Dawnies, as a reminder, the excerpts are not in any particular order. To keep up with the draft as it is written, follow me on Wattpad.
Blooded knuckles landed on my face once more. I wasn’t sure of the time, but I commanded my son to leave me after the second moon. Pound, pound, smack, smack, again and again, I am dripping red but I won’t give in to this tyrant. I will draw my last breath before divulging the whereabouts of my queen.
“Enough! Ager orders before sitting.
“This madness can end Donegal. All you have to do is turn over the descendent and Hiddard. Is your life, better yet the life of your people not worth it? Can you not hear their screams? Soon you won’t have many people left. Take him outside. Let him watch them rot a little longer.”
Jessup enters the Long Hall.
“Your Grace. Shereen has arrived.”
“Send her in. I have grown tired of these games.” Ager orders.
Shereen is of the high order of Shellions. They are the most powerful filled with the greatest of abilities. It is said that some can communicate with the Gods including the she Goddess Rose.
I made my way to Shereen as I am ordered to. Taking her hand, I lead her to our king. She glares me in the eyes before entering the Long Hall.
“You are unsure of yourself Jessup. Unsure of your role to play in times ahead.”
Before she could bring herself to read me I shushed her. Honestly, I’m not interested in any of her prophecies or tricks. One like her caused me to lose my entire family.
We enter the Long Hall to find King Ager kneeling and staring into the fire. Shereen blows into her partially sealed hands turning the fire a mixture of blue, red, green, and brown.
Running her fingers through his hair, she asks, “Do you see them my king?” Ager continues to stare into the flames as she hisses. “Bring them unto you, my Lord. Feel their power and destruction.”
I could not see from his eyes but he begins to scream as if his body was being torn apart. Wanting to intervene, but choose not to. This is what he desires and the price he pays for seeing the past or future.
As the hand of the king, I desire nothing more than to see this realm succeed, but lately, my patience has been tried and tested. I am different than my father before me and his father before him. I seek to serve the realm, not its leaders unless they seek what’s best for all. The problem is the man I serve is all about his own justifications as was his father before the king himself had the man poisoned by his handmaid.
Shereen beckons for my help as she pins Ager to the floor. “His eyes. Open his eyes.” As his hand, what choice do I have? I took both my hands and pried them open. For just a moment, they appeared lavender.
“A mixture of the elementos his eyes have seen. He has seen them as they are now. He has seen the one who comes for them. The one who will bring about the end.” Shereen speaks.
“Whom do you speak of?” I ask. “That is a matter for the king to discuss with you, my Lord. Ahh, he comes around now.” She responds.
I look upon Ager and question his health. Assuring me he is exceptional, he stands to his feet and orders Alon, the commander of the King’s Guard.
After sending word, I approach to see Ager and Shereen bonding. I cannot believe what my eyes are beholding. He is having an encounter while hundreds of his men are engaged outside. As I turn away, the bells sound.
It is an alarm of defeat. The Brams is giving up. They are ready to talk. Maybe not Donegal, but someone close to him is.
Ager rises and clothes himself ordering me to stand the forcers down as Alon walks in.
I take my leave to the city center ordering a cease-fire. Speaking to the high guard, I learn there is one willing to talk, the one who sent a condor, the one who rung the bell. While the guard is speaking, I begin to see as if Shereen had plucked my eyes. I see her. In my ear, a whisper. “Kalera!”
In my ear, I hear, Kalera. Ton moves into my sight with tears in his eyes after burying his youngest sister. I can still hear the screams of Shelleann blaming him for her demise. The truth is she had to blame someone and Donegal is MIA and she dare not blame me.
It was nearing the second moon so I know what Ton must be thinking. Hiddard and Genna had spent the day burning the dead on both sides and covering our tracks in the snow.
“Your mere is ready, my queen.” Ton said softly.
“You need to rest and spend a little time with your family.” I said.
“Family. That woman is no family of mine. The truth is if it was only her, I would have denied my father’s command.” He gruffs.
“Anger befalls you. And you have every right, but she is the mother of your sisters and grieving. There’s no worse grief than the loss of a child. Please rest Ton. Visit with the young ones. The road ahead will be treacherous for them.” I whispered.
He looks upon me with sorrow. “Yes, my queen.” He responds.
Hiddard and Genna return. He walks to me with news from the city. A merchant had managed to escape but not without life-threating injuries. He alarmed Hiddard of the Shallion and his belief that Donegal has perished.
“We have no other choice your grace but to take the Salaman Road and enter the Dark Forest. It’s the only way to Port Cye.” He says.
As I speak to Hiddard, I hear again, but this time louder, “Kalera!” Now screams of agony and anguish follow. I turn towards the sound and make haste as I begin to run down a small hill. Hiddard, Ton, and Genna speed after me.
Minutes later I wonder if my eyes and ears were deceiving me. Lying there in a puddle of blood was a beast from Greek mythology, a Centaur.
Now that I am at his feet, his screams become moans and groans.
Bending down, I can see he has three arrows impaling him. Not being able to bear the suffering of this creature, I slowly remove them. As I do, I see this Centaur is male. He screams and locks eyes with me. I turn to see the others standing there.
“What are you doing?” Ton barks.
“What am I doing?” I respond.
“How do you think he got here?” I ask.
“He was a prisoner of my father. This Kale was caught stealing our livestock.” Cries Ton.
“He will not lie here and die.” I command.
I look to Genna. “Give me that string on your belt and fetch water, quickly.”
Ton feels the authority in my voice so he and Genna make haste. Trained in the art of healing, Hiddard grabs two rags and places three large stones in a fire nearby.
Closing my eyes, I begin to whisper a prayer over him. He screams as Hiddard carefully wipes the punctures. I wrap the string around a tiny pin from my boots and begin to suture his wounds. While suturing, I have a recollection of when I had to stitch up my mother after one of my stepfather’s beatings.
I stroke his hair with one hand as Hiddard places the hot stones. He screams as his wounds are being purified and sealed. Finally, he ceases to bleed. His screams are no more as he tries to stand. Ton removes his sword from its sleeve as he extends the bucket of water.
“Put that away.” I Command.
“I am sure he is not going to hurt us.” I insist.
On all fours, the Kale is at least six and a half feet in height. He looks down to his wounds and then to his healer. The symbol on my neck catches his attention as he moves a little closer.
“People have not seen this symbol in many moons. You are a dragon.” He whispers.
“How do you know?” I ask.
“My people would love to meet you. My queen.” He replies.
“Where are your people?” I ask.
“They live just north in the Dark Forest.” He responds.
I and Hiddard turn to Ton.
Hiddard explains what the merchant had seen and believed. We have no choice but to follow the commands of Lord Donegal if we want to make it to the port. This is perfect because now, I can make allies of the Kales.
“As you wish, my queen.” Ton replies.
They head back to the camp to pack up the final supplies and to prepare Shelleann and his sisters.
I can hear Shelleann screaming at Ton so I step in. “He is the commander of the House Guard and as of now, my Hand. So you will respect him regardless of your feelings. I understand your grief, but his commands are my commands.” I announced.
Ton was taken back. He could not believe what he had just heard. The fact is I was looking to both he and Hiddard as I know I must begin to build a solid council. I turn to Hiddard. “You will serve as my Cleric for you are wise as you are brave.
Ton has a look of shock as he takes in his new position. “I thank you, your grace. We thank you and shall not let you down. He promises. Looking to Genna and Hiddard. “Prepare to move.” He announces.
“Yes, my Lord.” Genna replies.
I look up to the Kale and ask his name. “My name is Kooloan.” He responds. “My queen, I must be bold and tell you humans and Kales do not get along. And the Dark Forest is a dangerous place.” He explains.
“Humans do not get along with humans either as you can see by the rise of the smoke from Bram, but we must press on.” I state.
I approach the case containing the eggs knowing it needs a secret guardian. Someone who will care for them as the previous Molly had. For now that someone was only me. I open the case staring down at the eggs. Placing my hand over each of them, reminding them of my love and that nothing and no one will harm them.
“We are ready your grace.” He says.
I walk over to my mere placing the eggs in a secret compartment and mount it. “I am ready.” I say.
Kooloan makes his way in front of the fellowship. Leading us down Salaman’s road into the dark.