it had been a long day, hunting in the woods close to the castle. it was one of the few places where Princess Isabella felt truly at peace, at the castle there were always people around, asking for either her assistance and opinion. She had just begun undressing herself when somebody knocked at her door. She wondered who it could be at this late hour, almost everyone had turned in for the night. She grabbed a blanket to cover herself with, the dirty dress was lying on the floor.
"Bella, I need to talk with you, it's very important" She relaxed a little, the voice belonged to her father, King Joshua. She opened the door to let him in, the look on his face made her worry. It was troubled, and he was looking at her with sad eyes. He didn't say anything, he just took her hands and made her sit on the bed. She could see he was thinking about to fraze what he was going to say to her, but he didn't have to. She was his daughter, his only child. She loved him, surely he must know that. Whatever he had to say couldn't be that bad, in any case, the suspense only made it worse. Finally he took in a deep breath and looked at her.
"Bella, you are 18 now, and it is time for you to think about starting a family of your own. I know I promised you that it could wait a few more years, but I'm going to have to break that promise. The kingdom is in trouble, if we are going to make it through, there has to be sacrifices. I have been in contact with the king of the north, his son Prince Nelson is about the same age as you. I have made arrangements for you to travel to the north to meet him, and stay there while the wedding is being planned." She had not said a word while he was talking. How could he do this to her, arrange for her to marry a man she had never known. She got up from the bed and started pacing around, wondering what to say. No words came to her, well that wasn't exactly true. A lot of words came to her mind, but none of them were very nice, and all of them sounded best if shouted. Finally she stopped and looked at her father, her eyes calm.
"If that is what you want me to do father, then I will do it" Her voice had sounded steady, but inside she felt that her whole world was falling apart. Her father got up and gave her a hug.
"I wouldn't send you away if I didn't think that you would be happy given some time." He left her standing in the middle of the room, a tear running down her cheek. She didn't sleep that night, in her head she kept going over the ways to get out of this situation.
The next morning she got up early. She took a long bath and dressed herself in tight fitted pants, a corsage over a thin white shirt and boots. Her long hair falling in soft curls around her face. She kissed her parents goodbye and set of with 7 guards. Over her shoulder was her bow, and at her side was her sword. She had a plan, but it could only be done in the night. The journey was long, and by nightfall the guards was beginning to show signs of fatigue. They made camp, and soon after all but 2 guards were sleeping. When they weren't looking she knocked one of them over the head with the hilt of her sword, then she grab her horse and rode of into the night. She could hear the remaining guard call after her, waking the others.
The Guards hurried after her, but it was dark and she disappeared after some time. The decided to split up, one guard volentered to ride to the north kingdom to explain what had happened. He was shaking when he entered the throneroom, falling to one knee he bowed to the king and prince.
"Your Majesties, I come bearing news of the princess. I'm afraid to say that she in the night chose to run away, we are out looking for her right now, and will bring her here when we find her."