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The Story of Nathaniel
By Amanda Spanton
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2013 Amanda Spanton
All rights reserved.
My name is Nathaniel Alexander Cordux. Before my creator, Jacob, and I left Italy to return to England, I decided it was time to keep a record of the events of my life. After the death of Rianna, I could not bring myself to go on. The life of an immortal can be very lonely, even when you are not alone. Although Jacob insists that I should not give up hope, I fear that the last thread of hope I held onto died with Rianna. We should arrive at the Kin council building within a week, and I hope to have completed recording the events that led to my current place in life by that time.
After losing Arianna, and now Rianna, I have nothing left. I think I am ready for this life to be over. I really just do not want to feel anymore. The pain is too much to bear. One question plagues my mind relentlessly: if we truly are soul mates, why do I keep losing them so quickly? I fear that is one question that will remain unanswered.
There really is nothing left for me to live for ...
"1757 August 20
The year was 1468. My father was the brother of King Argon , so we had a great deal of land. Our estate was surrounded by a ten-feet-high wall that had two entrances, one in the front and one in the back.
My mother and father rarely left the grounds inside the wall , but I ventured around all our land. On the estate grounds we had servants that cared for the animals, servants that took care of the stables, servants that tended to the inside of the manor, and cooks.
The servant corridors were accessible through two doors, one outside leading to the grounds and the other through the cooking area. The lower half of the manor held the dining hall , the main hall that led to the stairs and my father's personal study. No one was allowed in the study when he was handling the affairs of the villagers.
The second level of the manor contained the sleeping chambers of my mother, my father, my governess, and myself. The villagers were forced to work the fields on my father's land, they saw very little of the surplus.
Being the son of a duke and duchess meant that I was raised by a nursemaid, and my uncle sent a governess to tend to my schooling. Abigail had been a servant of my uncle and had been trained to be my tutor before I was born.
I was born in 1456. Abigail had to return to her family during the first year of my life, and my mother made a point of informing her that she would return promptly to start caring for me. Abigail's brother, Colin , was one of the groundskeepers there, which is why she came to work for my mother and father, aside from her training.
I was a year and a half old when she returned with a baby girl for Colin. I remembered him being very sad for a long time after she returned.
I had heard once that the woman he had married had died in childbirth . That was why Abigail had returned to their family's home. Though Abigail was to tend to my training, she also helped her brother in caring for his daughter, Arianna.
Because Abigail was not your typical governess, she did not teach me to be royalty, as my mother and father had been , nor did she teach me to conform. Instead, she taught Arianna and me the ways of the world and how to survive with very little.
But the main thing that she taught us was love. She would speak of true love and that only soul mates could have "true" love.
Abigail also believed in reincarnation , and she believed that two souls bound to each other as soul mates can always find one another in each lifetime into which they are reborn . I learned all of this, while Abigail told my mother and father that I was being taught as they had been taught. I, of course, played along for the most part, though I had my moments of rebellion.
One day, my mother came out to the courtyard to see Abigail walking back and forth in front of Arianna and me. She was teaching us about how things grew. She stopped talking and looked at my mother as she approached us.
Abigail nodded her head respectfully to his mother as she turned and looked at him. "Nathaniel, your father and I must speak with you privately in the dining hall."
She then looked at Abigail. "I would like you to come, as well, Abigail. You will not be permitted to speak. You will merely listen. Do I make myself clear?"
Abigail nodded her head respectfully again. "Aye, my lady."
His mother turned and walked back into the manor as Abigail turned to Arianna. "Arianna, you may go and help your father in the stables for now. Run along."
Inside the dining hall, Abigail stood in the doorway as Nathaniel walked to the long solid oak table that sat in the center of the room. He looked around at everyone who was there. At the far end of the room behind his father, there was a large stone fireplace that was roaring as the wood snapped and popped, keeping the room warm enough. Over the table hung a beautiful candelabrum made of deer antlers with thin candles protruding from the lower tips of the antlers, casting a soft muted glow over the table. Banners of the royal family hung on the three interior walls. He recognized his aunt Marianne and uncle Argon and their son, Paul, sitting on the right side of the table.
Paul and Nathaniel were the same age, though Paul was three months older than Nathaniel. Unlike Nathaniel, Paul had jet black hair. His eyes were the same shade of blue as Nathaniel's, but with flecks of gold around his pupil. He was also far more reserved than Nathaniel. Never speaking unless spoken to, but you could see his rebellious nature lurking just underneath the surface. Sometimes Nathaniel wished he could be like his cousin, biting his tongue instead of spouting off.
But there were four others seated to the left side of the table that he did not know. As he stood at the end of the table looking at everyone, his uncle stood and introduced the others as King Raithwall and Queen Amelia and their two daughters; Elizabeth, who was eleven, and Alexandria, who was eight.
They had come from the North Country to meet with his mother and father and him. The North Country would later be known as the countries of Sweden, Denmark, and Wales.
"When Elizabeth was born, King Raithwall and Queen Amelia came to us with a proposal of marriage between our two children. This would bring our two kingdoms together as one. But when Alexandria was born, we realized that they would need a successor as well. That is why we are here. We thought of you, Nathaniel," his uncle explained and then looked at Nathaniel's father, who stood up and looked at Nathaniel.
"Your mother and I have agreed to the proposal of marriage between you and Alexandria. We have all agreed that you and Paul will be married to the princesses the day after your twenty-first birthday, Nathaniel. You will then return to the North Country with them and take your place as king upon King Raithwall's death."
Nathaniel looked at Alexandria and then back at his mother and father. "But I do not even know this girl. I cannot marry her," he said.
His mother, who was standing next to his father at the far end of the table, looked at him, a very stern expression on her face. "You will marry Princess Alexandria, as we have arranged. This is not your choice to make. This is our choice, and your father and I have made the decision. And you will obey that decision."
He did not understand his mother and father; he never had. They took no part in raising him or teaching him. He looked at Abigail and saw a woman who led a double life to give him the chance to have a life of his own making.
He came to realize a long time ago that he was the complete opposite of his mother and father. He defied them at every turn.
"I am not going to marry her," Nathaniel yelled.
He looked angrily at his mother and father. "I do not know her, nor do I want to know her."
After looking around the room in disgust, he ran out of the dining hall and out to the courtyard.
* * *
"1757 August 21
About a mile to the west of the estate, there was a small forested area with a waterfall and a pond just below. The water was never cold because of an underground hot spring located at the top of the falls.
Trees surrounded the whole area, with only a small opening at the top where sunlight would shine through onto the base of the waterfall . At one end of the pond there were large rocks where I would always sit next to the falls.
This was mine and Arianna's place to come when we got into trouble or when we snuck off during the day to go swimming, instead of doing our chores."
As he picked up a small stone next to him, he heard the sound of a twig snap from behind him and knew it was Arianna without even turning around. He threw the rock into the water as she came up behind him.
"I knew that I would find you here," she said as she sat down next to him.
Nathaniel looked at the waterfall and sighed. "I needed to get away from that place."
She put her hand on his leg, and he looked over at her to see that she was smiling. "What did your mother and father want?"
He shook his head and looked back at the waterfall. "My aunt and uncle were there with the king and queen from the North Country. My mother and father said that I am to marry their youngest daughter since they have already betrothed their oldest to my cousin Paul." He looked back at her to see that she was frowning at him, and he added, "I told them that I do not want to marry her, but my mother said that I do not have a choice in the matter."
Arianna looked away from him as she removed her hand from his leg and looked down at her hands. "What will you do then?"
He shook his head and looked back at the waterfall. "I know that I do not want to marry the princess. But I wish to speak with Abigail about all of this and know what she thinks. She may be able to help me figure out what to do." He looked back at her and smiled. "For now though, I want to go swimming."
She looked at him as he grabbed her hands and pulled her into the water with him. They had fun just like they always did, splashing each other and swimming. It was their place, and no one else knew of it except Arianna's father, Colin, and Abigail.
* * *
It was dark by the time they returned to the estate. Abigail was waiting for them as they came through the gate. She grabbed Nathaniel by the arm and looked extremely upset with him.
"Your mother will have my head if you keep disappearing like this," she said and looked at Arianna. "Go on to bed, Arianna. Now!"
Arianna hurried to the servant's door and disappeared as Abigail led Nathaniel into the kitchen through the side door and sat him down so she could talk to him. She could see that he was upset as well.
"I understand that what you have learned is hard for you to accept. Your mother would have me warm you to the decision of marriage to the princess, help you to see that the marriage would be a good one," she said calmly.
Nathaniel could not believe what he was hearing. He saw movement from the servant door out of the corner of his eye, and he glanced over to see Arianna standing there, staring at him with those big jade-green eyes and smiling. Looking back at Abigail, he became flustered.
"And you agree with her?" he exclaimed.
She smiled and gently put her hand to his cheek. "No, I do not," she said and added, "I do not believe in marriage without love. In each lifetime there is only one person that you can find true love with. That is the person that you are meant to marry."
The sound of someone coming down the hall ended the conversation for the night.
Abigail took him by the arm and led him out into the hall, where they found his mother, looking from him to Abigail, surprised.
"Has Nathaniel just now returned?" she asked in disbelief. Abigail looked at his mother and nodded respectfully as she spoke. "No, my lady. I wanted to speak with him about his actions today and how upset he made everyone. I wanted to make sure he understood that what he did was disrespectful and very improper before he went up to his chambers."
Nathaniel scowled at Abigail, knowing that she was lying to his mother to make her happy. His mother smiled as she stepped toward him, grabbed him roughly by the arm, and looked at Abigail. "I will take Nathaniel to his chambers. You are dismissed, Abigail."
She nodded. "Aye, my lady." Abigail stepped past Nathaniel and his mother and went up to her chambers.
After a moment, his mother began pulling him forcefully down the hall and up the stairs toward his chamber door. When they reached his door, his mother jerked him back and looked angrily at him.
"Your actions today were very disrespectful. What you said was inappropriate, and you embarrassed your father and me in front of your future family," she said as she grabbed him by the face and dug her nails into his cheeks. "You will never act that way again, and you will be happy with your future marriage to Princess Alexandria. Is that understood, Nathaniel?"
He pulled away forcefully from her grip, causing his skin to tear and bleed profusely as he looked at her defiantly. "I will never be happy with this arrangement," he said. Grabbing the handle to his door and glaring at her, he continued, "And furthermore, I will act how I please!"
Nathaniel opened the door to his chamber and went inside; leaving his mother standing there even more mad than she had been to begin with. He knew that she would not follow him. She had not entered his chambers since the day he was born. Standing at the door, he could hear her stomp off down the hallway to her own chambers.
The following morning Nathaniel was up before the servants had started their work for the day, and he went out to the courtyard quietly. Arianna and her father were up as well and were already starting on their work in the stables.
Colin came out of the stables carrying a bale of hay and saw Nathaniel as he came out through the side door. He looked at him and saw the wounds on his face. He was stunned by the amount of dried blood that was on Nathaniel's shirt and cheek as he hurried over to him.
Abigail came out of the side door to the manor and shut the door behind her. The sound made Nathaniel turn his head toward her, revealing the wounds to her as well, and she hurried over to him.
"Nathaniel, what happened to you?" she asked as she reached her hand out to touch his cheek, but he pulled away from her.
A look of concern crossed her face as she continued to look at Nathaniel. "Who did this to you?" she demanded.
Arianna came out of the stables carrying a bag of chicken feed, when she saw them standing there.
"Did you think that my mother, of all people, taking me to my chambers would not have consequences attached?" he asked, scowling angrily.
"She had never touched you before. Why would I have thought otherwise?" she responded in shock by his response.
Colin stepped in front of Nathaniel then and looked at Abigail. "I will take care of this, Abigail. Do not worry."
He turned to Nathaniel and put his hand on Nathaniel's shoulder. "Let us get those wounds cleaned up."
He led him into the stable and had him sit on a bench by a water trough. There was a bucket of water on the ground next to Nathaniel that was being heated over a small fire.
Colin picked up a cloth from the rail and dipped the cloth into the bucket of heated water. He looked at Nathaniel as he began to clean the wounds.
"Do you know that Abigail thinks of you as a son? She is very protective of you, just as she is with Arianna," he said.
"If that were true, then she would not have let my mother take me to my chambers last night. She has always been the one to escort me to my chambers for as long as I can remember. What made last night so different?" Nathaniel replied with resentment.
He shook his head, understanding Nathaniel's questioning her motives, but he knew the answer as well.
"You know that Abigail leads a double life with you and your mother and father," he began. "She does not agree with the way that she was taught to raise and teach you, but for her to continue to raise and teach you she must let your mother and father believe that she is teaching you the way that they are expecting her to," he explained. "Being of royal blood, you are expected to be obedient and proper, to do as you are told and nothing more. But love is never a part of it," he finished.
Excerpted from Finding Arianna by Amanda Spanton. Copyright © 2013 Amanda Spanton. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter One.................... 1
Chapter Two.................... 9
Chapter Three.................... 16
Chapter Four.................... 24
Chapter Five.................... 34
Chapter Six.................... 45
Chapter Seven.................... 55
Chapter Eight.................... 64
Chapter Nine.................... 76
Chapter Ten.................... 84
Chapter Eleven.................... 94
Chapter Twelve.................... 102
Chapter Thirteen.................... 112
Chapter Fourteen.................... 123
Chapter Fifteen.................... 132
Chapter Sixteen.................... 146
Chapter Seventeen.................... 155
Chapter Eighteen.................... 165
Chapter Nineteen.................... 174
Chapter Twenty.................... 181
Chapter Twenty-one.................... 195
Chapter Twenty-two.................... 206
Chapter Twenty-three.................... 216
Chapter Twenty-four.................... 225