Dark Tyrant

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

Chapter 18 (v.1) - Cold and Colder

Submitted: October 02, 2013

Reads: 107

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Submitted: October 02, 2013

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Chapter: Cold and Colder

Huge from powerful-looking muscles, with short, bristly light-brown hair, shocking blue eyes, and a sword the width of my neck strapped to a belt, he looked both slightly attractive and purely lethal. My breath caught, freezing in fear. I automatically turned back, but instinct informed me he’d either hear me or smell me, no matter if he had visual aid. A light, yet menacing voice locked my feet in cement again. “Well, look at you. All young and free.”

I clenched my jaw, and spun around with a forced smile. “Hello Commander.”

He grinned evilly back. “How was slavery?”

My eyes flared, and I dropped the smile. “Exactly was it is,” I snapped, spitting at him— Marius cocked an eyebrow at my reaction to his question.

He stepped forward, waving off my slight unsheathing and snarl. “Stay away from me!” I screamed, tone hysterical and panicky.

Through slits, his eyes twinkled with intrigue. “I’m not going to hurt you, Angia.”

I growled at the lie, baring my teeth. “I don’t want to hear your disgusting lies!” I screamed at him.

One more word, and you’ll get the short straw, I spat in my head, shaking with ferocious anger.

His nerves of steel made him laugh. “You’re right; as much as it would please me to snap every, single bone of yours, I have my orders. And you have yours: get that arse of yours on a horse and form cohorts. Or else.”

The last bit sounded like what a chubby seven-year-old would say, but I didn’t want to see how much Commander Marius honoured his orders. I pressed my lips, but reluctantly obeyed—Revenge could quietly be patient and wait for the right moment to pounce.

 

Glayds had apparently fallen asleep with his snout inside the net of hay, the same substance still waiting to be chewed and consumed in his mouth. I walked behind him, but at that very moment a horn sounded through the very-early morning and all the horses in the stable pounced awake, much like my episode beforehand, but without the weapons.

Somehow, my white stallion managed to kick his hind legs up. Before I could process the danger, I was safely by his neck, blinking in confusion. Glayds nuzzled me apologetically—or was it because he was reminding me to mount him? A clatter of hooves woke me from my shocked trance, a last thought squeezing it’s way in as I picked up Glayds’ saddle and placed it on his back: What in the world?

Blurry streaks of brown, caramel and the like rode out of the torch-lit stables into the huge courtyard filling the space between the fort’s wall and the actual building. I let my mind wander as my fingers professionally strapped and secured the saddle, then placing on the accessories and armour. All this happened in a few moments, and I was then mounted on my stallion’s white back. Once again, I was surprised as we trotted out into the night, a waxing moon the only source of light. My stomach growled all too late as the king shot out of the stables, around the assumed three hundred and forty-nine and out of Fort Hustly’s gates. And then we were flying into the night, and there was nothing else but darkness and the clatter of hooves.

~

The sun was rising as we passed through a small village, which looked much like the one of my childhood, with thatch-roofed huts and dirt paths, streets and fields of crops surrounding the area, the odd chicken crossing the main road every once and a while. Glayds walked at a leisurely pace, little puffs of cold air lingering with every exhale.

We stopped for reasons unknown to me, but the quiet sound of gravel indicated someone had dismounted. I searched for the person: I was unsurprised as a door opened to reveal a young adolescent, with a slightly tanned skin from working in the fields, adorned with thin dirty-blonde hair, her eyes baggy from sleep deprivation.

The king muttered something to her, and her eyes widened, flushing a soft pink, stunned by who she was looking at. She murmured something back, he nodding in agreement. She looked over her shoulder and yelled. A deep voice shouted back, followed by a confirmation of the adolescent. In moments, and with a shock, Judith walked out with a full quiver and bow hanging over her back, wearing a navy-blue shirt and white cotton pants.

She smiled widely at the king and briefly embraced him. The woman that followed was a weak female equivalent of the king, with black, thick hair and pale skin that covered skinny, weak arms and legs. She gasped and bowed her head, offering a crown of woven flowers.

He smiled in thanks, and muttered something. She looked up.

Suddenly, Judith cantered around the corner of the house on a black horse with patches of white, stopping just behind the king. After a few words, Brutus dismissed the lady and girl, spinning around.

Judith pulled out a water canteen from a pocket in her saddle and handed it to him; the king unscrewed the top and pulled out a secret compartment attached to the lid. He then proceeded to unscrew that and slid out a scroll, handing back both canister and top. After a few brief seconds of reading, Brutus smiled in approval at the young messenger and handed back the remaining pieces. He took off back to his horse, and Judith reared before bulleting past our cohorts and back from where we’d come. After a few brief moments of silence, the roar of horses galloping across the Jarmanish landscape rung in my ears once more.

~

After hours of riding through expanses of grassy plains, to rocky heights, the king mercifully relieved me from an excruciating behind as he dismounted near a fast flowing, wide yet very shallow river, lined with smooth, dark pebbles and a forest looming only a few hundred meters on the other side. All three hundred and forty-nine soldiers slid off the saddles as one. I ached to talk to my master, and I almost took off, but Amaria’s warning rung in my head: ‘Stay out of the king’s way.’

To distract myself, I reached into a pocket on my saddle and brought out my water bottle, the last few drops like heaven on my dry mouth. Something knocked the bottle out of my unsuspecting hands: I laughed as Gladys tried to nuzzle and roll water out of the opening. I patted him on the shoulder, picking the bottle up.

As I left him to graze on unsuspecting vegetation, I hurriedly squeezed through the crowd to Heavenly-Waters River—as I’d heard one soldier mention. Apparently, it was called so because many would have died from thirst if not for this river, such relief tasting ‘heavenly’.

I bent down at the pebbly shore, pointing the opening upstream as the powerful flow filled my canteen in seconds. Satisfied I rose, and looked a few meters downstream: he was standing there, water dripping down his face as he greedily drank the fresh, cool water, the afternoon sun sparkling off his striking mixture of charcoal hair and alabaster features. I grew fuzzy inside just looking at him, but suddenly I was shoved into the water. After wiping the splashes out of my eyes, I stared up at Quill, as she smiled innocently. “Oops. Sorry. You just looked like you needed a dip,” she apologised with no sincerity at all.

Freezing metal burnt my hand, and I remembered the canteen. In a spark of outrage, the icy water was thrown at Quill’s face—she was instantly drenched. I laughed, standing up, but the enraged commander violently kicked me down. I banged my head against a sharp rock, and blood instantly stained the once clean river, water swirling around my head and dragging my long, dark hair downstream. My head was throbbing, and I suddenly started crying. Quill noticed and raised her eyebrows mockingly, smiling with satisfaction.

“It’s about time you learned to respect your superiors,” she snarled, leaning down and elbowing me hard in a chink in my armour. I cried out, but she quickly covered my mouth. I attempted to knee her in the stomach, but stupidly forgot of the metal barrier and sobbed even harder as my kneecap stung and ached. I looked desperately around, hoping for a saviour. Quill noticed my distraction and took advantage of it: She placed her knee in my mouth, and gripped my left arm. Pain instantly erupted as she forced my hand down. I cried into her knee, and attempted to clench my teeth and bite her, only for Quill to punish me with more unbearable pain. I kicked and slapped against the water, as it was the only way to react to the torture she was forcing me into. Looking downstream, through slight pain-blurred vision, the king was letting his horse drink, biting into a dark, ripe apple, gazing out to the forest. I cried out again, and using my other hand, threw a punch at her temple. She caught it at the wrist, and slammed it back into the riverbank of pebbles and rock, causing another shallow puncture. In an effort of final desperation, I screamed as loud as I could into her knee, just loud enough for one to hear.

Brutus looked over and his eyes widened in shock, dropping the apple into the current, to which he quickly calmed and straightened. I kicked once more as Quill discovered another way to cause me pain: she kneed my teeth, once again creating that excruciatingly horrible pain in my arm. I looked up desperately at the king, pleading him, as he stood right behind my assaulter. “Commander,” he said calmly, his tone seeming unsurprised at my position.

She gritted her teeth in annoyance, but turned over her shoulder and smiled, acting flustered. “Oh, my king. I didn’t see you there.”

I took my chance as she lifted her knee to yell desperately to my master. “Help me! Please—!” I cried desperately, but she slammed her knee back in my open mouth.

Quill gave an embarrassed smile. “I apologise for Angia. Just giving her lessons on escaping, etcetera.”

He raised his eyebrows sceptically. “Indeed?” He asked with a hint of burning anger. “How interesting…it didn't look like that before...”

She faced me and glared accusingly, slamming her knee again into my already damaged teeth. My scream was muffled, chest heaving in the familiar breaths of sobs, tears running into the river. Quill then placed on a sweet, innocent smile and faced the king again, laughing lightly. “Oh, sorry. Must’ve got carried away.”

“In that case, please release Angia and explain to me why you tackled and assaulted her?” he snarled, not buying any of Quill’s story.

She hissed at me, but complied. I stood up dripping to face a gathering crowd of witnesses. Suddenly, another wave of tears spewed out of my tear ducts, being strengthened as Quill leaned in and spat into my eyes, before walking away to shore. I wiped my face with the back of my hand, and tasted blood. The coolness of the water had soothed the wound, but now the warm sunny afternoon air made it flame and burn. The king glared fiercely at his commander, waiting for her response. She bared her teeth at me before replying, “I was delivering punishment.”

The king apparently had taken the role of judge, as he looked expectantly at me. Taking my cue, I spoke. “I have done no wrong, Your Majesty and commander.” I sniffled, barely containing spasms of squirming and crying in response to the pain, my head and teeth throbbing, dripping a steady flow of blood down my neck. The king looked back at Quill. “And why were you lead to believe it was necessary to punish her?”

“She was rude, and disrespectful,” Commander Quill told him matter-of-factly with a snarl.

My head was spinning and my vision was blurry as I answered angrily. “That is hardly…pu…punish…punisha…”

Then my sight collapsed into darkness.


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