Chapter 2: A Princess Becomes an Outcast

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 100
Comments: 1

The King is good, the King is kind,

The best king you’ll ever find.

He loves his family and us all,

Hail to the King, never to fall!

--Linerian Chant


A young girl, just turned eighteen, lay drowsing in her bed when a pair of armored and armed guards came rushing into her room.

“Princess Keiara!” one of them announced; it was the one with the pretty blond hair, named Vermace.

She jerked her head up. “What?”

“The Queen is on her deathbed!” the guard said, motioning to her to come with them.

She jumped to her feet and ran past them, down the hallway and into the room where a great ornate canopied bed sat. An intricately carved phoenix sat at the apex of the headboard; its great wings were spread, almost embracing those who lay in the bed. The eyes were set with black opals. Keiara had seen the bed many times, but now it was looming in the large open room. Kneeling beside the bed was her father, King Meitan, his dressing gown still on. Behind him stood Keiara’s twelve-year-old sister, Sealla. Sealla stood with her back against the wall and staring into space, in shock.

“Mother!” Keiara said, dropping to her knees on the floor beside her father.

The woman in the bed, a once beautiful nymph, lay sweating and shivering. Her face had drained of all color, making her already pale skin ghostlike; her once bright, golden hair lay limp and sweat-matted around her head. Her bright blue eyes were dull and cloudy, and her lips were tight and drawn in pain. King Meitan, looking decidedly unkingly with his great blond shaggy hair and beard askew, wept openly; he was staring at his beloved wife.  Keiara groped for her mother’s hand; it was like holding ice.

“What happened?” she gasped.

Her mother had been dancing hours ago at the ball. Laughing and drinking wine, she had sent Keiara to put her protesting sister to bed. Keiara found the function dull, so she had headed to bed afterward, but had listened to the music floating up from the ballroom for three hours at least before she had dozed off.

“Poison,” said the physician standing on the other side of the bed. “It is of a type I have never seen and I cannot tell how to treat it. It is fast, and we don’t even know where or when she contacted it.”

“Mother, please, you have to fight,” Keiara said desperately. “I can’t lose you now…”

Queen Anaya smiled weakly. “Shhhh, sweet love. You will be fine.”

Her voice was fading quickly as she motioned to Keiara then pulled her closer.

“I love you,” she rasped, burying her face into her daughter’s fine hair. “I love you, but you will… never… be a queen. You… will… be… much greater… than a mere… queen…”

She released her and fell back into the thick, golden pillows in death. Keiara stood slowly, her father looking expectantly at her for his wife’s final words.

“Love, she professed her love for us,” Keiara said, her eyes oddly dry and her heart beating strangely slowly.

She looked over at her sister who stood staring at her mother’s body, neither crying nor moving. The King pulled his dead wife close, swearing to murder the perpetrator with his very hands, should he ever find them. Then the world spun into darkness for her as Keiara felt the world slip out from under her. Was this a memory?

The world in the dream now turned hazy. She knew it was a dream now, not a memory because it felt like a dream. She was staring off a cliff into a dark ocean. Above her, the light of the moon reflected off the waves. She turned and faced a group of people. She heard her own voice speak; though there was something different about it. Somehow it was stronger, more forceful. A strange mark graced her face, and she could deem it was significant even in the dream.

“The world changes. The Veil lifts. We have no time left to prepare. It is now, or the world will die. Now we shall all die, gratefully.”

The ground below her appeared to move but she quickly realized that someone was shaking her. “Keiara...wake up...” someone whispered urgently.

Keiara’s clear blue eyes flickered and then flew open as she felt the hands on her body grow more insistent.

“Keiara, I’m sorry,” a guard to her left whispered; his face hard, and his lips barely moving. Jermal was his name, and his blue eyes carried a sadness that made Keiara’s heart burned. He was indeed sorry. The other guard didn’t look at her. Vermace was his name. Keiara remembered him for his pretty blond locks of hair. He’d been there when the Queen had died.

Keiara was confused. Her own guards shouldn't be coming and waking her in the middle of the night, pulling her from the bed.

The guards roughly pulled her to a standing position, and she desperately tried to shake them off her. She couldn’t help fighting them, especially if they truly did not wish to be doing this. They held tight and wouldn’t let go. They yanked her roughly into the hallway, nearly carrying her between them when she resisted them. This was wrong. Something was very wrong.

“What is this? Stop this! Jermal! Vermace! Please, what are you doing?” she muttered in a half sleeping fashion; the words were thick and slurred. Something wasn’t quite right with her. She was awake but not able to move correctly.

The remnants of the dream clung to her memory like filaments of sugar candy. She felt daft; her heart was still heavy with the memories of her mother. What if something had happened and the guards didn’t answer to her father any longer? A flicker of fear blossomed in her heart, and as she was pulled from the room her eyes went to the windows which lined the corridor. Outside, the clouds were gathering as if for another snowstorm, but the full moon rimmed with red was what caught her attention. Her breath caught in her throat. A blood moon; her father had warned her of that omen. It was an omen of death. Could father have died? He had been so sickly these last few weeks.

If father had died, though, why would her guards be doing this to her? She was the heir to the throne so if the King had died then she would be the ruler of Lineria. Keiara was still trying to figure it out when her sister, Sealla, appeared before her with a loud, cracking sound. Keiara hated when she did that. She may be a wizard, but she didn't have to flaunt it. Keiara herself had never shown any inclination to the arts of magic; in fact, when the Master had come to look at them, he shook his head at Keiara, telling her father that she had no magic at all in her aura.

The guards pushed Keiara to the ground, her nightgown billowing around her like an iridescent silver cloud, and her blonde hair falling to the ground in front of her, pooling there in front of her like a golden puddle. She lifted her head and pushed the strands of hair away from her face as she sat back on her heels. Sealla stared down at her with scornful dark gray eyes and began to laugh at her. Keiara tried to stand once more, but the guards pushed her back to her knees.

“Stay down, please,” Jermal whispered in her ear, as he pressed her to the floor. There was pain in his voice, as if he was fighting against something.

She felt the scratches forming there, and the slight dampness of the blood under her knees. The gown was thin and offered no protection from the harsh stone that dug into her flesh. She stayed there, staring up at her sister, noting with concert that Sealla held the crown in front of her. Sealla was dressed well, as always, in fine red satins and black velvets. Her own blonde hair was pulled away from her face, making her radiant. But her eyes reflected no inner beauty, only coldness.

“Father died a few minutes ago. The old goat never knew when to quit, did he? Never saw a man hang on for so long. That would make you the queen, my dear, wouldn't it? You are, after all, the elder of us and of the age to rule. And he did pronounce you his official heir last spring,” she said with a coldness, which did not belong to a woman who had just lost her father, especially such a doting and caring father.

Keiara felt a lump in her throat and her eyes misted over. She could not keep the tears all the way back, and they began to trickle from the corners of her eyes. She’d loved her father more than anything in her life. He’d been a kind and gentle father, and an even kinder ruler. Suddenly the world became so real and vivid around her; the last vestiges of sleep fell away from her mind and she could see and hear everything around her with utmost clarity. The cold, gray stone of the walls closed in on her and the vaulted ceilings of this, the uppermost level of the castle, were so close, trapping her. When she spoke, she couldn’t keep the quiver from her voice.

“Yes, it would make me the Queen, so why are you doing this, Sealla? Father never wished us to fight over the crown; that's why he chose to let you pursue magic, and trained me to lead.” Keiara was so confused by all of this. She could not really understand what her sister had done.

She felt like her heart was breaking, too, knowing her beloved father had died without her there for him, after all she had been there for Mother. But her mother’s words rang in her mind, that she would never be a queen. Had her mother, on her deathbed, been given a bit of Prophecy? Had she seen what would happen only ten years from her death? Keiara remembered her little sister, silent and still, in shock, or so they all had thought. Sealla had never had any interest in the crown, only in her magic, and even more so after their mother had died. Every year she became stronger in her magic, and more distant from their father and Keiara.

“I've been trained since birth to rule, and it is my right. What is happening?”

Somewhere, in the back of her mind, a voice spoke to her. She couldn’t understand the words; she only understood the intent. Something was going to change, and there was nothing that the new queen of Lineria could do about it. Her mind echoed again with the memory of her mother’s soft, gentle voice telling her she would never be a queen. The soft voice repeated the words her mother had uttered again and again in Keiara’s mind.

“Keiara, you are a little idiot, aren't you? I am going to be the queen because I am taking over Lineria. I am usurping your power, my dear. And there is nothing you can do about it, and … oh, are you weak and unable to fight? Too bad my poison works well on annoying elder sisters too,” she said with a pleasant smile on her face. Her eyes flashed and were so very dark, so black.

“P…poison?” Keiara gasped, recognizing the lethargy that was clinging to every limb and every part of her. She could barely move her arms and legs, and were she to stand, she would only return to the floor. She’d poisoned their father, and then she’d poisoned her.

In her hands Sealla turned the crown of Lineria, as though a toy. It was a fine piece of work, a rich gold in color, with each of the three points in the front tipped with a clear diamond. Rubies, sapphires, and emeralds decorated it the whole way around. Keiara stared at it, understanding dawning, but still not able to admit it. She couldn’t imagine her younger sister, whom she’d taken care of as a child, doing this to her. For twenty-eight turns, Keiara had been groomed to lead, and Sealla groomed to stand by her side as the Royal wizard, for twenty-two of those turns.

“But it is mine! I'm the rightful heir and the armies will stand behind me! You can't kill me! I’m your sister! You already killed father…” Keiara couldn’t keep the pleading sound out of her voice. Something told her she was wrong. Sealla had already committed regicide and patricide once tonight; being her sister would not save Keiara.

Sealla smiled. “No, I can't kill you, and yet I can't keep you here, so what oh what should I do?” she said tapping her forehead with the crown, a sardonic look on her face.

You should kill her, a voice whispered in Sealla’s mind.

For a moment Sealla’s head tipped to the side and her eyes glazed over a frosty blue and then turned grayish black again. She glanced beside her, where an old set of armor that had belonged to her father stood. In the gauntlets sat a rusty sword. It wasn’t pretty, or sharp, or anything special, but Sealla smiled. Her father had gone halfway across Avern to acquire the suit and sword, and she’d always thought it the most hideous thing in the castle. Fitting.

“Jermal, come here,” she said.

Jermal released Keiara - her arm dropping limply beside her, sending shockwaves of pain through her body as it fell - and went over to where Sealla stood. Sealla smiled, reaching out and taking his long knife from his belt. Jermal stood at attention beside his impromptu liege but Keiara saw the fear creeping into his eyes, though he was trying to keep his face blank.

“See, Jermal, you’ve served me well, but now… well now your purpose is far greater than you know.” She smiled again, that same cold smile. She ran Jermal through the chest with his own knife.

Jermal immediately coughed and fell to his knees and looked up at Sealla, who was now wiping blood from her hands onto a handkerchief. She’d slid the crown down her arm and it now rested in the crook of her elbow, the points facing toward the dying man. Jermal’s eyes pleaded with her for a reason why. She smiled and dropped the handkerchief on the floor at her feet.

“No, you did nothing wrong, sweet servant. Well, you fought off my magic, so I guess you did do something, didn’t you? I can’t have strong willed guards now can I and well, I needed a scapegoat for my sister’s death,” she said softly, then her face changed to show one of horror and shock.

“My! What a horrible night it was! First our dear father dies from a wasting illness, then my dear sister is murdered in her sleep by her most faithful servant. What a terrible day for Lineria,” she said, spinning the crown nonchalantly around her left index finger.

There was a dull thump as Jermal slumped over, blood pooling around him, his life already extinguished. Keiara stood transfixed by the sight; she couldn’t believe what she had just seen. She swallowed and looked up, just in time to see Sealla raising the old rusty sword and moving forward, the crown still spinning in perpetual motion around her left finger. The remaining guard had slackened his grip, mostly out of shock, and Keiara jerked away from him, scrambling to her feet as fast as she could. But her body was dull with the poison.

“Still not awake, my sister?” Sealla said, walking slowly after her sister. “Yes, it was in your drink last night, and father’s too. I’ve been doing it for weeks now to make sure you and he stay asleep and don’t wake to find me in the middle of something. But last night there was something special added to them, something that father’s been getting for a few weeks now.”

Keiara couldn’t believe what she was hearing now. How long had Sealla been hiding this malice? Keiara still scrambled away from her sister, towards the end of the hall where the blood red moon was framed at the top. She stood there, her back to the cold, rough stone, knowing the blood moon was there for her, and her father.

I am here, came a voice in her mind. Do not fear. Two souls will become one tonight.

Keiara looked up at the moon one last time, and then turned in time to watch Sealla drive the surprisingly sharp blade through her chest. And at that moment, when the blade pierced her heart, she began to laugh manically. To the disenthroned Queen of Lineria it felt like the most excruciating pain and bountiful joy ever. Sealla backed away suddenly, leaving the blade buried halfway in her sister’s chest. Laughter?

Sealla watched as Keiara’s blood poured out of her mouth, nose, and wound, her chest heaving with each gushing flood of blood from her chest. Sealla had pierced her heart. She knew she had. The strike was true, through the bone and through the heart, the incantation she’d uttered beforehand made sure of it. Why was Keiara still standing? Yet there she stood, laughing, her head hanging down, her face completely obscured by her long thick blood-stained blonde hair. She slowly fell to her knees, her hands clutching feebly at the sword in her chest.

“Thank you,” she rasped. “Thank you…for…releasing…me…”

Sealla stepped back again, eyes growing lighter as she did so. The voice in her mind was silent. As she watched, the blood that was pooled at her sister’s knees began to catch fire. But it was no ordinary fire, for it was black, and soon it was leaping up all around her, up to her shoulders, up to her head, and then, nothing of Keiara could be seen; only the strange black flames which had consumed her were visible. There was a clattering of metal on stone within the flames, sounding like a sword falling to the castle floor.

Then just as suddenly, the flames receded. Sealla blinked, her eyes blue, if cloudy, once more, the voice, and the power in her mind, gone completely.

“Keiara?” she whispered, not recognizing her sister in any but shape now.

The figure stood slowly from a position on hands and knees on the cold stone floor, gripping the hilt of the sword as she did so. Her face was still obscured by her hair, but her hair was no longer blonde, it was black as night itself. She was completely nude, her clothes burned away by the strange flames, but she stood proudly. She lifted her head and shook back the hair from her face. From her left eye, as though a flood of black paint had spilled from it, a black mark burned in the way that stars burn…only without light. Her eyes themselves had turned black but within them twinkled stars and swam eternity.

With a voice that was both Keiara’s and yet not Keiara’s, she spoke.

“Who I was, I am still, yet am no longer. Who I am, I was always, yet never was. Only with these words do I leave you, Sealla, and your Master. Both of you should fear the return of the six into this world. It begins.”

With that, she let out a sound like a shriek and a wail, and her body writhed in pain as from her back a pair of black feathered wings burst forth. She rolled her head around for a moment and stretched the wings to their full span, then folded them down and in one graceful move leaped from the window bearing only the bare, rusted blade with her.

* * * * *

Keiara stood in the tree and wondered why Jovan was here. She knew he was injured, as she’d seen his tumble from the sky. She would also have liked to know how he managed to fly as well. She leaped down from the tree, falling lightly on her bare feet beside Jovan’s crumpled form. The snow melted where her feet touched the ground. She sat and rolled him into her lap. She pushed back his hair and saw his elf ears. Ah, so Jovan had a secret of his own. She gently brushed his cheek. Then a shot ran through her from her fingers to her head. She blinked and somehow, she realized she would be seeing Jovan again before long. She kissed him gently on the forehead, then set his wrist with a makeshift splint and bandaged it with his shirt, which she ripped into strips. She wrapped him in his cloak, which luckily was one of the good winter cloaks from the guards’ tower. His breathing was fine; he had collapsed from exhaustion. A flicker of understanding bubbled in the back of her mind as to why this was, but the thought wasn’t complete yet. She still wasn’t fully of one mind.

She lifted him easily, and for a second was surprised at the fact. She still didn’t understand exactly what was happening to her; she knew she was still Keiara, but not her at the same time. She found a small cave, placed him inside, and built a small fire at the opening to keep him somewhat warm. She smiled as she left him, knowing the time would come when they would meet again.

* * * * *

Keiara landed in the field sometime later and her form returne to normal, the wings receding. Once more the pain assailed her, and it was like nothing she’d ever felt in her lifetime. It felt like her very bones were coming apart and reknitting. She stood for a second, naked save her hair and breathed deeply, the blade in her hand. She looked around her and saw a nearby house with laundry outside it, strange at this hour, but she guessed they must have forgotten it. She sneaked towards the stone fence and saw no one looking. She reached out and grabbed the first two things she could and ran toward the town lights that she could see. She stopped behind a boulder and pulled on a pair of pantaloons and a white ruffled shirt. Unfortunately, she hadn’t robbed a woman’s home. She stared down. What dress for a queen to wear, she thought.

She walked into the village of Niliern. It was a large one, and she knew that she would probably find what she sought here. Though she wasn’t really sure what or who she was looking for. She knew she would know when she saw it. She glanced up; night was deep by now. She shook her head. She hadn’t flown too long or far; she wasn’t far inside Phomean. But still, she’d landed close enough to what she was seeking to make her errand easy.

She headed toward the main inn and tavern in the town a large three-story building called the Stabled Pony. She pushed the door open and a sudden stillness caught her attention. All eyes were on her. She looked to be one of the few females in the bar. She put her head down and stumbled in and seated herself at a table in the shadows. She took a breath. The mark on her face would attract unwanted attention and she knew it, even if the flowing black hair that reached nearly to the back of her knees didn’t. It was usually a mark of nobility or royalty to have long hair, and the longer their hair the higher the rank. This was no law, but it was a general custom. Still she looked around, seeing smoke rising slowly into the air from pipes. Eyes diverted to her for a moment, and then returned to conversation with friends and companions at each table. She sighed. A bar wench came over, and she ordered a cup of water, for she was parched. She paid with a copper penny she’d picked up on the road; luckily it was enough for this.

Soon enough a drunk man came and sat with her. She looked up from the shadows, her black and silver eyes glittering.

“Ya aren't quite normal, are ya?” he slurred. He was obviously so drunk he couldn't even see straight, so she doubted very that much he would remember anything she said to him.

“Leave me be,” she muttered. “I don't want to hurt you.”

He laughed lightly and turned around to his cohorts. “Ya hear that, the lady doesn't want to hurt me. I guess that's good, huh?” he said and a man at the next table laughed with him. He turned his bleary brown eyes back to meet Keiara’s own black ones.

“You sure have a pretty figure under those clothes. Don' see many women beside the working sort who wear those type a clothes, what d’ya say I give ya about seven golden pieces and you make my night?”

Keiara tried her best not to show her distaste. It did not work. Here she was a queen, and this man was accusing her of being a common whore? Inside, the subtle voice laughed with her at the situation.

She reached out and grasped his face and turned her head to the side. “Leave me be, you dirty perverted man. Or I will show you what kind of work I do.”

She let go of him and he fell back. Keiara realized where she touched him, there was a red hand mark as though he had been burned by her very touch. She didn't care, not in the least. She was a queen. Or at least she was supposed to be a queen. She was quickly coming to realize she wasn’t going to ever be a queen as she’d always dreamed.

She leaned back and waved the serving wench over. “Red wine. He's paying,” she said gesturing at the man who had just been at her table. The young girl nodded and set off back to the bar.

She brought the wine and sat it down. Keiara stared for a minute. No, she was indeed no queen, or even a princess, any longer, and she had to come to terms with it. She was no more a queen here than the serving wench. She sighed and drank deeply of the wine. Fate was very cruel. She crossed her legs, and realized, no, not many women wore pants like she had on now; most were in skirts except those brave or crazy enough to go seek their fortune as mercenaries. Truth be told, Keiara had never, before now, worn pants. She didn’t care for them, though, and wanted to find something else.

She closed her eyes and felt for what she was seeking. It was near. Very near. It was as if it had sensed her coming time and had arranged to make its way to her. Yes, whatever it was, it was sentient, very much so, so did that mean it was a person rather than a thing? She wished she knew what, or who, it was she was waiting for. She would wait. It would come to her. And when it did, she would…what?

Finally, a man came in. He wore a dark cloak, and there was a gold-hilted sword across his back. He went to the bar and ordered a drink. That was him, it had to be. She held her breath and waited. She closed her eyes and felt the presence she was seeking. Yes, it was there, in him. So, it was a person, and not a thing. She opened her eyes and watched him carefully.

The man stopped, obviously feeling someone watching him. He turned, and Keiara saw his full figure, a tall striking man with a good build, his eyes a piercing blue, and his hair a wild cropping of yellow upon his head. He wore a gritty beard and moustache, as if he had not had the occasion to shave in a while. His eyes met hers and she drew him to her like a fly to the spider.

He sat down. “What do you want?” he asked. “You’ve watched me since I came in.”

He felt like an insane person sitting here. He’d come here for some reason, and now he didn’t know what it was. He stared at the woman in front of him, dressed in men’s clothes, and not very good ones at that. They didn’t even fit her. So obviously she wasn’t a mercenary, what then, a harlot?

She arched a brow, the one over the eye that had the black mark flowing down from it. “I don't want anything except someone to help me and I think you are that person.”

He pulled a drink from his glass as the bar wench set down a cup for him. “Why should I help you?” he asked slowly, his voice smooth and calming. She wanted his help? There was something intoxicating about her though, and he almost felt his façade slip away. It was so intoxicating he almost felt the urge to grasp her and pull her to him in an embrace.

She smiled. “You have a soft spot for ladies in distress.”

“No, I don't,” he answered, starting to stand up;he felt if he stayed, he might give in. The longer he looked at her the more enraptured he became with her.

“Wait. I might have what you need, in the end, Myrstand, Paladin of Aren.”

He sat back down, slowly, feeling his determination give way slightly. He should have left. But how did she know his name? And how did she even know of Aren to speak the name of the Paladin-father? Most hadn’t heard or spoke his name outside his order in hundreds of years. And currently, his order consisted of Myrstand himself and a few scattered and crazy old fools.

“How would a woman of the night know what I need? I am a man of morals and means. I do not mingle with the gutter trash of this world.”

Keiara paused. “Then why are you here? Certainly, looks like the upstanding Paladin came into an Inn that caters only to the dregs of society.”

That was the key. Why indeed? He looked around the room to see gamblers, mercenaries, harlots, and worse. There was no reason for him to be here, yet here he was. It was difficult enough to make a moral way for himself in these days, let alone walking into a den of filth. He was trying to leave, but he just couldn’t. Even as he sat here accusing her of being a harlot, he couldn’t believe his own words. It was fear of her that drove him to push her from him like this. His heartbeat had quickened in his chest, and his blood sounded like thunder in his ears.

He looked her over. “I do not know, and I wish I did. I was drawn here by some force I cannot explain.” He drank again from the glass, and it was then Keiara noted the drink was water, and no spirit. “I thought it may have been Aren’s will.”

“It is Aren’s will, in a way. If it is Aren’s will to help the weak. I offer you nothing but a chance to be my defender, my companion, and save this ruined world.”

He set his glass down and bit his lip. “Why would I defend you? And what will I defend you from, those who refuse to pay? I've had enough of this; I do not know why I even bothered to come here.”

He stood up and turned to leave.

Behind him, she stood up, picking up the sword that leaned against her chair and walked to the doorway. He looked up as he untethered his horse and saw her in the doorway. She stepped outside as the wind kicked up. He noticed that she had no cloak and wore no shoes. He turned away from her to get ready to leave. Why should he care if she was cold or not?

“You insult me, and now you turn your back on me?” she said, her eyes bright despite their blackness. Her hair fluttered gently in the breeze.

He turned to her, a mild look, desperately trying not to reveal his heart’s devices. “Oh, and how is that, my lady?” he said the last with such sarcasm that it took all within Keiara not to slap him, but inside another feeling began to well.

 “I am no lady of the night. If you do not want to help a good and just woman reclaim her rightful throne then you are no warrior of light and goodness, as I thought you were. My name is Keiara of Lineria. My father died this eve and my sister, the second child, Sealla has taken control of my kingdom.”

He laughed. “You are a liar. Keiara of Lineria I have seen. She is fair haired and blue eyed.”

He tied the last of the ropes on his mount and swung upward. “You are a wonderful tale spinner; you should ask the keeper if you can earn coin in a proper manner by telling tales in there.”

“I was Keiara of Lineria. I am now still Keiara, but I am not. I have claimed my true nature on this night. You can choose to believe that the Mother of Gods walks the world of Avern once again in order to free her children from their imprisonment, or you can choose to ignore me and go your own way. I am the Phoenix of the Dark returned. Come to the Ironside Cliff tomorrow night. I will be there until I set off to find those who will aid me in rescuing my children from their torment.”

With that she rolled her head and let out a sound that was a mixture of a scream and a shriek and he watched as from her back a set of black, slightly translucent wings emerged. She closed her eyes and ran a hand over the rusted sword in her other hand. “This quest will be long. Do not come if you will not die for me. Do not come if you will not die for Aren. Do not come if you will not die for this world.”

With that her great, black wings beat down once, sending snow flying in every direction and setting Myrstand’s horse to rearing on his hind legs. And all Myrstand of Darna, the last Paladin of the Light of Aren, could do was watch in amazement as he saw the beginnings of a prophecy come true. Above, the clouds moved to cover the moon rimmed in red as dawn began to color the eastern sky the night of the Blood Moon was over, that was only the beginning for the broken world of Avern.

Submitted: May 11, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Beverly L. Anderson. All rights reserved.

Check out Beverly L. Anderson's Book

Dark and the Sword

The world of Avern has be abandoned by the gods, or so it appears. The Mother of Gods is reborn in the body of a dethroned princess and will do whatever it takes to save her children.


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The second chapter is exciting, and the characters, and story, is fantastic.

Tue, July 13th, 2021 6:01am

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