Part 37

AND… My 200th Blog Post!!!  … Does little dance of glee …

 

Uncovering Painful Truth

 

Hera’s flight was unhindered as she hobbled through the chaos wracked city, news of the King’s death had caused many Royal Guards to surrender to save their own lives, they were being rounded up by the dusty clad warriors, who Hera could only assume were barbarians from the Wastelands. Whether their submission would be their salvation? That was a risk these men were prepared to take and by the time Hera had reached the city gates, fighting had subsided and the common folk, those oppressed, starved and bled dry to the point of poverty through high taxes, which only aided the Kings lavish lifestyle… These people were celebrating, dancing in the streets, returning to their homes, finally permitted to return into the city, fleeing the slums beyond the walls, as the city gates fell open people swarmed in with hope. Barbarians guarding their path, escorting them home… Slums were torched as they were neglected and Hera saw hope, she saw change and she also feared that a new ruler would be just as brutal once power corrupted them.

A single old lady attracted no attention from anyone as she picked her way slowly, across creek and farmland, seeking the well Fendor had used to bury the crystal. Near a Sheppard’s den, down a dirty ditch. Hera stumbled…

“Careful there my lady.” A soft voice startled Hera and before she could react, kind hands helped her to her feet. “Are you alright?” A pretty young Shepherdess, crook in hand offered Hera support as she regained her balance.

“I am, yes I am, just muddy and cold.” Hera smiled, “Thank You…”

“Brynn.” She offered her hand, “Where are you going so late, the land around here is so uneven, you’re not wanting a worst tumble and snap bones.” The Shepherdess offered Hera her crook to lean on.

“Thank You Brynn, is there a well around here? An old lady is so dry from her flight.”

“There was, but the water was rancid. I have water at my den, I have brandy if you fancy something with a fine kick, helps against this keen wind.”

Hera nodded, exhaustion had crept into her old bones, she was feeling sore, emotional and quite frightened. So Brynn kindly lead her to the tumble down shelter, the well was in sight of the small hut, so close, but it would have to wait. Hera accepted the welcome brandy and together they sat watching the slums burn and more barbarians arrive from the darkness to secure the city.

“It’s quite a frightful mobocracy up there, near scared two of my ewes into lamb too soon, thundering past all full of blood lust and mayhem. The wild folk aint no normal alley, mark my words, their price will be high, more than the city folks may offer. I’ll stick with my sheep, I understand them!” Brynn passed the bottle once more.

“You know you’re the second person passed by here seeking well water, just prior to sunset a leather clad man rode this way, claimed to be lost and thirsty. Didn’t likes the looks of him, his weapons were army stock, but his garb was not. Said his name was Fener? Fenor? Fanar? … I’m not sure, nor do I care… ‘fraid I sent him off wrong way, towards water… Not the old well, not the well you seek…”

“Fendor?”

 

Brynn nodded …

 

Anne Harrison 28.02.17

 

Part 36

A noble death…

“Fendor?” The Queen carefully wiped blood from her bottom lip, still standing tall and proud before the traitor and the unknown woman seated with the heads of her husband and son by her feet…

“I must congratulate you, for finding the courage to do what I could not.”

“Do you think your fancy words will save you?

“Not at all, I expect my head to rot along side the man I hated.”

“For your inability to act, your majesty, I fear you are correct.” Fendor remained respectful.

“What became of Alleia? I notice her head is not among your collection, yet I expect you would not care for a Royal babe, even if Pepe was not the father.” There was no point hiding facts at this time…

Fendor glanced at the woman on the throne, then stepped closer to The Queen. “Your daughter will join your family in death,  once the child is born.”

The Queen frowned, “Why? Why would a bastard child be worth saving?”

“Pepe wanted it… ” The woman lied, “…it was part of the price for his land.”

Such bitter lies.

“Allow me to introduce myself, I am Novana, from the land beyond the wastelands.” That much was not a lie, but there was still a lot The Queen failed to understand and she saw no answers forthcoming,  even on the verge of death, so many questions…

Novana stood,  stepping over the fallen heads… she reached out and handed The Queen a vial of poison.

“Wait…” She turned to Fendor “…You know who the father is!”

He nodded “Aye, a guard, one of my men, a common soldier, nothing more.”

“That doesn’t make sense?”

“Not everything does your highness.” Novana replied,  gesturing to the small bottle… “We would prefer not to have to force this down your throat… it won’t hurt.” She smiled,  more lies.

Her hand was shaking as she lifted the poison to her lips. “Even a common soldier can be a good father.” She said, grasping for some measure of hope before death…

But there was to be no answer,  they stood together,  watching,  compelling. Novana reached out and took Fendor by the hand. A gesture The Queen noticed, just as she supped the deadly poison…

Anne Harrison 26.02.17

Part 35

From Royalty to Rags

The Priest Sharmara was able to bundle both his wife and The Queen safely into one of the many Priest holes he had access to throughout the palace… By doing so, Sharmara sadly sacrificed his life to give the ladies time to flee. He was slaughtered, refusing to assist, standing definant they ran him through and his body thrown from the window.

Hera and The Queen stifled their shock for fear of being discovered,  huddled silently until the troops had finished wrecking The Priests quarters before carefully making their way deeper into the Priest hole to passage ways between rooms, built into walls…

“I can’t leave.” The Queen whispered urgently, “I need to go back.” There was no fear in her voice. Hera blinked, shook her head… “I’ve seen people like this before,  they will murder everyone to get to me and my family.”

“Even if you turn yourself in your majesty, there is no guarantee they will not kill everyone anyway…” Hera replied, tears cutting through the dust on her face.

“This is the revolution we needed, the rebellion we wanted, but we were too afraid to act, we hesitated when the child died, we did not know how best to end my husbands reign. This land needs to survive, my people need to survive and that could never happen with The King destroying more than he protected. I have hated him for so long, yet I also feared him… ”

Hera could not disagree, yet both women found themselves on the opposite side of the very troops they would have preferred to have supported.

“Drop your illusion Hera, return to your woods, the forests you love. The people will need a wise woman in the times to come and find the buried stone, free her from the soured well, guard her, use her magic to help the land recover from all this, this, bloodshed…”

Removing the locket from around her neck, The Queen handed the Witch the Royal Seal… “May it serve you well one day Hera.”  She squeezed the locket into her hands and turned to face her fate…

Hera refused to watch her leave… she reversed the spell upon her own appearance, returning once again to an old hag, as such she could pass anyone, allies or foe… Though the line betwixt the two was desperately blurred… no one stopped the twisted women, leaning on a cane through cobbled streets running with fear and jubilation. She hid away the seal and hobbled away towards the well, leaving The Queen to certain death…

Anne Harrison 26.02.17

Leaving it to Chance 

If you haven’t read Part 34 yet, this could be classed as a spoiler (if anyone follows the longer-than-short-story)… 

… However,  when I wrote Part 33 first thing this morning,  I had no idea who would be the traitor in the story, I left it quite abstract, having changed my characters appearance but seeing as I’ve never described any of my characters with a goatee before,  even I didn’t know who it was… 

Welcome to the brain of a disorganised free writer!! 

Therefore I left the whole decision to chance… 

I even got someone else to pick the name out of the hat! 

Initially I had no idea who, what, why, how… But somehow it all fell together at lunchtime and I was able to pull something together from a simple random choice… 
Anne Harrison 24.02.17

Part 34

Half Truths and Twisted Lies

“General?!” Alleia gasped… The Prince by her side dare not look up.

“Why?” That accursed word escaped her lips and Fendor launched himself at her with a shocking stinging backhand that caused her to tumble into her brother…

“Why?” Fendor seethed, his words hushed, yet he was in her face. “I will tell you why precious doll… Why, is spending six years of your life seeking a ‘powerful magical threat’ that turns out to be a frightened little girl… Why, is watching this obnoxious fool…” He poked The Prince in his chest, “…pluck the crystal from her body and destroy her without thinking… Why, is watching Kane kill her loyal Guardian without hesitation… Why, is watching a power hungry King destroy his people, murder society, poison the earth and corrupt his children, so he could get fatter, richer, more powerful, own more yet squeeze the life from society… Why, is because I have ‘watched’ enough, I have seen too much horror in the name of your father, too many people have died Alleia. Do you not see? Something had to be done, someone had to stop your father before he learnt what you were carrying in your womb…” His tone of voice had risen as he ranted. Tears ran freely down Alleia’s face, her brother trembled and the woman seated on the throne stood and simply placed a hand upon Fendor’s shoulder.

He stood and turned away from them, pacing behind the throne, agitated.

“Do you have any idea of the power which grows within you?” The woman clutched Alleia’s chin hard, tilting her head back.

“No, but..but.. but.. I think it might be a boy…” Alleia struggled to control the tremor in her voice, she looked to The General, trying to understand why someone so loyal, so close to the King would betray him so coldly. He looked alien without his uniform, his hair gone, harder, darker, older… “What happened to Kane?” She dared to ask, even though her own emotions were still cloudy regarding the soldier, Alleia feared Kane too was in on the conspiracy.

“That is none of your concern.” The Woman replied and pulled Alleia to her feet. “You will live out the rest of your term locked and bolted in the tower, but rest assured sweet Princess, the day your child draws breath shall be your last.” Guards closed in to restrain Alleia.

“As for you, little Prince…” The Woman dragged the coward to his feet. “For stupidly destroying the most magical creature without a care, there can be only one fate…”

Fendor had circled around behind the throne as they spoke, stalking around the prone Prince, Alleia noticed his actions just too late to warn her brother and Fendor’s wickedly sharp sword severed the young Princes head…

Anne Harrison 24.02.17

Part 33

The Day Everything Changed

 

Alleia had fallen asleep in the jacket in a dreamless sleep… A loud hammering on the door caused her to stir slowly, cold and blinky eyed, Pepe was still absent, the fire had died down and it was still dark beyond the window… The hammering reoccurred louder, more furious… She swung her legs round, the stone floor bitterly cold, beginning to get annoyed at being so rudely disturbed…

The door was blasted from its hinges, splinters blossomed into the air as the broken bolt clattered across the room. Alleia screamed as a host of burly men, dusty, clad in tatty garb bundled into her private quarters and roughly seized her. A calloused hand silenced her wild cries as she was dragged away, she stumbled, grazed her knee, tried to protect her swollen tummy… Panic seized her, waves of morning sickness merged with nerves threatened to make her vomit… Around the castle there were signs of chaos in the darkness, more dusty strangers, flagstones slick with blood, slumped soldiers, dead where they had stood on duty.

They headed to her Father’s regal antechamber, the very heart of the palace, she heard her brother crying out, but could not see him… Finally Alleia was dumped before the throne dais on her knees frightened and confused, as the hands released her she glanced up to see a mysterious woman seated upon the throne, at her feet the King’s headless corpse.

The Prince was forced to his knees by her side, he reached over and took her hand, though the lad was clearly trembling.

“The Queen is still missing.” The woman barked commands to her brutal warriors, who branched out searching passageways for the missing monarch. “Questions, I expect you royal brats have questions. She rested her feet upon the King’s bloody head. “If you have questions, if you can not understand our actions, if you really are so far removed from the corruption and rot that has destroyed society, if you dare to ask why. Then you do not deserve to draw breath.” She kicked the head away…

From behind the throne a lone figure stepped forth, clad in weathered leather armor and hard worn practical travelling clothes, looking vastly different from usual, his head shaved, his goatee shaved. Gone was his normal garb, the traitor stepped forth before the royal children and made himself known…

 

Anne Harrison 24.02.17

 

Frustration… 

Two weeks without Facebook was quite refreshing,  two days without writing and I’m going insane!  My dreams are quirky,  my brain is on fire and I am so agitated. I think I have a writing addiction, I’m resting because my hand is so sore ( especially my pointy finger) each time I write my finger joints lock… Clearly I need to relearn how to write with both hands, I used to be able to as a child, so my hand can heal and I can still scribble wildly…  Meanwhile I can type…

Anne Harrison 23.02.17