Dark Tyrant

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

Chapter 15 (v.1) - Trial and Error

Submitted: October 02, 2013

Reads: 109

Comments: 1

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 02, 2013

A A A

A A A

Chapter: Trial and Error

Sunlight streaked through my window, turning my eyelids a pale red. I blinked wearily open, sitting up, but my arms collapsed under tiredness, nine chimes in the distance lulling me to sleep. Sleep…lovely sleep. Nine chimes…nine…

I frowned at my dreamy thoughts, wondering what caused this troubling. It’s nine in the morning…nothing to worry about…even if the king is furiously disappointed that you’re over an hour late…sleep…lovely sleep, my head dreamily crooned.

“Cut it out,” I growled at myself, swingling out of bed, and running like a man-eating Cyclops was behind me; sprinting at full gallop barefoot and in my nightgown through corridors and entranceways, guards hastily opening my doors to the king’s chambers. He stood in front of his posted bed with a furious glare at me, properly dressed (unlike me) in the same outfit of yesterday: A palladium breastplate over a pale dark-blue cotton shirt, and white pants, with his sheathed sword strapped over his thigh; a gold pocket watch in his pale fingers. “You’re late, again.”

I didn’t bother with curtsying. “Sorry. I slept in.”

His terrifyingly threatening glare sent a shudder down my back, his words like an acid bath. “Huh. Funny. I didn’t.”

His eyes examined me, and he raised his eyebrow a fraction, adding in thought. And she came in pyjamas. Disappointing. Dis-ap-poin-ting. His eyebrow cocked higher, shaking his head in high disapproval. I was furious with myself, but I’d prefer to explain then to beg like a peasant.

“I said I was sorry,” I mumbled, but rushed quickly on after he pointed a glare of disbelief at me. “I mean to say,” I hurried, my legs buckling under the weight of this, “that it is utterly inexcusable for me to behave like this. I give my highest apologises to you, sire, and promise that I will not do it again.” When I looked up at him, I realised that I was on both knees.  He sighed irritably and threw a scroll at me. I reached down and unrolled it:

 

The fact that I actually had time to write this is ridiculous. Absolutely disappointingly ridiculous. Therefore, as punishment, you shall be required to clean every single corner and edge and square-centimetre of this palace. I do not care how long it takes, and you will be prohibited to return to your room or eat anything besides bread and water until the required task is complete. Disobedience will be punished harshly. Also, you failed to complete the last of the required tasks from yesterday —this will be added to your duties. Continued lateness, sloppiness and disorganisation will be penalized.

I was lost for words. I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move, couldn’t even close my mouth. The paper dropped to the floor. “Every — single…?” I spluttered. He continued to glare, tutting in disapprovingly at my failure to meet his standards and please him. He clicked his fingers, cuing me to rise. My legs felt like they were lead and cast in cement.

He raised his eyebrow once more, sneering. “I said, rise, Angia.”

“You didn’t say anything,” I mumbled in quiet protest, knowing that I had already lost the argument — you couldn’t cross swords with the king, how literal that was.

A low snarl erupted in his throat. “Do not attempt to argue with me, servant. Or I will make you clean the whole of Jamarnia for all I care!” He exclaimed, making me wince at the way he made ‘servant’ look like scum.

I shakily rose, my knees threating to collapse. “Every single thing?” I murmured in shock.

How? Why? What? Even my thoughts couldn’t process the excruciatingly painful back, arms, legs — everything — pains.

He stared at me with piteous amusement. Beg for forgiveness Angia…beg like a little dog…

“NO!” I shouted.

He narrowed his eyes, sceptically questioning me. Are you sure Angia? Be my little dog, won’t you? Beg for your master’s forgiveness…

I growled. He smiled like this was exactly what he wanted. That’s right, my puppy…

“What is with you?” I spat at him. His replying snarl made me shirk back, but I continued on. “Is this some kind of play? Is it all right to lull me into a false truth that you're the good guy, and not some kind of cruel overlord?” I asked him darkly. “You know what? Screw this! I’ll just clean this hell house because it’s all right to make Angia a slave, even though she bloody came here for salvation in the first place!” I spat at his feet and charged out the door, his silent, mocking laughter echoing in my head.

~

It took me two days to clean the entire palace grounds. By then my back and myself completely loathed the king, even though I got butterflies when I saw his dazzling smile (which was rare) from a distance. Some servants tried to smuggle cheese and bread that didn’t taste like sandpaper and even looked like it, but the king, true to his word, punished both the smuggler and me. I could just see him laughing cruelling on his raised marble throne as I worked day and night. I swear he made me do rooms twice, but there were so many rooms that I usually got lost, much less remember if I’d cleaned one times too many. I staggered to my bed, collapsing on top of the thin mattress. The relief of salvation from killing aches and grime was like a spot of light in pitch-blackness. Suddenly, my door flung open and two muscular guards grabbed my arms and legs. In minutes I was thrown into the king’s quarters, sprawled on the wooden planks. He threw a damp cloth at me. “Not done…”

I was instantly on my feet in outrage, shoving away my back’s outcries from consideration. “WHAT DO YOU MEAN ‘NOT DONE?’” I spat at him, shaking from violent outrage. He reached calmly behind a shield over a sword—the royal seal. A rumbling suddenly shuddered through the room, as the stonewall beside him hissed open. He gestured for me to enter. I shook my head—going in there would mean that I never came back. He growled quietly, and grasped my wrist, the pull on my arm towing me towards the secret chamber. My heels attempted to dig into the floor, but he tugged powerfully forward. We passed the wall—and we were at the top of a seven-step stone stairs at what appeared to be a huge treasure room, stories high, with towering marble columns at least ten meters apart with long wooden planks reaching across each column; treasure glittered from light by…

My breathing stopped-short, seeing a trench of fire — it wrapped around the room, even up the walls by a steep waterfall of black liquid—exposing the mess of riches and antiques. The simple genius of it made it stunning.  He eyed me for my reaction and grinned. “Please me by cleaning and organising this and you’re…mmm? Off the hook?” Laughing like a bad punch line made the joke funny, he spun on his heels and walked out. The wall started to slide back into place. I turned around and chased after him, yelling through an alarming thin—and getting thinner—gap. “No! Please! I beg of you! Please!” Then I was yelling begs at a wall. I screamed in frustration and sorrow and started to sob, tears streaming down my face. Looking down at the cloth, I remembered.

But what if it’s a lie, what if it’s another trick? Think about it, Angia, he’s probably going to see that you’ve done it, then grab your wrist and drag you off to another room. The guy’s a lunatic and an idiot for thinking we’re going to go quietly. There’s no way that’s we’re doing that. No way.  

I laughed nervously at my own thoughts. “Maybe you’re right,” I agreed to myself. “But still…he warned me that if I disobeyed…” I let the idea hang.

Does it matter? Mr Do As I Say hasn’t hurt you since you got here — My suspicious side was interrupted by my train of thought from all the emotional things that had.

“He’s vile and vicious,” I insisted.

All right, but that’s not what I meant —

“It doesn’t matter if that’s what you mean. He’s...” I sighed. “Whatever. I’m going to trust him” — I quickly thought of cows in daisy fields to block out the protest in thought — “and just get it over with. He’s obviously doing this for a reason

This time I couldn’t block the thought. Yeah, and the reason is that he’s trying to bloody kill you! Several voices in my head (including the logical one) agreed poisonously. He’s manipulative and —

I raised my hand as if silencing another person, mentally cutting the voice off. “Cut it out, okay?” Suddenly a loud bump! made me jump.

A muffled yet angry unsurprised voice snarled a yell through the wall. “Angia, do not dare try TEST ME!”

In an explosion of relief at recognising the voice I pressed my cheek hastily against the stone wall and screamed, “Please! Let me out! I beg you! Please!” I cried, sobbing the final ‘please’ as tears erupted in my eyes. I could feel his sly smile from across the thick wall. “Yes Angia. Please me, and then you shall have my permission.”

Rage burned in my veins. “You vile, cruel, son of a bi — ”

The wall shuddered and he walked in, stern and glowering with angelic beauty. “Yes?”

I kneeled in submission, fear overwhelming me. My suspicious side was right. He was manipulative. His dark eyes bored into me. “Rise, my servant.”

I shakily rose, staring at the floor. I didn’t dare speak, from the risk of continuing my sentence. He harshly jerked my chin up. I still didn’t look into his eyes. “What is my punishment?” I mumbled, lips quivering, legs knocking against each other.

He sighed. “Understandable,” he said, wiping a tear away as my eyes welled up in fear. “For insulting me — you did a considerable effort—and plotting to disobey me, well…” He laughed lightly, sending butterflies tumbling into my chest, despite the tears. “But, same as always.” He pulled away, and continued down the steps, feet barely making a sound as he turned around and held out a hand. I pursed my lips, instinct making me step back. His expression softened, his beauty compelling me forward. I grasped his hand tightly. He lifted it and pressed it lightly against his lips, making me swoon mentally as my brain shut down and I stopped breathing. He smiled as if he enjoyed that, and lowered my hand, rubbing it with his thumb. The butterflies multiplied by the millions, creating colours from ecstatic passion. I smiled back, feeling faint. He laughed at my expression, and tugged lightly. I willingly followed, as we wound in and out of piles of gold, silver and other antiques. As if reading my unconscious wondering, he answered, “You interest me, and I like that.”

My brain flickered back on, and I immediately thought of little children playing—years later they fall in love and happily live ever after. Cheesy. 

The tug slacked. “Close your eyes.”

I obeyed. Twenty seconds later, something cold and thin slid around my head. I raised my hand to feel it, but he it put back on my side. “Open.”

I opened my eyelids. He stared at me with evaluating interest, his head cocked to one side.

“What?” I asked, looking up.

“Three-sixty for me please.”

I pirouetted for him slowly, his eyes evaluating me as his gaze drifted up and down. His eyes sparkled, and he smiled approvingly. My hand this time successfully drifted up and it grasped a thin, cold ring. I lifted it off my head, and examined it: A one-centimetre thick silver band, with the front splitting in-twos on both sides, to which the two pieces wound in-and-out. I flipped it slowly in my hands, looking at the king. “What is this?”

He grinned, taking me only slightly aback. “For my wife.”

I frowned, and then it slammed into me. The crown clattered to the floor, and I hastily stepped back, my eyes wide. “Ha. Ha ha. Very funny.”

He frowned. “I’m not joking.”

I laughed nervously. “I hope you are! Because if you think, after, what…five days? that I’m going to marry — ”

But he cut me off with intense laughter, doubling over and shaking his head.

“Lord no!” He exclaimed, “But it does look right on you.” He noted admirably after he recovered from the laughter. To test his theory, I leaned down and slipped it back on my head. He picked up polished silver shield and held it out for me to gaze on. I smiled approvingly at my own appearance. The silver contrasted strikingly against my dark brunette hair.

“It’s beautiful.” I gasped, awing at the beauty and that it was on my head in the first place.

He placed the shield down and walked closely around me in a tight circle, stopping right in front of me. “I’m sorry. I was quite angry and irritated two days ago.”

“Queen Angia…” I said dreamily, in a daze.

He laughed. “Think of the present before the future.” He then placed his hand lightly on my waist and intertwined our fingers, and we started to slowly sway. I pulled away, desire setting in. I wanted so badly to hold him and never let go of his body, his lips…

“What’s wrong?” He asked, voice thick with indecision, suspicion and worry.

Tugging my hand free, I smoothly lied, “I can’t dance,” tilting my head and looking down in convincing shame.

A delicate touch under my chin propped my head up. “Don’t lie, Angia,” he scolded me lightly, real concern in his eyes.

My heart galloped—this is where it got tricky. “I didn’t lie.” I replied, barely stopping my voice from cracking and giving it away.

His scold deepened. “You did it again. Lie once more and I won’t be so forgiving.”

I pressed my lips together, cheeks hot that he’d snuffed me out so easily. “Sorry, it’s just so embarrassing,” I confessed, flushing hotter.

He laughed, muttering ‘Girls…’ and slipped the crown off my head, placing it back on a red pillow in the middle of a waist-high obsidian pedestal. I gulped. If I lied, he’d know. If I told the truth, he’d think it was so ridiculous that I'd lied or…

He eyed me, prodding. “Confess.”

I gritted my teeth, and then unclenched them forcefully to speak. “Okay, but you must promise me that you don’t get angry, or hurt me, or call for the guards.”

The king smiled slyly. “Don't trust me?”

I waved him off. “I’ll take that as a yes. Well, I know this is stupid and disgusting but…”

But I was drowned out as a little girl with curly brown hair and coffee skin blurted out a sentence as she skidded to a halt in front of the king and tugged on his shirt hidden mostly by the same intricate silver breastplate. He held out a hand, to which she smacked a scroll in. He unrolled it, his eyes darting across the paper before he re-rolled it and passed it back to Judith. He set off for the hidden entrance, but I caught his hand. He hastily, yet gently kissed the top, eying Judith with Don’t say a word and headed off.

Judith tugged on my brown dress. “You better follow him unless you want to be trapped in here forever…”  

But I hardly heard her from being charmed woozy by my master.

~

I giggled with delight as I free fell onto my bed, the supports groaning in protest, my being spread arms-wide across the cotton sheets. “It wasn’t a kiss, but it was!” I exclaimed in delight to myself, shrieking and giggling as I squirmed around my mattress. A small patch of sunlight broke through the thick, grey overcast, making me squint as it hit my eyes. I lifted my left hand and examined it, twisting and angling it. Sighing, I dropped it and sat up, tucking my knees in and securing them with my arms. I closed my eyes and rocked back and forth, thinking over the moment. He’s over-the-top with the mood swings. One moment he looks at me like I’m prey and then the next moment he’s prince charming. What is going on? And the whole crown thing? That must be worth—

But I was jumped out of my thoughts as Tyan opened my room’s door and cleared his voice. I shot out of my position from the sudden invasion of privacy and unconsciously snarled. Tyan hastily took a step back at my reaction, and then he unexpectedly laughed. “The way you shot up…reminds me of a horse I had!”

I frowned, pondering at my sudden offence. Or was it defence? “Sorry. I don’t really like horses after I had to clean the stables.”

Tyan burst out in heartily laughter. “Yes, you did smell!” He was about to continue his sentence but noticed the death-glare I was giving him and wisely thought better of it. “Anyway, here is your list of duties,” he said awkwardly, placing a black envelope on the table next to the door.

“Where’s Judith? And why are you doing the messaging?”

He pressed his lips tightly together, changing his weight to another foot. “Judith is a messenger. She’s across the empire on horseback.”

I narrowed my eyes at his response, knowing he was purposely holding something important back. Seeing I was onto him, he smiled half-heartily and backed out, closing the door.  I walked over to the envelope, and in one swift movement ripped open the top, pinching my finger over the note and tugging it out. One word was written in a foreign cursive:

War. 


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