Dark Tyrant

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 10 (v.1) - Run

Submitted: September 16, 2013

Reads: 136

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Submitted: September 16, 2013

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Chapter 9: Run

 This time, I dreamt a memory.

I knew this memory of course. Nobody forgets the day when they think they’re all going to die. It was the day the soldiers came.

“Come here Richard!”

I smiled as I heard my voice mentally, and remembered the scene: I was playing tag with my brother in the fields.

“Good try sister!” He laughed, dodging my lunge forward, my finger barely missing his arm. I gritted my teeth in frustration, my emotions groaning at my brother’s teasing wave and his self-pleased grin. I charged forward, stretching my legs as far as the dress would allow. Richard laughed, overjoyed to be back in the chase.

“You’re not getting away that quick, you cheeky, cocky thing!” I shouted back, but the game was unfair and Richard knew it: I was in a dress, while Richard was in clothes more suitable for this type of activity, as try as I may, Richard would always be the fastest. What I’d just said was an attempt at regaining some of my self-respect, so that I would still be able to face the community of my village as news of my humiliation via brother escaped into the world. I specifically placed the term, ‘escaped’, because I would try to make sure that it didn’t. Still, my brother had friends—friends that he could boast to. I raced through the grass after him, careful where I planted my feet; we weren’t the only ones who preferred these fields to the village.  Suddenly my brother sprung up from the long grass right in front of me, sticking out his tongue and crossing his blue eyes. I screamed in shock and surprise, stopping dead in my tracks. Richard cracked up, his childish laughter echoing around the landscape. I was irritated and ashamed that I had fallen for such an obvious trick, but somehow saw the funny side and chuckled along.

“You should have seen your expression!” He giggled, pointing at my face, having hiccup-like breaths between each chortle.

Then I remembered. I lunged forward with a triumphant ‘Ha!’, my finger connecting with his chest. “Tag.”

Richard stepped back in jolt. His eyes flickered up to mine as I moved slowly away. “You sly cheek!” He whispered, the threat clear.

I raised a brow, hoping to span the distance further than five meters. “You asked and deserved it.”

And than I turned and sprinted, my chest heaving as I felt my pulse rocket. I could hear Richard gaining, but I was closing in the wooden gate that symbolized the outside world and my freedom from the village. True, we had been invaded by a king—that was all I knew, and I was fascinated by this fact and the ruler himself, as I often posed questions to myself and others: Who was this king? What did he look like? Who was his family? Does he have children? How old is he?—and I had yet to experience what the other villages had. We’d made a memorial for those who’d died fighting. I’d cried so much when Maggie died—a friend, young and full of potential, dreams and hopes, lost to the weapons of His Majesty.

My torso finally flung open the gate, the hinges letting out a small whine, as they swung open and the gate clattered against its wooden fence. Then it was a finally burst of speed down the main alleyway between the left and right sided mud-brick and slated huts. But it was not enough as I finally suffered the effects of fatigue, Richard’s hands clamping down on my shoulders, pulling me back as he slowed. “Tag! You’re it, and I quit.”

I sighed, smiling over my shoulder at his smug expression.

Suddxenly: “Angia!” My head swept across to the voice—my mother’s, her expression desperate and horrified. I was kissed with surges of bemusement. She advanced towards us sprinting—that of which was compared to a fast jog for the average human. I started towards her, anxiously wondering. Richard cautiously followed, his eyes analysing every movement that my mother did. I frowned, her eyes and face constantly burdened with flashes and flickers of fear—I could hear her heartbeat as it pounded; every time she glanced up and looked around, as if she was doubting some kind of fact. A fact that was blooming gingerly and tainted with a horrific, dark realisation. “Mother, what’s—?” Richard asked, utterly oblivious.

She looked at me, trembles creeping down my figure. “They are coming, Angia.”

My heartbeat fumbled, searching hastily for its pacemakers—but those same pacemakers were in such a deep state of doubt and shock as everything else in my body. “Who, mother?”

My mother’s eyes never left my gaze, as if I was the all-knowing, authoritative parent and she was the stupid, naïve child. Her eyes searched desperately for any kind of doubt—the doubt that would assure her what she had said was plain, obvious lies. To prove that her great, anxious fears were unnecessary, that the king’s soldiers weren’t really going to attack. Of course, I knew better—we all did, that is, the whole village. We had been balancing on the tightrope for months, trying to keep ourselves from falling into the chasm, but the king saw it necessary to crush even the smell of rebellion. Even the whispers and thoughts of it, so that it—a certain fact—would be made clear: That he was the all-powerful ruler, and we were the lowly, submissive servants, submitting down to his rule; It would be made evident that we belonged to him—in fact, so much so, that we were called his people. I leaned forward, my bottom lip quivering as rolled the terrifying question around my head: “How much time?”

She breathed in a ragged breath, her petrified emotions in-sync with my own. A single tear broke through, but, it represented every potential drop and every motherly fear—the fear of losing her children, her husband, her home, her own life, her ability to protect the things she believed in, and to fight for them. “I do not know, but they are close and coming. I’m so sorry, Angia. Keep your brother safe…”

My heart sank, her tone giving everything away—of course she knew. They were minutes away. But I welcomed the lie, that same lie becoming antidote for the excruciating sting. This vibrant village would soon become the burnt, mourning ruins of hope, a ghost town, the only evidence of such life and settlement represented by the charred frame of houses and ash on the ground, time the only relief. My mother’s eyes were overwhelmed and crazed with a phobia. A phobia, yes, of losing the one thing she held dear: What she lived and believed and breathed and fought for. Love. 

Then there was only endless black, swirling around my mind like oceans of crude oil.

 

Once again, the light of day both teased and mocked me—a new day of hope for all but those confined to the torment of The Cage. My teeth chattered, making me well aware of the coolness setting in, goose pimples dotted all over my icy skin. I yearned for the sun; I yearned for my once-had, sublime freedom—to run, as I once did, to feel the wind in my hair; but that was all now a memory. I felt a sharp, angry stabbing in my abdomen, my insides rumbling like the thunder of yesterday, starvation taking its sting. I’d wondered what day it was, what those in the cities and fields would be doing—perhaps even if they saw the state of me that they would force the soldiers to take mercy.

Morning, a voice yawned. Stay out of trouble.

I smiled, wondering how on earth could a sane person have conversations with that of which was created by the threads of their own imagination.

Maybe I’m not sane, I mumbled inwardly, the raw cold nipping and biting at me, the sun’s glow rising in its glory, adorned with peach, rose, gold, and touches of lilac. I heard the gentle calls of a white-tailed eagle, its huge wingspan letting it soar high, my eyes carefully following its movement. Suddenly, it screamed, plummeting down to earth, a familiar arrow protruding out of its feathered chest. I hissed, seeing out the corner of my eye Marius lowering his bow. “How could you, animal!”

His gaze flickered to mine, another hand tightly gripping a silver arrow, ready for fire. “Quiet, slave.”

My arms folded, my expression souring in contempt. “You just killed such a majestic, harmless cre—”

Harmless?” The muscled commander scoffed, grinning. “White-tails are the worst—that is why they are the royal animal.”

I swear Marius winked.

My lips released a groan, somehow mourning for the bird, probably in a better situation than I was right now—death, the idea and prospect of suicide, had been rolled around and considered deeply several times, especially when Marius had dished out his worst. Ahead, I could see the commander entering the forest, rolling my eyes in disgust.

So it’s attitude that you’re wearing today, a voice noted, or more grumbled, displeased.

Look where that got you, another agreed.

Says those stuck inside my head! I shot back, looking up, almost glaring at my concealed, protected brain.

“Food?”

 I turned, smiling a reluctant welcome at Maneus, offering a bread roll, the crust sprinkled and decorated with sesame seeds. I narrowed my eyes, slithering a hand through one of the iron squares, reaching with hidden desperation at the offered—and potential—meal, my stomach, my whole body, growling a yearning moan. Maneus smiled, setting the roll in my palm. Weary of any tricks or pranks, I yanked my hand back, swelling with pride at my small, puny success. Gingerly, my teeth sank into the golden crust…

Crack.

My heart jumped, teeth still embracing the food.

I felt Maneus smile, and was enraged, yet unsurprised, at this trickery. “What did you put in it?” I demanded.

“You’ll see,” he mumbled, almost slyly, jogging away.

What do you think?

There was a round of hushed disputes, disagreements and anxious mumbles. I searched for one voice, knowing this one well. In my mind, he was a young man, looking much like the king I’d dreamt of. Gently tanned cheeks pulled at his seductive lips, revealing a set of pearly-white teeth, set straight and perfect. A sandy-blond eyebrow rose questionably. Listen to your conscience, Angia. It will show you the way.  

I turned away from my thoughts, gently and cautiously severing the roll, hearing a gentle, muffled snap. After several more chews, crushing the sensually appealing substance, I nearly moaned, tasting the soft, exotic and sweet flavours of chocolate. And a butternut biscuit, all concealed ingeniously in what would seem an unlikely and innocent shelter, hiding the luxurious forbidden fruit, something considered ever more tabooed because of my status.

Status, I mused, taking a cautious bite, weary that Marius or Victor could catch me red-handed and well…perhaps my masters would find new inspiration. I continued my thoughts, pensively nibbling on the crust: Such an interesting thing. Status forms the base of social conscience and society. But the problem is people judge much too quickly—they never give anything a chance. They decide on the skin-deep. Jarmanish—another word I’d learnt from the soldier’s blunt-humoured conversations, used to refer to the nation of those who lived in Jarma—would only need one look to see my obvious slavery. And that one look would ward them off like a putrid smell.

I sighed broken-heartedly, knowing hopelessness. Some things didn’t need words—just a simple gesture or implied silence was enough to express the deepest agonies or experiences of one’s soul. I saw the blinding, painfully bright crest of circular light rise above the trees; a gentle convex arcing in bright light as it slowly rose high.

I wonder…my thoughts mused, how does such a thing do what it does?

I raised a brow questionably. “Does it actually arc over the world or…?”

Tap. Tap. Tap.

The metal vibrated with each hit, shivers of curious dread running through me. Then, I felt a smirk, shining like the hot, bright light of the mocking sunrise. “How interesting? What’s that?”

Victor.

My blood instantly ran cold, as if it was affected by the icy tone—I was frozen, hearing his next words with horror. “I think I might just go get the commander.”

I chewed faster, desperate, force-feeding myself. If the commander discovered me…

My throat constricted, encouraging tears. I looked at my arm, my legs, felt my aching back, and saw the long, palish streaks of healed flesh, some fresher than others. All too unexpectedly, my body erupted in a burning flame of pain, hearing my begging screams, my tortured past rushing back like a backstabber, my mistakes becoming my punishment—yes, I had been betrayed.

But by whom?

 So caught up in my miserable thoughts, I hardly noticed the quiet cry of unoiled hinges, the iron door opening, much less the intimidating armour-clad figure of battle-polished Commander Marius.

Knowing of his incredible strength and the authority to punish—with a law behind it—I didn’t fight, his hand ripping the bread out of my hands. I looked warily up, nervous all the way down to the very cells of my body. He dropped the bun, stepped on it and twisted the ball of his foot, effectively turning my meal into pathetic crumbs. A sinister glimmer twinkled in his eyes, his body language changing as I glanced down at a dreaded whip that hung harmlessly from the belt on his waist—Marius was going to look forward to his intentions. I just prayed that I would survive.

The commander wagged his finger. “Bad slave. Can you not follow instructions ever?” He tutted.

I forced down anger, too scared to answer. He smirked, laughing sadistically. “Offer me your hands.”

I gulped, cautiously shaking my head. Baring his teeth, he lunged forward and clamped down onto my right wrist, hauling me up as I leaned back, but my hopes of overpowering him were in vain. “If I tell you to give your bitchy hands to me, you’ll do it!” Marius snarled, giving me a sneak-peek of his anger.

I whimpered, surprised by my submissiveness, but it seemed that the whip was enough to subdue me into obedience. I offered my other hand—Marius gladly snatched it and bound it tightly, the rope digging into my skin. I winced, my wrists aching as blood struggled to circulate through my veins.

“It’s too tight,” my whimper seemed to please his sadistic nature, my hands throbbing, thirsty.

“Maybe that’ll teach you to follow rules!” Marius snapped back, grinning.

Anger reared, forcing out a sharp reply. “Maybe one day you’ll obey your pretty-boy king’s laws, dumb-ass.”

The commander’s eyes flashed black, and I knew I’d gone too far.

“This’ll teach you to respect your masters!” Marius snapped, kicking me in the guts. I winced, the commander using the opportunity through my weakness to force my mouth open and tie a cotton gag around my head. I chewed down on it, but all my enraged words came out as muffled and blurred sounds. 

“Oh, shut up, you bitchy whore,” he growled, his face souring in enragement.

He spat down on me in contempt, and I noted his body language’s sudden change. My blood ran cold once more, dreading his scheme to torture me. Hisca—Marius had laughed darkly at the nickname I had dubbed for him—knelt, and presented the key, a thin white string hanging from a hole, both ends tied together in a loop. Then, fingers flying, he tied it onto the rope biding my hands.

I looked at the shaped metal yearningly—so close, yet so far. And my wrists…they ached. Marius smirked, raising his brows and then dropping them just as quickly. “You want it, don’t you? Freedom?”

I made no effort to reply. And yet, my tears and almost lecherous gaze at the key told everything. I wanted it. Badly.

The commander’s hand reached into a deep pocket, and I could tell through blurry vision, his strong fingers searching and digging around, the fabric being pushed from the movements. Finally, he found what he wanted and fished it out, displaying it in front of my eyes. I gasped, horrified. Swinging on his finger, hanging from a silver chain, was a heart-shaped amethyst—my mother’s last gift to me, and the most precious possession I owned—not because of the gem, but of what it represented:

Beforehand.

I squirmed, my brain shouting desperate orders at me to regain what was stolen. How did Marius get it? How? How?

There it was again: The sadistic glint in his eyes, the commander’s smile as crooked as his serpentine nature. Marius swung it in front of my face like a hypnotist would do, in a gentle pendulum. “Or would you rather have this? Freedom or some necklace?”

His words made me split, and by now my hands were tingling with pins-and-needles. I chewed down on the gag once more, Marius seeing my frustration. Sighing in relent, he untied my gag, throwing it down. And then the biding, overly tight restraint, my hands falling to my sides, blood rushing in. The key dropped noisily to the ground with a clank, but Marius swiftly recollected it before I even had time to move my fingers. I lunged for the necklace, tackling the commander and straddling his hips. With viperish speed, I drew out my makeshift weapon, digging it into the commander’s neck, baring my teeth and snarling. “Hand it over, you bastard.”

He regarded the long nail with mocking laughter glowing bright in his pupils.  With ease he wrenched it away from my neck, crushing my hand. I cried out in pain, dropping the nail. Still, Marius continued, my hand in agony.

“Beg. Beg me slave,” he whispered darkly, seeing my obvious distress.

I looked down at him desperately, eyeing my property in a glance. Yet pride disagreed greatly with his wishes, seeing how degrading it would be to beg, to bow down and acknowledge who was superior and had the most authority.

But my hand…I winced, weeping in pain.

Mental eyes rolled, sneering. Yeah, prove them right, puny!

Prove them what? I squeaked, crying out as his powerful fingers constricted my own even further. It was torture—and torture was always used to force people into things they didn’t want to do. Staring into his eyes with a beg, I gasped, “Please Commander. Release my hand.”

Hand! Voices cried, injecting hundreds of ideas and opinions into my mind. Use your other one! Get the necklace!

Marius smiled venomously; flashing me a slice of his sadistic plans if I tried anything, his eyes turning to the look of a predator sighting a vulnerable, easy kill. “When will you realise that obeying will do you good?”

I winced violently, worried that my hand would break—or worse. “When you treat me with respect.”

He laughed, releasing his grasp—the relief was both excruciating torturous (as all the muscles and bones moved back to place) and wonderful—and pushing me off, standing. I sat up, attentively massaging my hand, staring yearningly at the jewellery Commander Marius caged in his hand. Looking down, seeing my lust for the one thing I held dear, he smiled—and for once it was sincere!—throwing the cut amethyst down. I caught it, holding it tight.

“Let any of the other soldiers see that, an you’ll never hold it again. Amethyst is rare.” Marius eyes laughed, his smile turning to a sly smirk. “Just not rare enough to buy you out of slavery.”

He stepped out of the cage, slamming it shut—the noise dread on my ears, sealing and cutting me off once more, the click of the heavy lock even more painful. And with the sun behind us, we continued to Gaedon.

 

***

 

The city was beautiful and vibrant, set next to the gushing waters of Turmoil River, the fabled, stunning capital—Jamarnia, as I was told (did people have no originality?)—rising high in magnificence and all it’s glory on the horizon. I gripped the stone in my hands, the only thing I held of value. Everything else was a wild dream or wish—even basic human rights has been stripped and confiscated. I clenched my fist around it, praying and promising—but what could I offer the divinities when I had nothing? My life? This necklace? My virgini—

No, I scolded myself. Too far. I hastily dismissed the idea before I could consider it any further. My cage swayed, the wheel raising as it rolled over a rock. Civilians parted to allow our party through, many pointing at me as they noticed my confinements and me, rubbing in my somewhat humiliation, making the approaching situation even clearer. Inside, I somehow hoped that this would be the last time I would have to be put on sale—Marius’ punishments had reached too far already, and I knew that he would embrace his sadistic nature, his lifestyle of cruel debauchery. The cage halted, and I knew my time was up, Maneus fulfilling his role as dictated on the ‘script’ perfectly. I only managed to conceal the rare crystal before he stepped up and inside, kneeling and offering me a section of bread. I took it silently, supressing tears of distress—I only had two options, two pathways of dark unknown, the shadow of black a thick veil over what I was sure were sinister things.  Was the pain of slavery worse with Marius—Hisca—than my future master?

Why can’t I just bloody escape? I cried angrily, but like a large, empty room, my voice echoed around, The Voices absent.

“Angia.” I exited my thoughts, focusing on Maneus, hearing Marius’ voice luring and ensnaring Gaedons faintly in my ear. His catlike featured were sympathetic, almost regretful and sad, like he was being forced to give up a good friend, never to be seen again. I placed the unsatisfactory small chunk of cooked dough on my tongue, easily consuming it in a few bites. “What ever you do, don’t fight. My master—the king—laws should protect you—but it only applies to when you have a master, the man or woman who will buy you in a few minutes.” I knew he added the latter to halt my uprise in indignation, to declare that all of those under Marius should be thrown into Hell’s hands. Gently, and carefully, he shackled my hands, before pulling me to standing and guiding me towards the stage, the throng of potential bidders already inspecting me. I kept my head down to avoid their lecherous stares and stayed close to Maneus, letting him lead me up the five-step wooden stairs.

Taking no chances, the commander’s hand tightened around my wrist, hauling me forward—I stumbled, barely managing to keep on my feet. Now I had nowhere to hide, many of their greedy stares burning me, making me cringe away as I tried to go back into the dark—where they couldn’t see me.

Where they couldn’t hurt me.

“Don’t disappoint me, Angia,” Marius purred sinisterly into my ear, my stomach swirling with revulsion.

Once again, Marius played his role, spreading his arms to the crowd: “People of Gaedon, here I present a fine slave-girl, capable and prepared.” With a sly grin, he added, “Fertile too.”

A hushed laughter echoed throughout the city square.

“What will we price her? Three crowns?”

I bowed my head, praying silently to a divinity, letting the world fade away, the rising bids faint in my ears. Bellony. I beg of you. What must I do to be in your favour?

“Eleven angels.”

There was a collective gasp, and I could basically feel Marius’ internal grin. Silence followed, and I knew I had reached the end of my rope—there was nothing more to hold onto, and I had no option but to fall.

“Sold!”

My heart instantly cried and wept in pain, the confirmation excruciating. I didn’t dare look up, fear constricting me.

“I want my Mummy!”

The memory shocked me—how appropriate it was.

Well, you can’t have her, ‘cos she’s dead! A voice snarled bitterly.

I forced tears down, stumbling as Marius shoved me powerfully towards the stairs, barely managing to avoid a painful slip off the raised platform. You don’t need to remind me.

I continued further, Marius’ strong grip on my shoulder keeping me walking. His sudden sharp intake of breath surprised me—but it was soon explained.

So a noble’s son just bought me, I mused, revolted, especially at Marius’ thick flattery.

“Lord Thomas’ son James?” Marius asked, displaying a kind of awe, the exchanging of two objects a confirmation—money and I.

Oh, no you don’t, Angia! A voice outroared, instantly protesting and rebuking the idea that I had referenced myself as an object.

Well, my opinion is nothing! To these people, at least, I mumbled, slamming up mental stonewalls—I’d had enough and was tired of arguing, screaming and anger.

James placed his hand on my shoulder, while I looked back, seeing Marius return behind, his hand releasing the currency into a pocket—my heart burned, hatred swirling in my stomach. The hand placed tugged on the chain trapping both my wrists together, signalling me to leave with my new master. “Come, slave.”

I trudged after him, well aware how easily I could escape—to be free. I looked around, seeing all the faces of Gaedons. And none of them I could recognise; there was no sign of Marius or those under his authority. A plan bloomed, spreading its petal or wings, prospering and soaring. My eyes focused ahead over James’ shoulder: A single horse tied to a post looked up and regarded its master. I knew who would ride it. The pull slacked, and my master looked behind, raising a brow. “Well, well. Amazing what beauty money can buy.” He grinned at some lustful thought—as what I assumed—and fear stalked on the outskirts of my emotions. My cheeks heated—even though I somewhat loathed this man, paradoxically that fact didn’t make me immune to a smooth compliment.

“Thank you,” I mumbled, unsure how to behave when near my master—I took the safer road and lowered my eyes.

But my chin was pushed up, his touch seeming to be even more scrutinising than my new master’s almost ogling gaze. I felt it drift lower, over my chest—perhaps too long at my breasts—I resisted the urge to cover them—down to my shins. He tutted as he took in my obvious evidence of Marius’ vicious treatment, and hooked his finger, signalling me to heel. It was a test, I realised, as James started off towards the horse, to see if I would be as submissive and obedient as he hoped.

Run, dammit! For the love of the gods’, run Angia! A throng of voices screamed, waving their hands desperately and jumping up and down.

I stared at James as he mounted the lithe, groomed, brown horse, it’s mane swept to one side. James looked at me, his eyes both beckoning me and promising punishment if I chose otherwise.

Otherwise! I heard mentally, the urge even more desperate.

Taking one last look at freedom—the bustle of people as merchants set up markets, announcing the sale of exotic products and the ring of city homes and buildings, the sun high into it’s arc over Gaedon—I stepped forward nervously, taking more advances towards James’ hand.

Outrage sounded into my head like explosions.

But I don’t want to run, I protested back solemnly. I’ve had enough. And I’ve seen enough. So I’ve quit. I don’t want to run anymore.

 

 


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