Annabeth’s father briefly lost his composure, “What? How can that be? There must be some mistake!”

The King’s eyes flashed, glowing with a ferocious intensity, “You dare to question the King? If I say this is so, then it is so. You are no one to question me.”

Annabeth’s father regained his bearing, “Of course your Highness, my deepest apologies. It was merely a shock. Everyone in the village knows my wife can’t conceive a child so we thought it was a blessing Annabeth was left on our door step. We couldn’t have known she was of such noble birth. If we had known, we would have returned her to you immediately of course.”

The King’s face brightened up, “I believe you would have. At the time, we were so embarrassed at the loss that we decided not to make it public. I’m sure you understand.”

The Queen spoke up, “We have missed her so much these many years, and now we have found you Annabeth. You must come with us now.”

Annabeth’s parents both began to protest but the King held out his hand, “Please my good people, this must be done. Parcell, show them the documents.”

Parcell came into the room holding a stack of scrolls in his hands, “I think that if you read these, everything will make sense.”

Annabeth’s parents could not read well, but they had made sure that Annabeth learned how to read and write. She went over the assembled documents and realized that they were royal birth certificates and decrees stating that she was born 16 years ago.

Annabeth looked up at the Royal couple, “It looks to me as if these records are correct, but please, my Lords, I ask you to let me stay here. This man and woman, your loyal subjects, have served you well in caring for me. I beseech you, let them continue this charge.”

The King and Queen looked surprised, “Well said my Dear,” said the Queen, “You will do well in the royal court with a tongue such as that. I’m afraid that you must come with us. I know it will be hard but it’s for the best.” The Queen looked like she was trying to make her face seem motherly, but it was such a foreign practice to her that she failed immediately.

Annabeth looked to her adoptive parents for help, but they both stared at the ground. Her father glanced over at her and sadly shook his head. She knew that there was nothing he could do.

The King smiled as he saw this, “Well, excellent. It’s all settled then. Annabeth, Parcell will help you pack your things. Hurry along now.”

Annabeth looked at him sullenly, “Yes…Father.”

The King quickly became angry once again, “You will address me as is proper. I won’t remind you again. Now be off with you.” The Queen looked equally enraged.

Annabeth went with Purcell to collect her things from her room. There wasn’t much, so it did not take long.

“Just think,” said Parcell as he held up one of the few dresses Annabeth owned, “Soon you will have all the clothes and jewelry you could ever want. You won’t have to wear these dirty rags anymore.”

Annabeth snatched her worn dress from his hands and put it in the sack. Her mother made that dress especially for her, and she would keep it always to be a reminder of how much her parents loved her. Her new parents did not seem as loving.

When they returned to the living room, Annabeth’s mother was sobbing into her father’s shoulder. It was all Annabeth could do to keep from crying herself.

The King nodded toward her parents, “You may hug them good-bye if you wish.”

Annabeth wrapped her arms around both her parents, she did not want to let go. It seemed so cruel to be ripped away so suddenly.

The Queen’s face tightened and became very stern, “Come now Annabeth, we’re going.”

Annabeth reluctantly let go, “Yes Moth… I mean Your Highness.” she said and trudged out the door. As she glanced back, she saw Purcell hand her father a rather large bag. She could only assume it contained some kind of payment. “At least they would have something,” she thought to herself. But just then she saw her father refuse to take reward. She smiled to herself, she could her him saying, “If I take this, how can I look my daughter in the eye?” She hoped against hope that she could see them again one day.

They entered the Royal coach, a magnificently ornate carriage. The doors were trimmed with gold and inside there were soft cushions and silky fabrics. Maybe this wouldn’t be as bad as she thought.

While the cushions were soft, her new parents were anything but. They sat across from herself and Purcell, saying nothing and keeping to themselves. Purcell on the other hand was full of information and talked the whole way to the castle, filling Annabeth in on the various coming and goings of the kingdom. She politely listened but her mind was otherwise occupied.

A cold wind blew through the carriage. The sun was shining brightly but the cold was everywhere, it seemed that in the past few years it was always a little colder than the year before.

After many hours of travel they came to the Royal castle. The castle was surrounded by a large town, bigger than any Annabeth had seen before. It was teeming with activity, hustle and bustle filled the streets. Annabeth was fascinated by all the people.

“Close the shades, I don’t want anyone to see us,” the King commanded. It was the first time he spoke the whole journey. Purcell complied and Annabeth saw no more until they reached the castle.

Once the carriage stopped, Annabeth and Purcell stepped out followed by the King and Queen. There was a large, bowing group of people waiting for them. Annabeth assumed they were the castle’s servants by the way they were dressed. In front were several large men with sharp looking spears. These must be the Royal guard Annabeth thought to herself.

The King turned to face Annabeth, “Come with me. You will now be taken to your room.” He motioned for the Royal Guard to follow. The Royal couple led the way into the castle, followed by Annabeth and Purcell, and the royal guard marching closely behind them. “So much security,” Annabeth thought.

Once inside they climbed up a long stairwell in the corner of the castle. It felt like they were going up a tower, but Annabeth couldn’t be certain. Once at the top, they stopped in front of a large, solid looking door with two small metal slots.

“Open the door Purcell,” the Queen said. Purcell pulled out his keys, unlocked the door, and opened it with great effort. The door seemed very heavy.

The Queen pointed to Annabeth, “In you go.”

Annabeth hesitated, this didn’t look like a room for a princess. This looked like a prison tower!

The Queen became impatient, “Guards, escort this girl to her room.” The royal guards roughly pushed Annabeth through the door, causing her to stumble. Before she could turn around, the door slammed closed and the top slot slid open.

Annabeth heard the Queen’s voice, “Welcome to your new home, Daughter. I do hope you will find it to your liking.” The Queen spoke to the guards, “Make sure she doesn’t make too much noise and feed her once a day, understood?”

The guards spoke loudly, “Yes your Highness, it will be done as you say.”

Annabeth cried out, “Why are you doing this? What have I done?”

The Queen looked through the slot, “Why? You were born my Dear, isn’t that enough?” and the slot closed with a snap.

Annabeth was alone, trapped in the prison tower, all alone.