The Lion of Shadowfen
The Lion of Shadowfen
Author: J.Hildebrandt

Chapter 1 Past fails

Princess Aurelia stared out the carriage window. It was a perfect day for doing nothing. A day to sit and daydream about being immortal and endlessly thirsty. A day to imagine running through the forest during a full moon in pursuit of prey. She knew her dream would never become a reality. Today would be another senseless waste of everyone's time.

Some ancient royals decided a kingdom is better ruled by two people instead of one. Any heir to the throne must perform the soul call to find a mate. Aurelia does not want to do this.

Her mother rolled her eyes, "Aurelia, you look like death."

"It's how I feel inside," Aurelia's melodramatic tone sounded tired and hopeless.

Sophie played with her daughter's midnight hair, "Third time's a charm."

Black lace gloves pulled tight against slender hands before they brushed away the Queen's manicured mitts, "Mother, nobody else had any trouble with the spell as far as I know. I am damaged goods. The gods have seen fit that I am alone."

"Stop being melodramatic. If this doesn't work, then we'll move onto arranged marriages. You may find happiness there. Honestly, Aurelia, sometimes I think you want to be alone."

Aurelia clenched her fists and scowled. Her wavy black hair fell around her eyes, "Oh yes, Mother, when I woke up on my eighteenth birthday, I wished to embarrass myself and my family in front of the whole kingdom by intentionally letting the spell fail."

Queen Sophie sighed, "I hate what it did to you. Once upon a time, you had gorgeous blond hair and wore bright, vibrant colors, and nothing seemed to wipe the smile off your face. I miss my morning glory," the Queen said, "I worry about your future."

The carriage stopped in front of the temple of Amouria, goddess of love and fertility. The massive Bronze statue of a woman holding a man and child in her palm greeted them.

Aurelia put the red lipstick on her lips and put a ruby choker around her neck. "Can't we do the arranged marriage thing this year?" Aurelia stared at the heavy iron doors with disgust.

"No, we will give the gods another chance to make things right. It is not our place to question their plans and motivations. The whole kingdom came out to see you try again. If anything, they will respect your tenacity."

The footman opened the door and held out his hand for Sophie. She floated to the ground with perfect posture and clasped her hands in front of her beautiful purple gown. Aurelia wobbled out of the carriage and almost fell on her face. Twice. "Stupid steps, not all of us walk with the

grace of an angel."

The first time she walked through the doors, the people of Shadowfen cheered and encouraged her. The second time they whispered and wondered if she preferred the presence of women over men. This year, a few rude and unseemly peasants dared to bet money on whether she would succeed or not.

Aurelia glowered at the crowd and raised her middle finger to the gamblers. She waved to the little girls who only cared about meeting a princess. The high priestess waited by the door. She greeted the Queen warmly and gestured her in.

The priestess saw Aurelia and embraced her. The smell of vanilla and strawberry overtook her senses, and she sighed, "Do I have to do this?"

The priestess giggled, "I'm afraid so, your majesty. I think the laws should change. Too bad nobody else agrees with me. We are going to try something a little different this time. I've altered the ritual to include any suitable match for you. Let us hope there is a prince among the frogs."

"I am encouraged by your words," Aurelia knelt and embraced some little girls who had stars in their eyes. "Like I told my mother, the gods planned to see me alone." She straightened the black and crimson satin dress and continued to stroll towards the temple. "What's with the pink petals?"

"I was hoping they would make you feel more romantic before you performed the ritual," the priestess blushed.

"Is there a man at the end of this petal trail?"


"Not romantic," Aurelia said in a gloomy tone.

"I have a good feeling about this one. Do you even know what you want in a man?"

Aurelia stopped dead in her tracks, "I'd prefer him to be alive with a heartbeat and the relevant equipment downstairs," She cracked a smile.

"That goes without saying, my dear, but what do you need?" The priestess asked.

A pair of guards opened the door to the temple, and the women bowed and carried on their way to the altar, "You know, I never thought about that. I was always busy learning how to run the kingdom. Have you met the noblemen my age, yuck? Lewd jerks who think I am a trophy to be put on display."

"Ahh, you require to be equals with a potential mate."

Aurelia nodded, "I am going to be running a kingdom, not playing mother to some uneducated slob."

"Keep going. You are on the right track," The priestess encouraged.

Pale white skin turned red with little provocation, "Thanks, I am starting to feel a little better."

"It is my sworn duty to ease suffering where I find it, child," The priestess pointed to the end of the long black carpet with red hearts leading to the altar that looked like two people kissing from afar. She took a deep breath, "Let us proceed," rows and rows of young men of all sizes sat in the pews with bored expressions except for one.

His wild blond hair fell around his handsome face like a mane, and his eye glowed a deep predator yellow. He watched her, and Aurelia suddenly felt naked and exposed in his gaze. Her heart started to beat faster, and her palms sweat.

"I see something that caught your attention. Which one?"

"I'm not telling you," Aurelia refused to jinx the spell by pointing out anyone.

"It's the wild-looking one, isn't it?" If I were ten years younger and not a priestess, I'd…What?

I'm a priestess. Nobody, said I wasn't allowed to look."

Aurelia kept a gaze made of stone on the priestess, "Can we please get on with the ritual. It probably won't pick him anyway. She turned back, and the wild-haired boy still watched her."

The priestess nodded and held her hands up in silence, "We gathered here today to perform the Hearts Call so this kingdom may continue to grow and prosper. Princess Aurelia, is there room in your heart for another?"

"Yes, there is."

"And you do this for the betterment of yourself and the kingdom?"

"Yes, I swear on the words of Amouria. My intentions are honest and pure."

The priestess pulled a scroll out from the folds of her robes, "then proceed, and may love sustain you into your golden years."

Aurelia stared out into the crowd. Yellow eyes still watched her with an intensity she'd never seen before. She took a deep breath and prepared to cast the spell.


I like this story Aurelia is fun to watch and ave to keep reading to find out about him

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