“Throne, he’s not coming back.” Maggie sighs as the sun sets.

“No… No he has to. He always does.” His voice is desperate, it isclear to his own ears that he is not in control of his voice. “Just a bit longer.”

“Throne,” Maggie stands and walks over to him. “You need to listen to me.” He looks up, looks like the child he once was when first taken in after the Keeper’s treachery “He isn’t coming back. I don’t know if it’s his choice not to come back or if he’s been-”

“Dears Gods!” Throne shoots up “He’s been captured! We have to save him!”

“I… Well I guess its possible.”

“We have to be sure, he’d come for me if I was captured… Did come for me…” He corrects himself. “Come on, let’s go.” He charges through the forest causing as much noise as possible, Maggie follows behind doing her best to be silent.

“What are you doing?” She whispers harshly.

“The fastest way into the city is to get caught. The fastest way to Alex is to be captured.” That actually makes sense to the Foretold.

“Then why not just scream? I mean tramping around is fine, we’re really loud but we could just be a bear or something.” Throne stops and spins, grinning like a fox.

“Perfect.” Maggie suddenly regrets her choice to speak “Help! Help us please!” Throne begins “Oh some one help! I’m lost!” It does not take long for the search parties to find them and capture them, binding Throne’s hands behind his back while gingerly escorting Maggie to a wagon like she might break if miss handled. With a sigh she sits at the head of the wagon, guards and Throne barred behind her.

The ride takes hours, cutting a wide path around the lake to the front gates where they enter; but the eyes on Throne are not the same as when he was first brought in. There is no cheering, no jeers, or insults; just curiosity, the eyes peering at him, trying to connect him to the boy they thought had died so long ago. He knows not how to convince them and so he just looks back, looks back and lets himself look tired, defeated, and hungry but that is enough. “Hail to the king” rises from some, “Gods be praised” from others and while the guards, loyal to the Keeper King, share uneasy glances all Throne can do is give a weary smile and let his head rest on the bars of his cage.

He looks defeated when they bring him before the Keeper, but meet the man he does, with pride and defiance in his sparkling eyes. “Throne,” He remains silent “I’m happy to see you alive. You’ll meet your fate tomorrow and that traitor will be unable to save you.”

“He isn’t a traitor.” is Throne’s only response but the Keeper’s attention has already moved to Maggie.

“My dear-”

“Don’t call me that.” Maggie interrupts “You can call me Lady Foretold.”

“Oh, Maggie, darling, please-”

“Don’t call me that.” She interrupts again “Take me to Alex. I want to see my knight.” The Keeper falls silent, with a mute nod the guards take her through the castle to the Brothers and the chapel where Alex rests comfortably on the small bed. “Alex,” He jumps up and looks at her “are you alright?”

“Miss Magnolia?” She smiles “What are you doing here?”

“Throne insisted we come for you. Knew you are a better man then to leave us.” The color drains from Alex’s face “What’s wrong?”

“I… I may have told the keeper I drowned you.” Maggie stares in disbelief.

“What? Why would you say that?”

“To keep him from looking for you. I’m sorry I can’t help you get home… I was trying to keep you safe.” Alex sighs and looks away from her, Maggie just smiles softly.

“Don’t worry about me silly, I can take care of myself.”

“If you could do that you would not have been locked in a room waiting your wedding night.” Alex shoots back softly. “All you do is push people away, Miss Magnolia, you have people in your life who will fight for you.” Maggie pauses a moment and stares at him, he suddenly wishes he had not said anything “Forgive me, Lady Foretold. I forgot my place.” His gaze rises to meet hers slowly.

“It’s ok Alex…” She whispers “You’re right….” Silence fills the room for a moment before a hard knock shakes the chapel and guards enter, with orders to bring the knight and the girl to the king, and so they follow without fuss through twisting corridors and halls to a large marble floored room with only a table covered by a lumpy red table cloth, Throne, and the Keeper. They are left there and silence encompasses the large space only breaks when the Keeper speaks first.

“The King’s Council has determined this man to be the prince, and that agents from an unknown interest attacked him and his family. This boy maintains that it was my agents, and so the council is choosing to agree with him. This is a fight for justice, the throne, and our lives.” He pauses and they both look at Maggie “Who do you side with, Lady Foretold? I, whom have showered you with gifts and affection, or this rouge man that kept you in a dingy, dirty little warren of crime.”

“First off-” Maggie is interrupted by Throne.

“Dingy and dirty warren of crime?” He laughs “The Recluse is no such place. This is a gilded cage! Full of horrors and treachery, why would she ever side with you?”

“How dare you!” The Keeper scoffs “She will side with me! It is the only way!”

“She will side with me, and the people, as is the way of the foretold!” Throne shoots back while Maggie’s blood boils.

“Enough!” They look at her “You berated me, mistreated me, and abused me,” She started with Throne “and showed me no respect! Why would I side with you!” The Keeper smiles, as though he has already won “And you, you are a liar and killer! Why would anyone side with you!” She counters, both falter and looks at her, shocked. “Neither of you deserve this kingdom! I’m side with Alex. He’s only tried to do what he thought was best and that I can live with!” Alex’s face drains of color as the others stared at him.

“M-Miss Magnolia” She looks up at him “C-Could you perhaps… Please don’t side with me… I’m not a good man… Please…” She smiles.

“Alex, you are the best. I’m siding with you.” She turns back to them “So fight amongst yourselves, but my choice is final.”

Throne and the Keeper look back at each other defiantly. “Till death then?” Throne asks.

“Till death.” The Keeper agrees with a firm nod.

Lost [chapter 23]