Part 58

Midnight Conversations

Kane wrapped a sheet around his waist and perched upon the soft bed, there was only one chair by the table, so the woman took the chair and lit the lamp thereon, while her companion stood guard by the door which led into the complex, his sword now sheathed yet his hand rested easily on the pommel.

Kane blinked against the light, rubbing his eyes…

“What happened to you?” She asked, leaning forward in the chair, her eyes grazed over his scars, stitches, bandages, emaciated frame…

“Davenport happened to me.” As he replied, a petite grey cat slipped in gracefully from the courtyard, padding lightly over to Kane to plop down upon his lap, kneading with a low rumbling purr.

The arrival of the cat served to diffuse the uncomfortable atmosphere  causing a light hearted ripple of soft laughter.

“I don’t wish to sound arrogant, but I believe I know who you are.” Kane spoke, fussing the cat. “I believe you are Jago’s Twins, Indigo and Kol.”

The laughter died away to stunned silence as the twins glanced at each other bewildered.

“How did you come to that conclusion?” She narrowed her eyes as she spoke.

“You were correct in your observation of military, so, when you’re stood in the corner of a room for hours on end, your face half obscured by a helmet, stood to attention with a halberd that’s actually more for show than any practical use. You get used to being ignored, you become invisible. So you watch, listen, learn… You visited The King with your father last year for ‘The Worlds Range Games’ and I was on duty. Simple as that.”

The twins glanced at each other, then smiled.

“How did you end up ruling here?” Kol asked, stepping closer to engage in the conversation.

“I killed Davenport, there really is just so much you can take before you snap.” The cat arched its back and hopped to head-bump Kane on the chin.

“Then if you know who we are, you could hazard a guess as to why we are here?” Indigo’s unusual eyes still appeared to glow in the low lamp light.

“You want to know where the Northern Clan Territories stand if, or when, war breaks out. You want to know if we’re allies or an added threat.” He sighed, “Is Jago going to attempt to claim the throne from his Grandfather’s murderers?” Kane switched the direction of questioning.

“It would be his duty to do so.”

Somewhere out in the courtyard a clock struck the hour and the shrill call of crickets resonated during the lull in the conversation.

“I don’t want war, but I would say that is unavoidable.” Kane was starting to feel more fatigued and reached for a glass of water by the lamp. “Maybe this is not the hour for such deliberation.” He stifled a yawn. “I should like to consider both of you my guests and resume our discussion over breakfast.” Kane escorted the twins to a guest room personally, then returned to his too comfortable bed, discovering the grey cat curled up right in the centre.

So he returned to his slumber on the floor, listening to the crickets and savoring the feel of the breeze on his face…


Anne Harrison 31.03.17

Part 56

Safe Haven


Indigo and her Shadow Order met up with Kol and Dallymare on the outskirts of Deep-Wood Forest, what Indigo didn’t expect was to see her brother with a woman and babe.

“Is that?” She frowned…

“Father’s Aunt, Alleia and her newborn son Seizon-sha!” Kol replied with a sweeping bow. “I was thinking of returning them home, Father and the Council will be revealed to learn she’s alive and well.”

“Kol, Father is preparing for war. Is that such a safe for a newborn?”

“Where else would you suggest? She should be with family, you can not begin to imagine what she has been through…” Kol spoke firmly yet softly, so Alleia didn’t hear his words. Though she was happily cuddling her babe, elated at being free and glowing with pride.

“Maybe not all family is related?” Indigo replied with a half smile.

“Please don’t talk in riddles, we still have a lot of ground to scout and none of this was expected upon our mission.”

“I believe I know somewhere Alleia will be safe in fair company, far away from any threat of war. Where she may raise her child in peace, until all this conflict is resolved…” Indigo went on to explain about their encounter with Hera and all she had told them about the uprising in the Capital City, about the safe haven she had created in the forest, next to nature in peace and harmony.

“Do you really think they will be safe in the woods with a witch?” Kol appeared skeptical but had already resigned himself to the fact that Indigo would win any argument he could attempt against the idea of leaving Alleia with a stranger in the midst of the wilds…

“Do you really think she is healthy enough to travel? All the way back to father, directly after giving birth?” Indigo played her winning hand and Kol was forced to agree with her reasoning.



Anne Harrison 28.03.17


Part 55

Assuming Control


People think barbarians are animals, they live in the wilds off the wastelands in the wilderness, far from the capital along side nature. They are brutal, savage fighters… but they are not animals. Like the Clansmen to the East they have an unspoken code of honour, respect for their women folk, protection for their children and live in harmony with the earth. The city folk considered the skin clad warriors as animals, for their unkempt appearance, lack of uniforms or bodily modifications. Yet the city folk were also used to being subjected by those in uniform, considered inferior and upon the point of starvation cast outside the city walls forced to dwell in slums when they couldn’t afford the Kings outrageous taxes.

The slums were gone now, raised to the ground following the assassination of the King. In the place was erected a barbarian encampment… Thousands of warriors had poured from the wilds, following their leader Grave to the capital.

These men were not animals and some men made animals look civilized … Fendor was such a man, driven to drink through stress and an unbearable guilt he carried for the death of the King. A King he had served all his life until seduced and manipulated by a Southern beauty, Novana. Novana carried his child yet still he raised his fist at her, this added to his guilt which lead to more alcohol, steadily increasing the spiral of self destruction he was trapped in.

Outraged, Grave laid Fendor out with a jaw splitting left hook, sending the drunkard tumbling backwards, unconscious before he’d hit the dusty floorboards. Grave would have killed the man there and then had the two sisters not intervened, Novana and Kaxa stood in his path…

“He is mine to slaughter!” Novana spoke, pure venom dripping with her words, promising bitter vengeance for her mistreatment. “… but not yet, not like this, its too easy…” Reluctantly Grave agreed and the former General Fendor was himself arrested and incarcerated to sober up before trial.

That indicated the end of his short tragic rule, a rule that lasted mere months, from assassin to ruler, father, lover to drunken failure. His decline had been rapid, yet it had been Novana which had kept the kingdom strong in light of his failure. She had orchestrated the rebuilding of the city, It was Novana which had transformed the palace into a hospital, into a school and a shelter. Converting the lavish quarters into useful resources. Remodeling the vast kitchens to feed the hungry, in her command the city had started to slowly flourish.

Yet she handed control over to Grave, desiring to focus on her health needing to recover from her bruises and care for her precious unborn.

That day a deceleration was issued forth, Grave firmly taking command of the Capital City and Kingdom, extending his empire from the wastelands. The former palace guards and city soldiers faced an ultimatum, to  join Fendor in the stinking cellars, or simply join the barbarian troops… Even those who had served with Fendor all their lives could not hold any loyalty to a man who had turned aggression upon a pregnant woman… Grave’s forces increased…

Novana also insisted that Alleia should be freed, aware that both babies would share a future fate together, entwined by the magical stones which had created their existence.

No body expected the high tower to be empty and Alleia gone…



Anne Harrison 27.03.17

Part 54

The Naked Truth…


Dragged along on legs that barely supported his weight by strange hands and yelling voices, through passage ways that were a blur of polished marble, blood splattered and smoke stained. There was fighting somewhere echoing throughout the halls and the distant frantic screams of a tormented woman.

The entire estate was in utter chaos as clansmen clashed over contradicting circumstances and in lack of any form of order, swords were drawn and blood was shed. The main hall resembled more of a fighting arena than court chambers, Master Davenport had neglected his duties to the land in favor of his own perverted passion for boys and blood, allowing the clan council to tear itself apart from within.

The youth that dragged Kane painfully along through the corridors was shouting out to his fellows, calling to clashing troops, bellowing atop his lungs…

“DAVENPORT IS DEAD! HE KILLED HIM! THE BASTARD IS DEAD, SLAIN! DAVENPORT HAS BEEN SLAUGHTERED!” He continued, relentless, drawing a large crowd of clansmen in the main hall. Curious and dubious they approached the lad, bombarding him with questions and demanding evidence.

“He’s Dead I tell you all… I watched this man crush the old perverts skull with his bare hands!”

“Nonsense! The Man’s half dead…”

“Prove it! Where’s the body?”

More voices cried out, their statements and questions rolled into a incomprehensible din… Until Davenport’s lifeless corpse was dragged into the chamber and strung up by the neck, dangling by an already damaged chandelier, morbidly swinging, raining blood on the dining table…

Kane slumped, overwhelmed by the anarchy erupting around him… The lad simply dumped him in an over-sized chair and continued shouting the odds… He starred at the ceiling, no chains, that was pleasant. Gilded plaster work shimmered in the evening hazy sunshine, pouring through the tall glass doors. Arterial spray ruined the beauty and the stench of acrid  smoke lingered, Kane looked down at his hands, slick with blood from the murder. He half expected to be lynched by this mob and he half welcomed the idea, desiring to be free from the pain which tore through his body, white hot and raw as the healing potion slowly wore off.

“Who are you?” The question brought to attention the fact that the room had fallen silent around him, all eyes bore into him with expectation. The youth pulled him to his feet and pushed him slightly forwards.

“I’m Kane.” His reply drew nothing but confused frowns and besides a strangers name was not much to go on, he was also aware that he was stood totally naked before a room full of hostile clansmen.

“Captain Kane Stone 32625, Under General Fendor in the Kings Army.” His voice cracked, “I suspect I was betrayed by The General, held here and punished for my crimes against Lord Pepe Montoto because I had an affair with his wife, the Princess Alleia.” He saw no point in lying and slumped back in the chair expecting a painful execution…

Instead there were ripples of discussion, low mutterings and debate. Finally a burly warrior stepped forth, his face carved in intricate scars.

“Well ‘Captain’ You’re in the Clan-lands now and our rules differ from those in the city, here we keep what we kill… You killed Davenport…” He paused to spit at the name. “This, the whole Northern Clan Territories, all fell under the command of that fancy pervert, so… Looks like you’re in charge here now…”



Anne Harrison 24.03.17



Part 53

With the Spirit of the Fallen…


White hot pain burned between her legs, blood ran down her thighs. Her mind blinded by fear, her voice, a scream felt miles away. The flagstones, hard, cold, slick and unfriendly against her straining body. The edge of consciousness, threatened to consume her with welcoming blackness as the whole room was blurred through tear rimmed eyes…

A carrion crow swept down from the rafters, perched upon the chair back and called a shrilling cry, echoing throughout the tower drawing her mate who landed closer to Alleia.

“It is time.” The female crow morphed into a most unusual looking woman, jet black and naked, save for a cloak of feathers which cascaded down her back. Her hands were claws, her feet claws. Nose long and sharp, keen eyes. She approached Alleia and cocked her head, the Crow-Woman’s actions were so bird like. Her mate shook off his feathered disguise and knelt to lift Alleia into his strong arms.

“Where to?” He stood, spread his cloak of wings, bending his knees to spring.

“To the Grave. Where it ended, is where it shall begin again. Our Mother has prepared the land and her silent summoning has drawn The Dragon Prince. She will be safe there.”

The Crow-Man nodded in accord and with Alleia in his arms they took flight, right through wood and stone as though they were nothing but dust in the air.

Alleia herself was half dazed and amazed, her rational mind tried to explain the event as an illusion, an hallucination on the verge of death. She imagined she dreamed of a glade, surrounded by so many wild flowers, curious bees, butterflies, exotic birds. It was dusk, yet the sun was warm upon her skin and the Crow-Woman proved to be a gentle midwife. Moss soft at her back, the pain subsided, or became more bearable… She wasn’t sure which…

A Dragon stood guard, keeping the menfolk at a respectable safe distance. Though Alleia hardly saw them… Panting… Pushing… Straining… Following the Crow-Woman’s constant words of encouragement. Alleia felt the final breach as her babe drew breath and wailed with life, tiny strong lungs shattering the still. Hot tears poured down her face as the Crow-Woman handed Alleia the tiny wriggling boy…

She almost expected the glade to vanish, for the illusion to fade and return again to the bitter empty tower alone, but the sun softly set, bathing the sky in a warm red glow. It was beautiful, everything felt beautiful and peaceful…

“He will need to feed.” The Crow-Woman aided the inexperienced mother, helping to get her cleaned and comfortable. The Dragon thoughtfully provided a generous lump of burnished coal from her fire-throat to keep Mother and babe cosy.

“You will be safe here. The menfolk will guard us.”

Though Alleia could not find sleep, she watched her child nursing peacefully and silently wished that his life would be perfect. In that moment, she held in her arms true love, unconditional and innocent.

Alleia knew the face from Kane’s old sketch… Yet the girl she saw at that moment was not flesh and blood, she was ethereal, she glided without moving her feet over to Alleia, her smile was warm and generous. This was her grave site after all and the babe was part of her magic. It appeared fitting that she blessed the birth with her presence, but she soon vanished into the star light…


Anne Harrison 22.03.17

Part 52

The Forgotten Princess


Alleia was hungry, tired and desperately afraid. As her tummy grew wider, her own life was becoming shorter. She had considered taking her own life but could not bare to take the babe with her, her beautiful bump was all she had to grasp onto the fading edge of a memory of what love could feel like. So she spent many, many of the long cold hours alone talking to or singing to her unborn. Still convinced the child to be a boy, Alleia had even given the little one a name ‘Seizon-sha’. Which had come into her mind in a dream, sometimes she had dreams about Kane, but they were horrific nightmares and she would awake screaming sharing his pain.

Once a day a thin slip of a maid would bring her food and fresh water, sometimes the girl would smuggle in an apple or a book but the maid had not been for three days now and Alleia was feeling quite frail, the kicks and wriggles within her had also become still. Panic filled her heart and she hammered on the door, calling until her voice cracked.

There was no reply, no one came, she fell to the flagstones and wept…

That was when her waters broke…


Anne Harrison 21.03.17

Part 51

A post in two parts…


Drunken Despair:

Grave was swift to gather Novana up into his arms as Kaxa fussed over her fallen sister. Fendor still hadn’t bothered to greet his guests, drinking himself into oblivion. Painfully aware that his short lived rebellion had succeed in nothing shorter than handing the city over to barbarians and Southlanders. He wasn’t fit to rule,  he wasn’t fit to be a Father, he could not recall striking Novana though he knew he was responsible for her bruises. The drunken holes in his memory were becoming worse and it was inexcusable to abuse a pregnant woman.  His despair lead him to consume an unreasonable amount of whisky and by the time Kaxa and Grave (carrying Novana) found him in the main hall, he was half conscious and had pissed himself…



Kane struggled free from Davenport as he nursed his broken nose, cursing and swearing, promising bitter retribution. Kane had no energy to fight,  barely the ability to move, but he was fueled by hatred and the lingering effects of the healing draft gave him some measure of strength… He grasped Davenport’s head while he was still disorientated and plunged his thumbs deep into his eyes… Pushing harder,  forcing his thumbs through the soft flesh. Davenport was screaming,  or he was… Fury kept a vice like grip on the vile mans skull,  something cracked, his thumbs slipped deeper into the sockets with a sickening crunch Davenport ceased screaming and hung limp…  Still Kane held the broken head until every ounce of strength had left his limbs and Davenport slumped at an awkward angle, Kane knelt back panting hard…

“My word?! Is he dead?” Kane couldn’t see the speaker,  but the voice was young, male.

“I bloody well hope so.” Kane managed to reply through ragged breaths.

“Thank the Gods!” The relief in the voice was unmistakable and Kane felt arms tugging him to his feet…

Anne Harrison 17.03.17

Part 50

A brave or foolish move… 
Kane awoke face down in his own blood, again. A simple attempt to move drew a low groan from his parched throat, but he managed to turn his head and blink crusty blood from his eyes.

Everywhere was still… There was just the quiet crackle from the last of the fire embers and a steady drip off somewhere in the distance.

For a while he just laid there, counting breaths, each one painful and labored.  He wasn’t sure how much time had passed before he found the strength to flop over to his back, with a rattle of uncomfortable chains… Then again, just laid there watching more chains swing from the ceiling with blurry sight…

“Ah… You’re awake,  good…”

A dark figure loomed into sight,  feather light touch traced circles of blood across his torso until cruel nails dug deep into a puncture wound, Kane bit his lip feeling the finger reach inside his chest a morbid violation. Then withdraw, blood pouring free.

Licking the bloody finger, Master Davenport knelt on Kane’s chest tugged his head back by his hair and forced a healing potion down his throat.

It was a cruel constant game, torture, then heal to torture again. Like the persistent loop of days and nights. Kane’s only saving grace was that he was too old for Davenport’s more perverted desires, but his lust for pain, for blood,  was just as relentless.

Kane started to count, feeling the warm glow of the healing elixir spread throughout his broken limbs…  Laid still,  counting,  waiting for fifty, Davenport leered over him,  taunting,  dribbling hot drool in his face…

Fifty! Kane pulled his arm free from the chains, which had come loose as he had lost weight, snatched Davenport,  startled,  by the front of his suit and lurched forward to headbutt him square in the nose…


Anne Harrison 16.03.17

Part 49

A Welcome Reunion…
Kaxa and Grave together entered the city loyal lines of barbarian warriors lined the streets betwixt the gates and the palace, as their giant leader made his steady way Kaxa walking ahead of him. The men raised their fist to their heart, a salute which closely resembled a stabbing motion…  Unspoken loyalty, the action could be translated as: ‘I shall die to serve you’.

Curious city folk peered from doorways and windows or joined the gathering men, some imitating the salute with a little confusion. The few city guards who remained, those maintaining loyalty to Fendor watched the precision cautious and alarmed.

Kaxa walked barefoot, clad in a delicate thin shift crimson and gold, raven hair curled around naked caramel shoulders. Every eye was drawn to the exotic southern beauty and her giant companion,  she drew gazes of lust, envy. He… Brute fear…

Fendor was hung over and was in no mood for any of this drama.  He stank of last night’s whisky and cheap cigars. Looked unkempt and unwashed,  still in yesterday’s clothes that he had slept in. He had time to change,  to freshen up should he desire but the notion passed away as he reached instead for the remains of a stale ale.

Novana had been avoiding him for weeks now, finding peace within her work with the peasants. The swell of her tummy was more obvious as too were violent bruises which marred her skin. Twas only for the safety of her babe that she had not fought back, only a coward would take his stress out on a pregnant woman and Novana vowed Fendor would come to a painful end…

Kaxa embraced her sister tightly finally reunited with Novana, but her jubilation was short lived as she noticed the bump, the bruises, the tired smock and sad eyes.

“What happened?” Kaxa frowned.

“Just hold me.” Novana mumbled against her sisters shoulder then collapsed in an exhausted faint…
Anne Harrison 16.03.17

Part 48

Twin Scouts



“Why don’t you come down from those trees and join us for some lamb?” Hera spoke loud enough for the Shadow Order to pick up her invitation. Indigo raised her hand to halt her troops as some inched forwards upon catching the scent of the rich roast. Indigo dropped down alone and approached Hera cautiously, she noticed the wards and icons decorating the Witches den, read them and nodded approvingly. Signaling then for her patrol to accompany her.

“Why would you feed those men?” Indigo asked, still wary of the old hag.

“And hello to you too…” Hera replied with a warm smile. “Technically, I didn’t feed the barbarians, Your Highness, Brynn shared the meat in exchange for work.” She indicated to the lone shepherdess beyond the tree line, watching her flock.

“You know who I am?”

“I have a good idea that you are related to the Elite Twelve and expected retribution  following the slaughter of the King.” Hera replied.

The Shadow Order gathered around Indigo as they spoke, drawn by the promise of food and news from within the capital but also Hera herself, all were trained in the magical arts, but their skills were basic, just what they needed to know. Save for Indigo, the unique Princess had trained to learn the ancient sorcerers ways from childhood, a youths hobby turned into her lifestyle. To her, Hera was a key to the past and she had to swallow down her own excitement reminding herself of the mission ahead of them.

“Well… There are far too many of you to comfortably sit within my humble home, so let’s get the fire-pit lit, it’s going to be a fair night and there is plenty of space to relax in warmth and there is enough lamb for you all and I feel we have much to discuss…”



Dallymare was one of the smaller dragons, Sheba’s daughter to be exact, around half the size of her mother so swift in flight and honed to Kol’s every touch, the pair skimmed the clouds with effortless grace. He had chosen the smaller lady for her speed and agility, the way she danced upon the cloud line like a slender shadow. They did not want to draw too much attention to their journey and they needed to cover a great distance in haste.

It was impossible to attempt to count the barbarian forces at the city walls, nor conclude their part in this predicament. However the sheer numbers alone were cause for concern, for no known army could match their force.

Kol had been raised with the story of The Child of Prophecy and some instinct alone caused him to steer Dallymare far beyond the mountain pass, over borders and the great arm of a snaking river that glistened red in the golden sunset. He sought the scorched earth where she had been slain, discreetly desiring to pay his last respects. For the Dragons he lived and worked with mourned her loss deeply.

Dallymare shifted course, drawn by the energy at the grave, breaking cover of the clouds and settling down upon the earth lightly.

Gone was the angry tar ridden stain, gone too was the rotten corpse of The Guardian. Instead Kol was stunned to see a lavish collection of wild flowers, blooming in rich vibrant colours, all various flowers, all spread out across a thick spongy moss. The smell was incredible, thousands of flowers filling the air with their alluring scent. Everywhere was so full of life, the air rich with fat bumblebees and shimmering hummingbirds.

Kol dismounted and fell to his knees weeping at the pure magical beauty of the sight.


Anne Harrison 16.03.17