Check out the draft for chapter 9. Read beyond for updates.
Hiddard stumbles up out of breath with two cuts to his face and a sliced finger.
“They took her. Molly is gone. I could not battle them all. I promised her a good life. I will kill that bastard down there!” He yells.
He moves through Tomas and Ton toward the long stairs as they scream and Kalera goes after him.
“Hiddard! Hiddard! Wait!” She hollers.
Halting he turns to her.
“I must kill him.” He affirms.
“You can’t. What will it solve if you go down there to meet your end? I need you Hiddard. I want nothing more than to see Ager’s head on a spike, but Tomas is right. We are not prepared. If we charge in now Molly, Celest, and Sundo will die. She pleads.
Hiddard cools his rage and turns to see Ton running up.
“My father takes his leave to the city center. He has given me my orders, but I will do as you command.” Tomas promises his queen.
As Kalera turns to Hiddard, the bells rang out in the city north. A large boulder catapults into the center killing at least 30 Enforcers. The clings of metal sound as men and women battle.
Ton and Hiddard rush their queen down the stairs to a long door. Moving inside they gather weapons and armor. Both men begin to arm themselves as the door creaks open. Ton and Hiddard moves in front of Kalera swords drawn.
A man falls to the floor. Standing in the doorway is a tall blond hair, blue-eyed woman.
“Genna. Thanks to the Gods.” Ton speaks.
“I have news. Several Brams men made it to the edge of the Dark Forest. They have weapons, meres, and supplies.” She informs.
“You see my queen, she is what hope looks like.” Ton says as he walks to the woman and plants a kiss on her pink lips.
“I welcome the news. My father commanded me to seek passage through the catacombs with hopes of finding his wife and my sisters.” Tomas says.
“Be warned my love, it will take a fight. Enforcers are at the gate.” Genna alarms.
“Genna, this is….” He tries to introduce Kalera.
“I know who she is, but I work for Lord Donegal, not her.” She announces.
“Genna, this your queen. You will show respect.” Ton commands.
She looks to Kalera and lowers her head.
“Your Grace.” She whispers.
While Hiddard and Ton continue to arm themselves, a glass case catches Kalera’s gaze. Before her is the sword of her ancestor Palera. It had been brought to Bram about 20 moons ago. Tomas planned to present it to Kalera in a ceremony.
“Your ancestor’s blade was forged by a high Shellion for it holds great power.” Ton claims.
The sounds of screams jolts Kalera as she opens the case removing the sword and sliding it into the scabbard on a belt. As Genna looks on, Ton straps the scabbard to Kalera.
“I do not know who or what is beyond the door, but we protect our queen.” Ton orders.
Blooded knuckles crack Tomas’s face once more.
“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 with the greatest abilities. It is said that some can communicate with the Gods including she Goddess Rose.
Jessup makes his way to Shereen taking her hand, he leads her to the king. She glares him in the eyes before entering the Long Hall.
“You are unsure of yourself Jessup. Unsure of your role to play in times ahead.” She claims.
Before she could bring herself to read more of Jessup he shushed her. For he is not interested in any of her prophecies or tricks. One like her caused him to lose his entire family.
They enter the Long Hall to find King Ager kneeling and staring into flames. Shereen blows into her partially sealed hands turning the fire a mixture of blue, red, green, and brown. Running her fingers through his hair, 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.
Ager begins to scream as if his body was being torn apart. Jessup wanted to intervene but chooses not to. This is what Ager desires and the price he pays for seeing the past or future. As the hand of the king, Jessup desires nothing more than to see the realm succeed, but lately, his patience has been tried and tested. He is different than his father before him and his father before him. He seeks to serve the realm, not its leaders unless they seek what’s best for all. The problem is the man he serves is all about his own justifications as was his father before Ager himself had the man poisoned by his handmaid.
Shereen beckons for Jessup’s help as she pins Ager to the floor. His eyes. Open his eyes. As his hand, what choice does Jessup have? He takes both hands and pries the king’s eyes open. For just a moment, they appear 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?” Jessup asks.
“That is a matter for the king to discuss with you, my Lord. Ahh, he comes around now.” She responds.
The bell sounds. It is an alarm of defeat. The Brams are giving up. They are ready to talk. Maybe not Donegal, but someone close to him.
Jessup takes his leave to the city center ordering a cease-fire. Speaking to Alon, commander of the King’s guard, he learns there is one willing to talk, the one who sent a condor, the one who rung the bell. While the guard is speaking, Jessup begins to see as if Shereen had plucked his eyes. He sees her. In his ear, a whisper. “Kalera!“
Ton moves into Kalera’s sight his eyes swollen after burying his youngest sister. He can still hear the screams of Shelleann blaming him for her demise. The truth is she had to blame someone and his father is MIA. It was nearing the second moon Kalera knows what Ton must be thinking. Hiddard and Genna had spent the day burning the dead on both sides and covering tracks in the snow.
“Your mere is ready, my queen.” Ton says softly.
“You need to rest and spend a little time with your family.” Kalera responds.
“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 one at least. The road ahead will be treacherous for them of both.” Kalera whispers.
Hiddard and Genna return. He walks to Kalera with news from the city. A merchant has managed to escape but not without life-threatening injuries. He alarmed Hiddard of the Shallion and his belief that Lord Donegal has perished.
“We have no other choice Your Grace but to take the Coemic Passage and enter the Dark Forest. It’s the only way to Port Cye.” He says.
While speaking to Hiddard, Kalera hears her name again, but this time it is louder and clearer as screams of agony and anguish follow. Turning towards the sound she makes haste as she begins to run down a small hill. Hiddard, Ton, and Genna speed after her.
Minutes later she lay eyes upon a creature in a puddle of blood. Were her eyes deceiving? For one from Greek mythology is before her, a Centaur. Bending down, she can see the centaur has three arrows impaling him. Not being able to bear this creature’s suffering, she slowly removes them. As she does she sees the Centaur is male. He screams and locks eyes with her then she turns to see the others standing there.
“What are you doing?” Ton barks.
“What am I doing? How do you think he got here?” She asks.
“He was a prisoner of my father. This Kale was caught stealing our livestock.” Cries Ton.
“He will not lie here and die.” She scorns.
She looks to Genna. Give me that string on your belt and fetch water, quickly.
Ton feels the authority in her 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 her eyes, Kalera begins to whisper a prayer over him. He screams as Hiddard carefully wipes the punctures as Kalera wraps the string around a tiny pin from her boots and begins to suture his wounds.
She strokes 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 scabbard as Genna extends a bucket of water.
“Put that away.” Kalera Commands.
“I am not sure he is not going to hurt us.” Ton insists.
On all fours, the Kale is at least six and a half feet in height. He looks down at his wounds and then to his healer. The symbol on the queen’s neck catches his attention as he moves a little closer.
He falls to the ground, whispering, dragon.
“Please rise. You are in pain.” Kalera replies to his gesture.
“My clan would love to meet you. My queen.” He responds.
“Where are your people?” She asks.
“They live just north in the Dark Forest.” He answers.
Hiddard and Kalera turn to Ton. If what the merchant has seen is to be believed, they have no choice but to follow the commands of Lord Donegal if they want to make it to the port. Ton does not agree but they head back to camp to pack up the final supplies and to prepare Shelleann and his sister.
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