Growing up with the expectations of a kingdom upon one's shoulders was no easy task for any boy, especially the elder of two brothers who could not understand why he was not granted the same freedom in life as his younger brother. For much of his life, he looked jealously out windows down to courtyards where he could see his brother riding horses while he himself was stuck poring over tomes of military strategy and economic theory. Twice a week, he was forced into learning how to dance and he spent hours every day learning the languages of the surrounding regions. He envied his brother the relative ease of his life. While it was true that they both had intensive studying to complete, the lessons of the older boy always carried on nearly into the night and made him struggle while his sibling was able to spend time playing with some of the other children. Unbeknownst to him, the younger envied his brother in turn. Everyone doted on the child, taking every care not to disturb him. He was the constant topic of conversation and the darling of all the servants. He was admired for how diligent he was in his studies and pampered to keep up his health. Everything revolved around him and when the younger child wished to play games with his brother, he was always scolded for being inconsiderate and to keep quiet so he did not disturb the other while he was trying to concentrate. Thus, the two brothers grew through childhood and matured through their adolescent years, each wanting what the other had. The younger child, Lucas, spent his spare energies and times on becoming a boisterous young man with a particular talent in riding and caring for horses. He was popular with many around him for his outgoing personality and jovial nature. He was opposite from his brother, taking the looks of his father, blond of hair with brown eyes so light that they looked like amber in the sun. The older boy, Nicholas, was a quieter one, with a courteous demeanor and a polite way of speaking. He was treated well for his gentle and thoughtful personality that impressed all who met him and gave the almost unsettling feeling of speaking to someone who was playing a game of sorts in his head. The mother of the boys passed from this life into the next, leaving as a remembrance only her two sons. Of the two, Nicholas bore a striking resemblance to her, with his fine dark hair and eyes that shone vibrant green. Lucas did not well remember his mother, who had been sickly when he was very young and died before his fourth year but the tutors could always guilt Nicholas, who was two years older, into doing his work by reminding him that his mother wanted him to have the finest education. When Nicholas was twenty and four years of age, a darkness reached its hands through the land from the south, claiming the lives of many and withering crops that had been flourishing. The people spoke of it only in hushed tones, but it did not seem content in staying in the farmland. It wound its way up through the kingdom like a smoke snake until, at the capital where the royal family presided, it seemed to vanish. It was that very week that a woman appeared, claiming to be from a noble family on the outskirts of the kingdom. She was pale as porcelain with deep blue eyes and ruby lips. Her hair was blacker than ink and seemed to flow like it down her shoulders. Her soft sweet voice convinced the king to let her remain in one of the wings of the castle and both boys were instantly enamored with her innocent disposition and loveliness. Much to the disappointment of the older, and delight of the younger, she seemed to gravitate at once to Lucas. A fortnight passed quickly with Lucas taking the woman, who called herself Lillium, nearly everywhere with him. The pair seemed inseparable and in his company, she grew bolder, mentioning things that she did not like or people who had said something unkind about her. Eager to please, Lucas often demanded their apologies to appease her. This did not, however, stop the men and women of the castle from whispering behind their backs that the woman bore the touch of evil. And then, it happened so suddenly, no one expected it. The king was found dead in his chambers and every evidence pointed to the culprit being the elder prince. The only person that any could remember going near the chamber of the king was Nicholas, who came to tell his father good morning before immersing himself in his studies. It came as a shock to everyone and no one could believe that such a thing had happened. So many argued against his guilt, however, that the penalty was not the boy's death, merely exile. Curious to all, the one who argued most strongly against him was his own grief-stricken brother, with Lillium at his side. Across the sea, in a neighboring kingdom, the old huntsmaster and a few warriors took the young prince to his exile. They tried to avoid his eye and all were silent, feeling shame in what they must do. For his part, despite how he had railed and cried before, the prince was now quiet. He knew that they merely did what they must, stranding him in the wilderness with nothing and telling him that he was no longer welcome in the home of his father. It was there that he drew his legs up to his chest and sat beneath the trees, not yet come to terms with the drastic change his life had suddenly taken.