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“Ophelia we have to go!” I shout as a large piece of stone, from the castle walls, nearly falls on her frozen figure where she was still holding the two halves of the King’s obsidian heart. Pulling her to her feet, I forced her down the passageway listening for the sound of anyone following us. She stumbles, unable to keep up in her distraught state as she had just lost everything she ever knew in one day and on her birthday/coronation day at that. As we near a narrow area of the passage she stops completely, finally looking at me, “You won’t leave me, right?” She asks, looking more vulnerable than I had ever seen her, the stubborn glint lost from her eyes, pain and open expectancy filled them instead. Kneeling down in front of her as I had done years ago when I pledged my life to protect her I place my fist over my heart and vow to her “I would never abandon you, my Queen, as long as I live and breathe I will protect you even in death I will watch over you and find a way to keep you safe. You will never be alone, I promise.”

 

Hearing explosions over head dust and stone began to shake loose from the passage we stood in. I stood quickly ready to continue helping her along but she took the pieces of Obsidian she held, quickly placed them in her bosom, hiked up the dress she wore and started running down the corridor hunched over to fit into the narrow space. I followed close behind keeping an eye behind us and checking over her shoulder every so often to see if our exit would be blocked. After running for what felt like forever I heard rushing water, which indicated our passage would end soon. The darkness and rough walls give way to what looks like a giant whirlpool under the castle. I hear her gasp as she’d never been privy to the fact this was here although she had been a Queen in waiting her entire life.

 

Roaming these halls as a child she’d never once found this hidden passageway though she had found many throughout the castle. This was no ordinary whirlpool though, it was actually a one time portal to a safe space for royalty if they were to ever need it. After we jumped through, the portal would disappear leaving only the stone floor as if the portal never existed in the first place. “How long has this been here? When were you going to tell me about this? Where is it taking us? I thought none of the other kingdoms were safe.” She asked me all in one breath.

 

There is only one place we can go where our last alliance was held, the only other safe kingdom that no one truly knows about, Misty Isle. A far off island surrounded by jagged rocks that would crash any boat that dared get close. A place with raging storms and mist surrounding the island so thick you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. The only way to get in is by portal and only if you have been invited and still welcome will you be allowed to be transported. If an enemy were to get into one of these portals it would decimate their body like a black hole and drop whatever was left of them into the raging ocean outside the Isle so even if you survived that you wouldn’t survive the storms, potential drowning, the rocks, potential impalement, or the drop, water surface tension, you’d hit the water like a bag of mincemeat on concrete. “I cannot say until we reach our destination just in case there are listening ears. Put your trust in me that I would never allow anything to harm you and jump.” I say scanning the room again, we were so far underground we could no longer hear any commotion or explosions and the quiet was unsettling.

 

A single torch lit the small room we were in and beyond this room the ocean swayed slapping waves against the stone siding. The muggy air, running and her exhaustion had the Queen looking beautifully disheveled. Her hair once piled high in curls had halfway fallen down with more curls framing her face than in her hair pin. The dress she wore was still in pretty good condition, if you considered it covered in dirt, dust and cobwebs, good condition. At least it had stayed on and wasn’t torn to what my eyes could see. She looked more Queen-like now than when she stood on the balcony to receive her crown. That crown stuck to her head like it was glued through all the running and ducking it had stayed on her head shimmering beautifully in the torch light. As I was watching her admiring the strength she displayed I noticed her take a deep breath, push her shoulders back and look into my eyes. Ophelia stepped forward and laid her hand onto my cheek, in the most endearing touch I had ever felt from her. A wave of calm fulfillment takes over me. Standing frozen like a statue, I open my mouth to speak again and her gaze drops from my eyes to my lips.

 


Submitted: July 14, 2021

© Copyright 2022 Lyndsay Brown. All rights reserved.

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