Jokes on all of you because I am so unreiliable with things like this.
It isn't that I don't love all of you to death, but I have a life. A very busy life, and you can't force genius like this.
I do have the next portion for you so read away, and don't be afraid to leave suggestions or comments. It is not like I am going to send the soul steeling Gremlin beast after you.
I will send her after you, but only because I love you all that much.
Truth of Shadows
(yeah I know I need a new title. Any ideas?)
Warm summer wind raced across the open valley. Moving the tall grass in a dance like succession. It was peaceful in the early morning hours, delightful even despite the troubles that weighted on Andrea's mind. Nika wouldn't end Redd's life, she had given her word. Leaving him in her care still filled Andrea with unease though. Nika and Erin were ruled by tradition, ancient values that Andrea never fully understood.
Entering the capital city gates, Andrea road up top her beautiful signature white stallion. Posture straight, head held high, and a royal air all about her. The elegance and grace in the way her horse moved about the city, and her stunning beauty stilled the other wise busy market place. While on lookers were not uncommon when she passed through town, she was drawing attention now for another reason.
Andrea's beautiful gown was ripped and frayed at the bottom. The white cream color a faint red. She looked a complete mess with Erin leading the way through the town. Still her gaze did not falter, nor her graceful demeanor. She simply continued forward to the palace. Leaving everyone to their days work ahead.
The palace was slowly waking from the night before, dawn just having broken. Life was getting underway, and Andrea had hoped to sneak back to her room without notice. To her surprise the King had been waiting, grabbing his daughter's arm, and pulling her into a small room off the main hall.
“Out all night!?! What were you thinking!?!" he yelled as the door slammed behind them. "No, no I don’t want to hear any of it!”
The King had begun to pace. His normal complexion flaring red as he looked for his next words. Andrea simply folded her hands together in front of her, and waited calmly for what he had to say next.
"You are royalty by Goddess sake, and next in line for the thrown. You were outside these walls all NIGHT!!! How can you be so irresponsible?!?” his voice booming against the walls. The whole palace could hear him by this point.
His pacing finally stopped, arms folded, and faded blues eyes on her, the King waited. He had had his piece, vented his anger and now tried to restrain it. The soft grandfatherly look he often had reduced nothing more then a mean old man. There was nothing gentle left in him, as he furrowed his brow at her.
Andrea took a moment, composing as much calm as she could before speaking.
"I was safe behind the barrier." she started with a slight definite tone. "Erin and Nika were also with me the whole night. No danger could befall me."
The King stood like a statue, eyeing his daughter from top to bottom. Sizing her up like a warrior before rushing into battle.
“Do not insult me!”
Erin cringed outside of the door where he was listening. Over the last few months Andrea had become so unruly, now she was denying the king, going against his every word. The King was not a man to be challenged, and Erin feared what he might do or say next. He leaned closer to the door. It had fallen silent in the room. Wondering if maybe their tones had just lowered, he pressed his curious ear to the door.
"Your safety is the most important thing in this world, and not just for me." the King growled. "For the future of this kingdom you have an obligation with your life!"
"I am but a simple servant to this throne. A resident of this Kingdom!" Andrea yelled back now. Her calm collected nature finally giving way. "My life is of no importance to you or this Kingdom!"
Andrea's declaration had sent the King back to pacing. His heavy foot falls echoing out into the hall where Erin waited for more. When they stopped Erin grew tense, the King was showing restrain, but how long could it last?
“You will marry before your birthday or you will be punished. Do I make myself clear?”
“Do what you wish to me. I will serve my Kingdom and full fill my duty not play family with a greedy noble.” Andrea did not wait for more. As far as she was concerned this conversation was over the second he spoke the word marriage.
Pulling the door open she left her father to fume over her rebellious nature. Not giving him the pleasure of having ordered something out of her. She would not marry, he could not make her, and that was the way it was going to be.
Stepping out into the hall, Andrea nearly ran into Erin. He stumbled back surprised by her swift exist and stumbled to find some words to explain himself.
“What?! Did you like what you heard?” She asked him her tone and voice making it clear she was looking for someone to take her rage out on.
“Well do Not get any ideas, you’re the last person I would ever dream of making my husband.” her cruel tone shaking Erin from his daze.
He was going to say something comforting. Something that would make her feel better about the situation. Erin might have been a Mia warrior, loyal to death, and serious beyond reason, but he always found kind words for her. He would often go against his upbringing just to see Andrea smile, and the number of scars he had for her were growing. It wasn't just that so words stung deep down, or refused his feelings for her. Andrea had spoken aloud of a treason to his clan. Relationships, romantic ones, were forbidden with outsiders. Especially those who had contracts with the Mia clans. Erin's mind was made up long ago about the rules his people lived by, and for Andrea he would break them. But to be refused like this was humiliating, more so for the proud race he came from then just himself. She had broken his heart with a few words, and disgraced him in front of the palace staff that were at the end of the hall. By night fall the incident would be all over the palace and city. In a week his clan leader would know, and Erin feared what might happen from there.
Bowing his head in respect and defeat he offered a soft
"Forgive me Princess."
Andrea’s eyes soften and her anger faded seeing his submissive stance. Her words were spoken out of rage, aggravation, and she had no lack of them with the King. With Erin she had no right to use such words or tone. He had given his life countless times for her and this was how she repayed him. Andrea could think of nothing to say. Words escaped her other wise quick lips. There was nothing she could say to make up for the disgraceful blow delivered to him. Honor meant everything to a Mia, and she had taken that from him.
Reaching out, Andrea tried to touch him. To comfort Erin in whatever way she could, even if the words had left. Seeing him so ashamed caused her to draw back. She had done this. Ripped someone down to nothing, and now she was going to leave him there. Turning from his view, she headed down the hallway toward her room. There was enough damage done by her hands today.
“Disobeying the King, why does this not surprise me?” Nika asked.
Andrea froze inside the door of Redd's house. Nika always knew when it was her, in fact Nika always knew who it was long before they were even in sight. It was skill that was unsettling at times, and often had Andrea wondering what else the elder Mia could do.
“He does not look any better.” Andrea deflected, her worried eyes falling on the pale figure of Redd. Just from the short day he had grown so much worse, despite Nika's special remedy.
“He is dieing.” Nika stated very simply. It was true the fever hadn’t broke and Link was growing weaker by the hour. “I do not think he will make it to morning.” The emotion in her voice clear even if it wasn’t written on her face. Andrea could feel her heart stop. It was all so shocking to think someone as strong and skilled as Redd, could be taken down by a small dart. The reality of life and death so harsh in that moment. Relentless doom hung in the room, snuffing out the breathable air.
Was this really the end?
The sharp sound of a dagger being unsheathed snapped Andrea back to the moment.
"No!" Andrea protested just as Nika raised the weapon to end Redd. "Not, like this!" she growled grabbing Nika's hand.
"It is honorable." Nika defended, but Andrea would not allow it.
Redd was not going to be struck down by someone he looked up to. It might have been an honor in the clan of the Mia's, but to people like Redd it would be disgraceful.
"Nika, please?" Andrea pleaded with her.
Nika's red gaze held on the princess for a long while. Studying her face and lingering on the resolve in her eyes. Sliding the dagger back into its sheath Nika nodded. She could not go against Andrea's decision.
"I need you to investigate the Rock Dewellers city." Andrea blurted out. "The barrier is down, this district is unprotected."
The worry that passed over Nika's face shock Andrea at her core. She knew it was troubling the second she was able to pass into the village. Something must have happened, and with Redd in this state it was far to troubling to ignore.
"If the barrier is down I can not leave you." Nika argued back.
"These people are defenseless." Andrea countered, but Nika did not move. "I order you to investigate." Andrea commanded knowing Nika could not refuse an order.
At first Nika remained in the chair at Redd's bedside. Andrea was next in line for the throne, and the King had made it clear her safety took priority. It was an order though, and Nika could not disobey an order that had yet to be challenged by a higher rank.
Standing she offered her chair to Andrea before slipping out in her normal silent manner. Andrea slide into the chair and looked to Redd. She watched him for a long while, the fever having grown so extreme. His body lacked the energy to thrash about, even though his brow was tense from his nightmarish battles.
Andrea sat there for hours, thinking over all the awful things she had done to him. The way she put blame on him for no reason. He was a hero of chance, it was pure luck he saved this district. Luck did not make a hero, but still she couldn't let him die. No life was small enough to let it end.
“I am not going to let you die. Not when I have the power to save you.” she declared.
Nika had already expressed her rejections of Andrea's abilities on this matter. Nika was no longer here, and that was the idea from the start. There was no one here to stop her, and the consequences Andrea could deal with after.
Closing her eyes, Andrea let the silence of the night steady her mind. Magic was simple for her to perform, easy even when they were spells of knowledge. Andrea's abilities extended beyond that, and those were the dangerous ones. Such as the purifying flames she was calling on deep inside herself. Pulling from deep within her being, she called forth a blaze of crimson flames that engulfed Redd's body. A heatless flame licked at his flesh, seeking outside tainted blood. Her fire invaded his every life-force, burning the unnatural poison from his system.
Sweat rolled down Andrea's brow, gliding over her clenched eyes. The magic was more then just draining. She could feel the pain surging through her right hand, her own flames turning on her weak body. Warmth started at her fingertips and slowly made its way to her elbow. Andrea clenched her knee with her unharmed left hand, as she tried to hold out. She had to continue until Redd was completely healed.
A white hot pain rushed through her arm, into her shoulder. Crying out Andrea could no longer hold her concentration. The crimson flames disappeared in a rush of light gray smoke, her body un-tensed as she gasped for air. The smell of burnt flesh lingered in the air, mixed with the heavy metallic scent of blood.
“Andrea…” a weak voice said. Her attention drawn right to Redd. “Wh…why ar—“ but she didn’t let him finished, putting her fingers to his lips.
“Be still, you need your rest. Go to sleep we can talk in the morning.” her reassuring voice got an agreeing nod from Redd as his eyes closed again.The fever was gone, the scent of death no longer in the small house. It was done, she had saved him. Pulled Redd back from the brink of death, but not without repercussions as she looked down at her burnt, limp, dead arm.
~~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~~
What was that?
Oh, I promised to introduce a new character?
Yeah well I like to leave everyone hanging, so I guess you will just have to wait for more.
Till Next time My Sexy Demon Minions!!