• I am Althea, the cursed princess. I wear my pride on a thin string dragging behind me in the dust and dirt. My name is as black as the most unworthy criminals. You know how some children have christenings when they're born? Well, my father tried to murder me when I was a baby. I am a failure, the downfall of Drydian. No person is mored hated than me. When I walk into a room, everyone else walks out. When I want something, everyone else wants the exact opposite.

    I am Althea, King Dracien's daughter. I am supposed to be the bad one. Me, the one who rescued baby birds from trees when I was little. My guards hate me. My people hate me. My father hates me. And all because of a stupid prophecy. It was the night of my birth, fifteen years ago, when philosophers saw the Star of Rune fly through the sky, burning a path of bright light behind it. Less than a minute later, I was conceived, killing my mother in the process. Ever since, my presence has caused a darkness to spread over Drydian. I suffer every day but I don't mind. No, what really cuts me deep is the king's fear. All I wanted was his love and all I got was his ignorance. If he had tortured me or thrown me in jail, I wouldn't mind. But sometimes, what's worse than pain is knowing you wake up to be invisible to your own father.

    I am Althea, the damned. I was raised by the castle servants, who could care less if I was going to destroy the kingdom or not. I dress in plain clothes and work every day, then spend the rest of my time exploring the long since untouched Garden of Azerbian. Like me, it was cursed, after a young maid was murdered there. For years, I have been the only one to enter it. So like many other things that are lost and broken in the hands of those who have forgotten it, I took it under my wing as soon as I found out. After years of exploration, I still do not know all its secrets.

    I am Althea, the one who no one cares about. You can look me in the eyes and not see anything but I'm hurting inside. I've been broken from the hurt and pain of feeling so alone. I wish people could see me as who I truly am, not who the prophecy chooses me to be. Because though it paints me with the blood red of the future, I am still Althea, just Althea. And maybe, some day, one day soon, I'll find out what I am. Am I Althea, the cursed, or Althea, the guardian of the lost?