A lost king

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A dark story from the streets of a poor city. Feedback is prefereable, so far to say I beg of it. Enjoy most of all though.

Submitted: September 18, 2012

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Submitted: September 18, 2012

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The portside city of Uliniis was well known across the world. Dyes, foods, exotic goods and anything else that could turn a quick profit washed up on those shores. It’s wealth was as well known as its poverty, while the rich would pervade in their towers of stone the poor spelt under the stars or shacks so crudely made a summers breeze would carry them to the dead lands.

  One of the streets, a mere few strides from the waterfront, housed those beggars who had less than nothing. Arthritis, Tuberculosis and Rheumatism kept each of them hugging the corners of buildings and wishing for one warm night. And this night seemed never eager to comply.

  Rumbustious laughter filled the street as a drunk staggered down, a frothy beer pouring over the ground.  Each step he took squelched under the prevalence of rotting vegetation and liquid mud. Salt from the sea was churned into the soil. Any man or women who spelt outside with cuts from their night before would feel them ever so much more. Salt filling each wound to an acute remembrance to why they had that pain, and the mud to infect.

  The man fell onto his hands and knees and vomited over beside one man sitting there. But he did not move, nor did he even turn at this surprise.

  There was a difference between him and those other beggars. Maybe a glance told something was wrong, but then it would dawn. Features to strong for the common man. Muscles too toned and a light tan not deep enough for the field workers.

  The their were his eyes. Pale blue like the sea at low tide. There was sadness in those eyes, but nothing else. No hopelessness or desperation that the other beggars filled their empty stomachs with.

  There was a scream. High and cutting deep into the heart. Up there, a balcony above the man. There was a women screaming for help, shacking the wooden railings. Tears pouring down from each eye. ‘Help, help me please!’ She cried. She was young, maybe only fifteen.

  A man, strong and burly, and grabbed her roughly by the arm. ‘Shut ya trap and tha ‘ god awful noise!’ He grabbed her by the other arm and threw her inside. ‘Ain’t nobody gonna help ya around here, love.’ His back was turned but still his voice dripped with lust.

  He strode forward and closed the doors solidly behind him. Soon there was only the screaming and the dull thump of flesh on flesh, audible all this way.

  The drunk stood wobbly after clearing his stomach and near dozen times. ‘Sorry mate,’ he said flippantly before once again staggering off.

  Down the streets he passed there were the first signs of new buildings. Stronger, sturdier and the first signs of a road built over the mud path. But then they stopped, left to gather dust and rot in the foul weather. Stopped when the money ran out. Stopped when the king had been thrown out for helping the needy instead of the greedy.

  The seated man’s eyes were changing, slowly. There was another sound behind him, a babies scream. He looked down the alleyway to his side.

  There was a woman their holding a baby a scant weeks old. It cried with a gurgle and spat. ‘Hush little hush little one. Sleep and food for tomorrow, not now not now.’ The women’s eyes were clouded over and she rocked back and forward, never stopping and never slowing. ‘Hush little hush little one.’

  The baby still cried, starving without a morsel of food ever touching its lips. The women began to shake it. ‘Hush little hush little one.’ The baby cried louder. ‘Hush little hush little one!’

  The baby cried all the harder. She shook her baby harder, ‘Hush little one, Hush!’

  There was the crack of the baby’s head hitting the walls. Everything went quiet at once. The silence that stabbed the heart and filled it with lead.

  ‘Hush little one?’ She looked at her baby confused. Then cried with a suck of air and the most pained sound that anyone could every hear. She shook again, rocking back and forward, diving into madness. ‘Hush little hush little one. Hush little hush little one!’

  The sadness was back in the seated man eyes. There was a puddle on his right side, away from the vomit. He let one finger dip into the dirty water and breathed out slowly.

  Icy tendrils burst from his finger, driven like tentacles across the water surface. The lacked onto the edges and more sprout, dancing along any unfrozen ice. In but a few short moment the puddle was a cold and hard.

  He brought his hand up to his face and concentrated intensely on it. He almost missed it but there it was, a small bolt of red lightning flashed across his hand. With a grunt he brought his hand down fast.

  A spider web of cracks freed themselves along the ice. His hand was cold but his eyes were filled with fury. They were a cold blue, near black. The colour of the sea at storm.

  There was a passing guard dressing in chainmail and the customary yellow over shirt. A symbol was embellished on the front. It glistened with the fresh dyes, the old symbol taken at the loss of the last king.

  The guard kicked at a sleeping beggar and laughed hoarsely. The beggar grumbled but only got another kick, this time to the stomach. There was a new spring in his step and the guard carried on.

  The seated man looked at the ice beside him and took a piece, long and thin with a devilish edge. It wouldn’t last long, but it would last long enough.

  He placed the piece on his lap and laid his hand onto the rest of the ice, cooling it down as much as possible.  

  When the guard walked past the seated man jumped to his feet and caught the guard, one hand clamped over his mouth and the other holding the ice pick to his neck. Already a small bead of blood seeped down were the blade had touched his neck.

  ‘Good evening,’ He looked down at the band on the guards arm, ‘corporal. Tonight is a lovely night and I would not like to spoil it with your blood. So here it the deal, you drop your sword and any other weapons you are carrying. I let you go and you go as far away from here as possible. Do you understand?’ The guard tried to nod.

  ‘Don’t nod you blasted fool! Now what do you know of the blood magic’s?’ The guards eyes widened in fear. ‘That’s right and I have a drop of your blood. So when I let you go you won’t turn, you won’t run. You will walk calmly out of here and not raise the alarm. Because if you do your men will never catch me, I will disappear into the wind and night like I was never there.

  But then, when you think all has been forgotten, when everything seems safe. You will be at home surrounded by your family and then it happens. You may feel a twitch or a shot of pain and you know I’ll be there. You’ll pick up the knife and walk over to each member of your family. With a quick a quick slit your wife will be dead, her blood dripping to the floor. Next the son, and finally the beautiful daughter, saving herself for her wedding night. You will try to fight me, you might even succeed, but not until each and every person you love is dead at your feet and their blood is on your hands. Do I make myself clear? Do not nod.’

  The man whimpered his answer, muffled through the hand over his mouth.

  ‘Very good. Go.’ He let the man go and he dropped his weapons and walked as fast as his legs would allow, never once turning or looking back.

  The man leant down and picked up the sword and dagger and cursed slightly, the ice dropped in their place. Poor quality blades that were in turn taken poor care off. The dust imbedded into it made his come to the conclusion that it must have once been used as a doorstop.

  But when he tested the edge of the dagger it could still cut. It would do.

  He had just a few minutes before the guards arrived. He may have scared the guard half to death but he would still report him as soon as possible.

  He pinched the edge of the dagger and pulled his fingers along it. He could feel the tugging, feel the magic running through his veins, so close. He tested the edge again, only the barely sharper than before.

  He cursed again in vain but it was worthless. The magic would no longer work. He would have to do his task alone.

  He crept skulking to the doorway under the balcony. Scant minutes ago the young girl had rushed out and dragged back inside. He opened the door quietly and crept through.

  He didn’t know the girl in any way. He didn’t know how she had got there or for what reason. Sold into prostitution or went into it willingly, kidnapped or otherwise he didn’t know. But he did know one thing as he walked up the stairs.

  He could hear her sobbing and he could feel how hurt she was. As that man used her for his own perverse pleasure.

  He stopped on the stairs, heat and fury filling him too much to walk.

  He breathes slowly trying to calm down. Then he heard the man up the stairs. He heard the slap and her cry out. Then the voice, ‘Shut up you stinking wench.’ There was more slaps and more sobs.

  The man was frozen on the steps.

  ‘Shut up, I’ll teach you how to behave,’ He said in between slaps.

  Soon there were no more sobs, no more cries. Just the sound of him hitting her.

  Then the man on the stairs burst. The power of his magic was still locked away but fury and vengeance took a hold of him. The blood of the demon flowed and the heart of the angel guided.

  He took the last steps, not even trying to be stealthy. With a kick the door crumbled underneath him.

  The room had a bed, luxurious by slums standards, and that was where the man sat. At his feet was the girl, naked under a thin dirty blanket. Her once flawless white skin was red and red and would soon be green and purple of bruising.

  She shock with sobs but not a sound passed her lips. She didn’t even turn as the door was opened.

  The man on the bed stood full of anger. Testosterone filled him from the rape and the beatings and some was still left over. ‘Who the hell do you think you are? Get out before I break every bone in your body!’ He shouted in a deep voice. 

  He didn’t even hear the words, the roar of the sea drowning out all words said to him. A glow or red surrounded him, but the blue of his eyes struck deeper. The other man took a step back, all pretence of strength gone. He tripped over the girl and lay sprawled on the ground.

  The glowing man stepped forward. ‘By the rights of the once king, I will judge you.’ He said in a voice that demanded respect and silence. There was no arguing. ‘You are equated with the crimes of as follows; kidnapping, unlawful arrest, rape, assault. How do you plea?’

  The man turned white with fear and not a word passed his lips. He struggled to move backwards but the wall and the eyes upon his froze him to the ground.

  ‘You have the right as a citizen to a defence. Speak now or that right will be abolished.’ His gaze once again made sure the man could not utter a word.

  ‘In the absence of any defence it will be up to me to judge.’ He looked him fully in the eyes and leant down. ‘I judge you guilty.  The sentence is death.’ The man gulped but couldn’t moved otherwise.

  The Judge reached down and cupped his hand underneath the other man’s head. He cradled it as a mothers child and his knife pressed to the man’s throat, thumb pressed behind.

  ‘Do not fear the blade child. Death is too kind for you,’ He whispered gently, ‘but the afterlife. That is sufficient.’

  He pressed down and pulled and the man died without a sound or even a breath passing through him. ‘That is what you should fear.’

  The fury inside of him calmed he stood and walked gently over to the girl. Slowly and carefully he sat her up. With a strong but peaceful motion he brought the clean blanket from the bed and wrapped it about her.

  She didn’t complain and let him move her. Her sobs had stopped but she would not speak either. He eyes looked down and there were twin lines of clean skin beside the dirt dripped down from her tears.

  He held he in his arms soothingly. Not like a lover, nor a parent, friend or sibling. She had never been held like this before. Held like something truly cared for her and expected nothing in return.

  He stroked her hair and made her feel safe even with the body of her dead rapist a few feet away. She never seemed to notice him there. It was a week before she cried, coming out of her cocoon. It was a month before she spoke and a year before she smiled once again.

  But once she did, that smile persisted.

  Back to that room, he sat there cradling her, stroking her hair, knowing only a few scant minutes were left.

 He lifted her hair and whispered a few short words to her, breathing them into her. Like that she fell asleep, naked and soiled but still beautiful to his eyes.

  Then they arrived. The clatter of armour and swords drawn, shouting and running down the street. Half a dozen, maybe more were coming after him.

  He sighed and went over to the drawers beside the wall. Inside was a once fine midnight black cloak that had descended into patchiness and greys. He would have thrown it away but he thought better of it.

  ‘You and I are alike in a way.’ He whispered, ‘Both born high for prestige and put down before we were complete. But maybe we are not lost yet, starcradle.

  He threw it over his shoulders and atypically it was not built for his size. It bunched at the shoulder and was far too loose lower down and even trailed a good two foot above the ground. But while it was not perfect neither was he.

  The guards were running throughout the streets yelling and charging trying to find him.

  ‘I am up here.’ He called out of the window and sat and waited.

  All eight of them bundled inside the room, blocking the only door. He recognised one of them, he was almost hidden away at the back. The man in the black cloak chuckled.

  ‘My my, and I told you not to bring anyone No matter, there is something else you can do for me.’

  The guard at the front ignored his words and took a step forward, a captain. ‘On your feet scum! Did you rape this girl?’ He noticed the body by the wall. ‘Did you murder this man?’ he asked, voice full of conviction.

  ‘No I did not.’ He replied to the first question. ‘And I executed him.’ He said to the second.  

  ‘That will be for the judges to decide,’ he looked around him, ‘and assaulting a guard.’

The seated man pondered this for a second. ‘True, I am guilty of that. But I cannot take my punishment now. Be aware I will accept any and all punishments for my crime at it’s due time.’

  He stood and bowed. ‘The girl is under my protection and sanctuary.’ He gestured to her. ‘If any harm befalls her I shall pay it twice over. And again and again until the lesson is learned. Do not try to fight it, you will lose. You and your men will look after her correctly and will be rewarded justly when the day arrives.’ He took a step back, and then another.

  ‘Where do you think you’re going?’ the guard asked and tried to grab at his arm. The man smiled, pulled his arm back and leapt out of the window.

  All the guards ran forward and looked out, but nothing was there. No man on the ground, no indication he had ever been there. Not even the sound of him hitting the floor.

  The guard captain turned and called out to his men. ‘What are you still doing here? Out and find him!’ all the guards turned and ran out searching for him.

  The captain walked over to the girl. He put an arm on her shoulder and shook her gently.

  ‘Hey there girl, are you okay?’ he asked her, but was unsurprised when she did not answer.

  ‘Don’t worry its fine  we will find you a home for the night.’ He said caringly and picked her up, blanket and all. ‘My wife is making a lovely stew tonight and she would be glad to find someone to finish off the bowls. You’re safe now.’ She didn’t move or complain or even make a sound, but some life had returned to her eyes. It was a start.

  Over the next few days there was a large manhunt fort eh cloaked man but no-one saw a single hair of him. The found out later a boat, a dingy to be more precise, had been taken from the docks and sailed out that night.

  Many rumours became of him, as is the way of tavern talk. Some said he was a demon in human skin sent to prey on the weak. Others said he travelled across the seas to the eastern magicians to unlocked magic’s that had been locked away for far too long.

  More said he went to rid himself of the demon that possessed him and in turn some said to fill himself of the demon.

  Everyone knew though he would return. None knew how, when or why. But they knew he would return.

 

A year later.

  The incident from that night was not forgotten in the guards mind. Never once forgotten, he still woke most nights from a nightmare of it. But now he sat at the table after a fine meal. Meat, Beef, and potatoes. He had especially had to save money for that meal, but it was worth it.

  It was the eve of his daughters sixteenth birthday, and a mere week pass since she had become engaged. She had been bubbly with happiness since then.

  He pushed his plate away, full, and called over to his daughter. ‘So how did you find that then my darling?’

  She came quickly over to him. ‘Oh it was lovely father, but you should have let Rosin come over too.’

  He chuckled. ‘You’re only engaged my sweet, not married. I’m not going to have two young and lustful children sleeping together in this house.’

  She prodded him sharply in the stomach. ‘That was cruel dad, you know I wouldn’t let that happen.’

  He grunted. ‘Darling I’ve just eaten,’ he said rubbing his stomach. ‘Next time he can come over, but he has to go home at the end of the night young lady!’ He said sternly.

  As a response she wrapped her arms around his neck, hugging him tightly. ‘Thanks you father!’

  ‘Aright aright, I need to breath.’ She let go of him. ‘Now go help your mother with the washing.’ She nodded happily and bounded off.

  He lent back content and put his hands behind his head. A few nightmares a week was a small price to pay for his family.

  There was a small niggle of an itch on his brow, but he just rubbed it quickly and it went. Another bigger itch crept along his beard and he scratched at it annoyed. When more and more filled him it was only then he thought of that night.

  ‘No no no no,’ he whispered under his breath as his hand reach forward to grasp the knife on the table. ‘No please, not now.’

  The hand tightened against his will and brought the knife towards him. He stood and took firm steps that were not his own. Each step brought him closer to one of his family, his wife was nearest.

  He drew nearer and nearer, knife jutting forward. Eager for blood.

  Sweat blossomed all over him, fighting as hard as he could to move even one finger. But there was no way he could. Step, step, step. He got closer and closer. Step, step.

  He begged and pleaded mentally, for his lips would not move at his order, for anything but this. Anything.

  The knife clattered to the ground, the sharp clang hitting him deep. There was no blood and no death around him. He looked around confused.

  ‘I am not a cruel man.’ A voice said by his ear. He whipped around but there was no one there. ‘I am neither heartless or spiteful, brutal or malicious. But I am a fierce man, a violent man and unforgiving.’ He whipped around again.

  ‘Are you okay dear?’ he wife asked, but couldn’t hear her.

  The voice sounded within his head. When I spoke to you a year ago I made certain that you knew that I would kill for what was necessary. I have withheld from killing your wife and children, even as you went against my orders. One day I will take the lives that are owed to me, but there is a way out. The guardsman begged him for the way out. If that is your wish then I  shall make it so.

  You owe me three lives, three. Soon I will be returning, with an army unlike the world has ever seen. Those who are unworthy, those who are cruel and deceitful with die. There is now way to stop this future.  One that day your debt will be paid in full, those three lives. For that is the day I will take back my place as king.

  You will tell no one of this day. You will wait and when that day is upon you, you will fight for me under my colours.

  I will receive my lost kingdom.

  The guard fell to the floor, breathing heavily. His wife rushed over to him.

  ‘Are you okay dear, what’s wrong?’ she asked hurriedly.

  ‘Nothing,’ he said between breaths, ‘I just need to rest for a bit.’ She helped him to one of the chairs beside the fire. His wife and the children gathered around him.

  ‘Do you need anything father?’ his daughter asked.

  ‘No no I’m fine, just give me a minute please.’ They all looked troubled but they left him. 

  There was a cut on his hand long and thin but gave out no blood and no pain. He rubbed his thumb along it and somehow words began to form in his mouth.

  He tasted them and said them in wonder.

  ‘The day of the king is coming.’


© Copyright 2017 Eric Satour. All rights reserved.

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