His face did not change.
“Father,” she repeated once again, only to her dismay that he still refused to even look at her.
Arcadia gazed at the room around her. It was too perfect, so beautiful, with elegant golden silks draping from the walls, flowers sprouting of colorful clay pots arranged around against the walls and doors. The throne she and Sathrias sat in was adorned with jewels and the softest of cushions, covered by deep purple silk. She had everything that she had ever wanted in her wildest dreams, but this wasn’t the happiness she was really seeking.
But it had all happened so fast, how she was thrust into wealth and joy, how she said goodbye to her family and promised to send money and supplies back home.
But she had broken that promise. Her family was dead.
Arcadia’s mind raced. She then remembered that her sister, Sindria, married a rich estate owner who died the day after the wedding… under mysterious circumstances. All of his wealth was then hers, which Sindria then used to build the largest library in Avalon.
Arcadia considers how amazing her story was for a moment, and gathers the courage to ask once more.
“Arcadia…” the face of the man sitting next to her is solemn and filled with utter despair. Arcadia’s heart twists upon itself.
Then her eyes jolt open. It was all a dream – she wasn’t sitting in a throne room, it was another nightmare with her family. Each night, a different family member would be sitting next to her, say her name with a pleading look that tore Arcadia apart inside. But her Father was the last member of her family that was dead, so she wondered if she would finally find solace in sleep.
Arcadia closes her eyes again, and remembers her life at the farm before the days of endless wealth. It seemed like only yesterday…
“It’s awful dark out here…” the young farmgirl whispers to her friend, Varian. He’s not from around here, but from a land shrouded in mystery – Avalon. The young farmgirl, Arcadia, calls him a prince, but Varian denies it. But he was a prince – well, used to be, anyway. Ever since Eranimus awoke in the Valley of Unending Shadow, chaos erupted across Avalon. Their escape into Verdian was difficult, and the destruction Varian’s family witnessed as they gazed back at their once peaceful, valiant land still haunts Varian’s dreams.
“Yeah, it is.” Varian stares out into the foreboding woods in front of them. He could have sworn he saw something stirring in the bushes. Arcadia must have seen it to, for he could clearly see the fear on her usually pleasant face.
She jerks her head towards him, locking her eyes onto his. Words weren’t needed. It was obvious what was waiting in the forest for them.
A tall shadow slowly crept up on the oak tree, casting an eerie darkness on where they stood, paralyzed in shock. The voice that spoke sounded aged but evil, yet no traces of harmful intent.
“Varian Lorissan. What a delight it is to see you here. And I see you have a friend.” The two could barely see the teeth pulled into a tight grin.
“Eranimus…” Varian breathed.
“Indeed,” the shadow whispered, sending chills up their spines. Suddenly the tall shadow melted into the ground and slithered past them, only to reappear. This time, the shadow formed into a necromancer. Crimson eyes, the color of blood, glared at them from beneath the midnight hood. A pitch black crystal was entangled in bony vines at the tip of his staff. Shadowy robes cloaked the frightening figure. Arcadia and Varian could hear the slightest gust of night wind in the deathly silence.
“You… you ruined my home.” Varian mustered the courage to say.
The figure threw its head back and laughed viciously, then looked once again at Varian with a wickedness words cannot describe.
“Ruined? I prefer… ‘enhanced’. Your boring, holy land has been transformed into a bastion of hatred and hell. It’s much more interesting than what your ‘royal’ family could have ever accomplished.”
Varian gasped. The Cathedral…
The shadowy figure must have read his thoughts. “Cathedral? Ah yes, the beloved sanctuary. The only place I was not able to taint. Shame too, so many refugees gathered in one place, and”
“… shielded by the light.” Varian finished. The figure stared at him with utter contempt.
“This is not the last time we will meet,” the figure snapped. A frigid gust of dark wind swirled around him, and he vanished into thin air.
© Copyright 2017 Tyler Benjamin. All rights reserved.
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