the woman whose head she had wanted to snap off just moments before. She hid her face with her teary eyes in the warm embrace and for that moment, she was safe.

~

The two women sat like that for a while until they decided they should really be going to breakfast, as the people would expect to see them. They also needed to get back to work. There were decisions to be made and piles of paperwork to go through that were steadily growing.

They walked through the grey castles corridors towards the great hall. When they arrived there, they settled themselves at the at the head table. Artemis sat next to the empty chair of the King and Elaine sat on the other side of Artemis.

The great hall was relatively quiet, as many people were having whispered conversation. The one whisper, of course, was louder that the other and they could often make out what was being said.

One whisper stood out from the others. It had come from a bald, middle-aged soldier and it was decidedly ruder than the others.

“I wonder if the princess bed her yet, I certainly would, such a pretty lady.”

This was said in a bragging way as if it would make him cool to say such a thing.

Artemis sent a cold glare towards the soldier. “Peter,” she said, her voice transforming as she spoke, becoming regal and demanding. “I think you should be worrying more about what I do to you if you don’t ditch the disrespectful comments right now, than what I might be doing with other people.”

Peter’s eyes became wide before he reacted by looking at the floor. “Yes your Highness, forgive me,” he said, a tremble creeping into his voice.

“For this time I will. Let this serve as a warning, if I ever hear a comment like that again, there will be consequences.”

“Yes your Highness, thank you,” the soldier said.

As Artemis sat down and turned towards Elaine, Peter relaxed a bit and sat down again.

“I’m really sorry about that,” Artemis said to Elaine with an apologetic smile.

“It’s fine, thank you.”

The hall that had gone silent when Artemis had spoken slowly began to fill with sound again as people continued their whispered conversation, albeit, a little softer than before.

After having sat among the whispers for a while, Artemis stood up to leave the table. She was stopped by Elaine’s hand grabbing her wrist.

“Where are you going?” Elaine asked, her voice holding a tone of disapproval.

“Away.”

“The people need to see their princess, especially now that your father is absent from the great hall so much.”

The cross look that was being cast her way was enough to stop her for just a second before she pulled away her hand.

“And I need to get away from here.”

With that, the princess walked away.

A day in the life of a ballet bun

Soo.. I don’t have a new part of the Artemis and Elaine story for you yet, but to keep up my great habit of posting some writing every Tuesday that I have been sporting for the last two weeks, I have something else. It is my fist attempt at writing in first person, so if it’s not great, that is why. Please tell me what you think, I always appreciate the feedback. 🙂 

~

A day in the life of a ballet bun

As I extended my leg into an arabesque I was looking into the mirror of the ballet studio to study myself. I scanned my body for flaws, going over the familiar checklist. Belly, is it tucked in; leg, is it properly turned out; extensions; foot…

While I went over this endless checklist, my reflection stared back at me. Sometimes I thought she looked as if she were a stranger, the girl bound by rules, forged into perfection. Her coffee brown hair tied into an unnaturally tight bun, so no hair would be out of place.

At that moment, I longed to free that hair, to get rid of my ballet slippers and just dance. Free from all the rules and regulations. I felt restricted and confined to this world where perfection was the only thing that was good enough.

Not that I didn’t love ballet. Ballet was my life and I gave it my all, torturing my body for it every day, for hours on end. But sometimes I lost the joy in the endless stream of critique. Sometimes I felt if ballet was asking everything of me and not giving me anything back as if it was trying to kill me.

In those moments, I held on until all I could do was let go. When I fell and let go was the only time I could finally enjoy dance like I used to. The moments that I let my body lead me to the dance that lie deep within me, the raw, pure and emotional core of my soul. That kind of dancing and that passion are the reason that I fell in love with dance in the first place.

Letting out a soft sigh, I made my way to the other side of the room to drink some water and retrieve my battered looking pointe shoes.

I warmed up with a few bar exercises, working through the pain. People always wonder how we dancers manage to dance en pointe and then falsely assume that the pain passes. The pain never gets less, dancing on point is like dancing in a field of thorns that are continuously trying to slash your flesh. You just become accustomed to the pain that is necessary to be a dancer.

I heard the door open, but I kept dancing until I finished the exercise. It was my teacher who had entered the ballet studio and I knew better than to let my attention waver from my dancing when she was near.

When I finished, I turned to her and said, “good morning Miss Basil.” I followed the greeting with a small curtsey, as I was accustomed to doing ever since Miss Basil began teaching me.

Miss Basil, in her usual fashion, didn’t waste any time with greetings.

“Those turnouts were sloppy and you extension was horrible, please correct it and make sure I don’t completely waste my time on you today. Again!”

I was used to this kind of relentless critique, so although it stung a little I just lifted my head up, gave her a yes ma’am and started the exercise again.

As I danced, Miss Basil continued to critique my every move verbally or by prodding, poking and slapping my wherever and whenever it failed to live up to her commands.

As the music sounded its final tones, I went into a relevé, letting the bar go. The music came to a halt as I was still holding the arduous position. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Miss Basil said, “rest.”

I resisted the urge to drop down dead on the floor and gently came down from my relevé, giving Miss Basil a little bow.

“Next time you will do better,” Miss Basil said matter of factly.

“Next time I will do modern,” I countered. I was always fighting to do more modern in my lessons, but Miss Basil didn’t believe in modern. I only remembered her giving in to my wish to do modern twice in the 6 years that she had been my teacher.

“Next time I will not teach you,” Miss Basil effectively ended the discussion. What she meant was clear; if I wanted her to keep teaching me, I would dance classical.

As Miss Basil walked towards the door, I began my contemporary routine. I could see her watching me though the studio’s mirror and just before she walked out of the door, I saw a small trace of a smile on her lips.

Artemis and Elaine – Part 2

I promised not to wait too long, so here is the next part 😉 

~

Artemis was hiding between the hay, cradling her legs closely to the rest of her body. She was finally starting to calm down a little from the shock and the long run. Now all she had left, was the despair she was feeling.

Why her?

As soon as she heard the woman speak her name Artemis knew exactly who she was talking to. Lady Elaine was only six years older than Artemis, though her stature would suggest otherwise. She was strong, smart and apparently extremely beautiful and the only one that had ever succeeded in making the princess feel nervous and Artemis was expected to wed her.

Artemis was used to doing exactly as she pleased and the display earlier had proved that the lady had absolutely no intention letting her continue that. The worst part was that if they were to wed, the Lady would even have the right to do so!

Though Artemis would love to walk up to her father and demand a different partner, she didn’t know if she wanted to reject the demanding Lady. From the moment she had laid eyes on Elaine, she couldn’t deny the beauty of this woman, and she had felt herself falling quickly and without any possibility of coming back up. She was absolutely smitten. Love was something you didn’t expect to find in life as a royal. When you were of the highest class, marriage was just another contract between countries. So if you did manage to be lucky enough to find love, you should grab it tightly with both hands because once you lost it you would never find it back.

The more Artemis thought about it, the more she realised that she couldn’t let Elaine go. She couldn’t lose the chance at love that was lying before her, because it was most likely, the only one she would get. It did nothing to ease her fear, but she had to admit to herself that she couldn’t let the chance of love slip through her fingers. Artemis let out a deep sigh and settled herself back into the hay thinking about what, or rather who was waiting for her at home.

She thought back to Lady Elaine’s long black hair that caressed her shoulders when the wind made it dance, those eyes that seemed to carry Artemis to a different world whenever she looked into them and the way she carried herself, as if no one in the world could harm her.

In that short moment she had been with the Lady, she felt intimidated, but in a peculiar way, she had also felt safe. Elaine had never raised her voice or done anything else that made her feel threatened. She had felt nervous of course, but that was all, she had never felt as if the Lady meant her any harm.

Artemis was scared to go home though. She didn’t want to face the lady again and she was absolutely exhausted from all the running and the emotions that had been storming through her body.

~

Artemis awoke with a startle as someone shook her shoulders. She had fallen asleep in the hay, tired from everything that had happened to her that day.

When she opened her eyes she saw the worried face of Elaine above her. She tried to back away, but Elaine gripped her wrist preventing her from running away again.

“Are you alright?” Elaine asked her.

“I will be fine as soon as you let me go,” Artemis spat back.

Elaine remained calm, but firmly said, “I will do no such thing. Do you have any idea how worried I was?”
“Why? Because you might lose the land you want to marry me for?!” Artemis didn’t know why this was suddenly so important for her, as she had always accepted marriage as the contract it was in their circles, but right now she hated it. She hated the idea of Elaine wanting to marry her for her land.

Elaine noticed the hurt sound in Artemis’ voice and slowly started rubbing her back while talking to her. “No, I was worried because you were angry and hurt and alone and I was worried that you would do something irrational and hurt yourself or others.”

Artemis felt a strange mix of surprise, anger and happiness at those words. Nobody ever worried about her, the always worried about what they would lose if something happened to her, but Elaine seemed to truly care about her wellbeing and that warmed Artemis’ heart. At the same time, she was offended by how Elaine treated her though. As if she were some small child who cannot look after herself and needed someone else to make sure she was safe. Also, the insinuation that would hurt others boiled her blood. She may be a lover of pranks, but she would never truly hurt someone. Not purposefully.

As all this was going through her head, a range of emotions crossed over her face.

Elaine gave Artemis the time she needed to process what she was feeling, but never let go of the younger woman’s hand.
Artemis was torn between hiding and allowing herself to feel and to trust this woman. She was utterly exhausted though and Elaine was still holding her with a vice like grip that only years of training could provide. It had actually started to hurt quite a bit, but Artemis didn’t want to say anything about it, so she just let it.

Artemis doubted she could have escaped a second time if she wanted to. She knew that Lady Elaine was well known for her impeccable fighting skills and her great strength. Without surprise at her hand, the chances she would be able to cut herself loose from Elaine, were slim to none.

Besides, she didn’t even know if that was what she really wanted. In a way, the presence of the Lady was very reassuring and a thrill that Artemis couldn’t quite explain through her body when she looked at the confident and beautiful woman before her. The worry in her eyes made Artemis feel special and loved, and the disapproving look she gained when she tried to pull her arm back made her have to swallow away her nerves.

Artemis felt herself relax a little into Elaine’s arms.

“Come on,” Elaine said, standing up and clutching Artemis closely against her, “let’s go back to the castle.”

Artemis didn’t complain anymore and let herself be led to the castle. When they arrived, Elaine put Artemis to bed and the last thing Artemis heard before she was claimed by Morpheus, was Elaine’s warm voice singing her a lullaby.

Artemis and Elaine – Part 1

I have a new story for you guys! Enjoy and hate the fact that you are always going to have cliffhangers because it’s a story that will be written in parts. *evil laugh* No, but seriously, I hope you enjoy the story and please let me know what you think of it. 🙂 

~

Artemis looked around her, to make sure no one would see her. When she was certain that all the guards were either gone or looking the other way she quickly passed the courtyard until she found herself at the wall of the main tower. There she hid in the shadows as she waited once again for all the guards to shift their attention away from where she was standing. The wall of the tower was made from a combination of bigger and smaller bricks and was full of groves, which made it perfect for what Artemis was planning to do. She put her left foot in one of the low groves and tested it for sturdiness, and then she did the same with her other foot and made her way up the tower. If someone had looked up to the tower at that moment, they would have seen a black silhouette against the already dark sky, climbing up with skill and speed like a spider.

What the young woman was planning to do, we will never know, as at that moment a shout came out of one of the tower rooms Artemis had just passed. She swung herself into the room, landing swiftly on her feet with a practiced ease. She had hardly landed yet when she grabbed the woman who had sounded the alarm, silencing her with her hand.

“Silence yourself woman! It’s just me.”

The woman relaxed a bit when she heard the familiar voice of the princess, but soon her fear made way for anger. She had thought that Artemis was an enemy who had managed to penetrate the castle, but now that it was clear that all she was was the princess trying to do god knows what, she was absolutely livid that Artemis scared her like that. She fought herself free from the grasp Artemis was still holding her in and angrily said, “Your father is going to hear about this!”

Most people would have been scared by the woman. She may have been old and grey, but she was clearly too angry to care about the limits her age gave her. With burning anger in her eyes and all her muscles tensing dangerously, the old woman looked ready to kill anyone in her way. Artemis just laughed though, “do as you please.” She knew her father would not do a thing to stop her. He was way too soft when it came to dealing with his daughter. Besides, the King had more important matters to deal with; he had a country to run and these days that took up all his time.

~

As expected, Artemis’ father had not said a word about the incident of the tower. To be more precise, he worried so little about what was going on with Artemis, that she hadn’t seen him in days. Of course, that was to be expected. King Cyril was always busy defending his country, and around the harvest season it was always the worst, because that was when the cattle raiders came. King Cyril didn’t even come to dinner anymore, preferring to dine in his own chambers, bent over endless stacks of manuscripts or gathering with his informants.

In the meantime, Artemis was back to her usual antics. This time she was making her way through the villages market, pulling pranks wherever she went and watching the village kids being blamed for them. She didn’t even bother to hide herself, because she knew nobody would suspect the princess to be behind the pranks and if they did, they wouldn’t dare to suggest it.

Artemis was softly giggling to herself at seeing a young boy in ragged cloth being dragged into one of the small houses by his ear by who she presumed to be his mother, when she ran into someone.

She came to an abrupt halt and had to take a moment to find back her balance. When she looked up to see who the person was that had been stupid enough to run into her, she was met by a pair of green eyes, giving her a disapproving look.

Artemis felt her stomach knot at the look the woman before her was giving her and she felt uncharacteristically nervous. Artemis carefully studied the woman. She could not have been more than ten year older than Artemis was, but she already radiated power, Artemis wasn’t sure where that came from. The woman’s eyes were the most beautiful and rich shade of green that Artemis had ever seen. They were like the deep green of the forest, decorated with tiny flecks of gold where the sun shone through the trees. They were the kind of eyes that spoke to you and told you of all the cruelties of the world that they had seen, but then told you that there was still hope and that there was good in everything – hard and soft at the same time and filled with endless passion. Her lips were soft and luminous and they managed to entrance Artemis with their movements.

It was then that Artemis came to the realisation that the woman had been talking to her the whole time that she had been enchanted by her beauty.

“Are you even listening to me girl?” the woman asked sharply.

“Ohh… uh,” Artemis began her sentence stammering, but then she realised what was happening and she became indignant. “I am the princess; you have no right to speak to me as if I am some peasant girl!”

“I am speaking to you as I would speak to an errant girl of any stand and that you are the princess only means that your offence is even greater than I thought, you ought to be an example towards what will one day be your people.”

“Wh—,” the princess began to object, planning on telling this overconfident woman that she had no right to talk to a princess like that, but she was abruptly cut off.

“Before you say anything else, let me introduce myself, I am Lady Elaine of Blackmont.”

When those words and their hidden meaning sunk in, Artemis took off as fast as she could. She had to get away from this woman and clear her head. She raced through the streets until she arrived at the only place she felt completely safe; the old stables that were once her mothers.