Present time, Saphiriest Alexander
We were butterflies grasped too tightly by a sucklings; tiny palms, our luster just stains against delicate skin. The Brisbane blocks of stone, as sheer as they were the day I was born, were kindled by a cresset’s blue flame. With them, the shadows from my torch light danced along the dungeon walls. Footfalls sounded briskly, as the voices of our enemies drew nearer. They were getting warmer and we were just about to shatter against familiar stones. My brother’s hand was clutched too tightly onto Serena’s fingers. Her snuffling hadn’t ceased to invade our hearing. “Just a little bit longer,” Derick assured her, holding onto his own words with an uncertainty foreign to his normal tone. He had built himself a second cocoon and I was just about to break it.
Derick swiveled, “Alex…what are you…?”
I turned on my heels. “I have to go back!” I shouted.
“Alex, no!” His fingers reached for me, but I escaped before I could feel his tight grip. I looked back into his ghastly blue eyes.
“Run, numbskull!” I barked. “Run!” Derick didn’t have time to glower, he clenched in his next words and disappeared behind the shadows of the hollow dungeon. I discarded my torch and consumed myself back in the darkness of an abandoned cell, keeping my body as close to the cold stone as I possibly could. The soldiers clanked onward without taking notice of my watchful eyes. I released a constrained breath, waited until their red cloaks were out of sight, and ducked into a small narrow stairway. I counted the stairs, twenty five, twenty six, twenty seven… ducked into a corridor, another staircase, eighty-one, eighty two, eighty three, eighty four, through the bailey, past the courtyard, and into the mouth of the throne room. More voices became strangled in the distance.
The golden doors shut noiselessly behind me and stood, still as the rest of the room. The Marble floor clicked and clacked beneath my boots. I could no longer run in the presence of the dancing flames and great iron pillars.
I made my last climb to the throne, two, three… my ashen fingers quivered as they plucked the cloth away. Although formidable, the sword was magnificent. Its black blade bravely sat upon the hilt of chaste silver. Chiseled into the hilt were scales that stretched out into luminous wings at the cross guard. The pommel, a dragon head with its mouth opened amply. Striking and intimidating, the saber could be called nothing less than an imperial sight. When I touched the hilt, a disturbance as frigid as my father’s heart sent gooseflesh through my very bones. It was the same feeling you get before the first chilly breeze of winter. Black eyes met mine. The hooded figure’s pallid lips slithered into a smile. He was hardly a man, just a shadow behind the throne’s embrace, but this shadow was enough to send me tumbling to the marble below. “Finally…” the shadow spoke. The sword was tossed from my hands and, before I had enough courage to muster a scream, the shadow was gone.
I collected myself, stashed the sword under my belt, and pulled my golden cloak over my head, swinging my head in every which way to catch a second glimpse of the strange figure I had just seen. There was nothing, then murmuring, buzzing blaringly behind the throne room doors. “You fool!” I heard a woman scream. Before her eyes could catch me I ducked behind the throne. Shunk! The sound of her dagger meeting a soldier’s flesh. From behind the throne legs, all that could be seen was a tidied mess of blonde curls. The soldier she had stabbed landed with a noise loud enough to wake a dragon. More figures dashed into the room, one another soldier who, with a gasp, was able to dodge her next swing.
Her blade was caught in the knick of time, “My dear sister…” A man stepped over the fresh victim, “don’t you think you’re being a little hasty?” His robe drowned the corpse like a black veil.
“The sword is gone, Dragon!” She shrieked.
“I’m aware of that,” He replied in an exasperated tone.
“Sometimes,” she cut in harshly, “I don’t think you realize how important our mission really is.” She twisted her wrist away from his fingers, her dagger now freely reigning the space around her.
“So our plans were delayed… what of it?”
The woman turned to the other soldiers in a fit of rage. “Bring me the sword!” She ordered. “Kill all but the eldest son, I will have my vengeance!” The soldier bowed, but, before he could flee, she whipped him back around to face her seething violet eyes, “Come back empty handed and I’ll have your family on pikes for betraying the crown. Am I understood?”
“Yes, Priestess,” The man rushed out of the room. The priestess turned back to the amused man.
“You know what today is, Thantos. If those children escape…”
“The Demons will catch them,” Thantos stated. “There’s no need to react with such improper mannerisms. You’re a woman after all, act a little more decorous or the king might mistake you for a *****. I hear the king doesn’t like dogs…”
There was a growl that jumped from her throat, “And if that dimwit they call a king gets his hands on it?” She snapped, “what then?”
“Then we negotiate,” Thantos stated simply.
“When was the last time you negotiated with a Demon?”
“Orix will not get his hands on our sword,” He soothed out her pale fingers and planted a sly kiss on the back of her hand.. “This I promise you sweet sister,” his eyes turned to the throne, a glimmer of violet and gold.