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|Er, yeah, this is the first chapter of a story I've been working on for quite a while. Basically, this first chapter mainly follows Tayla, and she seems to be in a bit of trouble..||
Branches loomed over them, barring the sky. Tree roots protruded from the ground at odd angles, like claws reaching out for their feet. At a turn in the winding path, the enclosing trees opened to a small clearing in the middle of the forest where Tayla and her grandfather had stopped running. They had reached a brook of swirling water and the old man sat down on a large, moss-covered rock.
“Grandfather, we need to move. They’re coming,” Tayla said hurriedly.
“When you’re as old as I am you’ll understand,” replied Lerran.
“At this rate I won’t live to your age-”she began.
“Be quiet, we don’t have much time,” Lerran ordered. “Now, when they get here they’re going to kill me and then you.”
“No!” Tayla whispered. “They can’t, they’ve taken everything from us! Everyone!”
“Calm yourself,” he implored her.
He produced a short sword from his pack and gave it to Tayla. Uneasily, she concealed it in one of her long, flowing sleeves.
“But what use am I with it?” Tayla asked, her voice trembling on the edge of panic and her blue eyes glistening with fear.
He glared at her seriously; inwardly admiring her acting skills and grieving that past this day she might never get to use them again.
“Everything will be alright, one way or another,” he said. “Now listen, when they kill me, you need to kill the leader.”
“How will I know which one of them is the leader?” Tayla asked.
“He’s the one in the middle,” replied Lerran, looking past Tayla.
Tayla turned quickly to see five men dismounting and drawing swords. The two men on the left were tall and lean and on the right, one man was heavily bearded and the other had short ginger hair with a scar running across it like a white streak. The man in the middle, the leader, a tall broad-shouldered man, walked forward. He stopped a few paces from Tayla and looked her up and down. Her light brown hair framed her large, full lips. The long light blue dress she wore clung perfectly to her body, revealing curved hips and a thin waist. Then he surveyed the old man.
“What are you doing?” enquired Lerran calmly.
“I was wondering how something as beautiful as that,” he answered, nodding at Tayla. “Could be related to someone as ugly as you.”
The four other men laughed.
“I wonder, Marekt, if perhaps it is better to be old and ugly, than a young and arrogant fool,” Lerran said coldly.
The laughter stopped instantly and Marekt moved towards Lerran.
“I know what you’re going to do, and believe me, I’m not scared. All I want to know is, why? Why have you killed our entire family?” he asked.
“It was worth the gold,” one of the men sniggered.
“I have a proposition for you, if you are willing to listen,” Marekt said, once he had calmed down.
“It seems that we don’t really have a choice,” replied Lerran.
“Indeed. Well here it is, if she comes with us without a fight,” he paused to see Lerran’s eyes widen in horror. “We will release you.”
Lerran got up and moved closer to Tayla.
She whispered to him, “Don’t agree; why would they want me? It’s a lie, they’ll just kill us both anyway and if they think none of them are going too, they can-”
“Made up your mind yet, old man?” asked Marekt.
Lerran nodded. He turned back to Tayla and kissed her on the forehead. In that instant Tayla knew what he was going to do and she smiled and bowed her head to him.
The events that occurred next seemed to Tayla, to happen in slow motion. Her grandfather pulled his sword from its sheath, raised it over his head and charged at Marekt. One of the other men quickly stepped between them and pointed his blade at Lerran. Unable to stop, he ran straight into the sword. The man held the blade in position until Lerran’s body sagged against it. Then he pushed the body to the ground, immediately blood began to stain the earth. Tayla stood horror-struck, unable to move.
“Take her,” ordered Marekt.
The two tall men walked towards Tayla, who sprung back into life. She let the short sword drop from her sleeve and caught it with her right hand. She lashed out with the sword and smiled at Marekt as the two men fell to the floor. Her once glistening blue eyes had become hazier and murky now. Marekt looked down at the bodies and saw by the depth of their wounds, the might used to strike them. He and the other two men advanced.
The scarred man tried to attack but Tayla blocked his thrust. The other man smacked the smooth side of his blade into Tayla’s hand, releasing her grip on the sword. Just as she dropped to the ground to pick it up, Marekt placed his sword against her neck.
“Stand up,” he commanded.
Tayla stood; tears were now streaming down her pale face.
“What is your name?” Marekt asked, noticing that her eyes were back to their original colour.
“What does it matter?” retorted Tayla.
“It matters to us. Tell us your name,” he ordered.
She sighed and then said, “Tayla.”
“Have a good sleep Tayla,” replied Marekt.
“Excuse me?” enquired Tayla quickly.
Behind her, the ginger-haired man slammed his sword handle into the back of her head. Unconscious, she fell to the ground next to the bodies of the men she’d killed.
The mists swirled and the Crystal Waters became clear once again. Simarlian walked away from the water smiling. He had watched the scene and found it amusing. Simarlian had never seen that side of Tayla, even though he had been watching her since she was born. He had never once seen the killing side of her or in fact in any of her female ancestors when he traced them through the mists. This intrigued him, which was interesting because not much did.
Simarlian moved into the palace hall, walking past the marble statues of his own forefathers. He paused a moment and stared into the eyes of the statue to his right; his father. His father had died when he was still quite young; but only with a little help from Simarlian and a small bottle of cleverly concealed poison. No one ever found out; no one ever wanted to when Simarlian became King. People came to realise very soon that if they stuck their noses where they didn’t belong then they were likely to lose them; along with the rest of their head.
Simarlian summoned his chief advisor; sat in his golden throne and tied back his blond, shoulder-length hair. He was not classically handsome, but there was something about his eyes that made him entrancing. They were the colour of hazel nuts just ripened and though at times, like when he was bored, they could seem a little dull, they still seemed able to bore deeply into people.
A few minutes later a thin man in a white tunic walked through the tall ebony doors of the hall. He bowed. Simarlian had no real friends; only servants, but, Abram was always easily manipulated. He thought he was the King’s most trusted friend; after all, he knew much more than anyone else. Simarlian smiled at the thought of how much this man did not know.
Seeing the smile, Abram asked, “Your majesty; good news I hope?”
“Very good news, Abram. We’ve got her,” replied Simarlian.
“The Niros girl.”
“Ah yes, but sire? May I ask you one question?” enquired Abram.
“Go ahead,” answered Simarlian, already knowing the question.
“Do your plans for her remain the same?”
“You know they do,” Simarlian replied tersely.
“I beg your majesty to reconsider. The risks are too many-” he began.
“She is the only one left! And if you remember the prophecy said that two people from the line of Niros are needed,” shouted Simarlian, his hazel eyes flashing with impatience.
“But she could one day have a child!” reasoned the chief advisor.
“Yes, and that is why I am doing this,” replied Simarlian sharply.
“And it might not even be the Niros family that requires two from its line. The prophecy actually only said the Heroe-”
“I know; I am still making preparations for the others’ death, I don’t think I’ll mind killing them off.”
“Well they aren’t important are they?” Simarlian said in a superior tone.
“Erm; no, I suppose not your majesty. But the others-” Abram asked.
“Are being taken care of. Now go,” ordered Simarlian.
As Abram left the room, he wished his friend would be more tolerant, even if he did have to deal with the stress of being King. After all Simarlian had trusted him with the knowledge of the prophecy; Abram knew all the facts, he was just worried about his friend’s safety.
The five horses rode back into camp bearing only three riders and a prisoner. The camp had been set up in a clearing in the west of the forest. Deetrius ran towards them to help stable their horses. The horses would need extra grain today; they had been running fast through the Venn forest.
“What happened?” he asked as they led the horses to the stables.
“She happened,” answered Marekt looking back at the unconscious girl lying across one of the horses, her hands bound behind her back.
“She killed Garth and…and Fyeth?” enquired Deetrius, quite alarmed.
“Yes; and the worst thing is that we can do nothing to harm her.”
“Couldn’t we just-” began Deetrius.
“No,” said Marekt sternly. “He would know; and then we’d all be dead. Unsaddle Kallum for me.”
“Yes sir,” he answered.
Marekt left Kallum, the horse, with Deetrius and went over to the girl. He hoisted her onto his shoulder and carried her through the camp where some of the men were eating wild boar that they had roasted over a large fire. He could keep an eye on Tayla in his own large caravan. His caravan was filled with furs and; once inside, Marekt lay Tayla down on her front. He untied her hands. He lent her unconscious body against the side of the caravan and retied them around a support pole to make sure she stayed where she was. Marekt decided he would wait with her until she woke up. He sat in the opposite corner of the caravan, away from Tayla and remembered receiving his orders two years ago.
Marekt slowly made his way towards the King, who sat in his high-backed throne. Marekt was wary of Simarlian’s deep, penetrating stare and averted his eyes.
“You wanted to see me, your majesty?” he asked.
“Yes. I have a job for you,” answered Simarlian.
“A job, my lord? I shall be glad of the work,” said Marekt, wondering who the King wanted him to kill this time.
“Good to hear it,” replied the King. “What I need you to do is to kill every member of the Niros family except for the youngest daughter; Tayla. I need her alive and I want you to bring her to me when you have finished with the rest of her family.”
Marekt was a little taken aback by the job. Yes, he and his crew were assassins, and yes, they did kill people for money, but never had he been asked to wipe out an entire family. He didn’t know if he would mind too much when he’d been paid though.
“Oh and when you kill the family; do it discreetly. If you separate the murders, you should be finished in roughly two years.”
Marekt paused and said, “Sir? There is the matter of payment.”
“Ah yes, you and your crew will be rewarded handsomely for your work. You shall have one of the famous crown jewels for every family member you kill,” replied the King.
“And by the way, do not harm Tayla in any way; I will know. And then you and all your men will die. It will not be a quick death either. So just remember; that girl belongs to me.”
An hour later, Marekt heard Tayla groan and saw her bright eyes open. Tayla looked around her and saw Marekt. She pulled herself up and tried to untie her hands.
“Stop,” ordered Marekt, pulling out a small dagger.
Tayla stopped struggling; her eyes became focussed on the blade and a lock of her hair fell across her face. She quickly blew it out of the way. Tayla stared at Marekt in the way a curious but frightened young girl would.
“Why am I here?” she asked suddenly.
“Why am I here? Why me? I mean you’ve exterminated the rest of my family, why am I any different?” questioned Tayla.
“You? I don’t know why you are alive. All I know is that we had to kill your family, everyone but you, and bring you to King Simarlian,” answered Marekt.
“King Simarlian? What does he want with me?” she asked, trying to keep her voice reasonably calm.
“Use your imagination. That’s enough questions for now. I’m going to get the horses ready; we shall be setting off soon,” he said with a smirk.
Marekt stood up and walked out of the cloth doorway. When Tayla was satisfied he was gone she untied her hands. She slid a hand into one of her suede boots, felt around for something and then pulled her hand free. Whatever she had felt for, she had left in her boot. She decided that when Marekt next entered the caravan she would kill him, and maybe the person watching her would get the message.
Marekt had made sure that the camp was packed up and organised into the travelling line. He sat on the front of his own caravan next to Deetrius.
“Let’s get these caravans moving,” said Marekt.
Deetrius nodded and whipped the chestnut-coloured horses so they trotted down the path between the trees.
“Have you heard anything from her?” asked Marekt.
“Nothing; not a sound,” replied Deetrius, shifting uncomfortably.
Marekt got up and moved towards the entrance of the caravan. He pushed the cloth aside and walked inside. Almost as soon as he did so Tayla’s foot sliced through the air towards his face. Before her foot met its mark, Marekt caught hold of her ankle. He lifted it up high so she fell onto her back. Marekt kept hold of her leg to keep Tayla pinned to the ground. He began to laugh.
“What was that about?” he chuckled.
Tayla gave him a look of pure hatred and canoed her other foot up into his face. She rolled back and pushed herself up. Marekt wiped away the blood from his newly split lip. He withdrew his small dagger and walked towards Tayla. As she backed away from him, they heard shouts from outside. And then there were the screams. Just a few of them, but they sent a chill up Tayla’s spine.
Neither of them could hear what the voices were saying, or knew what the screams meant, but both knew immediately that they were under attack when the carriage began to move at a much faster speed. Tayla and Marekt were knocked against the sides of the caravan, and fell to the floor unconscious. No more than a minute later the caravan stopped. Deetrius lay on the side of the caravan, three arrows protruding from his chest; as their attackers closed in.
|The Prophecy of Cadyze: Chapter 9||“Just because I died doesn’t mean I’m dead!”|
|The Prophecy of Cadyze: Chapter 4||The Prophecy of Cadyze: Chapter 13|
|The Prophecy of Cadyze: Chapter 10|