Part 2 or No Part 2?

That is the Question …

It’s been a trip, starting January I ventured forth upon an unedited raw version of a basic tale I had had stuck in my head for some time and despite the fact that it desperately needs tidying up, editing and some scenes totally re-writing, I’m pleased with what I have achieved – 75 parts + Epilogue and a sneak peek of what could become…

I feel as though my characters are in limbo, if alternative dimensions exist, whether external or internal and through these writers tap into a tale that’s being played out – then writers block means the whole existence upon that realm has become frozen in time. At least that’s how it feels. Occasionally they jolt, like an involuntary muscle spasm, as an idea passes through my thoughts, with the promise of engagement and breathing life into them once more with my words.

But it’s a fleeting idea, or even a dream and they are still again. I know what I need to have happen at the ceremony, where I left them immobile and inactive, frozen mid-dance, mid-kiss, a half spilt drink suspended in mid-air until I type life back into the next scene.

And that’s where I’m stuck …

Six Years Later …

The Pact

Ambition, no matter how carefully planned, can sometimes come with a high price and sometimes that ambition may cross lines, cost lives, divide family and turn best friends into bitter enemies.

Driven by desire a passionate lust to rule, to grasp the ultimate power of The Child of Prophecy. Fendor had killed and betrayed. He had turned against a King he had been loyal to for all of his life. He had faked alcoholism while planning assassinations. He had turned to black magic, got an innocent woman pregnant and then carelessly discarded her for another woman, stealing that child and raising her along side his new son.

A master manipulator who had taken some extreme measures to secure the throne. One such action was a Pact with a hell-spawn Demon many years ago to create this deception and guide him along his path to success.

The Beast with no name was a higher demon, reigning over several realms of chaos, powerful, magnificent, alluring, ancient. He was attracted to Fendor’s desire by his promise to deliver to the demon the Child of Prophecy. It was a high price to pay, the girl would need to be reincarnated into a pure virginal body and handed over to The Beast upon her thirteenth year.

When Fendor and his wife  conceived the boy he had desired and the little girl was a sweet six years old… The beast with no name attended the celebrations at Fenroux Palace.

Clad in a suit of sapphire coloured crushed velvet, tall and hansom, dark hair slicked back and clipped at the nape of his neck, his human persona caused heads to turn among the women, and some men, in the court. His eyes flared with a rich amber light, pupils horizontal, such as a goats. Behind his smile was hidden several rows of sharp needle pointed teeth. Fendor knew as soon as he sighted the stranger among the celebrants who he was as the beast drew closer to bid blessings upon the Prince.

By the crib the petite half sister, Ataraxia stood in a dainty dress, she also knew the true nature of The beast as he stepped forth and shuffled to hide herself behind her Step-Mothers legs, clinging to the layers of her dress, watching the stranger with fear and awe.

“What are you doing here?” Fendor whispered harshly under his breath.

“Your son, he is the final part of our pact.” The Demon reminded Fendor, speaking softly, so only The King could hear his words.

“You said thirteen years, it has been six!” Desperation crept into his tone.

“I am not here to collect any price Your Highness, not for another seven years. I am here with a humble request…” He purred softly.

“What is it?” Fendor spoke urgently.

“I want to name your son, he has breath because of my magic, your bride is well beyond child baring age, my power has granted you your Prince, I want to grant him his name.”

“How will I get my wife to accept that?”

“Not my problem, how you handle your woman is your business Fendor. I merely desire to name the boy.” The Demon handed over lavish gifts like any other guest.

“What? What is his name to be?” The King graciously accepted the hamper.

“Quild.” The Beast replied, glancing at Ataraxia.

The tiny girl hid her face from the goat-like stare of the stranger in blue.

Reluctantly Fendor agreed…

The Beast with no Name bowed low, respectfully to the Royal Family and turned to merge into the celebrations, instantly surrounded by exotic curious ladies drawn to his beauty, giggling behind their fans. The Beast decided he was going to enjoy himself at this party, determined to make the most of his few hours upon the mortal realm…

To be continued ?

Epilogue

***

It really was a day to remember, the whole realm was in celebration, the three weddings were publicly observed and there were vast street parties throughout the land…

Happily Ever After settled across the nation… Built on betrayal, murder, kidnapping, black magic and a web of intricate lies. By the end of the day Fendor was King, Roux his Queen… They made a perfect couple…

Yet his bride had one stipulation and that obligation the new King burdened upon Kane… “I don’t care what you do with them, just make sure they are out of public sight… They can not be seen to be alive…” The King barked gruffly, having caught Kane shortly before his departure back to the Clans.

“Why not just kill them as planned?” Kane shrugged.

“Roux wants them alive, yet banished, so I’m banishing them to the Clan Territories with you. Out of this country at least, you only need hold them until she becomes bored with the idea and orders their deaths.” Fendor returned the shrug, dismissive…

“So I am now a babysitter for Royal Hostages?”

“Basically, Yes.” King Fendor said and turned and left.

THE END

Part 75

Three Weddings – Three Nations – Three Hostages – Three Rulers

The Kings rotten head still adorned the audience chamber, a morbid trophy that Fendor kept upon display despite the odour. It was just past dawn, a cool dull light flooded the chamber as those of notoriety poured into the room to take their appointed seats. There was an air of anticipation throughout the court, speculation and rumour entertained the guests as they awaited the arrival of Fendor, self proclaimed ruler, having dispatched with the fierce-some Grave…

Black robed priests lead the way for Fendor and his closest aides who seated themselves along a heavy oaken table placed upon the chambers dais.

A silence fell over the audience…

“My People!” Fendor stood, his smile was radiant.

“The times of troubles is at an end, I have sealed a truce which will unite our lands and bring peace to our great nation!”

A triumphant roar echoed through the hall as nobles stood to applaud…

Alleia, seated by Kane’s side, felt sick, yet she clapped with as much enthusiasm she could fake. Her nerves were on edge, for seated to the left of Fendor was Roux, her eldest sister, the former Kings eldest child, had she been male, Roux would already have been coronated. She already ruled the Six Empires owned by the six siblings from behind her husband Bayron – News of his recent death had not been a surprise.

Fendor waited for the crowd to fall silent before continuing.

“Our own lands will be reunited with the Six Empires to the west, the whole family are in support of this union. We will make our Nation Great Again!” His voice rose as his ultimate plot was slowly revealed. The collected elite were riveted, they drank in his words, like they were a fine elixir. “We will be a force to be reckoned with. Treaties have been signed that will ensure peace with the Barbarian tribes in the wastelands!” More cheers followed his proud proclamation.

Upon a cue guards by the main door pulled both doors open simultaneously to reveal a figure stood beyond. A giant of a man, whose frame nearly fitted the doorway, clad in the traditional garb of a Barbarian Lord he stepped forth and stood before those gathered, awaiting his introduction.

“My people… I present to you Lord Darkfire, Brother of the late Grave and the new Lord of the whole tribes. Our Peace has been secured through marriage, the beloved Novana has accepted his proposal.” Murmurs of approval rippled throughout the crowd, and when Novana stepped into the room, clad beautifully in an exotic wedding dress, face alight with adoration, a slight blush flushed her cheeks as she stood by her Husband to be and took his arm, the hall once again erupted into great applaud…

Fendor drank in the triumph like a wolf savouring his kill…

“Further more… Further more…” He needed to call above the roar, Lord Darkfire and Novana took seats assigned for them at the head table, as the nobles settled, awaiting the next proclamation. “I have a second wedding to announce, my trusted Captain, Kane Stone, has assumed command over the Northern Clan Territories, having defeated Lord Pepe Montoto in combat. His marriage to the Princess Alleia secures yet another firm treaty between our lands. We are united! We are Strong! We shall be a Great Nation once again. Our lands are tied in Peace and we shall henceforth  celebrate this day as our ‘Nation Day’!” Fendor had the crowd on their feet once more…

These were all Lords and Ladies, Earls and Dukes… All the rich, the powerful, the elite… All those who gained to prospect from this treaty, widening trade routes, merging empires… This was a treaty forged on greed, on power, on lies…

“Finally!” Fendor smiled widely, “But by no means least… I am proud to announce a third wedding for this day. The noble Princess Roux has agreed to be my bride… Today shall be a day to remember! Three treaties, three nations, three weddings and our coronation!”

There it was… Alleia felt her heart sink… There was Fendor’s ultimate goal… To wed into the Royal Family, to Marry the eldest child and proclaim himself King and Roux Queen by his side… But where was Jago? Where were his children?

The applaud was deafening…

***

Part 74

Whispers in the Night…

Alleia was initially disturbed from her slumber by the unannounced arrival of a sinister looking Priest, clad in robes, pungent with the stench of fresh blood, he had in his arms such a tiny wriggling babe, clad in a stained swaddling blanket, grizzling hungry. The Priest inexperienced with babies handed the child over with gruff instructions that she was required to nurse the girl until a wet nurse could be sought in the morning. With that he left abruptly, without waiting for any response from Alleia.

Kane and their own son were sound asleep, any earlier conflict between the couple had been resolved through mutual carnal desires, though Alleia hated his secrets and lies, she realised that her silence and obedience to Kane were keeping her alive. He appealed to her, not to ask any questions he could not answer. He begged her not to cause a scene, to remain quiet, to remain loyal. A dedicated mother, a devoted partner, whether this was an act or truth, the lines were blurred, yet she valued her life and vowed to protect her son at any cost.  Even if certain suggestions caused her to feel ill at ease.

Without choice and yet also without hesitation, Alleia took the precious tiny girl to her breast and made sure she fed. Then washed and dressed the babe in fresh warm clothes, over sized but cosy. By then the girl had drifted into a peaceful slumber, however, the magical qualities of newborn were obvious and Alleia could easily guess the true nature of the girl. She burped bubbles which popped into glittery butterflies, her eyes shone with an inner age, tiny flecks of light danced around her brow and Alleia could swear she heard gentle music, like the soft tinkling of unseen bells… The magical butterflies found her own son and danced around his cot, they buzzed and glowed, sensing an unseen connection between the two babies.

***

The second time Alleia was disturbed that night was when, not one or two, but three coaches arrived in the early hours, clattering along the cobblestones in the courtyard. Shortly afterwards Kane was summoned away by Barbarians, it was at that point she realised that a pair of guards had also been assigned to stand on duty at their quarters. She speculated that these were to guard the babe, yet she could not voice her concerns. Instead Alleia was left watching over the children, aware of the presence at the door and anxious with fear.

Kane was gone for several hours, it was near dawn when he returned, clad in a smart suit, his hair slicked back and tied in a neat ponytail. The clothes looked new or borrowed ill-fitting to his lanky frame, yet Alleia found his image appealing and smiled despite her tiredness. He approached her and drew her to her feet by her arms… “Remember I asked you to at least try to trust me, even if I’m unable to explain my actions?” Alleia nodded, holding his gaze, the door behind them was still open, his words were hushed, spoken softly for her ears alone. A maid entered the room following Kane, in her arms, a beautiful cream dress. “I’m asking you to trust me now, we’re leaving here, leaving the capital, returning to the clans, to our home.” He spoke swiftly, his words filled her with hope and still she feared the consequences what price that such a valuable promise might hold. The dress was a clue. “Fendor wants you dead, he thinks you have served your purpose and outlived your usefulness.” She saw the truth in his eyes at last. “I lied to him, I told him you were pregnant again to save you from execution. He’s paranoid, neurotic, he believes there could be more magic entwined. The lie may have pulled you from the axe-man’s grasp, yet it binds you to me.” He drew a deep breath then. “I have been given the Clan Nations to rule, in his name, I may take my leave upon the morrow, with my family. With my wife. Should you accept me?”

“Why do I get the feeling this appears too good to be true?” Alleia whispered.

“Ooh, there is more, there always is with Fendor and his insane schemes, but I can not tell you that until we are safe at home.”

“More secrets Kane? More lies?”

“I’m sorry.”

“No you’re not, I think you enjoy this game.” Alleia shrugged out of his grasp and approached the maid, taking the dress from her arms and holding it up against her body. It was beautiful and smelt vaguely of fresh jasmine.

“…But I accept…”

Part 73

A Fate Worse than Death…

Novana awoke, yet could not move nor speak. Her body, naked, still laid prone on the cold stone altar. Dried blood caked her skin, felt sticky against her thighs. Her womb was empty, yet the torn gash had healed, there was no pain. Just an empty shallow feeling that consumed her heart with grief, a loss for her girl she never held, the babes fate unknown to her.

She could not move her head, only stare upwards through parched eyes that she barely managed to will to blink to save her foggy sight. The ceiling above her was adorned with strange arcane symbols, painted in black blood, the stench of it mingled with heavy incense caused her to feel light headed.

Fendor returned, she hated him, rage filled her eyes as he leered over her prone body, she felt his hands, warm against her cold flesh. “I am glad you survived the rite.” He purred softly against her ear, tangling his fingers into her hair. “You are going to be a gift, sweet Princess, you are the prize for loyalty. But first we need your obedience.”

He drew a long sacrificial dagger from with the folds of his robes and started to carve an incantation into her chest, carefully, slowly, painfully, cutting each magical sigil that stole her free will and encased her mind into her animated body.

He ended the rite by smearing a cocktail of rancid goats blood, Kol’s blood, herbs and oils into the fresh scars, enclosing the spell and trapping Novana into her mind. She sank into herself, she could still see, could still think freely, yet her body was that of a puppet. Controlled by magic, she moved upon command, she spoke upon command and yet she was firmly caged in her swimming thoughts. Her only hope was that madness might save her from this fate… Yet her only current saving grace was to invent a series of vicious acts to avenge herself upon Fendor. This rage kept her sane, her fury and lust for revenge gave her mental strength to endure anything he could subject her body to.

She was dressed in finery, hair styled, face painted, corset and heels. The dress was stunning ans suited her slender figure elegantly. She felt like a bride…

… and she was …

Part 72

Ultimatums and Abdication.

Jago, the rightful heir and King to the nation, was broken when the dismembered leg of his beloved son was delivered by Barbarian Warriors with demands for his abdication, to relinquish any claim to the throne and to hand himself over as hostage to prevent any retaliation. Failure to comply would result in more of his Son’s body parts being delivered until Kol’s painful slow demise. Their threat to Indigo, was far sinister and too traumatic for a loving Father to comprehend.

The guards awaited Jago’s reply, having been strict instructions to wait a single hour only for his surrender. Giving the heir limited time for the painful decision between his birthright and the life of his children. In his mind there was no choice, he had never anticipated to rule and cared little for the politics and drama from his Mother (The King’s eldest Daughter) and her various bitter siblings… All female, their passion to rule denied from an outdated ‘Male Only’ policy regarding the throne.

“You are a fool and a coward if you dare to give yourself up for the sake of those twins!” His Mother roared in his face, her sympathy for her own Grandchildren non-existent. “You are supposed to be a King! A Ruler!” A ruler does not let parental emotions make them weak!” Her persistent verbal abuse was eating away at the precious time he had to save his children. “If only I had been male!” She spat…

“I will not sacrifice my children for a throne I have no desire to hold.” He replied, causing an astonished collective gasp from the ruling council, who had been watching the outburst with amusement.

“I shall disown and disinherit you, if you DARE to utter such words again.”

The sand in the timer flowed towards the end of time…

The council awaited the decision that could change the fate of their entire nation, His Mother, red faced and fuming, paced in clacking high heels, muttering more insults under her breath… Yet Jago appeared calm, he reached out and laid a hand upon the dismembered limb, still clad in ruined garments and boot. The flesh dead and cold to the touch, the concept that his son would be returned to him bit by bit sickened his very soul.

Without a word he stood and handed himself over to the Barbarian Guards, who bound him tightly to escort away from the council chambers, insults and jeers followed him as he was lead away, the most painful, the most bitter, from his own Mother. Yet he gave himself up to protect his children, allowed himself to be taken hostage.

The sands of time ran out, his reign was never meant to be…

Part 71

Ataraxia – The Child of Prophecy

Born brutally in an arcane ritual, presided over by her sinister Father, clad in robes, whispering chants. Torn from her mothers body weeks prior to her due date Ataraxia’s wails filled the incense heavy air, as she drew her first breaths of life. From the moment of her birth, the tiny babe instantly displayed magical qualities.

Every candle lit for the rite was subsequently extinguished by an unseen force, plunging the room into darkness. Delicate flecks of light danced around the baby, the gaping wound Fendor had inflicted upon Novana’s swollen tummy slowly healed, despite having been left bleeding profusely. Two crows appeared at the high window and called into the night and all Fendor’s dark priests at once complained of a headache.

This was just a taste of the power held within the child, a mere moments old and already instinctively exerting her magical abilities. Fendor held his daughter in his arms, cradled her gently, dismissing his inflicted Priests from the chamber. “You are going to bring me greatness.” He whispered, at that moment instantly loving, hating and fearing the babe he had sired.

Ataraxia gurgled, wriggling, the golden flecks dancing around her head like a halo. The crows had since left, though Fendor expected they had not gone far. Aware that his daughter would need to be cleaned and fed before too long, Fendor decided that maybe Alleia hadn’t quite lived out her usefulness just yet, considering the Princess to be a suitable wet nurse currently until something more permanent could be arranged.

He left Novana, still naked, still laid upon the stone alter, somewhere between life and death, having never held her own newborn. To be dealt with by his priests, once they had recovered. Her fate already decided months ago…

Part 70

The Birth of Prophecy

Novana, shocked and stunned by recent events, the lies, betrayal, death… Six weeks before her due date and she went into labor. Her waters broke as she was restrained roughly by brutal guards, bound and dragged without a care for her nearing contractions. She was pulled towards the palace chapel, the peaceful sanctuary had been violated in the most horrific manner. Corpses hung limp from rusty chains, their blood gathered in brass bowls and used to decorate the walls and ceiling and floorboards in vile magical runes, corrupt language and morbid symbols.

Fear gripped her heart as the desire to push increased, pressure building within her tummy, a rancid goat, diseased and maggot ridden was draped over the alter like a sick trophy, its slick black blood used to strengthen wards in a circle upon the floor. Terrified, Novana was stripped and painted in blood. No chains were required to hold her now as the magic spell decorating her body held her immobile. No scream, either in fear or in pain, could escape her throat.

Nine robed men, or women, she couldn’t tell, entered the ruined chapel and stood circling the struggling pregnant woman, her body craving birth, but Novana was trapped within her body, in her mind, she could only see the terrible scene evolve around her. The hooded figures started to chant, to sway, repeating a strange arcane phrase in a rolling pattern.

Carrying a severed leg, totally naked save for blood stained hands, Fendor walked into the circle. Novana knew the boot and she tasted bitter bile at the back of her throat, yet the spell even prevented her vomiting from repulsion. He used the blood from the stump to draw upon her convulsing stomach, uttering the same chant as his fellow robed companions.

Her fear was overwhelming as Fendor stirred his seed into the blood, yet she could not even shed a tear. For at one point, Novana had loved Fendor, loved him enough to carry his child, the babe now struggling to breach free too early, too premature. To be born into this gore was devastating, she wanted nothing more than death, she silently prayed to die in childbirth, to save her soul from this evil magic which was suffocating. Yet that was selfish, she needed to protect her babe but how was that possible while immobile?

Her eyes were dry now, fear and shock overwhelmed her mind as Fendor cut his child free from her womb, her mind tipped on the edge of insanity. Only the sudden cry of her tiny daughters first breath drew her back from the verge of madness, the pain was unbearable and finally there was nothing more than blissful darkness and the dwindling cries of a new born babe…

Part 69

A Chance to Kill 

Alleia slipped out the bed and wrapped a sheet around her slender figure, it was mid-afternoon and the sun pooled through the locked windows. She stood watching the people mull around in the courtyard beyond, once more feeling a captive in her former home. Her thoughts a jumbled web of confusion, she regretted leaving Hera with Kol, yet she had been so keen to be reunited with her Son’s Father, she had failed to consider any danger. This last twist in events caused her to fear who she could trust. Fendor had betrayed her Father with the aid of Grave, then Fendor had turned against Grave once his usefulness had come to an end. Alleia wondered how deep Fendor’s plans were set, how many layers there were to his betrayal and what his end goal ultimately was…

Everything was overwhelming, even Kane appeared to know more than he would say and her delight to be with him was overshadowed with doubt. She could no longer trust him, trust anyone…

Kane was actually sound asleep, sprawled in the sun, his breathing heavy and rhythmic. Their son, Shar, laid upon his chest, the babe had fallen to sleep first. Tears stung her eyes, was it not for her troubled thoughts, this scene would be idyllic.

A notion to escape came into mind, to flee with her son to Hera and get aid. Glancing around Alleia noticed Kane’s discarded clothes, scattered across the floor with her own. Among the garments a blade, a knife she had seen him with before… She softly padded over the floorboards and gathered up the weapon, it felt heavy in her hand, so clumsy, she wasn’t used to being armed. It slid free easier than she anticipated, wicked and sharp.

Returning to the bed she held the edge of the blade against Kane’s throat, he didn’t move, his breathing never changed, still heavily slumbering. Alleia could quite simply cut his throat as he slept, gather her babe and run. Her eyes glanced over to her beloved Shar, could she really murder his father as they slept together. The scars which still healed were evidence of what Kane had been through himself, had he been part of this deeper conspiracy, would he have really suffered so, just to have killed Davenport, kill Pepe. Was this all part of Fendor’s plan? Was Kane so loyal to his General that he withstood torture?

Her head swan with all these questions, tears fell freely down her cheeks, frustrated, confused. The knife trembled in her inexperienced grip, nerves stole her courage.

“I wouldn’t blame you if you did.” Kane opened his eyes.

Alleia shrieked…