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The Dark Prince

By @VeronicaK

Introduction

Present time, Saphiriest                                                Alexander

The Brisbane blue blocks of stone, lit by the illumination of the cresset’s blue flames, seemed to confine our very significance. With them, the pirouetting shadows from my torches light capered across the castle walls. Swirls of smoke rose and fell around our shifting feet like overgrown ivy. Our footfalls resounded briskly through the dungeon hallway as the voices of our enemies drew nearer. The soldiers were getting warmer and we…we were just about to shatter against familiar stones. We were butterflies grasped too tightly by a sucklings tiny palms, our luster just stains against delicate skin. My older brother’s hand clutched far too tightly onto Serena’s tear stained fingers. Her snuffling hadn’t seised to permeate our hearing. “Just a little bit longer…” Derick assured her, grasping onto his own words without certainty. He’d built himself a second cocoon and I was just about to break it. 

“Wait…” 

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 grasp. 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 hallow dungeon. I discarded my torch and consumed myself in the murk 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, passed the courtyard, and into the mouth of the throne room. More voices were strangled in the distance. The golden doors shut noiselessly behind me and stood as 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, only cower. 

I made my last climb to the throne two, three… My frigid ashen fingers quivered as they plucked the cloth away. Although formidable, the sword was magnificent. Its black glossy blade (sharper than a dragon’s tooth), bravely sat upon a hilt of chaste silver. Chiseled into the hilt were scales that stretched out into luminous wings at the cross guard. The pommel was a dragon head with its ample mouth opened broadly. The fuller, sterling, sat upon an ebony night blade. Engraved into it were characters of a foreign language. 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 fathers heart sent gooseflesh through my sickly bones. It was the same feeling one might have the second before death. Black eyes met my gaze. The hooded figures pallid lips slithered into a smile with arrogance. He was hardly a man, just a shadow behind the thrones chill embrace, but this shadow was enough to send me tumbling to the marble below. The sword was tossed from my hands and before I had enough courage to muster a scream the shadow was gone.  

 I gathered myself, stashed the sword under my belt, and pulled my golden cloak over my mess of blonde hair. Murmuring began to buzz blaringly behind the throne room doors. “You fool!” I heard a woman scream. Before her violet eyes could catch my broken figure I ducked behind the throne. Shunk! The sound of her dagger meeting a soldier’s flesh. From behind the thrones legs, all that could be seen was tidy mess of blonde curls. The soldier she had stabbed landed with a large clank, a gush of blood spilling out from his throat. More figures dashed into the room, one another soldier who, with a gasp, was able to dodge her next swing.

“My dear sister…” A man stepped over the fresh body and caught her wrist before she could take another life. “Don’t you think that was a little too hasty?” His robe drenched the body like a black veil.

“The sword is gone Dragon!” She shrieked.

“I’m aware of that.

“I don’t think you understand how important this mission is!”

“So our plans were delayed… What of it?” 

The woman turned to the soldier 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, “Come back empty handed…” She whipped him back to face her. “…And I’ll have your family on spikes for betraying the crown. Am I understood?” 

“Yes priestess,” The man rushed out of the room as fast as a hurricane blew. The priestess turned back to the amused man.

“You know what today is Thantos. If those children escape…”

“The Demons will catch them.” Dragon stated. “There’s no need to react in such an improper manner…”

“And if that dimwit they call a king gets his hands on it? What then?” There was a bite to her voice. 

“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.. “I promise you sister, I will not fail you.” His head turned to the throne. “I will not fail you,” He repeated. The last thing I saw of the man was a disheartening dragon mask and a blur of violet-gold eyes before he vanished into the shadows. The woman let out a short bitter scream, kicked the soldier’s corpse, and swept out the tall doors with a trail of violet and silver robes rolling behind her. I let out my breath and gripped onto the sword with as much strength as I could muster. I wiped the tears from my face and slapped them onto the arm of the throne. I won’t let Derick see me cry… I rushed out the door and took the back route, down three staircases, through the dungeon, and out the back door.

A dagger pinched my throat. “Where were you?” Derick snapped. I put my hand on the hilt of my sword.

“It doesn’t matter anymore…”

My brother grit his teeth.

“Derick…” Serina started, trying to pull him away with a child’s strength.

“You’re an imbecile Alexander. An imbecile,” He sheathed his dagger and grabbed the back of my collar. “What could possibly be so important to put all of our lifes at risk? ”

“Our lives were already at risk.” 

 “Ride,” He slapped my back with iron like hands. Calypso, my fair white Andalusian horse and Ganymede, Derick’s painted horse with black spots and braided hair stood calmly behind him. He took a hold of his satchel and hoisted Serina in front of him. I mounted Calypso and clasped her reins with shaking hands.

“Stay close to me Alex, and don’t run off again.” Derick ordered, galloping off ahead.

“Vedimier,” I ordered Calypso. Calypso dashed after them. Our horses galloped through the town’s stone pathway, dodging the town’s people as they went along their nightly rituals. Up ahead were the large metal poles that marked the Gate. Once we passed those, there was no turning back. Although the Gate acted like a wall against Demons and other beastly creatures, humans could come and go whenever they pleased. I was already feeling dizzy, both from the things I had witnessed and the blow I had taken earlier, no part of me was ready to face what happened next. What came to pass just so happened to be a flaming arrow. I hit my head on the stones beneath Calypso’s hooves. Valhira became a blur; I shook off the pain, grabbed a hold of my horse’s reins, and tried to hoist myself back up. A dark figure stood just outside of the Gate. A familiar shadow…

He raised his hand and a loud cracking sound filled the air. Everyone in the town froze and looked towards the Gate. Slowly the air around it began to catch on fire, the Gate, which acted like a dome around us burst into flames until the sky was no longer visible. I heard the people’s screams and watched as their children rushed back to their parents safe embrace. The fire turned to smoke and everything went silent. The man had disappeared once again..

“Derick…” I started. A large tiger pounced out from the woods, sunk its teeth into the Gatekeepers throats and tossed him to the side. Its massive body slowly shifted back to the form of a man and his glowing crimson red eyes met mine. Demon…? The man scoffed, brushing his light brown hair out of his hungry eyes. Another Demon rushed to his side.

“Demon!” The bells rang.

 The creature licked the blood off his lips and bellowed… “Kill them.” 

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