Out of all the places to be held hostage in, she was grateful that she got a library.
The musky smell of the old leather covers, the squish of the velvet cushions, and the fact that she could almost taste some of the dishes described in the books made her almost forget that she had no family and has being held hostage. Almost.
She had lived her whole life in the library, from the day after she was born and kidnapped, to now around 812 A.D. Reading every book in the mahogany-walled, red and green velvet library. She didn't know where the library was located because she had lived her whole life (save one day) within it and the windows showed the outside as just a blank horizon except for the sky, held hostage by an evil man who planned to take over the world.
She had no idea that something new was about to disrupt the monotony she had lived in for almost 16 years. The man was kind to her, kept her well-fed and clothed, and provided her with whatever she wanted with one condition: that she memorize every book in the library. Of course she loved reading (she was a hopeless bibliophile), but she longed for adventure and a life beyond these imprisoning walls. He held her hostage in order to use her memory to his advantage, and use all the knowledge she had collected to take over the world.
He had revealed to her, over a dinner of roast lamb, that in a week, he would be executing his plan of world domination.
"But why so soon? I just got through all of the books on disease! I have more to go, and once you take over, you won't have use for me anymore," she cried.
"I know," he said, and flashed a maniacal grin. “I will call my plan Chaos, and I will rule!”
Later, as she returned to her room, the burden of the world came crashing down on her shoulder as she realized her inevitable prospect of mortality. Each shadow that covered her was a knife piercing her heart, and her room never looked more uninviting.
"Princess!" she heard her captor say. "I have a parergon for you!" When he caught up to her, he regaled in detail her job: she must leave the library, for the first time in her life, and accompany him on an information-gathering jaunt. Her job was to persuade the shopkeepers to give them supplies. After she did, he would kill her.
She had never been outside before. The last time she had was when she was kidnapped from her parents at the hospital and brought here by her captor. But now, she was going outside at noon tomorrow! On a march to her death. There was no ataraxia within her mind today.
It was ten o’clock the next morning, and she was wracked with fear. Her only hope was to escape her captor when they were in the city and hopefully, avoid death. For once in her life, she would not be a myrmidon but a hero. Without her memory, she hoped that her captor’s plan would fail. I can do it,she thought.I will survive. With renewed vigor, she went about her menial tasks and tried her best to fill her next two hours.
Finally, 12 o’clock came and her captor fetched her from her room.
“Time to go, my princess!” he crowed, and dragged her to the door of the library.
“Now princess, when we go outside, you must promise not to run. If you do, we’ll have to do this the hard way.” he said as he opened the vast mahogany doors and let in the radiant sun.
The first thing she noticed was the sky. Ah, the sky! It was a shade between cerulean and cornflower, but no lighter than powder. She fought her way out of her captor’s hands and ran towards the street. Unfortunately, her captor mistook her actions for signs of rebel and slapped a pair of manacles on her. What am I going to do?, she thought. Now I’ll never get away!
Her captor led her towards the car and into the back seat. Only when the car started to move towards the bleak horizon did she notice the long butcher knife on the seat next to her. “An appropriate way to die. A silver knife to cut off my screams.” she said to her captor, grimacing.
I’m glad you agree, princess. I intend to use it sooner rather than later.” he replied, chuckling.
They had been riding towards what she assumed was the town for a while now, and all she could think about was her impending doom. The butcher knife gleamed ever sliver and heartless on the seat next to her, and she knew it would offer no mercy.
Suddenly, the car stopped outside a building labeled Magma Iron Works. "Now go inside there and convince the clerk to give us control of all the resources." her captor said. Scared out of her wits, she climbed out of the car, still in manacles, and made her way towards the building.
As soon as she got into the store, she hid in an aisle to collect herself. I have never been outside before, and on my first trip, I am a dead woman walking, she thought. I will never find my family. Her heart wrenched at the thought. But because my captor has been almost nothing but kind to me, I will do this last task for him. She gathered her courage, walked out of the aisle, and watched as the building erupted and all Chaos broke loose.
Avoiding debris and shrapnel from the shop, she ran outside to what used to be the middle of the street and only when she knew that she was going to die, she was able to catch her breath. And that's when she noticed the figure.
As the earth swirled around her in a shower of chaos, she watched as a shadowy figure emerged from the fog and stood next to her.
He was tall, but not so tall that she had to crane her neck to look at him. His hair was the color of copper, beautiful and shining. And his eyes. His eyes were the most wonderful things she had ever seen, with not enough adjectives in the universe to describe them. They were the color of melted chocolate with just a hint of milk. They were the color of a mare's mane, one that she had only seen illustrated in a book. And more than anything, they were the color of her library's mahogany walls when the radiant summer sun caught them through the windows at just the right angle.
Looking at this boy, she felt something deep inside her that she couldn't name. It was foreign, but she felt as if it was a feeling from her past, one that she had felt long, long ago. She didn't realize he was talking until too late.
"...Your name is Melody.." he said. Nodding, she felt breathless at the thought of having a name and, more importantly, a family.
"Who are you?" she breathed.
"My name is Parker." he told her. "And I have a message for you from the Order." Wondering what the Order was, she kept nodding dumbly.
Taking a deep breath, he said, "Your family is looking for you, Melody. You cannot disappoint us."
She nodded, her heart soaring at the thought of having a family. She hadn’t seen hers in 16 years today, and she was finally going to feel the loving embrace of their arms. With Parker at her side, she walked off into the bright horizon.