The Princess Knows
The Royal Guard (PC) had been in the king's service for his entire life, his father before him, and generations before that, for as long as any in his family could remember. The Royal Guard had followed the King Thule down to Beneath the Roots. He suspected of what lied there, behind those doors where he wasn't allowed. He had caught glimpses of the dark halls. He had heard his king talk while walking down, while walking up, all the Thousands of Stairs. Again and again. And he had seen a pattern forming. Of subject. Who, or what, did the king keep down there? In the dark chambers? What had this all to do with the old wife's tale about the forest spirit? What was it's name again?
In all his time, King Thule had never taken a wife. And all knew, the king, their unending ruler, he had plenty chances for it. But any woman left him unmoved. He wasn't interested. And yet, one day, he held a pup in his arms. A small, tiny little Princess. No one knew where she'd come from, or how she'd gotten there. Maybe Thule knew, but he didn't tell, and no one dared to ask. The king tasked his Royal Guard, his most trusted soldier, to watch over her. To never let anything bad happen to her. Of course, the Royal Guard swore. He'd guard her with his life.
Years went by, the Princess grew, and the Royal Guard watched her coo, crawl and eventually walk. And talk. Oh did this Princess talk. The Royal Guard was glad that he was not the Princess' caretaker, for his ears would fall off if he had to stay by her side that much. He loved her by all his heart, he did, just not all his ears.
And so the Princess grew. And one day, out of the blue, she asked her Guard about Salighet. Without his say so, his lips moved, and he told her about the locked door Beneath the Roots. For he loved his Princess, maybe more than he loved his king. And although the king had never told him not to tell anyone about the dark chambers, the Royal Guard felt that telling would be wrong. But, he reasoned, no bad would come of him telling. The door was locked, and so, he only felt a little guilty when he followed his Princess down the Thousand Stairs.
As he suspected, the young Princess pouted when the door would not move as she tugged at its handle. He drew a sigh of relief, releasing the last of his guilt and looked away. Looked away for one second.
And heard the door swoosh open.
But what was he to do but follow? And what they saw in there. Amazing carvings adorning the walls from floor to ceiling. And the images painted a story. A story the Princess asked questions about. And the Royal Guard heard himself answering. For, yes, although he knew that maybe he shouldn't, he'd taken a spare moment, only one here and there, to read and ask, about Salighet. So he told her what he knew. Which was sparingly little. That it was some kind of spirit being from the forest. A keeper of nature. That very few still believed it even existed.