Part 13

Broken Stones False Promises

Hera stirred slowly from her stupor, blinking slowly against the dull oil lap light. The frantic scribbling of quill upon parchment grated upon her nerves as it cut through the dull throbbing ache in her skull.

“What happened?” She broke the silence… The Priest was at once by her side…

“What do you remember?” He took her hand, though she instantly pulled it away…

“We’re moving?” Hera sat up… “The Guardian? Where is The Guardian? You promised me please, is he even alive?”

“Calm yourself, please, you collapsed before I had the chance to seek him out, the entire camp has disbanded and we are all travelling to the capital city. The Prince has the stone plucked from the maiden’s breast and I have taken you into my charge… Now that you are up to date, how do you feel?” He poured her a generous glass of sweet smelling wine.

“Thank you.” Hera sipped the wine, “What do I call you? I can’t just call you Priest and seeing as we’re travelling companions, we might at lease be polite…”

“I am Sharmara and I promise I shall try and find your Guardian for you.”

Hera didn’t believe him for a moment, but they were stuck with each others company currently. “I am Hera, I prefer my name to the uncomfortable definition of hag.” She said with a halfhearted smile.

***

The Guardian was once again on his knees, subjected to a vicious beating by bored guards who were already tired of the march and turned to violence for entertainment…

‘Please help him…’ There was that strange whisper from the crimson stone again… It pulsed, vibrated against the young soldiers chest… The forlorn voice spoke only to him, resonating in his thoughts… “Be quiet!” He snapped, unwilling to approach his volatile companions. ‘Please’ She begged softly, the stone burning hot in his pocket…

“I can’t, I can’t face them, there are too many and I’m not…”

‘Strong enough?’ She finished his thoughts…

‘You are Kane… They are bullies… You have skill…’ She pressed him to act.

The Guardian slumped in the mud, semi-conscious and bleeding dragged along by his shackles like a sow to the slaughter. With stubborn defiant strength he uttered an unholy insult to the guard who had instigated the beating…

“What did you say? Slave!” He bellowed, fists curled by his side…

“I said your mother was a whore and your sisters suck the dicks of lepers!” The Guardian spat out the words with blood running down his chin…

Once again the guard raised his fist to strike and his punch was blocked easily by the young soldier. “Just don’t.” He said, quite softly…

***

The Prince was in a panic when his favorite concubine found him, huddled in the corner of his lavish caravan. His mad mumbling made little sense to the woman…

“It’s broken! Broken! All shattered … All gone wrong … Everything is broken, Shattered … I don’t know what to do?!” He shook her by the arms, screaming nonsense into her face, his mind irrational, confused, maddened…

The woman fled in fear and sought out the Captain of the Guard for help…

He fell to his knee once more, the pale blue stone he had stolen was split into eighteen fragments and he tried, over and over again, he tried, fingers bleeding on sharp slithers, to squeeze the crystal back together again but the shards slipped through his bloody fingers and he wailed in frustration, mad with panic …

… The treasure he had hoped to present triumphantly to his father, the King was ruined …

 

Anne Harrison 23.11.16

 

 

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