Hestoria was gone… Blacked out. For how long? She knew not. She woke up in a panic, drenched in sweat. Breathing heavily, she screamed, “I NEED MORE TWINE!” She opened her eyes. She was… underwater. For her, being underwater wasn’t like how most people felt. Sure, her hair and dress would flow about, and the occasional bubble of air would escape her lips and nose. When she would submerge under, she’d feel a change of atmosphere. Almost as if the world around her was calmer. She’d feel cold, then warm, the temperature always changing slightly. Hestoria would inhale, but the “air” would feel a bit… heavier. It didn’t disturb her breathing, though. Her speech didn’t change a lot, it just became a bit echoey. All these indications, along with the obvious change of scenery, would indicate that Hestoria was indeed underwater.
She gasped a bit as a chill ran up and down her spine. Hestoria scanned her surroundings. She was in a bedroom made of stone. It looked too familiar. Her bedroom was large, though humbly decorated with a simple white bed, a bedside table, one painting of the sea, and a door. There were no windows. She stood up and shrieked as chains restrained her movements. “Damn it… where the hell am-”
Footsteps echoed from nearby and Hestoria began to yell. “HELLO?! ANYONE THERE?!” The footsteps stopped abruptly. Whoever her captor was, they surely weren’t expecting her to wake so soon. Hestoria persisted in her efforts. “WHOEVER YOU ARE, AT LEAST TELL ME WHERE I AM AND WHY I’M-” the door opened, “here…” A woman hooded in a long black cloak stood in the doorway.
The woman shrouded in black stood silently, watching Hestoria’s every movement. After a few minutes of silence, she spoke. “You will leave soon, Queen of Atlantis, very soon.”
Hestoria looked surprised. “I have never been called that since-”
“Yes, I’m aware.”
“Who are you? And why am I here?”
”You are here for your own protection, your Highness.” The woman turned around.
“You only answered one of my questions,” Hestoria pointed out. “Why?”
The woman smiled very slightly. “Perhaps you ask the wrong questions, my queen.” She paused. “Now I’ve answered two.”
“Well, if I’m going to be here indefinitely, may I please not be treated as some common prisoner? I’d like not to be shackled while speaking to my ‘host’.”
The woman flicked her wrist and the chains melted out of existence. Which only meant, “You have water abilities.” The woman’s smile reappeared before she left the bedroom prison and shut the door. Hestoria quickly began to take out the mattress. Perhaps she could find something to help her escape… Anything.
After what felt like a few hours of ripping up the mattress, trying to pry open the stone floor and walls, looking about the bedside table, looking behind the painting, and other desperate attempt to escaping Hestoria could manage, she gave up. She even tried plain old opening the door, thinking maybe this was all a test. But no. It was locked, sealing Hestoria away from the outside world. She sat on the mattress and collapsed on it, panting.
Then heavier strides were heard, followed by a man’s voice. “…then let her go!” He was in deep conversation with a woman- the one from earlier, Hestoria realized.
“We are trying. But with a crazed heretic out and about, how do you think we’ll feel if our most precious person is out there fighting in a war that should be of no importance to her?”
“She lived thousands of years without us. Why would anything we do be of import to her now?”
“Because she is our queen. We finally found her and-”
“And what?! You shall keep her imprisoned in that bedroom? No, that is not a life. She should decide her fate, not us.”
“And risk dying? Are you not listening to how mad you sound right now? What if the next time the Queen battles, she dies? Her crystal is gone to who-knows-where! What shall happen to her then, hm? She vanishes into oblivion? Will she rest in peace? What if she miraculously survived and was kidnapped, tortured? Would those nuns turn her into one of them? Would she be asked of her home? Her life? Her connections to life outside these walls?”
The man stood quiet.
“There are just too many uncertainties right now. We cannot risk her life simply because we-”
“Her life is the most important thing to me, too. But what is a life if she cannot live it? Life is full of uncertainties, but is that not the whole point of it? We were not born knowing who we are and who we would become. Hestoria gets a choice, and whether they agree or not, I shall insure her voice will be heard.”
The woman sighed. “Did you just undo the cloaking spell? How stupid are you?”
The man seemed to chuckle. “Stupid enough to know that Hestoria now knows that she has a choice in her life. Whether she likes it or not.”
At this moment, Hestoria stood up and backed away quickly. The door opened. A brawny, tall man stood beside the woman. He was also dressed in a black cloak. “Today, you are in luck, my Queen. The council heard my argument and shall now hear yours. So, freedom or bedroom prison?” Hestoria flinched back.
“Um… Freedom, if it is possible.”
The woman turned and walked off. The man laughed in victory. “Wise choice. Good day.”
“What?” The moment she asked, Hestoria’s world went black. She woke up in front of the Red Sun Inn… The hell? What the hell just-“You know what? I’ll just get a drink and think about that later.” She entered the inn, with hopes that she will never return to that bedroom. A lurking feeling in the depths of her mind told her otherwise. That was merely the beginning…