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|Erm, yeah.. By now if you've read the rest of the chapters before you'll know that I fail epically at the little description that's meant to be here. =P||
Nanavi waited quietly in her room for the inevitable. She was dreading the knock that would mean Abram had arrived. As if reading her thoughts, the knock came instantly.
Nanavi looked up at the door, straightened and meekly said, “C-come in.”
Abram slowly opened the door with a smile, but it quickly faded into concern when he saw Nanavi’s tear-stained eyes. He walked over to her and sat beside her, putting his arm around her shoulders.
“You know you can tell me.”
“It- it’s just memories. Bad ones.”
“Ah. You know I’m always here if you need to talk.”
“Thank you,” Nanavi said, sniffing.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
Nanavi shook her head. Abram paused and looked at her.
“Will you tell me what’s wrong?”
Thinking quickly Nanavi said, “ My… family.”
She looked away from him. Abram didn’t press the issue. He knew what had happened to Nanavi’s family and knew he’d better change the subject fast.
Abram turned her head to face him and he wiped the tears from her eyes. It occurred to him that this was the most physical contact he and Nanavi had ever had. Abram brushed a crimson curl from her face and smiled.
“There, you see, you look beautiful,” he said.
Nanavi looked at him, her red-orange eyes wide, and shivered.
“Are you cold?” Abram enquired, removing his long black cloak and slipping it around Nanavi’s slim shoulders.
He had mistaken Nanavi’s disgust at the thought of what he was going to ask for a draughty room.
“Are you alright now?”
Nanavi took a deep breath; then nodded as if to assure herself more than him.
“I...I actually came here to ask you a question.”
Oh no, here it comes she thought. Abram bent down on one knee in front of Nanavi, taking her hand in his. Then he asked her.
Nanavi stared speechlessly at him, trying to make it look like a surprise, then said, “I...I don’t know what to say, I-”
“But-but what about all this... my job and-”
“I’ve already spoken to the King and he assured me that he would no longer hold you to your work. U-unless you want to work still, that can be arranged.”
“I-” she smiled and inwardly despaired. “I will.”
Abram’s face lit up. He stood and wrapped his arms around Nanavi. Slowly she circled her arms around him too. Though she hated doing it, Nanavi knew that if she didn’t act happy, then questions would be asked, and if questions were asked then Abram would find out. Simarlian had told her that he didn’t want Abram to find out that he had blackmailed her. Nanavi didn’t want to find out what Simarlian would do if that happened.
They were nearing the end of their four week journey. The weather had been good and they had been able to cut the extra month that they had thought they might still be travelling in from their trip. Jon looked over at Tayla; she was still sleeping. He moved over to her and touched her face. Tayla woke with a smile on her face. Jon smiled back, but it quickly faded.
“Here,” Jon said, passing Tayla her newly-cleaned red dress. “You need to look your best when you meet the King today.”
Tayla’s smile vanished then too.
“You will come and get me won’t you?” Tayla asked, fiddling with the gold chain around her neck.
“After all you’ve told me about the King? Wild horses couldn’t keep me away! Or, if unfortunately, they can, I will send word to you of where we shall meet.”
“But who in the palace could you trust with such a secret?” Tayla asked.
“I know two maids that would be delighted to help.”
“My sister and her friend.”
“What are their names and what do they look like?”
“Why do you need to know that?”
“I need to know if what they say is genuine... For all I know, it could be a trap set by the King.”
“I get your meaning now. Well my sister is called Tsara and has green eyes and cropped brown hair. Her friend, Nanavi, has curly red hair and red-orange coloured eyes.”
“It sounds as if your sister’s friend will be easy enough to spot.”
“Yes, I suppose she does stand out a bit; but enough about them, you need to get changed.”
Tayla took off her clothes and changed into her red dress. She and Jon sat down just as the carriage stopped.
“I guess it’s time.”
Quickly Tayla removed the golden chain from her neck and stuffed it into her shoe. She nodded and Jon opened the door for her.
The inn was crowded with people, and travellers were hard-pressed to find a seat, especially near the bar. Derrik, Harvae and Karissa had been among those who had found a table. As well as eating there, they were also staying the night; they would reach the palace by noon the next day. The thought of finally having no restraint on what he did to Karissa, being able to do whatever he wanted to her made Derrik smile.
After a while, his thoughts returned to the present, Karissa was sitting between him and Harvae in the corner of the large room. Derrik had allowed Karissa to be un-cuffed for awhile. He knew she’d be no trouble this time, not now that she knew the consequences. Karissa sat still, staring at the table. Derrik smiled again, he knew that Karissa only stared like this when she was in pain.
He noticed Harvae’s eyes darken as a stranger approached their table. His deep-set grey eyes glanced toward Karissa and Derrik saw that he was wearing a uniform.
“Excuse me-” the stranger said, his words meant for Karissa.
Derrik stood up and interrupted him, “My daughter does not want to speak to anyone at the moment, so you can turn around and leave now.”
Emerin turned back to Karissa, “I would like to hear what you have to say, lady.”
She looked up at him; then at Derrik, who gave her a warning glance. She winced and shook her head at the Emerin. In anger, Emerin span to Derrik and almost shouted, “You should stop influencing her and let her make her own decisions.”
“My daughter needs to be alone, so leave or face the consequences.”
Emerin opened his mouth to say something, but closed it when Derrik withdrew something from his pocket and showed him. Karissa could not see what it was, but knew that whatever it was, it made Emerin back away and leave very quickly. Derrik chuckled and turned back to Karissa.
“What did you show him?” Karissa asked quietly.
“My Sorcerer’s Medallion.”
Derrik showed her the small object, he had shown Emerin. Karissa winced. It was the end of the Dharmagra. Her thoughts flashed painfully back to the day he had given her the stinging brand on the back of her neck.
The horses and caravans were travelling fairly slowly; there weren’t enough, so some people had to walk. Sawyer and Riana were sharing a horse; Sawyer’s white stallion, Dargion. Riana sat behind Sawyer, her arms wrapped around his chest. She whispered something in his ear that made Sawyer smile.
They were travelling across Kiriatzae; as close to the border as they could get. Sawyer’s group would need to go into the desert to get to Nal’Acape anyway, but there were at least roads in Kiriatzae and Sawyer wanted to stay as far away from Dar Kavaar, the Kiriatzae capital, as possible. Sawyer sighed. Dar Kavaar. That was where Tayla was. He had the urge to turn around now, but he remembered Chanandor’s words.
Tayla has a mission. She knows this and she must have no interference from you, Sawyer. What she needs you to do; is to keep your promise and meet her at Nal’Acape.
Sawyer had promised to meet Tayla at Nal’Acape, and he would, but he needed to talk to that old man. Chanandor seemed to know far too much. He had been able to tell Sawyer this without even interrogating their two Levrian prisoners, who, it turned out, had been no help at all. They were executed immediately.
He tied his dark blond hair loosely and watched as Abram walked through the ebony doors. His head was bowed, as it always was when he entered the palace hall; Simarlian could only see his short, curly brown hair. Simarlian cleared his throat.
“So? What did she say?”
Abram looked up, his face beaming; and nodded.
Simarlian smiled; his plan had worked. Nanavi wasn’t going anywhere, and that made it all the easier for Simarlian to do what he must, when he must.
“When shall I be hosting the wedding?”
“Your majesty; we, that is to say Nanavi and I, have not decided yet.”
“Then it shall be in two weeks.”
“Yes, unless you have a problem with that?”
“No, no your majesty; I was just surprised. What with all the preparations, I thought it would take longer than two weeks for everything to be ready.”
“It would, were I not the King,” Simarlian said, his smile widening. “Send your soon-to-be-wife to me; I need to discuss some things with her.”
“Yes, your majesty, and thank you again.”
Abram bowed once and left the room. Idiot, thought Simarlian; had the fool still not realised why he was letting him marry Nanavi? Did he not yet know what she was? Abram thinks I trust him, but hasn’t realised why he hasn’t heard any developments in the prophecy; he’s more stupid than I thought.
Minutes later, Nanavi knocked and entered the room. She did not avoid his gaze this time; in fact, she stared straight into his cold, hazel eyes.
“My lord. Why did you call for me? You have already seen that I have complied with the... request you made of me.”
“Request? A nice way to put it,” he said, then added in a hushed tone. “Why did you phrase it that way?”
Nanavi sighed and; pushing one of her red curls behind an ear, she replied, “Abram’s waiting outside. He may be able to hear what we say.”
“He can’t; this room is sound proofed.”
Nanavi looked around the room sceptically; then returned her icy stare to Simarlian.
“Why did you want to see me?” she asked again.
“I need to know if you are going to continue working here.”
“I have a choice? I know that’s what you told Abram but I thought you would just force me to keep working.”
The King chuckled, “No, it’s your choice.”
She thought about it for a moment. It was either stay at work or… Stay with Abram all day.
“I will continue to work.”
Simarlian smiled. Good, he thought, she’s playing right into my hands, doing everything I want her to.
“Good; I have a new job for you.”
“A new job?” Nanavi asked, her eyebrows rising.
Seeing as I know I can control you, he thought, “You are going to be the only maid to see my future wife. She arrives today. You and I will be the only people allowed in her rooms, or for that matter, anywhere near her. Only twenty soldiers will know that she is here at all. Tell anyone about her and what I explained earlier will indeed come to pass.”
“Do you understand?” he added icily.
Nanavi gulped and nodded.
“Good. I will send the Royal Seamstress to your room at once.”
Nanavi blinked. “Why?”
“So she can fit you for your wedding dress, of course. You are going to be married in two weeks after all.”
“Oh,” she replied quietly.
“Now leave me; my wife-to-be and another...ah... special guest will be arriving soon.”
Nanavi walked quickly from the room and stopped straight outside the doors to tell Abram she would see him later.
“But-” he began.
“I need to be fitted for my wedding dress,” she grinned. “And you of all people know the legends; it’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride in her wedding dress before the wedding.”
Abram smiled back and nodded. Nanavi slowly walked down the hall without him; praising herself once more for being an adequate actress.
As Tayla stepped out of the carriage, men surrounded her. Though she was blocked from others’ view, Tayla could see all she needed to. The palace in front of her was amazing. Beautiful patterns and pictures had been carved into the stone pillars and ornate archways. The doors were all made of the finest oak in Kiriatzae.
Jon and the men led Tayla through one of them, and Tayla saw the inside of the palace was just as extravagant as the outside. The large ghostly looking windows were framed by black and purple silk curtains adorned with golden thread.
The second room they went through was a bland hallway, but the third was a magnificent as the first. After the fourth room, Tayla knew to stop looking around; it distracted her mind from the task at hand and she knew she’d never remember the way out of here. She focused on Jon’s back.
Ten minutes later, they stopped. Tayla looked up; they were standing in front of two large, ebony doors. They were definitely the most grand Tayla had seen throughout the palace. This must be where the King spends most of his time, she thought.
There was no one else in this corridor, Tayla noticed; until the three strangers walked around the corner. They looked, there was no other word that suited the trio; uncomfortable. The woman stood between the two men, her hands held together by something Tayla had never seen before. The woman’s emerald eyes flashed up and she and Tayla held each other’s gaze. Before she could comprehend the enormity of the look they had just shared; Tayla was shunted through the ebony doors, trapped in the circle of men.
The circle of men parted and Tayla was left standing in the middle of the room. She stood facing the blond-haired man sitting on the golden throne.
“My lord,” said Jon. “May I introduce Tayla Niros.”
The King grinned so much his smile lit his hazel eyes. He stood up and bowed to her. Tayla just stared at him coldly; her hazy blue eyes bearing into him.
“Leave us He-atzu.”
When Jon had left the room, Simarlian turned back to her.
“I haven’t been able to find you in the mists for some time, Tayla-”
“We all have our little secrets, don’t we?”
“Indeed,” he replied arching an eyebrow. “I-”
“For instance; no one has told me why you killed all of my family and not me. Why not me?” she interrupted casually.
“If you were any other person, I would have you whipped for your insolence.” I still might, he thought.
“Any other person?” Tayla asked, her eyebrows rising.
“I insisted that no one tell you this, because I wanted to see the look on your face,” Simarlian said, smirking slightly. “You are here to become my bride.”
Tayla’s eyes flashed open wide and when Simarlian saw the look; he laughed. He would get to see her try in vain to struggle out of this situation. It seemed that several moments went by, while Tayla, still in shock, did nothing as the King’s laughter rang through the magnificent hall.
“You’re sick!” Tayla shouted, when the laughter had ceased. “You kill all my family and you expect that there is some shred of hope that I will marry you! You must be joking!”
“Oh but you know I didn’t murder your entire family, did I?”
Tayla froze. He knew about Cade; she was certain of it.
“I know exactly where your cousin is going and I can have him surrounded and killed with a click of my fingers,” he paused to let his words sink in, then resumed, “Only you can save them. It’s your choice.”
“You foul bastard!-” she shouted.
She got no further into her rant before a large sword was pushed under her chin.
“Enough of this; men, show my fiancé to her rooms.”
Without another word, Tayla was forcibly led from the room, through a different door from the one that she had entered; in the opposite direction that Jon had left in. Simarlian smiled as she struggled.
Derrik paced the hall; he was becoming impatient and considered sending the King a mental message to tell him so. But before he could; a large group of thick-bodied men, exited through the ebony doors and told them they could enter. Derrik grunted, he hated being told what to do; but at least, he reasoned; he was getting paid for this.
Derrik entered the palace hall followed by Karissa and then Harvae. The two men bowed as they saw the King, but Karissa did not.
“Bow,” the King commanded.
“No,” she answered simply.
Derrik straightened and slapped her callously. Karissa hit the ground hard. Derrik pulled her up by her hair and looked into Karissa’s eyes angrily.
It was the King’s voice. Derrik looked up, clearly surprised.
“But my lord, she disobeyed you. She-”
“She is a princess, and an elf; what did you expect?” interrupted the King.
“Karissa,” he said in false sweet voice he sometimes liked to use; turning to her, he saw blood trickling down her face from the cut on her cheek. “You probably want to know why you are here, so far from your home and people. It’s actually the Vrine’s monarchy we’re here to discuss.”
Karissa’s stare flickered from Derrik, who was still holding her up by her hair; to Simarlian, who got up from his golden throne and moved towards her. She didn’t flinch as his hand gently brushed against her cheek; smearing the blood he was trying to wipe away. Karissa looked into his entrancing hazel eyes.
“You don’t need to suffer.”
“Just tell me where your sister is.”
“My sister! What do you want with her?”
Her voice betrayed her alarm. Simarlian tried to keep from smiling. It was hard.
“Just tell us where she is and you will not have to go to Valkiz.”
“If you want to frighten me, you should at least tell me what is so frightening about this place I keep hearing about.”
“Are you going to tell me or not?” he asked, hoping she would say no.
“Over my dead body!”
“That can be arranged.”
Karissa’s eyes flashed back to Derrik. Simarlian’s eyebrows rose.
“So you used it then?”
“You should be able to enjoy your payment sooner than I thought.”
“I wonder how long it will take Derrik to break you,” he said, stroking her cheek. “It’s never taken him long before, but maybe you can present a new challenge for him. I’ll be looking forward to hearing his reports. They’re always very… graphic.”
|The Prophecy of Cadyze: Chapter 9||The Prophecy of Cadyze: Chapter 12|
|The Prophecy of Cadyze: Chapter 2||The Prophecy of Cadyze: Chapter 3|
|The Prophecy of Cadyze: Chapter 6|